woman reaching hand above water during daytime

Trust me, I’m an SEO Consultant – Why is the largest channel for the world’s most measurable medium still not measurable?

John Wanamaker, known as one of the pioneers of marketing, famously said:

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

And, although he said this sometime before his passing in 1922, this is still true in 2018 when trying to measure return on investment on your money spend on SEO.

We can measure the ROI of our PPC campaigns, our Facebook ads, even our LinkedIn investment, yet our SEO budgets are capped to what we think we can afford to lose – or how else could we explain that we are happily spending millions on SEM ads, while our SEO investment is only a fraction: on one and the same same platform, Google, where a large portion of users don’t even know the difference between a paid search ad and an organic search result!

Navigating the ROI of SEO spend is further muddied by a market that is flooded with SEO Consultants, all claiming that they can optimise your site’s search rankings, without being able to provide any real data to prove which of their efforts, if any, made how much of a difference in rankings or traffic to your site.

What if there was new technology available that could manage SEO like SEM and measure performance like for any other channel?

1. The Measure of SEO ROI

brown ruler with standeCommerce businesses are frustrated about their SEO spend. Yet, they can measure the performance of their advertising spend on “Paid Search”. They can tell what their CPC, CPA and ROI down to keyword level is – but with SEO they find themselves in the dark.  We know that SEO is a good investment, I mean, who wouldn’t want to appear in one of Google’s top spots? Businesses are bending over backwards and spending big bucks on securing position 1 in SEM, while position 1 in SEO is left to hope and a prayer with a lot less cash behind it.

“The best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google Search results,”

they say – and nowadays most users wouldn’t even scroll to the bottom half of page one. This is why a business might spend millions per month on their SEM – but only bankroll their SEO with 20K – and do the latter hesitantly. It’s because they don’t have an exact proof of results to motivate a higher spend.

Part of the problem is, that Google has no interest in giving immediate feedback on website SEO changes to protect the ranking algorithm from being tested out. Nowadays Google does not even provide the general information of which keyword led to how much revenue on your site. While Google gives you impression, click and position data within the Google Search Console, and this data does appear in Google Analytics too, it is not properly accessible with ecommerce conversion and revenue data within the very same Google Analytics.

Which supports an industry of SEO consultants that work with secondary metrics like “ranking changes” or “SEO visibility” to measure their success in a “before vs. after” manner – while often being unable to read a simple web analytics performance report.

Crazy SEO Stuff I’ve Seen:

  • An ASX-listed pure play online company with more than $3B market cap that only has a one-person in-house SEO team ‘working’ across a dozen websites
  • An ASX-listed retail brand, an Australian icon, spending $20,000/month with an SEO agency that provided nothing else but monthly reporting and “SEO advice from time to time”
  • A company spending $10M/year on SEM who didn’t want to spend $100k of this budget (or 1%) with an SEO service for a guaranteed CPA (i.e. no incremental sales no cost) that was half of what they paid in SEM – only because they were so used to not measuring the ROI for SEO, that their SEM and SEO budgets were completely independent and they could not get their head around shifting budget from one to another even if that meant missing out on 2x the number of sales.

2.  Anyone can be an SEO Consultant?

boy with bucket over his head holding binocularsWhile there are Google AdWords courses and other certifications for SEM Consultants, practically anyone who can read a blog post can qualify to call themselves an SEO Consultant. In fact, there is no real way of vetting just how qualified someone may be in the SEO field.

If you Google “how to become an SEO expert”, the first Google suggestion ends the sentence with “…in 48 hrs”. This says it all: https://www.locationrebel.com/become-an-seo-freelancer/

Would you want to hire someone with only 48 hours of experience?

While it’s actually a pretty decent blog post, with sound advice and good resources – the bad thing about SEO Consultancy is that you can be an SEO Consultant by talking SEO, not doing it. This is because doing onpage SEO requires changes to the website or content and will always involve the tech team to implement your recommendations. Getting them to implement the proposed website changes for SEO is a hard ask. With no real way to measure the ROI, there is no business case, back to square one again. Which also means there’s always a good excuse why the SEO strategy doesn’t show the right results.

