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Drive calls and customers with display ads

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By Digital Marketing Depot

Consumers today view display ads on their smartphones. And when they convert, many prefer to call. Display advertising drove over 28 billion calls in 2016, and marketers must change how they measure and optimize display campaigns to be successful in 2017.

Read this playbook from DialogTech and learn how to:

  • prove the real impact of your display campaigns on revenue.
  • optimize ad placement to drive more conversions.
  • target new audiences most likely to call.

Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download “The Click-to-Call Playbook for Display Advertising.”

The post Drive calls and customers with display ads appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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SearchCap: Google job search, metrics on search update & cheese doodle

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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:

Industry

Local & Maps

Link Building

Searching

SEO

SEM / Paid Search

Search Marketing

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Is Google testing its own jobs search engine?

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By Barry Schwartz

Google seems to be testing a new search feature. This one is designed to help searchers find new job openings. Dan Shure spotted this test for queries on Google that include [jobs online], [data entry jobs online], [newbury street jobs] and so on. Google shows job listings and takes you into what appears to be their very own job search portal to drill down deeper.

Here are some screen shots of the job search results in the core web results:


After you click on “more jobs,” it takes you into this jobs-specific search results interface that gives you additional filters for job categories, titles, dates, types, state, city, company type and employer. The interface looks a little bit like the local results interface, with the listings down the left-hand side and results in the middle.

This story is developing, and we will update it as we have more information from Google. As we wrote earlier today, Google performed 9,800 live traffic experiments last year; this is just one of the many new ones.

The post Is Google testing its own jobs search engine? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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6 key paid search trends from Merkle’s Q1 2017 report

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By Ginny Marvin

Merkle’s Digital Marketing Report for Q1 points to strong growth from Google and the continued strength of PLAs (Google Product Listing Ads). Expanded text ads have yet to yield promises of CTR gold. Bing and Yahoo’s lack of mobile market share is hampering growth. Here’s a look at some of the key trends from the report. (Keep in mind the data reflects spending from Merkle’s own client base, which skews large retailer.)

AdWords Q1 year-over-year growth outpaced that of Q4

Spending on Google AdWords increased 21 percent year over year in Q1 2017, up from 19 percent in Q4 2016. Click volume increased 20 percent over the previous year. CPCs ticked up 1 percent.

Merkle credits the addition of a fourth mobile text ad, PLAs in image search, Google Maps ads and the return of separate device bids as key contributors to growth over the past year.

Tablet bids fall, mobile bids improve relative to desktop

Tablet bids have steadily declined relative to desktop since Google enabled advertisers to bid separately on the two devices last summer. Merkle says decoupling tablets from desktop helped drive growth, with advertisers able to adjust bids separately for higher-value desktop clicks.

Google AdWords phone and desktop spend increased 51 percent and 12 percent, respectively, while tablet spend fell 23 percent.

Phone CPCs continued to gain ground on desktop in Q1. For non-brand queries, phone CPCs were 43 percent lower than desktop CPCs in Q1, compared to being 51 percent lower in Q4. Tablet CPCs were 25 percent lower than desktop in Q1, down from near-parity in early 2016, when the devices were combined in bidding.

Source: Merkle

PLAs keep growing faster than text ads

With 52 percent click share, PLAs accounted for more than half of retail search ad clicks in Q1, up from 48 percent in Q4. For non-brand queries, PLAs drove a whopping 75 percent of all clicks for retailers.

Spending on Google Shopping rose by 32 percent year over year in Q1, compared to 12 percent for text ads. Growing impression volume on mobile is helping to increase PLA click share, and growth was largely driven by non-brand queries.

Source: Merkle

Search partners, which includes Google image search, accounted for 11 percent of PLA clicks for the quarter, similar to Q4’s share.

Local Inventory Ads gaining traction

In Q1, Local Inventory Ads (LIA) accounted for 19 percent of all Google Shopping clicks on phones. CTRs on LIAs are 19 percent higher than PLAs on phone and desktop. Not surprisingly, online conversion rates for LIAs, which are designed to direct store traffic, are lower than PLAs.

