NEWS
Tips for Hiring Top Talent
Apr 16, 2014 by Liz Durkin

Hiring top talent is critical for any company that’s looking to grow their business.  For any business, regardless of size, each new hire will have an impact on both the company’s revenue and its culture.  If you’re responsible for hiring, the following tips should help you find – and hire – the right talent!

 

Past behavior and results dictate future behavior and results.

In the recruiting and psychology communities it’s a well-known fact that a potential hire’s past is a strong signifier of future success, and reviewing past performance is a great way for you to anticipate and predict how someone will perform.  For example, if a sales manager has earned a particular amount of income in their previous position, be sure ask them how they earned it, what challenges they had hitting their sales targets and why they weren’t satisfied.  Once you have this information, ask yourself what targets you would require them to hit for your business to get a better picture of the candidate’s eligibility.

 

Recruit – Recruit - Recruit!

You should always be looking for your next hire, so keep your hiring pipeline full.  A past sales manager that I worked with was always looking for new ways to grow his team.  One of his strategies, while simple, was highly effective—he trusted his instincts. Even when he wasn’t quite ready to hire, he stayed connected to potential candidates and always had a clear idea of who he wanted—and didn’t want—to work with.  Building relationships or ‘courting’ future hires made him successful when the timing was right.  Keeping this in mind, he had more tenure within his team, and found himself in the ideal position of hiring often due to positions left open by employee promotions, instead of individuals leaving the company.

 

Recruit from Within.

No one knows what it takes to build a successful company quite like your current employees.  Of course, internal promotions are a great way to grow talent, but you should also consider rewarding employees with referral cash or perks. These things will not only motivate employees to take part in the hiring process, but they’ll also have a vested interest in your hiring plan.  Ultimately, current employees are the ones who will need to work side-by-side with the new hire every day, so it’s important to include them in the process when you can.  

 

Gut vs. Instinct?  

Be the Question Master!If you feel it in your gut that you should hire someone, ask more questions.  If something about a new hire’s history just doesn’t make sense, ask more questions! What are the absolute, non-negotiable characteristics you are looking for?  Why are you looking for those characteristics?  If you are looking for a top performer, define what that means and build questions around it.  While presentation and culture are important – listen to your instincts about a person.  Are they truly capable of executing your team’s goals and expectations? Asking these questions will always get you more information, and using them to make a hiring decision will be a powerful tool for you and your team. 

 

Hiring isn’t an easy process, but these tips should help you make better decisions about future talent and will ultimately make your company more successful!

Quick and Easy SEO Audit
Apr 09, 2014 by Nikki Paladino

 

Want to know if your current SEO provider is following SEO best practices? Trying to figure out if your website needs SEO in the first place?

 

You don’t have to be an SEO expert to tell whether your site is following SEO best practices. I have put together steps for auditing the four main concerns of SEO, and the questions to ask yourself in the process. Your answers to these questions should give you a clear idea of where your website stands, and whether you need help with your SEO.

 

 1) Meta Data 

“Meta data” gives search engines and users information about a webpage’s content, and includes a meta title, description, and keywords. Each page on your site should have its own unique meta title and meta description. Meta titles should be 65-70 characters in length and meta descriptions should be 150-160 characters. Your meta titles should read like chapters in a book, with each title describing exactly what Google will find on that page.Meta titles should be consistent and clear. An example of a title for a local car dealer’s homepage would look like this:

 

Nikki’s Mercedes Shop | New & Pre-Owned Mercedes Dealer | Chicago, IL 

 

Google doesn’t use meta descriptions as ranking factors, so these should be written for users. They should briefly describe the page’s content and compel the user to click through to the page.  The most common issues we see when we perform audits are meta title and descriptions that are stuffed with keywords. This is meant to “trick” Google and is not an effective SEO tactic. When evaluating the meta data on your site, ask yourself the following questions:

 

Do your title tags contain keywords relevant to their pages’ topics? Are they about 60-65 characters in length?

 

Do your meta description tags describe their pages? Are they naturally written and inviting to users?

 

Is there an excessive amount of keywords in your titles and descriptions?

 

2) Content

Google likes websites that consistently publish fresh, relevant content. It also likes to see links within that content. “Internal linking” refers to in-text links that send users to other pages on your website. These links should be used only where they can enhance the user’s experience. By writing for users instead of primarily for search engines, you will end up with natural, informative content that will help users move through your site. When you review your website’s content, ask yourself these questions:

 

Is content well written and free of typos? 

 

Does your content discuss the topics that people are searching for? Does it contain links to relevant pages within the site?

 

Is your content "thin" or lacking useful information?

 

Is your content keyword and ad-heavy? Is phrasing unnatural or awkward as a result?

 

Do colors or design "hide" keywords from users in the hopes of ranking for those words?

 

3) Backlinks 

Backlinks are the links from other sites to yours. When we audit a client’s backlinks, we are looking at the number of links, and how many domains they’re coming from. Google likes to see links from a variety of relevant and trusted sources. So you also want to make sure you’re not linked to by sites that Google would consider “spammy.” An example of a spammy site would be a general directory requiring payment for links. 

 

Anchor texts are just as important as link sources. Anchor texts tell Google (and users) about the content being linked to, and why it’s relevant. You can use Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO, or the Backlink Explorer Tool within RavenTools to inspect your backlinks. When looking at your backlinks, ask yourself:

 

• Are your links from quality, respected web sites?

 

• Are anchor texts relevant, representing a good balance of branded, keyword-focused, and natural text?

 

• Has your site gotten many links by spamming blogs, forums, or low-quality directories?

 

4) Organic Search Visibility

This part of the audit involves performing searches of branded and specific terms to see how your site is showing up in Google’s search results. This helps narrow it down to the top three to four cities that are closest to the business, which I can search combined with the top keywords found in Google Trends. If the client isn’t showing up well in these searches, I’ll focus on these key terms and cities within content and off-site linking. The bottom line is that you want to make sure you’re in place to capture traffic from these searches. When searching for your brand on Google as I detailed above, ask yourself:

 

• Are you showing up for your business name?

 

• Are you showing up for keywords with your location attached?

 

• Are you showing up for keywords with cities showing high search interest attached? 

 

• Does your business have profiles with accurate and consistent information elsewhere on the web? Google+? YellowPages? Is the website tied to your Google+ page using publisher tags?

 

Take a minute to review your answers to the questions above. As you can see, all you have to do is master a few basic concepts and search tricks in order to tell whether your website needs a fresh SEO approach. Now you’re just one quick audit away from celebrating your SEO success or firing the shady guy who’s been spamming your site with worthless links!

Google or Bing
Apr 02, 2014 by Jay Solway

Through the magic of advertising, generations of Americans have had heated debates over questions like: great taste or less filling? Coke or Pepsi? and vanilla or chocolate?. As we move into the digital age, these questions evolve. Bing recently released their Bing it on campaign where they ask users to do a blind search test to see if they prefer the results on Google or Bing. 

 

While the visual appeal and the populating results of a search are subjective and customized to each user, we can extract some data that will be beneficial to an advertiser.  We know that nationally for every Bing user, there are roughly four Google users. From an advertising perspective, this tells us that Google has a larger audience to pull from. Having a larger audience is all well and good, but not every advertiser can afford to capture an entire audience. 

 

With that in mind, I would like to tackle the following question: If I have a limited budget and can only advertise through one search engine, which search engine will give me the greatest  return on investment (ROI) and why? The answer to this question can be found in a little something called “lowest cost per lead.” 

 

In order to obtain a true cost per lead, we are going to have to determine two factors: what it costs to get one visitor to the website, and the conversion rate.  First, let us examine the most popular search engine, Google. When I reviewed last month’s Google accounts, I saw an average cost per click (CPC) of $1.62. It’s important to note that the CPC will vary by market, make, product, focus, etc., but it still gives us a good baseline. On average, we saw a conversion rate of roughly 2.5%. Using these numbers as baselines, let’s do the math with a $1,000 budget. $1,000 would equate to 617 clicks, which at a 2.5% conversion rate, would equal roughly 15.4 conversions for $1,000 spent. Let’s see how these numbers stack up against Bing.

 

Across the Bing accounts that I manage, CPCs average $1.43. This number is to be expected since this traffic is less competitive, but it still represents an advantage for Bing. However, this is only half of the equation, and not all traffic is created equal. The conversion rate for Bing traffic is only 2.2% overall. Going back to our $1,000 budget, this percentage would equate to 699 clicks. If we are simply looking to bring traffic to the website, Bing is clearly the winner on average. But when we factor in conversion rate, we see on average a nearly identical number of conversions at 15.3, making this competition too close to call.

 

We have to keep in mind that all advertisers track conversions differently, but the data provided is a good starting point for a debate. In the end, what the data tells us is that Google vs. Bing, like many debates, comes down to a personal preference. If you are looking for a mass market, Google is likely where you will lean. However, if you have limited funds and are looking for actual traffic to your site, Bing is arguably the best bang for your buck. 

 

For those curious, I prefer Great Taste, Pepsi and Vanilla. 

Vehicle Description Pages - Why They Matter
Mar 26, 2014 by Kate Hudson

 

What page on your website is the best predictor of website conversions? According to an eight month study performed by Cobalt, their automotive consumer research showed that the Vehicle Description Page (VDP) views and time spent on these pages were two top sales predictors.

 

Why are these visitors so important?


  1. They’re more engaged and interested
  2. They have viewed a larger portion of your inventory and have a greater chance of finding a vehicle of interest
  3. They are typically lower funnel searches, which indicates that they have done previous vehicle research and are getting closer to making a decision

 

Even more exciting than the importance of VDP views and their effect on sales is that research has found search traffic significantly outperformed all other sources in terms of VDP views.

 

Organic Searchers were:

 

  • 97% more likely to view a VDP than a referral shopper
  • 270% more likely to veiw a VDP than a direct shopper
  •  

    Paid Searchers were:


  • 25% more likely to view a VDP than a referral shopper
  • 70% more likely to veiw a VDP than a direct shopper

  • What does this mean for your website, and how can L2T help? Make sure your vehicle description pages are easily accessible to the consumer and worth their trip! L2T includes vehicle description pages as part of our SEO packages, helping to ensure there is fresh and relevant content on our clients’ websites. These pages are then linked internally throughout the website, helping users to navigate the site and find the model-specific information they’re looking for. Similarly, L2T creates model specific ad copy to direct customers to these pages on your website. Both of these tactics provide a more direct customer experience, helping to bring more qualified traffic to these pages.

     

    Sources:

    http://www.cobalt.com/blog/automotive-dealer-digital-advertising/9-million-reasons-why-vdp-views-are-the-metric-that-matters/

    http://www.dealerrefresh.com/the-most-important-page-on-your-dealership-website/

    Yahoo Partnership with Yelp
    Mar 14, 2014 by Kelsee Wilson

     

    Yelp and major search provider Yahoo announced a partnership on Wednesday. In an effort to improve the quality of its local search results and increase traffic, Yahoo is now integrating Yelp’s data into their Local Search results and Yahoo Maps. With the addition of Yelp reviews, Yahoo users will now have access to more business listings, more photos and more reviews in Local Search and Yahoo Maps.

     

    Yahoo’s main goal is to bring a richer experience to their users. Yelp is the perfect solution, since it offers users vetted, moderated content and insight into the small business community. According to Mike Ghaffary, Vice President of Business and Corporate Development at Yelp, “local searches make up about 25% of Yahoo’s search traffic,” making the “demand for reliable local information high.”

     

    Before Wednesday, the design and functions of Yahoo Local Search and Maps were quite different. Here are a few of the major updates:

     

    Old Yahoo Local   

     

    • The page design was not as appealing  and reviews were harder to locate because they were “below the fold”
    • Pages only showed three reviews at a time, prompting users to visit the next page for more reviews
    • No photos

     

    New Yahoo Local


    • Photos posted are from Yelp, other partners and the businesses themselves
    • A map of the business’ location
    • Larger, clearer copy
    • A suggestion of other places “you might also like”
    • Five reviews instead of three on the first page
     

    While this partnership will help bring a better user experience and more enhanced search results for Yahoo, it also has its benefits for Yelp, such as increased traffic to the review site. This is an important step for both Yahoo and Yelp to take in order to compete with Google, who is quickly adapting their reviews and maps to meet online consumers’ needs.

     

    Read More: http://yahoosearch.tumblr.com/post/79354730916/a-five-star-partnership-yelps-reviews-and-ratings-are

    http://officialblog.yelp.com/2014/03/yahoo-search-now-featuring-yelps-trusted-content.html

    Drive Customer Engagement Past the Point of Purchase
    Mar 12, 2014 by Natalie Friedman

     

    Digital tools have radically changed the way we view the customer buying cycle. Is your business making the most of its digital strategies? Are you driving customer engagement even after customers have left the dealership?

     

    When it comes to customer support, we encourage you to think outside of the box. Look for new ways to use your customer database to the fullest. Take for example the Ford dealership in Sealy, Texas that found a way to generate sales from customers previously considered lost business. What magic trick did they use? They merely sent follow-up emails to these customers.  

     

    Using their database of customers who shopped but failed to make a purchase, the dealership sent email blasts on a regular basis to these contacts. Over time, this tactic led to positive results. The store generated 25 additional sales a month –20 percent of their retail volume—through this practice.

     

    Their success relied on a few crucial strategies for structuring emails:

     

    1. An engaging subject line.

    The subject line is a decisive factor in email open rates. The dealership found that subjects with a question were most effective, such as “Do you want to re-price?”

     

    2. Short and to the point messages.

    Take a page out of Twitter’s book and keep your email content short, sweet, and to the point.

     

    3. Appeal to the reason the customer didn’t buy in the first place.

    To recapture tough customers, you may have to offer them more aggressive deals. Figure out what they need and try to offer it to them when possible. 

     

    After you achieve a successful purchase, the buck doesn’t stop there. Here at L2TMedia, we understand the importance of keeping your customers in the loyalty loop. By combining our digital strategies, we can help you capitalize on each sale by turning it into an opportunity to expand your online reach. 

     

    Don’t miss out on the chance to build your business’s reputation online. Use our Reputation Management package to send email blasts to customers encouraging them to leave a review for your dealership on Google+ or Cars.com.

     

    Convert a one-time buyer into a loyal customer through Facebook Custom Audiences. This product allows you to link your customers’ email addresses to their Facebook profiles and invite them to “Like” your page.

     

    Then, use our Social Media package to keep up regular posts on your Facebook profile. Consistent and engaging posts keep your business top-of-mind for past customers and expand your reach to their Facebook networks.  

     

    The possibilities for driving engagement online are endless, so be creative in how you utilize your resources, and you’ll make the most out of every sale. 

     

    Source: http://www.autonews.com/article/20140210/RETAIL07/302109996/store-mines-second-chance-sale

    Are You Mobile-Ready?
    Mar 05, 2014 by Caroline Donahue

     

    At one point in time, mobile phones were used only for voice communication. But over the past few years, we have seen a monumental shift in the way they are used. With just the tap of a finger, users can browse images, watch videos, locate businesses, shop, play games and get the latest news. Studies show that mobile usage has increased 35% year-over-year, with the highest increase in research and comparison activities. This behavior is greatly affecting both online and brick and mortar retailers. In order to stay in the game, you must understand the impact of these continuous changes and act on them so you can reap long-term benefits.

     

    According to Google’s “Digital Drives Auto Shopping” study, 35-45% of visits to dealership websites are from mobile smartphones and tablets. Mobile devices allow consumers to find the answers they’re looking for, both quickly and easily. How does this relate to you as a dealer? If you do your part, search engines like Google make it simple for consumers to reach your website, browse your inventory, schedule an appointment, or even call you directly.

     

    Maximize your mobile presence by utilizing the following features:

     

      Mobile-friendly website

      Mobile chat program

      Click-to-Call feature activated in paid search ads

      Texting program

     

    This short checklist will help you determine if you’re up to speed with your competitors, and will help your store meet its business goals!

    Welcome Back!
    Feb 26, 2014 by Diane Massie

    Welcome back to the L2TMedia blog!


    We’re relaunching our blog to enhance communication with you, our customers.  Our revamped blog will give us a platform to share news, updates and useful tips while allowing you to provide feedback or just let us know what you’re thinking. 

     

    In the near future, look for posts on tips, tricks and techniques to get more out of your digital marketing.  Our own experts will keep you up-to-date on the latest trends affecting our industry and can answer questions to help you improve your digital marketing efforts.  The articles will range from “how-tos” to examples of what other clients are doing, projects that we’re working on at L2TMedia, interviews with customers, top 10 lists and so on.  Everyone at L2TMedia will be contributing, so be watching for your favorite L2TMedia employee’s article. 

     

    And we want to “practice what we preach!” In other words, we’re always stressing to our SEO clients the importance of continuously creating fresh content, and how it impacts SEO performance.  As part of our SEO solution, we build client blogs and publish monthly posts for their customers.  Blogs are an excellent source of original content for search engines and create opportunities for our clients to establish themselves as thought leaders in their respective fields. Blogs also give our clients’ businesses a voice and show Google that they’re continually invested in sharing useful information with their customers.

     

    If you have suggestions for topics you’d like to see covered, please email L2TMedia at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  We’ll dive right in and provide food for thought and straight talk.  We look forward to continuing the conversation with you.   

    L2TMedia Presented with DrivingSales Dealer Satisfaction Award
    Jan 24, 2014 by Admin

     L2TMedia receives a “Top-Rated” Award for Dealer Satisfaction in the SEO Category

     

    Chicago, IL – January 24, 2014 – L2TMedia is the recipient of a “Top-Rated” SEO award in the fifth annual DrivingSales Dealer Satisfaction Awards, presented at a special event in conjunction with the 2014 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Expo.

     

    “We are thrilled to be selected for a DrivingSales Dealer Satisfaction Award,” said Tom Moorhead, EVP and co-founder of L2TMedia. “Our company prides itself on providing the best performance and service in the digital marketing space in the automotive industry.” 

     

    Included among L2TMedia’s many features in its SEO solution are a dealer-branded blog and quality, original content added to both the blog and the dealer website on a monthly basis. L2TMedia’s SEO Specialists manage all of the website’s metadata and targeted off-site linking. Success is measured by the website’s organic traffic growth as well as improvements in key engagement metrics.   

     

    “We congratulate L2TMedia on winning a ‘Top-Rated’ SEO Award and for being recognized by its dealer customers for high levels of excellence and customer satisfaction,” said DrivingSales CEO and Founder Jared Hamilton. “In our fifth year of presenting these awards, we feel especially proud that DrivingSales Vendor Ratings continues to help dealers make smart and informed decisions through thousands of peer reviews that lead them to service providers such as L2TMedia.  We congratulate L2TMedia on being recognized for top-notch performance by the people to whom their services count the most: the dealer community.”

     

    The DrivingSales Dealer Satisfaction Awards measure dealer satisfaction with vendor products and services, and are based on cumulative ratings tallied and verified over the calendar year (January – December) at DrivingSales.com Vendor Ratings.  DrivingSales.com Vendor Ratings is the industry’s only neutral, comprehensive vendor-rating forum featuring real-time peer reviews and honest competitor comparisons, and provides dealerships with important information from actual customers who have hands-on experience using vendor solutions in their stores. Each rating is verified as coming from an actual dealership employee.

     

    Full award results are available online at dealersatisfactionawards.com. Award winners are showcased in the Q1 2014 issue of the DrivingSales Dealership Innovation Guide which, in addition to being distributed at the 2014 NADA Convention and Expo, is delivered to every new car dealership nationwide, as well as to the top 100 used car dealerships. For more information on the Dealership Innovation Guide, please visit: drivingsalesinnovationguide.com.

     

     

    About L2TMedia

     

    L2TMedia provides digital marketing solutions to automobile dealerships, including paid search, SEO, display advertising/Retargeting, YouTube advertising, social media and reputation management.  With this robust suite of digital products, L2TMedia has helped meet the changing needs of auto dealerships by providing innovation, insight and results-oriented solutions.  L2TMedia has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the US, for both 2012 and 2013.  For more information, visit l2tmedia.com

     

    About DrivingSales

    DrivingSales is a professional network serving the auto industry with dealer-driven news and information, online training and performance data, all to enable dealers to make critical business decisions at their dealerships.  DrivingSales’ mission is to connect progressive dealership professionals to the people and information they need to maximize their success.  Founded by a third-generation car dealer, today DrivingSales has registered users in over 50% of new-car dealerships in the US.  To learn more about the DrivingSales community, training or performance analytics visit DrivingSales.com, DrivingSalesUniversity.com and DrivingSalesData.com

     

    L2TMedia Media Relations:
    Diane Massie (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)), 847.901.8160 

     

    DrivingSales Media Relations:
    Melanie Webber (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)), mWEBB Communications, 949.307.1723

    Takeaways from the RTB OMMA Conference
    Nov 19, 2013 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    L2TMedia's PPC and Display Media Director Jeff Kaufman attended the recent OMMA RTB (Online Media, Marketing and Advertising, Real-time bidding) conference which was solely focused on real-time bidded display. Below are some of the takeaways he shared:

     

    • There is much debate about whether RTB inventory can be used effectively for brand advertising. Most experts said it definitely can while a few others were aggressively stating that if you are trying to advertise your brand, you must buy guaranteed inventory on specific sites. Those who think RTB is good for branding believe it is a smarter way to reach your target audience.

     

    • Brand advertisers industrywide do not like when they cannot see their ads online, which is why RTB is not always a feasible solution. 

     

    • YouTube videos are watched primarily (55%) on mobile phones and tablets.

     

    • Most agency reps said that Facebook Retargeting works great for retail and other shopping clients. 

     

    • Online newspapers are using their own data to target on Facebook for other companies. For example, a Minneapolis newspaper tracks everyone who reads articles about the Twins and creates unique audience lists. Ticket companies are then able to use that data with Facebook retargeting to make ticket offers to those audiences on Facebook.

     

    • Facebook will likely shift its focus on ‘Likes’ as a goal to conversions, as people are seeing that ‘Likes” are not as valuable for many industries and advertisers.

     

    • Facebook's next big thing may be targeting outside of Facebook using Facebook data, which could potentially be huge for advertisers.  

     

     

    Have questions? Reach out directly to Jeff at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    Google’s Hummingbird Update
    Sep 30, 2013 by Jack Thornburg

     

    Google HummingbirdLast week, on the day before celebrating their 15th birthday, Google announced Hummingbird as the most dramatic update to their organic ranking algorithm since 2001. Unlike the targeted Panda and Penguin updates, Hummingbird is an update to the overall 200+ piece algorithm, not a small segment. The update has been live for about a month now and holds true to Google’s mantra for SEOs and publishers alike – “create original, high-quality content.”

     

    The best analogy that I’ve heard to explain this update comes from Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land. He says to look at Google’s algorithm like an older car engine. Google has been continually updating parts of the engine (filters, pumps, valves), but the Hummingbird update is essentially replacing the entire engine with a 2014 model. Many of the parts of the engine are the same, but the entire engine is upgraded and able to perform more intelligently – it can handle unleaded fuel, has fuel injection, etc.

     

    Okay, back to Google. The biggest change that you may actually notice in your search results is that Google is now better able to quickly parse full questions (instead of reading things word-by-word) and able to rank things accordingly. You might ask Google, [where’s the nearest place to buy a BMW 328i?]. Instead of Google serving up results that relate to the specific words “buy” and “BMW,” Google will better understand what that sentence means (what your intent is), and serve up results based on that understanding.

     

    Similarly, you might notice similar pages ranking for variations of the same query with the same meaning. For example, if you’re searching [where can I buy a BMW], you may see a very similar search result when you search [where to buy BMW] or [where can I find a BMW]. It’s another step for Google in the direction of serving up the highest quality, most relevant content to best answer the searcher’s intent.

     

    While Google has employed some of these tactics for conversational search in the past, they’ve now applied the same type of logic across billions of searches. Upgraded engine, upgraded Google, more intelligent results.

     

    As more information is discussed within the digital marketing community, we’ll be sure to keep you updated! Also, feel free to e-mail me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with any questions.

    Advanced Targeting Options on the Google Display Network
    Jun 17, 2013 by Jeff Kaufman

     

    The Google Display Network (GDN) has been around for some time now, allowing advertisers to run campaigns that include both text and image ads across their expansive network. Over the years, Google has added new targeting capabilities to stay in line with or even ahead of the DSPs they compete with. While their remarketing tool started out clunky and was a hassle to implement, Google has since employed major improvements that have made remarketing on the GDN simple and scalable to the needs of most advertisers. With the success of this product, Google is quietly rolling out and testing a few other targeting methods, which L2TMedia is now testing across a number of clients.

     

    Search Companion Targeting

    Google

     

    Search Companion targeting is Google’s answer to Search Retargeting, which is often mentioned in the same conversation as Site Retargeting, even though they are entirely unrelated. Search Retargeting uses a keyword list to targets ads within ad networks or exchanges, after a consumer has physically searched for a particular keyword. The advertiser bids on each keyword similar to a PPC campaign and can view both impressions and clicks (and possibly conversions at the keyword level). Though a good strategy, this is an upper funnel tactic, providing more awareness and less direct response as it may show ads to consumers days or even weeks after their initial keyword search.

     

    With Search Companion, Google has taken a slightly different approach to a keyword-targeted campaign for display advertising. The approach emphasizes more direct response, as it serves display ads immediately after a consumer performs a search. Here’s how it works:

     

    1)      The advertiser sets up a targeted list of keywords and assigns bids at the ad group or keyword level

     

    2)      Display creative is matched to the keyword ad groups based on content

     

    3)      A consumer performs a search for something like “new Hondas in New Jersey”

     

    4)      That same consumer chooses to click on an organic listing, as opposed to a paid ad, for Cars.com

     

    5)      Since Cars.com is a site within the Google Display Network, a banner ad for the advertiser will appear on the Cars.com page when the consumer clicks to it

     

    If the consumer then clicks on the banner ad, they are more likely to be in-market and perform a conversion action, since we know they were already looking for something specific via their initial search. The image ad displays immediately after a search, as long as a click occurs on an organic listing and that site is within the GDN.

     

    To date, we have already observed great success with this targeting method. Although the volume is admittedly small and difficult to scale, the quality is impressive. This is a great innovation by the Google team, and will hopefully continue to improve as Google’s network continues to expand.

     

    Look-alike Targeting

    lookalike

     

    Look-alike Targeting is a form of behavioral targeting that serves as a secondary use of your remarketing audience, while avoiding the high costs of appending third-party data to your overall targeting. Any campaign running on the GDN has a remarketing pool that is constantly updated with the most recent site visitors who failed to convert. This audience can range from very small for low-traffic sites to very big for sites that enjoy significant amounts of unique traffic. Google is then able to look at the remarketing audience and identify other consumers on their network who possess very similar characteristics to the collective remarketing audience. Since being part of the look-alike audience does not require that those consumers have visited the site initially, this audience is typically larger than the standard remarketing audience.

     

    In testing thus far, we have observed great click-thru rates with look-alike targeting, as well as performance to the conversion level. This tactic offers a number of benefits, but probably the best we have seen to date is the ability to expand upon smaller remarketing audiences. The more targeted inventory that can be included in a campaign, the better results you will see.

     

    As Google and our other display platform partners continue to evolve with new product offerings, L2TMedia will evolve alongside them. We strive to stay at the forefront of testing the latest products available, in order to provide our clients with the newest ways to achieve campaign success month in and month out. 

    Spring Cleaning with Container Tags
    May 20, 2013 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    In true spring cleaning fashion, the team here at L2TMedia is always looking for new ways to tidy our processes in order to ensure we are being as efficient as possible. One of the never-ending hurtles we find ourselves jumping quite often involves our tag management process. Our Display efforts require anywhere from three to nine different tracking tags per website, which can prove to become pretty cluttered –not to mention confusing – at any given moment. Since we do not offer website development as a product, we have enjoyed very little direct control over how tags are implemented.

     

    The Solution:

     

    Container tags! What is a container tag, you may ask? It is simply a “site wide tag that fires all of our tags according to rules you specify” (Google Support). As you might guess, the container tag acts as a container that houses all the different tags we wish to place on a website. This means that instead of placing nine individual tags on every page and keeping track of nine separate firing rules, the web provider only needs to worry about one. The beauty of container tags is that once the tag is placed on the website, we are the only ones who have access to the nine individual tags, which enables the direct control we were previously lacking. 

     

    Our Preference:

     

    In October 2012, Google launched their version of a container tag, dubbed Google Tag Manager (GTM). GTM serves as your one-stop shop for housing individual tags, by not only organizing all your tracking tags and creating unique firing rules based on specific tag goals, but also going a step further and throwing in a quality assurance feature. The GTM dashboard gives you the ability to visit the site in a “preview mode” that shows you which tags are actually firing on the pages as you explore the website. This acts as a form of confirmation that the system is working properly, and also helps immensely with troubleshooting issues.

     

    Let L2TMedia sort out your tag clutter. For more information, call us at (847) 944-9280 or email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    Enhanced Campaigns: 2 Months In & No Turning Back
    May 13, 2013 by Susan Powalowski

     

    If you are not a PPCer by trade, the news of enhanced campaigns within Google’s AdWords platform probably meant very little to you. You may have been alerted to a few simple changes to your account, but nothing seemed to be too outlandish…unless of course you ARE a PPC enthusiast, in which case you were OUTRAGED.

