Some good tips about polling your website’s audience to learn what they’re looking for. The author +Daniel Treadwell the developer of the Google+Blog plug-in for WordPress that lets you sync between the two.
Know your Audience
Last year with the release of Google+ it was made very obvious that a large amount of people have been looking for a new community that allows them to share their time, their art and their opinions with others in a way that was not previously available.
Once you have gained a significant amount of followers (and this amount is subjective and personal, what is a large number to one may not be to another) most people will start to wonder exactly what it is that their audience is most interested in
Google+: View post on Google+
I was recently working with a client who has a large Google Adwords campaign, with an annual ad budget in the low six figures. He’s been very careful about the keywords he’s chosen and we’ve both poured over the Google Analytics figures to see how the campaign progressed.
It took a third party keyword tracking system to discover that many of the ads were being served up to wrong keywords in the Google searches. I want to keep the client’s identity private, so let me use an analogy: say you’re a boomerang maker and you’ve bought a campaign intending ads to show up for those who search “boomerang” in Google. What we discovered is that Google was serving up a large percentage of these ads for searchers of “frisbees” — close, but not close enough for searchers to care. Few people clicked on the misplaced ad. We’re talking serious money wasted on ads served up to the wrong target audience.
How did a carefully constructed ad campaign get on so many poorly-targeted searches? Google allows fuzzy matching under their broad match guidelines:
For example, if you’re currently running ads on the broad-matched keyword web hosting, your ads may show for the search queries web hosting company or webhost. The keyword variations that are allowed to trigger your ads will change over time, as the AdWords system continually monitors your keyword quality and performance factors. Your ads will only continue showing on the highest-performing and most relevant keyword variations.
You can disable these broad searches using negative keywords (i.e., “-frisbee”) and with specific keywords (“boomerang”).
But Google does not make it easy to see just where your ads are going. You have to set up a special Search query performance report. It’s really essential that anyone doing a large Google Ad campaign set up one of these searches and have it automatically emailed to them every month. Google clearly wasn’t tracking the “performance” of its broad search on this client’s ad. I’m particularly disturbed that we didn’t see these misdirected keywords listed in the Google Analytics tracking reports. It is dangerous to use the same company to both sell you a service and to report how well it’s been doing.
Credit where it’s due: it was the excellent long-tail blog content service Hittail that gave us the information that Google was misdirecting its ads. See my previous Hittail coverage.
Syndication feeds are small web files that summarize the latest posts
to a particular blog or news site. They’re a central repository of
basic information: title, author, post date, a summary of the post and
sometimes the whole post itself. You can open these files directly (here’s the raw file for this blog) but you’ll see there’s a hierarchy of coding that makes it visually uninteresting.
feeds are the lingua franca powering all the cool new websites. It
doesn’t matter what blogging platform you use or what operating system
you’re on: if your software provides an RSS feed I can mix and match it and use it to pull in content to my site.
Examples 1: Photographs: I email all of my adorable kid pictures to the photo sharing site Flickr,
which then provides a syndication feed (“here”). I use a little fancy
patch of coding on my website to pull in the information about the
latest photos (location, caption, etc) so that I can display them on my
homepage. Whenever you go to my Theo age you’ll see the latest Flickr photos of him.
Example 2: Bookmarks. I also use the “social bookmarking” system with the odd name of del.icio.us.
When I find a page I want to bookmark, I click a Delicious button in my
browser, which opens a pop-up window. I write a description, pick a
category or two and hit save. Deliciouis then provides an RSS syndication
feed which I can use to pull together a list of my latest bookmarks and
display it on my website. Wave a few magic wands of complication (pay
no attention to the man behind the curtain!) and you have the main
trick behind Quakerquaker.org.
I’ve simplified both examples a bit but you probably get the point. Syndication feeds are the secret behind blog readers like Bloglines and email subscription services like the one’s I provide for quakerquaker.org.
New to me is the concepts around the Well-Formed Web. As described by Kevin Donahue
“The layman’s premise of the Well-Formed Web is that each site will
have drill-down feeds — a top level feed, item specific feeds, and so
on.” What this means is that you don’t just have one single RSS feed on a site (your latest ten posts) but RSS feeds on everything.
Every category get its own unique feeds (e.g., the last ten posts about
web design) and every post gets its own unique feed tracking its
comments (e.g., this feed of comments from my “Introducing MartinKelley.com” post).
It certainly seems a bit like overkill but computers are doing all the
work and the result gives us a multi-dimensionality that we can use to
pull all sorts of neat things together.