Category Archives: Google Analytics

SEM or Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing is one of the things we do best here at Windy City Strategies.  But sometimes, people don’t exactly know what that is.  So this blog post is to help explain it to our clients who may not know for sure.

A search engine is something going to and putting in a search term like “Chinese Food” in the search bar, or searching for something on the web on Yahoo, or Bing.  Google is the most popular search engine, so we will use this as our example.

According to Google:  “The primary objective of any search engine is to help users find the information, products or services they’re looking for online, quickly and accurately. When the user types a word or phrase, called a query, into the search engine, a set of results that are relevant to the query is displayed.”

So- if you wanted to find a law firm in Crystal Lake- you might type in the search field “Law Firm, Crystal Lake”.

Windy City Strategies provides consultation and services in all areas of Search Engine Marketing-

The shaded area at the top of the page is called Pay-Per-Click advertising- this is a paid section, where your advertising will be posted to the top of the search engine.

The paid results are in the pink area, and the organic  (or Google selected) results are in the green area.  You will notice that there are local listings first in this green area.  That is the location portion of Google’s results- which displays local results from where your computer is searching from.

Windy City Strategies will help your business soar in the ultra-competitive web marketplace through our proven Internet marketing campaigns. We manage Google, Yahoo, and Bing accounts and we offer pay per click campaign management services as well as search engine optimization, website development, and internet marketing consultation. Please contact us for a free proposal and analysis.

Why SEO Is Crucial to Your Business’s Success

The online presence of your website essentially determines the level of success for your business. Keeping this in mind, it is important you devote enough time and resources into enhancing your website’s SEO, or search engine optimization, to ensure everyone can see it.

Large search engines such as Google and Bing use very complex algorithms that are always changing to ensure no one company or organization is able to “crack the code” to find exactly what elements play into how the search results are ranked to increase their own ranking. So, without a sure-fire way of knowing what the search engines look for, it is important you diversify your website and its content to make your website better favored by search engines.

As you may already know, there are two main ways of arriving at websites on the internet: going directly to their URL ( or simply Googling it or using some other search engine to have an algorithm very quickly sort through the billions of websites to deliver sites closest to your initial input. Since there are very few people who know every website’s exact URL and never use a search engine, it is crucial that your website is highly ranked in search engines’ rankings. Through many studies, it has been shown that even if your website is displayed on the second page of Google ahead of thousands of competitors, only one search result away from the first page, there is only a less than 10 percent chance of the searcher seeing your result listed. This is clearly not ideal, and because of this, you should really begin to focus more on your website’s search engine optimization.

Here at Windy City Strategies, not only do we assist with all your advertising and pay per click needs, but we are also highly trained in search engine optimization. Our dynamic team of designers and consultants know which elements are important to increasing your website’s views, so feel free to call or contact us at any time.

How Efficient Is Your Ad-Targeting?

The best way to get your business name out on the internet is through direct ad-targeting; it is imperative that you push your services and products towards the correct audience, however, it is very common for your ads to be targeted toward the wrong people.

To ensure your business is not wasting money trying to attract the wrong clients, you should take several steps to better target your advertisements.

  • Keywords: Nearly all advertisement agencies enter keywords into a complex algorithm to identify which websites your ads should be posted on. The keywords you submit are the MOST important part of your ad-targeting campaign, a detail that cannot be stressed enough. You must evaluate what your business is, what services or products you are trying to sell, and whether or not your pricing is appropriate for the audiences you are targeting.
  • Advertisement Efficiency: If you use a service such as Google’s Adsense, then you have access to a wide array of unique tools to better target your advertisements. One of the most important tools focuses on the efficiency of your campaign: the number of people clicking on your ads versus the number of people not clicking or viewing your ads. This number is the best way to determine whether your ad-targeting is working or not and should be looked at on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Whitelisted Websites: Finally, it is crucial to your business’ advertisements’ success that they are being displayed on the proper websites. If you are a technology company, it is unlikely you would want any of your ads being displayed on a website promoting the Amish way of life, it’s that simple. You must ensure your advertisements are being displayed on appropriate sites for your goals to be met.

If you or your business have any questions, be sure to contact us to begin your business’ successful future.

Advertise Your Business Amongst The Search Engines

Pay-per-click marketing has quickly become one of the most popular ways to advertise your business amongst the search engines. Simply by advertising, each click on your advertisement can lead visitors directly to your site.

How Pay-Per-Click Works

For example, when you are searching on one of the many search engines, you may see yellow tabs, marked “Ad”.  These sponsor ads are what is considered a pay-per-click advertisement. When your ad is clicked on, you pay the search engines a predetermined amount of money, and in return, the potential visitor will be sent to your website.