     

    Case in point: the Twittersphere.

     

    aaron levy

     

     

    Jane Elliott

     

     

    Liam Lally

     

     

    Oh the drama, the rumors, the gossip…PPC Specialists can be pretty dramatic. But the attitude makes sense when we put hours upon hours of work into creating, optimizing and fine-tuning potentially hundreds (maybe even THOUSANDS) of keywords, ads, ad groups and campaigns. [NERD ALERT] These accounts are my surrogate children, and I spend so much time nurturing them to perfection, that anyone (including Google) who messes with them will undoubtedly regret it.

     

    Drama aside, L2TMedia decided to take a very pro-active response in regards to upgrading our clients to enhanced campaigns. We sat in on the webinars and researched and tested all the new features. Currently, over 95% of our clients are running solely on enhanced campaigns. But, Susan… 

     

    Ashkan Sobhe 1

     

    About a month after the announcement, I upgraded a few of my own accounts to start testing the waters. Much to the surprise of others, the world didn’t turn upside down and inside out or start doing backflips on a trampoline (something I have yet to successfully accomplish myself. Tips welcome). I responded to Ashkan the same way.

     

    Ashkan Sobhe 2

     

    A blank check to Google? Hardly! We still have complete control over what matters most: bids and budgets. Without this, the almighty algorithm that sets up each auction would’ve taken the company credit card for a wild ride. However, it simply didn’t happen. We lost a little control over mobile and tablet optimizations that we used to hold dear and which came highly recommended by the G-team, but we also gained some useful tools.

     

    So when all is said and done, how did enhancing our accounts actually affect the stats? As a company, most of our key performance metrics have stayed relatively stable. And that’s a GOOD THING! It means that all of our hard work for the past few years has not been undone. Our careful dissection of accounts, conversion rates and bid management haven’t been thrown to the wind. If anything, we’re seeing better (read: more precise) reporting, better bid adjustment possibilities and, most important, all of our old favorite Google AdWords tools.

     

    Here’s a look at a real account that took to Enhanced Campaigns pretty well:

     

    Pre-Enhancement (37 Days Prior)

     

    37 days prior

     

    Post-Enhancement (37 Days After)

     

    37 days later

     

    Overall, things remained pretty stable!  Our traffic numbers increased as well as our Click-Thru-Rate (CTR), while CPCs and positioning stayed about the same. Although our conversion numbers didn’t go up in terms of lead submissions, we can now track what Google calls “Phone Call Conversions” (the handy blue-highlighted column). Advertisers may consider different metrics as to what constitutes a phone call conversion, but L2T found that a successful phone call to an automotive dealer lasted at least 15 seconds. This gives the user enough time to be transferred from the forwarding number to the target number, as well as time for the client to answer the phone. Ideal for clients without call tracking, the service used to cost $1 per call…but is now free!

     

    When it comes down to it, Google has moved to enhanced with little chance of turning back. They may introduce new features similar to old ones (and they already have!), because the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Let’s face it; we have some pretty loud squeakers in the PPC world. The take-away from all of this is that Google typically does what’s best for Google, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t listening to our feedback and reacting positively to it.

     

    If you’ve moved to enhanced or have questions about new tools, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your rep (if you’re an existing client), me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or @L2TMedia on Twitter!

    Impact of Enhanced Campaigns on Display Media
    Apr 15, 2013 by Jeff Kaufman

     

    Information has been swirling - some great, some not so great - about all the impending changes to Google AdWords, and how Enhanced Campaigns are going to revolutionize paid search advertising. The public is still skeptical, and many are downright upset about how Google is taking the control out of the hands of the most experienced AdWords professionals in order to focus on making more money from the smaller players. All this has yet to play out and we will have to wait and see where it takes us, but what has hardly been mentioned thus far is how Enhanced Campaigns will impact display advertising via the Google Display Network.

     

    While the impact on display advertising will be less significant than on search, Enhanced Campaigns will certainly offer some features that advertisers should utilize in their display campaigns. The biggest difference between display and search Enhanced Campaigns is that your mobile and desktop efforts will not be combined with display (at least not in the foreseeable future). I believe this is something Google will attempt down the line, but since they cannot force advertisers to upload standard mobile banner sizes, it will definitely be more difficult to make this transition.

     

    The benefits, however, focus on the targeting functionality, which has been touted by Google as a huge time-saver.

     

    Before Enhanced Campaigns, you were able to mix and match tactics. For example, you could target one ad group to certain interest groups, with ads only appearing within specific placements. You could also target a list of keywords contextually, and layer that in with topic targeting in another ad group. But Enhanced Campaigns provides a bid adjustment functionality, which search advertisers are privy to as well. This allows you to create a number of different targeting combinations and adjust bids by target, all within the same ad group. Plus, all of your bid multipliers work together to prioritize users who fall into multiple target groups, since the bid for those consumers will be higher.

     

    This same type of targeting and bid multiplying will work for location targeting. If you have historically targeted a radius around a retail location of 15 miles, you can now easily test and adjust bids for a number of different radius targets. So for example, you can set a target of one mile around the store and adjust the bid multiplier to increase bids 50%; a 2-mile radius with a multiplier of 30%; and a 5-mile radius with no multiplier. Then as you get further away, say a 30-mile radius, maybe you decrease your bid by 50% to account for the likelihood that a consumer outside the closer-proximity radius is less qualified to visit your store.

     

    The third type of targeting receiving an upgrade with Enhanced Campaigns is day and day-part targeting. While this change is not too drastic as far as I could tell, it makes reporting based on selected day parts more readily accessible. From an optimization standpoint, this makes it very easy to adjust bids based on days and times of day throughout the life of the campaign. A drawback of this targeting, however, is that you are still limited to only six days or parts/day. This may be something Google updates later on down the line.

     

    L2TMedia’s display team is working hard to test out the new functions of the Google Display Network, implementing new tactics to improve performance long-term.  As Google is always evolving, we can expect more change in the future, and we plan to be ready for it! If you have any questions about how Enhanced Campaigns can impact your display efforts, feel free to reach out to me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    How to Drive More Conversions to Your Website via Paid Search
    Apr 08, 2013 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    Conversion tracking is a key component in running effective and efficient Paid Search marketing. It should be a primary focus for both the marketer and the business being marketed. Below are three critical steps for getting the most out of your Paid Search efforts.

     

    Step One: Implement

     

    How you implement conversion tracking is the most important step. In order to effectively track conversions from Paid Search, everything must be not only perfectly laid out from the get-go, but also securely in place before the marketing campaign launches. Otherwise, all parties involved will be forced to focus on picking up the pieces rather than moving forward. Some tips to guide you through implementation:  

     

    -Establish a clear line of communication between the marketer, the business, and the web provider. Make sure all parties involved are clear on the mission of the marketing campaign: to grow the business of the client.

     

    -Identify and orchestrate your PPC landing pages with a clear product offering and a contact information form. Your website visitors and prospective clients are looking for quick information and quick answers. Establishing simple and direct landing pages is fundamental to driving conversions.

     

    -Direct your website’s submitted leads to a confirmation page. Your web provider can adjust their interface to direct all Contact Us, Information Request, and Lead forms to a separate confirmation page with its own URL. You will get the most out of conversion tracking over time using dynamic URL landing pages rather than static URLs, since the former allow for more versatility and transparency.

     

    -Have an open mind to using container tags such as Google Tag Manager and Open Tag. Using container tags will allow the marketer to implement and manage multiple codes, which cuts back-and-forth communication in half. Unless your third-party agency is a one-man sweatshop, there is no risk in using a reputable container tag.

     

    Step Two: Analyze

     

    Make sure you have the ability to analyze your website traffic with an analytics platform such as Google Analytics. When conversions begin to roll in, you will be able to dissect how, where, and why visitors are converting. Setting up your conversion tracking in a platform like Google Analytics also gives you the option to set goals and use event tracking to investigate conversions from sites containing static URLs (which lack confirmation pages).  

     

    Step Three: Optimize

     

    Once you have implemented and rolled your conversion tracking into an analytics platform, you can begin to optimize. As your conversion data continues to build over time, you will be able to optimize your PPC campaigns on a granular level. The idea is to create a snowball effect and build on the elements of your Paid Search that convert most successfully. Some examples of optimization include:

     

    -Driving more traffic to high-converting pages.

     

    -Raising bids on top-converting keywords.

     

    -Identifying creative and ad copy with the most conversions, and rolling that message out across the entire account.

     

    Again, conversion tracking is critical to any Paid Search campaign in that it provides insight into what's really working, and what's not. Use this information to continually optimize your campaign and make the most of your marketing dollars. Feel free to contact with me with any question or to discuss conversion tracking for your campaign: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Facebook Custom Audiences and Your Social Media Strategy
    Apr 01, 2013 by Jack Thornburg

     

     

    As you may have heard, Facebook recently unveiled a new way for businesses to reach the people they care about most – their current customers. Facebook 

    Facebook logo

    Custom Audiences (aptly named) allows advertisers to match customer email lists and phone numbers with Facebook’s vast user database. Once matched, ads can be created around these highly targeted segments and displayed exclusively to those specific Facebook users. 

     

    Creating a Custom Audience

     

    Facebook’s Power Editor allows advertisers to upload a clean CSV or TXT file listing email addresses or phone numbers. From there, Facebook will encrypt the data and identify any matches made with Facebook users. When this audience is created and named, you have the ability to utilize it as a segment within any advertising campaign.

     

     

    What Message Should I Show My Custom Audience?

     

    The testing we’ve done at L2T has shown that coupons and exclusive deals perform extremely well with this type of targeted audience. Depending on how you’ve collected your email list or phone numbers, these are most likely current customers of your store. They already know you and your brand, so give them a reason to connect on Facebook and stop back in!

     

    Benefits of Custom Audiences

     

    As a branding strategy, social media thrives on customers who are willing to champion your brand within their social network. Facebook Custom Audiences allows you to connect with a highly qualified group of people who have already displayed interest in your brand. They’ve visited your store, they’ve submitted a lead, or they’ve willingly submitted themselves to your monthly newsletter. It’s a no-brainer, then, that they become your fan on Facebook!

    results

     

    After becoming fans, Facebook users will be much more inclined to interact with your content. After all, isn’t engagement what we’re after? Once engaged, these customers will expose your brand and its content to their own networks as well. It’s an efficiently speedy way to build your page’s social reach and brand visibility.

     

    For best results, we recommend utilizing this strategy about 2-4 times a year. This allows you to keep your email or phone number database fresh, while also making the best use of your advertising dollars.

     

    In the world of online marketing, reaching your offline customers can be a bit of a struggle. Facebook provides an incredibly useful solution to this age-old problem with its introduction of Custom Audiences. Based on the results we’ve seen so far, we’re eager to offer this solution to anyone interested in building a more qualified social audience around their brand!

     

    If you have any questions about the new offering, including ways that you can implement it into your current social media strategy, feel free to reach out to me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). I look forward to hearing from you!

    The Implications of Cross-Device Shopping on Your Display Strategy
    Mar 25, 2013 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    Using only one device in the purchasing cycle is a thing of the past. Instead, consumers are turning to whichever device is most convenient at the moment, considering time, location, Wi-Fi accessibility, etc. Like many others, I can attest to this through my own personal experience. As a consumer, I am using my desktop while at work, scrolling through my mobile during lunch, and surfing the web on my tablet while I relax at home - all the while moving seamlessly across all devices. So why shouldn’t advertising reflect that behavior?

     

    path

     

    As technology advances, so should our targeting. In fact, as is, we are potentially missing out on opportunities. According to Benjamin Krall, a top analyst at Metamorphic Ventures, “cross-device tracking has the potential to open up a $25 billion ad display market…by allowing ads to be formatted to the specific device they are being viewed on” (Clickz.com, 2013). Someone on a desktop 20 miles away from your store should be served a different ad than someone on their mobile only 5 miles away, because the same message might not have the same impact on both users.

     

    Take, for example, Google’s recent introduction of “Enhanced Campaigns” as a new way to set up campaigns in AdWords. In a nutshell, “Enhanced Campaigns” allows marketers “to manage bids across devices, locations and time of day allowing you to reach your most valuable customers and connect with them anytime, anywhere and from any device”. For a more in-depth explanation of “Enhanced Campaigns,” take a look at our recent blog post:“What You Need to Know About Google’s Enhanced Campaigns.”

     

    Allow L2TMedia to send your audience the right message on the right device! For more information, please visit www.l2tmedia.com.

    What You Need to Know About Google Enhanced Campaigns
    Mar 04, 2013 by Meredith Fishman

     

    Thanks to smarter messaging and bidding, Enhanced Campaigns change how marketers target users searching across devices. The new format integrates 

    google

    Desktop/Tablet and Mobile bidding into one streamlined campaign, while adding advanced reporting as well as new features to sitelink and call extensions. 

     

     

    Below are the Top 5 things You Need to Know about Enhanced Campaigns:

     

    1. The new campaign structure is built on the idea that marketers can take contextual clues from the searcher’s location, device type, and time of day, and use them to create smarter ads. As people use various devices to search for businesses or products throughout the day, Enhanced Campaigns will help reach them seamlessly.

    81%

     

    2. Mobile is important! Just because Mobile is wrapped with Desktop and Tablets in a campaign, doesn’t mean it’s an afterthought. Enhanced campaigns use the Desktop/Tablet bid as a benchmark and allow marketers to bid up or down based on that threshold. Smarter messaging comes in by simply selecting a “mobile preferred” setting to show specific ads on Mobile devices.

     

    3. Sitelinks are now available at the ad group level, and we have the capability to segment the data by the individual links! This is something we’re really excited to roll out. Again, this allows us to be more granular with links we want to show by ad group, and we can also use the data to optimize more effectively.

     

    4. Call forwarding is free and can be implemented at the ad group level. Plus, reporting is more advanced and allows us to track call conversions.

     

    5. Bidding by distance is a new tool marketers can use to selectively bid based on targeted locations.

     

    L2T is hitting the ground running as we transition our existing campaigns to the upgraded format and introduce new benefits to new clients!

     

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    Display Targeting Tactics Explained
    Feb 19, 2013 by Jeff Kaufman

     

    The world of display advertising can be a confusing place, as there are a number of ways to buy ads and an even greater number of ways in which you can target them. The days of buying ads to run on specific sites, or even placements within sites, are long gone with today’s shift toward focusing on audience buying. This has been proven to be a much more effective and cost-efficient way for advertisers to achieve their display advertising goals.

     

    This post will help you to understand 3 of the most common and effective targeting methods, as well as methods behind gathering data. We will touch upon more advanced methods in future posts as well, but for now, let’s look at remarketing, contextual targeting and behavioral targeting.

     

    Remarketing
    monitorRemarketing should be used as a tool to convert consumers, as you will be targeting those who have already been to your site but who did not previously convert. This is your most targeted display audience and should be included with any display effort you run. In terms of the marketing funnel, consumers who are being remarketed to will be fairly low in the funnel and are hopefully in shopping mode. Click here for more information regarding Remarketing.

     

    Contextual Targeting

    Contextual targeting is a great tool used to reach consumers who are likely mid-funnel shoppers. Ads are served on sites based on a set list of keywords (similar to PPC), with corresponding relevant content. The idea here is if consumers are already browsing pages with content which includes keywords from the set list, then there is a very good chance that these consumers are at least interested in your products or services. Consumers targeted in this manner might be classified anywhere from top-of-the-funnel to mid- to lower-funnel consumers.

     

    Behavioral Targeting
    Behavioral targeting allows you to reach a specific audience(s) based on a number of different criteria. This data is gathered from a consumer’s recent browsing history, ecommerce purchases and keyword searches, or from third-party data companies that combine online and offline data to build anonymous consumer profiles. Examples of targeting options include intent to purchase specific brands, tech enthusiasts, household income, number of kids in the home, interest in sports, Spanish speakers, etc. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of ways to target consumer behavior online. The more broadly we target, the larger the audience pool; as we add more layers, the pool gets smaller and smaller.

     

    statBehavioral targeting is a complicated space to play in if you don’t know what you are doing or where to start, so leave it up to the expert display specialists at L2TMedia to build successful campaigns for you. As with contextual targeting, consumers targeted in this manner might be classifiedanywhere from top-of-the-funnel to mid- to lower-funnel consumers. To learn more about Behavioral Targeting, visit our website.

     

     

    So what’s next?
    Now that you have the information regarding display ads, it’s time to get your brand online. We always recommend remarketing at a minimum, as performance will be best with that tactic. However, as your budget increases, an integrated campaign which combines multiple tactics will provide you with greater audience reach and ultimately better results. Also, keep in mind that your display ads are a major factor in assisting with your PPC and SEO campaigns. Typically when you combine a display campaign with your PPC efforts, you can expect to see significant increases in total visits to your site, search volume, and click through rate within your PPC campaign - another substantial benefit of running display as part of your marketing strategy.

    Making a Good Impression (Share)
    Feb 11, 2013 by Andrew Hoke

     

    Knowing and understanding metrics is one of the most important aspects of running a Paid Search account. Creating campaigns with excellent results is paramount to an account’s success, but knowing what those results mean and how to make decisions based on them is equally important.

     

    One of the metrics that receives plenty of discussion here at L2TMedia involves impression shares, so let’s tackle that topic.

     

    Q: What is impression share and why is it important?

     

    A: Impression share is the number of impressions an account receives compared to the number of impressions the account is eligible to receive. Impression eligibility is determined by targeting settings, budgets, approval statuses, bids, and quality scores.  At the most basic level, impression share gives you an indication of how much of the search market for which you are currently showing and, conversely, how much for which you are not showing.

     

    Impression share data stands as one of the important factors in determining market shares and potential account growth opportunities.  Like any metric, it should be taken in context with the rest of the metrics of an account to paint a full picture of what is going on.

     

    Since October 2012, impression share data has been broken out by search network and display network to easily distinguish our search efforts versus display and remarketing. Impression share data before this date is no longer available.

     

    Q: Why am I losing impression share?

     

    A: There are two reasons why an account will lose impression share.

     

    1)      Lost Impression Share For Budget: This metric tells how much impression share was lost because campaign daily budgets are not high enough.  As the day goes on and clicks/costs accrue on a campaign, the campaign will stop running once the daily budget is reached.  Google counts the impressions that the account would have shown up on, but didn’t because the budget was too low, then supplies this metric based on that data.

     

    2)      Lost Impression Share For Rank: This metric tells how much impression share was lost because the account’s ad rank wasn’t high enough. Ad Rank is used to determine ad positioning and is based on a combination of quality score and bids. If an advertiser’s quality scores or bids are too low on a particular search, ads won’t show because they either aren’t relevant enough to provide a good user experience, or the click would be too unprofitable for Google (or a combination of both). Like impression share lost for budget, Google counts the impressions that the account would have shown up on, but didn’t because the ad rank was too low, then supplies this metric based on that data.

     

    Q: How can I use this information?

     

    A: Impression share metrics give an advertiser the opportunity to not only assess competition in their search market, but also assess their own account’s performance and missed opportunities.  I’ve provided a simplified example on using this information below, so feel free to put on your math hat.

     

    In one month, an account has 500 impressions, 50% impression share, 25% lost for budget, and 25% lost for rank. If 500 impressions represent 50% of the impressions the account could have received, 100% impression share would equate to 1,000 impressions. Given our lost impression share metrics, 250 of those impressions were lost for budget and another 250 lost for ad rank. 

     

    Knowing this information, we can estimate what would happen if the account was able to pull in those additional impressions.  If we have 50 clicks on our 500 impressions (10% CTR), we could say adding money to get those 250 impressions lost for budget would bring in approximately 25 clicks (10% CTR again).  If account CPCs are $5.00/click, those 25 additional clicks would total out to $125, giving us an effective budget recommendation.  From all of this, we can say that if the account had been given an extra $125 to spend at the beginning of the month, it could have received 25 more clicks.

     

    Things are rarely so simple in the real world, and there are plenty of strong assumptions made in these calculations, but these numbers should still serve as a base for making recommendations for clients.

     

    Q: What is this “Exact Match impression share” I’ve read about?

     

    A: Exact Match impression share is the number of exact match impressions an account received versus the number of exact match impressions it could have received.  So what does that mean exactly?

     

    As we know, ads appear on Google SERPs based on users’ search queries. When someone’s search query pulls an ad for your account, Google will report what that search query was.  If the search query exactly matches one of the keywords in your account, it will count as an Exact Match impression.  If the search query is even one character different from any keyword in your account, the impression won’t count as an exact match impression. Let’s look at an example to help explain.

     

    If an account has an 80% Exact Match impression share, it means that of all the searches that pulled ads for that account, 80% of them exactly matched a keyword in that account. This tells us that our account is pulling in 20% of its impressions through the use of phrase and broad match keywords that branch out to get impressions on many different search queries.

     

    It’s important to remember that Google sees a significant number of never-before-seen searches every single day. A 100% Exact Match impression share sounds nice, but what does it actually mean? When hitting 100%, it means your account is no longer branching out and pulling impressions on searches that you might not have considered or have never been used before. Overall, it’s good to have keywords that match what people are actually typing, but always keep in mind that search behaviors change over time and keyword lists should be made flexible enough to catch traffic even during these changes.

     

    Q: Why is this so boring?

     

    A: I don’t know, but I’m sorry. Here, watch this video of me trying (and failing) to eat a triple baconator meal from Wendy’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZONY1Qwj2w8

     

    Happy advertising, everyone!

    Personalization’s Effect on Organic Rankings
    Feb 04, 2013 by Jack Thornburg

     

    The days of Google’s 10 simple blue links in search results are far behind us.

     

    In fact, it’s incredibly rare to see a search result that does not include enhanced sitelinks, social / authorship markings, or some form of localization. Serving up the most relevant websites based on a search query for each individual user is Google’s primary goal. If you think about it, that’s actually what keeps them in business.

     

    In order to serve up the most relevant websites for each user, Google is constantly learning more about you by investigating your search history, who’s included in your Google+ circles, and how you use other Google-owned products.

     

    When you search for sports news, do you always click to ESPN over Yahoo Sports? There’s a good chance that Google will take this as an indicator that you prefer ESPN’s content, so Yahoo Sports will show up lower in your personalized search results. Meanwhile, your neighbor could be performing the same search and see Yahoo Sports rank much higher.

     

    This focus on personalized search results is beneficial to individual users, but it requires SEOs to rethink the importance placed on their beloved ranking reports.

     

    What Really Matters?

     

    As Google’s personalization goals continually diminish the accuracy of “universal” ranking measurements, how can we truly measure the success of an SEO campaign? It’s safe to argue that there is a correlation between higher organic rankings, increased website visibility, and more traffic to your site. If we follow that thought, measuring rankings is essentially a means to the end goal of increasing organic traffic.

     

    But why measure the means when we can more closely measure the end?

     

    Yes, rankings are a metric. And yes, some companies still continue to measure rankings. However, the future of measuring SEO success is moving far beyond unreliable rankings coming from third-party providers. As Google updates their search algorithm 500-600 times a year, we cannot continually rely on the accuracy of outside tools designed to estimate rankings. Instead, quality SEO campaigns should measure and be held accountable for quality data.

     

    L2TMedia is not alone in this approach to measuring SEO success – check out this article on Inc.com regarding the most meaningful metrics for SEO in 2013. Also, be sure to reach out to me with any questions or ideas for a future blog post: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). I look forward to hearing from you!

    Cookies: The New Personal Shopper
    Jan 30, 2013 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    I am here to put the negative connotations of cookies to rest. As many of us can admit, at one point in time we were a part of the masses that believed cookies were used as an intrusive monitoring tool. Thanks to infamous Facebook conspiracists, public opinion of cookies has gone so far to suggest they were another way for the government to keep track of its children.  As Adweek has stated, “yes, it’s Big Brother time… But now, rather than spying on you, he’s become your BFF” (Mars, 2012). You mean cookies are trying to guide us?

     

    Prepare to have your misconceptions rocked!

    cookies

     

    Defining the Cookie

     

    Let’s start with the question “what exactly is a cookie”? We let our friends at IAB take a stab at this as they define a cookie as “a small text file that is stored on a user’s web browser. It is entirely ‘passive’ and does not contain software programs, a virus or spyware. They ensure a user-friendly experience and support safety efforts for many online offers and services” (IAB, 2012).  This means that a cookie has no intent to harm consumers, but is rather it a tool used by marketers to advertise in the most effective way possible.

     

    Uses of the Cookie

     

    Cookies are an essential part of online marketing.  Many of the strategies we use today would be entirely impossible without cookies. For example, a retargeting strategy would not be available, because there would be no way to track the user pool that had already visited your website.

     

    Second, geotargetting would be a free-for-all. Cookies help you locate users geographically, making sure you are advertising to your target audience. Would you want to advertise in California for a car from a Chicago dealership? Without cookies, that is what you would get. The list of online advertising limitations goes on and on without access to the data that cookies provide us.

     

    Takeaways

     

    You might as well embrace and utilize the free tools that are available to you. You can think of cookies more as your new personal shopper rather than your tattle-tail little brother.

     

    Let L2TMedia utilize your consumer’s cookies to the best of their ability. Learn more at http://www.l2tmedia.com.

     

    •  http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/voice-big-brother-your-bff-145537
    •  http://www.iabeurope.eu/cookies-faq/internet-cookies---increasing-and-enhancing-your-internet-surfing-experience/what-are-cookies-how-do-they-work---cookies-faq.aspx

    10 Social Media Tips for 2013
    Jan 21, 2013 by Eric Jay

     

    Everyone and their mother (except my mother) are on social media today, and that makes it a great tool for you, the business owner. Using social media to get in touch with your customers is not the wave of the future anymore; it has become standard operating procedure. So as you start out 2013, I have 10 tips that could help you build a better social media presence.

     

    Perform a social media audit

     

    It’s hard to figure out where you are going if you don’t know where you are. Performing a comprehensive audit of your current social media strategy is a great way to start off 2013. In this audit, you should identify the 5 W’s of your current strategy. 

     

    1. Who is managing our social media profiles?

     

    2. What do we post on social media?

    3. When do we monitor, post, interact, etc.?

    4. Where do we have a social presence?

    5. Why are we on social media?

     

    These questions can help identify what you are doing now and what you need to be doing more of in 2013.

     

    Complete your profiles

     

    This is a simple tip, but one I have found is frequently overlooked. Fill out the “About” and “Bio” information, completely and correctly, on all of your profiles. Customers are now turning to social media to find out more about your business, services and products, and the best way to make sure they get your website, address, hours of operation or phone number is to make that information accessible via your social media accounts.

     

    Make it personal

     

    Forming a connection with customers is a significant part of all social media strategies. Take the time to add a personal touch to your page. Your profile should be inviting and allow your customers to build a relationship with you, your staff and your brand. Add photos of the building so they can familiarize themselves with your location. Share pictures of your company BBQ or of a happy customer with the keys to their brand-new car.

     

    Interact with customers

     

    Social media is a two-way conversation. Interacting with your customers is a great way to learn more about them and your own business. Make sure that you respond to customers who post on your timeline or comment on your content. Continuing the conversation with this customer strengthens the relationship they have with your business, while also building brand awareness and loyalty.

     

    Interact with your community

     

    It is also important to interact with the other businesses and organizations in your area. Other businesses are using social media to connect with customers, so utilizing their pages is a great way to expand the reach of your own social network. It could be as simple as “Liking” the local bakery’s photos of its new sign, or even reminding customers that the 4th of July parade route has changed for this year.

     

    Share information

     

    Your Facebook page and Twitter accounts are a great place to have a conversation with your customers. It can be easy to get caught up in the idea that these pages are just free advertising, and just plaster them with ads or sales pitches. But the key to social media is not just to step on the gas and sell, sell sell, but rather to share important information. Before you post, ask yourself, “would I like to see this on my own newsfeed?” If not, don’t post it!

     

    Don’t over-do it; don’t under-do it

     

    Building off of the test I mentioned above, you have to find a balance when it comes to posting on social media. Don’t over-do it; don’t under-do it. At L2TMedia, we have found that around 10 posts a month is the sweet spot for how often to post. Now of course, this isn’t a cookie-cutter formula and can certainly be adjusted, but it is important to find the middle ground between updating your page every hour on the hour and only when the locusts swarm into town.

     

    Keep experimenting

     

    The formula for social media success may not be the same for each business or industry. Creating your unique formula will require a little experimentation. Do your customers respond better to pictures posted on Facebook, or do they like links to articles? Is your customer base more active on social media during their lunch hour or on weekends? Dig a little deeper into the mind of your customers and change up the time of day that you post content, the day of week, etc.

     

    Measure results

     

    If you aren’t measuring your results, what are you doing? Measuring your social media success should be a key factor in your 2013 social media strategy. Take the information you gather from your social experimentation and use it to develop a better strategy. Social media provides great insight into the relationship you have with your customer base; don’t let all of your hard work go to waste. 

     

    Social media is everywhere

     

    Remember that social media is everywhere. It is a great tool that can support your other marketing and advertising efforts. Make sure that you connect your social profiles to your website and even mention your Facebook page in your radio and print ads. At L2TMedia, we believe that social media is the catch-all that can bring all of your channels of communication together.

     

    Feel free to contact me directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with any questions or topics for future blog posts!

