Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
  • Savings of $500,000 Annually

    by SF SF | Nov 06, 2014

    Every month, we track 340 keywords for our website. We rank on the first page of Google for 126 keywords and 82 of those are in the top 3 positions within Google.ca. If we paid for that traffic with Google Adwords it would cost us over $500,000 annually.

    Some people have been saying that SEO is dead. In fact it is still very much alive, it’s just that things have drastically changed and many of the tactics we used aren’t effective anymore. Search engine optimization directly impacts the amount of organic traffic you receive.

    Approximately 37% of all clicks in the organic search results go to the #1 spot. The #2 spot gets approximately 17% and #3 about 10%. About 70% of all the clicks from the search results page are on the organic results. SEO is still very important and of all the digital marketing tactics it produces some of the highest ROI. (Google, Slingshot SEO, SEMPO)

    We believe that advertising with pay-per-click, such as Google Adwords, is a very important part of a digital marketing strategy. We believe businesses can and should use Google Adwords if they have a timely or seasonal offerings, or as in our case, to target keywords important to our business but that aren’t on the first page.

    Many companies are making a renewed investment in their SEO efforts. This infographic about the state of the SEO shares some really insightful information about the state of SEO in 2014 – 2015. For example, companies surveyed felt that search engine optimization, on and off page were the top 2 most effective activities followed closely by search engine advertising.

    The most important SEO challenges for companies are:

    • Improving and maintaining their Google ranking.
    • Building quality backlinks.
    • Increasing organic traffic to their websites.

    Most agree that SEO is very important, but there are some serious challenges associated with it. The top 2 reasons companies struggle with SEO are: a lack of resources and expert knowledge. At the end of the day, if you’re not focusing on search engine optimization for your website you should be. Here’s a fantastic article that we found on Forbes.com that outlines 7 key reasons why your business should invest in SEO.

    Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about our SEO services and how we can help you with your online marketing.

  • Graphically Speaking is Now a Google Partner

    by SF SF | Nov 06, 2014

    The Google Partners status means that Google trusts us. It shows that our business is healthy, our clients are happy and we are following Google best practices.

    Being a Google Partner means that we have direct access to the right tools and insights to help you grow your business. The criteria to qualify for the Partners program are very comprehensive. Receiving the Partners badge means not only did we pass the certification exams, but that we excel in the areas of customer service and best practices.

    By working directly with Google we have access to special events and trainings, tools and product updates, and the latest research. Being a Partner provides access to their top experts, allowing us to stay ahead of the curve.

    google partner badge

    To learn more about how we might help you dramatically improve your online marketing please contact us.

  • Tips to Measure Success of your Content Marketing Strategy

    by SF SF | Nov 03, 2014

    In order to measure the success of your content marketing strategy, you need to be KPI-focused. Do you want to increase traffic to your site? Improve the quality of leads? Focus on a particular geographic location? Each goal should be easily measured and tracked to help you gauge the success of your campaign. If you don’t understand your basic web KPIs, including customer engagement and conversion rates, you are not moving forward with your marketing efforts.

    Graphically Speaking curated three great articles that can help you measuring your performance:

    8 KPIs your content marketing measurement should include8 KPIs your content marketing measurement should include

    The tactics that work in measuring a website or a traditional customer acquisition funnel do not always translate into content marketing measurement. For white papers, eBooks, blogs, eNewsletters, or whatever format you choose, here is a definitive guide to what marketing KPIs you should be measuring for your content marketing initiatives. Read more.

    7 content marketing metrics you’re probably undervaluing7 content marketing metrics you’re probably undervaluing

    There seems to be a disconnect between what content marketers want to achieve and what they actually measure. Pageviews and visits are easy to understand and, until recently, it was hard to track the other behaviors of website visitors.With that said, here are some highly undervalued metrics to help you get a better picture of how your content shapes your relationship with your readers. Read more.


    How to measure the ROI of a content marketing strategyHow to measure the ROI of a content marketing strategy

    Like healthy diet, frequent exercise, proper posture or any other New Year’s resolution, blogging results take time.Part of the reason for low blog success rate is that most of us have a hard time predicting what kind of return blogging will achieve. Learn three steps to effectively measure your content strategy. Read more.

  • Death of the Desktop Computer

    by SF SF | Oct 10, 2014
    A new research paper from comScore reports Canadians are soon to be using smartphones and tablets as their primary device to access the internet, compared to desktop computers. From the average 33 hours per month that Canadians spend online, 49% is through mobile devices. CBC released a great article earlier today, but this mobile trend has been observed for a while now. In the US, mobile exceeds desktop usage for the first time in history in January 2014. Canada is not far behind, and over one million Canadians will soon be exclusively using mobile devices to access the internet, according to comScore senior account manager, Paul Rich.

