The Use Of Free Web Marketing Tools To Improve Agribusiness Visibility

Joao Ferreira, Consultant, Mid-Atlantic Wine and Agribusiness Marketing Solutions.
Gustavo Ferreira, Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

Introduction

The main purpose of this article is to explain the importance of the keywords as part of a web marketing strategy. More specifically, the findings of this article show how wineries or any other agribusiness can use a series of web-based free tools to increase visits and overall traffic in their webpages.

A search engine (i.e.Google, Yahoo! or Bing) is a software system designed to help internet users find information. A search using a “keyword phrase” will deliver a line of results, which is known as search engine results pages (SERPs). These results can be categorized as “non-organic” (search that generates results that were paid advertisements) and “organic” (search that generates results that were not paid advertisements). For this article, Google is used as the search engine because it represents 68.65% of the search engines global market share[1]. Google search is based on a complex mathematical formula known as an algorithm. Research shows that there are several factors that make up the algorithm used by Google (McGechan, 2013):

Table 1: Factors included in the internet search algorithm

Weight in the algorithm

Page level links

22%

Domain level links

21%

Page level keyword usage

14%

Domain level keyword usage

11%

Page level social metrics

7%

Other factors
Domain level brand metrics

7%

Content uniqueness, load speed, internal links

7%

Page level traffic

6%

Other Domain Level factors

5%

Source: Wine Marketing Online, Bruce McGechan

Businesses can apply simple search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve their positioning on the web. This article sheds light on how the use of keywords can be used to improve visibility o a web site at no cost for a business. To illustrate the importance of a proper utilization of keywords, Google Trend (GT) is used. This is a free analytical tool provided by Google Inc. that shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world[2]. More specifically, the definition of GT by Google Inc. is described below:

“Google Trends analyzes a percentage of Google web searches to determine how many searches have been done for the terms you’ve entered compared to the total number of Google searches done during that time.”

There are two circumstances in which GT will not provide data:

  • Searches made by few people. This is because GT only analyzes data for popular search terms, so terms with low volume won’t appear.
  • Duplicate searches.  GT eliminates repeated queries from a certain user over a short period of time[3].

For this example, the term “Virginia wine” is used in GT search.

 

Google Trend: Virginia wine

Localization: worldwide – USA – Virginia – Regional – Cities

Figure 1 shows the number of searches on Google that included “Virginia wine”. The horizontal axis represents time while the vertical shows how often a term is searched relative to the total number of searches. The period of analysis goes back to 2004 and includes forecast for the remaining of 2014 and 2015. Two mains trends can be observed from a simple analysis of this figure: (1) overtime there has been a clear downward trend in the number of searches for these keywords; (2) a series of search “peaks” occur over the entire period of analysis.

Figure 1: Results from GT Using the Term “Virginia wine” – 2004-2015

google trend

Data Source: Google Trends (www.google.com/trends) and authors.

Regarding the second fact, a more detailed analysis of this data reveals some seasonal patterns. First, the highest “peaks” were on 2005 and 2006, both in the month of June. After that, the month with the highest number of searches has been September (Figure 2).  Thus, this analysis reveals that Google users tend to search more for Virginia wine during summer months.  This information is important for marketers and wineries owners in the sense that it shows in what time of the year the Virginia’ wine industry must concentrate their marketing and web marketing efforts. By doing so, businesses can capitalize on the web traffic increase and searches.

Figure 2: Seasonal Trends from GT Results using the term “Virginia wine” – 2004-2015

figure two

Data Source: Google Trends (www.google.com/trends) and authors.

GT also allows investigating the impact that published news related to on the topic has on search numbers. In this case, some smaller and more recent “peaks” coincide with news articles in the popular press about Virginia wines (Figure 1).

A: Huffington Post – A Taste of France in Virginia Wine Country
B: MarketWatch – Celebrate Our Local Wineries During Virginia Wine Month
C: MarketWatch – The Winery at La Grange Commemorates First Export Shipment of Full Containers of Virginia Wine to China at Ceremony on Aug. 20
D: Washington Post – Virginia wine industry has boomed since 2005
E: Washington Post – Virginia wine sales break record, increase 11.4 percent from fiscal 2010
F: Washington Post – Virginia wine sales rise by nearly 13 percent
G: Washington Post – Vintage Virginia Wine Festival

This information can be used by Virginia wineries by posting these news articles on their Facebook, blogs, or retweeting them. Wineries could also add links to these articles on their own websites.

Regional Interest

GT also shows regional interest on a specific term or phrase, and its results can be broken down by countries, regions, and cities. In the case of “Virginia wine” the results show a very small global interest in these terms. Only a few searches originated from the United Kingdom, while all the remaining were done in the United States (Figure 3). These results show that there is little interest for Virginia wine outside the United States, which confirms the insularity of Virginia wine industry. Based on these findings, wine marketers should focus their web marketing on the domestic market. Furthermore, Virginia wineries that may consider internationalization must recognize an almost complete absence of interest for their products in the global market.

Figure 3. Results from GT Using the Term “Virginia wine” – Country Interest

figure 3

Data Source: Google Trends (www.google.com/trends).

For a more detailed geographic analysis, table 2 shows that within the United States most searches come from Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland and West Virginia. State-level analysis reveals that all searches from Virginia fall within four regions: (1) Norforlk-Portsmouth-Newport News; (2) Charlottesville; (3) Richmond; (4) and Washington D.C. Finally, Table 2 shows the different Virginia cities were the searches originated from.

Table 2. Results from GT Using the Term “Virginia wine” – Regional Interest

Untitled

Data Source: Google Trends (www.google.com/trends).

Once again, this information has great value for wine marketers because it allows them to know where the interest for a specific product is, to measure if marketing is working in certain areas or to identify areas where there is a need to increase marketing efforts.

The next level of analysis compares the searches for Virginia wines against the wine from two neighboring states – North Carolina and Maryland. As shown in figure 4, searchers for Virginia wine clearly outperforms the searchers for wine from Maryland and North Carolina during the entire period of analysis. Also important to note that all three searchers experienced decline overtime and have had very similar seasonal patterns.

Figure 4. GT Comparative Analysis with Neighboring States – North Carolina and Maryland.

Data Source: Google Trends (www.google.com/trends).

figure 4

Conclusions:

Google and the web provide an array of analytic tools that can be used by businesses to better design their web marketing strategies. GT allows firms to better understand certain trends and patterns on the web, and can use this tool to increase traffic and visibility. In the case of Virginia wine, the current analysis revealed that the search for these terms has been decreasing over time and they follow a seasonal pattern every year. Finally, Virginia wine has experienced a considerable higher volume of searches relatively to Maryland and North Carolina wines.

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