5 Useful SEO Insights You Can Learn from Google Analytics

My Post134.jpgYou can gain a tremendous amount of SEO and marketing insights from Google Analytics.

These helpful insights can help you to discover what opportunities exist for optimizing the overall performance of your site.

Ranging from engagement metric insights to conversion metrics and more, there is no shortage of knowledge to be gained.

Check out five of these actionable insights you can learn from Google Analytics and see how you may be able to apply them to improve your SEO.

1. Custom Segments

Custom segments have been a key feature of Google Analytics for a while, allowing you to see traffic by channel, visitors who completed goals, demographic data, and much more.

Custom segments can be created from almost any facet of user data, including time on site, visits to specific pages, visitors who completed a goal, visitors from a specific location and more.

Using segments helps you learn more about the users on your site and how they engage with it.

One insightful area to explore when determining additional segments to create is in the Audience tab of Google Analytics.

If you navigate to Audience > Interests > Overview, the Overview will display a high-level look at three interests reports:

  • Affinity Categories.
  • In-Market Segments.
  • Other Categories.

In the below example, you’ll see that almost 4 percent of visitors are Shoppers or Value Shoppers and almost 4 percent of users also work or have an interest in business marketing services. – Read more

Google Analytics – How to Fix Duplicate e-Commerce Transactions

My Post133.jpgAlthough Google Analytics is an amazing service that helps in tracking e-commerce, many times it counts a transaction more than once.

These duplicate transactions are caused because there is the possibility of logging the same transaction more than once. Such issues are to be addressed manually because Google Analytics doesn’t try to fix this error but considers a unique transaction more than once.

This error could lead to many problems such as seeing excessive number of transactions. It can also have an impact on e-commerce conversion rate, sales quantity, and revenue totals. In addition, it will show a higher average order value than it is in reality. All the issues will then lead to questioning the credibility of data, and with incorrect data, the probability of making bad decisions increases.

When Do Duplicate Transactions Occur?

Duplicate transactions can occur because of a myriad of reasons. The following are the most commons causes for a duplicate transaction:

  • Whenever a user revisits an e-commerce website through an emailed or bookmarked link
  • Whenever a user refreshes an e-commerce website
  • When a user browses to a different website, and then returns to the e-commerce website using the back button
  • When a user restores an e-commerce website from an incorrectly closed browser session or on a Smartphone

In a nutshell, such behavior by customers wherein they visit the same website multiple times is one of the major causes of duplicate transactions. Consequently, there will be a rise in the number of transactions because every time such websites are visited, they trigger an e-commerce script. The following examples can help to better understand that concept.

  • A user visits a website. They liked some items and made a purchase. They will be able to see the inventory of purchased items on a confirmation page. Now once they have completed their transaction, those users often receive an email thanking them for their purchase and providing them a link to view their order. If that link again redirects to the same confirmation page, then Google Analytics will track those visits also as a transaction.
  • A user bookmarks the confirmation page and views it again sometimes later. Google Analytics will again count this visit as a transaction.
    • Thus, using these methods, you can successfully de-duplicate identical transactions. And by fixing duplicate e-commerce transactions, which is the most common issue with e-commerce sites, you can prevent revenue from inflating and your attribution reports from being altered, thus protecting data integrity.

– Read more

With the Google’s exact match change rolled out, here’s what advertisers are seeing

My Post132.jpgWhat’s the impact so far? Are advertisers rethinking campaign structure and management?

Google’s latest (though probably not final) dismantling of exact match should be fully rolled out now — Google had said it would be completed by the end of October. The change was a regular topic of discussion throughout our SMX East conference in New York, last month. Now that everyone is starting to see the effects, we followed up with several speakers to hear what they’ve seen and if they are rethinking their new campaign builds or existing management workflows.

Bottom line: not everyone sees eye-to-eye on the fallout or next steps, but all agree it’s a sign of dramatic change and cause for giving campaign structure, set up and management fresh looks.

Here’s what we’re hearing about Google’s move to include words or terms deemed by machine learning-powered systems to have the same meaning, or intent as close variants of exact match keywords.

Impact so far?

The perspectives run the gamut.

From the optimistic end of the spectrum: “The change is doing what it’s supposed to do,” said Aaron Levy, director of paid search at digital performance agency Elite SEM. “We’re seeing a wider array of close variants for otherwise pure exact match terms, and 99 percent of them are, indeed, relevant.”

Further, the changes “reflect a bigger theme of where search is going,” said Levy, becoming more like programmatic where numerous signals are processed in real-time. “Performance-wise, yes the change is moving things around, yes it’s annoying, but yes, it is performing better.”