From the search engines, to the searchers, to the advertisers, pay-per-click marketing campaigns can benefit everyone.


Searchers: Studies show that searchers use paid ads more than any other form of digital advertising, which simply means that they don’t mind being advertised as long as the products and services being advertised meets the needs of the users. 

Advertisers: They offer a unique way of sending out their message to their audience that is actively seeking out their products and services.

Search Engines: They cater to both searchers and advertisers. With searchers, they come to an understanding on the user-base, while the advertisers will provide them with revenue.

Google AdWords

The most popular platform for pay-per-click advertising is Google AdWords. Users bid on keywords, Google then has to dig into the bidding AdWords advertisers and choose from a set of “winners” to appear in the ad space on the search results page. The users that won their bid will then pay for each click on their advertisement.

Google AdWords campaigns must be kept up and managed daily in order to ensure they are truly effective for your business. Simply by either taking a few minutes daily, or hiring an Internet marketing firm that specializes in pay-per-click management, you can continuously analyze the performance and effectiveness of your account.

Windy City Strategies specializes in a variety of Internet marketing techniques, including pay-per-click advertising. Contact for more information, or to get started on an Internet marketing solution specific for your business’s needs.



Hiring A PPC Expert For Your Business

In the daily marketing world SEO and PPC are always in a constant competition with each other. Google changes out there algorithms, and companies start to find they competing against moving goal posts.

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization): These guys can be a slow process and businesses in competitive industries may not be able to hold the number one rankings like we all desire. This is why we spend more money on PPC advertising.
  • PPC (Pay Per Click): With PPC advertising it does have a lot of potential that can deliver targeted traffic flows.

Now if you are planning to open up your own Google AdWords account, do not do that! There is a reason why PPC professionals are charging a fee for management. If your fairly new to PPC, you could be unaware that it will cost you less to hire an expert then doing it yourself.

These are the reasons why you should hire a professional PPC Management Expert.

Keyword Research: This task isn’t easy; this research is very crucial to your success. It’s something PPC experts spend a lot of their time on initially. Choosing the WRONG keywords can quickly exhaust your budget and with your campaign you could have poor returns.

There are some free keyword tools out there, like Google’s Keyword and its open for anyone to use but the better tools are the ones you have to pay for now. Paying for a keyword tool would give you a competitive advantage but it’s going to cost you. These paid tools can cost upward of $100 monthly in addition to other expenses. Now for an expert in Pay Per Click they don’t just use one of these tools, they use multiple data points to form a more complete sales landscape for you.

Low Conversion With Wrong Ad Copy: One of the many strengths of a PPC expert is they have the ability to perform a competitive research. They understand how to find a good copy and they study your competition, which helps them form ads based upon what they know will work. Having that kind of copy isn’t something anyone can do overnight, because every single word that is used, means something.

Tracking: Having a good PPC program they can track your sales and also figure out where those sales are coming from. Good analysis can show you which placements and what keywords are likely to bring you these conversions. Also if you are tagging your campaigns it can allow you to see which tags are most effective. This involves a tracking code that is installed for you. This does require some basic HTML knowledge, so if you don’t have those sorts of knowledge leave it up to your web developer.

Understand PPC Terminology: We should all know what PPC stands for, but now do you know what CPM, CPC or CPA means? How about the difference between impressions, views, hits and what retargeting is? Understanding these terms is really important in our day-to-day management of campaigns.

Staying Up To Date: Every online marketer out there has to stay up to date with the latest trends. By either reading the online news articles, journals, or forums. They can also attend industry trade shows for several times annually or by attending networking events. If you are feeling you can’t handle doing that, hire an expert to do it for you! They will keep you up to date on everything, so you aren’t missing out.

Having The Time: Being a business owner, your already busy with hundreds of other tasks daily. Are you going to be able to manage time for your own PPC account and give it the attention?

Hiring an expert or an agency to handle things for you will be best. For more information about why you should hire someone to do your PPC contact Windy City Strategies.


How To Surf The Web Effectively

Ever watch someone use the Internet in the most painful and slowest process? Do not worry, if you don’t want to end up like that, follow these tips to surf the web effectively. Covering some browser shortcuts to SEO that will make it easy to find anything on the Web. The average person spends about 5 hours in front of the tablet, phone or computer. We spend a bunch of time of the Internet so let’s start to learn some quick tricks that can make things easier for you!