CTR boost for expanded text ads (ETAs) remains elusive

Merkle has consistently reported seeing mixed results since ETAs first came on the scene last year. The Q1 results for ETAs show a CTR lift compared to standard text ads only on desktop ads shown at the bottom of the page.

After accounting for device, keyword type, and ad location, there is still no clear evidence that Expanded Text Ads are producing consistently higher click-through rates than the legacy Google text ad format.

Source: Merkle; high-traffic ad groups with both formats active in Q1

Overall, text ad spending on Google increased by 12 percent. However, non-brand text ad spending rose 16 percent year over year. Merkle says the fourth mobile ad unit and the addition of ads in Google Maps has done more to buoy text ad growth than format changes.

Bing & Yahoo mobile troubles

Across Bing Ads and Yahoo Gemini, spend fell by 14 percent compared to the previous year, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of spend declines.

With Google as the default search option on Android and iOS devices, mobile weakness continues to be a considerable handicap for Bing and Yahoo. Google accounted for 97 percent of mobile phone traffic in Q1. Bing and Yahoo clicks made up 19 percent of desktop clicks for the quarter.

There is much more detail in the report, including on organic, social and Amazon. It’s available for download here.

The post 6 key paid search trends from Merkle’s Q1 2017 report appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google launched more than 1,600 new changes in search last year

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By Barry Schwartz

Google revamped its How Search Works site, the site they launched in 2013 to describe the efforts Google makes in search. Google added some new metrics around the various Google search launches they made last year, how many tests they tried out and the various numbers around their diverse set of search experiments.

Google mentioned the update to this site when they also announced Project Owl earlier this week.

The site shares that Google launched 1,653 new search changes last year, based on 9,800 live traffic experiments, 18,015 side-by-side experiments and 130,336 search quality tests.

As you can see, only a small percentage of what Google tries actually goes live, but to launch over 1,600 new changes in search in a single year is massive. In fact, we don’t know exactly how many of the 1,600 changes are user interface changes versus new feature changes versus algorithmic or ranking changes. I doubt Google would share those details.

What we do know is that only one percent of searchers were part of the 9,800 live traffic experiments and that while we likely covered many of them, I am sure we missed the majority of those experiments.

Here is an animated GIF of the page that documents these numbers:

The post Google launched more than 1,600 new changes in search last year appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google doodle celebrates Marie Harel, the inventor of Camembert cheese

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By Barry Schwartz

Today’s special Google doodle honors the inventor of the Camembert cheese. Marie Harel was born 256 years ago today in Crouttes, France. She invented the Camembert cheese back in 1791, at the age of 30.

The Google doodle shows the steps it takes to make Camembert cheese in nine different Google logo slides. Google said that the “Doodle celebrates Harel’s 256th birthday with a slideshow that illustrates how Camembert is made, step by step.” “It’s drawn in a charming, nostalgic style reminiscent of early 20th-century French poster artists, such as Hervé Morvan and Raymond Savignac,” they added.

Her work earned her a statue in Vimoutiers in France.

Marie Harel lived to the age of 83 and died on November 9, 1844.

The post Google doodle celebrates Marie Harel, the inventor of Camembert cheese appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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The future of local discovery

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By Brian Smith

We’ve entered an exciting time for local marketing. Big Data, digital assistants, augmented reality and beacons will fundamentally change the way users discover locations. As Bob Dylan so aptly pointed out, “The times they are a-changin’.”

As such, local marketers and advertisers need to start thinking about how they’re going to change along with the times. Here’s what you need to know about the future of local discovery.

Big Data: ‘Who’ informs ‘where’

Proximity is the primary ranking factor in local searches. That’s not likely to change. After all, what’s nearby is the fundamental aspect of local discovery.

What is changing, however, is the filter that sorts out, ranks and presents those nearby locations. What filter, you ask?

It’s you.

Going forward, local discovery will function as proximity filtered by your individual preferences. The person searching will inform what locations are shown.

In truth, this is nothing new. Google, Bing, Safari and Yahoo have been personalizing search results for some time through tracking your browsing history. What is new is the sophistication of artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics.

With the burgeoning Internet of Things, the amount of customer and behavioral data is growing by the day. Even if Congress hadn’t cleared the way for internet services providers (ISPs) to sell your data, what marketers and advertisers know about customers was only going to increase thanks to the growing data fiefdoms of Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.