It’s a similar story for offpage SEO. It’s all about link building but Google never gives immediate feedback on any SEO changes (otherwise you could test out the different elements of Google’s ranking algorithm with a series of individual quick changes to your site or backlink profile). So there’s always an excuse that “things take time”; or your link building would work great if only the onpage optimisation recommendations were followed by the tech team…. You guessed it – square one again!

Crazy SEO Stuff I’ve Seen:

  • Accomplished SEO consultants not knowing their way around Google Analytics. E.g. working with organic search traffic report data without considering brand vs. generic keyword traffic performance. Every SEO consultant. All the time. (Tip: While Google Analytics shows 95-98% of organic search traffic under keyword “not provided”, you can easily use the remaining 2-5% where you see the keyword, to calculate Brand KW vs. Non-brand KW performance and extrapolate onto the full “population” with a simple statistical significance test)
  • Accomplished SEO experts not knowing their way around Excel (the simplest tool for any data analysis…)

3. Outdated SEO Advice

red and white floppy disk on white surfaceThose who are touting themselves as SEO consultants are flooding the web with their “expert” SEO optimisation advice – but most of the time it’s just copying what others have already written. And let’s face it, if you do have unique, valuable knowledge about SEO optimisation, would you publish an article listing this information for free on the web for everyone to see? – or would you rather employ this tactic on your own website? If everyone does the same thing, then what you are doing on your site doesn’t give you any advantage anymore. Let’s compare this with a runners analogy: If you found a great new training method, would you keep it to yourself to run faster than everyone else in the next race? Or would you write about it so everyone can do it and lose your competitive edge?

Unless your in the business of writing books about training methods, you would keep this valuable information close to your chest.  And to be frank, those who do write books about their winning strategies are usually the same people who don’t use or need them anymore, which means they’re probably already outdated.

Crazy SEO Stuff I’ve Seen:

  • Sound advice? An SEO method that was proven to work across a wide range of websites was rejected by the CEO of a company after consulting with the in-house “SEO expert” – His qualifications? He was a former marketing intern with a total of 1 year of work experience who had been promoted to SEO specialist with no other previous experience (he was able to cite a lot of blog posts though!)
  • Clichéd advice?  “You have a very spammy backlink profile – we need to do an in-depth link audit and a thorough link clean-up.” –  Almost every single newly appointed SEO Agency, ever.

4. OMG, there was a Google Algorithm change!

google logo made with smartiesGoogle constantly updates and optimises their ranking algorithms. Why? Well, to stay on top of changes in website creation, to deploy their own structural index improvements, and to fight SEO spam tactics (it’s a bit like cat and mouse, with “black hat” SEO trying to game the Google algorithms with fake signals, and Google trying to catch up by adapting the algorithm, to figure out what are fake signals and what are not).

To get a good overview of the myriad of algorithm changes over the years check this out: https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change

The issue with most blogs posts on algorithm changes (and everyone in the SEO community commenting on those changes) is that they make a huge fuss about the change and the number (or %) of pages they manage that are affected, but nobody really goes into detail about what these changes mean practically. What has changed in terms of ranking factors, and what website owners have to be aware of and should change.

Check out https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change – one of the highest quality SEO sites – and you still see a lot of jargon, and no real *actionable* insights for most Google algorithm updates.

Crazy SEO Stuff I’ve Seen:

  • “There’s been a Google algorithm update”. With no further information as to what part of the SEO ranking factors might have been affected. All over the web. On all SEO blogs. All the time.
  • https://searchengineland.com/googles-august-first-core-algorithm-update-who-did-it-impact-and-how-much-303538: “Sistrix shared some of the early data, saying, ‘The majority of changes can be seen for YMYL-sites and even there we generally only see an uplift or loss of a few percentage points.’ I followed up with Sistrix, which responded that ‘Mostly health and finance pages have been affected by this update.’ ‘But also, as you can see on the lists, e-commerces, educational as well as dubious automotive websites got their share of movement,’ Juan González from Sistrix told me.”
    Thank you, Juan, now we know everything.