    Mobile Exceeds PC Internet Usage for First Time in History 

    comScore quick estimates:

    - There are 18 million smartphone owners in Canada, which is up 12 per cent since the same time last year. - There were 7.8 million tablet owners, which spiked 37 per cent since June 2013. - Of the Canadians with mobile phones, 78 per cent had a smartphone, which was second highest among the countries comScore researches. In Spain, 83 per cent of mobile phone owners had a smartphone, while it was 75 per cent in the United Kingdom and 73 per cent in the United States. - The number of Canadians who said they streamed video on their phone or tablet at least once a month grew 13 per cent to 7.4 million. - About 2.7 million Canadians said they streamed video on their mobile devices at least once a week, which surged by 30 per cent in a year. - And 1.36 million said they were streaming video content almost every day, which was up by 27 per cent. - Overall, 91 per cent of Canadian Internet users said they watch at least one online video a month on a computer or mobile device. How is your company leveraging the opportunities to grow business through mobile strategies?
  • The Potential Impact of the Apple Watch on Local SEO

    by SF SF | Oct 02, 2014

    In September 2014, Apple unveiled its next great gadget, the Apple Watch, which is poised to dominate the lukewarm smart watch market. Although brands like Samsung, MOTA, and others have already released their SmartWatch versions, the Apple Watch will do what others can’t: impact local SEO.

    For most business, the growth and impact of Local SEO has changed the way local advertising has been done. The move to online marketing has increased over the past few years thanks in part to other changes from Google including its newest incarnation of local SEO called Google My Business. The new Apple Watch, which is set to be released in early 2015, will include Siri, Apple Play, Apple Music, and will be able to support a host of downloadable apps.

    Although the Apple Watch will likely serve as new standard for SmartWatch technology once it is released, all eyes will be on its unique technology called “haptic feedback” which could be a game changer for local SEO. Using directional buzzes, the Apple Watch’s haptic feedback will direct users without using a map or even audible directions à la GPS.

    How else will the Apple Watch impact local SEO? With its smaller-than-an-iPhone interface, users will likely be using the speak-to-search option on their new Apple Watch instead of typing in a search. This could potentially even the playing field between the two main search engines since Siri uses Bing search results instead of Google. Local businesses will need to start focusing on their Bing Local results as part of their overall local SEO strategy. Jayson DeMers wrote a great in-depth article on Forbes with more insight into the potential impact that the Apple Watch could have on local SEO.

  • HTTPS as A New Google Ranking Signal

    by SF SF | Sep 15, 2014

    At the beginning of August Google announced on the Webmaster Central blog that they were experimenting with HTTPS as a ranking signal. This means websites using secure encryption may do better in the search result rankings.

    So what is HTTPS?

    HTTPS is an online security method for exchanging information across the Web. It uses several extra measures to protect data that is being transferred. With the common HTTP protocol, the data that browsers and web servers exchange is vulnerable to attacks and interception. HTTPS provides encryption, data integrity and authentication.

    So what does this mean for search engine optimization?

    Google has dubbed HTTPS a "lightweight signal" that is less important than numerous other ranking factors but admits it could become stronger over time.

    You can read the full article here:

    http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ca/2014/08/https-as-ranking-signal.html

    Does my website need HTTPS?

    If your website engages in online transactions like an e-commerce store, or takes personal information from users, you should be using HTTPS. However, if your website is purely informational without any sensitive data, an HTTPS protocol may be unnecessary.

    Can switching to HTTPS boost my rankings?

    Since the announcement of the HTTPS ranking signal, website owners and search engine specialists have feared that not having an SSL certificate could harm Google rankings.

    For now HTTPS is considered a "very lightweight signal" and only one of 200-plus factors that determine ranking. It may give you a tiny advantage but will not push you to the top of Google's search engine results.

    If transitioning to HTTPS will be easy for you, or is important for your business (you have sensitive data being collected), then you should make the switch.

    However, if switching over will be difficult, it may not be worth the trouble and there are certainly more effective SEO techniques to help boost your rankings.

    For more information on how we might be able to help your website rank higher, contact us today.

  • How to Promote Your Content so that it’s Read & Talked About

    by SF SF | Jul 21, 2014

    This is our second to last article in our content marketing series. In previous weeks we’ve gone over how to create a content strategy, how to brainstorm content ideas and how to create SEO-friendly content. This week we’re focusing on how to promote your content so that you earn readers and more importantly, earn their trust and business.

     

    5 Ways to Share Your Content Using Email & Social5 Ways to Share Your Content Using Email & Social

    Content is a good way to boost your keyword rankings, but if your target audience is not reading any of it, then your content is only doing part of its job. This article discusses five different and comprehensive ways to promote your content effectively. Read More

    6 Tips for Promoting Your Great Content with Advertising6 Tips for Promoting Your Great Content with Advertising

    Online advertising is by no means necessary when it comes to promoting your content, but it can yield great results. When used properly, online advertising is one of the least risky investments you can make for your business. If you’re thinking of incorporating advertising into your content strategy then make sure you consider these six tips before you begin. Read More

     

     

    7 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Engagement7 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Engagement

    Not all social media channels are created equally. Each one calls for a unique voice and a certain type of content. This article goes over a variety of channels and how best to encourage interaction while delivering excellent customer experience. Read More