    Love at First Sitelink
    Jan 16, 2013 by Jay Solway

     

    While Google may not reveal the exact formula they use to calculate quality score, they readily admit that Click-Thru-Rate (CTR) is the number-one factor in the determination. With this in mind, the first question any advertiser using Google should ask is: What is the most important thing that I can do to improve my account’s CTR?

     

    While keyword lists, negative keywords, and ad text are all important elements as long as they are performed logically, the most important step any advertiser can take is to use sitelinks. Sitelinks appear below the ad text, and should showcase the top-converting pages of a website. Proving once again that the best things in life are free, sitelinks don’t cost anything other than the time they take to create. Here is a visual example of a sitelink:

     

    pizza ad

     

    If you are reading this, you’re likely my friend, so here are some tips to keep in mind when optimizing your sitelinks:

     

    1. Make sure that all sitelinks are related to the campaign they are linked to. Much like ad text, relevancy is still a major positive.

    2. You are allowed up to 10 links to use as sitelinks, but often only four or fewer show. The links that show are often rotated and make it difficult to analyze results. In sticking with the relevancy theme, try to pick out four sitelinks that are tightly knit rather than 10 links that are all over the place.

    3. New restrictions have been put in place regarding repetitive sitelinks and multiple URLs. Make sure to use links from the same website and separate sub-URLs.

    4. As you would do with any text ad, review results to determine which ads are performing best. A/B testing might help make continuous improvements to the accounts.

    See Ya, 2012! Welcome, 2013!
    Dec 31, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

    December 21st came and left without a peep. That alone makes 2012 a fantastic year overall, right? Some may not consider 2012 their favorite year, but for L2T, it may go down as our best one yet.

     

    Just 4 months ago, we were recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing, privately owned companies in the U.S. landing the 788th position on the Inc. 500|5000. We couldn’t be more excited!

     

    In September, we relocated to lovely downtown Evanston and into a MUCH larger office space. Although everyone enjoyed our former Glenview location, the new space can accommodate our rapidly-growing company significantly better. Everyone seems to be adjusting perfectly fine over here. 

     

    2013

    Finally, we brought on some exceptional talent and clientele this year. We couldn’t be happier with our team and are looking forward to tackling 2013 together.

     

    Whether you also had an exciting 2012 or look forward to leaving it behind, 2013 is here to greet us with open arms.


    For the next 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,765 hours or 525,949 minutes (take your pick), the L2T team pledges their allegiance to some realistic, and some dream-worthy resolutions. Wish everyone luck (some may really need it)! 

     

    ANDREW HOKE

    Resolution: Become a level 5 vegan. 

     

    Why: I’m dropping my current diet of mostly meats, cheeses, and breads for something more existentially acceptable. I just don’t believe anything that casts a shadow should be consumed.

     

    SUSAN POWALOWSKI

    Resolution: Finish all of the books I’m in the middle of reading.

     

    Why: I love to read, and I love to buy books, both real and e-style. I also love to start reading books but always end up putting one down for another before I finish. On my list are 10+ books that I have gotten at least 25% through and have since abandoned. I would really like to actively try and finish everything in my collection before buying more. Wish me luck!

     

    JAY SOLWAY

    Resolution: Walk to work

     

    Why: Two things that I know to be true are that I need a little more exercise in my life and that I hate exercising. As one may imagine, it’s quite an internal struggle. With L2TMedia recently moving into a new office just miles away from home, I feel like it’s a logical first step in getting a little exercise in my life.  

     

    ERIC JAY

    Resolution: Make My Bed Each Morning

     

    Why: I’m not typically a morning person, and I tend to wake up feeling sluggish and just can’t seem to get going. I came across an article recently that points out the positive benefits of making your bed each morning and how this simple task can help you become more productive and active throughout the day. So for 2013 I plan on making my bed each morning before hopping on the train to and heading off to L2T because let’s be honest, working out and eating healthier won’t happen.

     

    MELISSA MAXWOLD

    Resolution: Always carry cash. 

     

    Why: I always seem to find myself in situations where only having a credit card makes everything more difficult: group dinners, splitting a cab, paying for a purchase under $3, tipping, etc. So in 2013, I’m vowing to make the conscious effort to always carry cash (even if it’s a measly $10) to avoid these pickles!

     

    NIKKI

    Resolution: Go to the gym more

     

    Why: I know it’s cliché, but it’s something I really want to focus on in 2013. I recently got a gym membership and have only been a few times. I really want to get in better shape and start pushing myself to go 3-4 times a week. I don’t want to throw away money each month by paying for a gym membership and not going so I’m hoping this will be my motivation to start going more.

     

    EMILY STROHMAIER

    Resolution: Be in the present.

     

    Why: As I am learning as a recent grad and new to the working world, time flies. You look down and a week has passed; months begin to seem like days. I’ve recently started taking yoga classes, and it has really brought to light that it is important to be in the present. It’s better for the mind, body and soul.

     

    In 2013, I want to make sure I stop and take a look around every once in a while. Register what I am doing. Take time to appreciate it. This includes everyone and everything. You only have one life to live, so you better make it count. Life can pass you by faster than you know it.

     

    MEGAN LYMAN

    Resolution: Bring My Lunch to Work 3-4 times a week

     

    Why:  Recently I’ve only been bringing my lunch to work a couple times a week, so I have been spending a lot of money on lunches. Then whenever I go out to dinner I find myself limiting what I want to eat based on price, but if I didn’t go out to lunch so often I wouldn’t have to worry as much about the price of my dinners!

     

    CHRISSY DAVIS

    Resolution: Take my dog Kona to the park at least 3 times a week.

     

    Why: Poor thing needs socialization too!

     

    DENA POULOS

    Resolution: Volunteer more!

     

    Why: There are always people in need and helping others makes me feel good. Whether it’s donating food to the hungry or helping children, there are lots of opportunities out there that I want to be a part of in 2013!

     

    JACK THORNBURG

    Resolution: Ride a Bull

     

    Why: Full disclosure – this was one of my unfinished resolutions from last year. More of a bucket list item, sure, but I’m thinking next year will be the year. The plan is to find a small town rodeo that is looking for a laugh (me) and is willing to loan some equipment. Then, I’ll pay the entry fee, sign my life away, and hold on tight!

     

    Have I ever been on a mechanical bull? Not quite, but I rode a horse once when I was 12. Details aside, I truly believe there’s a chance I last 8 seconds in the spotlight on a 1,700 pound bull. Call me ambitious, call me crazy, call me maybe, but this could be what I was born to do. 

     

    HAPPY NEW YEARS, EVERYONE!

     


    Finding the Value of Your Display Campaign
    Dec 26, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    Specializing in the automotive vertical does prove to have some hurdles that L2TMedia jumps every now and again especially within the Display department.  Shopping for a car online is more of a research tool rather than acquisition medium. However, thanks to our uncanny innovation, we have defined what a conversion would be considered in the automotive industry.

     

    The question comes up of how to show the value of your advertising?  The answer is simple: Multi-Channel Funnel Reporting, and more specifically, assisted conversions.  Using this tool in analytics allows advertisers to view the different mediums that aided conversions.

     

    Google notes that an assisted conversion is “any referral that is on the conversion path, but is not the last interaction”. 

     

     

    Grouping Path

     

     

    The Multi-Channel Funnel Report is proof that every medium of online marketing truly works together to produce the best results.  If you would like to learn more about how L2TMedia can help you, please feel free to contact us for more information.

    The Immediacy of Mobile Automotive Search
    Dec 03, 2012 by Susan Powalowski

     

    Part of every marketer’s job is to try and find a way into the consumer thinking process and take advantage of how it operates. Some of this includes determining target markets, where people are located in the buying process and what point will ultimately lead to the sale. Luckily, studies are often completed in order to provide bridges over the gap between consumer and provider. One study in particular helps us to understand the smartphone user of today’s automotive mobile shopper.

     

    xAd and Telmetrics recently released a useful survey of automotive shoppers in relation to mobile searches. (Which by the way if you’re not optimizing your search campaigns for mobile devices, you need to seriously consider it now.) The automotive industry, the study rightly outlines, has a hugely varying audience in terms of age, gender and a multitude of other factors. Searches on mobile were generally found to fit four basic categories: researchers, deal hunters, circumstantial users and gear heads. Because these people are using mobile devices to find information, they appear more likely to convert more quickly than if they were at home browsing on desktop or laptop computers. According to the study, “Smartphone searchers demonstrate a more immediate need as 36 percent of smartphone users, compared with 25 percent of tablet searchers, were looking to make a decision immediately or within the hour.” That is an incredibly quick search to conversion.  

     

    The most important finding is that mobile users are far more concerned about geography. The majority of the time they search it is for addresses, phone numbers and directions used for finding their way to the cars they want. Pricing and comparison information also took a decent slice of auto searches (about 43%).

     

    The study divulged details a few details about web browsing versus mobile app usage of the average automotive consumer. Unfortunately, smartphone users just don’t find apps useful for their needs. Bill Dinan, president of Telmetrics, concludes that the focus for mobile marketers should be to “monetize mobile ad performance,” over stressing about creating a complex, interactive mobile app.

     

    What does all of this information mean to automotive dealers? Mobile users want quick information about your current specials and deals, your location and how to contact you within 24 hours. That means campaigns specifically optimized for more than the casual searcher. So the only question that remains is… Are you dominating the mobile scene, or not?

     

    Full details of the study can be found here.

    Display Digs Deep
    Nov 26, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    One of the most charming attributes of Display Advertising is how granular you can get when optimizing a campaign.  Imagine being able to control all variables that play into a buyers’ decision down to the T, where you can almost guide the conversion!

     

    Optimization is truly a science and when paired with a creative eye can prove to be extremely successful and necessary, something that L2TMedia is thankful to have. The following are areas that we optimize are:

     

    Frequency- This is the measurement of how many times a user has seen an ad before they convert. We set ads to the frequency that has proved to have the highest CTR.

     

    Geotargeting- This allows us to target users within a specified geographical region made by the advertiser.

     

    Creative- If an account has multiple ads that are in the current rotation, we optimize to the ad that has received the highest CTR and leverage it accordingly within the mix.

     

    Site List- We can optimize to which websites users actually view the ad upon.  If an ad does not perform to our desired standards, then we can block that site so we start to weed out the “bad sites”.

     

    Time-of-Day- We even strategize to what hour of the day you would like your potential customers to see the ad to have a better lead to conversions. 

     

    Day-of-week- Along with the time-of-day attribute, we have the ability to optimize towards which day is preferred for a specific ad.

     

    Browser Type- Some browser types prove to have an influence on CTRs.  Therefore, we have the ability to place our media in whichever one captures better results and keep it there.

     

    Device Type- This is becoming more and more prevalent to consider while optimizing as technology progresses. The type of device a user sees the ad on does influence conversions.

     

    Here at L2TMedia, we enjoy getting down to the nitty-gritty of our accounts.  If you would like to learn more about how we can dig deeper for you, please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)!

     

     

    Say Goodbye to Static
    Nov 19, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    The phenomenon of rich media has been sweeping across the web now more than ever. Nonetheless, it should not be overlooked. A recent study conducted by MediaMind reveals the importance of acting upon this trend.  By using rich media ads over static ads, you will attract more web views and actions by a whopping 600%.  It was noted in the study that “users are four times more likely to click and visit an advertiser’s website with rich media,” meaning that you can find L2TMedia at the front of the pack. 

     

    We have always incorporated rich media into our product mix for Display Advertising; however, more recently we have been working on something to up-the-ante. On behalf of Bannerlink, we are getting ready to implement real-time inventory ads. What exactly does this mean?  Well when a user sees the ad in their browser the ad is constantly rolling through current inventory the dealership has in stock. No more games, what you see is what you get.  When the user hovers over the ad, it expands for a more complete view of the inventory.  If the user sees something they like, they can click on the item which will then take them directly to that unique page of the website creating a clearly defined and better user experience.

     

    Using the real-time inventory ads, you are getting even more granular with your targeting.  Before the precious click is complete, the user can really get a sense of whether this dealership has the products they are looking for which will help to eliminate dead ends.

     

    Contact us today to discuss how we can get your dealership started with real-time inventory advertising! .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    We Learn to Help Your Business Grow!
    Nov 12, 2012 by Jason Hamblin

     

    November is a busy month for L2TMedia. We are attending several conferences that will further improve our Online Marketing Services including PPC, SEO, Social Media, Display, & Reputation Management so we can better serve our clients. Take a look below for a sneak peak of our upcoming conferences.

     

    SES Chicago 

    November 12-16th 

     

    SES Conference & Expo provides marketing professionals, brand advertisers, agencies, and business leaders with the knowledge and tools needed to traverse the dynamic digital landscape. Designed by industry thought leaders and innovators, the instructional program will give unparalleled education to every experience level as well as great networking opportunities.

     

    View the agenda here

     

    Google All Star Summit  

    November 14-15th

     

    L2TMedia has been invited to spend two days at Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters for the Google Engage All-Stars Summit, where we’ll train and network with online advertising experts.

     

     

    Google All Star Summit

    Learn With Google

    November 14th

     

    At Learn With Google, we’ll hear about Google’s latest ad innovations, which can help us keep pace with the changing online ecosystem, better connect with our customers and achieve our business goals.

     

    In the morning, we will focus on intermediate tools and approaches that will help us better understand customers, competitors and market trends to improve the performance of our Google campaigns. The afternoon will feature breakout sessions on Analytics 201, Driving Brand Awareness and Driving Direct Response; as well as interactive product demos and one-on-one optimization sessions with Google specialists.

     

    View the agenda here.

    A Look Back on the 2012 Digital Dealer Conference
    Nov 05, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    Two week's ago, several L2TMedia employees had the pleasure of attending the 13th Digital Dealer Conference in Las Vegas. While we didn’t get to see much of the sunlight while we were there, we did get to see just how competitive the digital market has become!

     

    Remember back in the day when the “World Wide Web” was first introduced and the idea of “Web surfing” seemed like something out of the twilight zone? Traditional agencies ruled the market and the classified section of a newspaper was a car dealer’s best friend. Today, the marketing emphasis is continually shifting further away from traditional, so it's important that a dealership’s marketing tactics also make that shift to match this growing trend.

     

    The digital strategies discussed at Digital Dealer are no longer just for the technologically advanced. Search Engine Marketing is now a necessity and the newest hot topic of conversation is Reputation Management. Dena Poulos had the opportunity to attend a few breakout sessions, including one that focused on how to “Weed through the confusion and get the true facts about building an online presence that will be the envy of your competitor.” What she found ironic about the conversation was the topic came back to reputation. An online presence with a strong reputation will always beat the competition. After all, isn’t reputation what dealerships relied on before digital marketing?

     

    Something Kirstin Shew noticed that changed from the last Digital Dealer Conference this past April was the increased interest level from the dealers in attendance. The level of engagement was high, and everyone was genuinely interested in digital marketing when they approached our booth. Dealers have become more aware of the importance of digital marketing, and it showed through the level of knowledge they had and in the questions they asked. It seemed like a lot of dealers are looking to make a big digital push in 2013, and the Digital Dealer Conference helped them gain understanding in where their dollars would be best spent.

     

    In the end, with more and more Digital Agencies popping up every day, how does anyone really know which agency to do business with? There were at least five of L2TMedia’s competitors at Digital Dealer with our biggest competitor just a few steps away! There should have been an uncomfortable, tension-filled feeling in the air, but instead we felt a sense of accomplishment. This came from looking around to see so many of our valued clients hanging out at our booth all week and enjoying our time together as friends. Our clients know the value of not only good results but also a level of customer service that builds and nurtures relationships. When choosing a digital partner, customer service should always be at the top of the list. A sales rep that cannot be reached is as useless as a campaign that doesn’t perform- wouldn’t you agree?

     

    If you’re looking to build your digital presence and create a strong plan for 2013, please reach out to us via the below contact information. We would love to discuss how we can help your business grow!

     

    Kirstin Shew

    Midwest and East Coast Regional Sales Executive

    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    847-902-2600

     

    Dena Poulos

    Midwest Regional Account Executive

    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    847-323-6824

     

    Tiffany Perkins

    Regional Account Executive

    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    406-239-8702

    Do PPC and SEO Go Together?
    Oct 29, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    TangoCash

    PB&J

    Certain things just go together: peanut butter and jelly; Tango and Cash; Jay Cutler and Smokin’… there’s a whole world of combination platters out there. 

     

    One of the strongest partners in the world of online marketing is pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimization. According to a recent study from Conductor, when PPC ads are combined with organic search results above the fold (see also: appear on a search page without you scrolling down), brand awareness increases 20% over baseline results. 

     

    Now, if you’re a seasoned search vet, one of the first questions that comes to mind is this: “If I rank organically #1, or among the top results, why would I need a paid ad, too?”

     

    This is a really good question, and one we hear a lot from clients. And while a PPC expert can likely give you a detailed explanation about fending off competitors and building up quality scores, there’s a shorter answer from the data in this study. Remember that 20% increase in brand awareness we described with a paid and organic listing above the fold? Well, that becomes only a 10% increase over baseline results when there is only a natural, organic listing on the search page.

     

    The takeaway? SEO plus PPC campaigns simply lead to better results for your brand and business.

     

    This data backs the March 2012 study from Google that strongly suggested organic traffic and paid stood to benefit from a combined effort. Except, you know, this time the study isn’t from Google, the player most likely to gain from an increased interest in paid search advertising.

     

    End of the day, the basic idea makes plenty of sense. The more visible your brand is, through more and more relevant channels, the better your chances of landing a new customer or visitor to your website. SEO and paid search can service very different needs, for different situations, but ultimately they overlap into one all important category: total search traffic.

     

    PPC + SEO

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    photos by myscenicroute.tumblr.com, spectrumculture.com, relationshipplaybook.com

    Top 7 Reasons to Visit Booth 701
    Oct 16, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    dd

    At L2TMedia, we’re super excited for next week’s 13th Digital Dealer Conference in Las Vegas, NV. Each year, Digital Dealer brings together some of the top names in the autotmotive and digital marketing arenas. If you’d like to learn more about the event, check out their website!

     

    We know there's lots to see and do at the Digital Dealer Conference, but we'd love for you to stop by and visit us at booth 701. In fact, we've come up with the top 7 reasons we think you should! Starting October 16th, we'll be adding one each day leading up to the event. Check back daily to see what we have in store for you! 

     

    7. Learn about our custom solution to help build and solidify your business' online reputation.

     

    6. L2T-colored m&ms. Yumm!


    5. Eye-catching bags to hold all your DD goodies!


    4. Discuss how to build brand awarness and stay top-of-mind with shoppers who have previously visited your website.


    3. Get to know Inc. 500|5000's 788th fasest growing privately-owned company of 2012! 


    2. 6 specialized Sales professionals ready to discuss your business' digital marketing needs.


    1. Chance to win an iPad 3 or one of two Visa gift certificates! See what we mean here!


    Zagat Ratings Updated for Google+ Local Listings
    Oct 15, 2012 by Jack Thornburg

     

    Last week, Google unrolled an update to all Google+ Local Pages that is definitely worth digging into. The change seems mostly cosmetic at this point but could foreshadow some changes to come regarding the Zagat rating we’ve (almost) gotten comfortable with the past five months.

     

    Adjectives Replace Numbers

     

    For most local car dealerships, we have been seeing three different categories for each review: Quality, Appeal, and Service. Customers can give a different rating for each category, allowing them to be more thorough in their critique.

     

    Whereas customers previously chose a number from 0 to 3 for each category, they are now asked to choose an adjective describing their experience. The screenshot below outlines the descriptors they can choose from.

     

     write your review

     

    As a result, all reviews are now shown with these adjectives instead of numbers – even reviews that were written before Zagat and Google+ integrated their review structure. You can see what a review now looks like (with ratings as adjectives) in the screenshot below.

     

     review

     

    Why the Update?

     

    From an SEO or Reputation Management perspective, I don’t think much is affected by this update. Local search consultant, Mike Blumenthal, points out that the change was most likely made because it “improves the search experience” and “makes the otherwise obtuse Zagat numbering system into something understandable by mere mortals.” Both could simply be categorized as improvements to user experience.

     

    Abandoning the Zagat Rating System?

     

    Currently, businesses are still given an overall ranking out of 30, staying true to the original Zagat scale. Apart from some of my foodie friends that have been describing restaurants as a “solid 24 rating” for years, I think many people are still confused by the 0-30 scale.

     

    Is this recent update a glimpse of Google abandoning the Zagat rating for something more “user friendly” such as an all adjective rating system? I think that is a real possibility. While I like the concreteness of a number scale, the Zagat numbers are downright confusing to a non-foodie. Also, it’s easy to appreciate what the adjectives would do for user experience.

     

    My prediction is that there will be an update to the overall Zagat rating in the near future. However, like most things in life, whether it will remain a number scale or not is up to Google!

     

    Feel free to shoot me an email with any questions, comments, or ideas for a future blog post. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

     

     

    L2T’s 2013 Ad Copy CTR Tactics
    Oct 08, 2012 by Jason Hamblin

     

    We all know that grouping keywords into similar themes along with making sure that your keyword is related to both the ad copy and the landing pages is going to help improve CTR. I want to take this a step further and share my top 4 tactics I will be utilizing in 2013 for Ad Copy.

     

    The 4 Proven CTR Tactics:

     

    1.      Utilize all 6 of the AdWords Extensions
    2.      Dynamically Generate Ads with AdWords Scripts
    3.      Set Up Seller Rating Extensions 

    4.      Offer Extensions


    AdWords Extensions


    Ad extensions are a great way to improve upon existing click through rates. Essentially, these help your ads become more visible by taking up more real estate on SERPs, and they also enable your ads to reveal some of the specific products/services offered by your business or client. This tactic can improve CTR because your customers can more easily find what they are looking for by simply clicking on the particular link they’re interested in.

     

    Here are 6 Ad Extensions:

     

    1. Location Extensions : Add your physical location to ad copy
    2. Call Extensions : Add your business phone number to ad copy
    3. Sitelinks Extensions : Add additional website URLs to ad copy
    4. Product Extensions : Add specific information on your products
    5. Social Extensions : Add social extension link your Google+ page to your AdWords campaigns
    6. Mobile App Extensions : Add a link to your ad copy for your mobile extension

     

    Dynamically Generated Ads


    Dynamic Search Ads target relevant searches with ads generated directly from your website -- dynamically. With Dynamic Search Ads, Google keeps a fresh index of your inventory using their organic web crawling technology. When a relevant search occurs, they dynamically generate an ad with a headline based on the query and the text based on your most relevant landing page. The ad enters the auction and competes normally but is held back for any search where you also have an eligible keyword-targeted ad. So you get better results from broader exposure for more of your in-stock inventory, without making any changes to your existing keyword campaigns. Innovative marketers that begin writing scripts for their clients will be far ahead of the competition. Google AdWords Scripts are far less complicated than the Google API and having the choice to share scripts will help to accelerate this type of easy programming.

     

    Seller Rating Extension


    Seller Rating Extensions make iteasier for potential customers to identify highly-rated merchants when they're searching on Google by attaching your star rating from Google Product Search to your AdWords ads. These star ratings, gathered from review sites all around the web, allow people to find merchants that are highly recommended by online shoppers like them. Having these ratings in your ad copy results in a 5-10 lift in CTR.

     

    Offer Extensions


    Offer Extensions let you give your customers redeemable offers such as coupons, discounts, rebates and more.

     

    You can offer customers two different redemption options:

     

    1. Online redemption: If a user clicks the “View offer” link in an ad, they're taken to an advertiser’s offer page (with offer redemption details) on their website. For example, if a user clicks an offer extension promoting 20% off green lava lamps, they'll be taken to a page of the advertiser’s website featuring a redemption code or redemption option for 20% off green lava lamps.
     

    2. In-store redemption: Once a user has clicked the “View offer” link in an ad, they'll be taken to a Google hosted landing page where they can view the offer and either print it or save it online (to their “My Offers” page at www.google.com/offers) for in-store use.

     

    These are the tactics that I will be utilizing moving forward into 2013. The industry moves at lightning speed, so I am looking forward to the next ad copy feature that will help with the CTR.

    For Every Search There is a Season: Using Trends to Understand SEO Traffic
    Oct 01, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    “What the hell are you doing?”

     

    I’ll admit now I was a little aggressive, but my wife had really just turned my world upside down.

     

    “Christmas shopping,” she replied casually, turning around like I was the nut.

     

    “Christmas shopping? In March? What the hell?”

     

    “Yeah, I see something my mom will like.”

     

    “In March? We just had Christmas! How do you know she’ll even like this in, like, 14 months? How do you even know if she’ll still be around?”

     

    [Insert murderous glance here]

     

    “Ok, ok, I just mean, it’s not really Christmas shopping season. Seems kind of weird. Smart, I guess, but really abnormal. You couldn’t wait until November like a normal person?”

     

    [Insert invitation to sleeping on the couch here]

     

    Let’s face it, even though every buying cycle is going to have outliers like my wife, there are established seasonal trends we all (well most of us) know to expect. In SEO, we call this “search seasonality,” and we pay close attention to how it can affect your online marketing expectations.

     

    What Does Search Seasonality Mean for your SEO?

     

    As a business owner, or even as a consumer, you intuitively understand there are peak seasons for every product. This becomes a major factor with search engine marketing, as the total amount of people running searches related to your product will ebb and flow in accordance with these trends.

     

    Buyers Index

     

     

    As you can see in the graph above, automotive searches fluctuate significantly depending on the month, and even from year to year. Check out that huge spike in 2009. That’s Cash For Clunkers at its peak. If you’re looking to compare data from 2010 to that period of 2009, you’re not exactly comparing apples to apples. It’s more like apples to Cash For Clunkers.

     

    Top 3 Examples of Seasonality Impacting SEO in the Automotive Industry

     

    At L2TMedia we like to focus our SEO on the total number of organic visits your site receives. We measure ourselves every month by showing our clients just how many visits they had, what those visitors were doing, and what they searched for to find the site. And just to provide even more transparency, we offer comparison data to previous months.

     

    Although we prefer it when we’re able to increase total organic visitors every single month, we’re very aware that search seasonality can play a significant role in traffic totals. Ideally, we want to compare year over year data, with the assumption that seasonal trends from year to year are more closely aligned. This would be preferable to, say, comparing September to August data, where traditionally August is the strongest organic traffic month year in and year out. Again, apples to apples.

     

    At the end of the day, total search volume is a variable we’re not doing much to control as a digital agency. In other words, we’re not directly asking consumers to please search for our targeted terms. What we are doing is working to put clients in the best possible position to grab the highest percentage of the available search traffic.

     

    Here are a few examples of how search trends can impact an SEO campaign:

     

    1)      Product Interest – Seasonal search fluctuations for particular vehicle offerings are kind of a secret weapon for any SEO campaign. Take a look at search volume trends this year for the phrase “2013 Ford Escape.”

     

     

    Google Insights

     

     

    One of the things we like to do with keyword research at L2T is catch rising search terms before they peak. With the long-term nature of SEO, it’s important to target future prospects ahead of the competition. If you caught the upward trending with the Ford Escape in March, you were in for some pretty exciting search opportunities in April and July.

     

    2)     Location, Location, Location – While search trends for the United States are perfectly interesting, when we’re dealing with a local business, it’s nice to be able to narrow down search volume by region. 

     

    For example, summer search trends for a store in Florida are not the same as trends for a store in the Midwest. Why? Florida sees a lot of… more experienced residents migrate north during the warmer summer months. Local searches for cars during those months reflect exactly that.

     

    3)      Big Current Events – As mentioned with the Cash For Clunkers example, general brand news and new waves of OEM media can impact the total search volume trends. At L2T, we’re constantly using tools like Google Insights to gauge search trends and capture new opportunities. If Chrysler just released a new Eminem commercial everybody’s talking about, we certainly want to capture that hype.

     

    At the end of the day, it’s useful to keep search seasonality in mind as you interpret traffic each month. While, yes, there will always be some people doing their Christmas shopping in March, most searchers will fall in line with predictable patterns.  

    Keeping it Fresh: How Creative Rotation Impacts Performance
    Sep 24, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    One of the most appealing facets of display advertising for me is the creative component. We’ve seen advertisers do incredible things in very small spaces online to catch a potential customer’s eye. This also means that the consumer’s expectations are rising as well.

     

    Be Different.

     

    What this means for the advertiser is that if you don’t put effort into your display creative, it’s likely that your potential costumer will look right past your ad. Invest in differentiating yourself from your competition.

     

    Fresh Creative is Important. 

     

    If fact, producing compelling creative may be the single most important factor in supporting your ongoing online display advertising success. Comscore reports indicate “The creative used in your advertising campaigns is 4x more impactful on performance than the placement of your ads.”

     

    Test, record and move on.

     

    While there’s no magic formula, the best approach is that of a scientist. Testing is the only way to find success outside of copying others…which everyone else is already doing.

     

    L2TMedia understands the power of a creative message. Let us help you find your voice online.

    Google+ Reviews: Why do they disappear?
    Sep 17, 2012 by Jack Thornburg

     

    This has been a huge source of concern and panic from businesses lately.  You work hard to drive authentic, positive reviews from satisfied customers, but they won’t stick!  Frustrating doesn’t even begin to describe it.

     

    Unfortunately, when dealing with Google, all we have are theories as to why reviews are vanishing.  The one thing we know for sure is that Google uses some kind of quality-assurance filter in an effort to keep reviews authentic.  What constitutes an authentic review?  That’s where the theories come into play.

