By: Amalia Fowler Aug 15/2019
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It is a scenario that I encounter all too often. I’m working on a client’s account – optimizing campaigns, checking links and lead data – and something seems off. Maybe the number of form leads has dropped off dramatically in the past few days. Sometimes ads that were previously performing really well are being disapproved for having a landing page that doesn’t work. Or, looking at Analytics, everything has flatlined and a previously healthy site is receiving no traffic at all.
These are major red flags. As I investigate, it becomes clear that the website has been changed. Sometimes it’s the unexpected launch of a brand new site, but more often its a small adjustment to the existing site: a change to a form, or to the URL at the top of the page, or the removal or addition of services.
These changes, while seemingly small on the surface, can have a major effect on how successful your marketing is. Below are five reasons why you need to update your marketing partner when you make any changes to your website.
Broken links are the most common situation that we encounter. You’ve added a new page, so you removed one you didn’t need anymore. What you didn’t realize, though, was that your marketing team was sending ad traffic to the page you removed. Now, users are seeing your ad, are interested enough to click on that ad, and being directed to a page with no content.
The implication here is clear: you’ve paid for an ad click and the user not going to stick around to learn more. Additionally, they’re unlikely to try to come back, as an error page indicates to them that you don’t have the information that they need or their best interests in mind.
Even if you don’t have ads, the addition or removal of a page can have a serious impact on your organic traffic if no redirects are put into place. Redirects are like forwarding your mail: if you’ve changed addresses without telling the post office, they have no idea where to find you.
If you move or delete a page and don’t properly update the backend of the website and resubmit your sitemap to Google, the search engine crawlers won’t intuitively know what happened. This leads to Google becoming confused, and if a redirect isn’t put into place, especially if it’s a completely new site, Google could look at it as an entirely new entity. If Google looks at it as a new entity, all the hard work you have done to rank your site in the first place could disappear.
In order to track the success of your digital marketing or any other online efforts, you need to have tracking codes installed on your website. Typically, we implement these codes within Google Tag Manager, which works as a container that allows us to track events and manage the Google Analytics installation. Events that we track can include form leads, phone calls, and video views.
Often, when sites are changed, one of two things happens: the tracking code is either completely removed or it is not added to the new page. Both of these situations mean that the tracking is no longer accurate, and therefore unreliable in terms of decision making. In some cases, it leads to you losing all visibility into what is happening across the site. It’s like driving in the dark without headlights.
Adding and removing product pages or service offerings is a normal part of running your business’ website. However, if you add and remove pages without informing your marketing partners, or even other internal members of your business, you could end up with ads running for a product or service you don’t offer anymore. In this scenario, you are paying for clicks from people who are interested in something you aren’t selling!