How To Reopen The Last Tab That You Closed : If you are using a iOS system use the shortcut (Command+Shift+T) and if you are using a windows system use the shortcut (Control+Shift+T). This will work with chrome or Firefox. This is perfect for when you are comparing products on different websites and if you accidentally close out the tabs.

Opening Incognito Windows : The average person has at least 3 email accounts, and chances are that number has only gone up since 2011. Google a few years back made all their products available to one login username. Meaning you can use your Gmail, Drive, YouTube, and Hangouts with the same information. If you have your YouTube and Gmail on different email addresses, you can login by using a incognito window to be in both accounts at the same time. Use the shortcut (Command+Shift+N) this shortcut works for all web browsers.

Using Password Mangers : Use a password manager to help save you time from having to enter in your passwords all the time. Start by using LastPass and Mitro these are great ways to save time and that frustration on trying to remember what your password is. These password managers work as a plug in for Chrome and Firefox. All you need to do is simply sing in to a website life Gmail or Facebook, and the manager will ask you if you want to save that password for the future. Works across multiple computers so you can have the same access that is saved at work and even your home.

When Using A Chrome Browser : To help save bookmark clutter in Chrome, you can right click on bookmark, and select edit and delete the name field and just leave it blank, and hit save. This will leave what it known as a favicon, which the logo of what the site is. If you need more room on the bookmarks bar you can create folders.

Using Ad block To Filter Out The Ads : Who isn’t tired of seeing advertisements on your favorite sites? Download a plug in called Ad block and this can filter out those ads out of browsing experience.

Opening Pages In New Tab : Do you want a link to open in a new tab, without losing the page your already on? Hold down (command) for a mac and (control) on a windows and click on the link you want to open in a new tab. Makes things much more easier!

Highlighting Terms or Phrase That You Want To Look Up : If there is a term or phrase that you want to learn more about, right click and select search in Google, and the search will open up in a new tab that saves you many other clicks.

For more information on how to surf the web effectively and quickly contact Windy City Strategies.


Creating A Website Yourself Vs. A Web Design Company

People use the Internet every day to find things that they need. Having a well laid out website can be provided in all sorts of useful information to those who might need what you have to offer. Such as hours of business, email address and information as to why they should pick your company over the others.

When designing and planning a business website, you generally have two options. Building the website yourself or contact a web designer or programmer. Before rushing into a lengthy do it yourself project or you put out a lot of money to have a professional designer do it. Consider the pros and cons of both approaches to building a company website!

Design Abilities – There are many desktop and online applications that exist that enable you to create websites quickly. Desktop programs like Dreamweaver, Coda, Net Objects Fusion and others ship with templates you can use to create a wonderful website with minimal HTML or Web programming experience.

Many of these easy to use sites or templates produce only basic sites that are more suitable for personal websites. While you’re about to produce an attractive and functional site with the consumer-oriented tools, you must possess at least some type of experience in coding and programming.  So you can add advanced features such as customer management solutions, working shopping cart application, login or even a membership management. If you need these types of features for your website and don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, you might want to hire a professional web developer.

Set Up And Implement Your Site – If you know that your business is going to need only a minimal web presence and site that consists of just a couple pages, you can probably use the available web design tools to create your website in just a few hours. If you’re planning to sell products online or have a customer management system, designing and implementing a site can be very time consuming. Selling products online you will want to ensure that every product has a description and you make sure to include everything for that product. Means you must design a new page or database entry for every product your planning to sell.

If your planning to offer helpful content on the site you should attract more visitors, by writing and uploading articles for your site this can take up substantial amount of time in your daily schedule. If creating product pages or content for the pages if this distracts you form running your business and growing, you should seriously consider outsourcing your project.

Repairs And Maintenance – A successful website requires more than just a name and great design. Once you make your website LIVE, it will require continuous maintenance and updating to ensure potential customers that will keep coming back. It’s easy to create a website with modern development software tools, these applications are not very useful if your site starts to have many problems. HTML and code errors, broken links, or corrupted database files are always a main concern for busy websites. Unless you have someone in the business that has the ability to do a quick troubleshoot and resolve the issues that might arise with your website, if your using a professional to design, monitor and maintain this site, it can be saved.

Money – All in all, money will undoubtedly be the major consideration in your decision to outsource your companies website or you do the work at home. A good professional website developers usually don’t work cheap, nor do they ever. Spending some time soliciting ideas and bids from developers, you can find someone who can work within your budget area. If you’re creating the site yourself you will save a lot of money. However, before taking this task upon yourself or appoint the tasks to one of your employees, you should determine if the time you spend on this project could better be used to maintain your business.

For more information about creating a website yourself vs. a web design company, contact Windy City Strategies. They will be more than welcome to help you figure out what is best for you, your business and your pocket.


