The Quick & Dirty:

  • 9+ years in the biz, 10 messing around
  • All the latest in HTML, CSS, JS & PHP (Sorry, no .net or Ruby skills yet)
  • Cross-browser compatible code from Photoshop or Illustrator files.. or napkins!
  • Custom Specialities in Wordpress theming & plugins, Twitter & jQuery
  • Subversion, server-log analysis, and blocking hack-attempts (of late).
  • Data/Project Geek. I ♥ timelines.

I’ve compiled some handy PHP functions I’ve had to whip up. More extensive code-samples are also available.


Wordpress-from-static HTML


Paid Search “Campaigns”

Google Analytics doesn’t always see Paid Search as a Campaign. And they are right. Paid Search numbers more often just cut into your search numbers than give you more numbers.

Remember what’s going on here: a user searches something – and your listing comes up #3. Paid search adds it to the BS on top of the list (as well as being #3). But what if being #3 is good enough? What if you were already #1 for that search? You’re paying for something you are already getting for free.

The power of paid search is to use a highly frequent search for which you aren’t in the top 10 search results.
Now, what defines a highly frequent search? Is it the searches that already perform well? Maybe. But it’s anything that users are actually searching for, not just what they search-and-find-you for. This will require (web)market research.
Fact is if you just look at what search results you are already getting and try to get more of those, you are only narrowing your user-base. Put another way, by trying to amp-up what’s already working, you start approaching market-saturation quickly.

How do I know I’ve reached this ‘market saturation’ of which you speak?
There’s 3 ways. First, look at your history: has the numbers of paid search increased? Has the numbers of search increased? If paid-search is getting it done, then great. But if Paid-search is dropping or flat & “organic” search is growing.. it might be time to question your approaches. Second, if you run multiple websites, see if there is an “industry average” for that location. Third, there’s this thing called an “A/B” test. It basically means stop what you’re doing for awhile & see what happens. Statistically, there’s no significance to this unless your site is getting a LOT of users. We need thousands to be sure (there’s lots of fine articles and college stat classes on this point, but basically, just don’t change something & think it’s better because you got 10 more users).

So how do I find out what I should be paying for?
Step 1: See where you are at. Look at the search terms, and see where you page-rankings land you (note: it won’t be the same for everyone, but sometimes this helps to get an idea).
Step 2: What terms do you think are missing? What other ways would you search for your site-content? What is on your website which isn’t being searched for? What do you offer which isn’t even on your website?
Step 3: Test those self-created alternate search terms, see where you land, see who else comes up (and if anyone else is paying for them!).
Step 4: If you can’t write better content to legitimate your relationship to those terms, then perhaps a paid search is the way to go.

I’m sure there’s better ways than “try each search on your own.” I’ve never liked this method, since Google tends to personalize search by region (and browsing history, which is kind of enabled by default for most people).

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Posted in 'net, Content Analysis, Day Job, howto, Information Design, marketing Comments Off

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