Should SEO be part of the marketing department?

If you think back to the days of the first websites for companies: the development was almost always led by the technical department. These days it’s on someone in the marketing departments KPI’s for the year to ensure that the website is constantly update. We’re happy to get the IT department to develop a site but we don’t trust them with the layout, design or content.

The same is true for SEO. We exclusively trust the marketing department to come up with an SEO strategy and while we, on the odd occasion, might trust the IT department to do the hard graft we don’t want them to go near anything “creative”. Generally we outsource our SEO to a third party that knows very little about your company. If you consider that the marketing and sales departments are usually separate in a company you can see a potential problem putting SEO purely in the hands of the marketing department.

If sales are being fed the leads and marketing is unaware of the quality of these leads is there really a point in putting money into SEO?

It should be a joined up process that might start with digital marketing and PR but which should end with your sales department feeding back information about the quality of leads and volume of new business that SEO instigates. Thankfully SEO as a term being phased out of many marketer’s vocabulary, with €˜content marketing€™ and online PR€™ the two front-runners as its replacement. Surely that change indicates a need to move towards a more integrated approach?

The situation is especially bad when using multiple third parties. The PR company doesn’t inform the SEO (content) company what is happening and the marketing and sales departments fall flat. It doesn’t have to be like this!

A working example of the benefits of taking this approach is when a brand’s PR agency is running a campaign that is generating a lot of coverage then the SEO agency should be informed of this in order to ring around the publications where coverage has been gained and turn these mentions into links.

SEO, PR, advertising, marketing and sales teams are ultimately all working towards the same goal: to generate new business.

It’s time to stop seeing different departments as the enemy when it comes to SEO. If you continue to see SEO as a purely marketing function, you might as well be flushing your cash down the toilet.

You should consider the look of the marketing department

A move away from working in silos will result in a more cohesive image of the business being portrayed. Working in collaboration helps all facets of the business to grow continuously. Taking an approach where the successful total is the sum of all the moving parts, you will be able to build a long term sustainable department.


Five common fallacies related to banner advertising

Here at OfferForge we keep hearing about the “death of the banner” but our theory is that the banner is only really starting to gain some traction as an interesting model. We’d be the next Google if we could give you an exact reason that banner advertising hasn’t worked historically but we’re seeing all sorts of exciting new banner types and creative worldwide.

There are unfortunately still a high level of misunderstanding and misleading information about banners adverts and their effectiveness. Here are five assumptions and the truth behind them:

  • Over 5.3 trillion display ads were served to U.S. users last year. This number is huge! Except … 23.5 trillion TV commercials were “served” in the U.S. last year, if you add up 314 million American adults and children, each watching on average 1,560 hours of TV annually.
  • The typical internet user is served 1,707 banners each month.  And … the typical U.S. consumer watches 3,200 minutes of TV commercials each month, or about 6,000 TV ads. Still think banners are oversaturating the market?
  • The 468 x 60 banner has a 0.04 percent click-through rate. Again this is a horrendous number except TV spots have a 0.05 percent response rate. Billboards have a lower, 0.03 percent response rate. Radio fares best at about 0.13 percent, but the truth is, responses to all advertising are low.
  • You’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad. This is proof that stats can easily mislead. The logic problem is based on the plane already having crashed. In this situation yes, you are more likely than 4 out of 10,000 to survive (vs. a comparable banner click rate of 0.04 percent). Fortunately your odds of being on a plane crash in the first place, in which at least one person dies, is 1 in 3.4 million. It’s not even a fair comparison.
  • Thirty-four percent of people don’t trust banner ads at all. Well, 35 percent of Americans think dinosaurs roamed the Earth at the same time as humans. And, hey, did you know 50 percent of people have an IQ below 100? What am I to make of this?

For every digital media stat touted by an expert there is context and often different results. Our recommendation is to use the mediums that work for you; whether Facebook, ad networks such as OfferForge or even a radio advert.

If not banner advertising, then what?

If you are opting for variation you might want to consider adding links in your text as well. You can add in the affiliate marketing links seamlessly into your text. These links are can quite possibly generate more clicks than banners in some instances.

The text links are however not the only option you should use a the preference depends on your visitor. Serve them both and you should have a decent chance of generating some leads and sales and boosting your affiliate marketing income.


Tactics publishers use to increase pageviews

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Publishing is a tough business. Our favourite quote on the topic is how “we’ve traded analogue dollars to digital cents” by the head of AOL, Tim Armstrong. While we’re ultimately here to help publishers monetise their platforms we thought we’d look at some amusing tactics publishers use to up their pageviews and ad exposure:

Slideshows

Rarely is Web content best presented through the medium of slideshow, but that doesn’t stop some publishers from using them at every given opportunity to help boost pageviews and ad impressions. Why present users with a single, easily scrollable page of content when you can force them to click nine times and bombard them with banner ads in the process? Notice a publisher like BuzzFeed, which doesn’t sell display ads, doesn’t use slideshows.

Autoplay video

Another example of a practice that users hate and publishers love. Advertisers like video ads, and publishers can still charge a premium for them, almost regardless of the context they’re served in. The easiest way to boost your video inventory? Don’t wait to see if a user clicks play; just start streaming anyway. There’s nothing worse than suddenly hearing sound coming through your computers speakers!

‪Pop-ups and pop-unders‬

‪Browser-based pop-up blockers thankfully managed to eradicate most of them, but some pop-ups still seem to slip through the net. Netflix is a big fan of the pop-up format, or at least its affiliates are. And anyone who frequents torrent sites or the more dimly lit corners of the internet will be all too familiar with MacKeeper ads, too. Thankfully no publisher worth their salt will do anything like this. If you see this, chances are you’re doing something dodgy!

Pagination

A personal pet hate: a 700-word article could easily be published on one page or two. Some publishers would rather opt for two because that would double the ad impressions. Most users, on the other hand, would probably rather just scroll than click. This is very similar to slideshows and drives us mad when there is a paragraph on the second page.

Auto page refreshes

This one’s pretty simple: Instead of loading a Webpage and the ads placed on it just once while a user reads it, why not refresh it every 30 or 60 seconds instead? Think of all those extra impressions! It’s like printing money. Sort of.

“Aggregation”

Some online publishers take another site’s content, add some value or further the discussion around it, and republish it on their own site to the benefit of their audience. Others will simply publish a headline and a summary sentence before linking to the source, and serving three or four ads in the process. It’s a cheap, quick, and easy way to boost pageviews and impressions.

We’re not saying avoid these tactics entirely however we do know this is the fastest way to annoy a user!

The good side effect of increased pageviews

Many publishers try to increase their pageviews for the sole purpose of increasing income from CPM campaigns. If you target more human visitors and not just simply pageviews on their own, you will see that there is also an increase in your other affiliate marketing efforts.

Getting tracking with a website is a mammoth task, but definitely one that can be achieved. If you generate more leads or more sales you will see your income jump much faster. Although CPM and CPC campaigns look like an easy option, their earning are always minuscule.