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Monthly Archives: June 2016

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SearchCap: Dynamic search ads, Google Keyword Planner & e-commerce SEO

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By Amy Gesenhues

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:

Search News From Around The Web:

Industry

Link Building

Local & Maps

Search Marketing

Searching

SEM / Paid Search

SEO

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Google says Dynamic Search Ad targeting will soon get better

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By Ginny Marvin

Google announced it will be adjusting how Dynamic Search Ads are triggered over the next few months.

The goal is to improve ad relevance on queries. From the announcement:

For example, ads that point to a landing page about iced coffee makers will be less likely to show for less relevant searches like “iced coffee.”

As the updates roll out, performance may fluctuate, says Google. You’ll want to keep an eye on the search terms report even more vigilantly than usual with DSA campaigns during the transition period to see how query matching is affected.

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Twitter Announces Searchable #Stickers: Are They The New Hashtag? by @dantosz

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By Danielle Antosz

Earlier this week, Twitter announced a new feature called ‘Stickers’. Essentially, theses are a mash-up of hashtags, emoticons, and Snapchat filters all in one easy-to-use photo features.

The post Twitter Announces Searchable #Stickers: Are They The New Hashtag? by @dantosz appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Learn how to drive more conversions with “The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Call Attribution”

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By Digital Marketing Depot

Thanks to smartphones and click-to-call, consumers are responding to digital marketing by calling businesses by the billions.

This guide from DialogTech will explain why call conversions have become so important to the success of digital marketing and introduce you to call attribution software – what it is, how it works, and its benefits for digital marketers. It also provides a self-assessment and tips on how to select the right call attribution platform for your business.

Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download “The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Call Attribution.”

The post Learn how to drive more conversions with “The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Call Attribution” appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Twitter Dashboard: New App Helps SMBs Write, Schedule, Track Tweets by @DannyNMIGoodwin

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By Danny Goodwin

For those of us who have been using Twitter for years, it’s easy to forget that Twitter can be a bit confusing at first. What should you tweet about? When should you tweet? How do you know if you’re doing a good job on Twitter? With the launch of a new desktop and iOS app called Dashboard, Twitter is trying to help busy SMBs engage with their current customers and reach new customers. How To Get Started With Twitter Dashboard If you’re an SMB and new to Twitter, it’s easy to get set up. Start by heading to dashboard.twitter.com or downloading […]

The post Twitter Dashboard: New App Helps SMBs Write, Schedule, Track Tweets by @DannyNMIGoodwin appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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What the heck is going on with Google Keyword Planner?

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By Ginny Marvin

First there were the error notices that users have to have an active campaign, not just an AdWords account to access Keyword Planner. Then came combined search volumes for close variants.

A Google spokesperson has confirmed with Search Engine Land that users do not have to have an active campaign to use Keyword Planner. On social media, Google told users that the error was the result of a technical issue that was being fixed. When Keyword Planner launched inside AdWords in 2013, replacing the open Keyword Tool, it got a cool reception. So there was alarm when some users got the error message telling them they’d also have to have an active AdWords campaign to use it. The error didn’t affect all accounts; still it got people speculating whether it just a glitch or Google backtracking. Either way, for now at least we can move on.

So, to close variants and the resulting combined search volume results. Google isn’t commenting the move; we asked. Close variants grouping is not necessarily unexpected — Google replaced exact match targeting with close variants in ad campaigns in 2014 — and yet it is often inconsistent. Sometimes plurals are grouped, sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes acronyms and abbreviations are grouped with their full phrase, sometimes not. Sometimes search volumes for synonyms are combined, other times not. Sometimes combined words and misspellings are grouped, other time they are not. And apparently we search for dogs and cats at the same rate.

Here are just some examples of oddities I’ve found:

Scenario Search term Avg. monthly searches
Plural treated the same. cat 3,350,000
cats 3,350,000
Plural treated differently seo service 6,600
seo services 27,100
Same volume for abbreviation pay per click 135,000
ppc 135,000
Then different volumes for abbreviation and synonym search engine marketing 12,100
search marketing 2,900
sem 368,000
Some combined words get different volumes, some don’t car wash 550,000
carwash 550,000
dog walker 22,200
dogwalker 2,900
auto body shop 49,500
autobody shop 2,400
Plural and abbreviations reported separately cfp 110,000
cfps 4,400
certified financial planners 480
Spelling choice reported separately financial advisor 74,000
financial adviser 6,600
Not measured as synonyms ecommerce business 8,100
ecommerce company 4,400
ecommerce firm 110
Synonyms and word order measured separately remarketing 22,200
retargeting 18,100
remarketing adwords 2,400
adwords remarketing 1,600

What does this mean for search marketers?

