About Kyle Misencik
You don't want to mess with Kyle Misencik, another one of our SEO Campaign Directors. He may be able to woo you with all his geeky analytics speak, be warned... he was a bouncer in a former life. Kyle joined Intrapromote in 2011 and has been knocking our socks off since day one. (By the way, Kyle, we'd like our socks back.) Kyle is a huge music fan and his interests lie across a variety of genres. His IP claim to fame lies in the fact that he was born on Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you) and when he isn't updating a client's SEO work, he's off snowboarding, playing drums or jumping on the nearest motorcycle he can find.
Articles by Kyle Misencik:
In October of 2012 many sites including Search Engine Land uncovered that not only was Google hiding keyword data within the dreaded “(not provided)” keyword set, but Google was totally missing the boat on recording organic traffic from Safari iOS users as well.
The reason behind this shift was the fact that the default browser for the iPhone is Safari. Google searches being done on the mobile Safari browser started generating secure search result. Not only were these searches secure, but they weren’t passing any referrer data at all.
One of our clients, the Cleveland Clinic, noticed an interesting trend starting ever since the mobile version of iOS 6 was introduced. Here you can see the chart they referred to.
Have you been underestimating your organic traffic? As mobile continues to grow chances are the answer is “yes”. So how are online marketers supposed to show the true numbers for organic traffic? I’ll tell you how in this step-by-step process. (Google Analytics is required for this estimation, and having MS Excel is also very useful)
- Access Google Analytics and select Traffic Source > Sources > Search > Organic
- For the Primary Dimension select “Source”
- For your Secondary Dimension select “Operating System”.
- Add up all of the iOS referral visits to get your iOS Organic Traffic
- Next you’ll need your direct iOS traffic. To get that go to Traffic Source > Source > Direct.
- For your Secondary Dimension select “Operating System”.
- Perform an advanced filter Operating System matches “iOS” and add up all of the iOS visits to arrive at your iOS Direct Traffic
Now that you have your total iOS Organic Traffic and iOS Direct Traffic just a few formulas and you’ll have your Adjusted Organic Traffic Total.
Next you’ll need the Percent of Direct Traffic Over Total iOS Traffic. To accomplish this you do the following:
= iOS Direct Traffic / (iOS Organic Traffic + iOS Direct Traffic)
The next step will help you arrive at Recovered Organic Search Visits. To accomplish this you use the following formula:
= (iOS Direct Traffic – (iOS Direct Traffic + iOS Organic Traffic) * X)
In order to calculate X you need to take the average Percent of Direct Traffic Over Total iOS Traffic from January 2012 to September 2012. That number is then applied as “X” to the Recovered Organic Search Visits equation above.
Almost there! The final step is to arrive at the Adjusted Total Organic Search Traffic. To arrive at your final calculation you do the following:
= (Overall Search Traffic Including All Operating Systems + Recovered Organic Search Visits)
This is an awful lot of calculation to do even on a monthly basis, so be sure to use Google Analytics Advanced Segments, dashboards or shorcuts to set up this type of calculation to be easily accessible.
Thank you for reading. Please comment below to let me know if you have any feedback or corrections with the process laid out here.
As marketers we do our best to put ourselves into our target customer’s shoes; to see where they spend their time to learn about a specific product or service and pondering over how we can expose them to those offerings. Working in healthcare marketing I recently had a unique opportunity to find myself in the position of both the marketer and the patient. I’d like to share what I learned from the experience.
A few months ago I learned during a normal dental check-up that I had an aggressive tumor in my jaw called Ameloblastoma. I was shocked that a 26 year old guy like me could have something like this so young. As a potential patient I panicked at first thinking about all the possible outcomes and what this meant for me. I then calmed myself and started going through the things that I could control:
- What is this disease?
- What are the possible solutions?
- Who offers those solutions?
- Who has experience with this disease?
