7 Terrible, No-Good SEO Tactics to Abandon Forever

My Post - 2019-04-18T152128.085.jpgDespite the evolution of Google and the internet, bad and outdated SEO tactics still proliferate.

And the worst part is they continue to wreak havoc to webpages, search rankings, traffic, and conversions because website owners themselves have no idea they no longer work.

So, what are some of the craziest and most common “do nots” of SEO?

On April 10, I moderated an SEJ ThinkTank webinar presented by Julia McCoy, CEO of Express Writers.

McCoy discussed the most common bad SEO tactics that are still happening all over the web along with smart solutions and replacements to help you avoid them for good.

Here’s a recap of the presentation.

Google Is Pro-User

Why should we care about what “NOT” to do when it comes to our website and Google-friendly practices?

We care about Google and avoiding bad practices for search because more than half (60 percent) of all traffic on the web starts with a Google search.

To forget, or even worse – ignore! – how your website is performing in search, is irresponsible.

The good news?

If you put the right practices in place, you might be on the verge of a success story.

Here are seven bad SEO tactics Google really hates and how to avoid them. – Read more

Will Paid Search Ads Ruin Voice Search?

My Post - 2019-04-16T155536.778.jpgMarketers continue to await the arrival of paid search ads to voice assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa with bated breath.

Salivating like a dog being taunted with a treat held just out of its reach, we wonder what voice ads will sound like, how well they will work, and what acronym we will use for them. I say PVAs, for paid voice ads. Okay, maybe I need to work on that a little. As hotly anticipated voice search ads are in the marketing set, consumers—a.k.a., you when you get home—await its arrival with equal measures of dread.

Voice search responses are blissfully ad-free today. It’s virtually the only medium you can use to look for something and not see or hear an ad while you do it. Even if you opened a phone book for a non-kindling related reason, you’d see ads. So why hasn’t this panacea been opened to advertisers? Despite over 1 billion voice-enabled devices having been sold (that includes phones), Google, Amazon, and Apple are still trying to establish trust with users and achieve the greatest market penetration possible before they attempt to monetize voice search. Being Google, Amazon, and Apple, they also don’t exactly need the revenue from voice search, especially at the risk of losing market share and alienating customers.

Consumers Aren’t Ready for Voice Search Ads

So, will people hate hearing ads on Alexa? It looks like that might be the case. A recent survey shows that 62% of consumers would reject voice search ads. That’s not a great sign. On the other hand, just under 40% said they would be open to ads from their voice-commanded helpers if they were “relevant.” There are a few problems with this data, however. First, this survey did not delineate results between devices. People might hate a voice ad on the Echo, but not mind it so much on a mobile device. Second, it all depends on individual interpretations of relevance.

On the first point, yes, getting an ad instead of an organic search result on a screenless smart assistant would achieve a new level of annoying, and poorly targeted ads could dump over the holy grail of relevance. On the other hand, the “organic” results you get now are often the result of marketers fine-tuning content to return the top (and only) result for a screen-free search query. Is that really any different than an ad? To you or me, not really. But to a consumer who would likely be told “you’re about to hear an ad,” it’s probably enough to make them say “Hey Google, have fun at the bottom of the pool.” – Read more

Why You Must Stop Obsessing About These 5 Things in SEO

My Post - 2019-04-16T151507.326As SEO professionals, we tend to obsess over every detail.

Really, though, not everything in SEO is worth our full time and attention.

What follows is a list of trends that many in SEO believe are overrated or misused.

Before writing this, I reached out to the wonderful SEO community on Twitter to help contribute to this list of things you must stop obsessing over. Thank you to Search Engine Journal for extending my reach to get submissions.

At the end of my list, I’ve included a few submissions that I believe still hold value and are not overrated.

Most of the entries on this list are debatable, so if you have any strong opinions or data to counter these points, please leave a comment below!

1. Voice Search

Surprise, surprise! I’m pretty sure 99% of you expected this to be on this list. Figured we could get it out of the way early.

First, we need to understand that there’s a fundamental difference between voice search and voice assistance. Most studies that declare that voice search is on the rise are using examples that are voice assistance.

  • Voice Assistance: “What time is it? What’s the weather? Set a reminder!”
  • Voice Search: “Find breakfast spots that are open now. Best barber near me.”

Why Is Voice Search Overrated?

Voice search is often overhyped as the future of technology and is often predicted to be the primary way that users will interact with businesses.

When SEO professionals talk about voice optimization, they’re mostly referring to getting their sites to answer frequently asked questions.

While that’s fine and dandy, think about what kind of benefit this brings to your site? How is your voice strategy going to generate revenue for your site? – Read more

Gathering insights in Google Analytics can be as easy as A-B-C

My Post - 2019-04-16T142555.977.jpgToday’s customers are deeply curious, searching high and low for information about a product before making a purchase.