     

     

    Guest Bloggers BewareGuest Bloggers Beware

    Guest blogging used to be an effective SEO tactic, but it has been abused and now Matt Cutts wants to put fear into the hearts of unsavory SEO companies that use blackhat SEO tactics. Google's aim is to deliver the best search experience possible and they want to deliver that through their complex algorithms. They don’t want anyone trying to game the system which is what some guest bloggers were doing. If you’re finding relevant and highly ranked influencers in your field and writing or promoting content that is helpful and well-written, then you should be safe. Read More

  • How to Create SEO-Friendly Content for Your Website

    by SF SF | Jul 14, 2014

    In our content marketing series we’ve already learned how to create a content strategy and how to brainstorm content ideas. This week we’re concentrating on how to create seo-friendly content for your blog and social channels.Now that you have good content ideas that are on-brand and relevant to your products and services, you will need to write content that is user- and SEO-friendly. Below are curated links from around the web that will help you create content that is optimized, properly organized and specifically written for the web.

    How to Optimize Content When You Don’t Know Jack About SEOHow to Optimize Content When You Don’t Know Jack About SEO

    Understanding SEO is a full time job. The rules are constantly changing and it requires continuous study and testing in order to see results. That being said, there are a few SEO basics that everyone should know when creating content for the web. This article goes over those basics which will set you on the path to improving your rankings and overall SEO.
    Read More

    Write Effectively for the Web and Impact Your SEOWrite Effectively for the Web and Impact Your SEO

    Writing for the web is different from any other kind of writing. Web users have short attention spans so everything from the sentence length to the punctuation you use will influence the readability of your post. Here are 23 rules will help you keep your content engaging and user-friendly and will influence your SEO one way or another.
    Read More

     

    A Great Reading Experience on Your Blog Impacts Your SEOA Great Reading Experience on Your Blog Impacts Your SEO

    Use categories and tags on WordPress to create a great reading experience. Once you have a user reading your blog, you want to keep them there as long as possible. One of the ways to encourage longer visit times is to properly categorize and tag your posts. That way when users like an article, they can quickly find others like it. That type of engagement can be very valuable and improve your rankings.
    Read More

     

     


  • The New Canadian Anti-Spam Law: What You Need to Know About Express and Implied Consent

    by SF SF | Jun 18, 2014

    On July 1, 2014 the new Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is coming into effect. Now is the time to get your database and email lists ready so you are compliant with the new spam law. The new laws will impact any telecommunication to an “electronic address”. That means all forms of electronic communication through any medium.

    It’s all about the intent of the message. If your message is commercial in nature, it encourages a commercial activity, then the message it is subject to the new law.

    One of the aspects about the new spam law that is most asked about is “consent”. What does it mean? How does it impact what I am doing now?

    Express consent is when the potential customer, or recipient of your message, has given explicit permission to receive emails from you. Keep in mind you have to be able to prove they have given express consent.

    Implied consent is when you’ve sent messages without consent, but you have an existing business relationship.

    When it comes to implied consent there are two key points from the new law to keep in mind:

    1. The law allows implied consent for existing users in your database, but only until July 1, 2017 (three years after CASL goes into effect on July 1, 2014). Additionally, during this time frame, senders must obtain express consent from their contacts.
    2. The sender may also contact people who have not provided express consent but who have made a purchase, requested information, or have an ongoing service agreement. However, implied consent becomes invalid after 24 months if the recipient has not taken some form of action or provided express consent.

    For more information about the force of the new spam law please read this detailed blog by one of Canada’s largest business law firms, Gowlings. (http://www.gowlings.com/KnowledgeCentre/article.asp?pubID=3108)

    Contact us to talk about how you can make sure you are compliant with the new spam law. You may contact your Account Director, Project Manager, or myself at Richard@graphicallyspeaking.ca.

  • Top Ten B2B Internet Marketing Strategies

    by SF SF | Jun 17, 2014

    Salesforce surveyed thousands of marketers to learn their top marketing objectives and priorities for 2014. With more than 2,500 responses, we’ve analyzed their insights to give you a current snapshot of the state of marketing for B2B.

    1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

    Marketers agree that SEO has the highest ROI out of any digital marketing initiative. Tasks include keyword discovery, competitive analysis, and on-page technical audit and implementation.

    2. Authority Link Building

    To grow in today’s hyper-competitive online environment, marketers know to improve their rank in the search engine result pages (SERPs) they will need authority sites linking to their site and content. Link authority building is a link building strategy used in search engine optimization whereby a web site’s ranking is boosted by acquiring backlinks from web sites with authority.

    3. Email Marketing

    Email marketing campaigns are essential elements of B2B marketing strategies. They communicate and build relationships with prospects, gather important data and help boost marketing ROI. To build, execute and maintain effective email marketing campaigns, marketers must pay close attention to their audience and the message and avoid the common trap of simply blasting out self-promotional messages.

