January 2018

26- Jan2018
Posted By: DPadmin
27 Views

The 7 Most Common Concerns of SEO Newcomers

If you’ve never done so before, embrace SEO! Try it for yourself before you write it off as a “gimmick” or a “risk.”

As someone who’s been practicing SEO for the better part of a decade, I find that my typical concerns are not at all aligned with those of people learning about SEO for the first time.

There are millions of business owners and marketers not using SEO, despite the sheer number of proponents advocating for its effectiveness (and the availability of reliable metrics on its potential ROI).

There’s a reason (or multiple reasons) for this. Specifically, most of the people I encounter who are avoiding SEO have at least one major concern preventing them from following through with — or even just learning more about — this strategy. So, to help clear up some misconceptions and get in touch with an audience less familiar with SEO, I came up with this concise list of some of the most common concerns I typically see and hear about from SEO newcomers:

1. The ROI

Most SEO newcomers wonder about the “real” ROI of the strategy. Increasing your search visibility is a good thing, clearly, but it takes a lot of time and effort to accomplish those rising rankings, and there’s no guarantee how much extra traffic they’re going to send your way. On top of that, you need to think about your conversion rates: If they’re not high enough, that traffic may not be worth it.

But while these concerns are to some extent valid, it’s important to remember that SEO is a strategy that’s both flexible and intended for the long term. So, if you aren’t seeing a positive ROI after a month or two, try changing tactics and/or improve your methods until you start seeing positive momentum.

2. The time investment

As I mentioned, SEO is a long-term strategy. You won’t see results in the first week, and probably not even in the first month. You’ll spend hours optimizing your site, or thousands of dollars hiring an agency to do the work for you. If your company is short-staffed, or you’re already busy with existing marketing strategies, you may not be willing to make the time investment in learning and practicing SEO.

However, you don’t need to go over the top to start; even a few simple changes to your website’s structure and visibility can give you a boost, and provide a foundation that you can grow when you do have time.

3. Technical SEO

If you’re hesitant about the effectiveness of SEO, it’s safe to assume you don’t have much technical experience with website development or programming — and that the prospect of technical SEO intimidates you.

4. The penalties

The prospect of Google penalties strikes fear into the hearts of most webmasters — or at least the ones who don’t fully understand them. After the emergence of major updates, like Panda and Penguin, search optimizers have thrown around the term “penalty” to scare SEO novices into thinking that one simple mistake could instantly tank their site’s rankings.

Certainly  it’s true that if you do something that decreases your trustworthiness (such as publishing questionable content or building spammy links), your authority and rankings could fall. But even this outcome is nothing that’s beyond repair—and these mistakes are pretty easy to avoid.

 

   

MARKETING>SEO

The 7 Most Common Concerns of SEO Newcomers

If you’ve never done so before, embrace SEO! Try it for yourself before you write it off as a “gimmick” or a “risk.”
The 7 Most Common Concerns of SEO Newcomers

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own..
As someone who’s been practicing SEO for the better part of a decade, I find that my typical concerns are not at all aligned with those of people learning about SEO for the first time.

Related: 10 Fundamentals to Understanding SEO

There are millions of business owners and marketers not using SEO, despite the sheer number of proponents advocating for its effectiveness (and the availability of reliable metrics on its potential ROI).

ADVERTISING

There’s a reason (or multiple reasons) for this. Specifically, most of the people I encounter who are avoiding SEO have at least one major concern preventing them from following through with — or even just learning more about — this strategy. So, to help clear up some misconceptions and get in touch with an audience less familiar with SEO, I came up with this concise list of some of the most common concerns I typically see and hear about from SEO newcomers:

1. The ROI

Most SEO newcomers wonder about the “real” ROI of the strategy. Increasing your search visibility is a good thing, clearly, but it takes a lot of time and effort to accomplish those rising rankings, and there’s no guarantee how much extra traffic they’re going to send your way. On top of that, you need to think about your conversion rates: If they’re not high enough, that traffic may not be worth it.

But while these concerns are to some extent valid, it’s important to remember that SEO is a strategy that’s both flexible and intended for the long term. So, if you aren’t seeing a positive ROI after a month or two, try changing tactics and/or improve your methods until you start seeing positive momentum.

2. The time investment

As I mentioned, SEO is a long-term strategy. You won’t see results in the first week, and probably not even in the first month. You’ll spend hours optimizing your site, or thousands of dollars hiring an agency to do the work for you. If your company is short-staffed, or you’re already busy with existing marketing strategies, you may not be willing to make the time investment in learning and practicing SEO.

