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Monthly Archives: October 2016

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SearchCap: SEMPO survey, HTTPS & Halloween

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By Barry Schwartz

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:


Local & Maps

Link Building


SEM / Paid Search

Search Marketing

The post SearchCap: SEMPO survey, HTTPS & Halloween appeared first on Search Engine Land.



How to Use HREFLang Correctly: An Interview with Bill Hunt

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By Danielle Antosz

In this Pubcon interview Bill Hunt, President of Back Azimuth Consulting. sat down with Kelsey Jones, SEJ’s Executive Editor, to talk about HREFLang, what it means for international SEO, and discuss some of the pitfalls SEOs face.

The post How to Use HREFLang Correctly: An Interview with Bill Hunt appeared first on Search Engine Journal.



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Choosing the right content marketing software for your business

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By Digital Marketing Depot

Managing the volume of marketing content that needs to be created, distributed, analyzed, and managed has become complicated, time consuming, and costly for many organizations. A crowded field of content marketing tools has emerged to help brand marketers automate their content marketing strategies and tactics.

Marketing Land’s all new “Content Marketing Tools: A Marketer’s Guide” examines the market for content marketing tools and the considerations involved in implementing this software into your business.

If you are thinking about implementing a content marketing tool, searching for the best content marketing resources, or simply want to learn more content marketing, you need to read this report.

Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download this Marketing Land guide.

The post Choosing the right content marketing software for your business appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Take the State of Search Survey from SEMPO & Search Engine Land

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By Barry Schwartz

SEMPO, in partnership with us at Search Engine Land, is asking the search industry to participate by completing the annual State of Search Survey. The survey is available by clicking here.

Those who take the survey will be given access to a free of the in-depth report that is written up based on the survey results, a value of $400. Also, you will also be eligible to win a free pass to the 2017 SEMPO Member Forum, courtesy of SEMPO or a FREE all-access pass to SMX West on March 21st-23rd, 2017 courtesy of Third Door Media.

You do not need to be a SEMPO member to complete the survey and/or be eligible for the above.

The survey asks questions about:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO / organic search)
  • Paid search (pay-per-click advertising or paid search)
  • Social media
  • Email
  • Mobile
  • Display
  • Integration, Emerging Trends and more​​​​​​​

Again, please complete the survey over here.

The post Take the State of Search Survey from SEMPO & Search Engine Land appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Meet a Landy Award winner: Quick on its feet, Point It wins Best B2C Enterprise SEM Initiative

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By Ginny Marvin

Katy Tonkin (left) and Maddie Cary of Point It accept the Landy for Best B2C Enterprise SEM Initiative.

The mission they chose to accept: To build and activate paid search campaigns to promote the surprise product launch of the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book on the US Microsoft Store web site — in less than 24 hours.

Mission accomplished. For its quick execution of tailored, target campaigns that exceeded expectations, Seattle-based Point It Digital Marketing took home the Landy award for Best B2C Enterprise SEM Initiative. This was Point It’s second consecutive Landy win.

Not only was time not on their side, once the campaigns were launched, Point It faced stiff competition from other authorized sellers and retailers carrying the new Surface products.

Point It focused their campaign structure and keyword strategy on reaching lower-funnel prospects who knew about the new products and were searching on brand keywords that signaled purchase intent. Negative keywords were added to funnel target prospects to the right products.

Ad copy was crafted with product specific description copy tailored to keywords in tightly themed ad groups. Callout extensions highlighted specific product details and sitelinks provided easy navigation to product selection in the respective campaigns.

The team also initiated RLSA campaigns using BlueKai to pass audience segments into Google for targeting that proved to be highly successful. Overall, the campaigns exceeded their targets.

“This award win is a reflection of the way our paid search team executes every day,” said Maddie Cary, Director of Paid Search at Point It. “We try to think ahead and set up account management processes that allow us to scale or move with agility and efficiency. So when our client had a surprise product launch that needed to get turned around ASAP, we didn’t panic. We brainstormed, formalized, and delivered within 24 hours on a paid search plan we were proud of that capitalized on critical window of revenue opportunity for the client.”

