Has Your Online Marketing Reached a Saturation Point?

Writing by Nick Stamoulis

If a business sits in a tight niche it does run the risk of reaching an online saturation point if the search engine optimization efforts are very aggressive and not diverse enough. Does it happen easily? No, not at all, but it could happen for some businesses that are not surrounded by heavy competition all around them. Online saturation does not happen overnight but if you aggressively market yourself in a very tight niche you could find yourself reaching your max point fairly quickly.

Inundated Search Results
Have you noticed that a majority of your efforts are really starting to flood the search results? For example: an article, your website, and a business profile or two appears for one search term used in the search engines. That might indicate that you are starting to really hit a saturation point for your search space. This typically does not happen in a competitive search space, so if you do not have a great deal of competitors and you are really starting to take up your search results you might be hitting a saturation point.

Newsletters Not Responding Like They Should
Often times, if you start to see your email marketing or newsletter just not respond like it once did you have to ask yourself if you have possibly reached a saturation point. If you are not adding new email recipients to your distribution list you are going to exhaust your list and once you get to this point it is very difficult to get your list to create an action. It is almost a “boy who cried wolf” type of scenario, which is why it is crucial that your email distribution list is being updated frequently.

Unresponsive Audience Altogether
This doesn’t mean that you hit a saturation point altogether because you might be in a very competitive area with your business, but if you once saw really great responses and actions from your efforts and all of a sudden you don’t see anything you might have exhausted those channels for now.

Make sure that you are always introducing new avenues to pull in traffic and customers because you could exhaust your efforts if there is not a lot of competition happening in your market.

Google’s Advice on Multiple Websites

Writing by Nick Stamoulis

At some point in time businesses attempt to run multiple websites in the search space, which is either good or bad depending on how you look at things. If you don’t watch yourself on the technical aspects of executing this you could quickly see a penalty lingering on your website, so you must be careful on how you approach it. Google recently wrote a very interesting blog post on the Google Webmaster Blog about how they feel about multiple websites from the same organization.

“While you’re free to run as many sites as you want, keep in mind that users prefer to see unique and compelling content. It is a good idea to give each site its own content, personality and function. This is true of any website, regardless of whether it’s a single-page hobby-site or part of a large portfolio. When you create a website, try to add something new or some value to the Internet; make something your users have never seen before, something that inspires and fascinates them, something they can’t wait to recommend to their friends.”

Google recommends that if you decide to launch multiple websites you must make the content unique in nature and also user experience. They have emphasized what I have said numerous times; that if you decide to launch a separate website, keep things different, otherwise their algorithms are going to catch up to you and whack you with a penalty.

“We suggest not spreading out your efforts too broadly, though. It can be difficult to maintain multiple sites while keeping the content fresh and engaging. It’s better to have one or a few good sites than a multitude of shallow, low value-add sites.”

This is what I have been saying for quite some time now and the reality is that you stretch your resources very thin when you attempt to launch these micro sites and manipulate the search results. Google looks at this as a black hat technique that should not be used unless you offer good tangible content along with user experience that is vastly different from your core website.

A Tweet’s Effect On Rankings

by SEOMoz

Let me tell you a tale of an unexpected case study on the value of a tweet on a page’s ranking and traffic. This tale will mostly be told using graphics, as the images tell the story better than I can. Let’s begin…

Last Monday while I was checking the morning tweets, I noticed a ton of tweets about our Beginner’s Guide to SEO. It didn’t take long to realize that Smashing Magazine had tweeted about it and the retweets were seriously rolling in. (And yes, they really did spell Beginers wrong ;).

Exhibit A – The Initial Tweet
Smashing Magazine's Tweet about the beginner's guide

I quickly emailed the marketing team, with a “Sweet! Smashing Magazine tweeted about the Beginner’s Guide, let’s watch for the traffic bump.” Not long after Rand in his infinite wisdom realized that all of a sudden we were actually ranking on the first page for the term “Beginner’s Guide” (without SEOmoz or SEO) and he tweeted.

Exhibit B – Rand’s tweet as we realized we were ranking for general keyword
Rand's Tweet response

Whoa. Now, previously we weren’t tracking that keyword as we hadn’t really thought about trying to rank for such a general term (by the way, it is now a keyword we watch in our web app campaign). Most of the traffic to the Beginner’s Guide usually comes from keywords like seo guide, seomoz beginners guide, what is seo, beginners guide seo, seo keyword research, etc. which are all directly related to SEO and the guide.

Rand had searched on “Beginner’s Guide” about a month or two earlier and it wasn’t anywhere in the SERPs, and we definitely weren’t getting any traffic for that term. So we were obviously quite interested to see that now, after hundreds of retweets we were showing up on the first page for that term. HOLY WOWSERS. At that point I wasn’t sure how long it was going to stick around so I took a screen shot, thinking “this will make for a great case study.”

Exhibit C – The SERP
Beginner's Guide in the SERPs

Sure this was really interesting but the question was “will it last?” or is this just an example of QDF? Over the next week I watched the ranking and traffic every day. The ranking seemed to fluctuate between the first and the second page for “Beginner’s Guide” throughout the week. I even tweeted about it one day last week to see where others around the world were seeing our guide rank for the term. The response was overwhelming that most people in the U.S. saw it on the first page still (at various spots) and most international folks saw it on the second page (in the 11th-13th spots).

All pretty interesting but we all know ranking isn’t everything right? So let’s take a look at happened with our organic traffic for that keyword.

Exhibit D – The Traffic
Traffic for Beginner's Guide

Sure, the traffic hasn’t been huge, which is totally expected since our guide to SEO probably wasn’t the user’s intent if they searched for “Beginner’s Guide.” Plus, the fact is, that’s not a highly searched term, so getting a ton of traffic for it wouldn’t make sense. What IS interesting though is that before the tweet, we had absolutely zero traffic for that keyword and after the tweet, we have traffic. It has obviously died down since the initial tweet but we’re still getting traffic each day for it.

Just like our initial test we ran a few months ago, we’ll continue to monitor the traffic and ranking for “Beginner’s Guide” to see if the tweets only helped in the short term or in the long term as well. Until then, if you have any similar case studies or “random awesome tweets that fall into your lap” as we did, I’d love to hear about the outcome.

Oh, and one last little bit of info. Below is a screenshot of the data about the bit.ly URL that Smashing Magazine used in their tweet. It’s pretty dang exciting to see how many clicks it generated!

Bitly Data

Some takeaways:

  • A high quantity of tweets from “real” users on Twitter has a pretty substantial impact on rankings in the short term (take note sources seeking rankings during high search volume periods – holidays, news events, etc.)
  • It appears likely that Google (and Bing) are using the concept they described in the interview on SELand of “Author Authority” to help weight the value of tweets (as we’ve seen that bot-repeated tweeting in similar quantities doesn’t have this affect)
  • There seems to be some long-term, nascent value carried by tweets in addition to the short-term effects. If this is consistently observed, expect a lot more SEO activity around engaging and incenting tweeting to key URLs.
  • It’s still unknown whether and how much the text of a tweet impacts the SERPs in a way similar to anchor text. That will be an excellent next test for us to observe.

Ah… the power of tweets. 🙂

Would love to hear your experiences and feedback on tweets influencing rankings in the comments!