5. Google Penalties and Scare Tactics

person wearing hoodie and neon maskGoogle is very strict about its code of conduct and eBusinesses can be liable to pay penalties – in the form of a drop in Google rankings, or being dropped from the index completely, if they severely overstep the mark.

However, you have to do something seriously wrong on a large scale to incur a “Google penalty”. Most of the times SEO Consultants talk about “Google penalties” it’s really about Google’s algorithms having been slightly updated, and some websites now ranking a bit better for some search queries, while others now rank a bit worse.

There are billions of websites out there, and every website competes with millions of others for Google page 1, or even position 1, rankings for the keywords that are important for each individual business. A drop in traffic by 20% can happen by just dropping an average of 2-3 positions, easily. But in the mind of “SEO Cons.” it’s always “penalties”. Let’s do another runner’s analogy, shall we? Imagine you entered a race last year and among 100 runners you came first – but this year, running against the same runners as last time, came in 2nd or 3rd – or you didn’t even make it to the final – is that a penalty? No, the other runners just outran you and you need to up your game and pick up the pace next time.

This being said, penalties are still used as a great scare tactic in SEO: Since you cannot measure ROI properly, you have to convince your clients (or employer) otherwise to implement changes, or that you are a better SEO Con. than others. The most efficient way is to wave the “Google penalty” stick: “If you don’t do this, you’re not in line with Google best-practices, so there is the risk of getting a penalty”. Or even better, when it comes to the competition: “Oh no, I would not advise doing what these guys say, this is against Google best-practice and you’ll risk getting a penalty!”.

Crazy SEO Stuff I’ve Seen:

  • Clichéd advice?  “You have a very spammy backlink profile – we need to do an in-depth link audit and a thorough link clean-up so you don’t risk a future Google penalty.” –  Almost every single newly appointed SEO Agency, ever.
  • The “Google Panda algorithm penalty”. We know that Google motivated this algorithm change to “lower the rank of low-quality sites or thin sites, in particular, content farms, and return higher-quality sites near the top of the search results.” But, does anyone mention that the most important change of Google Panda was to introduce, and then to gradually finetune, a “link decay” factor? What really happened is that Google started discounting the value of your internal links, and if you had a lot of them linking to each other back and forth you just didn’t get as much value out of them as before. So, your rankings dropped. But for most of the websites, there was no “penalty” involved. No drop from the index, no downgrading by ‘x’ number of rankings, just an adjustment of how Google sees your pages’ relevance compared to your competitors in the light of the new “link decay factor” of the Google Panda algorithm change. And if you had a lot of pages on your site with not a lot of content, but a lot of links back and forth, you lost more positions against competitors who had not yet found out how to boost low quality pages with internal linking and more of those pages.

6. Technology that does give ROI for your SEO spend

It’s an SEO jungle out there, and it can be hard for companies to motivate SEO spend if they can’t deliver the data they need to prove a return on investment. It’s the nature of the business to believe that money well-spent must be well motivated by numbers in black and white that can prove this.

Rather than relying on SEO Consultants, eCommerce businesses would do better to treat SEO as any other performance channel and find solutions that supply them with web analytics reporting detailing the ROI of their SEO investment. That way they can measure what the benefits of their spend is and begin to close the huge chasm that has developed between their SEM and SEO investment, without having to spend as much money as they do on SEM.

Chat with us about technology that will measure the ROI of your SEO spend, just as you measure the ROAS of your SEM.

Seasonal SEO – The Top 5 tips your business needs to optimise Search for Christmas

It pays to think ahead and Christmas is right around the corner! It may not feel like it but you are running out of time to optimise your Search strategy.

Although Search is not a channel to drive awareness, if your business is one that benefits from the shopping frenzy over the holidays, the time to take advantage of this “always-on” channel is now!

  1. The best time to start your Christmas campaign in Search was last year

Although September is months away from Christmas, by the time you have determined your ideal key words list with the optimal CPC to maximise sales for your target ROI, it’s Boxing Day!