Being an online marketer who is involved in the healthcare industry I was aware that not every article or blogger out there is
providing correct information. Even if it is correct, it’s specific to his or her experience and not necessarily mine. Still, many of the major healthcare providers did not provide in-depth information on this tumor. Why is this? Well it’s a rare disease and most likely healthcare systems are focusing on their major drivers – lung cancer, breast cancer, etc. But aren’t healthcare systems trying to treat every possible ailment and not just their main traffic drivers?
This was my first takeaway: Many healthcare systems focus on their main traffic drivers, but from a search marketing perspective it appears there is a huge opportunity to engage patients in the long tail (very specific diseases and types of diseases) rather than putting all of their efforts trying to rank for the top 3 diseases they see.
Next, I had to look at the different healthcare systems and doctors that could address this tumor. It didn’t seem there was a particular healthcare system that claimed to be an expert on this. This seemed like a huge opportunity for having published web content, written by doctors and shared on Google to sway me as to which doctor or healthcare system I should chose.
This was my second takeaway: It appears there’s an opportunity for doctors to assert their authority on certain subjects by simply creating a piece of content showing their expertise and publishing it on Google+ with the author tag.
I ended up finding a Journal of Surgery case study on my tumor from the Middle East that was, in all honesty, the most helpful. The blogs and articles I read were mostly from people that had such bad experiences that they wanted to voice their situations and warn people about what’s ahead. Everything I read on those blogs were far from what I actually had to deal with. I ended up going with the Cleveland Clinic due to my past experiences with them and some swaying done by my family.
In conclusion, who’s to say that my online research couldn’t have swayed me to sign on with another healthcare system? What is your hospital or healthcare system going to do to set itself apart as an authority on a subject? Considering how many medical conditions exist it seems there is an ocean of opportunity for doctors and their healthcare systems to become the first choice for patients who are doing their research online, whether it’s by simple organic searches or looking at what their friends have said on social media.
The introduction of Maps applications has been a godsend. I think back to the days when venturing off to a new store or business involved grabbing a note pad, your local map and plotting out your trip across town. If you got lost you turned back home and either called the business from your dial tone phone, tried searching aimlessly or simply gave up.
Google Maps / Places was introduced and suddenly anyone with a smart phone could receive directions to a destination in minutes. Apple Maps is another Maps application that has been recently released, although to a barrage of negative fanfare. The recent introduction of Facebook “Nearby” has now given us not one but multiple avenues for finding our way to our destination or discovering new businesses to visit. With these new offerings comes new choices, and in this blog post I’d like compare these applications and lay out the pros and cons of each.
By modifying the Facebook “Check-in” feature to include nearby businesses on their map Facebook has now entered the Maps arena. If you’re on the Facebook app on your iOS or Android phone simply tap the menu breakout in the top left hand corner – hit the “Nearby” button and you’re able to see nearby businesses while also searching for your favorite shop as well. After using this feature multiple times I have arrived at the following conclusions:
- You can see where your friends have been and what they thought of their visit. A true focus on social interaction meeting local business.
- There is a wealth of reviews concentrated on one page (doesn’t suffer from duplication).
- Any legit business should have a Facebook page – thus the information is coming straight from the business owner and cannot be changed by the average user.
- There is a click to call feature, granting the ability to call the business right from the “Nearby” result.
- No Facebook Page for the business = no result in “Nearby”
- Once you click the Directions link you’re taken out of the Facebook app and into Apple Maps.
- It’s only available for mobile for now.
- Is anyone aware that this exists?
Overall I love this feature and I’m surprised Facebook hasn’t advertised the release of this new feature more prominently. Hopefully more users will discover this feature because this is one feature on Facebook where more social engagement really does lead to a merrier experience.
Apple Maps has had a tough run of it. From Apple having to publically come out and say that you shouldn’t use this app to Australian police saying Apple Maps could kill you, it hasn’t been easy for this Maps application. Even with all of this I’ve still run across a few friends and acquaintances that vouch for Apple Maps. My experience with Apple Maps resulted in these findings:
- Turn-by-turn instructions.
- 3D flyover is cool
- Working in tandem with Facebook “Nearby” may revive this struggling product.
- Sometimes crowd sourcing the data can be a bad idea. This allows the average user to change what would be correct information to the wrong information – sending you nowhere near the actual destination.