“This is one of the most heroic SEM stories ever told,” said Landy judge Matt Van Wagner, president and founder of Find Me Faster, “Point It was uniquely qualified to take on a new product launch, but to build, test and deploy within 24 hours is the equivalent of NASA’s first landing on the moon!”

The post Meet a Landy Award winner: Quick on its feet, Point It wins Best B2C Enterprise SEM Initiative appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Why all search ads seem the same (and what you can do about it)

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By Pauline Jakober

Let’s face it: anyone with an AdWords login, bank account and keyboard can create ads for search. It can be a Wild West out there, which means that many ads ultimately fail. They fail because they don’t capture the attention of searchers, because they don’t include the best information, and frankly, because they look like every other ad out there.

Your paid search ad strategy goes way beyond the 140 text characters allotted to you. It starts with that, sure, but the entire architecture of your ad from the text to the extensions should all support a strategic message about your brand, its products or services.

So in this post, we’ll look at some of the steps you can take before you type that first word of text, so you can construct informative, eye-catching ads that truly support a company’s goals and stand out from the crowd.

Get into the mind of the business and consumer

You can’t very well create impactful ads without first understanding the business and consumer needs inside and out. And there are several ways you can facilitate research to get a 360-degree view of the company. Let’s look at those now.

Interviews and questionnaires

Create a questionnaire you can send to employees from various departments — like customer service representatives, sales teams or product teams — or talk to them directly. These folks are on the front lines every day and should have some interesting insight.

Sample prompts and questions include things like:

  • Describe your target audience.
  • Do you have a secondary market you’re looking to tap into as well?
  • What’s most important to your target audience when they purchase Product or Service X?
  • What are your customer pain points, and how do you solve them?
  • How often does your target audience need or buy your product?
  • What are three to five key selling points for your company and product or service?
  • Do you experience seasonal slow or peak times?
  • What does the company promotional or event calendar look like currently?

Customer reviews and testimonials

What a company’s customers have to say (the good and the bad) can do a lot for the ad strategy. Read as much of these as you can to see if you can spot any trends that you can work into the ads.

You may also want to talk to key folks in the organization about any negative trends in reviews. Oftentimes, internal teams are not aware of what the customers are saying, and a conversation like that can be helpful so they can tweak their strategy.

And remember that when it comes time to create the ad, you also have things available to you in AdWords like review extensions for third-party reviews and seller ratings that can help highlight those praises.

Study the competition

Understand how the company is the same and different from its competitors. And watch out for the we-don’t-have-any-competitors response. If you run into that, simply search in Google using the top keywords you plan to target to get a better picture of who you’re up against.

But be aware: Sometimes the ads that show up for the keywords aren’t really your competitors. For example, if Target shows up for a specialty dance shoe, use your discernment in assessing if Target really is a competitor to a specialty dance shoe company.

In this sense, an exercise like searching for keywords can really get you up to speed on the competitive landscape.

Reviewing competitor ads can also be a good thing if you don’t let what they are saying influence too much the ads you want to create (Remember, you’re trying to get away from what every other ad is doing).

However, it can help you spot missed opportunities for your own ads — places where you can one-up the competition. And sometimes, you can learn from them, too — so go in with an open mind.

Then, having candid conversations with the company about the competition’s advertising (what they like or don’t like) is also important in the strategy phase.

Understand your other marketing efforts

It’s good to understand the full scope of the company’s marketing efforts in other channels because they often inform and influence one another. So get plugged into the strategy by talking to other teams and vendors and looking at product guides, subscribing to the company’s mailing list and so on.

You can learn a lot of about the tone and the messaging of the brand by how it communicates, and you can then incorporate that into the advertising.

Plus, when you know what the other marketing teams are doing, you’re more likely to be able to work with them on the things that impact both your channels (for example, website speed) and react quicker in any given situation (for example a PR crisis).

Like any other marketing or sales effort, you have to put in the research to understand both the business needs and the audience desires. With those two areas researched well, you can begin to create killer ads that stand out from the crowd.