Retailers should be prepared to optimise against a moving target as user searches fluctuate in the lead-up to Christmas, while most of all your competitors are making constant budget and CPC changes.

The best preparation for any seasonal user search behavior and competitor bid changes is to look at last year’s performance in the lead-up to Christmas. If you have two or more years of seasonal data, even better! Overlay as many years of data as possible, consider both number of days to Christmas and day-of-the-week, and build a model for expected traffic, CPC, revenue and ROI to inform your campaign optimisation, budget and revenue run-rate for this year’s festive season.

  1. The best Christmas campaigns are your always-on, long tail, campaigns

 The Christmas campaign is the Super Bowl of the competition – and if you haven’t played in the regular season and collected learnings from it, how can you do well in the Super Bowl?

Your always-on, search campaign throughout the year gives you all the data you need to make the best decisions on where to spend your extra Christmas campaign budget for the best ROI. Categories that work well, keywords that have high ROI, keyword variations that are broadly related, but just don’t convert into sales – key data you need to know.

And the more long tail keywords you actively target – key phrases of three or more words where users search for something very specific – the better informed you are on actual user search behavior and your site’s performance for all the different variations of keywords that describe your products.

  1. Target the ‘Christmas long tail’

 There are indeed some very Christmas specific keywords, which you can make work for or against you. These can work against you while spending a lot of money with little return, if you bid on keywords like “Vegan hampers Bondi”, “Christmas vouchers for dogs”, “Xmas gifts for him / her/ mum/ dad”, “Christmas gifts for under $100 that look expensive” which land the user on generic landing pages, or worse, your homepage!

You can make these seasonal keywords work for you, if you land the users on tailored landing pages with exactly the relevant content and most importantly, relevant product lists (your users want to buy, not read) for the exact context of the keyword. All your vegan hampers, all your gift ideas for him/ her/ mum/ dad that look more expensive.

Before you start investing in landing pages, consult AdWords Keyword Planner for actual search volumes for the individual keywords and check your last year’s search term report to see volumes and past performance.

  1. Use your Shipping Information as ‘Urgency Message’

 One of the few marketing ‘tricks’ that are proven to be effective on search landing pages, is the urgency message. A very simple and credible, even useful, way of creating an urgency message is showing the expected delivery date – Amazon is a genius in this! “Order within the next 2hrs and receive the product by date XYZ”. In a Christmas context, it’s valuable and effective to tell your customers when they can last order to receive their products in time before Christmas.

You can further tailor this by user location and different shipping speeds in Australia by state, metro vs. regional and shipping options (standard, express or courier). Of course, this does not only work for Christmas, but all year round.

  1. SEO for Christmas, don’t reinvent the wheel

 If you have built Christmas-specific landing pages that rank for SEO, don’t build a new one every year – keep the URL and update the content. Data history like back links, traffic and usability stats for a specific URL is of high importance for SEO ranking. By creating new URLs each year, you lose all history and the pages’ past performance credit with Google.

If you have pages that refer to the current year, like “Top Christmas gifts 2018”, then you obviously need a new URL every year. In that case, make sure to add a 301 redirect from your 2017 version (and older versions) to the most recent one. While 301 redirects don’t pass on all ‘link juice’, ‘SEO history’ for Google, they do pass on around ~90% of it – and nobody will miss the page or content for “Best Christmas gifts 2009”.

Make this Christmas count for your business, and always think about the ultimate goal in search: just like in-store, it’s customer experience. If a user asks for “Christmas gifts for dad under $50”, take them by the hand and lead them to the relevant product section – don’t just point them into the general direction. Just like you would train your in-store staff to do.

 

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[Webinar Preview] Fix Google Shopping: 2x Your Search Marketing Revenue

It’s no secret that Google Shopping and Google Product Listing Ads don’t provide the best customer experience for your customers.

But did you know that they could actually be holding back your ecommerce revenue potential?