Related: Your SEO Checklist: 4 Steps to Optimizing Your Website

However, you don’t need to go over the top to start; even a few simple changes to your website’s structure and visibility can give you a boost, and provide a foundation that you can grow when you do have time.

3. Technical SEO

If you’re hesitant about the effectiveness of SEO, it’s safe to assume you don’t have much technical experience with website development or programming — and that the prospect of technical SEO intimidates you.

Fortunately, technical SEO is a lot less “technical” than it sounds, as I outlined in SEO 101: A Guide for the Technically Challenged.

4. The penalties

The prospect of Google penalties strikes fear into the hearts of most webmasters — or at least the ones who don’t fully understand them. After the emergence of major updates, like Panda and Penguin, search optimizers have thrown around the term “penalty” to scare SEO novices into thinking that one simple mistake could instantly tank their site’s rankings.

Certainly  it’s true that if you do something that decreases your trustworthiness (such as publishing questionable content or building spammy links), your authority and rankings could fall. But even this outcome is nothing that’s beyond repair—and these mistakes are pretty easy to avoid.

“True” Google penalties are manual actions that come into play only under the most egregious circumstances — such as when you’re intentionally and repeatedly trying to manipulate your rank.

5. Public perceptions

I’ve spoken to business owners who were afraid of the consequences of their audience finding out they used SEO as a strategy to earn traffic. In this context, they see SEO as a cheap or gimmicky strategy that could negatively affect the public’s trust in them.

Maybe this was true back in 1999, but today’s SEO is built on a foundation of providing high-quality content to a targeted base of users; it’s about providing value, not tricking search engines into ranking you higher.

6. Targeting

You might also be concerned about the idea of targeting your audience and specific keywords. The world of search is a big one; even if you serve a niche industry, there are hundreds — or even thousands — of keywords and topics to choose from, and your choices could make or break your strategy.

Fortunately, there’s some wiggle room here; you can choose to target words based on volume, competition, relevance or a customized mixture of all three. That may sound complicated if you’re uninitiated, but even after just an hour or two of diving into keyword research, you’ll find that everything will start to make more sense.

7. The complexity

The sheer apparent complexity of SEO is enough to turn some people away entirely. There are literally hundreds of factors that could influence your rankings in search engines, and even more considerations to bear in mind when you factor in content marketing and conversion optimization.

This is true, but none of those hundreds of factors are, by themselves, especially complicated. It will take you some time to learn them, but they’re all perfectly digestible: It just takes time to become acquainted with them.

There are some legitimate concerns about SEO for newcomers; it isn’t a strategy you can master quickly, nor is it guaranteed to pay off. But given enough time, investment and dedication, anyone can plan and manage a respectable SEO strategy that yields a positive ROI. And as long as you’re playing by the rules, there’s no significant danger that you’ll earn a penalty or damage your reputation in the process.

So, dive in! Embrace SEO and learn more about it, perhaps even trying it for yourself before you write it off as a gimmick or a risk; you might be surprised what you’re able to accomplish.

Source: The 7 Most Common Concerns of SEO Newcomers

26- Jan2018
Posted By: DPadmin
23 Views

When SEO isn’t your SEO problem

Even the greatest SEO strategy won’t succeed if you can’t implement it properly. Columnist Casie Gillette discusses common client obstacles and how to overcome them.

If you’ve been doing SEO for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly experienced your fair share of failures. And in many cases, frustratingly, the SEO program itself was not the issue. While I’ve discussed meta topics such as management challengesgetting executive buy-in, and the need for flexibility in the past, I haven’t directly addressed the question, “What do you do if SEO isn’t your SEO problem?”

As search marketers, we work our tails off analyzing data, search results, client websites and more, with the goal of providing recommendations that will move the needle. Unfortunately, the best recommendations in the world don’t matter if they aren’t implemented — and therein lies one of the biggest challenges of SEO.

Let’s look at a few common obstacles that can hinder an SEO program’s progress and discuss how we can overcome them.

Just following up

We’ve all been there: You’ve sent one, two, three emails and still have heard nothing back. How can you possibly get anything done if the client won’t even answer your emails?

It’s not a simple solution. People are busy; they have other priorities, and it’s our job to ensure our clients understand the importance and value of the program.