- No Local Business Center to allow business owners to set-up, correct or upgrade their listings.
- Leverages 3rd party data aggregators as the primary data source. These aggregators buy and sell information with no form of fact checking before releasing the data.
- Non-branded queries can show results that are not relevant at all.
It seems Apple has a long way to go here. For what it’s worth, if you know the name of the business and where you want to go Apple Maps will find the business and get you there. (Most of the time)
Google Maps / Places
Google Maps has been around since February 2005 and thus Google has been able to learn from their mistakes and make the appropriate corrections. Google has also introduced a slew of new features to help your business stand out. I would consider myself a pro at managing and using Google Places and here is where I stand right now:
- Google’s customer support and report-a-problem feature allow you to address any misinformation associated with a listing.
- Local Business Center allows you to claim your listing, upgrade it and optimize it for searches – both branded and non-branded.
- The upgrade to Google+ Places brings a more visual aspect to your listings while allowing customers and business owners to interact within the reviews and comments.
- The updated Google Maps app for smart phones now includes turn-by-turn voice directions.
- Crowd sourcing & 3rd party aggregators cause misinformation regularly.
- Duplication is still a huge issue, which fragments not only your information but the social interactions as well.
- I just learned from an employee at Google that multiple users can claim and manage a listing.
- The Google Automated Program can still merge listings that have nothing to do with each other.
- The removal of the “Drop A Pin” feature, which allowed users to easily share their exact locations.
I’m so knee deep in Google Places that I can be hard on their service, but it is really a great offering and one app I constantly have open on my iPhone.
In conclusion I’d still say that Google Maps still has the upper hand when it comes to the battle of the Maps applications. I do not want to discount Apple Maps & Facebook Nearby though. Google continues to struggle to get people to engage socially over G+ Places but puts a premium on functionality – conversely Apple Maps struggles with its functionality but is leveraging Facebook’s wealth of social information. It will be interesting to see how these three giants parry and joust in the future.
Here at Intrapromote we do our best to stay up to date on all the major Google algorithm updates and how each update could potentially affect our clients. During the summer months I noticed very strange things within our client’s data and some very wild ranking fluctuations. Shortly after many of the respected SEO sites started reporting on Google’s Panda & Penguin updates and the comments on these articles seemed to revolve around one issue – is Google only in it for the money?
The specific comments feed I’m referring to can be found in this update announcement from Search Engine Roundtable. If you glance over the comments you can see that the vast majority of the individuals agree that Google is doing something fishy. The comments range from the rare Google supporter saying that their business is built on providing relevant results, to folks who believe that Google is using the updates to cover up other forces at work, to people who strictly believe that Google does these updates to slowly force everyone into AdWords.
So who is right? Is organic SEO becoming a thing of the past as Google continually launches updates that, according to these comments, force business owners to jump on AdWords and pay for their rankings? I’d like to juxtapose the two sides of this issue and debate myself to see if any clear winner can come of it.
Side 1: It’s All About The Money
- Google has been increasing the amount of ad space above the fold. A recent search for “phone headset” resulted in a page where pretty much all of the space above the fold was taken up by Google AdWords ads.
- The (Not provided) Google Analytics problem continues to be a thorn in SEO’s sides, masking data that was once available to all. Oh by the way, you can access that data if you’re on AdWords.
- The long-tail phrases are often where a new small business can find a niche and begin to establish relevance for shorter, more competitive phrases. One comment argues that with recent updates non-commercial sites now dominate this area.
- I completed 3 searches that used queries that were at least 6 keywords long. My findings would concur that commercial sites did not appear and forums did in fact dominate the SERP.
- The final argument I could see being made here would be that organic CTR is suffering due to paid ads. While in the past it was a no-brainer that organic was winning, my research is resulting in a bit of a foggy conclusion. While many sites claim organic gets upwards of 90% of the clicks many people are pointing out that the data doesn’t consider what vertical was searched, what is the intent of the search, and if that data included phrases that shouldn’t have ads to begin with, such as “history” (which is void of any advertising).
