Nine Things To Know About Google Analytics

My Post - 2020-01-21T145501.291.pngOf all the business analytics tools used today, the most popular one is Google Analytics, which is a data-tracking tool offered by Google. If you’re a business owner looking to optimize and better understand how visitors use your website, here are some things you should know about Google Analytics and how to make it work for your business.

1. Google Analytics is free.

There are no subscription or monthly fees for the standard version. More features are included with the paid version, but they really aren’t necessary for running a small business. When your business has grown, you can simply upgrade when you have more resources available.

2. It’s easy to set up.

There’s minimal technical know-how involved to get started. You just sign in with an existing Google account and follow the instructions. You will be asked to provide basic information, such as your website and domain name. Lastly, you will need to add a tracking code to your website’s code for Google Analytics to start capturing data.

3. There are five reporting options.

The ABCs of Google Analytics include Audience, Behavior and Conversions. These reports provide an overview of who your visitors are, what they do on your site, and what activities they complete. The other two reports are Real-Time and Acquisition, which show real-time activity on the website, as well as how traffic reaches it.

The Audience report allows you to confirm and/or discover how well your marketing is working from different standpoints. The report can confirm if visitors are coming to your website from a specific location you are marketing to, or help you make further discoveries about new locations to put forth efforts toward. Also, if the goal of your website is to have repeat visitors, data within these reports can confirm the percentage of returning visitors to your website as a key performance indicator (KPI).

4. Google Analytics helps improve website usability.

With data on user behavior, you can better understand how visitors use your website. For example, you can identify the types of content potential customers look for, as well as gain insight into how they navigate your site and the pages from which visitors exit. All of this information can help you modify website navigation and improve overall site performance.

A hypothetical data point that can be used to make a website usability decision would be the bounce rate of entrance pages into the website for core content (not blogs). If the bounce rate for these entrance pages is above 70%, has a low average session duration and results in no conversions for the session, that can be an indication the page is not properly engaging a visitor to explore the website further and ultimately result in an outreach conversion.

5. It identifies devices used to access websites.

GA also gathers data regarding the types of devices used to access your website. If the data shows that many of your visitors use mobile devices to reach your site, take steps to ensure that it is mobile-responsive and user-friendly.

6. Google Analytics can help to optimize online campaigns.

GA tracks information about the location, profile and behavior of your visitors. Such data can help identify your user segment, which enables you to modify your content marketing, promotions and offers to match your target market.

Segments can be used to home in on specific traffic sessions that resulted in a conversion or other KPI metrics. As a result, you can reverse-engineer this data to see what traffic mediums or locations most commonly occur for conversions and leverage those data points. For example, you may want to initially cast a wide net with different types of paid advertisements, but you can later determine which mediums perform best. Then you can cut ties or reduce spending with the channels that are unsuccessful and put more spending toward the paid channels that work.

7. Google Analytics has a campaign tracking feature.

Google Analytics shows how your marketing efforts are working. You can identify how your emails, social media messages or paid ad placements are performing. It enables you to measure campaigns and identify those that actually convert to customer engagement. – Read more

Everything You Need to Know About Google Lead Form Extensions

My Post - 2020-01-17T123446.337.pngRecent data shows that mobile conversion rates are lower than desktop:

low mobile conversion rates

To combat this situation Google introduced the newest addition to mobile search ads — lead form extensions. The ad type is similar to LinkedIn lead gen form ads and Facebook lead ads in terms of the lead capture process.

So, do lead form extensions, like the rest of Google’s extensions, help with conversions or do they have shortcomings similar to LinkedIn and Facebook? Today’s post will examine what Google lead form extensions are and if they help advertisers maximize campaign results instead of sending prospects to dedicated post-click pages.

What are Google lead form extensions?

Lead form extensions help you immediately capture user information when they search for your company, products, or services on Google. The extension was created to replace the need for directing prospects to a post-click page to convert.

Ads that use the extension show a form beneath the search ad on mobile and tablet devices which allows prospects to enter their contact information directly in the ad’s popup form:

Google lead form extensions example

It is currently in beta and isn’t available to all advertisers yet, but to check if your business is eligible, go to this link.

How do lead form extensions work?

They simplify the process of collecting user information by placing forms within the ad and allowing prospects to commit to your offer instantly. Moreover, when a user sees an ad while they’re signed into their Google account, they can tap the CTA and reach a Google-hosted form already pre-populated with their information. This sequence makes the lead capture process possible with a single tap.