How To Get Customers To Notice Your Online Business

It’s estimated that there are more than 468 billion web pages that are spanning the Internet and with more than 570 new websites coming online every minute. It’s crazy how fast websites all over are being made, and every site fits the needs and wants customers are looking for! Look at these tactics and see what you can do to get more interaction.

By content to your pages, quickly and easily start by converting your site to a blog or by adding a blog area to the home page, where you are posting new content. Set up a schedule for when blogs are posted, for example, every Monday, and Friday or every other day if you want. This depends on your website.

Make sure to update all content with images, graphics, or videos to attract more customers to your page. Search is still a primary driver of web traffic daily and most of the search engine algorithms out there will rank sites higher that have fresh new material to show.

The trick here is consistency and this tactic requires commitment, this could take a few months to a year to build up your sites steady traffic stream.

With millions of websites out there they have a singular focus to try and convert visitors into customers. Many sites have that backwards! The truth is those sites have a low conversion rate and it they do somehow make a sale, it’s unlikely for them to generate a repeat business, because their is no relationship that is build up. The key to standing out is by focusing from grabbing quick transactions to building that long-term relationship with those clients.

The number of entrepreneurs who fall back on the old marketing strategy would shock you. When they start selling their products features without understanding their customers needs and wants. With having an online business, it’s very important to build a relationship with potential customers by first giving them what they want.

For more information contact Windy City Strategies. 



PPC That Can Build Up Your Business

Pay-per-click marketing is a way for search engine advertising to come up with clicks to your site, than just “earning” clicks normally. For example, when you go onto a website you’ll see little yellow tabs those are sponsor ads and that’s what is considered a pay-per-click. When your ad is clicked on, your sending visitors to your website, and your paying the search engines a small amount of money, which is called Pay Per Click.

  • Searchers– Studies show that searchers use paid ads more than any other digital advertisement. It simply means they don’t mind being advertised, as long as their products and services fit the needs of the users.
  • Advertisers They offer a unique way of sending out their message in front of an audience that is actively seeking out their product means.
  • Search Engine- They cater to searchers and advertisers together. With searchers they come to an understanding on the user-base, while advertisers provide them with revenue.

Google AdWords has the most popular platform for pay-per-click. They pay for each click on their advertisement and users bid on keywords. Then Google has to dig into the bidding AdWords advertisers and choose from a set of winners to appear in the ad space on the search results page.

When creating a new campaign you must keep up and manage them daily to make sure they are effective. Continuously analyzing the performance of your account and when you take at least 15-20 minutes a week you can make a big difference.

For more information contact, Windy City Strategies on how to build up your business by using PPC.



Increasing Conversations When Using Google Analytics

A way to help improve your marketing is to track and see how customers are converting on your site. Conversations show you the path your customers take on your site. They are broken into four sections. Here are few things you should known.

  • Goal Completions- Number of conversions
  • Goal Value- Produced by the number of conversions on your site. Calculate by multiplying number of conversion goals by the value that was assigned.
  • Goal Conversion Rate- Total amount of individual number of conversions rate.
  • Total Abandonment Rate- Goals are abandoned
  • Assisted Conversions- Conversions of this channel appeared on the path, but is not the final interaction.
  • Assisted Conversion Value- Conversions that are assisted by the channel

Goals Overview

This can give you a quick summary of the total number of goal completions made from your site. Able to view the pages where the goals were made and then link to see where the converting originates from.

  • Goal URL’s– The URL’s report shows the links on your site where users convert. When you use destination goal, the URL users can land on once the goal has been completed. For example as a thank you and confirming your page.
  • Reverse Goal Path– This reports displays four steps in goal completion journey. Shows a popular pathway people take, and how to complete a goal. For example, most people only go through at least three pages at most. If so you want to also shorten other pathways going through your site it gets people to goal faster.

Ecommerce Overview

To sell products through your ecommerce shopping system, this will give you insights to your shoppers’ journey. You must set up the tracking in order to use the reports. These reports summarizes the conversion rates, transactions, and average order total.

  • Product Performance– Unique purchases, product revenue, and quantity.
  • Sales Performance- Total revenue, conversion rate, and total average of order value.
  • Transactions- Quantity, shipping, and tax of all items for each transaction

Multi-Channel Overview

This reports give you a summary for each channel that drives visitors to your site. Google Analytics attributes conversions to the last referral that brought a visitor to your site to make a conversion. Multi-Channel reports, you will discover not just one type of marketing that can help your business but all different types.

For more information about how to increase your conversions for Google analytics contact Windy City Strategies for more details.