Improve PPC Performance With These 9 Steps

My Post (78).jpgPPC can be a valuable tool for improving visibility, messaging, and customer acquisition for just about any business.

But many times, when companies try to handle their own paid search campaigns, the results can be lackluster or non-existent. Don’t lose hope. No matter your ad spend, you can use this 9-step checklist to improve PPC performance in your paid media campaigns.

1. Fix your account structure

If the account isn’t structured to fit your business, you’ll probably have an issue seeing any results. Some accounts are structured based on the products or services they offer. Some are structured based on the problem they solve, or the audiences they intend to service.

Avoid trying to build one campaign that tries to market all the products or services you offer. Break apart your keyword lists into small segments and build separate ad groups and campaigns, so you can customize your creative to fit the searcher’s needs and intent. This allows you to allocate more budget to the segments doing well, without adding funding to areas that underperform.

2. Always test ad performance

The difference between two ads with a subtle copy change can be enormous. Continually test your ads and don’t let underperforming ads run too long, as they can drag down results and unnecessarily increase costs. Take stock in the ads you serve — the conversion rates, CTRs, and post-click engagement stats and make sure the new ads you write can beat the current champion.

Ask yourself: Does the new ad have better engagement? Does it generate conversions at a lower CPA? Does it have a better CTR? Are my CPCs lower?
Focus on creating engaging ads, then focus on generating conversion volume, and lastly focus on optimizing by cost per conversion. – Read more

How to Completely Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

My Post (77).jpgTo achieve digital marketing success by leveraging a location-based strategy, most seasoned SEO professionals start at the same place: creating a Google My Business listing.

And for good reason.

Google My Business (GMB) – the free tool from Google that helps business owners manage their online presence across the search engine and its growing portfolio of utilities – offers the greatest impact for brands seeking local exposure.

Features like Google’s Local Search results, which break out with a list of nearby businesses and much of the pertinent information needed to find a specific business (e.g., address, business hours, category, reviews) and potentially buy something, further emphasize the need for a GMB listing for both new and established businesses.

Google’s Knowledge Graph also utilizes verified Google My Business information to help generate details for its database about businesses and related entities that are relevant to specific searches.

Once a new listing is created, a Google Maps location is then generated that synchronizes with traditional Google Search for easy access and searchability.

It certainly helps that the clear majority of organic searches come from Google (around 90 percent for worldwide search engine market share), further illustrating the value of a GMB listing. – Read more

How to keep your SEO team (and yourself) relevant

My Post (76).jpgOngoing education, conferences and case study discussions not only help clients but also your own career growth.

Weekly rank tracking. Optimization meetings with the media, copy, UX and dev teams. Monthly analytics reporting with the client. And decks. So many decks. With so much on one’s plate, it can feel like there is not much room for actual strategy, optimization and implementation – let alone continuing education.

By profession, SEOs should be data-driven digital experts. But with so much data – and so little time – it can be challenging to keep yourself relevant in an industry that changes, sometimes hourly.

GSC will be shutting down the old API. Google added new Activity Cards for mobile in the SERPS. Are you considering AMP now that they’re testing highlighting answers on AMP results? Were you aware of the newest addition to Google’s Link Scheme Guidelines?

Those are just some of the updates that came out in the month. It takes an SEO village these days.

The following is my agency’s foolproof plan to ensure that our team stays up-to-date. It ensures optimal career growth for SEOs and the best results for our clients.

Education as an onboarding requirement
Continued learning is so integral in this industry that we make it part of our onboarding process. While we require training for our proprietary SEO tool, we also require our SEOs are Google Analytics certified, trained in Google (and Bing) Search Console and experts in various SEO tools.

Additionally, we strongly recommend (but certainly do not require) that they participate in certain Facebook groups, Reddit communities and follow certain key figures on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Possibly the most valuable continuing education group for our team is Ahrefs Insiders. Finding a group of ~8,000 industry experts that continue to add strategic value – as well as continuing to highlight how team members can utilize tools – is essential for team growth and client success. – Read more

Google enables ‘join waitlist’ for restaurants

My Post (70).jpg

Functionality is provided by DineTime as part of Reserve with Google.

Google has added a “join waitlist” button to selected local restaurant profile pages. Canadian SEO Sergey Alakov spotted the new functionality, which is provided by DineTime. To participate, restaurants must have a DineTime account.

Join the waitlist. The placement of the button is in the same location as “reserve a table.” It’s not clear whether there will be two buttons, then, where waitlist functionality is also enabled.

Clicking on the join waitlist button opens a screen that identifies the current wait time and enables users to input their party size. That’s followed by a screen confirming the user’s contact info. Users receive a text updating them on their status. (Yelp offers similar waitlist functionality for its listed restaurants.)

As an aside, DineTime also has an Alexa skill. Booking is a capability and use case well-suited for virtual assistants and smart speakers. – Read more

Business owners can now reply to reviews on Google Maps desktop

My Post (69).jpgIf you primarily use a desktop computer, you’ll be happy to know that you can now reply to Google Maps reviews without opening a mobile app.

Business owners with verified Google My Business listings can now reply to reviews left about their business directly in Google Maps on desktop, Kara Jancourtz, a community manager from the Google My Business team, announced in the Google support forums. Business owners no longer need to use the Google My Business center or mobile app to reply to reviews; they can do so directly in their Google Maps listing on the desktop view of Google Maps.