From their initial Google search to form submission, it only takes a few seconds for prospects to connect with your business. For advertisers, creating the lead form extensions also takes just a few seconds, click the “Ads and Extensions” tab on your search ad account. If your account has access to the beta version, clicking on the blue “+” will give you the drop-down menu with the lead form extension:

Google lead form extensions selection

The extension allows you to select what information you want to collect from prospects, including the following fields:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Postal code

Along with the form fields, these are the CTA button copy options:

  • Get offer
  • Subscribe
  • Download
  • Apply now
  • Book now
  • Contact us
  • Get quote
  • Sign up

The platform allows advertisers to add a background image to appear as the lead form screen, with recommended dimensions 1200 x 628 and an aspect ratio of 1.91:1. You can also create a form submission message, usually a thank-you note, that prospects see the after they’ve submitted the form.

The form specs

When creating your lead form extension, you must adhere to these specs:

  • Business name: 30 characters
  • Headline: 30 characters
  • Description: 200 characters

Apart from allowing advertisers to collect leads from within the ads, the Google extension also has the following advantages.

Pros of lead form extensions

The extension allows you to bypass sending users to another page and get their contact information instantly. Plus, you can add a link to your website in the submission message in case prospects want to find out more about the offer or your brand.

Google also provides you with two options to reach out to the prospects who have submitted their information:

  1. Download leads as a CSV: The “download leads” link allows you to get the contact information from each lead form extension. However, Google will only store leads for 30 days, so you’ll need to download these leads often.
  2. Set up a webhook integration: You can also enter the new leads directly into a CRM. To do this, you need to add a webhook URL and key to your lead form extension. Once everything is integrated, you’ll be able to send test data to view testing stats and results.

Although the extension seems like a godsend for lead generation, they have a number of disadvantages.

Cons of lead form extensions

Before you go all-in on this new extension, consider the following as they relate to your campaigns:

  • They are only available on mobile: Lead form extensions are only eligible for mobile search campaigns.
  • Extensions can only be applied at the campaign level: You cannot create lead form extensions at the account level or ad group level.
  • Your industry might not be eligible for the extension: Some sensitive industries (such as healthcare) will not be able to collect personal information with lead form extensions. For a full list of restrictions for the extensions, visit this page.
  • Google has strict data collection policies: The personal information you collect with lead form extensions must comply with your company’s provided privacy policy, Google’s data collection policies, and the local legal requirements of your users.
  • Limited form field options: Unlike your post-click page’s form where you decide which information you want to collect, Google currently allows very little customization with form fields. You can only ask for the user’s name, email, phone number, and zip code.
  • You miss out on a personalized introduction: Convincing prospects to click the CTA button on a pre-filled form seems easy. However, you miss out on properly introducing them to your brand. They might have clicked your ad, but would they convert if they don’t know all the details they wanted. This is what your personalized post-click experience provides.
  • You don’t have access to useful user data: When prospects don’t land on your post-click page you can’t see how your visitors would have interacted with the page, making you miss out on useful analytics data, potential ad revenue, and other branding opportunities.

Google lead form extensions seem like a quick and easy way to collect leads; however, the quality of leads collected will not be nearly as high as a personalized post-click experience. A well-designed personalized page experience can achieve exactly what Google lead form extensions can. Plus, a dedicated page gives prospects a better introduction to the offer and your brand while giving them relevant offer details, which helps them make an informed decision. – Read more


11 Headline Writing Tips to Drive Traffic & Clicks

My Post (87).pngWondering how to write a headline that drives traffic and clicks?

The best headlines are:

  • Extremely relevant to the content
  • Contain a keyword
  • Generate interests

There’s plenty of room to be creative and demonstrate value, right off the bat.

While there’s no exact science to writing a headline, there are useful headline writing tips that will help you whip up brilliant headlines.

Discover 11 ways to write good headlines.

1. Let Keywords Drive You

If you’re writing a piece of evergreen content, always do keyword research to find out what people are actually searching for.

A slight difference in wording can make a huge impact on traffic.

Let’s take this content, for example.

As with all content, I did keyword research beforehand to pinpoint what people are actually searching for.

I narrowed it down to these keyword phrases, based on their monthly search volume:

  • Headline writing tips: 360
  • How to write a headline: 360
  • Good headlines: 390
  • How to write a good headline: 170

By choosing a relevant keyword phrase with the most search volume, I can boost the ROI of the content.