Side 2: It’s All About Relevant Results
- While the ad space associated with paid ads has increased, the majority of space on a SERP is still dedicated to organic results. Even still I do believe that Google is doing better at providing non-biased results especially as locality plays more of a part. The quality of sites and their rankings is still to be questioned though. One of my searches was for “vitamins in Denver”, which had this band website ranking first – not relevant at all!
- While we are losing valuable data to the (not provided) issue one would think that the distribution of that data wouldn’t change. So while tracking visits on a keyword by keywords basis is becoming difficult, an SEO should still be able to deduce which keywords are bringing in the most traffic.
- The long-tail argument seems to be hit or miss. Upon looking for an “alternator for a 1969 dodge charger” it does appear that a less established website is appearing for this phrase which would lead me to believe there are more spaces out there for small site owners to leverage.
- While there is information showing how much the distribution of CTR between organic and paid might be closing, all of the research does still point to organic holding the upper hand in that battle.
In conclusion, I understand that Google is a business and in most businesses the bottom line will drive the decisions made on how the product (or search engine in this case) performs. I also understand that in order for Google to hold the lion’s market share in the industry they have to continue to provide relevant, non-biased results to users.
Then again, why do these 2 sides have to fight at all? Couldn’t we work together to help people find, read and buy what they want more efficiently? An article from Search Engine Watch shows that when both organic and paid play well together, the whole team wins.
What do you think? Is Google looking to have you pay for your rankings, or will organic continue to hold the upper hand?
I wrote the first part of my series on becoming a Google Webmaster Tools Pro, which focused on the basic information you can glean from this excellent tool. There are many other functions of Google Webmaster Tools that can be used to take your website to the next level. I’m going to take some time to expand upon some of these features and how to use them.
Links To Your Site: Google considers other site’s links to your website as votes of confidence for your site. This has been a topic of discussion as the Penguin updates continue and Google has started sending out warning messages to those who have unnatural link portfolios. Getting an idea of who is linking to your site can be of great value, and with Google’s latest update you can even see who has recently linked to you within the past 30 days.
To access this information you simply enter the Traffic section of the tool and click on “Links To Your Site”. From here you can see how many external links you have. The quantity of links you see is a good gauge of a site’s link popularity, but Google puts more weight on who is linking to you. This makes the other section, “Who links the most”, crucial information as well. Are you getting linked to the most by irrelevant, low quality sites? Are you getting linked to by an industry resource and didn’t even know it? Both of these represent an opportunity to change your link building strategy depending on the information you. The “Your most linked content” can also show which content is getting linked to the most, giving you an insight into where people are finding valuable content on your site. This can lead to opportunities to further explore topics that you may have set aside long ago.
A rather recent addition to this section is the option to “Download latest links”, which can be found by clicking the “More” link. I love this information because this offers me a list of sites that have already expressed interest in my recent content and provides a route for making outreaches to create relationships with those sites.
Structured Data: Structured Data (or Microformating) is a great way to make your listing stand out on a search engine results page while offering users information on your products/services/website before they even click through to your site. Schema.org, hcards and even some of the recent Google+ information (author information, verification information, etc.) can be tested here to ensure your implementation has been done correctly. You can even see what types of structured data you’re using and how many pages contain the data. You can find this information within the “Optimization” section of the tool.
Site Performance: Google’s goal is to provide users with a seamless experience. If your site takes a long time to load for the average user you can bet that this affects the user experience and thus Google will reflect unfavorably on your site for that specific part of their algorithm. The “Site Performance” section, which is found within the “Labs”, gives you an idea of how fast your overall site is performing against others as well as how long it takes specific pages on your site to load. The “Page Speed” FireFox plug-in provided on this page can be invaluable for Webmasters looking to improve the speed of their sites. The “Page Speed” plug-in analyzes each HTTP call made and provides advice on how to either compress or remove some of those calls to make your website or webpage more efficient.
I hope you found this information useful. My next addition to this series will go over some of the features that help a Webmaster migrate a site, remove unwanted information from Google’s index, and even get social information through the +1 feature and the Author Stats feature.