For good or ill, the ability to use that information to target the right customer with the right message at the right time is maturing. In fact, even back in 2012 ,Target had the capability to use data mining to predict the pregnancy of a teenager before her father could deduce the news himself. Big Data has come a long way since then.

In the case of local discovery, Big Data will help search engines personalize local results based on a user’s preference. The more the search engines know about you, the more relevant search results and maps will be.

For example, a search for nearby restaurants might include ranking factors such as your favorite dishes, food allergies, price point, time of day and how long it was since your last visit. Meanwhile, a search for a nearby product such as shoes might be filtered by your favorite brand, shoe color, size and any ongoing sales.

However, knowing your customer and targeting your customer are two different things. There needs to be a means of surfacing local information in a unified way, and that need will undoubtedly be addressed by digital assistants.

Digital assistants and voice search

Digital assistants will serve as the connection between customer profiles and the preferred locations and products around them.

Digital assistants will be everywhere. On your phone, in your car, your house, your office — everywhere and inside everything connected to the internet.

The ultimate goal of Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri is to become that universal connection between the physical and digital worlds.

In the context of local discovery, think of a digital assistant as your very own personal Rick Steves, providing you with everything you’d ever care to know about a location — and then some.

This omnipresent assistant, part tour guide, part planner, part shopping liaison, will provide users with the most relevant and personalized local recommendations for anything you can imagine.

And thanks to voice search, digital assistants are always listening.

Google Home and Amazon Alexa operate in this mode by default, and Apple’s latest iPhone update is pushing users to set up voice activation for Siri.

In addition to enabling ambient listening, voice activation establishes voice biometrics, which will allow digital assistants to become device-agnostic.

Whether it’s smart cars, smart homes or smart offices, the ability to distinguish between users is critical to translating your personal preferences regardless of location or device. This will provide a consistent user experience without a disruption to conversational context.

In fact, Google Home recently made progress on this front by being able to recognize up to six different voices from one device. It’s not hard to extrapolate this trend to the point that digital assistants will be able to recognize who you are regardless of where or what device you’re using.

Soon you’ll be able to make dinner reservations by talking to the digital assistant embedded in your hotel room, order an Uber from the digital assistant on your phone as you walk to the lobby and check your flight from the digital assistant inside your autonomous Uber — all without breaking the conversational context with your digital assistant.

Augmented reality

With the rise of voice search, it’s also necessary to replace the traditional screen on your phone and monitor. A picture is worth a thousand words, so it’s unlikely that even a sweet-talking digital assistant will replace our need to visualize what’s in front of us.

As I outlined in a previous article, the solution to traditional screens is to replace them with augmented reality — your smartphone transforming into smart glasses. Based on Facebook’s recent plans for augmented reality, this indeed seems to be the direction we’re heading.

In my mind, augmented reality is likely to be one of the more exciting and less privacy-invasive developments of local discovery. You’ll be able to scout out a local restaurant, visualize the precise location of a product on a shelf or interact with custom location-based content triggered with beacons. Which brings me to the final trend you should be keeping an eye on.

Beacons

Proximity targeting will flourish with the rise of augmented reality and digital assistants.

Beacons are perfect for surfacing content in a user’s immediate proximity. The challenge right now is alerting users to beacons. However, if everyone has a digital assistant embedded in their augmented reality glasses, it will be easy for users to discover beacon content and have that content personalized based on personal preferences.

Whether it’s triggering a coupon for a customer’s most likely purchase as he walks by a store entrance or promoting a fast food restaurant as a vehicle exits the interstate off-ramp, the potential for beacons is tremendous.

Start preparing now

Many of these developments might seem too far out in the future. However, technology is evolving at an exponential rate. The time to start preparing and laying the groundwork for these marketing developments is now.

The post The future of local discovery appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Search in Pics: Bing body painting, Google airplane seat room & hallway race track

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By Barry Schwartz

In this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have and more.

Google meeting room that looks like an airplane:

Source: Instagram

Bing body painting:


Source: Twitter

Google indoor hallway race track:


Source: Instagram

Google fred fish mug:


Source: Twitter

Google android rusty helmet:


Source: Instagram

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