To the “meh” middle: Justin Fried, executive vice president and managing director at pharmaceutical and healthcare agencies CMI/Compas, says they aren’t seeing major performance fluctuations at a macro level, but are seeing changes at the keyword level. “Keywords with more history, higher volume of clicks and ultimately quality score, have begun to receive more impressions,” said Fried. For example, in one ad group, they are now seeing the exact match of “flu treatment” triggering ads more often than the exact match of “treatment for the flu.” Overall performance from cases like these hasn’t changed much, but CPCs have gone up in some, said Fried. – Read More

Can you trust website design best practices?

My Post131.jpgYou have to test every proposed change to your website to see what actually works for your business and your audience. Without good testing, your website is just a collection of guesses.

If you want advice on how to design your website, you don’t have to look very far. There are countless articles out there with “best practices” and even more case studies where someone made a specific change to their website and produced incredible results.

The assumption is that if it works for someone else, it should work for you, too.

While there’s nothing wrong with trying these recommendations, not every business will get the same results from the same tactics. In some cases, a tweak that changes someone else’s website for the better could actually hurt your site’s performance.

To avoid this sort of problem, you can’t just change your site on blind faith. You have to test every proposed change and see what works for your business, your audience and your site. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at a few tests we’ve run at Disruptive Advertising that yielded counter-intuitive results.

1. To stick or not to stick?

Most web designers encourage the use of sticky nav bars. Their logic isn’t bad, either. Your navigation bar makes it easy for people to get around your site, so if the nav bar is always easily accessible, people won’t get frustrated.

As a bonus, you can use your navigation bar to guide people towards the most important pages on your site, so they should be more likely to convert with a sticky nav bar, right?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way.

One major site we work with wanted to add a sticky navigation bar in the hopes of increasing their conversion rate. But when we tested adding the bar to the site, it cut their lead volume by two-thirds!

As we eventually discovered, this client’s customers placed a high priority on screen spaceespecially on mobile. The nav bar reduced screen space, so it actually caused frustration rather than reducing it.

2. Is your value proposition worthless?

When it comes to web design, conventional wisdom states that you should make your value proposition immediately obvious — above the fold, if possible. After all, you don’t want people to come to your site and then leave because they don’t know what makes your business special.

That sounds good in theory, but “conventional wisdom” doesn’t necessarily mean “universally applicable wisdom.”

For example, during another test on the site in the previous section, the client wanted to place various relevant awards that they had received near the top of the page. These awards were proof that the company was dependable and skilled – which was a key part of the client’s value proposition – so everyone thought that putting the awards front and center would increase conversions.

However, just like the sticky nav bar, this logical tweak actually dropped the client’s conversion rate. It wasn’t a small drop, either. Including the awards reduced form submissions by almost 20 percent. – Read More

5 SEO trends that will matter most in 2019

My Post130.jpgGoogle’s heavily investing to be the best. SEOs are trying to adapt to changes that follow. That’s how SEO trends are born. Let’s view what trends will make a difference in 2019.

To be atop the waves, think about your SEO strategy in advance. A shortcut to success: get to know the upcoming trends and work out an action plan for each.

This year, Google’s shaken the world with its mobile- and speed-related efforts. As a result, most of next year’s SEO efforts are expected in this direction. However, some “non-Google” game-changers will also influence how we build our SEO campaigns. Let’s explore these trends and ways to embrace them.

1. Mobile-first indexing

In a nutshell, mobile-first indexing means that Google uses the mobile version of your page for indexing and ranking. Since March 2018, Google’s started the process of migrating sites to mobile-first index. It might happen that Search Console has already notified you about it.

Bear in mind, a mobile-first index does not mean “mobile-only.” There’s still a single index with both mobile and desktop versions. However, the whole “mobile-first” buzz means that Google will be using the mobile versions for ranking once the site’s migrated.

You get it, right? With your mobile version being the primary one for ranking, there’s no excuse to procrastinate with mobile-friendliness.

Action plan:

  • Any mobile version type is fine. Just take into account a few moments. Google’s Trends Analyst John Mueller mentioned: “If you want to go responsive, better do it before the mobile-first launch”. So, if your site hasn’t migrated yet, and you’ve been thinking about switching, do it now. Plus, Google strongly recommends against m-dot and responsive for the same page, as it confuses crawlers.
  • To understand how search engine spiders see your mobile pages, crawl them with a mobile bot. For example, WebSite Auditor can do it for you:

  • Track your mobile pages’ loading speed. It’s easy with PageSpeed Insights.
  • Regularly check whether your pages deliver impeccable user experience. You can use WebSite Auditor and its mobile performance section for this task. – Read More

Google now shows Seller Ratings by country, changes eligibility requirements

My Post115.jpgBusinesses must have 100 reviews per country to be eligible for Seller Rating.