     

    A fantastic outline of this issue over on SEOmoz encourages business owners to file complaints within a single Google forum thread.  The goal, of course, is to bombard Google with enough complaints in one spot to coerce attention to the issue.  Jade W., a Google employee, responded with a vague explanation along with some tips for ensuring reviews stick:

     

    "Soliciting reviews is suspect behavior for our systems, so please please please make sure your reviews are legitimate and left by your customers of their own accord... The majority of the reviews cases that I have investigated from the forum and other channels are reviews being taken down for suspicious reviewing behavior…

     

    It's fine if you reach out to customers to ask them to review, but I do not recommend that you do this in waves. If you want to reach out to legit customers and ask them to review, I recommend you contact them immediately after you have done business with them. ...In our ideas, the "ideal" review is by a customer who writes a review of a place completely by his or her own accord, on mobile during the experience or at home after. This would mimic the regular flow of the business. On the other hand, some SEO companies that resort to spam reviews to deliver "results" would exhibit different behavior."

     

    One thing to note – she points out that it is okay to reach out to customers in an effort to drive reviews, but warns against large, unnatural waves.  Are monthly newsletters that encourage customers to write reviews considered unnatural waves to Google’s spam filter?  I’d argue that they are not.  As easy as it is to argue that Google is evil, I don’t see them overacting to something as common as an e-blast.  What I would warn against is using this newsletter/e-blast technique once every few months and thereby getting extremely large waves of reviews with longer lag times between waves.

     

    While there are all kinds of theories out there about why reviews are being removed (Joy Hawkins put together a great list), I think it’s important to not get bogged down by the details in an effort to combat Google’s filter.  Don’t tell customers not to use the same word too many times in their review so it doesn’t look spammy.  Don’t tell customers to do a Google search in order to get to your review site organically rather than using the link on your site.  These things will not only drive you crazy, but will probably make you look crazy to your customer!

     

    The single most important thing to remember is that it’s crucial to employ a consistent review generation strategy as a part of your reputation management campaign.  After a positive interaction with a customer, ask them if they would mind writing a review of your business when they get home.  It’s personable, it’s organic, and it will lead to a natural and honest review.  Even if Google finds a way to flag it as spam, you have the safety net of a strong review generation strategy constantly bringing in new reviews.

     

    Good luck out there and, as always, if you have any questions or ideas for future blog posts, please feel free to email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    Quality Scores and How Poor Account Management Can Stay to Haunt You
    Sep 10, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    As Google continues to strive toward extreme paid search relevancy for all searches, they continue to place emphasis and importance on Quality Scores.  A Quality Score is an estimate of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing page are to a person seeing your ad.  Each keyword gets a Quality Score on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is the lowest score and 10 is the highest. The Quality Score is recalculated every time your ads are eligible for the ad auction, which can potentially happen many times a day. 

     

    How are Quality Scores calculated you might ask?  Well Google takes into account several factors which are listed in order of importance below:

     

    • Your keyword's past click through rate (CTR): How often that keyword led to clicks on your ad
    • Your display URL's past CTR: How often you received clicks with your display URL
    • Your account history: The overall CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account
    • The quality of your landing page: How relevant, transparent, and easy-to-navigate your page is
    • Your keyword/ad relevance: How relevant your keyword is to your ads
    • Your keyword/search relevance: How relevant your keyword is to what a customer searches for
    • Geographic performance: How successful your account has been in the regions you're targeting
    • Your ad's performance on a site: How well your ad has been doing on this and similar sites (if you're targeting the Display Network)
    • Your targeted devices: How well your ads have been performing on different types of devices, such as desktops/laptops, mobile devices, and tablets. You get different Quality Scores for different types of devices.

     

    So now that we know how Google calculates them, how can having higher Quality Scores help your account?

     

    • Ad auction eligibility: Higher Quality Scores make it easier and cheaper for a keyword to enter the ad auction.
    • Your keyword's actual cost-per-click (CPC): Higher Quality Scores lead to lower CPCs. That means you pay less per click when your keyword has a higher Quality Score.
    • Ad position: Higher Quality Scores lead to higher ad positions. That means your ad can show up higher on the page when your keyword has a higher Quality Score.

     

    Now that you know all about Quality Scores, let’s get down to how they can hurt you with poor account management. 

     

    ghost

    If you look at your CTRs, and they are not where they should be, poor account management is most likely the culprit and this creates a long term problem.  The low CTRs have most likely affected the quality scores which can take months to rebuild.  Because of the lower quality scores, your CPCs are now higher and it’s difficult to move up in positioning by just bidding up.  You might come to ask yourself if creating a new account and starting from scratch would be a better idea.  Not this time!  Unfortunately, account history stays with the domain and unless the homepage URL changes, the history will stay. 

     

    Because of all this, it is now more important than ever to choose the right agency to manage your search campaigns from the start and get your Quality Score where it should be.

    What Impact Does Your Automotive Social Media Have on SEO?
    Sep 03, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    Is social media the secret to SEO?

     

    Many industry experts have been questioning and analyzing this issue recently, and with the buzz and excitement surrounding the potential of social marketing, it’s an interesting debate. After all, you have Bing connecting search results with Facebook, Google personalizing results with Google+, and Dogpile probably trying something similar, but who knows, they’re Dogpile. There are some who think that in Google’s post-Panda, post-Penguin world, social engagement is the key to high search engine rankings. 

     

    While I definitely agree with the value of social media as an important component of any online marketing mix, I think it’s important to recognize social posts aren’t quite the magic bullet for quick number one rankings.

     

    In other words, it’s very unlikely at this point in time that an onslaught of Facebook posts will rapidly help you rank better for that elusive “Toyota dealer” term you’re targeting. Why is that? Well, in part it’s because Google has varying degrees of crawler access to certain social platforms. The major platforms like Facebook and Twitter have very publicly indicated issues with Google crawling their data.

     

    Additionally, in a recent interview, Google’s Matt Cutts (basically the voice of Google) was careful to say natural links are still more powerful than social signals. This means that although Google is placing increased weight on the value of social links (a campaign feature we offer with certain SEO packages at L2T), they have not yet supplanted the value of natural linking.

     

    Be wary of anyone who tells you social media will solve all your search needs. Actively managing social platforms is great for brand awareness, consumer engagement, and visitors finding and sharing your content. While all of these things can contribute to the success of your brand online, there are still separate SEO tactics and website optimizations that can be just as helpful. It’s important to take a holistic view of your online campaigns and tie all areas of focus together.

    SM does not equal SEO

     

    Social media is exciting and a great, emerging opportunity for any local business. But it’s not the standalone secret to SEO – not yet at least. 

    Ad Networks vs. Ad Exchanges: It’s all the same, right?
    Aug 27, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    The common theme here is that both entities represent a group of websites and/or publishers. Because these groups of sites are easily accessible from one point of origin, scaling advertising campaigns for additional impression volume is much easier. Everyone wins right? Well, not exactly.

     

    Here are the abbreviated definitions of each from Wikipedia. You’ll notice they sound very similar but I’ll explain just how dramatically different they really are shortly.

     

    “Online Ad Networks are companies that connect advertisers to Web Sites that want to host advertisements.”  ~Wikipedia.com

     

    That sounds pretty simple right? Now here’s the definition of an Ad Exchange…

     

    “Ad Exchanges are technology platforms that facilitate buying and selling of online media advertising inventory.” 


    “Wait. What?” you say? “Those look nearly identical right? Right??”

     

    To most advertisers, these two entities appear the same. To our team here at L2TMedia, there are many additional factors to the success of your campaign that are far more important than convenience.  Here are a few things to consider…

     

    Playing the Markets

    A good analogy here is to think of the Ad Exchange as the Stock Exchange, the Ad Network as a Mutual Fund and the website as the Company/Stock.

     

    Trading Strategies

    The fundamental distinction here is that the Stock Exchange (Ad Exchange) is a technology platform and the Mutual Fund (Ad Network) is a company. One can make arguments for doing business with either based on goals but in our case; we favor the first for its efficiencies.

     

    Investment Capital

    While the Company/Stock (Website), Mutual Fund (Ad Network) and Stock Exchange (Ad Exchange) may very well offer the same stock, prices vary. Here are a few scenarios.

     

    -Buy directly from the Company/Stock (Website) and you face issues with diversification.

     

    -Buy from the Stock Exchange (Ad Exchange) through a brokerage house and you pay an execution fee.

     

    -Buy through a Mutual Fund (Ad Network) and you will pay an execution fee and management fee. (You’ll probably pay for the CEO’s new yacht as well.)

     

    More often than not, there’s a minimum initial investment required for a Mutual Fund (Ad Network). This makes it challenging for a smaller investor (Advertiser).

     

    Market Valuation

    Have you ever tried to negotiate with the New York Stock Exchange? Of course you haven’t. This is because you know there’s nothing to negotiate. Price is based on supply and demand. This is the same case with Ad Exchanges. Remember these three words…Open Market Value. It works.

     

    Investment Allocation

    Although Warren Buffet may argue his case, we can’t always afford to go ‘All In’ on our investments. Understanding this hedging strategy, we can also apply it to buying media. Although we can’t always pick the winners every time, we have a better chance through diversification. Here’s what diversification looks like in the online display ad space:

     

    GDN

     

    No one understands this better than L2TMedia, which is why we’ve built a Display Program with this in mind. Our approach cuts through the waste and bloat of Ad Networks, providing our clients with true diversity and reach within their respective markets.

     

    Here are just a few of our advertising partners…

    advertising partners

     

    Now where would you invest your money? I know where I would put mine.


    Why Choose L2T to Manage Your PPC Campaigns?
    Aug 20, 2012 by Jason Hamblin

     

    Below are what we think are the top 15 reasons to work with an agnecy, rather than managing in-house.

     

    1. Certifications.

    All L2TMedia PPC Specialists are Certified on Google AdWords and Bing AdCenter

     

    2. Publishers.

    We run PPC campaigns on Google, Bing/Yahoo and Facebook

     

    3. Compliancy.

    L2TMedia has a Compliancy Team in place for nearly every manufacturer.

     

    4. Automotive Experience.

    We see data for over 700 other dealerships and have a good idea of what works in every market

     

    5. L2TMedia Support.

    L2T assigns a Salesperson, Account Manager and PPC Specialist to each client, giving them three layers of support

     

    6. Google Betas.

    Select L2T clients can be opted into new Google Beta Programs

     

    7. Support.

    Google provides quarterly health checks on all our PPC accounts (Match Types, Ad Copy, Mobile PPC, etc.)

     

    8. Productivity.

    PPC management is a time-consuming activity. With this burden removed, your employees can focus on doing their jobs

     

    9. Accuracy.

    Marketing mistakes can be painful. A good marketing services provider is less likely to make a serious error than your in-house staff because at a well-structured agency, there are teams in place to check each other's work.

     

    10. Reliability.

    In-house marketing activities function as reliably as the people doing the work. With a search marketing service, output speed and quality won't vary in accordance with vacations and illnesses. You also won't have to spend time helping new hiresunderstand your business' search campaign.

     

    11. Speed.

    Because search marketing providers are specialists with vast technical resources at their disposal, they can process even the most complex campaigns at a faster speed. Unlike most employers, they can also accommodate a temporary increase in seasonal activity without acquiring new employees.

     

    12. Insight.

    A good PPC provider will know all the ins and outs of search, including the multiple changes to the AdWords platform each month

     

    13. Accountability.

    If your campaign is mishandled, it's the service provider's responsibility to fix things. If the provider can't (or won't) remedy the situation to your satisfaction, you can sue. You can also switch to another service provider in a snap. Try firing, hiring, and training an in-house staff in anything less than a month.

     

    14. Flexibility.

    Boring, repetitive search work can act like an anchor on your business. Your staff, when freed of these responsibilities, will be free to focus on other, more creative work.

     

    15. Worry.

    There's a lot to be said for the peace of mind that outsourcing PPC management services can bring to a business owner or manager. No headaches, no hassles: you're left to focus on running a profitable business.

    L2TMedia Names Brian Famigletti as Vice President of Business Development and Strategy
    Aug 14, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    L2TMedia proudly announces the addition of Brian Famigletti as Vice President of Business Development and Strategy. The fast-growing, digital marketing agency will utilize Famigletti’s extensive industry experience and success to identify and outline sales and operational planning with three core objectives: develop a general business strategy including all operational initiatives, establish a clear product roadmap and execution plan for bringing new products to market, and continue to grow a national sales force.

     

    “We are extremely excited to have Brian on board and believe he will be a tremendous asset to our company,” says Executive VP of Operations and Managing Partner, Liz Prior. “He brings a wealth of marketing and business acumen that will continue to help us become one of, if not, the leading agencies in the retail automotive space.”

     

    Famigletti has spent a majority of his career focusing on growth strategy, competitive positioning, market expansion, product development, segmentation and digital portfolio management for several industry-leading companies. His most recent tenure was as a Business Management Consultant at Infosys Technologies, which was  named Forbes Magazine’s “2011 Most Innovative Company in the World”. Prior to Infosys Technologies, Brian spent four years as the Director of Marketing at Vibes Media, one of the first companies to develop a proprietary software that enables the exchange of text messages for marketing and promotional purposes. During his stay at Vibes Media, the company experienced a  unprecedented growth in profit and was named one of Inc.’s 500 fastest growing companies.

     

    In his early career, Famigletti contributed to customer research, segmentation, and targeting initiatives at Ogilvy and Mather and Element79 for large brands such as BP, Lowe’s, Sears, Quaker and Cricket Wireless. Brian received his MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management in 2010. He completed his undergrad at Harvard University with a Bachelor’s degree in Government.

     

    Famigletti’s hard work and proven business success will make him an incredible asset to L2TMedia. His keen eye for identifying areas of opportunity, needs in the marketplace and tactics for profitable business growth will take L2TMedia to the next level as it continues to thrive in the digital marketing industry. 

    New Google Webmaster Tools to Help Your SEO Campaign
    Aug 13, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    It’s been a busy year for Google, and that means it’s been a busy year for the SEO team at L2T. With major algorithmic updates like Penguin impacting search engine rankings, it was only a matter of time before Google came through with some helpful information for online marketers.

     

    A handful of new features within Google’s Webmaster Tools have recently been released. For the unfamiliar, Google’s Webmaster Tools is essentially a diagnostic check for your website. We use the information provided to gauge things like search volume, broken links, and site speed.

     

    Here’s a look at two of the most interesting new features and how we’re using them to manage SEO campaigns at L2TMedia.

     

    Download Latest Links

     

    For some time, Webmaster Tools has provided information on which sites link most to your site. While it’s very useful to know where you’re getting links from, Google has taken it one step further with the “latest links” download.

     

    You can now easily view exactly where your website receives links from and when Google registers the link. See below for a glimpse:

     

    Latest Links

     

    For our SEO campaigns, the advantage of this information is that we can gain a much better understanding of how long it takes Google to register each component of a link-building campaign.

     

    For example, let’s say we wrote a guest-blog post for L2TMedia. Assuming the post linked back to our own website, we could now use Webmaster Tools to find out exactly when Google acknowledged the link. This exact date can then be used to gauge (to a reasonable extent) the effect on overall search traffic. It also provides a greater understanding of how long it takes Google to discover links from different websites.

     

    What else would we like to see this feature provide? It would be helpful to know which links Google registers as follow or no follow. More importantly, Bing recently added a “Disavow Link” feature to their webtools. This can be a useful option when you discover links from disreputable sites. After all, you can’t control every link that comes your way. We’re hopeful this is in the works at Google.

     

    To access this feature for yourself, you can click: Traffic > Internal Links > Download Latest Links.

     

    Internal Links

     

    Index Status

     

    The most recent addition to the webmaster’s arsenal is the “Index Status.” This feature officially lets you know how many pages on your site are indexed in the Google search engine.

     

    Why does page indexation matter? Let’s say you have a smaller website with 100 pages. When you write the content for that 101st page, you want to be sure Google and other search engines are including the page in their search results. Once Google “indexes” the page, they have it on record and available to the searching public. It can be useful data to know exactly when a page of yours is indexed and how long it traditionally takes Google to index.

     

    With a larger website with thousands of pages, you’d have a hard time with such a granular approach. That said, even the basic data can showcase trends in indexation. For example:

     

    Index Status Photo

     

    The advanced section of the Index Status adds how many URLs Google has ever crawled, how many URLs are not selected for indexation, and any URLs that are blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file.

     

    Again, the added data is welcome. A large amount of “not selected” URLs might indicate that Google is deeming many pages on your site too similar. From an SEO perspective, this could mean it’s time to increase the unique and fresh content across your existing pages.

     

    To access this feature for yourself, within Webmaster Tools you can click: Health > Index Status.

     

    We’ll be keeping our eyes open for more, as Google continues releasing information that can help your website’s search presence.

    Google+ Local Includes Option to Merge with Google+ Business
    Aug 06, 2012 by Jack Thornburg

     

    If you’ve worked with Google+ Local (previously Google Places) in the past, you know that there is virtually no customer support for the overabundance of issues that occur month over month.  Instead, we troll through the Google Places Help Forum to get the latest information on G+ Local and gripe about what isn’t working.

     

    This past Friday, one of the Google employees on the help forum shared some great news – local businesses that have created a Google+ Business Page can now merge that page with their Google+ Local Listing!

     

    The merge will undoubtedly improve your local listing on Google+

     

    From a reputation management perspective, you will have the opportunity to show potential customers more about yourself through customized pictures and engaging content uploaded to your posts stream. 

     

    Also, when satisfied customers make their way to your newly merged page, they will have the ability to write a positive review and circle your business into their Google+ circle from the same location.

     

    Chicago Music Exchange

     

     

    From an SEO perspective, merging your two Google+ listings can only support your business’ validity in Google’s eyes.  Think of it this way – if Google is in charge of serving up what they believe to be the most legitimate and helpful listings for users, they will use whatever information they have on hand.  Google+ (clearly a Google product) is a great resource for the search engine to use in order to determine which businesses have their ducks in a row.  After all, I’ve found that if you play by Google’s rules, you will be rewarded in the long run.

     

    How do I merge my Google+ Local Listing with my Google+ Business Profile?

     

    Per Google employee, Jade W., in the Google Product Forums:

     

    Just click on Verify now on the right side of the page. You’ll need to verify that you’re representing your business by having a postcard sent, even if you’re a verified business owner on Google Places for Business. Also note that verification will only work for pages created in the "Local Business or Place" category in Google+.

     

    Further, the Google+ Help Forum has updated some tips on verifying your page.

     

    1. Hover over Unverified at the top of your Google+ page. Click the Verify now button when it appears. Or, click Verify now in the Is this your business? section below the map.
     

    2. Confirm your address and click Request postcard again. Your postcard should arrive within a week or so.

     

    3. Once it’s arrived, go to the website listed on the postcard, http://www.google.com/local/verify.

     

    4. If you've requested a postcard for multiple Google+ pages, make sure to click on the name of the business that the postcard is for.

     

    5. Enter the PIN listed on the postcard and click Submit.

     

    With these quick steps, you should be on your way to a condensed, optimized Google+ presence!  Be sure to contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with any questions about the process, its benefits, or for troubleshooting tips.  Happy merging! 

     


    Don’t Leave Out Your Service and Fixed Ops!
    Jul 30, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    Who recalls episodes of The Brady Bunch where Jan Brady was constantly saying it’s always, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”?  I get the feeling that that Service (and Fixed Ops) is the ‘Jan Brady’ to the dealership…as the focus is always “Sales, Sales, Sales”!

     

    Service is just as important as sales.  Think of it this way:  You buy a vehicle, and you own that vehicle, on average, for 4 years (used) or 6 years (new).  That is one transaction for the sales department. 

     

    In comparison, how many transactions in the service department could you potentially have?  Let’s simplify the math and look at one example.  That new vehicle will need an oil change every 6 months, so that is twice per year for 6 years, equaling 12 times in the service department.  That is 12 more times that the customer will be back in your dealership.  That is 12 more opportunities for you to ‘sell’ your other fixed ops, ‘sell’ your reputation, and acquire potential referrals through your outstanding customer service.   You may even sell another vehicle to that same family whose son or daughter is turning 16 in a few months. 

     

    In addition, tires, brakes, and other parts and accessories need to be changed, realigned, fixed, etc.  Most car buyers think that a service department will be more expensive than taking their car to an independent repair shop.  If you aren’t marketing yourself as viable place to bring your car in for service, how will this customer know to come back to you? 

     

    I am sure you are asking this very question, so here are some answers: 

     

    1.  Creating a personalized Service Microsite offering coupons to new and/or current customers

     

    Capitol Honda Service Microsite

     

    2. Through a customized PPC campaign focusing strictly on Service, Parts and Accessories

    Service PPC Campaign

      3. Managing your Service Department’s online reputation 

    Negative Google Review

     

    Is your service department going to settle for being Jan Brady?  I should hope not.  

     

    Geographic Targeting for Local Display Advertising
    Jul 25, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    Whether you aspire to run an international sales effort or just want to reach a specific neighborhood in your town, L2TMedia has technology available to suit any advertiser’s specific geographic targeting needs.

     

    Geographic Targeting can be one of your most powerful advertising tools if used correctly. As the market continues to flood with advertising data companies, the big consumer data sources are scrambling to monetize the available data, and they are doing this very successfully. Since this has been so successful, we have also seen an influx Data Management Platforms, also known as DMPs, to help organize and make sense of it all.

     

    While I’m not saying that this isn’t a great tool, my hunch is that the companies that collect this data are getting every last penny they can from their marketable audience behavior points. Perhaps you’ve even experienced this yourself. For example, let’s say you’ve been in the market for a new Toyota Corolla. Shortly after researching your options online, you begin to see display ads for Nissan, Honda and Ford. Your behavioral data has been sold, re-sold, and then sold again.

     

    With a cost efficient, local prospecting display strategy, we can avoid nearly all of this congestion by utilizing some simple geo-targeting options to refine our basic strategy, which is to get our clients more customers.

     

    The targeting option of choice here at L2TMedia has always been Zip Code. This, coupled with Census Data (Household Income, Gender, etc.) and the myriad of other mapping tools online, begin to define our target audience and their location to create a more successful campaign for our clients. 

    The Largest New Car Dealer in the US?
    Jul 23, 2012 by Susan Powalowski

     

    Pay Per Click specialists everywhere test out hundreds of different combinations of words and phrases to draw in an audience’s attention. With any given Google search, paid ad copy is the first glimpse of results a user will see, so it must be riveting, insightful, inviting, exciting…you get the idea.

     

    But all the effort that goes into designing a clickable call-to-action could be swept to the wayside in the foreseeable future. Google is now beta testing its Vehicle Advertising Lead Generation Program.

     

    This new feature would essentially replace an automotive dealer’s online inventory for Google searchers by reducing the amount of steps a user must take to reach their desired destination. In other words, rather than clicking on a paid ad to get to an inventory landing page, inventory is presented immediately. So far, the feature displays a stock photograph of the searched vehicle, the vehicle's price, and links to more information. Searchers in the San Francisco area have just gotten a taste of what it’s like, and you can check the feature out by following the instructions below.

     

    To play around with the new tool, first make sure your location is set to "San Francisco, CA" or zip code 94109 on the left-hand side of your Google results page. (Remember, this feature is currently only available in the Northern California area.) Next, conduct a Google search with the query “Mountain View BMW.” Below is what you might see. A visit to www.google.com/cars shows us how much more in-depth Google is willing to go. 

     

    Google screenshot

     

     

    There are two options for this feature in search: Cars and Dealers. Let’s look at the "Car" search option. Based on your location, the Google-bots scan their databases for the make and model of your choosing, what dealer currently has it in stock, and the model's MSRP. Additional search options include color, transmission, year, drive and more. After finding the car of your dreams, you have three follow-up options:

     

    1. Email dealer
    2. Request a callback
    3. Call dealers

     

    This is where the lead generation occurs. We’re now left to wonder how much this will ultimately cost automotive dealers to a) display inventory, b) receive top positioning, and finally c) get the lead. The auction format for current PPC advertising could be the final answer, but advertisers are still left wondering how the rest of the details will be worked out. For now, we'll have to wait for these answers. The participating automotive dealers are under contract to keep the details of the program hush-hush.

     

    Could the new lead generation program be costly in other ways? Dealers that haven’t picked up on PPC as a major marketing strategy could end up falling even further behind. Consider the generations of people growing up with not only the Internet, but also Google as the #1 fact-finder out there.

     

    It seems the only option at this point is to stay informed and stay aggressive with search engine marketing efforts. 

    The Bad and the Ugly of Social Media
    Jul 16, 2012 by Jack Thornburg

     

    Last weekend I was approached by an old friend at the bar – we’ll call him Sean. My friend Sean has moved away since college and is currently teaching English in another country. We caught up over a few drinks when eventually he started one of the greatest sales pitches I’ve ever been a part of...

     

    I can’t talk too much about it, but I’ve got a product that will revolutionize multiple industries in the next 1-3 years. We don’t have a Chicago rep and I think you have what it takes to be that guy. Six hours a week, that’s all it takes. I’m talking $15,000 a month.


    And there I was, trapped in my favorite scene from The Social NetworkI was in.

     

    The Social Network


    Fast forward a few days.

     

    I did some research on the company and eventually concluded that Sean is involved in some kind of pyramid scheme that would make Charles Ponzi blush. I kept my money and I’m still living in the same one-bedroom apartment as last week.

     

    Sean’s story helps to validate the old saying, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” Possibly “YOLO” as well, I’m not quite sure.

     

    Many newcomers and self-proclaimed pros in the world of social media have fallen into similar get-rich-quick traps. As a firm believer that there is no substitute for hard work, I’ve listed a few of my favorite schemes and misconceptions – the BAD and the UGLY, if you will – of the industry.

     

    Buying Your Friends


    This is definitely my favorite. You may have heard that there are services offering a guaranteed number of Facebook Likes (also, Twitter followers, Pinterest followers/repins/Likes) for a flat cost. You pay $50, fall asleep, and wake up to 3,000 new Likes.


    It gets better – if you pay a little extra, you can guarantee these Fans are from the good old USA!

     

    The biggest problem with this approach is that it ignores the end goal of any business wanting to keep the lights on. Not only will these 3,000 fake people never interact with your content, they will never buy your product.

     

    But having 5,000+ followers will make me seem reputable to people seeing my Facebook Page, right?


    Not quite. Like I said, you’re not going to get any interaction from these fake Fans. A Facebook Page with 5,000 Likes and little to no interaction with each wall post is guaranteed to look fishy. Less total Likes and an engaged fan base will not only look more authentic to an outsider, but may have a “what am I missing out on?” effect! 

     

    Rather than build a robotic fan base, build an authentic following and keep them happy with fresh and engaging content.

     

    You Should Be Everywhere!


    It’s fun to jump on the latest bandwagon; I’d be lying if I told you I haven’t won a planking contest in the past. For this reason, I’m definitely quick to sign up when the latest social network or tool comes out.

     

    Social Icons

     

    For a brand, however, there is more to consider:

     

    •  Resources: Every brand, big or small, has a limit to their resources. Do you have the time and personnel to keep this new page up and running well

     

    The only thing worse than missing out on a social network is having a barely-there or poorly run presence. Stay within your boundaries and rock the social networks you have time for.

     

    •  ROI: You have the resources to keep a new page fresh, but is it really worth your time?

     

    I’m a firm believer that even a brand within a “boring” niche can produce awesome content and have an impactful social presence. That said, the opportunity cost of being on Pinterest might not compete with the time you could spend building your brand elsewhere.

     

    If you’re unsure of a new social network’s worth, go ahead and test it out. Be smart about your metrics and give yourself enough time to collect some data. If you’re seeing good results and you have the time to keep it maintained, go for it! Otherwise, stick to what’s working.

     

    Ultimately, you want to be where your customers are. Focus your resources where your customers live and you’ll see positive ROI from your social media strategy.

     

    Promote, Promote, Promote


    Another one of the most cringe-worthy social media mistakes is confusing your social network presence with free ad space. Yes, your Facebook Page is free to set up and maintain, and you can link back to your website with every single post. Sure, it can seem like a free place to ruthlessly advertise for your brand.

     

    Don’t fall into this trap!

     

    In short, be the brand that you’d want to follow. You wouldn’t follow a brand that bombarded you with ads every day. You want variety and interesting content that you are drawn to. Well, so does your customer!

     

    Study upon study shows that social media users react to and engage with certain types of content. As a brand, you should know the basic social media guidelines created by these studies. Then, once you’ve learned when and what to post to your brand’s social networks, throw the rules out the window and post what makes sense for your brand! Know the rules as a solid starting point, and then break them in order to become an above average brand poised to dominate your market.

     

    Stay away from these three major downfalls and you’ll be on your way to creating meaningful relationships with your customers through social media. Like anything worth achieving, it will take time and effort to build these relationships.

     

    At L2TMedia, we take a brand specific approach to social media – tailoring each brand’s strategy to their needs and desired outcomes. We build a targeted audience around your brand, focus our efforts where your audience already exists, and engage consumers to build long-lasting, meaningful relationships.

     

    Feel free to contact me directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with any questions or topics for future blog posts!

     

    Dealerships use Google Adwords to view the competitive landscape
    Jul 09, 2012 by Jason Hamblin

    Last month, Google announced a new feature that allows advertisers to see what your competitors are bidding on for specific keywords in your AdWords account. The goal of the tool is to give advertisers a view into the keyword auction. 