    4. Social Media Marketing

    Social media allows you to be proactive with your potential audience and clients by allowing you to communicate with those who care about your brand. The interactions and engagement your social media program generates aren’t always linked to a sale, but they are important components in achieving business objectives. Bring value to your business with your social media program by gathering intelligence to learn more about your customers. Use social media to bolster other marketing initiatives through integration and build your email database through social media programs.

    5. Content Marketing

    Content marketing is positioned to establish brand authority or to serve as information to clients. Quality regular content builds trust and positions your company as an expert. People do business with people they trust and like. Shared and personal experiences can underpin relationships and can be effectively used to build engagement.

    6. Authorship

    Authorship serves as a kind of byline in the Google search results. It typically includes the headshot for the writer, which helps make it easy for searchers to easily identify authors they recognize. Search data that shows that search results with authorship tend to get clicked more frequently, as people do tend to gravitate to search results written by people they know and trust.

    7. Mobile Friendly Design

    Offer the best user experience will improve your companies ROI. The convenience of mobile access and the ability to place an order or view a catalog on mobile devices and tablets is a growing trend. Google itself recommends that developers use responsive design in its mobile design strategy. In its Webmasters guidelines, Google states that “making a website that is friendly to smartphone users has now become a critical part of website management”. Therefore if Google recommends it and you’re able to serve content effectively to mobile users then you will score big points with the search engine and the chances of you ranking higher than your mobile unfriendly competitors is increased.

    8. Conversion Rate Optimization

    The goal of CRO is to improve the user experience and increase the chances of conversion by implementing changes driven by data, not opinion. When testing potential improvements, the goal may be to improve user engagement with content or navigation, increase clicks or interactions with a specific element (such as a form or downloadable asset), reduce bounce rates, or direct the user’s attention to a desired element.

    9. Key Performance Indicators (PKI)

    A Key Performance Indicator is a measureable value that demonstrates the effectiveness of a business process at contributing to the attainment of key business objectives. By monitoring the right KPIs and business metrics, you gain valuable insight into the performance of your business and, more importantly, gain the strategic awareness you need to make the right decision at the right time.

    10. Marketing Automation/CRM

    Marketing Automation is a subset of customer relationship management (CRM) that focuses on the definition, scheduling, segmentation and tracking of marketing campaigns. The use of marketing automation makes processes that would otherwise have been performed manually much more efficient and makes new processes possible. Marketing automation reduces repetitive tasks associated with the marketing process and resolves: customer segmentation and campaign management.

  • How to Create Content Ideas for Your Business Blog

    by SF SF | Jun 12, 2014

    This is part two of our content marketing series. Read last week’s post, “How to Create a Content Strategy.”

    Last week we helped you lay the groundwork for your content strategy. Now it’s time to plan, brainstorm and organize your content ideas for maximum efficiency.

    Is Your Content Strategy Guided by Audience Intent (or Just Keywords)?

    Do you create content that is keyword-focused or audience-focused? When it comes to SEO, we can become so obsessed with keyword rankings that we sometimes forget about the needs of our future and present customer- base. This helpful article reminds you that first and foremost, your content needs to be providing value. After all, you’re “creating content for people, not search engines.”
    Read More

    Content Strategy: One Update Is Good, a Series Is Much Better

    Writing one-off content pieces is by no means a bad thing, but there are some advantages to writing a series. A successful content series contains three elements: an evergreen topic (a topic that will be talked about for years to come), timeliness (is it currently trending or is it about to trend) and expertise (why should people listen to you). This article highlights an outstanding example of a well done article series.
    Read More

    How to Create an Idea Dashboard to Track Your Favorite Content Ideas

    Brainstorming content ideas with no plan can be an exercise in futility. Consider creating an idea dashboard to help you track your favorite content ideas and help them grow. This approach will edit down your ideas, leaving the best topics remaining which means your blog will be populated with relevant and high-quality content.
    Read More

    Eight Free Content Calendar Templates to Help Plan Your Output

    It is important to remember that each piece of content should be tied to a larger set of marketing goals. To help you stay on track, delegate tasks and record your results in an organized manner, you should consider creating a content calendar. For a list of free templates or an explanation on how to create your own content calendar, check out this helpful article over on Econsultancy.
    Read More

  • How to Create a Content Strategy

    by SF SF | Jun 02, 2014

    Content marketing has been in the marketing spotlight for the last year, and it shows no signs of going away any time soon. Everyone wants to do it, but not everyone knows how to do it effectively. To help you get started, Graphically Speaking will do a series of link roundups to help you develop an effective content strategy for your company’s website that is relevant, useful, and most importantly, helps to accomplish your marketing goals.

