Google Merchant Center to deliver real-time search results

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The information in Shopping Ads is now available to all retailers (free of cost) and can be submitted directly to Google in real-time, not just by adding schema markup to your site.

Google Merchant Center is a tool and central dashboard where online retailers can upload store and product data and manage the appearance of their e-commerce products. Perhaps its biggest benefit is that the feed is uploaded directly to Google in real-time, ensuring that all information displayed is accurate at the time of a given search.

This data was used to primarily to power Google Shopping Ads, which meant that the benefits of the merchant center were not readily available to non-AdWords users. Retailers generally relied on schema markup to display information in rich results and rich product image results. Information displayed usually included ratings, price, availability, etc.

But in its latest news, Google announced that it would be opening up its merchant center capabilities to all online retailers, regardless of whether they run AdWords campaigns. This comes after its recent updates to the product report in Search Console and improvements to product visibility through Google Manufacturer Center.

So why is the merchant center update important? – Read more

Google’s next chapter for metrics to focus on clarity once ‘average position’ is removed

My Post (93).jpgFred Vallaeys explains why advertisers need to rethink bidding strategies and position metrics now that Google has announced it will sunset one of its oldest metrics later this year.

Average Position was one of the original metrics in Google Ads when they launched their search advertising product called AdWords. But as search advertising has evolved, what used to be a primary metric for making optimization decisions has lost its usefulness and so Google has announced that it will disappear later this year.

This means advertisers will need to rethink some dated bidding strategies, update reports they share with stakeholders and figure out how the new position metrics can replace what is being deprecated. But first, let me share my take on why this change is being made.

Why ‘average position’ is a poor metric to understand position

Historically the average position metric was useful because ads reliably showed up in consistent locations on the page. Knowing the average position of an ad meant you knew where your ad showed on a web page. Its physical “position” on the page correlated to the “average position” in reports.

For example, in the earliest days of AdWords, premium ads that were sold to big companies on a CPM basis were shown above the search results. Ads on the right side were reserved for smaller advertisers who paid on a CPC basis through what was then known as AdWords Select. So if you were an AdWords Select advertiser and your ad was reported as having an average position of 1, you understood it was the first ad on the right side of the SERP.

But then Google realized that the ads they were putting in premium locations on the page from advertisers paying on a CPM basis were making less money than the CPC ads on the right side. So they merged the two advertising programs and made all advertisers compete for all slots on the page based on Ad Rank, a metric comprised of the CPC bid and the CTR. Position still equated to a physical location on the page, except for the fact that Google made one more change in its effort to ensure only the most relevant ads would occupy the top of the page. – Read more

Google Ads to sunset average position reporting metric later this year

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Average position has become less valuable in recent years. Prepare to adjust your reporting, management with newer metrics.

The signs have been popping up, but now it’s official. Google will retire average position reporting from Google Ads later this year.

What were the signs?

We can point to two key ones. The first and most significant: In November, Google introduced four new ad position metrics to indicate the percentage of impressions and impression share your ads received in the absolute top (the first ad at the very top of the page) and top of page (above the organic results) ad slots.

With that announcement, Google explained that average position, which has been around long before ads were removed from the right rail of desktop search results, had never been intended to show where your ads were showing on the page. Instead, it “reflects the order that your ad appears versus the other ads in the ad auction.”

With Tuesday’s announcement, Pallavi Naresh, Google Ads product manager, said, “These new metrics give you a much clearer view of your prominence on the page than average position does.

The second (granted, more tangential) sign was the addition of click share reporting to Search campaigns earlier this month. Google first introduced click share in Shopping campaigns — where there is no position reporting — to give advertisers some of the insights they were used to getting from average position in Search campaigns. – Read more

Content structure and structured data: Will they impact featured snippets?

My Post (87).jpgIn a recent Webmaster Hangout, Google’s John Mueller said there is no particular markup that he is aware of used to generate Featured Snippets. But clear content structure, like using a table, helps a lot.