 

 

Product Listing Ads are now more popular than Google Search Ads, meaning it’s critical for ecommerce businesses to use search marketing smartly if they want to derive greater returns from their digital spend.

In order to achieve this, marketers need to ensure that a high-converting customer journey starts with search.

Enhance CX And Double Your Search Revenue

On [12 Sep @ 8:30am AEDT / BST | 5:30pm PST / EST] join ex-Googler  and Longtail UX CEO, Andreas Dzumla, as he discusses how to solve the hardest search marketing problem – perfectly matching your ecommerce catalogue to longtail keyword search terms.

Specifically, he’ll explore the following during the webinar:

  • Why Google’s Product Listing Ads are holding back your ecommerce site’s revenue potential
  • Why longtail keywords are the future of product search (think voice) and how to unlock the longtail search opportunity for your brand
  • How to turn search marketing into a customer experience channel by connecting the thousands of longtail queries your customers are searching for to your product catalogue on autopilot.

Once Andreas has walked you through these topics, you’ll be armed with the right information to turn your SEO and PPC channels into new, incremental revenue streams.

Register for the webinar below –>

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Image quoting 'Amazon-if, the Google shopping experience'

Google Shopping is Broken – Here’s How to Fix It

Chances are, you’ve searched Google at least once today before reading this. Despite the exponential and incessant increase in marketing channels, search is still by far the most dominant when it comes to driving ecommerce traffic.

A study carried out by SEMRush found that organic search is the second-largest source of traffic for ecommerce businesses, just after direct visits. For the top twenty five US-based e-tailers, search represents as much as 37.5% of all traffic sources.

In fact, Forrester projects that search marketing will continue to command the majority of digital ad budgets in the coming years, despite the faster growth of newer channels.

Image showing the projected digital marketing spend from 2016-2021

The New King of Product Search

As the digital landscape evolves, search has changed along with it.

Google no longer rules the roost when it comes to product searches. There’s a new kid in search engine town and it’s redefining how people find products online.

Over the last couple of decades, Google was the undisputed king of any and all web searches but – with the rise of product specific search queries – Amazon has slowly cornered this billion dollar niche.

Kenshoo found that in the world’s largest ecommerce markets, 72% of shoppers have used Amazon and 56% use it as their default go-to product search engine.

Image showing 50% of product searches start on Amazon

 

So, where does this leave Google in your ecommerce marketing mix?

And why has it lost the battle for product search mindshare?

Why Google Shopping is Broken (Hint: Product Listing Ads)

Simply put, we’re sick of clicking.

In a marketing world that is now all about the customer experience, the ‘experience’ part is sorely lacking when it comes to Product Listing Ads (PLAs).

To illustrate, let’s say you’re in the market for a beige handbag. You run a search for that keyword combination and trust that Google will return the most relevant results for your query. In this case, as with the majority of product-related searches, Google will serve up a bunch of PLAs with images of various beige handbags.

So far so good.

But when you click on any of these ads – you land on a page with a single product. Despite the fact that the ecommerce website may have 5, 20 or even several hundred more beige handbags.

Except the customer will never know, as there’s no easy way to find them!

The challenge: 5 clicks to view 3 matching products

Gif showing a bad Google customer journey

 

But It’s Not Google’s Fault

Even in cases where Google shows multiple PLA ads from the same website, you still have to click back and forth in order to see all the matching products from that retailer.

The bad CX is not Google’s fault, though.

 

Google created PLAs with the best intentions to solve a very real-life problem for advertisers: creating paid search campaigns for large product catalogues manually is a tedious process – and for fast changing inventory it is virtually impossible. So the automation of the process, creating ads and targeting keywords directly from your product feed, was a great step forward for marketers.

The process was now much less laborious and the relevance of the targeted keywords was guaranteed by Google’s algorithms. And, for a time, it seemed to do the trick: According to a recent Merkle study, 82% of non-brand product search clicks are going to PLAs these days.

 

Image showing 82% of non-brand product search clicks go to PLAs

 

Yet, this seemingly beautiful simplicity of  PLA product feeds is a huge frustration for users: all Google has to work with is single-product landing pages.