     

    KW

     

    It is very beneficial for automotive dealers to know the keywords your competitors are bidding on. The tool gives great insight as to whether your competition comes from local dealers, conquesting campaigns or third-party lead aggregators. It also allows you to view keywords from your branded campaign to see who is bidding on your dealership name. Running an AdWords account in a competitive market is no small task, and having a tool like this can be helpful in determining which keywords your competitors are missing.

     

    The tool is also helpful to see if your competitors are bidding aggressively. This is determined by the Top of page rate and Position above rate. These columns give great insight to your competitors bidding strategy. A low overall Impression share with a high Top of page rate indicates the competitor is bidding very high for the keyword with a low daily budget.

     

    • Average position

    Average position is a quick way to gauge how high your ads are ranking compared with those of other advertisers competing in the same auctions. Average position is the average rank of the ad in the auctions, which determines the order of the ads on the search results page.

     

    • Impression share

    Impression share is the percentage of impressions you received, divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive. Eligibility is based on your current ads' targeting settings, approval statuses, bids, and quality scores. In the Auction insights report, Impression share also tells you the Impression share of other advertisers as a proportion of the auctions in which you were also competing.

     

    • Overlap rate

    Overlap rate tells you how often you and another advertiser received impressions at the same time for this keyword.

     

    • Position above rate

    Position above rate tells you how often another participant's ad was shown in a higher position than yours, in auctions in which you both received impressions.

     

    • Top of page rate

    This statistic tells you how often your ad (or the ad of another advertiser, depending on which row you are viewing) was shown at the top of the page, above the organic search results.

     

    To learn more: Auction insight directly from Google.

    Know Your Data
    Jul 04, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

    Understanding your targeting options with regards to digital advertising can be confusing to say the least. Our team here at L2T is committed to educating our clients to drive success.

     

    Consequently, it’s nearly impossible today to talk about Online Display Advertising without discussing audience data. This third party data can come from a variety of sources such as retailers, websites, data exchanges and even savvy offline sources.

     

    The application of this information to your marketing strategy also runs the gamut.

     

    To aid in a better understanding of what data is available to advertisers, we’ve categorized this information with explanation below. Display advertising targeting options are as follows…

     

    Demographic

    These data points usually consist of Age, Gender, Race, Employment, etc.

     

    Social

    Social data is built by evaluating the context of the demographics and connecting environmental relationships to give a deeper understanding of the audience.

     

    Predictive

    Predictive data applies the social model above in a much broader spectrum by identifying similar audience member and inferring behavioral similarities.

     

    Behavioral

    Behavioral data, probably the most used of all, categorizes audience members based on past actions such as web browsing habits.

     

    Intent (In-Market)

    Intention based data uses multiple criteria to identify audience members with a higher propensity toward a purchase.

     

    Purchase

    Lastly, purchase data is a valuable data target depending on your marketing vertical. This information can easily be utilized in any after-market initiatives.

     

    Creative strategy and careful application of this data in your marketing mix can provide razor sharp targeting in any online environment.

    Why is SEO an Ongoing Investment?
    Jul 02, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

    The SEO team here at L2TMedia got a really good question from one of our clients recently: Why do we offer SEO as an ongoing monthly product instead of a one-time, annual optimization? Would it be enough to optimize your site one-time and let it roll for a year or so?


    To answer the question it can help to understand the nature of Search Engine Optimization a little more.


    My real simple analogy is this: SEO is like running a race that never ends. There is no finish line, but there is a prize for being in first. Let’s say a fancy flavor of Gatorade. It’s delicious. You can be in first in this race for a very long time, but if you stop running, your competitors will eventually catch up to you. This is increasingly true as more and more competitors realize SEO is a race they can join. The trick to sustained success in this race is to keep running. And also, quality shoe insoles. But mostly to keep running.

     

    What are you missing out on if you decide against ongoing SEO?

     

    1) Offsite SEO and link-building

     

    Offsite optimizations primarily refer to link-building, and other ways of signaling to Google that other sites on the internet recommend your website. This is a particularly important search engine ranking factor, and one that is a perpetually ongoing process that cannot be taken care of in one fell swoop. 

     

    Google is very good now at interpreting how natural and organic a website’s links are. SEO efforts that involve stocking up on links in one bulk package would ultimately hurt a site more than help. Google and other search engines would quickly recognize the attempt to “trick the search engines” and penalize the site as a result. That’s why we recommend long-term, consistent, natural link-building at L2T.

     

    2) Ongoing analysis of organic performance and responsive action based on site traffic

     

    The “one-time optimization” advice can make more sense when looking at onsite optimizations. This can be fine advice for particular pages of a website. If you’ve done your keyword research and come up with a great page title for the home page of your site, you wouldn’t want to change this every week. That sort of onsite optimization does not need to be constant, if set up well the first time around.

     

    What is constant, though, is analyzing how those onsite optimizations are affecting search engine traffic and search results pages. Additionally, that one optimized page is probably one of 1,000s on your site indexed by Google. That leaves plenty of room for ongoing, future onsite optimizations for the many other pages on the site.

     

    3) Evaluation of Search Engine Results Pages and which keywords represent prime areas of opportunity

     

    It’s very possible that in your initial site optimization you omit or don’t predict certain key phrases that you’ll want to rank for later. Let’s say you put the bulk of your efforts into ranking for “Chicago car dealer.” If you have success with that term, that’s great, but what comes next? With an ongoing SEO campaign, you’ll perform the research to determine “2013 Chicago cars” is a growing area of search volume. From there, it’s imperative to reevaluate both onsite and offsite SEO tactics to stake out a position for these valuable terms.

     

    4) Addition of fresh, unique content on a regular basis 

     

    Freshness is an increasingly big factor in Google’s eyes. If a site’s very static, that implies to Google it’s not offering up new (“fresh”) content relevant to internet users. At L2TMedia, our SEO offers onsite vehicle information pages and blog content. Aside from the surface-level usefulness of an informative blog post, these techniques consistently remind the search engines that your site is constantly producing new and engaging material.

     

    5) Adjustments to increasingly major changes made by Google 

     

    Google wants to produce quality search results. As we’ve mentioned here on the blog, updates like Panda and Penguin are clear examples of Google revamping how they determine organic search performance. It’s a particularly important time to keep an eye on Google search algorithm updates because they’re becoming more frequent and more impactful. Setting up a one-time search optimization is more dangerous as Google is more active because it means your optimization might become outdated by the end of the month. Adaptability is key.

     

     

    What You Should Know about Real-Time Bidding
    Jun 28, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

    Real-Time Bidding for online display advertising is the process of buying ad inventory on-demand. This process is completed by companies like L2T Media, or departments commonly referred to as “Trading Desks.”

     

    The execution of these media buys is accomplished through a software platform called a Demand-Side Platform (DSP) on multiple ad exchanges. The model is similar to a stock exchange, where a broker places your order in seconds on a software platform on a RTBspecified exchange.

     

    2007 was a pivotal year for major ad exchanges: Yahoo! bought Right Media in April; Google bought DoubleClick in May; and Microsoft bought AdECN in August.

     

    Additional significant exchanges include Pulsepoint, Rubicon Project and Appnexus. Innovation through technology is driving this space, and it’s growing very quickly.

     

    One of the many benefits of this approach to media buying is the reach and scale that are available in any market or region. This is especially meaningful in smaller local markets that make it impossible to reach a significant audience through Yahoo, AOL or Google alone.

     

    Here at L2T Media, your ad reaches its audience through a series of steps utilizing our best-in-class technology and data partnerships.

     

    We’ve simplified the process in order to provide our clients with a launch speed and targeting accuracy that is unparalleled in other SMB digital display offerings.

    L2T Summer Set Spotify Playlist
    Jun 20, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

    Summer 2012 is heating up with variety. At L2TMedia, we have got some jams going on and we want to share them with you. Listen to our playlist to see not only what gets us going in the morning, but what keeps us productive and groovy all day long!

     

    We have different reasons we listen to music, depending on our moods, style, and personality. Our fellow L2T’ers have some unique reasons for their summer songs. Susan Polwalowski, PPC Specialist, chose Euphoria by the Swedish Eurovision Sensation Loreen. According to Susan, “Euphoria is the Eurotrash pop that consoles the Europhile in me. Trust me… eur in for a treat.”

     

    Account Manager Dena Poulos, is a running enthusiast. Her song was greatly influenced by her running playlist songs. “On long summer runs when I’m dying of heat & thirst I remind myself to save water & think about the rewarding beer I get to drink when I’m finished! Plus, it’s a great beat blasting in the headphones!” I think we can all agree that both beverages are a summer necessity and according to Dena, so is Save Water, Drink Beer by Chris Young.

     

    To get through the afternoon slump Lindsay Brady is listening to I Feel Better by Goyte. “Listen to this and I promise you will get up and start dancing!” she said.  Check out the rest of our summertime tunes here, on our Spotify playlist.

    L2t summer set

    (Love Is Like a) Heat Wave by Martha and the Vandellas –Meredith F.


    Pontoon by Little Big Town

    "It’s a super relaxing, summery song perfect for any activity- rooftop BBQ, friendly game of bags or, of course, out on the water!” -Melissa M.


    I Can Talk by Two Door Cinema Club –Danielle S. 


    Mercy by Kanye West –Ryan S.


    I Feel Better by Gotye –Lindsay B.


    Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffet 

    “Margaritaville is the official theme song to any backyard BBQ!” –Eric J.


    Euphoria by the Swedish Eurovision Sensation Loreen Susan P.


    Save Water, Drink Beer by Chris Young –Dena P.


    Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison 

    “Can’t argue with Van the Man.  This song is deadly when combined with a nice glass of iced tea and a hammock!”Jack T.


    Young Blood by The Naked and Famous –Jackie C.


    Kiara by Bonobo –Robert A.


    Dirt Road Anthem by Jason Aldean –Nikki P.


    Red Solo Cup by Toby Keith –Tracy T.


    The Final Countdown by Europe –David W.


    Room for Happiness (Gregori Klosman Remix) by Kaskade –Max V.


    Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen 

    “Think of that however you will, I have no shame.” –Andrew H.


    Knee Deep by Zac Brown Band –Sara C.


    We are Young by Fun –Erin O.


    Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson –Jay S.


    For What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield – Chris O.


    Born Stunna by Birdman 

    “Everyday I’m hustlin’.” – Kirstin S.


    Starships by Nikki Minaj – Megan L.


    Take Care by Drake feat. Rihanna – Tiffany P.


    Tonight, Tonight by The Smashing Pumpkins – Tom M.


    The House that Heaven Built by Japandroids 

    “I used to be able to count my chest hairs on one hand. I listened to this song once and I haven't seen my rippling, astonishing pecs since. This is the backbone that holds the playlist together, the meat that makes potatos worth your time. This is The House that Heaven Built.” –Dave B.


    Mix-Tape by Brand New – Chris N.


    Springsteen by Eric Church & Sideways by Citizen Cope – Garrett W.


    Sleep Forever by Portugal. The Man – Ian P.


    Whistle by Flo Rida – Meghan S.


    Young Blood by The Naked and Famous – Chrissy D.

    Two Schools of SEO: Onsite vs. Offsite
    Jun 12, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

    SEO is a confusing and many-headed beast, much like the ancient Hydras of lore, or Joan Rivers. Essentially there are two primary ways to impact your site’s search engine rankings. They are:

    1)      Onsite SEO

    2)      Offsite SEO

    What’s the difference? Is your site doing one well at the expense of the other? Let’s break them down and try to figure it out.

    ONSITE SEO

    When we talk about onsite optimizations at L2TMedia, we’re covering everything from the words that appear on your website to the code that goes into your site’s HTML.

    In short, onsite SEO is all about informing Google’s robot spiders (the little bits of code Google uses to crawl the web and collect information) what your site is about. For example, naturally mention you’re a “BMW dealer,” both in the written content on a webpage and in things like your site page title, and Google will take the hint. Don’t try to force the issue, though. If there’s one thing these robot spiders hate, it’s David Bowie’s 80s period. And if there’s another, it’s obvious attempts to manipulate Google search rankings!

    One of the main challenges with onsite SEO is recognizing that what a Google robot spider sees is not what a human like you, me, or Owen Wilson would see.

    Google’s spiders can crawl things like text, or links, but they will not acknowledge that a Flash element on your site provides any search value. For businesses, this means striking a balance between giving your users a positive website experience, and maintaining SEO value. The two aspects should work in conjunction – great SEO value and a terrible site experience will lead to visitors leaving, whereas a nifty site experience without any thought about SEO can prevent visitors from finding you in the first place.

    What’s the secret to onsite SEO? Is it page titles? Meta data? Keyword density? The answer, as always, is a little bit more complicated and involves elements of all the SEO tricks you’ll hear about. The main “trick” is to put together a great website with logical information that’s helpful to your visitors. It’s easier to frame all that within a useful SEO setting from there.

    OFFSITE SEO

    For the most part, offsite SEO is going to refer to link-building. This is an increasingly tricky field, as Google updates like Penguin and Panda have made link-building much harder.

    This does not mean recent Google updates have diminished the value of links in general. From a search engine’s perspective, the sites that link to your website indicate they value the information on your site. In a lot of ways, it’s like a positive testimonial from a happy client. The link to your site is equivalent to someone saying “They get my vote!”

    The challenge for SEO teams then is finding where the voters are, and whether or not they’re quality individuals. If a site will give their link to anyone, Google’s going to call them a no-good floozy and diminish the value of that link.

    At L2TMedia, our link-building specialists spend time finding the relevant sources from a client’s local area. These are the kinds of links that can actually mean something for a local car dealer, and Google is more likely to recognize them as such.

    The final point on link-building is this: if any SEO agency comes to you and says they can get you thousands of links for specific, exact-match keywords in a short period of time? Run. Run like the Dickens (could Dickens run? Is that where that comes from? Is that what happened to Tiny Tim? Too much running? Plantar Fasciitis? We may never know).

    Nothing could be more foolish right now than to engage in link-building that screams to Google “We want to trick you for the following keywords!” Google and the other search engines still encourage SEO and natural, fluid link-building. But paying for huge bulk links is a very risky proposition, and not one we recommend at L2T.

    End of the day, both onsite and offsite SEO are required for a successful search engine optimization campaign. They’re getting increasingly complex as Google advances, so if you’d like to talk to someone at L2T about your search needs, contact us here.

    Google Places Pages Kick the Bucket: Introducing Google+ Local
    Jun 01, 2012 by Jack Thornburg

     

    As many of you are already aware, Google has finally made the first step toward a more unified social and local search product.  Google+ Local has replaced those pesky Google Places Pages that we’ve grown to despise in the digital marketing world.  Are the days of duplicate, disappearing, and downright screwy listings behind us?  Not quite yet.  However, are we making strides towards the promised land of an online space where local businesses can better interact with customers while easily personalizing and managing their listing?  We most definitely hope so.

     

    What you need to know, right now:

     

    Just one day after the update, we aren’t seeing anything to panic about as a local business.  Essentially, Google has given their stale Places Pages a quick makeover to more closely resemble a Google+ Business Page.  We’ve picked out four of the most important things to understand.

     

    • New Look, New Link

     

    If you’ve tried to find your Google listing in the past day, you’ll notice that it has changed to a whole new look.  With that new look comes a new URL.  For those of you that have been driving customers to write reviews to your Google Places Page, it is essential that you update this link to your new and improved Google+ Local Page.  It’s possible that Google will eventually redirect those old listings to the new ones, but for now, get that new link to your happy customers and continue driving reviews!

     

    • Updated Rating System (Zagat)

     

    About a year ago, Google acquired Zagat in a move that is finally hitting the pavement.  The days of 5-stars are behind us – welcome to the Zagat scale.  Now, customers will be given the option to review your business from 0 to 3 and your overall score will be an average of these scores converted to a 30-point scale.  Not the easiest to understand at first glance, but nothing to be worried about.

     

    Zagat Scoring Guide

     

    • Managing is the Same

     

    Did you have a log-in to your Google Places Page that you’ve used to respond to reviews in the past?  Great – you’re all set!  To change info or respond to reviews on your Google+ Local Page, use the same log-in information as before to get to your Google Places for Business dashboard.  For now, the dashboard interface hasn’t changed.

     

    • Your Google+ Business Page is NOT Your Google+ Local Page 

     

    It’s important to understand the difference between a Google+ Business Page and your newly created Google+ Local Page.  You can see from the screenshots below that L2T Media has set up a Google+ Business Page where we share socially minded posts, photos, and more.  

     

    Google+ Business Page

     

    Also, Google has automatically created a Google+ Local Page where customers can write reviews and get directions to our business.

     

     

    Google+ Local Page

     

    While these two pages are separate for now, this will eventually change.  Google has stated that the option to link your business page with your local listing will be an option in the future. 

     

    Constantly changing details aside, Google’s latest update to their local search product is just another clear indicator of their end goal – a product that goes beyond local search and enters an integrated online community for local businesses across the globe.  At L2T, we’re keeping a keen eye on the updates and will be continuously weighing what is best for our clients’ online presence moving forward.

     

    UPDATE

     

    iOS (Apple) and Android Devices

     

    There is currently no way to write a review from your iOS or Android powered device.  If you perform a Google search for the business, you can see their information and reviews, but there is not an option to write a review (see the screenshot below).  This is a bug that Google is aware of and is currently attempting to fix.

    iPhone SS

     

    Also, the new Google+ Local Page that has replaced the Google Places Page is not viewable from a mobile device’s browser at this time.  For Android, you can view these pages and write a review from the Google+ Android App.  For Apple, the Google+ App has not yet been updated to handle these pages.  Google has submitted an update for their app to Apple, but it is currently in the review and approval phase.  The update should be available soon.

     

    We will continue to monitor as Google makes updates moving forward and will adjust our strategy accordingly.  Luckily, Google is making very frequent updates right now while the new product rolls out and we should see some progress soon.

    How to Become a Display Ad Rockstar in 7 Easy Steps
    May 30, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    Whether you’re an advertiser or agency, we’ve all heard about the next big thing. In an environment that changes daily, it’s critical that to stay informed and aware of these changes and how to leverage them to your advantage. L2T has a team dedicated to identifying digital marketing opportunities for your business.

     

    We’d love to hear from you but until then, here are a few fundamental tips to help you on your way…

     

    1. Be able to easily communicate your marketing goals.

     

    If you need ideas, look to the experts.

    To achieve success, it must first be defined.

     

    2. Know the difference between Media and Strategy.

     

    Media is a means of communication. The strategy is everything else.

     Display Ads are Media and Remarketing is the strategy.

     

    3. The Medium is still the Message.

     

    Nowhere is this truer than in Digital Media.

    With an industry in constant flux, advertisers must be hyper-diligent and quick to evaluate new opportunities.

     

    4. Know your landscape.

     

    The digital display terrain is extremely complex.

    With an infinite number of advertising options, dig in to understand who offers true innovation.

     

    5. Test with tools.

     

    Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, our perspective will be biased.

    Use marketing tools to minimize bias, and then test your theory.

     

    6. Don’t overdo it.

     

    Control your ad frequency for success.

    “The optimal frequency for most campaigns is around 4-7 ad exposures, and, much beyond that, results hit a point of diminishing returns for both brand and direct response objectives.”  ~ Google

     

    7. Think “Creative-ly”.

     

    If your campaign performance is in the dumps, look to the unit, not the site.

    “Creative is 4x more impactful on performance than the placement." ~ Comscore

    How Google Location Insertion Can Help Your Automotive Ad Copy
    May 21, 2012 by Jason Hamblin

     

    Google recently announced a very powerful feature for local auto dealers.  Google will now allow the dynamic insertion of location information within the Google Ad Copy. This insertion information could be the city, zip code, or phone number.  Auto Dealerships that serve many locations can now have their ad copy much more local. This is very important because over 20% of Google desktop searches have local intent.

     

    L2T Media clients that are utilizing location insertion for mobile campaigns have seen a 25% increase in CTR’s. With 40% of all mobile searches including local intent, it makes sense that the location within the ad copy would lead to more clicks.

     

    Similar to keyword insertion ads, location insertion allows ad text to be dynamically updated to include city, postal code, or phone number that matches a searcher's geographic location. This update will allow advertisers to have extremely relevant and customized ad copy shown to local customers.

     

    A parameter tag will need to be added to the ad copy. Google will then replace the parameter in the ad with information that most closely matches the location extension of the local searcher. These location specific parameters can be inserted into the ad title, description lines and both the display and destination URL fields making for extremely relevant local ads.

     

    In the past, the only way to get local with ads was to post generic ad copy and use the location extension. This would post the location at the end of the ad, but without mentioning the city specifically.  In location modified searches (keyword + location) an opportunity was missed to get the city highlighted in copy.

     

    There are different parameters to use depending on whether or not you want to insert the city, postcode, or telephone number from your location extension into the ad. The parameters to use in each case are below:

     

    • City: {lb.city:default}
    • Postal Code: {lb.postalCode:default}
    • Phone number: {lb telephone:default}

     

    Google does not provide impression data relating to the parameters (nor do they for keyword insertions impressions) so you will not know how often your parameters are being activated or how successful they are working. However, you could add location insertion parameters to your destination URL to measure clicks and conversions through Google Analytics.

     

    Setting up an ad like this:


    • BMW IN{lb.city:Local}
    • Shop {lb.city:Local} BMW Dealership
    • Stop By & Take a Test Drive Today!
    • WWW.BMWNearDaytonaBeach.com

     

    Will look like this to the consumer:


    • BMW IN Daytona Beach
    • Shop Daytona Beach BMW Dealership
    • Stop By & Take a Test Drive Today!
    • WWW.BMWNearDaytonaBeach.com/DaytonaBeach

     

    Contact L2T Media today for more information!

    What Does Google’s Penguin Update Mean For Your Website?
    May 08, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    Just last month, we took a look at the latest news surrounding Google’s “over-optimization” penalty.  It was our understanding at the time that Google was planning some big changes for organic search.

     

    On April 24th, these changes came to light in the guise of Google’s “Penguin Update.” Although the update isn’t exactly a penalty for doing “too much SEO,” and although it has surprisingly little to do with cute flightless birds, it does directly impact search results and is already having a dramatic effect on SEO best practices.

     

    Google Penguin

     

    What is the Penguin Update?

     

    There are some great detailed posts about exactly what Penguin does, but for the non-SEO nerds, I’ve put together some cliff notes:

     

    - Google’s Penguin Update impacts how the search engine determines search results. The intent is to remove pages that have been spamming Google with overtly manipulative SEO tactics. All of this is done in the name of presenting Google searchers with the highest quality, most relevant possible website for their search terms.

     

     - Google has not released an official breakdown of what goes into Penguin, but the general consensus is that Penguin penalizes tactics such as spamming blog comments for links, low-quality keyword stuffing in incoming links, and highly aggressive overuse of anchor text.

     

     - According to Google, Penguin impacted around 3.1% of English queries. To put that in perspective, Google receives around 34,000 searches per second, so the update would impact the results for 1,054 searches every second.

     

    The first thing to point out is that the Penguin update is only a penalty if Google determined your SEO tactics were manipulative. If you’ve been using diverse and natural anchor text in your link-building, and your competitors have been aggressively over-targeting one “money” keyword, there’s a good chance the update is actually helping your website.

     

    That leads to the important question: How do I know if Penguin hit me?

     

    Was your website affected?

     

    This is a good question, and though I wish Google simply had Morgan Freeman call and deliver Penguin updates to all afflicted sites, there’s some checking you’ll have to do.

     

    The first and easiest way to check is to view your Google Analytics or traffic tracking software. Take a look at organic search results before and after April 24th. If it looks like traffic is taking a steep dive after that date, you may have been impacted strongly by Penguin.

     

    It’s important to keep in mind here that other factors could go into a perceived traffic dive. April 24th was a Tuesday. Does your buying cycle typically indicate more traffic on weekends and Mondays? If this is the case, a short term drop in organic traffic on the first few days after April 24 is to be expected. If you’re unsure how to go about tracking all this traffic data, let us know at L2T and it’s possible we can help.

     

    What do you need to do now?

     

    If you think your website was impacted by Penguin, all is not lost. The first step from here would be to figure out which SEO tactics Google is penalizing. Is your site stuffed full of the same keyword over and over? Does your site receive a huge percentage of backlinks from one source, with exact-match anchor text included? You’ll need to begin moving your online strategies towards SEO best practices before you can recover.

     

    Once you’ve made those changes, Google does offer a reconsideration request form. You can attempt to explain to Google here why you think your site was unfairly penalized, or work with your SEO agency to put together a compelling case why your SEO strategies are in line with recommended practices.

     

    End of the day, even if your site is doing just fine post-Penguin, the message from Google is clear: They have increasingly minimal tolerance for blatant organic manipulations. As I’ve said before, this doesn’t mean SEO is dead in the water – it just means you have to be smart about adhering to quality practices. 

    “Design L2T’s Facebook Photos” – We Have a Winner!
    May 02, 2012 by Jack Thornburg

     

    It’s an exciting day at L2T Media in more ways than one.  Firstly, it’s my day of the week to choose what music we listen to – always a treat.  Secondly, our internal “Design L2T’s Facebook Photos” contest has finally come to a close and we’re unveiling the winner! 

     

    The contest began with a companywide email asking for all creative minds to share their ideas for a new timeline cover photo and profile picture.  I included a blank template and told them, “Have at it!” with the promise of fame and fortune to the winning designer. And of course, when I say fame and fortune, I mean a blog post and their creation professionally designed and uploaded to our Facebook Page.

     

    The entries came in droves – thousands upon thousands of sketches, digital designs, sculptures, and haiku were filling my inbox.  My integrity was tested with countless bribes of money and Chipotle burritos (with guacamole, even!).  Nonetheless, our Creative Director, Ian, and I were able to remain professional and chose the top three designs:

     

    Melissa

    Melissa Facebook Timeline

    Dena

    Dena Facebook Timeline

     

    Chris O. 

    Chris O. Facebook Timeline

     

    We fell in love with each design and, long story short, decided to take this opportunity as a teaching lesson.  Today’s lesson?

     

    “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” -Vince Lombardi

     

    "Many of us are more capable than some of us… but none of us is as capable as all of us!" -Tom Wilson

     

    “Life’s a garden. Dig it.” -Joe Dirt

     

    What I’m trying to say is that we’re using all three designs.  That’s right – the best of the best have been combined to form the greatest cover photo and profile picture that Facebook has ever seen!

     

    Check out the brand-spankin’ new design on L2T Media’s Facebook Page and let us know what you think by posting on our timeline.  Congratulations to our three winners and a special thanks to Ian for working his creative magic!

    How to Deal with Negative Online Reviews
    Apr 23, 2012 by Jack Thornburg

     

    An incredibly intelligent man once said, “… in this world nothing can be certain, except death, taxes, and negative reviews.”  This intelligent man was also blessed with a strikingly attractive bone structure.  Alright, it was me.  I said it.

     

    As a local business owner it’s important to realize that negative online reviews are going to show up and they should!  Bad reviews give your consumers a reason to believe the good ones.  According to a recent study on online reviews by Reevoo, 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores.  Further, 95% suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores!  Maybe it isn’t really all about that 5-star rating after all – more like a 4.3-star rating? Wink

     

    While negative reviews aren’t the end of the world for your business, it’s important that you deal with them the right way.  Here are a few of the most important tips to remember when fielding negative reviews:

     

    • Respond promptly:  Leaving a poor review to sit without a response is an easy way to let others join in on the party.  Don’t give them the chance.  Reach out to unsatisfied customers as soon as you can, even if it’s a simple response asking for direct contact offline.

     

    • Fact find / Keep it personal:  Make every attempt to personalize your response.  Introduce yourself as an individual, not “Big Bad Business A,” and call the consumer by name.  Look into the situation with your staff and make sure that you know the whole picture going into your response.

     

    • Leave your ego behind:  Sure, the customer may be wrong.  Being combative in your response, however, looks terrible to others.  Sympathize, don’t make excuses, and show that you value their review as a business that is looking to constantly better itself.

     

    • Make direct contact or ask for it:  A public response is only the first step.  If you have the contact information of the reviewer, reach out to them.  If not, ask that they contact you personally and offer your phone number or e-mail.

     

    When dealt with correctly, a few bad reviews can strengthen your business.  That said, you should also consistently be generating positive reviews.  Being proactive in your reputation management strategy will drive a much larger amount of positive reviews than passively allowing reviews to come in. 

     

    Typically, an unsatisfied customer has all of the motivation they need to write an online review.  As a business, it is your job to give happy customers that extra push to review as well.  Reevoo’s online review study also shows that the percentage of poor reviews generated decreases 20% when your business proactively asks customers for their feedback!

     

    While negative reviews are here to stay, dealing with them the right way will keep your business in great shape.  Just remember, stay on top of what people are saying about you online, consistently work to drive fresh reviews, and always pay your taxes.

    Inside L2TMedia Sales
    Apr 16, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    So often sales people are asked, “What sets you apart from your competitors?” More times than not, you hear a sales person go into a diatribe about the ins and outs of their products.  Yes, L2TMedia sells all of the digital ‘products’ (PPC, SEO, Social Media, Reputation Management), but that isn’t the reason dealers work with this Chicago Digital Agency.