In this article, I explore the difference between Structured Data and content structure as a continuation of John Mueller’s response in the Hangout. I also provide some advice on getting featured snippet tables that I’ve gleaned through research and rigorous testing.

As an SEO who is in Google’s trenches day in and day out, I’ve learned over time the importance of targeting featured snippet opportunities. This is especially the case if your client is already ranking on the first page of Google, but their content is not the page being featured.

One of my favorite of the different types of featured snippets, is when Google is showing a table in the search results already for your competitor’s site. I even made a video where I challenged myself to take a featured snippet table away from my biggest competitor, Amazon.

Thankfully, we won that battle and my table has survived to tell the tale: – Read more

Tools to build a better mobile experience

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It’s been twelve years since the dawn of the mobile era—a span where we’ve witnessed what can seem like a lifetime’s worth of digital innovation and new platforms.

Apps. Voice-activated assistants. AR. VR. It’s an age of digital plenty, and one that can make it easy to forget a plain truth: the mobile web is still the most widely used platform.

Because mobile is where most people turn when they want to know, go, do or buy, it’s important to deliver the kind of mobile experience that people expect today: one that’s fast, engaging and doesn’t get in the way of what they want to accomplish. And because Google is deeply invested in the success of marketers and brands, we never stop looking for ways to develop and support new tools and innovations that can move the industry forward.

With this in mind, today we’re introducing two new updates: a top-to-bottom rebuild of Test My Site, and more availability and growth of Rich Communications Services (RCS) Business Messaging.

Test My Site

One of the mobile era’s clearest lessons has been that the foundation for any great mobile experience is a fast mobile experience. How important is a fast mobile experience? According to SOASTA’s The State of Online Retail Performance, a one-second delay in mobile load times can impact conversion rate by up to 20%. That’s why in 2016 we created Test My Site, a tool for businesses to check the speed of individual mobile pages and get a few recommended fixes.

But moving at the speed of mobile means making the adjustments needed to continuously improve.  – Read more

Google Introduces 3 New Features for Responsive Display Ads

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Google is rolling out three new features for responsive display ads that are designed to improve functionality and reporting capabilities.

Video Assets

Video assets can now be incorporated into responsive display ads. This enhanced functionality also comes an expanded reach to new inventory.

With video assets, advertisers can select up to 5 videos from their YouTube channel to display in a responsive display ad.

Responsive display ads with video assets retain the same capability to scale ad creation, testing, and optimization.

Combinations Report

A new combinations report provides insights into the performance of different creative asset combinations. – Read more

The Best CRO Strategy for 2019

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Now that you’ve finally gotten used to writing “2019” when you fill out forms, you may be considering a new CRO strategy to help you exceed last year’s traffic and revenue goals.

If so, you’ve come to the right place, and you’re acting at just the right time.

Now, more than ever, web visitors are more discerning and require an A-level web presence if they’re going to subscribe or buy from you.

A CRO strategy will ensure that every aspect of your website is tailored strictly for your audience while boosting traffic, leads, customer signups — and therefore, revenue.

Sadly, only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion numbers. That’s understandable when you consider that 40% of marketers report conversion rates of less than 0.5%.

That’s way below the national average, which is from 1 to 3%.

If you’re unhappy with your conversion rates, a CRO strategy can help.

It’s said that the mere use of conversion rate optimization tools delivers an average rate of return (ROI) of 223%!

Not only are you going to learn about a few tools in this article, but you’ll also receive actionable CRO advice that you can use to ramp-up your web marketing results even further.

Let’s get started. – Read more

Google Ads Updates Mobile Speed Score for Landing Pages

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Google Ads has changed the way it calculates mobile speed score, which is located in the Landing Pages tab.

The mobile speed score algorithm has been updated to require fewer ad clicks in order to calculate a score.

This update will allow advertisers to see a mobile speed score for more of their pages.

Presumably, this change also means scores will be generated faster when launching ads that point to newly published landing pages.

Google was not specific as to how many ad clicks are now required to generate a mobile speed score. – Read more

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