First, it’s a good reminder that the search volumes (and estimated CPCs) in Keyword Planner should be seen as directional signals, not hard facts. Second, if you’ve been benchmarking certain keywords and/or keyword groups over time, you’ll may or may not see shifts in historical reporting. Third, sometimes you’ll get granularity, sometimes you won’t. Which brings us right back to point number one: yes, it’s kind of annoying some keyword variations are grouped and some aren’t, but it might offer some directional insight into when granular targeting could make more of an impact in your efforts.

The post What the heck is going on with Google Keyword Planner? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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SMX Advanced recap: Using Paid Search & Social Together to Deliver the Ultimate Knockout Punch

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By Amy Bishop

As always, SMX was chock full of new ideas and actionable content. One of the struggles that many media teams face is the disconnect between the digital strategies that one team owns versus the strategies being implemented by teams that are responsible for other digital media types. This particular session brought together leaders in paid search and paid social to provide insight into:

  1. Proven ways to bridge the knowledge gap between teams.
  2. Building a cohesive strategy.
  3. Working in tandem to deliver results.

Maggie Malek, Head of PR & Social at MMI Agency

Malek kicked off the session noting that ad blockers are on the rise and that the key to getting around ad blockers is to put people before efficiency. In other words, putting in the time to create useful content pays off. In order to do that, Malek emphasized that search and social teams need to work together.

To truly maximize combined efforts, it’s important to understand the role of search and social in the buying cycle and to make sure that the teams work together closely. Her slides included a process for working together from an agency-partner kick-off all the way through launch, to ensure that both teams were in lockstep. In addition to the process, she also detailed the information that each team should plan to share throughout the project.

After covering project logistics, Malek underscored the importance of creating the best experience possible. Her approach is a three-step process: Discovery, Campaign Creation and Optimization.

The discovery phase is all about understanding the consumer. Malek suggested parsing out demographics from current followers and creating personas.

Second, campaigns are created based upon the personas and what each of the persona’s interests. Interests are important not only for targeting but for messaging, as well.

Once the campaigns have enough data, you can adjust your settings and audiences based upon your learnings (the optimization phase).

Jon Kagan, Sr. Director of Search & Biddable Media at Marc USA, and Tara Siegel, Sr. Director of Social at Pepperjam

Kagan and Siegel tag-teamed the second part of the presentation. They kicked off their talk by noting that search and social crossover is all about the audience.

Like Malek, they reiterated the importance of understanding your target market’s interests so that you can deliver the most valuable content possible. Siegel called social media an omni-channel optimizer and walked through the potential uses for leveraging social to improve performance in other channels and also highlighted social’s value throughout the buying cycle. In addition, she shared targeting options and noted that audience insights are a valuable way to learn about your consumers so that you can create your messaging.

Kagan reiterated the value of understanding the best-suited audiences to target, as well as excluding audiences that aren’t the right fit. He also illustrated the value of measuring and taking advantage of increased brand awareness created by television ads. Kagan and Malek went on to share case studies illustrating the lift in performance when search and social were used in sync.

The post SMX Advanced recap: Using Paid Search & Social Together to Deliver the Ultimate Knockout Punch appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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How e-commerce SEO matters in strategic redesign of web shops

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By Trond Lyngbø

Baking a cake is easy — when you use all the right ingredients from the beginning!

But just imagine how it would be if you mixed the batter, poured it into a tray, sprinkled icing sugar all over it, and were just about to pop the creation into the oven… when you remember that you forgot to add eggs!

You’d have to do either bake it without the eggs, resulting in a flat and crumbly cake, or you’d have to start over again from scratch, this wasting valuable time, energy and ingredients.

Sadly, many Web shops and online businesses build their website in the same way. They neglect to involve SEO professionals early in the design process, and then expect to hire an SEO specialist to wave a magic wand over it and make the site rank well on Google.