And this curiosity applies to purchases big and small—just consider the fact that mobile searches for “best earbuds” have grown by over 130 percent over the last two years. (Google Data, US, Oct 2015 – Sep 2016 vs. Oct 2017 – Sep 2018. ) To keep up with this curious customer, marketers are putting insights at the center of the strategy so that they can understand customers’ intentions and deliver a helpful, timely experience.

In our new guide about linking Google Analytics and Google Ads, we explore the broad range of reports available in Analytics. These reports give you crucial insights about the customer journey that can then be used to inform your campaigns in Google Ads. Here’s what you should know about the A-B-Cs of reporting.

Acquisition reports

How did your customers end up on your site in the first place? Acquisition reports answer this question, offering insights about how effectively your ads drive users to your site, which keywords and search queries are bringing new users to your site, and much more. This video gives you a quick overview of how Acquisition reports work.  – Read more

Web Design & Seo: Everything Designers Should Know

My Post - 2019-04-12T160607.830.jpgUX design and a solid SEO strategy go hand in hand.

Design is here to boost user experiences, inspire users to spend more time on your pages, and ensure they don’t leave your site frustrated. This way, it minimizes bounce rates and turns your visitors into leads and, ultimately, sales.

However, designing a spotless website is pointless if it’s not visible on Google. This is where SEO shines. It increases your site’s exposure in the SERPs, drives greater traffic to it, and gives you the opportunity to delight a visitor with your gorgeous website design and quality content.

When merged together, web design and SEO are indicators of your credibility and professionalism.

So, let’s see how to combine them for a better online performance.

The Basics of Implementing SEO and Web Design

In the world of digital marketing, building your online presence on strong foundations is critical. If some basic aspects of your site are poorly managed, you cannot expect your web design or SEO to deliver exceptional results.

Here are key elements of any strong web design:

CHOOSING A DOMAIN NAME

Stuffing your domain with a bunch of keywords won’t help. They look spammy and may hurt both your rankings and user experience.

Remember that there are millions of domain names out there. So, your goal is to make your domain name catchy and memorable. It needs to be relevant to your business’ focus and be easy to spell and pronounce. To make your site easier to find, it’s always good to use your brand name as your domain name, too.

INVESTING IN THE RIGHT HOSTING PROVIDER

Choosing the right hosting plan directly impacts your website speed, server performance, and uptime/downtime. These are all important UX factors Google considers while indexing and ranking your site.

BUILDING YOUR WEBSITE USING A RELIABLE CMS

A solid CMS is one that is easy to use and manage. You should be able to design your site however you want, without taking additional courses in web design. It should also help you make your site mobile-friendly, add social media integrations effortlessly, and use various content management tools. The most popular CMS option is definitely WordPress, followed by Joomla, Drupal, TYPO3, and Squarespace.

When choosing the right CMS for your business, ask yourself how it will impact your online performance. For example, does it allow you to customize your URLs? Can you make on-page changes without changing the URL? Some systems create meta tags (meta descriptions and title tags) automatically, so you should check whether you can modify them. – Read more

A Complete Guide to PPC Ad Formats

My Post - 2019-04-12T153822.490.jpgPPC ads come in many shapes and sizes.

They also change frequently, which means it’s nearly impossible to provide a truly comprehensive guide for every ad format available.

What follows is an overview of the major PPC ad formats that are available across Google Ads. Most of the basic text and shopping formats are also available across Bing Ads.

On the SERP

Text Ads

Ah, the bread and butter of PPC! Our dear text ads – with two headlines and one 90-character description.

Google and Bing both did away with the old version of standard text ads recently, and now we’re seeing larger text ads with a more varied alignment of extensions than we’d seen in years past.

Ads usually fire with the two headlines side by side, with a description line and ad extensions below.

Sometimes ads will serve with a third “headline,” most often comprised of the URL itself. The URL in the headline can read a bit weird, so you have the option to disable if you wish.

However, we know how Google loves to experiment: we’re starting to see ads smoosh together with ads to form one mega-ad. Sometimes the combinations are coherent, sometimes not, but it’s the new normal and something advertisers will have to get used to!

Responsive Text Ads (public beta)

These aren’t so much a variation on text ads, but more an automated method of powering them.

Aesthetically, they share the same appearance as “normal” text ads – there’ve been rumors that the ads are capable of showing three headlines; while possible, it’s highly unlikely to happen more than a fraction of the time.

Advertisers upload a variety of headlines and description lines, and Google will shuffle them based on best-expected performance.

It’s recommended to include at least three headline variations and two description variations, but you’re able to include up to 15 headlines and four descriptions.

