Archive for the ‘Search Engine Optimization’ Category
2012 ended this week, and while many people are making resolutions for the new year ahead, we thought we would take a moment and look back at the last year. The CUnet blog was a popular spot this year, with our readership growing by over 95 percent since December 2011, and while we think all of our blog posts are pretty great (shameless self promotion… check!), there were a few topics that seemed to be of particular interest to our readers. So, we’ve run the numbers and sliced the data to compile the top five most popular topics on the CUnet blog for 2012. Without further ado, here’s how it all shook out:
Search Engine Optimization
In one of our very first posts of 2012, (SEO in 2012: The Top 11 Things You Need to Know), we predicted some big changes to SEO, with the biggest change being that mobile surfing could overtake desktop surfing in the near future. And as the year progressed, we definitely saw things move in that direction. For the first time in years, desktop web search declined, according to the Macquarie Group in September, and the increase in mobile search seems to be the biggest reason for this decline. Our SEO post also included hot topics such as more localization to search inquiries, search engines become smarter at determining your intent when making a query (we saw Google actually update their algorithms late in 2012), and an increase in rich snippets (which help with your search rankings).
Mobile campaigns became a big part of CUnet’s marketing offerings for its clients in 2012, and they are proving to be a highly successful marketing channel. As we noted in our mobile case study results post, inquiries from our mobile campaigns have resulted in a cost-per-enrollment (CPE) of up to 30 percent lower than those from other inquiry generation channels. Early in the year we posted our 2012 mobile marketing trends where we predicted that 50 percent of all cell phone users in the U.S. would own a smart phone (in March 2012, that statistic was confirmed), and that sales of tablets would increase as competition grew and prices decreased. With more and more people accessing the Internet on mobile devices rather than their PCs, it soon became clear that building mobile-friendly sites would offer a better user experience for our clients’ potential students. However, as we noted in the post Decloaking the Google WAP Mobile Universe many mobile users still own feature phones, so not all of a school’s mobile marketing efforts should be targeted to smart phone users. Targeting both smart phone users and feature phone users is important in making sure you are making the most of your mobile campaigns.
You may still be groaning over Facebook’s transition to Timeline, but we hope CUnet’s Social Media Strategist Jeff Berg’s handy guides – Five Things You Must Know About The New Facebook Brand Timelines and OH NOES! A Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Your Page Ready for Facebook’s Timelines! – helped ease you into the new profile layouts. But Jeff’s expertise doesn’t end with making your Facebook pages look pretty. In the post Measuring Success in Social Media Campaigns, he also provides valuable insight into how you can (and why you should) track the ROI and overall success of your social media campaigns.
2011 was a year of very dramatic change in the world of SEO, with the most notable change coming from Google’s Panda updates, which significantly changed how the search engine processes and ranks web pages. Since Google typically sends most sites in the US about 80 percent of their search traffic, this algorithm change had a pretty dramatic impact.
While most of the dust has settled on that update, we expect more changes to come that will significantly affect SEO strategies. So, what exactly is it we expect to see in 2012?
1. Mobile surfing will overtake desktop surfing.
Mobile usage continues to grow at an astounding rate, and tablets are definitely contributing to the growth. Whether it be a mobile site (built in html 5) or a mobile app, having a mobile strategy will become critical to our success as marketers. That said, mobile SEO is really not very different from traditional SEO (See Seven Mobile SEO Myths Exposed).
2. Voice Search will change search behavior.
With the release of SIRI voice, search will finally take off. Searchers want answers, not a bunch of results they have to navigate through. Since SIRI gets its answers from multiple sources, making sure you are present in each of those sources can ensure that SIRI recommends your site. A small study by The Arora Report followed 40 iPhone users and their Siri vs. Google usage. All 40 users saw no need to use Google ever again. 27 of them hadn’t used Google since they got their iPhone, and the other 13 only used it twice. Of course this was not a comprehensive study, but it is pretty suggestive of where things are going. (more…)
Earlier this year, the team at CUnet passed a pretty impressive milestone which we think deserves some public recognition. So, today, we’re excited to share that CUnet is now a Google Analytics Certified Partner, thanks to the hard work and dedication shown by our account teams (CUnet previously achieved the Google AdWords Certified Partner (GCP) status in 2009).
This company-level accreditation is one of the highest certifications available from Google, awarded to firms that meet a rigorous set of requirements and show a organizational commitment to optimizing their clients use of web analytics (in other words, you have to be pretty darn good at it).
In order to earn Google Analytics certification, our team had to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of web analytics through a series of exams and referencable case studies. These case study projects represented work that displayed an ability to go beyond simple, standard implementations projects, resulted in an exceptional degree of impact to the client, and indicated a high degree of understanding of web analysis.
At CUnet, we’re constantly working on ways to ensure our clients’ online marketing campaigns and websites are optimized and producing the best possible results. To do this, a deep knowledge of web analytics is required; this certification shows the extent of that knowledge among our analytics team, as well as a level of dedication, commitment and expertise that CUnet brings to our clients.
Huge congratulations go out to all the team members who worked so hard to earn this achievement!
Do all inquiries have the same properties? Or does the origin of the inquiry impact its time to convert into a start for schools? In an effort to answer this question, we recently conducted an investigation into the conversion cycle of inquiries across different channels, with some very interesting results.
While it’s important to note that our findings are based on a single school, the insights we gained into the PPC conversion cycle could have a significant impact on media spend and optimization, and are worth taking into consideration for any school that runs PPC campaigns.
What We Found
Using a monthly rolling conversion report, we plotted out the starts received each subsequent month from a given month’s media spend. While, anecdotally, a school’s average conversion window from inquiry to start is 90 days, the data for PPC inquiries we examined indicated a noticeably longer timeline.
As the graph illustrates (below), inquiries generated in October 2010 continued to convert to starts six months later. While 80 percent of the total starts came through within expected timeframe (the first 75 to 90 days), a significant number of inquiries were still converting to starts after that window. In fact, we found that on average, it took five months to generate 90 percent of the total starts.
Google has done it again. Recently, Google conducted the “Panda Update.” If you pay attention to tech news, you may know this reshuffling of search rankings as the “Farmer Update.” This update is the largest that Google has conducted, reshuffling 12 percent of all search rankings. This reshuffling has already impacted several web pages, both positively and negatively. The impact of the panda update upon your site is highly determined by the quality of your content.
Some of the largest sites that were impacted were Mahalo and eZine Articles. These sites run solely on user submissions and the quality of content is considered to be low. While these are two examples they are certainly not the only sites with poor quality that were impacted they are among the largest.
The update has not only helped to push low quality sites down in rankings but has also had an impact on sites with strong, well written content. Google has stated that no algorithm will be perfect. This means that they will not make any exceptions or considerations for any one site affected.
You are currently browsing the archives for the Search Engine Optimization category.