So for 82% of product related searches the only thing the user ever sees is one product at a time, click by click, by click, by click, by click…

Voice Search Shifts the Power Balance Yet Again

As a result, such a customer journey is often over before it even begins. And when you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention online…

Well, you’ve just lost another potential shopper.

As an ecommerce marketer, you know that Google Shopping is flawed. The above example serves to vividly illustrate this point.

But you also realise that Google remains a strategic channel that will continue to send high-intent traffic to your product pages long into the future. Especially, when it comes to longtail keywords, which are ecommerce’s real conversion drivers.

In addition to this, voice search is projected to represent more than 50% of all search queries in only a couple of years’ time. Given that voice search IS longtail search, this growing trend will ensure Google’s continued relevance to your marketing strategy.

The questions is, is your brand sufficiently prepared for the longtail revolution?

 

Webinar-Image: CTA-Fix-Google-Shopping

Turning Search Into a Strategic CX Channel

While most marketers don’t think of search marketing in this way, the channel is an important component of a brand’s overall customer experience (CX).

 

Image showing quote "search marketing is a cx channel'

 

Given the high conversion value of longtail searches, in particular, this makes them an even more important part of your omnichannel CX strategy.

Why?

Because, unlike other channels that make up the often-subjective totality of a brand experience, longtail keywords can very clearly be linked directly to revenue generation.

If someone Googles a “beige handbag with white sequins and a heart-shaped lock” then you better believe that such a search will deliver dollars and cents to an e-tailer.

And if your PLA leads to a landing page with one result despite the fact that you have ten or a hundred in your catalogue…

…Then that etailer most likely won’t be you.

One of Amazon’s secrets is its ability to show all matching products and countless other related products for any search. This provides a  large number of highly relevant products in response to a query such as the one above.

So, how can you Amazon-ify the Google Shopping experience for the benefit of your brand’s online shoppers and your bottom line?

 

Image quoting 'Amazon-if, the Google shopping experience'

 

How a Better Search Experience Drives Incremental Revenue

More importantly, how do you connect the millions of such longtail queries to your product catalogue on autopilot?

Automating such a momentous task in a way that improves searchers’ customer experience seems not only daunting but almost impossible.

Especially, if your online inventory spans thousands, hundreds-of-thousands or even millions of products that are constantly changing. As it does for many ecommerce businesses.

As an ex-Googler, Andreas Dzumla first saw the flaws of Google Shopping from the inside out. Afterwards, as General Manager for an agency that’s part of the global Dentsu Aegis Network, he then experienced it from the outside-in.

Seeing global brands such as Vistaprint, Woolworths, Officeworks, Bupa, and IAG spend millions of dollars a month on search and, sometimes, hundreds of dollars on a single click, Andreas, and his co-founder realised that ‘the longtail’ – combined with automation – was the key to improving CX while driving additional search revenue.

Connecting Customers to Products in One Click

After spending a significant amount of time on R&D and drawing on his knowledge as an ex-Googler and agency executive, he released the first iteration of the Longtail UX search experience automation platform several years ago.

In a nutshell, Longtail UX uses proprietary artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to connect longtail searches to relevant products at scale. The patented platform has no equivalent internationally and has been used by leading ecommerce businesses to drive incremental revenue from their search channels.

Here’s how the technology works:

  1. The Longtail UX platform analyzes your product feed and uses AI to automatically propose granular keyword lists based on your product inventory
  2. Once the lists are approved by the customer, it then creates landing pages for every single one of these keyword combinations, allowing searchers to access all relevant products for every single keyword combination in as little as one click
  3. Finally, the system generates SEM ad groups and campaign structures on autopilot so the only thing you have to do is set budgets, manage CPCs and measure ROI.

And the best part? These ads can run alongside your PLAs, so there’s no need to sacrifice anything – the revenue generated by Longtail UX is all incremental.