If a contact goes silent, there are a few options we can try.

Pick up the phone

Your clients are busy people, and many of them probably receive dozens or even hundreds of emails per day. That’s a lot of messages to sort through! While it can be frustrating to not receive a response, it’s possible your contact has more important emails to get through.

Pick up the phone. It’s so simple, yet we often forgot to do it. In the age of technology, everyone is emailing and texting. Talking to someone can go a long way.

Use an email tracker

If your emails aren’t being responded to, maybe you are sending them at the wrong time of day. Even worse, maybe they aren’t even getting to your client’s inbox.

Tools like Yesware and Bananatag show you when a person opens your email, allowing you to see if your emails are being read — and giving you an opportunity to follow up quickly. Did your client just open the email? Send another one while it’s top of mind, or give them a quick call.

Go to the next person

Sometimes, the only option is to go a level up. I only like to use this as a last resort — we certainly don’t want to make anyone look bad, but at the end of the day, the program’s success is tied to our ability to make things happen.

I disagree with you

As a marketing consultant, you typically end up working directly with an organization’s internal marketing team — a marketing team with experienced professionals, brand knowledge and more often than not, a whole lot of opinions.

For agencies, the key to program success is getting buy-in from key decision-makers. The person in charge needs to ensure that their team approves and implements what you are recommending. However, in some cases, the boss will rely on his or her team to make those decisions. And that’s OK. A sign of a good leader is trusting one’s team.

Unfortunately, the team may not always agree with what you are recommending. Perhaps they’ve done it a different way in the past or don’t think it’s worth the effort. How do we change their minds?

Lay out your strategy

It’s no secret that there’s a lack of education in the SEO world, both inside and out. The result? More work on the front end. Instead of just providing a recommendation, make sure you discuss the why. What is the overall goal, and how is this suggestion going to help them get there?

Pick your battles

We provide a lot of recommendations. In many cases, we make recommendations that aren’t going to move the needle significantly but are best practices that will make the site better. Sure, we’d like these implemented — but sometimes it’s okay if they aren’t. We have to pick our battles.

Let’s take ALT text, for example. A few weeks ago, I had a client who disagreed with an ALT text recommendation my team had made. The client wanted to use something else, so they decided they weren’t going to implement our suggestion. And that’s OK — overall, it wasn’t a high-priority task.

In all likelihood, you won’t be able to implement every SEO recommendation you put forth — so be sure to save your fights for the ones that are really going to matter.

Run a test

For efforts that may require additional time and resources, it can be hard to get buy-in. Suggest running a test.

A few months ago, we provided recommendations to improve a client’s product pages. Unfortunately, the client didn’t want to spend the time and effort making the changes. Our suggestion? There’s a new product page launching, so why don’t we try the proposed improvements on that page and see how it performs?

The new page outperformed all the others — and as a result, the team is now ready to go back and revisit the rest of the product section.

Like most things in life, we want reassurances. If we can prove that our recommendations will get results, it makes it much easier to push for others down the line.

We don’t have time

Time. Precious time. How often have you uttered the phrase, “There’s not enough time in the day?” You aren’t alone.

We only have so many hours in our work week, so we have to prioritize the things that matter to us. Unfortunately, SEO isn’t always the top item on your client’s list of things that have to get done. How can we overcome this hurdle?

Agency implementation

We learned a long time ago that if we wanted things done, we needed to do them ourselves. While agency implementation takes time (and trust from the client), it ensures your recommendations are applied and the program can move forward.

Prioritize recommendations

There’s a thing I like to call “deliverable overload.” A client falls behind, but we continue to send out deliverables. Instead of working through them from start to finish, the client gets overloaded and is unsure where to begin.

Make it easier. When a client starts getting behind, the first thing I do is make a list of outstanding deliverables and prioritize them based on what’s going to have the biggest impact on the site and/or what can be done quickly. That makes it easier for the client to sort through our recommendations and start working on them.

Make your case with data

It’s extremely frustrating to have to put together a bad report for your client — especially when you know that the reason for the poor performance is that nothing was actually done.

If you aren’t making any headway, and if you aren’t able to implement the recommendations yourself, start pulling data. What metrics are important to the client? Show them how those metrics are (or are not) being impacted, and explain how your proposed changes can help.

Final thoughts

As search marketers, our jobs are hard. On top of doing great SEO work, we are managing different personalities, dealing with internal company issues and trying to manage our own day. But if we can proactively address the issues above, we can remove some of the biggest impediments to our SEO program’s success.