Accordingly, I chose “headline writing tips” as my main keyword (and, of course, I can use the others as supporting keywords).

As you can see, the headline on this content is “12 Headline Writing Tips to Drive Traffic and Clicks.”

It’s keyword-rich, relevant and (hopefully) demonstrates value.

2. Come up with Multiple Headlines

If you find yourself with a bout of writer’s block and can’t come up with a headline that really strikes your fancy, try writing a bunch!

The act of brainstorming multiple headlines will really get your creative juices flowing, and you’ll land on something great eventually.

3. Know that Sometimes Short and Sweet is A-OK

Sometimes we need to get straight to the point.

Not every headline needs to be lengthy – sometimes being punchy and straightforward is a better approach, so don’t automatically discount a potential headline just because it’s short.

4. Pull a Quote from the Article

Another option for coming up with a good headline is pulling a quote from the content.

A quote, especially from a celebrity or influencer, can be excellent fodder for a headline.

The quote, of course, should be on-topic with the article as a whole.

Here’s one technical issue to keep in mind: unlike body copy, quotes in headlines should always appear in single quotations, according to Associated Press Style. – Read more

Nine voice search stats to close out 2019

My Post (83).pngA look back at some of the year’s key voice search and virtual assistant metrics.

From smartphones to smart home appliances, artificial intelligence, voice and virtual assistants are very much at the center of a shift in the way we interact with digital devices. While voice has not yet lived up to its promise, it’s clear it will be an enduring feature of the digital user experience across an expanding array of connected devices.

Mobile = 59% of search

Way back in 2015, Google announced that mobile search had surpassed search query volumes on the desktop. But it never said anything more precise and hasn’t updated the figure. Hitwise, in 2016 and again in 2019, found that mobile search volumes in the aggregate were about 59% of the total, with some verticals considerably higher (e.g., food/restaurants 68%) and others lower (e.g., retail 47%).

This isn’t a voice stat, but it’s important because the bulk of voice-based queries and commands occur on mobile devices rather than the desktop.

Voice on cusp of being first choice for mobile search

According to early 2019 survey data (1,700 U.S. adults) from Perficient Digital, voice is now the number two choice for mobile search, after the mobile browser:

  1. Mobile browser
  2. Voice search
  3. Phone’s search box/window
  4. Search app
  5. Text a friend

However between 2018 to 2019, voice grew as a favored entry point for mobile search at the apparent expense of the browser. Thus it could overtake text input as the primary mobile search UI in 2020.

Nearly 50% using voice for web search

Adobe released survey data in July that found 48% of consumers are using voice for “general web searches.” This is not the debunked “50% of searches will be mobile in 2020,” data point incorrectly attributed to comScore.

The vast majority of respondents (85%) reported using voice to control their smartphones; 39% were using voice on smart speakers, which is a proxy figure for device ownership.

Here are the top use cases for voice usage, predominantly on smartphones:

  1. Directions while driving — 52%
  2. Making a phone call — 51%
  3. Sending a text — 50%
  4. Checking the weather — 49%
  5. Playing music — 49%

Directions a top voice use case

Consistent with the Adobe survey, an April Microsoft report found a more specific hierarchy of “search” use cases on smartphones and smart speakers. Again, however, this is a primarily smartphone-based list:

  1. Searching for a quick fact — 68 percent
  2. Asking for directions — 65 percent
  3. Searching for a business — 47 percent
  4. Researching a product or service — 44 percent
  5. Making a shopping list — 39 percent

Crossing the 100 million smart speaker threshold

During 2019 there were multiple reports and estimates that sought to quantify the overall number of smart speakers in the U.S. and global markets. In early 2019, Edison research projected that there were roughly 118 million smart speakers in U.S. homes. However, other analyst firms and surveys found different numbers, typically somewhat lower.

Because people often own more than one smart speaker, the number of actual individual owners of smart speakers is considerably lower than 100 million: 65 million or 58 million, depending on the survey.

Amazon dominating Google in smart speaker market

Amazon, with its low-priced and aggressively marketed Echo Dot, controls roughly 70% to 75% of the U.S. smart speaker market according to analyst reports. In Q3 2019, for example, Amazon shipped 3X as many smart speaker and smart display units as Google.

Analyst firm Canalys argues Amazon’s success is a byproduct of its market-leading direct channel and discounting. Google’s direct and channel sales have so far not been able to keep pace with Amazon’s efforts.

Virtual assistant usage: Siri and Google lead

In contrast to the smart speaker market share figures, virtual assistant usage is a different story. This is because most virtual assistant usage is on smartphones and Amazon doesn’t have one.