     

    There is a method to our madness…we aren’t just in sales, we are in the business of helping dealers achieve an online automotive marketing strategy that meets their unique needs.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint to develop this.  Our team of experts asks the right questions to find out what the prospect or client is looking to achieve.  It’s in every part of our daily lives, if you don’t know the goals or what someone is trying to accomplish, how can you come and in tell someone what they need?   

    handshake

     

    We partner with our clients to make sure we hear what     they need on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis and we create a plan that can be changed as new needs arise.

     

    If any members of our sales team were to research a prospect and find that they had over 100 online reviews and a 4 star rating, we wouldn’t go into the meeting saying, “So, we do Reputation Management, PPC, SEO, Social Media, and Display Advertising”. Instead we find a way to weave the selling and buying process so the prospect or client has a ‘say’ in whether or not they need an automotive paid/SEO campaign or if they feel that Remarketing would better suit the goal they are trying to achieve. 

     

    So, when an L2TMedia sales team member is asked, “What sets you apart from your competitors?”, the answer is this:  We contract with our clients during the selling to make sure we are on the same page, from the idea generation to putting those bright ideas into place, and we make sure we listen to their needs, educate them, let them educate us, and share in the buying and selling process, so we come out the end as partners, not vendors. 

    Can You Do Too Much SEO? What Google Means by ‘Over-Optimization’
    Apr 02, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

     

    Every once in a while, Google announces HUGE IMPENDING CHANGES that throw the search-optimization world into a tizzy.

     

    This recently occurred when Google’s Matt Cutts said Google was working on an “over-optimization” penalty. The penalty – which is reportedly rolling out in the coming weeks – would impact sites that are attempting to manipulate their SEO performance a little too overtly. According to Cutts:

     

     “The idea is basically to try and level the playing ground a little bit. So all those people who have sort of been doing, for lack of a better word, “over optimization” or “overly” doing their SEO, compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site, we want to sort of make that playing field a little bit more level.”

     

    This has the potential to sound a little worrisome for business websites that have focused on organic performance. Does optimizing for SEO automatically mean Google’s going to punish your site?

     

    The short answer is: No. The official algorithm change hasn’t been enacted yet, but it is highly unlikely that Google would all of a sudden be anti-SEO.

     

    Instead, Cutts and Google are talking about particularly manipulative measures such as “too many keywords on the page” or “exchanging way too many links.” In short, Google is saying make a great site with relevant content for your visitors, and the SEO work within that template will be fine.

     

    This is the approach we encourage at L2T Media. It’s easy to get excited about “rank-first-quick!” SEO schemes, but the short-term benefits ultimately don’t outweigh the cost. Plus, there are plenty of natural SEO fixes that can be just as successful, just as quickly, without the inherent shadiness.

     

    We’ve avoided cramming pages full of irrelevant keywords or buying cheap, bulk links under the assumption that 1) This was a bad user experience and 2) Google was or would soon penalize the approach.

     

    The over-optimization penalty is coming and we’ll be watching carefully at L2T to figure out how to best keep our SEO in line with best practices. Is your site doing SEO the right way? Now’s as good a time as ever to find out.

    What is Search Retargeting?
    Mar 26, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

    With a fairly recent introduction into the digital marketing space, Search Retargeting is being embraced as a valuable player in any marketing mix.

    Taking its cue (and data) from paid search, Search Retargeting allows us a myriad of audience data points to target. This highly targeted prospecting strategy allows advertisers to reach users that show intent or affinity toward a product or service category.

    Similar to behavioral targeting, Search Retargeting allows the advertiser to purchase profiles/cookies of users based on their search terms. The advertiser will then target this person with display ads on sites the user visit throughout their online browsing experience.

    While the jury is still out, many marketers have embraced Search Retargeting as a logical link between Search and Display.

    Top 5 Facebook Timeline Changes Affecting Your Business
    Mar 19, 2012 by Jack Thornburg

    That’s right, Facebook is changing.  On March 30th, every Facebook business page will be automatically switched to a new Timeline format. 

    Don’t panic!

    The new format is really great for brands that use it the right way.  It’s visually appealing, gives businesses an immense amount of control over their story, and will eventually allow for some cool additional marketing techniques to fans.  Here are five of the most important changes that will take place at the end of this month.

    1. Visual creative

    The most notable change in the Timeline format is the addition of a cover photo.  The cover photo must be at least 399 pixels wide and comes with some pretty strict rules. 

    Via Facebook’s guidelines, cover photos may not contain:

    • Price or purchase information, such as "40% off" or "Download it at our website"
    • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page's About section
    • References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
    • Calls to action, such as "Get it now" or "Tell your friends"

    Your profile image, which sits on the bottom left of the cover photo, has also changed dimensions to a 180 pixels by 180 pixels square. 

    Coca-Cola Facebook PageCoca-Cola is a great example!

    2. Tell Your Story

    The new Timeline allows brands and individuals alike to tell their story – from start to finish.  Whereas Facebook has historically had a “what have you done lately” format, the new Timeline allows pages to go back to their start. 

    When did ‘Debbie’s Doughnuts’ open?  When did the shop sell its 10,000th doughnut?  When did they add beer to the menu? (Wouldn’t that be something?!)

    All of these Life Events and more can be added to the story of the brand throughout the Timeline.

    3. Highlight / Pin Posts

    There are two added options for each post that ultimately give users even more tools to craft their story.  If you choose to highlight a story by clicking the star on the top right of a post, it will span across the Timeline and increase in size.  If you choose to pin a story by clicking the pencil on the top right of a post, it will keep that story on the top of your Timeline for up to a week.

    4. Fan-Gating

    The popular fan-gating tactic that many businesses have used on Facebook is not gone completely, but needs to be rethought.  Before, Facebook allowed business pages to have a default landing tab.  When a new user went to the page, they saw the default tab with a call to action message, such as “Like us to receive fan-only offers!”

    With the new Timeline format, businesses no longer have the option to set a default landing tab.  Not to worry!  When you create a new tab (technically called an “app”) on a Facebook page, that app will have a permanent URL.  Any Facebook Advertising should drive users to this specific URL where they will receive the call to action message.  To take it a step further, you can put this URL on your homepage to drive people to the same message.  Anywhere you want users to see that message, simply use the fan-only offer app’s URL.

    5. Facebook Offers

    While only a few companies currently have this option, it should be rolled out across the board soon.  Facebook Offers allow you to target your existing fans with quick and easy coupons that they can claim directly trough Facebook. 

    Do you want to get some people over to your new carwash?  Throw out a “Free carwash!” coupon to your loyal Facebook fans to let them know how much you appreciate their business.  When a fan claims the offer, they will have the option to let their friends know as well.  Not only would Facebook Offers keep your loyal customers engaged, it has the potential to help you gain new customers as well.

    The Facebook mantra of telling your story with Facebook is being spelled out in the new Timeline format.  Change is good – and we’re confident that businesses who embrace these new changes will enjoy the perks.  Now go out there and tell your story!

    Is Your Car Dealership Wasting the Power of Page Titles?
    Mar 05, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

    Let’s imagine a hypothetical car dealership. They’re putting on a huge sales event on one of their lots and they plan to advertise like maniacs. This is their biggest selling event every year.

    Naturally, Hypothetical Auto Group begins putting together promotional flyers. They create a variety of great looking, eye-catching ads, full of different colors and photos. These things look phenomenal.

    Only problem is, when the dealer goes to title the flyers, all they write is “Big Event!” Or maybe “Big Event at Hypothetical Auto!” These are the only words that appear on the flyer.

    Wouldn’t it be better to include some specific language about the event? The location of the hypothetical store? The cars that will be on sale? Some sort of detail has to be better, right? Of course – you don’t need me to tell you that.

    The same logic should apply to the page titles of your automotive website. Far too often, we will see highly generic page titles that don’t really get to the core of what a webpage has to offer. This is a shame because page titles are your best chance to tell search engines what your site is about.

    Let’s clarify very quickly what I mean by page title. This is not any sort of title or text that appears directly on your website. It is instead a very simple bit of HTML (controlled by your tags) that appears when you search for your site.

    For example, search for your store’s name. The most prominent blue link that you see above your URL? That’s your page title.

    How does your page title look in search? Does it give a concise description of your business? Here are some crucial elements your page title might be missing:

    1)  Accurate, Relevant Locations – Page title locations can make one of two mistakes. The first is to include no location at all. The second is to cram a page title full of every city your customers have ever heard of. What you want instead is a nice balance of the one or two most relevant cities your customers come from.

    You only get 60 characters for each page title before Google starts ignoring what you’ve written, so over-crowding a title with location-based keywords is going to decrease in value pretty quickly.

    2)  The Point of Your Business – A page title should let both a visitor and Google’s search crawlers know what your business offers. It’s easy a lot of times to simply list your business name and assume that covers it, but a lot of times you can do more. Are you a “new and used car dealer” in the area? Well go ahead and say so. That’s a great way to capture visits from customers who don’t already know your brand.

    3)  Information Specific To The Page – In theory, every webpage on your site is different. It follows then that every page should have its own unique page title. This is something we try to help with at L2T with our SEO. If your “new cars page” includes one or two top products in the page title, this is more likely to gain specific searchers with a greater intent-to-buy. Think about it: a searcher looking for a “2012 Toyota Camry” is much closer to making a purchase than one searching for “new cars for sale.” With selective keyword focus in your page titles, you can greatly improve your chances of capturing your most relevant organic traffic.

    In short, the title tags on your website have the most SEO power of any tag you include. Page titles offer a great opportunity to target keywords and build an organic search presence. Are you maximizing the power of page titles? 

    Remarketing: Audience Segmentation
    Feb 27, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

    Pre-qualified prospective customers are incredibly valuable to your business. Understanding how to engage with them after they leave your site is key. You can improve your chances of a successful interaction (conversion/sale) even further with a Remarketing practice called ‘Audience Segmentation.’

    Google Remarketing Logo

    As a quick refresher, Remarketing in its simplest form is a strategy in which visitors to your site are identified with the intention of advertising to them at a later time. Think of it as a ‘follow-up’ call to a potential customer after they stop by your store.

    Audience Segments take this idea one step further…

    Let’s pretend you’re shopping for a new Mobile Phone. Your research would most likely begin online. Perhaps you check out your favorite imaginary electronics site, Amazonian.com.  

    Your click path may look something like this…

    Homepage>Electronics & Computers >Cell Phones & Accessories>Comparison Chart Iphone>Carrier>Shopping Cart

    Each click provides the site with more information on your intentions and interests. With a remarketing strategy in place, Amazonian.com can begin to segment users into categories based on this click path and/or the pages they visit. Amazonian.com can then target future ads with relevant messages to a very specific audience. When companies are able to speak directly to customer’s interests, the benefits will be shared by both advertiser and individual. 

    Three Basic Rules for Your Dealership’s Facebook Presence
    Feb 21, 2012 by Jack Thornburg

    So, your dealership is on Facebook.  You’ve set it up as a Local Business, included Automotive as your category, and filled in every piece of information possible to ensure that customers can find everything they would ever need to know about you. 

    Great.  There’s just one thing – everyone else has done the same thing. 

    How can you set yourself apart from other car dealerships on Facebook, while sticking true to the industry-wide end goal of selling cars?  Here are a few best practices and helpful hints to keep your Facebook strategy on the right track.

    Use a Social Mindset

    Many times it is hard to break from a “sell, sell, sell” mindset when your goal as a business is to sell cars.  Resist the self-promotion!  This is the most important and most frequently ignored rule for any business on Facebook – even more so with car dealerships.  While a spring special ad may make sense to share on your Facebook wall, it should be surrounded by other, more personal, content.

    facebook logoYour social presence exists to let consumers know that your business is human.  You enjoy watching and sharing the latest Chevy Silverado commercial because it’s funny.  You want everyone to know about the local farmers’ market this weekend because it’s a great time and helps support small businesses in the area.  Keep your social presence as human and personable as possible and people will gain trust in your business when it’s time to buy a car.  If it’s true that no form of marketing can beat the referral of a best friend, it makes sense that businesses should strive to become the customer’s best friend through a personable social presence.

    Interaction is Key

    In the beginning of your Facebook campaign, you may be faced with a very low number of Likes.  Each new post that you create may be seen by this small family of Likes, but is limited to this group.  So how do you increase this viral reach to other members of your community?  Get off of your island and do some interactin’!

    We’ve seen it work wonders, and it’s no secret why.  When you interact with another local business, everyone wins!  You allow the other business access to your audience and they provide their audience in return.  Do you support the local Humane Society?  Tag them in your next Facebook post with a link to pictures of their latest dogs up for adoption and it won’t go unnoticed.  Better yet, host an adoption event on your car lot one afternoon and share the promotion on Facebook with the other business.  This kind of interaction will put your business in front of a wider audience and ultimately strengthen your brand in the community.

    Be Active

    The idea behind staying active on Facebook is two-fold.  The obvious reason is to stay visible in the eyes of consumers.  If you’re posting engaging and useful content, you want users to regularly see this content and have your business in mind.  Another reason to stay active is directly related to interaction efforts.  It is important to log in daily to keep in touch with any customers or local businesses that have reached out to you.  Clearly, it would be detrimental to your social efforts if you are inadvertently ignoring someone on your own page!  Staying active will prevent this from happening as well as keep you in touch with the most important part of your business – the customers.

    Following these best practices will allow you to create a unique presence on Facebook that consumers will value and learn to trust.  Your identity won’t be created overnight, but with time, interaction, and an active social mind, your business’ Facebook page can become an integral and successful part of your overall business strategy.

    Mobile Phone Search On the Rise
    Feb 13, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

    The Internet has done some pretty incredible things for the evolution of our society and the technologies we use. From remote sales to mobile email, the Internet continually inspires innovation.

    The Search Engine giant, Google, recently conducted a study that analyzed internet mobile phone usage in 2011. Google’s data concludes that more consumers in each of the top 5 global markets have mobile devices rather than a desktop. There’s approximately a 10% difference in the US (76% to 68%).

    mobile search phone

    As advertisers, it is important to accumulate as much data as possible and test endlessly. At L2TMedia, when we discovered the predictions for mobile, well…we just couldn’t help ourselves. We began testing almost immediately. We started almost exactly one year ago today.

    Over the course of this year, one client has experienced a CTR of 3.38% and an average cost per click of $.60 in just one campaign! But where’s the ROI!? How about 1,443 click-to-call actions with only a budget of $1500? That’s just over $1 for each click-to-call.

    Targeting keywords and ad themes specific for mobile users has allowed us to capitalize on the mobile market effectively for over a year. We’ve watched the trends and honed the best keywords for automotive marketing strategies. We’ve shared great success through our mobile efforts and look forward to evolving our strategies with this rapidly growing market.

    3 Reasons Car Dealers Should Ignore Keyword Rankings
    Feb 06, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

    To anyone just developing an understanding of SEO, keyword rankings are a tempting metric. Keyword rankings are easy to comprehend. “We’re not on the first page, and we need to be!” In its simplest form, SEO is an effort to make a website rank better in organic results for relevant search terms. I do think keyword rankings can be a measurement worth considering for car dealerships, but a rankings report can’t tell you much of a story about your overall SEO success. And here’s why:

    1. Keyword rankings tell a limited story for local businesses

    For many other types of businesses, keyword rankings are more indicative of success, but local businesses are different.

    First, let’s make sure we understand how keyword rankings are generated. When an SEO company provides you with a keyword rankings report, that report is based on search results returned without regard to search personalization. But in practice, when potential customers are plugging search terms into Google, their results are affected by their past browsing behavior, their location and even social elements thanks to Google’s recent “Search, Plus Your World” change.

    Let’s take a simple example. If you’re a Honda dealer in Chicago, a good bit of organic traffic should probably come from the term Honda dealers. However, if you were to include Honda dealers on your rankings report, you could never get a true gauge of your visibility for that term because your site probably wouldn’t rank in the top 100 results according to any software.

    Personalized search does not apply to software. Each human user that sits down to perform a search could have a completely different set of search results, particularly if the user is signed in to Google and the search returns localized results.

    2. All keywords are not created equal

    Some keywords may receive thousands of searches per month on search engines. Some may receive just a handful every month. So which ones are important? The keywords that are searched thousands of times, right? Maybe, but the real answer is that they all matter.

    As a car dealership or any other local business engaged in SEO, your goal should be to make your website as visible as possible for all search terms that a shopper might use in his buying process.

    Let’s say there are 2,500 monthly searches for the term Honda dealers in the Chicago area and 40 searches for the term Honda Civic for sale in Chicago. The first search is likely performed by someone fairly early in the buying cycle, while the second, long-tail term is likely someone much closer to purchase. So which is more important?

    Consider this: there are about 3,000 relevant searches similar to that long-tail term above. When you combine the potential traffic volume from those thousands of long-tail search terms, you can start to see why it’s important to capture organic traffic from a wide range of related keywords. And this brings me to my third reason you should take keyword ranking reports with at least 3 grains of salt:

    3. Keyword rankings measure individual opportunities, not overall success

    We do include keyword rankings on our SEO reports for our car dealer SEO clients, but we use keyword lists and rankings as guides and indicators. Keyword rankings can tell you what kind of traffic acquisition opportunity you have for a certain list of terms, but they can’t tell you the actual amount of traffic, and the list cannot possibly be comprehensive.

    The goal of our SEO campaigns is to increase relevant organic traffic to sites by continually increasing the number of search terms our clients’ sites appear for in results. Rather than measure the keyword rankings of a finite list of terms, we gauge success by increases in organic traffic and breadth of search terms leading visitors to our clients’ sites.

     

    Keyword rankings tell a very small story for car dealerships and any other local business. Better keyword rankings on any identified keyword list usually correlate with SEO success, but to end analysis at the rankings juncture leads to poor SEO measurement and strategy. Rankings must be kept in perspective. They are metrics, but they are not the end goal. They are fine to measure and use as an indicator, but serious time and analysis is best spent elsewhere.

    Google’s ‘Search Plus Your World’: How will this impact your dealership site?
    Jan 13, 2012 by Melissa Maxwold

    Big news in the world of online search this week as Google unleashed one of the biggest developments to search in years: "Search Plus Your World."

    You can read all the details about these crazy search changes, but the basic idea is that searches performed on Google will now factor in even more personal elements related to you. So, if you are signed into your Gmail account and perform a search, online results are going to reflect your previous web behavior as well as your social interactions. More specifically, search results will reflect material shared by people you follow on Twitter, Google+ contacts, as well as sites you frequently visit.

    For example, when I search for "Red Wine," the first result on my search page is a shared link from Google+ that another L2T'er shared this afternoon. This result even appears before Wikipedia and other results that would have previously dominated the page.

    'Search Plus' Mean Anything For the Automotive World?

    In short, yes, these Google changes present a lot of opportunity for auto dealers. Google is no longer an objective blank page that is the same for every interenet user in the world. In reality, it hasn't been for quite some time, and possibly never was, but this personalization is even more pronounced in the wake of "Search Plus Your World."

    You can see in the photo below that a search as general as "Toyota Dealership" can now lead to personalized results. Yes, this particular example is only 10 personal results out of over 74 million, but the key here is that some of these personal results will show up on the first page of results.

    What might a personal result look like in search? Well, if a customer has added your dealership Google+ page to their circles, it will look something like this.

    Again, the above result appeared on the first page of a search for "Toyota dealership" in an area not remotely close to this particular dealer. All because I added their Google+ business page to a circle on Google's social site.

    How Do I Use Google+ Then?

    If Google+ results can impact search results like this - and remember, every result you control is one a competitor does not occupy - then how do you harness that power for your own dealer? The answer is likely more complicated than I'll approach in the confines of this post, but the answer has something to do with becoming socially active on Google's social network.

    That said, it's not going to be enough to simply have a Google+ page. First you'll need to make sure it's a properly set up business page and not just a personal page (if you're having trouble with this social implementation, L2T would love to help).

    From here, the challenge is all about getting people that know and like your business to add you on Google+. Google's social site is closing in on 100 million users, so there's little doubt that it's growing insanely fast. Getting people to add your business to their circles will be a multi-faceted challenge, but the core concept comes down to sharing interesting, unique content people can't get anywhere else. Whether that means coupons or creative videeos, you have to offer something through your Google+ page that people will really want.

    Once you've completed that admittedly difficult step, the Search Plus Your World impact can be huge. If you have any questions about how social media or search engine optimization can impact the success of your dealership's website, feel free to contact L2T media.

    4 Auto Dealer Takeaways from PubCon 2011
    Nov 23, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    Just the other week, I had the privilege of attending PubCon 2011 in Las Vegas. I went there to expand my understanding of where SEO is going, to chat with industry leaders about the best Social Media strategies, and apparently to lose $37 on blackjack. Massive monetary losses aside, many of the things I learned in sessions and in conversations with others at the conference helped me form solid thoughts about how the current and future landscape of digital marketing applies to car dealers. Here are my 4 biggest takeaways for dealerships from PubCon 2011:

    Vegas Takeaway #1: Don't try to pass off 37 singles as a wad of 100's


    1.  Do You Educate?

    One keynote session featured Google’s Matt Cutts (who most of us know) and Amit Singhal (who is Matt’s boss). Amit knows more about the Google algorithm than anyone. Basically, he’s in charge of why your site ranks where it does. A Q&A made up the majority of this session, and the final question was the most telling. Danny Sullivan asked Amit to define a high-quality site in a Tweetable answer. The paraphrased response?

    If you can send your child to a site and they can learn something, that’s a high-quality site.

    This indicates a few things to me: Uniqueness is important. Depth of content is important. Presentation is important. Things I already thought. But I think it’s important to remember that Amit’s response was not: “If you can visit a site and get the best price on a Prius, that’s a high-quality site.” 

    2.  Take Additional Ad Dollars to Mobile (not Alabama)

    Mobile searches could be up to 20% of all searches performed in 2012. This is particularly relevant to car dealers. Consider the following:

    • 20% of users who use mobile search for researching autos do so while travelling from one dealer to another
    • 40% of those using mobile devices to research autos are doing so at home

    It’s important that sites render well for mobile devices and it’s important that your site appears when consumers search on mobile devices. A car dealership should have a separate Mobile AdWords campaign set up so the message is tailored for mobile devices specifically.

    3.  Consistency is Key

    When it comes to local search, the volume, accuracy and consistency of online citations of your dealership are very important. If your dealership goes by a different name on lots of online directories, Google may trust all of those citations over your owner-verified edits.

    This becomes particularly important for any dealers who undergo a name change or who may have SEO gaming business listings out there, such as listing “Dealer Name” and “Dealer Name BMW Service” on directories for SEO purposes. By the way, that’s not a good SEO tactic.

    4.  Freshness is Relative

    A lot of people are quick to try to interpret what Google algorithm updates mean. When Google announced that 35% of searches would be affected by its latest public algorithm change regarding freshness, it seemed like a big number, and action seemed necessary.

    Freshness as a ranking factor applies primarily for topical interest. Google determines whether or not a query deserves freshness (QDF) based on a number of signals. QDF won’t be applied to the term used Nissan Altima for sale, but it probably will be applied to Nissan recall information and even Nissan Altima. Google will probably want to present pages that are  up-to-the-minute for the recall search because of its trending.

    For the Nissan Altima, results would not need to be that fresh, but Google probably assumes the searcher is looking for the latest product information. Still, that broad product search term needs Google’s “local intent” tag to return a Nissan dealer in results, and we don’t really see that on desktop searches. I have noticed that Google mobile searches will often take a term like Nissan Altima and give it local intent.

    Really, what it comes down to with freshness for a car dealer is that you want to be fresher than your competitors.

    Does Your Dealership Need Digital Marketing?
    Nov 14, 2011 by Tom Moorhead

    As a Partner in a digital marketing agency, it’s probably not shocking that I would promote an online marketing strategy for any business. Especially for a car dealer website

    That said, there are still plenty of people wondering what the advantage of digital marketing really is. How can it help your business? Let’s take a look.

    In a 2010 presentation, industry expert Mary Meeker pointed out that “advertising dollars follow the eyeball.” The statistics back up the statement. In 1995, global internet ad revenue was $55 MM. In 2009, it was $54 billion.

    That’s a lot of eyeballs

    So what does this mean for your business? The internet is growing at exponential speeds. Increased amounts of users (6MM in 1995 to 1.2B in 2009) means increased emerging markets.

    Marketing your business online isn’t just a nice little perk anymore. Your business needs to be visible online in order to survive.

    The perfect opportunity to take advantage of these increases is through internet marketing, specifically Pay Per Click and Search Engine Optimization. Search engines receive enormous amounts of traffic – who wouldn’t want to perfectly tailor their ads to a specific audience rather than relying on chance (like a billboard or newspaper ad might).

    This opportunity holds especially true for a highly competitive automotive market. If a consumer looking for a new vehicle can’t find your dealership online, there’s a good chance they’ll find a direct competitor. And think of all the car shoppers using online search early in the decision making process! Capturing first-step search traffic (for example, “ford cars for sale”) in your area is a goldmine of opportunity for auto dealerships.

    With an online marketing plan, this treasure could be yours

    Another killer market? Mobile marketing.

    Smartphones and mobile devices like the iPhone and Blackberry have one of the fastest product evolutions in history. Mobile subscribers are growing 37% year-over-year and several industry experts predict mobile internet usage will overtake desktop within the next five years.

    The potential for auto dealers to enter the mobile marketing game now, while it’s still relatively young, is enormous. Again, advertising dollars are going to follow eyeballs… and mobile’s growth is certainly eye-catching!

    To inquire more about L2T Media’s digital marketing strategies, contact us here. Click here if you’d simply like to read more about the future of mobile search technology.

    Practical Search Tips With L2T: Site Specific Search For Your Royal Wedding Fever
    Oct 25, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    These days, it could be close to impossible to find a person who has never performed a Google search.

    "Uh, yeah, even I use Google." ~ That baby.

    For a lot of us, Google is part of our everyday lives. But that doesn’t always mean we’re utilizing it to its full potential.

    I like to think of myself as pretty search-savvy, but I still find a new trick here and there. I recently came across the site specific search option.

    Site Specific Search in Google

    This feature allows you to search a specific website for content matching your phrase regardless of whether the site has a search feature or not.

    Using the “site:somesite.com” modifier, you can limit your search to whatever website your are most interested in. For example, if you’re STILL into the royal couple like I am, you can search ‘"Kate Middleton" site:www.people.com’ and find any article on People.com (my favorite source) about Kate Middleton.

    Click above to see an example of the site function in Google

    Likewise, at L2T Media, we often use the "site:somewebsite.com" feature to analyze indexed pages for some of our automotive client's websites. This function can help our SEO team determine whether or not Google or Bing are having any problems indexing all the pages on a website. If you ever do a site search for a particular, longer URL, and Google or Bing doesn't return any results, that means the page hasn't been indexed in the search engine. This is generally a problem our SEO specialists are going to want to analyze!

    U Can’t Touch This: No Really, It’s An Unreleased MC Hammer Search Engine
    Oct 21, 2011 by Jack Thornburg

    To the ‘You Don’t Know, Jack?’ faithful… I apologize.  I have not been delivering the hard hitting questions surrounding L2T Media that you long for each and every week.  I’ve let you down and, quite honestly, I’ve let myself down. 

    As a close friend, Noah, recently told me, “Will you do something for me?… Just picture your life for me. Thirty years from now, forty years from now. What's it look like? If it's [without YDKJ], go. Go! I lost you once, I think I can do it again. If I thought that's what you really wanted. But don't you take the easy way out.” 

    Well, YDKJ faithful, Noah is right.  I’m not going to take the easy way out.  You deserve to know the answers to your search engine marketing questions from the people who know best – the experts at L2T Media.  Like Jordan said in March of 1995, “I’m back.”

    Let’s get to the question.  There has been a lot of buzz around the office about a “celebrity search engine” in the making.  I spend every morning going through about 500+ e-mails asking me, “Jack, what is this search engine all about and when can I get my hands on it?!”  It’s exhausting!  Well, I’m here to put an end to the questions.  If anyone knows anything about this mystery search engine, it is my dear colleague and relapsing search-a-holic, Dave Buesing.  Dave, help!

     


    I’m glad you asked, Jack. Believe it or not, that new search engine hype you’re hearing is coming straight from the two fly feet of MC Hammer.

    MC Hammer? As in the 90’s rapper famous for large shiny pants, sweet dance moves, and a tragic inability to touch things? What’s he got to do with celebrity search engines?

    This past week, at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Mr. Hammer (if that is his real name) announced plans to launch a search engine called WireDoo. Reports from the event are still trickling in, but rumor has it Hammer first discovered his love of search when he lost a small pet turtle inside his pant pocket.

    He really loved that turtle.

    You can watch Hammer lay down his search knowledge in an interview on Youtube, but the main takeaway is that the man has done his preliminary search marketing research. His team of entrepreneurs seem interested in creating a search engine strong in “relational search,” i.e. connecting targeted keywords to related subjects.

    In the interview, Hammer uses an example many of our clients are familiar with: a customer searching for a car.  

    According to Hammer, WireDoo would handle a search for a particular car by including specific mileage information, the specs, car styles, and zipcodes of local car dealers with that model.

    At the end of the day, it’s hard to say the idea hits you so hard it makes you say, “Oh, my Lord.” As we’ve documented before, there are a lot of really cool search engines out there, and none of them have had much success taking market share from Google. Can WireDoo and MC Hammer succeed where others have failed? It seems unlikely, but we’ll know more with the beta launch of Wiredoo in December.  