Source: When SEO isn’t your SEO problem

26- Jan2018
Posted By: DPadmin
24 Views

Take My Advice: Stop Taking So Much SEO Advice

If you want to be truly successful in SEO, you need to stop taking so much SEO advice. Here’s why.

There’s no shortage of SEO advice to go around. Heck, I’ve made a career out of it. I’ve listed hundreds of strategies companies can use to improve their rankings in search engines, and have provided updates as SEO develops, to guide search optimizers in the right way to respond to algorithm changes and new technologies.

For the most part, the advice you read on high-authority publishers and niche specialist sites is “good”—it’s not meant to lead you astray, and it usually provides factual, valuable information. But if you want to be truly successful in SEO, you need to stop taking so much SEO advice.

Wait, What?

I realize the bit of hypocrisy here. I’m dispensing advice that tells you to deliberately avoid taking advice—but I don’t mean you should ignore SEO advice altogether. Instead, I caution you to do three things:

  1. Double check the facts. Don’t just assume that an author knows what he/she is talking about. Do the research to see if other authorities have made similar claims, and how their experiments may have differed.
  2. Don’t follow tactics blindly. Make the effort to understand what you’re doing before you follow a step-by-step approach.
  3. Try new things for yourself. Dedicate some time to experimenting with new strategies of your own. It may seem riskier than just doing what other people have already done, but there are significant benefits to this experimental approach.

Here’s why.

SEO Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All

For starters, SEO isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. What works for one business in one industry isn’t necessarily going to work for someone else. For example:

  • National and local SEO function on different algorithms. Local SEO demands a separate set of tactics and strategies, which simply aren’t relevant to you if you’re pursuing national SEO. Fortunately, it’s easy to filter out irrelevant articles in this split, but it’s an example of just how different SEO can be for different companies.
  • Competition can make or break a strategy. Next, understand that the level of competition you’re dealing with can make or break a given strategy. If an influencer reports that their homepage moved up three spots for a given keyword term after producing a new video every week, that doesn’t mean you’ll see the same results; if you have far more competition, you might not move at all, and if you have far less competition, you might not need nearly as much effort to see the same results.
  • There are thousands of influential variables that can’t all be isolated. SEO is ridiculously complicated; even though we’ve pinned down a number of ranking factors, and how much impact they have (relatively speaking), it’s still hard to determine exact root causes for each shift in rankings we experience. For example, let’s say an article goes viral on social media and subsequently rises in rankings. It would be easy to think that its ranking increase was a direct result of those social shares, but in reality, it was likely a secondary factor—such as increased inbound links as a result of those social shares—that did the trick.

Misinformation Is Easy to Spread Unintentionally

I’ve written recently about a problem in the SEO industry related to the emergence and spread of inaccurate SEO information. This isn’t a product of people deliberately trying to lead others astray; instead, it’s a natural result of the industry.

SEO is necessarily imprecise in some ways (since Google doesn’t formally publish exactly how its ranking algorithm works), the nature of the industry changes quickly, and the SEO community is ravenous for new information, which many search optimizers are quick and eager to provide.

The end result is that information often gets published before it’s fully verified, and it’s easy for readers to form first impressions of articles that may reflect isolated incidents rather than broad trends. It’s also easy for this information to spread, since many influencers and community members share new information without checking its validity for themselves (I’ve been guilty of this too—we all have).

Misinformation is Often Spread Intentionally, Too

Aside from well-intentioned SEO professionals jumping the gun with unverified information in an attempt to be the first to publish new information, the internet is full of self-proclaimed “SEO experts” who eagerly spread false information in order to make a profit. Forums and low-authority blogs are where I most commonly find bad information being perpetuated.

For example, before Google’s Penguin algorithm update in April of 2012, it was considered a “best practice” to obtain as many inbound links as one possibly could, regardless of the quality of those links, and the anchor text used for those links needed to be “exact match” keywords. That is, if your keyword was “green widgets” then the link to your website should always say “green widgets.”

Today, this is precisely the kind of practice that will get your website penalized by Google. But lurking in the dark confines of small blogs and community forums are snake-oil salespeople, proclaiming that they can get you thousands of high-quality links in a day, each with perfectly keyword-optimized anchor text, and all this for the low price of $100. To many SEO newcomers looking for a cheap start to their SEO campaign, this seems like just the deal they’ve been looking for. After all, they know that more links is generally a good thing, so why not take the deal?