A Microsoft report (in April) found a different market share distribution, with the Google Assistant and Siri tied at 36%, followed by Alexa.

Source: Microsoft (2019)

There are other surveys that suggest Google Assistant’s usage is greater than Siri’s.

58% use voice to find local business information

The connection between mobile and local search is direct. While Google has in the past said that 30% of mobile searches are related to location, there are plenty of indications that the figure is actually higher. Google itself said the number was “a third” of search queries in September, 2010 (Eric Schmidt), 40% in May, 2011 (Marissa Mayer) and, possibly, 46% in October 2018.

Asking for driving directions is not always an indication of a commercial intent to go somewhere and buy something. But as the Adobe and Microsoft surveys indicate, it’s a primary virtual assistant/voice search use case. A voice search survey conducted in 2018 by BrightLocal also found:

  • 58% of U.S. consumers had done a local business search by voice on a smartphone
  • 74% of voice search users (the 58%) use voice to search for local businesses at least weekly
  • 76% of voice search users search on smart speakers for local businesses at least once a week, with the majority doing so daily

– Read more

How to Dominate SERPS by Focusing on Topics Instead of Keywords

My Post (59).pngIf you have been in SEO for any amount of time, you know that keywords have always played a large role in the discipline’s success metrics.

That’s why it is so common to hear so many conversations around keywords and keyword research when talking to anyone about SEO.

While I think that keywords are still important for measuring success for a site, I think updating that keyword-focused mindset to focusing on topics will yield better results.

How Are Topics Different from Keywords?

You may be asking yourself at this point what is the difference between a topic and a keyword, especially considering I just mentioned that keywords are still an important piece to the SEO puzzle.

In my way of thinking, a topic is a more holistic approach to “keyword research”.

A topic can be made up of several relevant terms and queries that can fall into different areas of the buyer’s journey.

The types of content you can create around a given topic is a bit dependent on the vertical your site falls into.

Some sites would require:

  • Content that covers early-journey learn topics.
  • Content on the business’ point-of-view on the subject.
  • Possibly their product offering that solves this problem.

Smaller sites, especially local businesses, might only require a piece of educational/early-funnel content that also points to content that outlines the services or products offered to solve the problem or need the customer/user may be facing.

Start with a Strategy

The most important thing you can do for your site when either building it or rethinking its structure is to take a step back and strategize the topics you need to focus on.

By looking at the broader aspects of your offerings and identifying a top-level topic for that offering, you will have a better understanding of your needs.

After you have an idea of what your main topic focuses need to be you can follow the standard keyword research process.

The main catch is that you want to expand that research to encompass more semantically relevant terms related to the topic, not just the main keyword.

Take a look at the areas surrounding the topic that need to be covered to satisfy the searcher’s various needs. Ask yourself what questions might be asked regarding the topic and do research on those terms.

If possible, don’t be afraid to get out into the real world and ask people in your target demographics what they might search for or what related questions they might have.

Research Your Competitors

Once you understand what content you need to have to perform well for a topic start looking into who ranks well in these spaces.

If they are performing well in this space already then it’s safe to say they are doing something right. There are exceptions to this so make sure you continue to monitor the competition in the space you are targeting.

Once a competitor is identified, I like to run their site through a tool to see how they have performed for relevant terms over an extended period.

This will give me some base info on if these results are lasting or if it is a recent jump to determine if it is even worth researching them further at this point.

Once you understand what your actual competitors are doing in the space you are targeting, take a look at how they structure their content.

Look at how they are delivering their content and what the site structure looks like surrounding that topic. This information will give you a baseline blueprint when working on your site.

Now, with that being said do not copy your competitor’s content. Use it as a guide, but plagiarizing content will do nothing but hurt you in the end.

As cliche as it may sound you are looking to identify what your competitors are doing well and then do it better. – Read more

2019 benchmark report: brand vs. non-brand traffic in Google Shopping

My Post (58).pngNew research suggests that splitting campaigns to bid separately for branded traffic is worthwhile in many industries.

For paid search managers, developing an effective branded keyword strategy is nothing new. When it comes to Shopping ads, however, the picture gets a lot murkier – Shopping is not keyword-based, and Google only offers negative keywording. Especially in large, granular accounts, the workarounds needed to execute a brand/non-brand split can be quite challenging to implement and maintain.

Is a brand/non-brand split worth it?