What Google said. Kara wrote “We’re making improvements on how you can reply to reviews, and providing you with more information and tools to get feedback from customers. You can now reply to reviews directly with your business profile on Google Maps from your computer. Replying directly from Google Maps lets you manage your reviews without having to download the Google My Business app or open its homepage.

“Positive or negative, reviews are an opportunity to identify areas to improve the consumer experience,” she added.

How it works. Here are the steps to reply to reviews left about your verified business:

  1. Go to Google Maps.
  2. Enter your business name. Then, click Search Search or press Enter.
  3. Click Reviews.
  4. Next to the review you’d like to reply to, click Reply.

Other methods. There are other methods to reply to reviews about your business in Google Maps. You can log in to Google My Business on desktop and reply to reviews in the “reviews” section. You can also download the Google My Business app on iOS or Android and reply to reviews within the app. – Read more

Google tests ads in Assistant results

My Post (68).jpgWith the Assistant now on a billion devices, the move was inevitable.

Google appears to be testing the delivery of ads in Google Assistant results. The screen below, from Gennaro Cuofano, who performed a search on an Android phone, shows an ad for an Executive MBA program in Italy. He added, on Twitter, that organic results were below the fold and, “The answer on the voice assistant pretty much mirrored the search result page on that one.”

Assistant ads probably inevitable.

We were unable to find any ads ourselves in multiple attempts (on iOS or Android) using the Google Assistant. However, it was only a matter of time before Google started testing ads in Assistant results. – Read more

Google Search Console to Combine Data from Multiple Properties into One Report

My Post (67).jpg

Google Search Console will soon assign all search data for a single piece of content to the canonical URL.

Currently, if a website has multiple properties, users have to view data for each property in different performance reports.

Page metrics are credited to the exact URL a user is referred to by Google Search.

Search Console will soon combine data from multiple properties, such as mobile and desktop versions, into a single URL.

That means page metrics will be credited to a Google-selected canonical URL, rather than the URL referred to by Google Search. – Read more

5 Must-do Things to Improve Your SEO in 2019

My Post (66).jpg

Search Engine Optimization – SEO for short – is a crucial part of a website’s marketing strategy.

Content is and will always be important – it is the core of your marketing campaigns. However, all your efforts may prove to be quite useless if that core is not shielded, anchored by something. And that something is SEO, the process which actually helps you reach out to the audience and deliver your message/content.

Optimization allows your website to be found, increases traffic, visibility and lead generation.

In order for it to be effective, however, you need to create a lucrative strategy. You should think about SEO while you are creating the content and you should think about it outside of the creative work as well.

Furthermore, you need to keep on constantly learning about the phenomenon and stay up to date with everything that happens in this area of expertise.

What can you do right now?
First, you should learn everything that is to be learned about SEO and search engine ranking. There are a lot of courses and valuable guides available online, and they will most certainly help you get the most out of your campaigns with minimal time investment.

However, everything depends on you industry and your goals. Learning SEO is all about accomplishing specific objectives and seldom about mere generalities.

For instance, a medical related blog would benefit from courses such as this one while a more generalist blog will benefit more from guides similar to this one. Or, if you want to promote a B2B company, you might find useful a guide/course that specializes in this type of activity such as this one.

All in all, it is better to make sure you know the basics before embarking on such an endeavor.

Then, try to study the phenomenon on a daily basis and keep up to date with everything that happens, all the changes, the additions, plus the trends. – Read more

Optimising content for voice search and virtual assistants for a competitive edge

My Post (71).jpgLearn from SMX West presenters about specific tactics SEOs can use to create content for voice and how to roll out voice search campaigns.

In a lively session at last week’s SMX West conference, three presenters made a strong case for the need to think creatively about optimising content for voice and virtual assistants. Overall, the message was that Google is actively devouring online content to serve up in response to voice queries, and yet there’s still quite a bit of competitive advantage to be gained in an atmosphere where SEOs may not yet have caught on to the range of opportunities for voice optimisation.

Sound, search and semantics: How form follows function

Upasna Gautam from Ziff Davis provided a detailed technical explanation of Google’s approach to Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR). She argued that only by learning about the form of Google’s voice processing technology will we be able to properly understand its function and deploy successful strategies.

Gautam explained that Google’s ASR is structured as a three-part process comprised of sound signal processing which converts speech into mathematical data; speech modeling which determines the meaning of the utterance; and delivery of relevant search results back to the voice assistant.

At every processing stage, Google uses quality metrics to gauge and improve accuracy. Some examples:

  • Word error rate: measures recognition accuracy at the word level
  • Semantic quality: measures how closely voice results match results of queries typed in by a user
  • Perplexity: measures the quality of a language model by its ability to predict the next word in a sequence
  • Out-of-vocabulary rate: measures how many words spoken by a user are not accounted for in the language model
  • Latency: the time it takes to complete a voice search

Using these metrics and others, in combination with machine learning and neural networks, Google’s voice processing technology works to constantly improve results delivered to consumers. In light of this, SEO practitioners need to be able to design well structured and concise answers even to comparatively vague questions and need to understand the tradeoffs Google’s process is designed to make. Gautam suggested, for example, that Google will sometimes favor speed over accuracy, so that an answer to a query that scores lower on semantic quality may still outrank a higher scoring result if it can be delivered more quickly. – Read more

Hotel Check-In & Check-Out Times Now on Google Maps

My Post (64).jpg

Google has announced that hotels can now include the check-in and check-out times to their Google My Business listings. 

This will give customers the ability to see these times just by doing a simple Google search for the hotel.

The feature is currently only available for hotels.

Any check-in and check-out times entered by the business will be viewable on their business listing.