The post Why all search ads seem the same (and what you can do about it) appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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When going HTTPS, don’t forget about local citations!

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By Andrew Shotland

Migrating your site to HTTPS is all the rage these days. Google is on the record as saying that using “https” in your URLs can give a site a ranking boost.

That said, going HTTPS has its share of SEO challenges. Here are but a few of the HTTPS horror stories we have witnessed over the past year:

  • Sites go HTTPS and don’t redirect or canonicalize the HTTP URLs to their HTTPS versions.
  • Sites go HTTPS without telling the SEO team, who freak out when they check into Google Search Console and see branded traffic has started to tank (Hint: check the HTTPS profile in Google Search Console that no one set up because you forgot to tell the SEO team).
  • Sites go HTTPS without making the site truly secure. For example, if you are serving your CSS file from an HTTP URL, you will need to update the CSS URLs to HTTPS. If you don’t do this, your browser may start to show an insecure warning like this:

  • Even worse, Google may start showing insecure site warnings next to your URLs in search results — a nice way to depress CTR, if that’s what you’re into…
  • Sites go HTTPS, get some links to HTTPS URLs, and then revert back to HTTP for whatever reason. Now, whenever someone clicks on one of those HTTPS links, they are going to get an “insecure!” warning like this:


Things can get complicated when you’re trying to keep track of all of the technical best practices, particularly if you’re working on migrating a huge, complicated site with multiple teams and vendors, which is often the case with multi-location brands.

One of the bigger complications we often come across is how to handle your local citations — the listings for your locations on various local search services such as Google My Business, Yelp,, and the main business listing data aggregators such as Acxiom, Factual, InfoGroup and Neustar Localeze (or whichever services provide listings in your country).

Now I see you scratching your head, thinking, “I thought this HTTPS stuff was just about my website. What does it have to do with a business listing on another site?” In short: plenty.

Over the past couple of years, we have conducted several studies on the impact of cleaning up your local citations, and in our experience, one of the best things you can do is remove redirects from your citation links, particularly your Google My Business listings.

Often, we see brands go HTTPS and forget that their citations still all link to HTTP URLs. This may seem fine, as the HTTP links redirect to HTTPS — but in one fell swoop, you have redirected all of your local citations, which now may be negatively impacting your Local Pack rankings.

Let’s say you have a business with 1,000 locations. Each location likely has 150 to 300 citations. So on the low end, this is 150,000 links for this site all going through a 301 redirect (at best). According to this Moz post about an accidental redirect test conducted, they saw a 15 percent reduction in traffic, on average, after doing 301 redirects. In our thousand-location situation, that means we could be losing 15 percent of the traffic to each of these location pages. That’s a lot of traffic to lose.

And if you have decided not to migrate your image URLs to HTTPS (For some reason, image URLs are often the neglected stepchildren of redesigns), now any image URL that you have added to your GMB profile is likely broken.

We just worked on a case where the brand had created a new HTTPS logo URL, so every other site that had been serving the logo from the HTTP URL was now serving a broken image, including every Google My Business page. #OOPS

So maybe when you put your “we’re going HTTPS!” plan together, make sure you have someone on hand to deal with your local citations. It might make you feel a bit more secure…

For further reading on going HTTPS, I strongly recommend Fili Wiese‘s “All You Need To Know For Moving To HTTPS.” It’s the best thing I have read on the subject anywhere.


PS: Don’t get too freaked out about going HTTPS. Over the past six months or so, we have seen some sites make some truly epic HTTPS migration screw-ups with little Google downside. It may be the case that since Google has promoted HTTPS so much, they have made the algorithm a bit more forgiving to avoid too many #HTTPSUCKS tweets. Your mileage may vary.

PPS: You’re the SEO person. You have made a career out of studying how to take advantage of Google’s algorithms while asking for resources from people who often don’t understand what it is that you do all day. So don’t blow it by being the one who champions migrating to HTTPS. Let the CIO do it.

The post When going HTTPS, don’t forget about local citations! appeared first on Search Engine Land.