This benchmark report excerpt analyzes brand vs. non-brand traffic specifically in Shopping campaigns to shed some light on this topic. To produce this data, we ran a script to parse brand traffic for 750+ European accounts in eight key retail industries for the period from January 1 to June 30, 2019. The data clearly demonstrates the significance of branded traffic for merchants – both in terms of performance and budgetary planning.

Let’s take a look at:

  • Overall brand/non-brand ROAS differentiation per industry
  • Average brand/non-brand cost share per industry
  • Average brand/non-brand differentiation for CPC and conversion rate
  • Why you should care and what to do next

Average branded ROAS is twice as high as non-brand in most industries

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) is a sometimes controversial but nevertheless widely accepted metric for assessing the overall performance of Shopping campaigns. (Sidenote: I recommend combining ROAS with margin information for a better assessment of profitable growth).

It might come as no surprise, but what our benchmark data proves is that branded traffic delivers a much higher ROAS than non-branded traffic. This is because Google search users who enter branded queries are typically further down the buying funnel than those who don’t: They are already brand-aware and their query implies a brand preference or interest.

Specifically, when I dug into other KPIs, I discovered that this increased ROAS performance is due to two primary factors associated with purchasing intent: on average, higher conversion rates and higher average order values (AOV). Lower average CPC also helps.

For example in Furniture & Home Decor, the whopping +236% ROAS for branded traffic is due to massively higher AOV, while in Health & Beauty, an improved conversion rate is the main driver of efficiency. Both of these influences are discussed in more detail below. – Read more


Google showing product availability markup in image search results

My Post (52).pngImage previews display the price, description and other relevant structured product data.

Google is displaying the availability of products on image search results page. The feature was spotted by Hamburg-based digital marketing consultant Frank Sandtmann, who noticed the feature in English, German and Polish image search results.

Shoppable image search results. Powered by product Schema markup, the availability of products displayed in the image results is clearly denoted in green (for in-stock items) and red (for out-of-stock items). This can help users filter through results at a glance and makes image search more “shoppable.”

Price and description. When the user clicks on an image result with availability markup, the price, an excerpt of the description and, if structured data is available, the star reviews and brand info are shown.

Why we care. Displaying product availability prominently points to Google’s moves to make image search a destination for consumers looking for products by making image results more actionable for prospective shoppers.

For commerce marketers, image optimization becomes an even more important part of marketing for e-commerce brands if this rolls out. It’s another reason to to add structured data to your content. – Read more

Understanding BERT’s Implications on Paid Search

My Post (49).pngBy now, you have probably heard of Google’s most recent update. BERT, affecting 10% of U.S. English searches is one of the largest algorithm changes in a while.

So far, the analysis of BERT’s implications has entailed impact on natural search and strategy for organic search result optimizations.

But if BERT is an organic algorithm change, does it mean that only SEO should be considered?

Don’t forget to also think about what BERT means for your paid search approach.

While in its updates, Google does not mention advertising, focusing solely on organic search is short-sighted.

It is true that nothing specifically changes for SEM. Ad formats, match types, keyword bidding options, and other settings are all staying the same.

Still, BERT will have SEM implications.

BERT’s Impact on SEM

As with SEO, BERT is not impacting SEM through new elements.

Instead, BERT makes it more important than ever before to adopt best practices for intent-based strategies.

With organic results now better at interpreting people’s needs, SEM ads will appear in a more informative context.

To keep users engaged and effectively supplement organic results, PPC ads will need to work harder at addressing user intent.

Until now, Google would often ignore certain words in a query. However, these prepositions, adjectives or pronouns hold key intent signals. Thus, focusing on the most popular words in a query was misleading.

With BERT, Google realizes that all words need to be interpreted together, returning more targeted and better informed organic results.

Paid search results are thus finding themselves in a new landscape.

For example, a query for “cutting your own hair” will not merely feature tips on haircutting, but focus on those results with tips for someone cutting their own hair.

Paid search ads will have to be even more targeted to convince Google that they are relevant enough to appear alongside ever more curated organic results.

It will be now even more critical to tailor ad copy and landing pages to keywords. And for greatest success, auditing organic results for insights will need to be a key step in paid campaign creation.

Let’s consider these search results for the above-mentioned phrase.

cutting your own hair google query

Videos in the organic results mention “your own” and “your hair at home”. The latter is particularly telling of BERT’s advances.

Not only did BERT help find a video for people looking to cut their own hair, but further figured out that this is likely to be happening at home.