It doesn’t work that way.

You should aim to build your website right the first time. I see so many sites underperform their potential or get a wrong start because they ignored the importance of SEO during the planning phase. It leads to frustration, wasted time and inflated budgets.

SEO can’t be overlooked

If you wish to maximize sales and revenue from your Web shop or e-commerce website, you must understand that SEO is of critical importance. Smart e-commerce players get SEO consultants involved early. They realize that high organic search rankings cannot be achieved with SEO tactics applied late in the web development process.

Even before you have finalized your information architecture, website structure and design, content organization and content publishing strategy, you must start thinking about how SEO will be integrated into each of these steps.

Why is this so important? Your site design (or re-design) can have a dramatic impact on your search engine visibility, and therefore on your website traffic and sales.

Some business owners, after enjoying good search engine rankings for a prolonged period of time, start thinking about it as a permanent feature that will continue forever. That can be a dangerous attitude.

Remember, you don’t own your rankings on Google or other search engines. You must constantly defend what you already have (rankings, traffic, sales, customers, conversion rates, everything). Google owes you nothing!

It doesn’t matter that you’re the biggest company in your market, or that you dominate offline market share. When it comes to the Web, everyone starts off equal… and effective SEO is one thing that can set you ahead of the pack.

SEO strengthens your team

Many inexperienced business owners think an SEO consultant only does keyword research and suggests ways to rank pages on those search terms. But the role of a specialist is much greater than that when it comes to e-commerce SEO.

Your SEO consultant will help improve the user experience in ways that go far beyond just keywords and ranking tactics. A good SEO expert will be a precious asset who reinforces your team of information architects, web developers, user interface designers, website designers, and content marketers.

Yes, it all begins with keyword research and analysis. But while an average SEO guide might help you find keywords with high search volumes, a true expert will use the data to help you understand your customers on a deeper, more personal level.

You’ll be able to discover:

  • which problems your clients find most troublesome
  • what solutions they are searching for
  • when and where they expect to be offered these options
  • how you should communicate with them

… and a lot more.

Once you have established a clear picture of user intent, it becomes easy to tailor your website and product offerings to match your customers’ needs optimally. Your conversion rates will improve, profit will soar, and customers will be delighted by what they find on your online store.

SEO will boost the effectiveness of other components of your Web presence and your marketing efforts. The synergy will strengthen your team and grow your business faster.

Here’s what SEO will do for your web shop

  • Keyword research and analysis, in combination with other analytics and data, can help you forecast sales, profits and ROI.
  • You’ll know what to prioritize and execute first, what to focus on next, and which other things to put lower down the list (or even avoid completely).
  • It will ensure that you build your website right the first time, without making costly mistakes that take time and resources to fix.
  • You’ll build a website that’s future-proof, taking into account trends and shifts that will become relevant and important only a few months or years later.
  • Instead of starting over from scratch every budget year, or whenever you re-design your site, you’ll be able to build upon existing strengths so that your web shop grows more powerful with each iteration.

To make this happen, however, SEO must be involved early — long before your website is launched! Your SEO practitioner should be involved in decisions such as which e-commerce platform you use, what your website structure looks like, how your website is designed and coded, and how your content is produced.

But isn’t SEO included in the platform?

A common misunderstanding arises due to self-styled “SEO-friendly” platforms and content management systems (CMS). You should be aware that SEO is not included in any e-commerce platform when it ships.

Generally, all “SEO friendly” means is that the platform or CMS makes it easy for someone with SEO expertise to implement necessary SEO elements such as optimized page titles, custom meta descriptions, canonical tags, 301 redirects, image alt tags, optimized URL slugs, web analytics tags, etc.

Don’t expect a vendor to throw in “readymade SEO” that works out of the box. SEO is a discipline in its own right. It is specialized work that requires knowledge of how search engines crawl and parse web pages. Typically, a custom approach is necessary — one that’s unique to your particular needs, goals and situations.

E-commerce SEO in particular has some unique twists and tweaks that only an SEO specialist with years of hands-on experience in the field can implement correctly. (I have listed some of them in an earlier article I wrote for this site.)

What’s the key takeaway message from this article? Get SEO right — the first time. The way to do this is by involving an SEO consultant early in the process and planning the various elements of your Web shop. That’s the way to e-commerce success.

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