The difference: One click to see 84 matching products

Image showing the customer journey using Longtail UX

A SaaS Platform Built for Search Marketing Success

The Longtail UX solution allows a brand to extract additional revenue from both SEO and SEM / PPC channels regardless of whether it is an ecommerce business or not.

It can unlock the value of search in any industry that has a high volume of longtail queries.

Apart from ecommerce, it’s been used for growing revenue using the search channel for marketplace and financial service clients by as much as 400% in SEO and up to 50% in SEM.

It’s Fully Automated, just like PLAs

Deploying the Longtail UX SaaS platform for SEM takes as little as two days:

  • Fully Plug-and-Play – Easily plug into existing CMS systems and website platforms, including all major ecommerce CMS (Magento, Hybris, Websphere, Shopify, Woocommerce, among others)
  • Improve CPAs – Decrease your costs-per-acquisition by 30% on average
  • Automate Search Campaigns – Forget about manually building AdWords campaigns and convoluted ad groups by hand
  • Boost AdWords Quality Score – Greatly boost your AdWords Quality Score and lower your CPC due to the near-perfect match of keyword to relevant landing page content
  • Lower Marketing Costs – Save time and valuable marketing resources due to automatic landing page creation as well as seamless integration with Google AdWords and Bing Ads.
  • Win-Win-Win – For the user, for your business, for Google.

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Image of Longtail UX co-founders Andreas Dzumla and Will Santow

Search Experience Marketing Platform Secures Government Funding to Expand Globally

Longtail UX, a company co-founded by technology entrepreneur Will Santow and Andreas Dzumla – an ex-Googler and Dentsu Aegis Network agency exec – have just secured A$1.2m in funding through the Australian government’s Strategic Growth loan program.

Image of Longtail UX co-founders Andreas Dzumla and Will Santow

The co-founders have developed a revolutionary marketing technology platform that’s so far helped drive millions in incremental search marketing revenue for ecommerce businesses in Australia and globally.

Longtail UX’s software uses AI and machine learning technology to connect customers to products in one-click, increasing ecommerce search channel ROI by up to 400%.

Unique Marketing Technology Platform Gets Australian Government Backing

Longtail UX have so far raised A$1.8m in seed and A-round funding and this has been used to further develop their patented technology, allowing them to build a strong brand presence within the ecommerce industry. Their investors include Andrew Bassat, CEO of Seek, and Geoff Levy, Chairman of Monash Private Capital.

This current funding round will be used to expand their presence locally and in international markets.

Longtail UX’s founder, Andreas Dzumla says:

 

“these funds will allow us to accelerate our growth plans so that we can hire additional developers, sales personnel, project managers and software engineers to really build out our team as we pursue our plans to expand our presence into key international markets”

 

Ex-Microsoft Sales Veteran Joins to Support International Expansion

In line with Longtail UX’s growth plans, Mark Oelofse has joined the business to help drive expansion in Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Americas.

He brings two decades of global experience in the technology industry, having worked for industry leaders such as KPMG, Microsoft, Software AG and Sun Microsystems.

Mark has also helped scale several SaaS companies internationally. Mark says that he’s:

 

“excited to join a business that is on such a rapid expansion course. Having previously worked with world-leading software companies, I am confident that Longtail UX’s solution is a revolutionary proposition for marketers.

The results I’ve seen it achieve in the search channel, including for enterprise brands,  are nothing short of amazing. In fact, we often hear that these results sound just “too good to be true”..”

 

Turning Search Engine Marketing Into a Customer Experience Channel

Longtail UX is a search experience automation platform that helps brands and agencies unlock incremental revenue from their existing SEO and SEM channels. The platform uses AI and machine learning to help marketers maximise longtail keyword opportunities, which account for more than 50% of all web searches.

Using patented technology, Longtail UX connects a brand’s products with conversion-focused, bottom-of-the-funnel search queries at scale. The platform has helped brands both large and small grow revenue by up to 400% while significantly improving customer experience by delivering more relevant search results.

This is based on an article originally published in Mumbrella.

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Want to hit your SEO and SEM targets sooner?