Google began notifying advertisers in September that it would start counting and displaying Seller Ratings at the country level as of October 1. After some delay, Chee Lo, head of SEO at reviews platform Trustpilot alerted us that the change went into effect early Friday.

Seller Ratings are the stars that appear in ads on the Google Search Network via an automated extension. Google sources the ratings and reviews from Google Customer Reviews, StellaService, Google Consumer Surveys, third-party review sites and other sources.

What’s changed? Google is taking a more local approach to Seller Ratings to show searchers ratings submitted only by users in their own country, rather than globally. It also means ratings are broken out by country and cannot be viewed globally. A new dropdown allows users to change the country setting, as seen in the screenshot above.

New requirements. Prior to this change, businesses had to have a total of 150 reviews worldwide and an average score of 3.5 for ratings to display. Now, businesses must have 100 reviews per country for their reviews to be eligible to display in those regions.

The implications. For U.S.-based businesses that sell primarily within the U.S., the change actually makes it easier to qualify for Seller Ratings. However, businesses that sell internationally may find themselves ineligible for Seller Ratings in some markets. This is likely to be a bigger challenge for smaller businesses or businesses that ship internationally, but don’t have a physical presence other regions.

How do I see my ratings? Lo noted that Google is still updating its documentation on Seller Ratings, but that the new URL to see your ratings (replace “example” with your own domain name) is: https://www.google.com/shopping/ratings/account/metrics?q=EXAMPLE.com&v=2&c=US

Read more

Two new features available in the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool in Google Ads

My Post113.jpgThe Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool helps you see which ads are appearing for your keyword.

You can enter a search term and get a preview of how the Google search result page looks to users. It’s better to use this tool than to do an actual search on Google.com, because it won’t affect your ad metrics. If your ads aren’t showing, the tool also diagnoses the reason.

Now, two new features allow you to get a clearer view of who is seeing your ads, and to take immediate action to get your ads to show.

See which ads are showing for a particular audience

Until now, you could use the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool to preview ads by search term and filter by location, language, and device. However, you couldn’t filter by audience.

Now, the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool supports Search audiences. You can click on the Audience widget to select your desired audience list. If you are using the “Targeting” setting (previously called “Target and bid”) in your campaigns, you will be able to see which ads are showing for your specified audience. If you are using the “Observation” setting (previously called “Bid only”), you can see how your ad may appear higher or lower on the page, based on your bids for your specified audience.

Take immediate action to get your ads to show

If your ads aren’t showing, the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool also indicates the reason. Previously, after you diagnosed the issue, you would then have to navigate through your account to make the necessary changes to get your ads to show.

Now, you will be able to fix issues directly within the tool itself, starting with adjustments to campaign budgets. If the reason that your ad is not showing is budget-related, you can simply click “Edit budget” and make the budget change directly from the tool.

These two updates to the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool should provide you with more insight on who’s seeing your ads and save you time with related workflows. – Read more

Customer expectations are changing. Here are 3 ways brands can keep up

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The expression “the customer is king” might date back to the 1930s but it’s never been more relevant than today.

After all, if someone isn’t happy with the experience, product, or price a company offers, endless other options are just a click away.

So how can brands meet these rising customer expectations? We spoke to marketing leaders to find out.

1. Deliver personalized experiences

Not that long ago, brands could get away with blasting the same ads at different people, regardless of their individual tastes and preferences. But today, customers want something more personal. For example, 63% of people expect brands to use their purchase history to provide them with personalized experiences.

That’s something Jeremy Hull, the VP of innovation at iProspect, a digital performance marketing agency, told us he’s noticed. “It used to be about just waving and saying, ‘Hey, I’m here, here’s my generic pitch.’ But now brands have to be much more personalized and thoughtful in their responses.”

2. Provide a seamless path to purchase

Customers constantly move across different platforms. For example, our research found that 80% of people say they typically switch between online search and video when researching products to buy.2 To meet growing customer expectations, then, brands have to create a seamless experience across all these channels.

“I call it fingertips or footsteps. Whether or not a customer is walking in the store or shopping online or using a voice-activated speaker … we have to bring our A-game to all those channels,” explains Jerri Devard, Office Depot’s chief customer officer.

3. Lean into video

Video isn’t new, but some of the consumer expectations we’re seeing around this format are novel. For example, while you might assume people only head to platforms like YouTube to hear from their favorite celebrities and influencers, that’s not entirely accurate. In recent research we commissioned, 70% of shoppers said they’re open to learning about products on YouTube from brands.3

The marketers we spoke to are already seeing this behavior play out. “Video is more important than ever before,” explains Ann Bair, Nationwide’s chief digital officer. “It’s the way customers want to interact with us. They spend more time on video and interact with us more deeply.” – Read more

Google Announces Store visits “New vs. Returning” Segmentation Now Available in Google Ads

My Post110.jpgAdvertisers who measure store visits can now better understand how many store visits come from new or repeat customers.