Clearly, this is just one type of SEO scam perpetuated by lurkers, but they are numerous. Distinguishing trustworthy SEO advice can be difficult for business owners who are just getting their feet wet with SEO, and it can be a minefield of misinformation designed to confuse business owners into spending their money unwisely.

Experimentation Is the Best Way to Learn

According to a scientific study of—ironically enough—science students, it’s easier for people to learn by doing than it is to learn by traditional forms of instruction. You can read and regurgitate information about SEO all day long, but until you get your hands on a campaign, doing your own keyword research, writing your own content, and doing your own measurement and analysis, you won’t develop a subjective, innate “feel” for how SEO works.

There’s nothing mystical going on here. Over time, as you venture into SEO on your own, you’ll get better at intuitively troubleshooting problems (the way auto mechanics can tell what’s wrong with a vehicle just by listening to it), and you’ll end up tinkering with tactics that even industry leaders haven’t considered. Ignoring the advice—and sometimes contradicting it—can lead you down an even more innovative path.

Conclusion

SEO advice is, for the most part, good. It will help you learn more about the industry, come up with better ideas, and might even inspire you to try something new. But you shouldn’t rely exclusively on advice, verbatim, to fuel your strategies.

If you want to see the best results, you need to take SEO advice with a grain of salt, think critically about what you’re reading, and ultimately use your own research and experience to fuel your progress.

Source: Take My Advice: Stop Taking So Much SEO Advice

26- Jan2018
Posted By: DPadmin
39 Views

8 game-changing SEO trends that will dominate 2018

With over 200 factors in Google’s algorithm, SEO is a complex science. But it’s not how much you need to know that makes it really challenging — it’s the ever-changing nature of the rules of the game.

As search engines strive to improve the quality of search results, some ranking factors shift shapes, others fall into oblivion, and completely new ones arise out of nowhere. To help you stay ahead of the game in 2018, here’s a list of the most prominent trends that are gaining momentum, with tips on how you can prepare for each.

1. The rise of SERP features

Are you assuming a #1 organic ranking is the way to get as much traffic as possible? Think again. Increasingly, SERP features (local packs, Knowledge panels, featured snippets and so on) are stealing searchers’ attention and clicks from organic listings.

And it’s only fair if you consider the evolution the Google SERP has been through. It has gone all the way from “10 blue links”…

… to something that makes you feel like you’re part of a Brazilian carnival.

What can you do about it?

With the evolution of SERP features, it’s critical that you (a) track your rankings within these features, and (b) monitor the features that show up for your keywords and are potentially stealing traffic from you. You can do this with SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker by simply starting a project for your site. The tool will track 15 Google SERP features, along with organic results. The Google SERP Features column will show you all features triggered by your keywords, with the ones you rank in highlighted in green. Additionally, you can measure the volatility of SERP features day-to-day under the SERP Analysis tab.

Based on this data, analyze the opportunities that SERP features pose. Can you squeeze into the local pack? Can you get a featured snippet for this query? How about a Knowledge Graph panel? Which brings us straight to the next point:

2. Structured data

Structured data is a way of formatting HTML that uses a specific vocabulary, telling search engines how to interpret content — and how to display it in the SERPs.

Google’s never officially confirmed structured data is a ranking signal — and in itself, it likely isn’t.

Why bother, then? Glad you asked!

Structured data lets you enhance your search listings in several ways: Think Knowledge Graph panels and rich snippets. The latter can increase your listings’ CTR (click-through rate) by 30 percent. Multiple real-life experiments show an increase in clicks boosts rankings.

With search results getting more diverse, you can’t ignore the opportunity to stand out. In fact, you’d better get at it right now, before a competitor does.

What can you do about it?

Go on and do it, really. There are several structured data formats, but most SEOs stick to Schema.orgThis step-by-step guide to Schema for SEO is a good place to start. Once you’ve implemented the markup, track whether rich snippets show up for your site with the Rank Tracker tool mentioned above.

3. Survival of the fastest

Speed is big. Not only is it a ranking signal; it’s a major UX factor. UX, in turn, impacts rankings. It’s a loop of sorts!

But how fast is fast, exactly? Google expects pages to load in under three seconds. Here’s what you can do to get there.

What can you do about it?