    Jay Per Click: Mobile Website Design For the Common Man
    Oct 20, 2011 by Jay Solway

    As the prices have plunged on smart phones and data plans, total mobile searches have skyrocketed.  This obvious inverse relationship can also be credited to “smarter” smart phones with faster browsers capable of accessing data with the swift flick of a button.

    Lower prices mean higher accessibility to the masses.  Smart phones are no longer exclusive to business professionals. What does this mean to you and your business?  No matter your industry, your product or service is going to be searched for using a smart phone.  Jump into the still-shallow pool of mobile-friendly advertisers now to capture the most market share.

    The mobile marketing pool: Plenty of room, fun toys, and pleasantly warm water.

    You don’t have to have a specialized mobile website in order to take advantage of this lucrative new search market.  If you’re using a desktop PC, take advantage of Google mobile browser to determine if your website is mobile-friendly and navigable through the eyes of a smart phone.

    Not able to see your website?  Keep in mind that some mobile browsers (see: the iPhone) are not yet capable of flash display.  Also, mobile phones use internet browsing technology called WAP (Wireless Application Protocol). Due to the limitations of WAP browsers in terms of screen size and allowable download, you may need to simplify your current website design.  Here are a few important principles about mobile website design that you should consider when making the most user-friendly mobile website:

    Mobile Website Design Essentials:

    • Know your customers in order to deliver the most appropriate content:  Mobile users interact with your site differently compared to traditional customers sitting at a desk facing a large monitor. Mobile customers might be waiting in line, commuting to work, or lost in an unfamiliar town and trying to get somewhere.

    • The most important information that you want users to see should be located at the top of the page.  It can be time-consuming for mobile phone users to browse through an entire site; placing the most desirable information at the top will provide the most convenient site experience.

    • There is no mouse on a mobile phone – only an up-down feature – so you can’t demand that users jump around the page.

    • Always provide a ‘back’ button or link, since many phones don’t include a back button.

    Once your website is mobile-ready, you are ready to drive your most targeted traffic to the site using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.  Check out the following article for some more info on how PPC can help your car dealership or business.  

    Practical Search Tips With L2T:  How Google Can Help Your Ryan Gosling Infatuation
    Oct 17, 2011 by Dena Poulos

    Let’s face it, Google is smarter than you. Google is smarter than your boss, smarter than your dad, even smarter than your cat. However, if you want to be better at using Google, you’re going to have to get smart. In order to have the most efficient search queries, below are a few good tips while searching Google.

    Exclude the unnecessary: If you’re interested in learning about the handsome Ryan Gosling but you hated the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love, then you can use a minus sign (-) to exclude the movie name. For example, your search could read…

    •  Ryan Gosling -Crazy, Stupid, Love

     Yes please

    And now it's just Crazy Love.

    Include quotes for an exclusive search: Let’s say you love the movie The Notebook. You might be better off searching explicitly for the phrase using quotes. This will help you avoid any fluff relating to actual notebooks. Your search would look like the following…

    • “The Notebook”   

                                               

    At L2T Media, we’re constantly learning new ways to find information on the web & we’re always here to help you learn about Google search!

    L2T Media Wins “Best Business Shorts” Contest!
    Oct 07, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    When you think of L2T Media, a few things probably come to mind: Organic website optimization, social media marketing, truly stunning legs…

    Ok, fine, the legs part is up for debate. That still didn’t stop us from entering and ultimately winning Raven’s “Best Business Shorts” contest a few short weeks ago!

    Earlier this summer, Raven Internet Marketing Tools coordinated a contest for internet marketers across the globe to showcase their creativity and love for shorts in the office. With prizes including a subscription to Search Engine Journal and GQ, we couldn’t pass on the opportunity. The challenge was coming up with a good photo idea. So instead, we hopped on the tail end of the Planking trend.

    We got lucky, too, and our photo found its way through a tough competition to the top spot:

    I’m the muscular one in the back, not the saggy one up front

    We’re excited about our prizes and look forward to continuing search engine analysis through some of Raven’s tools – whether we’re wearing shorts or not while we do it.

    Let’s Get Real…Time: How Google Analytics Makes Social Media Measurements Easier
    Oct 03, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    Google has launched a beta program for Google Analytics providing a real time data stream for your website’s performance. It is so real time that when we tested it, there was only about a 5 second delay.

    Even this Flash Mob is impressed by that kind of speed

    For a long time, many of us analytics lovers would have to wait hours to find out if a particular filter or change went into effect. Patience may be a virtue, but in the world of internet marketing everyone expects “now now now.”

    The real time function of analytics will definitely be a helpful tool, if used properly. We can already anticipate too many people looking to see how many leads or sales came in the last 5 minutes. This would be an enormous waste of time.

    Nobody likes a waste of time

    With social media now playing an important role in organic search results, the results of efforts that happen in real time need to be analyzed in real time. Monitoring traffic from social media posts in real time will allow you to gauge some important factors towards your online presence.

    One of these factors could be how long your content remains relevant and engaging on each respective social platform. For example, how long is your tweet effectively bringing traffic to your site, or is it bringing traffic at all?

    Click for a look at the new Real Time Analytics in action

    This will give you important information as to when to reengage, what engagement is too much, and what engagement isn’t enough. Obviously, measurements will change dependent on your goal for each post, tweet, or update.  However the point remains the same: Real Time is a valuable tool to let you know within seconds whether or not a planned social campaign is providing data that you want.

    How Does the New Google Analytics Visits Algorithm Affect Your Data?
    Sep 23, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    Google Analytics recently changed the way visits (or sessions) are counted. Previously, if you were to visit a site, leave the site, and return via a different source - GA counted that as a single visit but gave credit to each source (subsequent sources counting for pageviews, but as 0 visits). Only the first referral source counted as one visit. The others had this weird zero visit attached to them. The zero visit nonsense is now history, as GA will now begin a new session with each new referring source. But how will that impact your data if you're comparing it to data before August 11 (when the change took effect)? 

    We've had some clients ask us about this, so I want to hand out a couple of resources on understanding the matter. First, it's very likely that the data skewing will be small. This custom GA report from Michael Whitaker allows you to determine what percentage of visits to your site were "zero visits" prior to the change. It's probably under one percent. Here is a screenshot from a fairly high-traffic dealership we work with showing that only 0.93% of visits in the month prior to the change resulted in zero visits. 

     

    What is affected?

    Your data will be impacted slightly. As Avinash Kaushik points out in his great video on this subject, you can always trust your Pageviews and your Unique Visitor data. That can't change. What will change with this new algorithm for tracking visits is your Avg. Pages/Visit, % New Visits, and Bouce Rate most notably. But again, this hinges on how much of your traffic before the switch was part of that zero visit group. If it was under one percent of your total visits, you won't notice drastic changes in these metrics. 

    Why did Google Analytics do this?

    Because it's better. It makes so much more sense to attribute visits by each individual referring source. And with what Google Analytics has now done with Multi-Channel Funnels, it makes even more sense for better attribution.

    Local Search: The Good, The Bad and The Future
    Aug 31, 2011 by Jason Hamblin

    As increasing numbers of searches have local intent behind them, Google is showing Places listings in many more Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs). This presents an opportunity to either gain a spot on the first page for many businesses, or to take over more territory on the first page for companies already ranking well.

    While the name has changed many times over the years, one thing has remained constant: Local search continues to grow each year. Google has gone from a Web company to a Local Web company. Just recently, Google has setup shop in four cities to provide Place Page support: Madison, Austin, San Diego, and Portland.

    Globe

    The world just got a little smaller with Google Places. 

    The Good And The Bad

    Check out 'Immediately Actionable Items for your Dealership's Google Place Page' and 'Harmful Factors for your Dealership's Google Place Page' in this Search Engine Watch article.

     

    The Future

    Google+ for business pages

    Google Offers

    Google Talkbin

    Google Local Sitlelink

     

    If you want to be a local search marketing guru, follow these people on twitter:

    David Mihm                Darren Shaw                             
    Andrew Shotland Erik Whaley
    Mike Ramsey Mike Blumenthal
    Ed Reese Tom Critchlow
    Dev Basu Dave Oremland

    Jay Per Click: To Pay or Not to Pay? The Branded Term Debate
    Aug 26, 2011 by Jay Solway

    Over the past six months, there are two questions I’ve been asked more than any others:

    1) Should I be paying in Google Adwords for branded search terms that I am already showing up for organically?

    2) How are you still single?

    Let’s just say I enjoy my freedom and focus our attention on whether or not it makes sense to eat into advertising expenses on branded terms.

    The short answer is usually yes. If everything was black and white in search engine marketing, we could remove the word usually and end this blog post now, but of course, as in life itself, there is plenty of room in the gray.

    a Black and white catta in black and white

    Few things are meerly black and white

    Every article I have ever read, along with my own personal experiences, have led me to the conclusion that paying for branded terms even when you have a strong presence organically makes sense. Without getting into too much detail and throwing out statistics that I can’t verify, let me read off all of the logical reasons why you should purchase branded terms:

     

    Why You Should Purchase Branded Search Terms

    1. You can control the message you want eyes to see.

    2. Dominating all aspects of a search has proven to lead to higher conversation rates.

    3. You have worked hard to build up your name. Why let others have equal placement?

    4. If properly managed, branded traffic should cost under 30 cents a click and on average be less than 10% of your budget. 

    5. Like anything else the key is testing and if conversion tracking is setup, you will almost certainly see a very high conversion rate on your branded campaign.

    Click above to see paid and organic search dominating a branded term

    These are all valid claims and the relatively small investment is usually worth ensuring conversions.

    Why do I continuously use the word usually and refuse to clearly back the “just-say-yes-to-branded-terms” philosophy? The answer is that in rare instances it may make sense to avoid allocating funds to branded terms.

    I would say that if you find 2 of the following 3 scenarios to be true, then you should back away from the branded theory.

     

    When To Avoid Branded Keyword Bidding

    1. If no competitors are bidding on your branded terms.

    2. If marketing budgets are very tight and you really want to focus on individual products or services.

    3. If, after testing, you are in the minority and branded terms do not appear to be providing as high of a return as other campaigns.

    I like to think that I am always trying to do what’s in the best interest of the client.  In order to do that, some questions must be asked and some analysis must be done. Hopefully, this blog post will provide an organized guideline as to whether or not paying for branded terms makes sense for you.

    Does Digital Marketing Make Sense For Your Business?
    Aug 23, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    SCORE Chicago is an organization that provides business counseling to startups and small businesses. I had the pleasure of speaking to a group interested in adding online marketing into their business plans on Monday.

    image

    The crowd was an arrangement of those who had tried to use various online marketing techniques to those who were looking for the basic knowledge to get started. First, I had the group identify if their business message was brand recognition or direct response.

    Are they just trying to get their name out and for people to be aware of them? Or, do they have a cost per acquisition defined and they know how they want their consumer to respond?

    After the group got a handle on their business message and target audience, we were able to move forward with how online marketing would fit into their plan.

    I started by giving a brief overview of the two services L2T Media executes best: pay per click and search engine marketing.

    The key message I conveyed for the two services is that the goal is to drive relevant traffic to their websites. By bidding on and optimizing a list of keywords, it is possible to increase the ranking of your website and drive qualified traffic to it.

    After all, the point is to drive such traffic to your site so the person searching is more likely to convert into a sale. I also discussed online display ads and how those are a great addition to pay per click and search engine marketing.

    I spoke about how each product can be brand recognition or direct response driven. Digital marketing is so customizable that it can mold itself into any business plan once it has been defined. With a little time devoted into learning how these services work, online advertising will be a great addition to your business plan.

    Meet the Pets of L2T - The True Inspiration Behind PPC and SEO Campaigns
    Aug 19, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    When you think about pay-per-click advertising, a pet is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Think about it.

    Just like a pet, you have to groom your PPC ad copy to be presentable to the public. Similar to a pet, your paid search ad URLs must be tagged for proper tracking. Amazingly close to the way in which you treat your beloved family animal is the way you also must train your PPC campaign with negative keywords.

    “Snickers, Down! No couch!” or “New Honda Ad, stop! No motorcycle searches!”

    See, pets and paid search advertising are exactly the same. Also, I really wanted to write about pets.

    Just like a pet, every element of your online marketing initiatives require daily care in order to thrive, and I speak for everyone at L2T when I say we take the same sincere approach with our PPC efforts as we do our own cats, dogs, and NFL-inspired turtles.

    Caring for your New PPC Campaign

    When we launch a new PPC campaign, we don’t make any assumptions.  Much like a new pet, it’s imperative to know what you’re bringing into your home. Otherwise, you’re bound to find yourself knee-deep in unmentionable messes.  

    Our Account Managers and Regional Sales Managers work together to get to know the client, the product, and most importantly, the objectives.  The more insight, the better.

    Where do most of your current customers reside?  Where is your biggest area of opportunity?  What profit centers need more exposure and which sell themselves?  What can we say about your company in 95 characters or less that will catch the attention of the most qualified potential customer?

    Daily attention is required. To our team of PPC Specialists, that’s the equivalent of fine-tuning bids, updating ad copy, and adjusting campaign radii.  Also, they sometimes have to water, feed and walk the interns.

    When we’re not at the office elbow-deep in our clients’ PPC campaigns, the L2T-ers are at home showing the same dedication and care to our family pets:

    Nicole Gignac - Regional Sales Manager

    “Zoey’s pretty awesome.  She likes to sleep, hang out and clap.  Seriously, she claps.

    It’s quite entertaining.  Similar to all my clients here at L2T, I spoil her.  I am a big believer that if she’s happy, then she makes me happy.  I use all the organic treats and food to keep her running at her best (similar to how we use all the best digital strategies at L2T to make sure our SEO and PPC campaigns are running at their best).  She has regular grooming appointments (kind of like the regular face-to-face meetings I have with all my clients).

    Dogs are pretty incredible creatures.  At the end of a long week of traveling and work, we hang out and play with her toys.  She enjoys her organic treats, and I enjoy a nice glass of wine.  She (and the wine) really help me relax and prepare for another week of helping L2T clients get the most out of their digital marketing.”


    Chris Onagan - Senior Web Developer

    image


    While Chris’s expertise lies in web development, Tigger takes a more literary approach to life.  


    Robert Anderson - Senior Digital Display Specialist



    A face fit for any display network!


    Gretchen McKibbin - Account Manager



    At home, Kane demands respect and regal accommodations.  It’s no wonder Gretchen’s superior account care and dedication looks so effortless!


    Dave Buesing - SEO Content Specialist

    “My wife has two cats. Their names are ‘Ellie’ and ‘Clipper,’ but I generally refer to them as “Get off that!” and “How did you even get in there?” Much like SEO, which has grown on me as I’ve come to know it more, I have found that these beasts are not altogether the worst. Sometimes they even make me smile, but I would never admit that to anyone. I imagine that one day I will fully appreciate cats, the way I now fully appreciate jokes about 301 redirects and keyword stuffing. One day.”

    Sheila Hull - Account Manager



    The patient welcome committee after a fast-paced day of PPC report analysis.


    Jay Solway - Senior PPC Specialist



    “Plaxico and I have many similar interests including swimming, slow walks and eating fish. Much like a PPC campaign, Plaxico requires a lot of attention. If he is properly fed and given time to roam outside his tank, you will then see maximum entertainment value.  Much like a PPC campaign, in order to achieve maximum value, it is important that you keep an eye on the account daily and if something isn’t working properly then you must make changes. The key is to test new ideas and constantly monitor. And don’t let your turtle take handguns to nightclubs.”


    Danielle Sullivan - Director of Account Management



    “Eddie may seem small, but if you take your eyes off of him for only a moment, he won’t hesitate to ‘love nudge’ you with his horns to remind you to rub him or offer more treats.  While he still lives in Central Illinois at my mom’s place (I haven’t researched Chicago city ordinances on owning pygmy goats), Eddie is the perfect metaphor for managing accounts because you never want to turn your back on him and must always peremptorily assess what to do in order to keep him as healthy and content as possible.  It’s all about astute attention to detail.  And chin rubs.”


    Dena Poulos - Account Manager



    In tuned with the ever-growing and progressing mindset here at L2TMedia, Dena anticipates the health and happiness of her ideal future pet.

    Last but not least....the L2T PPC Office Pet.  The Panda Drew:


    Common Questions from Clients about PPC Month-End Reports
    Aug 15, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    As an Account Manager, I compile all of the PPC data from the previous month and create what we call “the month-end report.” We send these out to our clients every month.

    The month-end reports show how a PPC campaign performed both during the previous month and over time.  After sending these reports, I usually get a few calls from clients asking different questions about the reports. Below are some common questions, and how I answer them.

    Professor John Frink, Jr. vs. Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth (266/365)

    The professor says class is in session

    Q. What are “Campaigns,” i.e. what is the Regional Campaign?

    A.  Each campaign contains certain groups of keywords and have their own ads associated with them. For example, clients often ask what the Regional Campaign is.

    I explain that this campaign contains keywords related to the location of their dealership, surrounding cities, and terms related to the name of their dealership. Furthermore, there are definitions of each campaign at the bottom of the report that should help with any queries like this.

    Q. What is CTR?

    A. CTR refers to the click-thru-rate of a campaign. Broken down, the CTR is the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions. An impression is a single display of an ad on a search engine.  

    Thus, CTR is the ratio of clicks to actual impressions.  In the auto industry, the average CTR is 1%, so anything over that is considered to be good.

    Q.  What is the best average ad position?

    A. Most clients think the closer to an average position of 1, the better. However, statistics show that the 3-4 position is actually most clicked on. So if you see an average position of 3.5, fear not, your ads will do very well there!

    As you can see, we don’t receive too many questions about our reports, as our goal is to make them client-friendly. However, those are the questions I get most frequently. Feel free to call me or any of the other Account Managers if you ever have questions on the month-end PPC reports!

    Soft Goals, Hard Data, and Smooth Website Optimization
    Aug 11, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    When I talk about “Soft Goals,” I’m not talking about goals that are Downy-Soft and snuggly. I’m talking about goals that do not directly result in a sale. These goals could include visits to a landing page, maintenance of a particular bounce rate, average time on site, pages per visit, or a specific event (event being an action taken on the site).

     

    seattle - zoo sloth bear                                                 

    Like a sloth bear, soft goals are less snuggly than you’d think

    But if these goals don’t generate any revenue directly, why bother measuring them?

    Every client should have an overall goal. It can be as simple as, “We want to drive more traffic to our site,” or “We want more leads from our (Insert Inventory Item).” Or it could be, “We want more people to know we exist.” Establishing the overall goal is important not only for the SEM company managing the account, but for the client as well.

    What do soft goals do for our overall goal? Besides just having a general goal, more often than not clients want to see every metric to their site increase as a result of the campaigns you are running.

     L2T Media Google Analytics

    Analytics data means more with goals in place

    “Soft Goals” help us determine how our campaigns are performing against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These KPIs should be set by the client and SEM company when determining overall strategies and goals to the site.

    If we’re running a service campaign for an automotive client, the overall goal might be to generate more leads for service. But do we just ignore traffic that uses the “Get Directions” button? No. We want to know who is looking for directions because that could very well be an important factor in the research stage of the funnel.

    If we see there are many people getting directions, but not many people scheduling their appointment, we have important information about the Geo-Targeting Optimization that needs to be performed.

    Talk to your search engine marketing company about setting some goals that are consistent month over month. From there, develop a set of “Soft Goals” that you feel are important to your website performance for each campaign.

    You can’t measure ROI if you don’t have goals. If you’re feeling really analytics savvy, try finding the average value of a Goal and from that finding out the average value of a visitor to your site. Perhaps we’ll even save that for a future blog post.

    14 Totally Awesome Search Engines You’ll Love Using (Pt. 2)
    Aug 05, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    Last week, we took a look at seven of the 14 most interesting search engines the majority of people have never heard of. Today, we’ll dive into the final seven; each engine presents a practical and unique set of offerings for your everyday online needs.

    __________________________________________

     

    8. 

    Quora’s been getting a bit more attention of late, for good reason. The Q and A search engine allows you to pose any question to the site’s users. You can then have your direct question answered by industry experts, or helpful common folk.

    OR, you can view how other users have answered previous questions. On occasion, you’ll see answers from social-media savvy business leaders in regards to their own companies.

    Totally Awesome: I was curious how many bananas an individual could eat without seeing serious negative side effects, so I started typing “safe to eat lots of bananas.” As I did so, several closely related questions popped up, including “Is it unhealthy to eat 100 bananas in a week” and “How many bananas do you have to eat to suffer ill effects from its radiation.”

    Right away I learned a couple things: 1) you can possibly overdose on potassium with that many bananas and 2) OMG bananas have radiation!

    Secret Perk: Make sure to create and maintain a profile and then follow questions and topics that you want to know more about. This will fill your homepage with new answers as they become available.

     

    9. 

     

    Things you should never gamble with: Children, birth rights, and my heart. Things you should definitely gamble with: your lunch.

    Use the Wheel of Lunch to let the great wheel decide where you’ll eat for the day. All you have to do is enter your zip code and a wheel full of restaurants in that area will become available for your choosing.

    Totally Awesome: The wheel makes noise when you spin it!

    Secret Perk: Check the “Use Yelp” box to get starred reviews along with your restaurant selection to make sure you’re not wondering into a den of filth and despair (see: White Castle). Then, if you want to spin again, you can literally grab the wheel and spin it using your mouse. 2011 is so the future.

     

    10. 

     

    Have you ever wondered what an alligator bellow sounds like? All the time, right? With FindSounds you can search for any noise in the world and get a plethora of audio results.

    Totally Awesome: Searched for “jabba” and got a bunch of audio with Jabba the Hut laughing. Now I can use the file any time I want to mime an evil, maniacal laugh.

    Secret Perk: You can search for Godzilla noises.

     

    11.

     

    If you’ve ever wanted to sound like the smartest person in the world, Scirus is the search engine for you. The site contains only official scientific information. You can look up any number of health conditions or general scientific concepts and find all the latest studies and professional opinions on the matter. It is search for scientists… real or pretend.

    Totally Awesome: Entered “time travel” into the query field and found a ton of interesting scientific articles on the possibility of this science fiction trope. Plus, by the time I had finished reading “Time Travel and Modern Psychics” the clock read ten minutes before I had started.

    Secret Perk: Aside from all the advanced search options you can use, there’s a neat “Refine Your Search” box that you can use to filter your search by similar topics. So after searching for “time travel” you can then look into articles on the theory of relativity and “autonoetic consciousness.”

     

    12.

     

    Google doesn’t have many legitimate competitors, but Blekko is certainly trying to gain standing as one. I’d check out their about page for a full explanation of how the site works, but the key takeaways are as follows:

    1. Blekko hates spam. They want to really make an effort to take out any and all questionable search results
    2. Blekko lets you “slash the web” using slashtags after a search. In this way you can target searches by types of website (technology, sports, etc.) and much more.

    Totally Awesome: Blekko is so confident that their search engine is the best that they allow you to play “3 Engine Monte.” When playing, you’ll see three columns of search results, and then have the option of selecting the one you like best. After choosing, you’ll see whether you picked Blekko, Google, or Bing, and you’ll see which Google results Blekko has banned due to low quality content.

    Secret Perk: You can click the “spam” button next to any site result you think is spam. It’s a great way to say, “I clicked on you… I trusted you… and you gave me this?! A pox on all your future generations!”

     

    13.

     

    Tag Galaxy probably has the coolest visual presentation of any I’ve seen. And by coolest, I mean it looks like a video game from 1992. Your initial search leads to what essentially looks like a bunch of planets floating in space… each with a tag related to your search. So you could initially search for Space -> then Crater -> Then Moon. This will lead to a disco ball full of really cool photos based on this search. I swear I’m not making this up.

    Totally Awesome: My initial search for Chicago photos lead to highlights of city architecture at night, including this Matrix-esque photo here.

    Secret Perk: The globe spins!

     

    14

     

    IceRocket is another interesting social search option. The engine specializes in results from blogs, but it also offers real-time Twitter and Facebook updates related to your search queries.

    Totally Awesome: If you want to look at planking photos you can easily find links through the latest tweets to mention the growing art.

    Secret Perk: Check out the “analysis results trend” for search queries to see the percentage of blog posts mentioning the term.

    Added Value: L2T’s PPC Approach
    Aug 01, 2011 by Andrew Hoke

    As a digital marketing agency, L2T is always looking for ways to provide additional value to our clients and give ourselves a leg up on our competition.  In order to drive traffic to websites in a manner that is both efficient and cost effective, we need to run Pay Per Click (PPC) accounts with strong ads and clear calls to action.

    Unique Campaigning 

    One way to accomplish this is by using monthly reminders and updates.  Near the beginning of every month, I send out a request for any new specials, rebates, incentives, or advertising programs that our clients would like to include in their PPC accounts. This provides us with an ever changing array of ads to run that are specifically tailored to the client’s needs.  We can create new, fresh ads that incorporate deals that fit the needs of specific customers.

    An example of a tailored PPC ad.
    Which one would you click?

    Turning Ads into Revenue

    While we typically run a few generalized ads all year long, the monthly updates allow us to create more compelling ads that potential customers may be more likely to click on.  When we include new car leasing offers, finance deals, or rebates in ad copy, it really stands out and grabs the attention of potential customers. This is especially true when all of the other ads being presented by competitors look identical.

    Our ultimate goal is to drive prospective customers to our clients’ websites to help increase sales.

    Driving Cars in a Traffic Jam
    For the first time ever, heavy traffic is a good thing.

    Therefore, any way we can make our clients’ ads stand out against their competition can go a long way towards increasing PPC performance (in terms of higher click-thru-rates and lower cost per click). In the end, monthly updates can help our clients drive more traffic to their websites without spending additional money, which should make everyone happy. 

    You Don’t Know, Jack? – Should Your SEO Campaign Target Competing Dealer Names?
    Jul 29, 2011 by Jack Thornburg

    Jack is new to SEO. There is a lot he doesn’t know, but he’d like to keep his job so he asks a lot of questions. The “You Don’t Know, Jack?” series of posts highlights some of his most interesting.

    Welcome back to your favorite L2T blog series, “You Don’t Know, Jack?”  If you want some of the hardest hitting search engine marketing questions this side of the Mississippi, you’ve come to the right place.  With each installment, I’ll highlight one of the questions that I’ve asked a co-worker throughout the week along with their luminous response.  It’s genius, right?  Let’s get started.

    This past week, we were faced with an interesting question at L2T Media.  If the pay-per-click side offers a competitor campaign that allows ads to show up in competitor specific searches, why not attempt to show up for competitor’s names in organic results as well?  Interesting!  To dive into this question, I’ve called upon the only person in the world I would trust to write my meta data, Dave Buesing.

    ___________________________________

    "Jack, there are a number of reasons a car dealer – or any business for that matter – won’t want to concentrate much of their SEO resources on specific competitor names."

    1)  Searcher Intent

    The first reason is fairly simple. If a searcher enters a direct competitor name into Google, what are they probably looking for? There's a good chance it's... that direct competitor. And nothing else.

    Panda

    Not even fluffy pandas? Ok, maybe they're looking for fluffy pandas.

    For example, let’s say a customer searches online for “Car Dealer X.” They are not looking for general vehicle information, or maybe “Car Dealer Z”… at least not yet. Instead they are looking for “Car Dealer X.” That is the website they are going to want to click first.

    So what does this mean? Trying to rank first for a competitor's name is not going to lead to a lot of clicks that convert into anything meaningful. Plus, it is highly likely that the dealer already has an unbreakable lock on at least the top 3 spots for their own name. Based on the similar location and business, your dealer may show up on this results page anyway, but not until the bottom half of results.

    This could be beneficial if the customer has a poor experience on your competitor’s website. If they return to the search results page and find you in the top ten it may then lead to a visit. Ranking above the competitor for their own name, though? Well…

    2)  It’s Shady 

    Let’s say, for the sake of example, your competitor has an absolutely pathetic dealer SEO campaign. You're able to outrank them for their OWN name. You do this through a combination of page title rewrites, backlinks, and onsite content. What have you actually accomplished?

    A) Now when searchers look for "Car Dealer X" they get "Car Dealer Z." The general reaction will not be, "Wow, that sure is some impressive search engine optimization!” It will be, "What in the hell?"

    confused_dog

    What are you trying to pull here?

    B) You've dedicated a substantial chunk of time to building up your site's rankings for a term not beneficial to your business. The hours you've put into this could have been spent building quality links for more general, early cycle search traffic. Capturing traffic for "new Chevy for sale" in your geographic area is going to lead customers to your site before your competitor's. Capturing traffic for "Car Dealer X" is going to lead to... confused and potentially angry customers.

    C) If you're really gunning hard for a competitor's name, you might add the name to your own page title and meta data. Aside from being wildly confusing (it'd be like a man named Peter introducing himself as Wolfgang), including a competitor's name in meta data can get you into trouble with brand compliance issues. And possibly even big, bad Google.

    3)   SEO is Different From PPC 

    You may counter all these arguments by saying "Well then how come our PPC campaign targets competitor names? What's the difference?"

    The difference is this: PPC ads allow for a custom message based on the search. If a searcher types in "Car Dealer X," you can place a PPC ad on the page that says "More like Car Dealer WRECKS - Visit us for a better price" and then link to your own site.