Hiring an overseas marketer is like having Messi play in the A-league

There’s a lot of chatter around the digital skills gap in Australia, especially for the more analytical digital marketing channels like search engine marketing (SEM), web analytics and performance display. It’s true, we’ve been hiring specialists from overseas for years!

A LinkedIn search for SEM reveals 24,880 matching profiles in Australia. 3,271 of these profiles include the US, 2,912 the UK, 2,118 French, 1,733 Spanish, 1,134 German and so on.

Checking for 12 major location or language keywords, the aggregate is more than 50 per cent. One could argue that search marketing professionals are more talented with languages than the average population. Considering that SEM is a numbers driven game, this is probably not the case.

Bringing highly skilled specialists into the country is a bit like importing Porsches and Ferraris and driving them on Sydney roads with NSW speed limits. Or in sports terms, bringing in football players from the Champions League to play in the A-League.

Read the full article as featured in Internet Retailing…

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Five Need-to-knows for Search Marketing

It is widely acknowledged that Search Engines are a critical medium for driving website traffic. In fact, 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine such as Google. Despite this, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) continues to be one of the most misunderstood and underutilised online marketing channels. Most businesses miss the mark in the search channel, losing a great revenue opportunity in what should be the most profitable channel.

The Australian retail sector is most at risk, as major Australian retailers currently can still afford to miss the mark: For large brands “Online” is often only equivalent to 1 out of their 400 physical store locations, Australia’s online retail market is underdeveloped, accounting for less than 10 per cent of total retail revenue, compared to 20 per cent in the UK.

However, this is about to change, with strong international players entering what used to be a market protected by geography.

Read the full article as featured in Dynamic Business…

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Beware of the Omnichannel

As a concept, Omnichannel makes perfect sense: you create a great, seamless customer experience no matter the channel they come from or how they switch between channels – online and offline. You track performance and manage marketing budgets equally seamlessly across channels.

It is a slippery slope, however, when it becomes a purpose in itself, diverting your focus from nailing the individual channels. “We don’t look at ROI from individual channels, we do Omnichannel”. “We cannot do X in channel Y, we first have to get our Omnichannel strategy right. We expect this to happen in quarter Z”. (See topic above…)

Australia was the Ominchannel retail champion in 2015 particularly in Consumer Electronics. Surely there will be no problems with Amazon landing soon… Oh, wait!

Rather than thinking Omnichannel, change perspective. Think User Experience and Performance Tracking for every single channel that matters for your business. Once you’ve nailed every single channel, you almost don’t have to worry about “Omnichannel” anymore.

Fun fact: 77% of shop visitors use their mobile phone in-store – 57% of these people don’t use it for shopping... For the remaining 43% of your store visitors: Give them branded tablets? Block internet access in-store? Or make sure you’re appearing for all the relevant search terms and on review websites?

(PS: If you want to achieve an unfair advantage in the Search Channel and make your SEM & SEO Amazon-ready, speak to us. We work with your existing agencies and in-house teams.)

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Don’t fail fast… Fail cheap

One of the most important concepts I have learned in the Online world is the concept of “fail fast“.

While there is some controversy surrounding the topic, many of the opposing arguments are missing the point: this is not about ‘Silicon Valley Hype‘ or even ‘Celebrating Failure‘.

This is about “Risk vs. Reward” and managing your company’s resources efficiently: So when someone sells you a project – internal or vendor – it requires you to ask yourself “How long will it take to get to a measurable result?” and “What are the resource and opportunity costs of doing this?” In other words, what else can your team NOT do while resources are tied to this project?

That’s why every business that wants to succeed in ‘Online’ should practice A/B testingAgile Product Development and work with the concepts of MVPs (also for Enterprises), MDPs or – my personal favourite: RATs. They all serve the same purpose: Not all projects will succeed. So better find out faster, cheaper, reiterate and win incrementally. Or, in the words of Fred Brooks: There is no silver bullet.

(PS: Longtail UX for SEM takes just one day for your IT team to set up and delivers measurable results within two weeks – achieving an AdWords ROI increase of up to 50%)

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