I recently had the opportunity to attend the SES Conference in Toronto. For those not familiar, SES is, in my opinion, the best digital marketing conference in the industry. I try to make sure I hit it at least once every year to get the latest in search engine, mobile, and social media marketing.
After three action-packed days that included countless presentations from industry experts and a full day of in-depth training from the ClickZ Academy, I wanted to share the common mistakes that many digital marketers are making in 2012.
Here we go:
1) Focusing on the wrong metrics when determining the success or failure of a website or landing page.
In his keynote address, Avinash Kaushik, digital marketing evangelist for Google, complained that, even in 2012, many marketers are still focusing on volume-based metrics such as visits and page views. Instead, you should focus on behavior- and loyalty-based metrics to evaluate your website. Also, remember to look at all metrics collectively.
For example, bounce rate is a great indicator of the quality of traffic that is being brought to your site and if you’re delivering content that is relevant to them. So, if a page has an above-average bounce rate, should you assume that the page or traffic source is performing poorly? Is a bounce always a bad thing? What if the page they landed on delivered the piece of information they were looking for, like a phone number? Or, maybe they were just looking for product information or pricing, but aren’t ready to buy yet.
The point is, one metric will never tell the entire story. By creating a custom report that allows you to view all key metrics simultaneously, you’ll get greater insight into whether or not your website or landing page is performing well.
2) Using only direct conversion data to optimize a digital campaign.
Ultimately, the goal of every marketing campaign is to generate business. But many times, marketers only focus on the final conversion and the direct source of that conversion. By only focusing on the “last click,” you could potentially eliminate a tactic that is influencing a user throughout the purchase cycle.
As marketers, we must recognize that it takes multiple touch-points across many channels to influence a purchase decision. The key is to determine the right mix that pushes your prospects towards a desired action.
Also, keep in mind that 9 out of 10 purchases still happen offline and many people are just using the web to do research for a future purchase. Ask yourself what other micro-conversions you should be monitoring that have impact on your business (e.g., email sign-ups, “liking” your company or sharing a product on Facebook, etc.).
3) Focusing your SEO efforts on generating inbound links.
Google puts a great deal of stock into the quantity and quality of sites that are linking to your website. But often times, digital markets spend too much time focusing on discovering, contacting, and acquiring links.
Instead, your main focus should be on developing compelling, original content. While we’ve been pushing this strategy for awhile now, it is even more important to take this approach given Google’s recent changes to their algorithm.
By creating something that’s interesting, informative, and worth sharing, you will organically start to see an increase in inbound links and social shares, and Google will ultimately reward your site with higher rankings. And, by following Google’s guidelines and focusing on content, you avoid any risk of being penalized for over-optimization.
4) Not owning and optimizing your online business listings.
Over the past few years, the search engines have focused on creating more personalized results by recognizing your location and pushing listings for nearby businesses up higher on search engine results pages.
Since every business with a brick-and-mortar location is automatically listed for free on Google, Yahoo, and Bing, it’s extremely important that you take ownership of these listings and control all of the content that is provided there.
Besides ensuring the accuracy of the information out there, this gives you an opportunity to add much more content that would be relevant to your customers. This includes pictures, video, hours of operation, and specific categories for your products/services. And with Google merging their business listing into Google Plus, your listings will now include customer reviews and allow you to post regular updates about your business.
5) Not having a mobile strategy for your website.
Do you know what percentage of your website visitors are on a mobile device? Are you regularly checking your site to see how it functions on a smartphone or tablet? Are your site visitors able to perform all the tasks with ease?
These are all important questions that every digital marketer should be asking themselves to determine if it’s time for their website to “go mobile.” But, don’t just stop with a mobile site. Google reports that 25% of their paid clicks are coming on mobile devices, and this continues to grow. And smartphones are becoming the preferred method for many other online activities, including checking email or logging on to Facebook.
Make sure that you’re also addressing paid search, display, social, and any other digital tactics as you develop your mobile strategy.
6) Only using a positive tone-of-voice when writing your article or blog headlines.
Admit it, the negative headline is the reason you read this post.