    With organic SEO listings, customization for a specific term is less practical. You can't tailor your message to combat the competitor without sabotaging the rest of your search presence.

    Have an idea for a “You Don’t Know, Jack?” question?  Feel free to e-mail me your suggestions and I’ll do everything I can to find an answer from one of our many experts.  Remember - he who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.  At least that’s what I’m told.

    Rules of Engagement For Your Car Dealer’s Social Media
    Jul 25, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    Being engaged can be a lot of work, but it's worth it. I can't say engaging with your car dealership's Facebook profile takes NO time or effort, but I can tell you it has its rewards... 

    Engagement Ring

    A method of engagement that requires slightly more time, effort, and sweet talk


    As with any relationship, the one you have with your dealership requires communication to survive. The beauty of forging a friendship via Facebook with dealers today lies in the endless communication opportunities this social media platform provides.

    The Perks

    Business Facebook profiles have really increased over the years and for good reason. The ability for companies to connect with customers (and vice versa) has greatly improved. Not only does the good old-fashioned status update or wall post from your dealer inform you of current sales and promotions (or just some entertaining car trivia), but you can also receive exclusive coupons just by being a good friend. Facebook's fan-only content allows dealers to share incentives such as dirt cheap oil changes and dollars off of service appointments.

     

    Lexus dealer gives away iPad
    Keeping it Friendly

    And while everyone appreciates a good coupon in today's economy, there's also something to be said for having a friendly relationship with the people responsible for maintaining the upkeep of your ride. We all get pretty attached to our cars, so why not keep in touch with those who know your make and model better than even you do?

    But if you're like me and still haven't found "the one" (in the automobile world, that is), then staying in touch on Facebook with dealers in your area allows you to link to feeds of current inventory and view both new and used cars available. Who knows when the right one will come along?

    So whether you’re still in the buying process or nearing the end of your warranty, keeping in touch with your dealership on Facebook comes with many perks! I think you’ll “Like” it. 

    Quick Thoughts on the Google Places Review Changes
    Jul 22, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    As you probably have figured out by now, Google Places no longer incorporates third-party review sites into its star rating and number of listed reviews - not on Places pages and not in search results. TechCrunch covers the story here, so I won't. But I do have some quick thoughts for auto dealerships:

    Should you only focus on Google reviews now?

    I would say you don’t want to ignore those other sites (Yelp, DealerRater, Yahoo, Bing, maybe a few others) entirely, but start placing the focus on Google. If you have the ability, consider sending different versions of email marketing pieces to gmail and non-gmail addresses. For the gmail address, only give the link to your Google Places page as the place to review the dealership. Then promote your reputation management portal to all of the other email addresses.

    Know the reasons different review sites are important

    You don’t want to ignore Yelp for sure, because Yelp is a real community of people devoted to reviews. Real Yelpers certainly will go to Yelp for reviews first and they may not view reviews elsewhere.

    Google just keeps getting more powerful it seems, but let's not forget that Yahoo and Bing are increasing search share. Guess what? Google reviews don’t matter there. Don't ignore the first impression your making in Bing and Yahoo search results. Still, Google by far owns the search demographics that are much more likely to consider and explore reviews before entering the buying cycle.

    I’ve always held that DealerRater is more of an obsession within the industry than something consumers seek. Obviously, there are plenty of reviews there, but a lot of that is a result of dealership efforts. DealerRater's future depends upon how well their results retain positions in the search results (mostly Google). But if a DealerRater result shows for your dealership, it's important.

    Assess your review landscape

    Take stock of your star ratings and volume of reviews for all platforms. Do you have 200+ reviews and better than a 4.2 rating on DealerRater? Chances are your tally of Google reviews is somewhere between 3 and 30. If that's the case, I would say a strategy focused solely on Google reviews (at least for a while) would be worth it. 

    Change the way you promote positive reviews

    Dealership's Cashier: Were we able to provide you with excellent service today?

    Customer: Yes, everything was fine.

    Dealership's Cashier: Do you have a gmail account?

    Customer (with suspicion): Yes 

    Dealership's Cashier: Well, we really appreciate your business today and if you have a moment we would love it if you logged onto resnickcares.com and reviewed us on Google. If you have a smartphone you can even scan this QR code (points to table tent point of sale display) and you'll be taken directly to our Google business page. 

    Customer: I'm in a hurry.

    Dealership's Cashier: No problem. I'll just staple this appreciation card to your receipt that provides a link making it easy to review our dealership. We hope you can take the time in the coming days to share your experience here.

    Jay Per Click Advertising – Doing it the Solway
    Jul 21, 2011 by Jay Solway

    E = MC X PPC?


    Unfortunately, Albert Einstein didn’t live long enough to create a formula to predict actual Cost Per Clicks (CPC's).  Experience in the field can give one an estimate of CPC’s, but the only true way to know what they will be is to run an account. It is uncertain how Google will view the relevance of a landing page and even then CPC’s can change based on competition and history accrued.


    Have no fear! I’m still here, and I will give you a “How To” guide to predicting actual CPC's.

         
                                                                                                          Flash Forward   

    Always the sidekick, Jay is finally able to be the hero.

     

    How to Use Google's Traffic Estimator


    Let’s start by using the Google Adwords Traffic Estimator. Plug in your desired keywords, the maximum CPC you are willing to pay and a daily budget. Traffic Estimator then generates several pieces of data for us to look at. For our purposes, all that matters is the darker green, highlighted column on right. Here we can see Google's estimated CPC for each of the searched terms.



    Traffic Estimator

    The Reality


    While it would be nice to rely on these numbers, unfortunately this tool is just a starting point. From my experience these estimated average CPC’s tend to be about 20% on average lower then actual CPC’s. Digital agencies in Chicago should be careful not to promise or expect results solely based on the data provided. 

    Once we add this 20% to these numbers we must now consider the dynamics of our individual account. If we are targeting highly populous or highly competitive areas, traffic CPC’s will be higher than the national norm. Of course CPC’s will be lower in less dense, competitive areas. The next factor is how well the AdWords account is set up.

    A great PPC team will follow Google’s best practices and produce relevant ads, a relevant landing page, quality load times etc. Keeping this in mind, CPC’s can be improved by as much as 25% over less friendly ads.

    Can Your Dealer’s Website Provider Really Provide?
    Jul 20, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    A lot of our clients have been tempted by the promise of one-stop shopping from their dealer website providers. A website, paid search campaign and SEO services from one company! Most things that seem too good to be true...

    Dealer website companies are first and foremost website providers. They were founded on the opportunity to offer websites to a robust niche before paid search existed and before anyone over the age of 28 had performed a Google search. Now, most offer a range of digital marketing services. For the purpose of this post, I'll concentrate on search marketing elements, which are the most common offerings after websites from dealership website providers.

    Why You Need Paid and Organic Search Strategists, Not Programmers

    So what is the problem with a website provider branching out? With organic search in particular, many of the best site optimization practices conflict with the template web designs and elements that have been built into rigid systems over the years. Programmers and web designers care what the site looks like to humans. I care what the site looks like to humans and robots. And while Googlebot is getting better at experiencing a website like a human does, you still have to give the robots enough information. Every dealership website provider I've encountered leaves a lot to be desired on the SEO front. Given their failures make changes to the structure of their websites, it's clear that they do not take SEO seriously.

    PPC is offered by just about any dealer website provider. These companies would be stupid not to offer marketing services to a dealer. They're already in the door. Plenty of dealerships don't have anyone on staff qualified to know the difference between websites and search marketing, much less if a paid search campaign contains the correct negative keywords. What I see mostly from these companies is a lack of transparency for their paid search services. 

    This post is not about attacking the competition. If it were I would share my Dealership Website Provider Power Rankings here, which ranks all the major providers from rubbish to acceptable. And I would name names in the "crimes" section below. This post is really about information you need to consider, about the risks of using only your website provider for your entire digital marketing effort. 

    6 Dealer Website Provider Crimes Against Search Marketing

    bad ppc companyThe first four points below deal with reasons why these companies are unfit to offer SEO services. The last two are reasons you want to leave PPC campaigns to the people that do nothing but PPC campaigns:

    1. Allow sold inventory pages to result in 404 errors - Not only does this hamper search engine spidering, this wastes any accumulated backlinks to inventory pages. Paired with this bad practice, often your website provider does not even have a custom 404 page in place.

    2. Build websites with little written content and sometimes no place to add written content - This is baffling. I have seen more than one website provider provide no space for written content on important page templates. Good, unique written content is the backbone of a better organic search presence. 

    3. Dynamically generate poor URL structures and page titles - This usually can separate at a glance the rubbish from the acceptable when it comes to dealer website companies. If they haven't built at least a somewhat SEO-friendly structure for these elements, you can be sure they don't know much about organic search.

    4. Pass off basic dynamic website elements as SEO and charge for it - I know of one company that simply tacks on a $500 SEO charge to the monthly site bill. What do they do each month? Send a generic report on overall website visits. 

    5. Same ad copy for different clients-In the same market for the same search! - Yeah, they don't all do that. But come on, this is nuts. See screenshot to the right. The paid search campaigns we see from most website providers just reuse ad copy from other clients. 

    6. Set it & Forget it - It worked for numerous cooking efficiency products from Ronco, but the "set it and forget it" strategy has no place when cooking up the best paid search results. Fine tuning and auditing of a PPC campaign are crucial. We've taken over paid search campaigns for clients after website providers had been providing that service, and in looking at the clients' web analytics, it's obvious that simple AdWords campaigns were copied from a template and rarely or never monitored. 

    6 Advantages of a Digital Agency

    1. Expertise - I know more about SEO than your website provider. I refer you to points 1-4 above and the fact that I have participated in at least 30 conversations with people at these companies trying to explain what a 301 redirect is. In addition to knowing our most popular services (SEO, PPC, Social, Display, etc.) inside and out, we are proficient with emerging digital opportunities (like mobile and behavioral targeting) and website analysis. We know what dealer websites need to offer because we understand the customers we send to them. In fact, we often recommend website changes based on data analysis of visitor behavior. Strange the website provider doesn't do that.

    2. Client Support - At L2Tmedia, we proactively reach out to our clients to review monthly results. Also, each client has one point of contact who knows the details about all services we provide to them. When necessary, they reach out to specialists for answers and advice. And we get answers quickly. The culture of an agency is much more client-centric than the culture of a website outfit.

    3. Web Analytics Consulting - More than providing web analytics data, as an agency, we take action based upon meaningful analysis. And while we offer web analytics consulting as a stand-alone service, we include our consulting as part of some of our services. 

    4. Multiple ad copy variations for paid search - Google recommends at least two ad copy versions per ad group. A devout digital agency like ours makes it a minimum of three. We've seen plenty of website companies using just the minimum or even only one.

    5. Robust reporting - An agency provides better reporting than most website companies. I'm particularly disgusted by what I've seen labeled as an "SEO report" from a few.

    6. Checks and Balances - Even when you make the worthy choice to go with L2Tmedia for all digital marketing, you will still have a website provider. And we will notice the website issues they don't - by analyzing bounce rates, conversion rates and many other metrics - that will otherwise go unchecked:
    • 404 errors
    • Browser compatibility issues
    • Website elements that harm organic search presence
    • Site speed issues
    • Improper Google Analytics Installation
    • Mobile site functionality
    • And much more

    I've been pretty rough on the automotive website providers in this post, but I'm not warring against them. In fact, I have improved the SEO elements for many of these companies. I want them to make better, SEO-friendly websites. It makes our efforts look better. It benefits everyone involved. However, I firmly believe these companies don't belong on the marketing side. True search engine marketing, particularly SEO, cannot get along with the rigid methodology of their website templates and their cookie-cutter search marketing strategies. 

    14 Totally Awesome Search Engines You’ll Love Using (Pt. 1)
    Jul 14, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    Most of the time, we don’t put a whole lot of thought into how we search for stuff online. You probably just use whatever search toolbar you have installed in your web browser (Bing, Yahoo, etc), or you “Google It.”

    There’s a reason the Google brand is synonymous with online search – much like trimming your toenails, just about everybody’s doing it and it’s (generally) effective.

    Of course, part of the reason Google is so dominant is because not many people even think about alternative options at this point. That doesn’t mean they aren’t out there.

    There’s an incredible variety of targeted, niche search engines that can be even more effective than Google for certain purposes. Stick it to the man with this list of 14 unique search engines:

    1.)Wolfram Alpha

    Google is very, very popular. In fact, it gets around 740 million visitors every single day. You know how I know this? I looked it up using "computational knowledge engine" Wolfram|Alpha.

    Likely the smartest engine on the web, Wolfram|Alpha takes care to point out it is not just searching the web. Instead it uses dynamic computations to provide data on everything from calculus solutions to the economic standing of your hometown.  

    Totally Awesome: I just learned that there are an estimated 3.158 million “Daves” in the world today, which apparently means people aren’t just constantly calling out my name in crowds because of my rapping prowess. It is now only a partial explanation.

    Secret Perk: First step: Click the “Examples” link from the homepage. Second step: Check out all the ridiculously cool computations the site offers. Third Step: Acknowledge that this benefit is not particularly secret.

     

    2.)  

    Social sharing is all the rage these days, with millions of people taking to Twitter and Facebook to let their friends know about the cool links they’re finding online. Topsy indexes these social conversations and shows results based on the links that are generating the most social discussion on Twitter. It’s an infinitely more effective way to find popular content that lots of people are tweeting.

    Totally Awesome: Searched for “Green Lantern” to see what people are saying about the new superhero movie and found something even better: a Muppets spoof mocking the new movie. Close to 250 people individually shared the Mashable link through their Twitter accounts, and Topsy rightly ranked it as one of the most worthwhile results.

    Secret Perk: Have a blog? Use Topsy’s trackback page to see exactly who’s sharing your posts on Twitter and what they’re saying about them.

    3.)

    If you ever find yourself looking for a recipe online, Cookstr is the way to go. The search engine is entirely dedicated to quality recipes from chefs around the world. You can filter searches by preferred nutritional information, cost, skill level, and total time.

    Totally Awesome: Looked up burrito recipes and found a great way to make 8 chicken burritos in under 30 minutes. 8 chicken burritos. This is better than pretty people covered in free money.

    Secret Perk: To perform an even more targeted search, check out the “Explore Cookbooks” option towards the bottom right of the Cookstr homepage. This will allow you to examine and sample recipes from quality cookbooks in stores now.

     

    4.) 

    A personal favorite, Hype Machine is the go-to for terrific new (and sometimes old) music. The site gathers popular shared songs from a select group of music blogs around the world. You then have the option of searching for any artist or song you’re interested in and streaming the music for free

    Totally Awesome: Wanted to check out tracks off the new Beastie Boys’ album and thoroughly enjoyed “Make Some Noise.” With an account, you can then “love” a song and have it added to a playlist of other songs you’ve previously chosen.

    Secret Perk: Scroll down to the bottom of the site and click on the “Zeitgeist 2010” link in the footer. Through this feature you can stream the 50 highest rated albums of 2010  in their entirety. Again, for free.

    5.) 

    To be honest, Search-Cube is really only good for one thing: a visual representation of what shows up for your name or business . As you might have guessed, the search engine grabs images, video, and web results based on your query… and then displays them in the form of a 3D cube. Mostly, it’s cool to rotate the cube of results with the direction arrows on your keyboard.

    Totally Awesome: I quickly discovered that a Google search for my name leads to photos of my boss, photos of a panda, and dangerously active evidence of my long lost rock and roll career. Basically, it’s a visually appealing way to manage your reputation.

    Secret Perk: Yeah… the cube is cool.

    6.)  

    If you’ve ever tried looking for a job online, you know there are tons of sites dedicated to providing listings. Indeed makes an effort to compile this vast array of listings so you can search for what job you’re interested in and where you’d like the job to be. Plus you can filter by estimated salary and company.

    Totally Awesome: My search for lion taming positions did not return any actual openings, but it did reveal that Groupon has a sense of humor with its media job offerings. Additionally, I found out that lion tamers make an average of $66,000 a year.

    Secret Perk: Click the “trends” option in the header of a SERP to view job market competition. You can see which metropolitan areas offer the most job postings for a specific term compared to total unemployment in the area.

    7.)

    Want to feel like you're saving the world while you search online? Try GoodSeach. The site lets you select a charity you support, and then every time you perform a search through the site, you're increasing the potential revenue that charity will gain. Fifty percent of GoodSearch's sponsored ad revenue goes toward user-selected charities.

     

    Totally Awesome: Selected a charity of choice (non-profit writing center 826 National) and began performing searches about possible new Harry Potter books from J.K. Rowling (omg omg omg). Since I was going to search this information anyway, it’s hard to explain why I wouldn’t want to raise money for a charity in the process.

    Secret Perk: Click the “Amount Raised” button next to your charity of choice to see the exact amount of searches performed in a charity’s name, as well as the exact amount raised. Looking at a chart of actual charity dollars earned can potentially inspire you to use the site more frequently.

     

    To see the next seven awesome search engines, subscribe to our blog and come on back next week!

    Click here to continue reading the next seven most interesting search engines!

    Your Pay-Per-Click Campaigns and the Ad Preview Tool
    Jul 12, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    Google’s Ad Preview Tool is a valuable and underused resource for clients who have paid search campaigns running. While I do my best to frequently explain that seeing your own ads on search results is not an effective way to measure paid search performance, it appears to be the preferred way for some clients to wrap their hands around what they are paying for.

    Before I get started on the Ad Preview Tool, let me quickly explain why searching for your ads is a bad idea.

    Pretend, for a minute, that you have an ice-cream stand. In order to attract more people, you hire a person to put flyers up on bulletin boards. Each board charges you every time someone pulls one of the tabs from your flyer. Each tab brings someone back to your stand.

    Anxiously, you run around to all the bulletin boards to see your flyer. You wait in line for your turn to see the flyer and once you do, you just walk away. Now I (the person you hired) try to explain to you that this is a bad idea. You assure me it’s OK because you aren’t pulling the tabs.

    Lionel probably pulled that one.
    Epic epic epic Lionel Richie flyer / street art in London. Pulltabs are lyrics!


    But is it OK? Is it OK that you’ve taken a spot in the line to see the flyer, or that you shifted (ever so slightly) the results that I can provide you?

    Google’s auction for ads is far more complex than this, but the basic principal remains the same. Save for satiating our own narcissistic desire to see ourselves, there is no reason for us to intentionally search for our own ads.


    Which, let’s face it, the world only really needs one of you.
    March 25, 2011


    If you’re desperate to see how your ads will appear on Google then use this tool: https://adwords.google.com/select/AdTargetingPreviewTool

    The Ad Preview Tool will allow you to customize your search options to show whether or not your ad displays under certain requirements. The tool allows you to search on any domain, in any country, and on the desktop or mobile platform. It’s essentially the exact same thing as searching on Google, except you can’t skew results from it.

    The Bottom Line: If you want to see your ads, use the Ad Preview Tool. If you want to measure your ROI, set up some goals with your SEM team or SEM agency and make sure the results align with those goals.

    You Don’t Know, Jack? - Preliminary Guide to Google +1
    Jul 07, 2011 by Jack Thornburg

    Jack is new to SEO. There is a lot he doesn’t know, but he’d like to keep his job so he asks a lot of questions. The “You Don’t Know, Jack?” series of posts highlights some of his most interesting.

    Today’s “You Don’t Know, Jack?” is a little different than most.  You all know the usual structure – I come up with a brilliant question relating to what we do at L2T Media, I find someone willing to humor me with an answer, and then it is posted on this blog. 

    This time, however, I have a special treat for everyone.  Instead of finding “just anyone” to grudgingly answer my question, I’ve decided to ask the one who knows me best.  The only one to believe in me since the very beginning.  Myself!  That’s right, today’s “You Don’t Know, Jack?” has just turned into a “You Don’t Know Jack, Jack?”

    Huh?
    the look of surprise


    Question:  What do we know about Google’s +1 and how can it affect search engine marketing efforts?

    Answer: Jack!  Your questions are so insightful!  I would love to explain the implications of Google’s +1 on search engine marketing

    Based on the current (admittedly, limited) +1 discussion out there, it looks like implications on SEO and PPC will be heavily dependent on how this whole thing takes off with the common user.  Some of the main ideas that are being focused on now are as follows:

    image
      - If the user agrees to let their +1s be public, it can show up on a search result or site as “Jack Thornburg and 16 others +1’d this.”  Therefore, it will not only be a factor to people with lots of Google connections, but can also affect the decisions of anyone on the web.

      - Soon, Google will add a way to track +1s on Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics.  It looks like it has already been added to the interface, but use is limited.  When completely rolled out, it will be a great way to track social presence and influence.

      - +1s may have a larger ranking impact in some industries than in others where there simply isn’t much social interaction (best pizza place vs. metal manufacturing plant).  We’re guessing that the auto industry will be closer to the pizza place example than the manufacturing plant.

      - Gaming +1s seems like it would be extremely hard to do.  By gaming, I’m referring to a company simply creating as many different Gmail accounts as they want to +1 their website.  As each +1 is tied to your Gmail account (which is then tied to your YouTube account, Yelp, etc.), there are a ton of factors that Google can use to determine if you are a real person.  Further, Google will be able to tell how important your +1s are based on your web reputation.

    For most companies, it seems like the first step would be to install a +1 button on their actual website (rather than only have it showing up in Google search).  One thing that we are considering for our clients is installing a +1 button on their review page. 

    One of the cool things about +1 is that you can install a +1 button on any page that can actually +1 another page altogether.  This way, people who are leaving a review for a car dealer can +1 the company’s homepage instead of the review site they are on.

    Moving forward, it looks like we will just have to keep an eye on how the world accepts the +1 button.  If people love it, it may end up holding a lot of weight in SEO rankings.  As of now, well, it’s hard to tell.


    Have an idea for a “You Don’t Know, Jack?” question?  Feel free to e-mail me your suggestions and I’ll do everything I can to find an answer from one of our many experts.  Remember - he who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.  At least that’s what I’m told.

    The Keys to Keywords: Improving Website Traffic With The Right Search Terms
    Jul 05, 2011 by Nikki Paladino

    You know those words you type into the search box in a search engine like Google? To you, those words probably don’t mean too much. They just help you find what you are looking for.

    Whereas Bono Still Hasn’t Found It
    Bono - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011

    But when we’re talking about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), these words become “keywords,” and they can play a large role in getting your website ranked on the first couple pages of a Google search.

    These keywords are usually a phrase that describes what you are trying to find. When a person types a keyword in the search box it only takes a second to think of what to type (well at least for me it does). 

    However, finding keywords to target for SEO takes a bit longer than a few seconds. For a business website, you want to have your site show up for popular terms that will lead people to your site – ideally with an intent to purchase or convert in some other way.

    Being psychic would come in handy here so I would just know what people are searching for. Since I’m not, we thankfully have a few tools to help us out. With these tools we can easily discover what keywords we should focus on to get our client’s website to show up on the first few pages of a search engine.

    To find strategic target keywords we use Google Insights for Search, Google AdWords and Google trends.

    Using Google Insights For Keyword Research

    Google Insights looks at the most popular keywords people are searching for in a particular area. This allows us to choose a unique set of keywords that will most benefit our clients. Google Insights makes sure we help our clients focus on keywords that will be driving the most traffic. Ideal terms for driving traffic to a site are top searched terms from around our client’s location.

    Below is an example of the data that we receive from Google Insights. Google Insights ensures that L2T can focus on the best keywords to drive the most traffic. This means that we try to make user searches arrive at our client pages as often as possible. These terms are often location specific.

    The top section shows us where the most interest is for the keyword that a user typed in for a particular city in a particular state. The bottom section shows variations of the most popular search terms based on what you typed in.  It also displays the most current popular searches and which keywords are rising to the top spots in the search engines.

    Click to Enlarge

    Using Google AdWords for Keyword Research

    Google AdWords gathers keywords based on impression data from our clients’  Pay-Per-Click advertising campaigns. This allows us to see what keywords are already generating the most paid traffic for a particular client. We combine this information with the client’s web analytics data and decide which of these keywords provide the greatest opportunity for gaining more qualified traffic.

    Below is an example of the type of data we would gather using Google AdWords. Basically, it gives us an estimation of traffic opportunity.
      Keyword                Impressions
      Chevrolet kansas             2684
      Chevrolet missouri           2595
      Chevrolet kansas city       2551
      used chevrolet                 2202
      used chevy                     2187

    Also, in Google AdWords we use a keyword tool that allows us to type in the top searched keywords we find in Google Insights. It then gives us other variations of this particular keyword and separates how many people around the world and in the U.S. are searching for that term.

    Below is an example of the type of data we receive when using the Google AdWords keyword tool.

    Click to Enlarge

    Using Google Trends For Keyword Research

    Google trends shows you trend data for search topics. The information below is the type of search we would do for a Chevrolet client. This type of discovery is important for shaping a targeted list of keywords.

    Through our research over the years, we know that “Chevy” is much more popular than “Chevrolet” among searchers in most regions. However, we also know that it’s the exact opposite scenario for Spanish searches, so we use Google Trends to determine regional specific trends to ensure we are making the correct choices.
    Click To Enlarge

    What Do We Do With These Keywords?

    Based on the data that we gathered using these tools, we create a list to use internally when we develop backlinks for our clients. The keywords we use are chosen for their ability to not only provide value with those particular search queries, but to generate visibility for a wide variety of search queries. With our clients, the long-tail theory applies.

    We also add these keywords to the client’s website, in their onsite content, page titles, and meta description. Targeting a specific keyword like “Used Chevy Dealer,” means whenever someone types this in, there’s a much better chance the search will drive traffic to our client’s website (click here for a classic example.

    If you’re interested in doing keyword research for your company or have any questions about the tools we use, feel free to review our SEO services.

    L2T Media and Google Meet Again For a Chicago Rendezvous
    Jun 28, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    After less than one week apart, Jason Hamblin couldn’t stand it anymore. He just had to see Google again.

    Our very own Director of Search Marketing and self-described “Google groupie” will visit the Google Chicago offices today for a series of optimization sessions. This gathering of search marketing seminars follows hot on the heels of L2T Media’s journey to California for Google Think Auto 2011.

    Google

    In addition to using social check-in devices to create the world’s most accurate guide to where Google likes to eat,  Jason is gathering as many Google tips and ideas as possible for L2T’s automotive client base. Between Google Think Auto and the Chicago meeting today, there is sure to be an incredible variety of search marketing insight L2T Media can apply to increase our client’s web presence even more.

    L2T Media is constantly aiming to innovate within the digital marketing industry, and we’re confident Jason’s Google meetings will help us do just that. Subscribe to our blog to keep posted about Jason’s findings straight from the mouth of Google.

    Top 12 Summer Searches At L2T Media
    Jun 24, 2011 by Melissa Maxwold

    We can finally say it - summer is here!

    Before Labor Day weekend creeps up on us with its sweater and boot combos, we’ve got some cocktails to drink, festivals to attend, bands to check out and lots of sun to soak in.

    To ensure there’s no time wasted this summer, many people will be searching the web for the best restaurant/ bar deals, upcoming concerts, and other fun activities this summer has to offer.

    In fact, according to our good friend Google, a number of unique searches peak this time of year as well: firming lotion, Lady Gaga make-up, creative date ideas, calories burned during swimming, last-minute flights, and online dating. Just to name a few.

    While those are the most popular, the L2T bunch has a few other things in mind before we pencil in our plans for the summer. Let’s take a look at the top summer searches:

    image

    Andrew Hoke: In my pursuit of becoming a professional beer taster and connoisseur (not really, but being paid to drink would be amazing), this seems like a logical choice for what I’ll be searching for this summer.  Moving to Evanston has made trips downtown much more practical so I’ll definitely be checking out the best beer gardens Chicago has to offer.


    image

    Sheila Hull: I still have royal fever!


    image

    Robert Anderson: Dogs love summer too!


    image

    Dave Buesing: I am getting married this summer, and while I am very excited, I also assume I will need places to hide at some point. Not places like local taverns or anything – I don’t need to escape in drink and song. No, I’m looking more for things like loose floorboards in rotting buildings, where I can truly hide without fear of needing to discuss things like “dish washing procedure” or “feelings.” Underground tunnels will also suffice.


    image

    Jack Thornburg: This must be the coolest song ever to karaoke, right?  So far, I only know “Leonard Bernstein!” so I have a lot of memorizing to do.  I plan on making my debut August 20th – everyone everywhere is invited.


    image

    Erin O’Brien: My plans are to run a race once every month to get in ‘running condition’ for the Rock & Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas in December!


    image

    Gretchen McKibbin: I love the sun, though my fragile Irish skin seems to disagree with me. But since we don’t seem to get any in Chicago, I might still be in the clear!


    image

    Tom Moorhead: Going to catch a concert this summer at the place formerly known as Meigs Field.


    image

    John Curtis.


    image

    Danielle Sullivan: Based on the still frigid weather and my pasty skin tone, I’m convinced the earth, if not just Chicago, is gradually becoming colder.  Oh, and anyone remember the blizzard back in February?  I do.  I also remember the 4 hours it took to shovel out my car.  I miss summer :-(


    image

    Kirstin Shew: I’m moving to the city in August (boooo yahhhh!!)


    image

    Dena Poulos: After the half marathon earlier this summer, I’m going to need a cure if I want to run the half marathon in October!


    Now that we shared how the L2T team will fill their calendars, it’s your turn. What will you be Googling this summer?  Let us know on Facebook!





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