    This post our focus is on content strategy. Before you can start creating some killer content, you’ll need to lay the groundwork to help you focus on your intended audience, your goals and so much more.

    how-to-prepare-content-audit

    How to Prepare for Your Content Audit

    It’s critical that you take a long, hard look at the content that you have already created for your website. It can be a time-consuming endeavor, but it’s important to note the topics that have been covered, whether or not they were optimized for users and search, and where the gaps are in your content strategy.
    Read More

     

    create-precise-buyer-personas-with-seo-data

    Create Precise Buyer Personas With SEO Data: A 10-Step Guide

    If you don’t have a thorough and well-researched list of buyer personas, then chances are that the content you create will fail to achieve its intended goals. Buyer personas will help you better understand the needs and motivations of your customers and will help you to create content that is helpful, relevant and persuasive to your intended audience.
    Read More

     

    content-marketing-strategy-worksheet

    Content Marketing Strategy Worksheet and Template

    This content marketing strategy worksheet and template will help you and your team get started. It begins with a Content Marketing Strategy Worksheet to help you organize all of the information about your brand, industry, products and services, and budget. When you’ve completed that, then transition into the Content Marketing Strategy where you will formulate your company’s content objectives, influencers and platforms.
    Read More

  • The Essential E-Commerce Guide for Beginners

    by SF SF | May 12, 2014

    Over the past 15 years, E-commerce has become one of the fastest growing industries in the world. In 2012, international E-commerce sales topped $1 Trillion for the first time in history. The industry is expected to continue its double digital growth and deliver close to $500 billion in sales in 2014 in North America alone.

    With so much potential, there are many ways to get started in e-commerce or even improve on the success of an existing e-store. However, there are also a lot of questions that existing and prospective e-commerce store owners should ask before they get started.

    For example: What is the best CMS for an E-commerce store? What metrics should I be tracking?

    To help answer a lot of these questions, ClixMarketing.com created a 4-step “E-commerce Beginners Guide”, which will help identify key areas to monitor in your analytics, sales, and more. These guides, written by Heather Cooan will also help identify the differences between lead generation and e-commerce itself.

    “When it comes to account management there are largely two different types of accounts: lead generation and ecommerce. Many account managers find they gravitate to one or the other and there are very few account managers that are truly gifted experts in managing both types of accounts.”

    E-commerce for Beginners Guide

  • It’s Time To Upgrade: Google Universal Analytics

    by SF SF | Mar 26, 2014

    Google announced the launch of their new technology, Universal Analytics, which will help website owners measure their customer interactions across multiple devices such as tablets, mobile devices, game consoles, Blu-ray players, and more.

    Universal Analytics is a major upgrade to Google Analytics. It introduces a series of features that change the way data is collected and organized in your account enabling you to get a better understanding of how visitors interact with your site. This new upgrade with give you a more complete picture of the customer journey.

    What new features will Universal Analytics offer?

    Universal Analytics gives you access to improved data processing, new collection methods, and more analysis tools. The key advantages are:

    • A new more flexible tracking method enabling you to collect data from any digital device
    • Simplified and more accessible configuration options via your account Admin page
    • You can create custom dimensions and metrics to collect data that’s unique to your business
    • It will be easier to stay up to date with new features and updates

    New Features Google Universal Analytics offers

    How to Upgrade From Standard Analytics to Universal Analytics

    There are two major steps to upgrade from Google Analytics to Universal Analytics.

    Step 1: Set Up

    You can set up a Universal Analytics property account in one of two ways. You can either upgrade an existing property to Universal Analytics or you can set up a new property.

    You can upgrade if you already use Google Analytics and are willing to combine your historical data from Google Analytics with new data you collect through Universal Analytics.

    Step 2: Implementation

    Once you set up a Universal Analytics account, you can then implement the tracking code and customize for your technical environment.

    Let Us Upgrade Your Account For You

    Save time and get the benefits of the NEW Google Universal Analytics by hiring Graphically Speaking to install the new JavaScript code onto your website today. We will also confirm your goal tracking for accurate Key Performance Indicator Reporting.

    Call us now at 604-682-5500 to book your upgrade.


  • Facebook Paper Ups the Social Media Ante

    by SF SF | Feb 06, 2014

    On Monday, February 3rd, Facebook released its new iPhone app called Paper. Although rumors had swirled for months over what kind of integration Paper would offer, the newly released app surpassed all expectations.

    Focus on Storytelling

    Unlike the Facebook of old, Paper shifts the focus to illustrative story-telling thanks to high-definition photos, full-screen video, and a drag-and-drop customization options. Users are given a sense of control over their updates as they’re now able to create a custom homepage with information from news sources and feeds of their choosing.

    Facebook Paper’s Innovative Features

    Some of the features include the photo tilt option that displays high-resolution pictures, an oscillating video view, a flipbook-inspired touch navigation, and a customizable homepage with your favorite themes and interests.

    Image-Centric Design

    The newsfeed feature, which continues to be a mainstay of Facebook’s homepage on desktop and other mobile versions, is now customizable to include your favorite themes and interests. Although pictures and images have taken center stage, Paper is still very much a news-reading app. Links in the newsfeed now appear in Paper as an image instead of text.

    What This Means for Business

    Image-centric design has been on the internet marketing radar for some time. Pinterest, Instagram, and now Paper are demonstrating the importance of creating strong brand-related imagery.