Use these insights to tailor your messaging (e.g. promote offers specific to new customers) or adjust your marketing strategy to help reach your most valuable customer segment. For example, if your business goal is to maximize sales from existing customers, identify which campaigns and ad groups reach the most returning customers and focus your budgets, bid increases and keyword expansions there. – Read more

OK Google, Why Are You Letting My Competitors Use My Brand’s Name In AdWords?

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Businesses aren’t happy with competitors using their trademarks in Google search ads, even though these cases aren’t deemed by Google as an infringement of the rules, with some exceptions.

We reached out to Google to understand their stance on such occurrences and what businesses on the receiving end can do to protect themselves.

From the outset, advertising on Google’s search platform is a pretty straightforward process. You set an amount as a bid for a keyword, and whenever someone searches said keyword or a combination of keywords, your listing appears somewhere near the top of the pile—dependent on how relevant and how good your formatting is, and then you get charged whenever someone clicks through on it.

As of 2017, Google owns at least a whopping 86% share of the world’s search market. For businesses, to ignore putting their brand on Google ads is huge missed opportunity.

But as expected with such a far-reaching platform, there have been incidents where businesses have seen fit to leverage upon competitors with better brand visibility and use their identifiable names/trademarks in their ad listings on Google.

One example of a business having its name used in an ad by competitors.

Obviously and unsurprisingly, there have already been lawsuits filed over such incidences, and judging by how often they occur, it’s apparent that such cases are a common enough occurrence to warrant a look for a solution.

So wanting to understand how business owners can help themselves in such situations, we reached out to Google for a quick clarification on their policies on third-party trademarks in search advertising, and here’s what they had to tell us.

1. You can’t stop competitors from using your trademarks in anything except the ad texts.

To start, Google pointed us in the direction of their Trademarks information page and we quickly learned that it was pretty much fair game when it came to advertising with competitor-owned trademarks on the world’s largest search engine.

In short, Google detailed that it was fine for businesses to use third-party trademarks in things like their URLs and as keywords, so long as they didn’t appear in the texts and copies themselves.

This means that using a competitor’s name in the URL is okay, and so is bidding on their name as a keyword—there’s only a problem if it appears on any other part of the ad, such as the description or the title.

Relating to the example above, this means that 99.co has grounds to call out SRX.com.sg on a trademark infringement as they’re using ’99co’ in the title of the ad, which isn’t permitted (this is providing that 99.co themselves have already trademarked the word ’99co’ prior to this incident).

On this, the team at Google explained their reasons, saying that it was all in the effort of creating a more competitive market for the benefit of the consumer.

“In terms of keywords, for many years we’ve operated a policy that doesn’t restrict advertisers from bidding against trademark keywords,” a representative from Google said. “Our trademark policy is designed to provide greater choice to users via Google ads.”

“This is similar to the way a shopper benefits when they see a variety of brands’ products on a store shelf.”

2. The best way to protect yourself is to be the better ad.

Google also went on to explain that despite there being ways for a competitor to leverage on trademarks and bidding for their keywords or putting them in the URLs, a business could still come out on top by making sure their own ad result is more relevant than others.

Because of how Google ranks ads, bidding higher for a competitor’s trademarked keyword or using a competitor’s name in the URL, for example, doesn’t guarantee that an ad result appears higher.

Instead, Google takes into account a number of other factors—clickthrough rate, ad quality, and consumer impact—to see whether an ad appears higher on a search than another one will.

This video below explains how Google ranks ads, and shows that paying more doesn’t always mean you appear higher on the list.

So what does this mean for the trademark owner? Google thinks that you should advertise better—make your ads more relevant, provide better formatting, and make sure your landing page outdoes your competitor.

3. But you can still make a complaint.

But despite their all-is-fair attitude to search marketing, Google says that they still take things seriously when it comes to outright trademark infringements.

And if so happens you find a competitor utilising your trademark in a way that directly affects your business by misleading users or putting your business in a bad light, for example, Google wants you to know that it’s still interested in protecting you against such incidences (and also protect themselves from bad press).

Obviously, Google encourages all disputes of this nature to be settled amicably among businesses and their competitors, but should it come time for a formal complaint, here’s what Google recommends you do:

  • Read up on their advertising terms and conditions and their trademark policy to understand how you are being affected.
  • File a complaint to Google using this form.
  • After filing a complaint, you can also authorise specific keywords and trademarked words to be used on affiliate or partner accounts to make it easier in the future.

– Read more