By contrast, only one of the four paid ads mentioned the word “self” in the description and only one of the four shows a person trimming their own hair.

The other two ads, at a first glance, are not necessarily featuring something suited for anyone looking to cut their own hair.

They are easily overlooked and will likely have lower engagement. This is all while they are actually for cutting one’s own hair.

In the new search landscape, BERT may not be that forgiving and those paid search ads that do not clearly align with user intent may need to pay a higher premium for keeping their seat at the table.

Focusing on an Intent-Based PPC Strategy

If until now your paid search strategy has not been based on intent, BERT will make incorporating intent a priority.

However, a true intent-based approach will need to go beyond merely better ad text customization.

A full-fledged intent-based strategy will need to be supported by aligning campaigns, budgets, goals, and metrics with each of a user’s intent stages.

Due to budget and organizational constraints, it is not always possible to fund initiatives for all intent stages and that can be something to strive for.

In these cases, having an intent-based structure is a scalable starting point for future growth.

Leveraging automation is another approach. While automation in paid search is not new, this will assist in the growing intent-centric landscape.

Dynamic ad solutions (e.g., Responsive Search Ads) and auto-optimized settings position campaigns well to algorithmically show the highest-potential ads and those ads that align with algorithmically inferred intent vs. the more manual, reactive ad testing. – Read more

Pro Tip: Why you should stop using last-click attribution in Google Ads

My Post (48).pngThe Model Comparison Tool report in Google Analytics evaluates non-last click models to help you better measure success.

When was the last time you searched for something, clicked an ad and purchased immediately?

Probably never. That’s why it’s time for marketers to stop using last-click attribution for measuring success in Google Ads.

Often, people are searching on multiple devices and do extensive browsing and research before making a purchase. Understanding the impact that higher-funnel keywords have on conversions can help better utilize spend, cut out waste and inform other digital marketing channels such as SEO and social media.

As Google continues to push automated bidding strategies like maximize conversions, maximize conversion value and target ROAS (just to name a few), using non-last click (NLC) attribution becomes even more important.

These algorithms are designed to optimize ad spend based on specific criteria, but if they’re only seeing a small slice of the pie, you could be missing out on valuable traffic and giving too much credit to lower-funnel searches, like brand terms.

The Model Comparison Tool report in Google Analytics looks at historical data and gives estimates for how many conversions you would have had if you leveraged a different model. This tool can help you decide which model (Position-Based, Linear, or Time Decay) aligns best with your user flow.

Making the change to NLC is simple:

  1. Log into Google Ads
  2. Navigate to the Conversions tab, then click on the conversion action you want to change
  3. Click “edit settings” and then choose whichever attribution model is right for you

If you have multiple conversions being counted, make sure to change all conversions you’re tracking in the account. – Read more

Google Offers 2 Tips for Improving Web Content

My Post (14).pngGoogle’s John Mueller was asked in a Webmaster Hangout about improving web page content focus. Mueller shared two tips on how to do that.

How to Improve Content Focus?

The question was asked about poorly indexed Product Description Pages (PDP). The publisher asked if making the content more prominent would help.

“Do you think moving the images down and the relevant text up would help Google better interpret the focus of each of these pages?”

Somewhat surprisingly, John Mueller answered no, that’s not how to improve content focus.

Then he explained why:

“So just shifting the location of content within an HTML page I don’t think that plays a big role at all.”

Content Tip #1: Proper Use of Headings:

Headings are Not Keyword Wish Lists

A common misconception about headings (H1, H2, etc.) is that they are important as ranking factors. Because of that, a common error made by SEOs and publishers is to use headings as place to add important keywords for which they want the page to rank for.

Essentially, SEOs in 2001 and even today use the heading elements as a wish list for all the keywords they’d like to rank.

That used to be the way to rank a page back in 2001 and thereabouts.

Modern Search Engines Have Evolved Headings Use

How Google uses heading tags has evolved several times over the years. Today, heading tags are important but not as a way to tell Google which keywords you want to rank for.

What Headings are Useful For

Heading tags are useful for indicating what a section of content is about.

A web page is about a topic. In a well constructed web page, each section of a web page is about a sub-topic of that web page.

So when a user queries Google about a product the information needs they bring to your page might include images of the product, pricing, size, color, review and a comparison.

If your page is informational then the informational need for a page of content might be the usefulness of tools for accomplishing a goal (like the right pan for a recipe) or other supplementary information that together satisfies the users needs. – Read more