    The ability for users to curate their feed will create smaller, more engaged communities. Marketers will have to think long and hard about the smaller groups that make up their audience, which groups are most receptive to their message and how best to stand out in these specialized spheres.

    iPhones or Bust

    Overall, the Facebook Paper app has made scanning, viewing, and organizing your content more user-friendly. As for non-iPhone users, well, we will just have to wait until Facebook releases the app for our devices.

    Visit https://www.facebook.com/paper for the full list of features.

  • What is a KPI & Why Should You be Tracking It

    by SF SF | Jan 30, 2014

    As a business professional, you have likely heard of the term KPIs or Key Performance Indicators. But which KPIs are important to track and how can they improve your company’s bottom line? By effectively monitoring your Key Performance Indicators, you can easily identify opportunities for growth.

    Access to this information begins with embedding a small piece of code into your website from Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.

    If identifying and tracking KPI’s is completely new to you, we recommend starting with tracking five indicators from the list below. By taking small steps towards analyzing your business you will begin to identify a roadmap to improvement.

    Website Traffic

    The Holy Grail of KPIs is website traffic. As you may likely know, not all traffic is created equal and that is why we break out the total traffic into smaller, more manageable categories including:

    • Total Visits:

      Not every marketing activity must directly result in increased sales. Some, like SEO or PPC give you the opportunity to increase your website’s exposure to potential buyers, regardless of the stage of the buying cycle they are in.

      Why this is useful:

      This metric measures the difference / change in your traffic during the duration of your marketing campaigns.

    • Page Views

      The number of pages on average your visitors are viewing.

      Why this is useful:

      This metric can tell you how engaging the content on your website is. It could also indicate if you are receiving targeted traffic, or whether the keywords you position yourself for really match what your potential audience is looking for.

    • Unique Visitors:

      A unique visitor is someone who has visited your site for the first time. This metric is useful to establish how many new and returning visitors you acquire.

      Why this is useful:

      Customers often visit the site a number of times before making a purchase. This is a standard part of their buying cycle. An increasing number of returning visitors can indicate that they find the site engaging and are including it in their sales cycle. Alternatively, unique visitors can provide you with a good sense of the actual size of your audience.

    • Bounce Rate:

      A bounce occurs when someone lands on your site and then leaves immediately, usually by pressing the back button or typing a new web address in the browser URL bar.

      Why this is useful:

      Bounce rates can tell you if the keywords you position yourself for match what your website delivers, and, if your content engages your audience.

    • Traffic by Specific Channel:

      You should also track traffic by channels and monitor any changes to it. The best practice is to select the main traffic sources to track, i.e. Google / Search, Direct, Advertising, Email, Selected Referrals, Twitter / Facebook.

      Why this is useful:

      This metric can help you notice any anomalies in traffic. It is also a good method to monitor certain aspects of your online marketing efforts (i.e. social media campaigns etc.)

    Sales

    • No. of Orders / Leads / Customer Inquiries

      Why this is useful:

      This indicator allows you to see if your marketing campaigns are affecting sales or leads on your website. This metric not only helps to establish if your new traffic is buying but could also be used to analyze if you are bringing targeted traffic to the site.

    • Average Order Value:

      You may want to know on average how much your customers are spending with you.

      Why this is useful:

      Knowing your average order value, and any cycles / seasonality associated with it, will allow you to plan ahead. This metric combined with your traffic, new visits and conversion rates can help you predict your future sales and estimated cash-flow.

    • Conversion Rate:

      The Conversion rate is the ratio of visitors who take a desired action (buying, signing up for your newsletter etc.) and go beyond a casual content view or site visit. This is probably one of the most important sales KPIs.

      Why this is useful:

      Tracking your conversion rate allows you to establish whether your marketing efforts and your online store are delivering desired results. Also, the conversion rate is an important metric to track after making big changes to the site, as these changes might greatly affect it.

    • Return on Investment:

      This metric can help you establish how many dollars you gain for every dollar spent.

      Why this is useful:

      Knowing your ROI allows you to decide whether your campaigns are paying back. It also allows you to plan ahead and make adjustments to your marketing plan.

    Organic SEO

    • Keyword Opportunity:

      This indicator analyzes the possibility of improvement for search rankings by comparing current rankings to Google’s estimated search traffic volume and competitor’s ratings.

      Why this is useful:

      By effectively identifying keywords that drive organic search traffic to your site, you can create new landing pages that target those keywords. Visitors get relevant content that they are actually searching for.

    • Search Traffic Performance:

      This metric measures the number of visits to your website that are the result of organic search traffic.

      Why this is useful:

      This allows you to measure the ongoing success of your keywords. You can analyze which keywords are increasing traffic, especially when it comes to branded keywords.

    • Keyword Ranking:

      This measures your ranking on targeted keywords and analyzes changes in ranking over time as well as which URL is ranked for that keyword.

      Why this is useful:

      This allows you to see where your site ranks against your competition for specific keywords. You can update content, add landing pages, and more by looking at your keyword ranking.

    • Backlinks:

      Relevant backlinks contribute to your domain authority. They act as trust signals and link your site to other sites that offer quality content.