First, take Google’s page speed test. The test is integrated into WebSite Auditor and available in its free version. Just launch WebSite Auditor and create a project. Jump to Content Analysis and specify the page you’d like to test. In a moment, you’ll see a selection of on-page factors calculated for you. Go to Technical factors and scroll to Page speed (Dekstop).

For any problematic factor, click on it for an explanation and how-to-fix advice.

4. Relevance 2.0

Increasingly, it’s getting harder to convince Google you have great content when you really don’t (and easier to get penalized for trying). There are a number of ways Google assesses content quality, one of them being Latent Semantic Indexing. By looking at billions of pages and terms used in them, Google learns which terms are related and builds expectations as to the terms that are likely to appear in a given context. This helps Google decide whether a piece of content is “comprehensive.”

With RankBrain, Google may further analyze the best-performing search results (according to Google’s user satisfaction metrics) and look for similarities between them. These shared features, such as usage of certain terms, may become query-specific ranking signals for the given search term.

What can you do about it?

How do you make sure your content is comprehensive? By researching the top-ranking pages in your niche and looking for the features they share, just like RankBrain does. Clearly, you can’t do this manually for each term, so here’s a simple framework that uses WebSite Auditorand its TF-IDF tool.

In WebSite Auditor, jump to Content Analysis > TF-IDFand select a page. The app will go to Google’s search results, analyze the 10 top-ranking pages and calculate a TF-IDF score for each term used on each page. As a result, you’ll get a list of relevant terms and phrases, sorted by the number of competitors that use them.

You can implement the recommended changes and edit your page right in WebSite Auditor’s Content Editor.

5. Voice search is the real deal

Still skeptical about voice search? Consider this: Google reports that 55 percent of teens and 40 percent of adults use voice search daily; and, according to Google’s Behshad Behzadi, the ratio of voice search is growing faster than type search. Voice search calls for a whole new keyword research routine: Voice searchers use normal, conversational sentences instead of the odd-sounding query lingo.

What can you do about it?

Rank Tracker is a great help in researching questions voice searchers are likely to ask. Launch Rank Tracker (free version is fine), jump to Keyword Research, and press Suggest Keywords. Pick the Common Questions method from the list, and type in your keywords.

In a minute, you’ll end up with hundreds of questions you can target!

6. Mobile is unignorably big

With the rise of voice search, over half of Google searches coming from mobile devices, the impending mobile-first index, and mobile-friendliness being a ranking factor, you simply can’t afford to ignore mobile SEO anymore.

What can you do about it?

First off, check if your pages are mobile-friendly. Google’s mobile test is available in WebSite Auditor, under Content Analysis. Enter the URL of the page you’d like to test, switch to Technical factors, and scroll down to Page usability (Mobile).

Click on the problematic factors, if any, for how-to-fix advice. Forward the tips to your dev team, and re-run the test once the improvements have been made.

7. ‘Linkless’ backlinks

For years, links have been the trust signal for search engines — one that SEOs spent the most time on optimizing (and often manipulating). But times are changing, and linkless mentions may be becoming an off-page signal of equal weight.

Search engines can easily associate mentions with brands and use them to determine a site’s authority. Duane Forrester, formerly senior product manager at Bing, confirmed that Bing is already using unlinked mentions for ranking. This patent and many SEOexperts’ observations are reason enough to believe that Google may be doing this too.

What can you do about it?

In addition to a backlink checker, use a web monitoring tool to find mentions of your brand and products. Awario is perhaps one of the best apps for this, with their own real-time index of the web and the Reach metric that lets you see the most authoritative mentions first.

8. An increasingly personalized SERP

Personalized search results aren’t just based on the traditional ranking factors, but also on the information about the user (such as their location, search history or interests).

Google, Bing and Yahoo all personalize their search results in multiple ways. Back in 2011, an experimentshowed that over 50 percent of Google searches were being personalized; that number has likely only gone up since.

What can you do about it?

Don’t panic: Personalization doesn’t have to work against you. When someone searches for your target keyword for the first time, you’ve got to do your best to appear among the top results in the unbiased SERP. If the searcher clicks on your listing, you’re becoming their preferred entity, and their subsequent searches will most likely include your site as the top result.

One thing to keep in mind is to ensure your rank tracking is accurate. Rank Tracker will check your rankings in a depersonalized way by default, so there’s no need to set up any extra prefs. But if you’re looking to see unbiased results in your browser, make sure you’re using an Incognito/Private mode.