Make sure the variables you use will make sense no matter the order they serve in. – Read more

A Beginner’s Guide to Shopping Ads

My Post - 2019-04-11T144601.280.jpgIf you work in ecommerce paid search, then having a working knowledge of Shopping Ads is essential for keeping up with the competition.

This chapter is for the purpose of giving you that working knowledge, and we’re going to do that by focusing on these three components to Shopping Ads:

  • Feed Setup & Management
  • Campaign Setup
  • Ongoing Optimizations

Feed Setup & Management

Because Shopping Ads are automated based on data you send to the engines, shopping feeds are crucial to success in Shopping Ads.

For feeds to work as needed, you need to send the feed with a feed provider (or do it yourself) to Google/Bing Merchant Center, after which you need to link those to the engines so you can actually advertise them.

What are you actually doing in Google Merchant Center?

You are sending your product data to make a feed according to specifications (make sure you get required fields completed, and add as many recommended fields as possible): – Read more

Everything You Need to Know About Ad Extensions

My Post - 2019-04-11T143723.342.jpgAd extensions are an important part of optimizing your paid search ads.

They can help you gain a competitive edge, improve performance, and increase CTR.

Ad extensions also factor into ad rank.

Some of these extensions are manual, meaning you have to set them up yourself.

Others are automatic, meaning they’re automatically applied when certain conditions are met.

And some extensions can be both.

Manual Extensions

Many manual extensions are available to you. But this doesn’t mean you have to use them all.

Instead, take a step back and develop a comprehensive messaging strategy for ads and extensions.

Sitelinks

Sitelinks take people to specific pages on your site.

Sitelinks show in a variety of ways depending on device, ad position and other factors.

You can add sitelinks at the account, campaign, or ad group level.

You can specify the link text (the text that displays in the ad) and URLs (the pages they click to).

Sitelinks can either be manual or automatic.

Sitelinks can either be manual or automatic

When to Use

Sitelinks are relevant to most accounts.

Tips:

  • You can include sitelinks to your business’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages.
  • Each sitelink within a campaign or ad group must land on a unique URL.
  • Relevancy and good Quality Scores help sitelinks impression more often.
  • You can make sitelinks specific to mobile by ticking off the device preference box when building the sitelink.

Callouts

Callout ad extensions let you include additional text to highlight specific information about your business’s products and services.

Callouts will show in a variety of ways depending on device and other factors.

You can add callouts at the account, campaign, or ad group level.

You choose where to add them, create the callout text, and schedule when you’d like them to appear. – Read more

Learning Google Adwords Basics In 7 Steps

My Post - 2019-04-11T142333.830.jpg

Marketers usually grumble when they are unable to track and measure campaigns and the results associated.

But with Google Adwords, measuring every single aspect of the marketing campaign is possible. It is a paid service to spread the word about your business on search engines.

Not sure how to use Google AdWords for your online business? Here is a step by step Google Adwords guide for beginners.

Set up Account

Setting up a Google AdWords account is easy. As a visitor, you will be provided with the instructions on the web page to make it easy for you to proceed.

Make a list of clear goals that you wish to achieve by using this service. Then plan how you can achieve this.

Once the account is set up, you will be asked to fill in various factors like the budget, locations, network and keywords. This is the starting point for you to start thinking about the ads you want to run. – Read more

Use Google Analytics to Optimize Advertising Spend

My Post - 2019-04-09T111511.102.jpgWhen you think of Google Analytics, what do you think of?

You might think of website metrics, like visits and users. You might think of website usability – bounce rates and time on site. You might even think of goal tracking – transactions and revenue.

Google Analytics does all of that, and more. Which is why it is such a great tool for marketers at companies large and small.

However, most marketers don’t think of Google Analytics as a tool to help you optimize your advertising spend. But it can do that too.

How to Optimize Your Ad Spend with Google Analytics

First, did you know that you can import cost data into your Google Analytics account? You can link your Google Ads account so that all of that data gets pulled in automatically, and then use this article to learn how to add all your other ad spend.

Once you have cost data included in Google Analytics, you can use various ‘Acquisition’ reports to dig into the performance of all your advertising channels. From paid social campaigns like Facebook and Instagram ads, to search ads on Google and Bing, to email marketing and display – you can learn more about how visitors behave on your site when they come through one of these paid channels.

You can see the number of sessions, and calculate the cost for every new visitor to your site. You can see where they go on your site, and how long they stick around. And you can see transactions, including conversion rate, revenue, and cost per transaction. In that way, you can even calculate your return on ad spend (ROAS) for each campaign – that is, how much money is this campaign delivering in revenue for every dollar you spend in advertising.

At this point, you will have a better idea which channels are working and which are not. And you can optimize your budget to spend more in those that are working, and press pause on the campaigns that are not. –  Read more