      Why this is useful:

      Quality backlinks allow your site to benefit from other websites that have strong domain authority and help boost your organic placement.

    • Click-Through Rate:

      This indicator measures how often your listing on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) generates a “click” versus the number of people performing a given search.

      Why this is useful:

      This allows you to understand if the content on your site is actually relevant to what users are searching for. You can use this KPI to write more targeted content that is relevant to potential visitors.

    Email Marketing

    • Open Rate:

      This is the percentage of emails that have actually been opened by your subscribers.

      Why this is useful:

      By looking at this KPI, you can identify what email subjects drives subscribers to open their mail and read the content.

    • Click-Through-Rate:

      The rate at which subscribers are clicking on links within an email.

      Why this is useful:

      This helps identify what additional information your subscribers are interested in. It also helps drive targeted traffic to your website or a custom landing page.

    Advertising

    • Pay-per-click Cost per Acquisition (CPA):

      This important KPI will tell you how much you spend to acquire a new customer.

      Why this is useful:

      This indicator allows you to monitor, spend, and track the success of campaigns. Also, it helps to establish if there is an opportunity for lowering cost-per-click without reducing your ROI.

    • Pay-per-click Total Conversions:

      Just like with general conversion rates, it is a good idea to monitor your conversions per channel. This is especially important when it comes to paid advertising, where you need to keep track of your spending and your ROI.

      Why this is useful:

      Allows you to gauge whether you are spending money the right way and target the right keywords with your campaigns.

    Social Media

    Social media has become an important part of a typical marketing mix and you should also measure your efforts in this area. Here are some of the basic KPIs to implement into your tracking:

    • Facebook “talking about this” and new Likes
    • Twitter Retweets
    • Google+ mentions
    • LinkedIn Connections
    • New Followers Per Platform

    Why this is useful:

    This allows you to quickly estimate if there is any response to your social marketing campaigns. This social engagement is especially useful if you are involving content marketing in your marketing efforts.

    Key Takeaways

    The success of using KPIs will be dependent on how effective they are at contributing to a better understanding of what drives the success of your organization. Keep in mind that KPIs will differ based on the type of organization and its goals. For example, a non-profit organization, such as a school or a hospital, will have different KPIs than an ecommerce store. Each KPI should reflect the mission and goals of the organization as well as creating opportunities for growth.

    Using these KPIs is a great management tool because it gives a clear understanding of how improvement opportunities will be developed, and consequences of deteriorating performance.

  • Two Graphically Speaking Websites Nominated for Sitefinity Website of the Year

    by SF SF | Jan 28, 2014

    Two Graphically Speaking websites have been selected as finalists for the Top Sitefinity Website of 2013. Finalists are recognized based on their creativity, design and user experience. Ocean Brands is nominated for Best Design and Teradici for the Technology category.

    Ocean Brands Sitefinity Design for Best Design

    Oceans-Brand-Homepage-Design-600x381

    Oceans-Brand-Website-Design-600x400

    We highlighted this site as one of our most exciting designs from 2013 and it appears that Sitefinity agrees with us. The Ocean Brands’ Sitefinity website was designed around Ocean’s two product lines. The end result is a high-design concept that gives the impression of two distinct sites expertly blended into one.

    Teradici Sitefinity Design for Technology

    teradici-homepage-design-600x687

    The Teradici Sitefinity website was designed to promote Teradici as an industry leader in the VDI/PCoIP/remote desktop space. The result is a clear and intuitive website that provides users with easy-access to information about their latest products and events.

    We are very proud of the talented team at Graphically Speaking who helped make these websites a reality.

    Please cast your votes here. We are grateful for your support.

  • The Decline of Guest Posting and Blogging for SEO

    by SF SF | Jan 22, 2014

    In the good old days, guest blogging was considered a respectable practice, much like getting a sought-after, esteemed author to write the introduction for your novel. Now it seems things have changed. If you or your company is using guest blogging as a way to improve your search engine optimization in 2014, you should perhaps reconsider your approach. Why? Because over time it’s become an increasingly spammy practice.

    White Hat Guest Blogging Practices

    Guest posting and blogging started off innocently enough. A writer had relevant and useful information to share, but their website wasn’t getting enough traffic. In an attempt to get their name out there and bring new audiences to their site, they sought out a more reputable site for which to write a guest post. This was a win-win situation for everyone; the reputable site got an original, well-written post that provided some great ideas to their readers and the fantastic writer got a link that helped boost their site authority, traffic and personal credibility.

    Black Hat Guest Blogging Practices

    So where did it go wrong? Soon enough that white hat writer decided to write a few more guest posts and earn a few more links to their site. The reason for writing these posts began to change from building personal credibility to building site authority via link building. As finding decent sites to write for became increasingly difficult, this writer decided to start writing for any site that would provide a link.

    One day, this writer had a thought, “If I could scale or even automate this process, I would get a lot more links! I’m going to use a team of outsourced writers and find any place that will take a guest post in order to get as many links as possible!” This is the number one misconception in guest blogging: The link matters more than the quality and relevancy of the article.

    The Future of Guest Blogging

    Because this story has been repeated time after time, the Internet has ended up with thousands of low-quality or spam sites that have latched onto “guest blogging” as a SEO and link-building strategy. For this reason, we recommend that you proceed with caution when individuals reach out and offer you a guest blog article.

    There are still many fantastic reasons to feature a guest blogger who provides information on an interesting topic that applies to your readers, and there are some excellent, high-quality guest bloggers out there; however, guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes is over and furthermore, will likely be a target for webspam in the future. If you’re considering guest blogging or featuring a guest blogger on your site, ask yourself if you’re willing to personally vouch for that individual or company. Because when you agree to a guest blogging relationship, that is what you are essentially doing.

  • BCAMA Event: Sneak Peak into the Future of Advertising

    by SF SF | Jan 21, 2014

    The advertising industry is changing almost as quickly as our technology. In order to survive this rapidly evolving industry, individuals need to be innovative, creative and forward-thinking. The BCAMA is bringing together some of the top innovators and creatives to share their insights and projections for the future of advertising.

    Topics that will be discussed include:

    • Short and long term changes to the advertising industry
    • How consumer behavior will impact the direction of the industry
    • Managing and utilizing ad agency partnerships
    • How to prepare and adapt to industry change

    Online registration closes at 12:00 pm January 29, 2014.

    Event Details:
    January 30th, 2014
    7:30 AM – 9:30 AM

    Coast Coal Harbour Hotel
    1180 West Hastings Street
    Vancouver

  • Web Design Trends for 2014

    by SF SF | Jan 06, 2014

    The world of interactive web design is extremely fluid and constantly changing, just like the industry it lives in. What’s considered “good design” fluctuates from year to year to keep up with changing technologies and user expectations.

    The following are design trends we expect to see growing in 2014. These trends are based on our own personal observations and experience within the industry.

    Mobile First

    northern_tickets

    With the increase in smartphone and mobile usage in recent years, it is no surprise that designers are beginning to design with mobile in mind. Mobile has overtaken desktop traffic for many websites. This has forced designers to rethink the user experience for a variety of screen sizes and has rewarded organizations that have embraced a ‘mobile-first’ mentality.

    While the reality is that many firms will still treat mobile as an afterthought, we definitely expect to see the more agile companies using mobile to drive innovative designs.

    A Focus on Typography

    One of the major issues with websites and applications viewed via smartphones and tablets is the difficulty of reading text. To help solve this problem, we predict web designers will begin experimenting more with typography in their interactive designs. Size, location, and layout of type-based content will play a much larger role in 2014.

    The flat design trend, made popular by Windows 8 and IOS7 is just one example of a new take on typography and its relation to web design. We expect to see custom fonts, mix and match fonts, and responsive typography all playing an increasing role in the user experience

    Minimalist Navigation

    Minimalist navigation is a trend that we’ve seen increasing in popularity. Partly due to the need for stripped down navigation on mobile, the condensed navigation has become increasingly appealing for all screen sizes. To accommodate the simpler navigation we are seeing more focus on icons, roll downs and navigation that shrink as you start to scroll down the page.

    Making the Most of One Page

    beachcomber

    Loading new pages may be a thing of the past with the growing attractiveness of layered, single pages. Instead of designing multiple pages, web designers will likely focus on lightboxes, overlays, and moving tiles that can all reduce the amount of clicks in an average user journey.

    Bigger, Better Imagery

    ambient

    Bigger really is better with this trend. Massive pictures and backgrounds are replacing patterned textures and they certainly look great on retina displays! We expect to see more high impact visuals being used to make an impression in 2014.

    Long Scrolling Sites

    canfor_JP-310x1024

    This trend is one we saw several years ago. Back then it was common to have a long scrolling site that was slammed with an excessive amount of content. It was cool in theory but made it pretty unrealistic from a user experience perspective. The re-vamped trend we are seeing for 2014 has organized content in a much easier to digest format. A changing layout throughout the long scrolling site provides designers with a lot of creative flexibility and can create a very unique look and feel.

    Simple Colour Schemes

    aic

    A design post wouldn’t be complete without a trend about colour. Simple, monochromatic color schemes will be all the rage in 2014 and by simple, we mean only one or two colours. We’ve seen this trend come in conjunction with the flat design trend, but it is not necessarily limited to this design style. Black, white, and everything in between can be used for this trend to create drama and impact. Hits of an accent color can also garnish attention when used in the right way.

    Large Hero Areas Quickly Killing Sliders

    If you asked us what the #1 design trend for 2014 was, this would be it!
    Large Intro areas, often with an image and a small amount of text, at the top of a website are popping up everywhere and it is a trend that we don’t see going away anytime soon. These large “Hero Areas” are quickly replacing traditional sliders on homepages.

    Whether it is a simple blurred image in the background or a more elaborate illustration, hero areas are the new attention-grabbers providing a lot of fun and creativity for web designers.


Get a Free Consultation

Meet a web strategist who will add value to your business!