Source: 8 game-changing SEO trends that will dominate 2018

26- Jan2018
Posted By: DPadmin
24 Views

3 widespread PPC myths you’re mistakenly falling for

This Thanksgiving, you’ll probably hear someone say that the chemical tryptophan that’s found in turkey makes them sleepy. Although this holiday delicacy does include an amino acid that can help you relax, it’s not the only food that contains tryptophan. Cheddar cheese has a lot more of the chemical than turkey, but you never hear

your aunt saying she needs a nap after eating a grilled cheese.

According to experts, turkey doesn’t make you crave a post-Thanksgiving nap. Instead, the high amount of carbs, the general size of your meal and an increase in alcohol consumption are what cause you to doze off after dinner.

What does this have to do with PPC, though, you may wonder? Well, surprisingly a lot. In the world of paid digital marketing, there are three PPC myths that you’re mistakenly falling for. You, and nearly everyone else, take these myths as fact—like the idea that your holiday bird makes you crave some shut eye—but they’re not.

It’s time to put an end to the most alluring PPC myths, misconceptions and inaccuracies.

1) PPC is a set-it-and-forget-it tool

Starting a new PPC campaign is often a time-consuming process. Your company needs to determine what copy you’ll use, the best image for your message and then you need to launch and monitor the campaign.

At first, the time you put into your campaign seems necessary and helpful. However, once it’s been running fairly successfully for a period of time, it’s easy to forget. It’s normal to get distracted by other channels and projects and neglect to update and check on your PPC campaign.

Unfortunately, this is a huge mistake. Companies think they can just set up their PPC accounts and forget them, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The entire time a PPC campaign is running, you should be looking for optimization opportunities. Could your copy benefit from a little more creativity? Would a/b testing help you secure better results? There’s a lot of untapped potential when it comes to updating and improving your PPC campaigns.

According to Rory Witt, owner of San Diego-based digital marketing agency DigiMar, one of the best ways to increase a PPC campaign’s success is simple—use your audience list and remarket to your existing customers.

Says Witt, “To get started with this technique, look no further than Google’s Remarketing. This option enables you to show ads to people who’ve visited your website or used your mobile application. After they abandon your site or app, remarketing will help you reconnect with them by showing them your advertisements across their devices.”

For example, say you own a pet boutique. You run an awesome advertisement for winter dog jackets, and it has a lot of success. Instead of letting the revenue increase end there, follow up with the people who purchased a dog jacket from you and offer them dog booties or other seasonal dog apparel items.

2) PPC = short-term; SEO = long-term

Many people mistakenly think PPC is a short-term strategy. They want to inform customers about a sale or other time-dependent event, so they advertise. If their ad gets 30 clicks at $2 each, they simply want to ensure that they receive one or more $60 sales as a result. Some businesses will even stop running their PPC campaigns if they’re breaking even—but this can be a big mistake. 

Although PPC can increase your revenue overnight, it’s not a short-term tool. To stick with the Thanksgiving theme, pretend you’re a honey baked ham retailer. Each one of your hams sells for $100. You run a PPC campaign this holiday season, and you break even. Every customer that results from your digital marketing efforts has a $100 cost per acquisition, and each one buys one ham from you.

You could look at these results and deduce that your PPC campaign was a waste of your time, but it may not be … If you have sound customer relationship management techniques in place, this campaign could turn into a goldmine for you.

In 10 months, you can send an email out to the campaign’s customers. Remind them that it’s time to buy another honey baked ham, and then offer them a discount or incentivize them to make another purchase. Convince customers that it’s worth their while to buy a ham for themselves and an additional ham as a gift. Before long, you’ll become the go-to vendor for individual and gift-giving holiday hams.

3) Money is the ‘be-all’

There’s a common myth that suggests you will rank better if you spend more money on your advertisements. If only it were this simple … Having a bigger budget doesn’t necessarily ensure your rank will improve.

According to Matthew Tyson, marketing strategist for WideNet, “The success of your ads is determined by multiple factors—such as relevance, targeting, and quality score.” If you want to give Google more money, it may improve your relationship to an extent. Their business is publicly traded, so of course they want to make money. However, at the end of the day, the platform needs user trust, too. If your advertisement takes Google users to irrelevant or harmful content, it’s not worth the money.

To ensure that Google is making its shareholders happy and maintaining user trust, they assign advertisements a Quality Score. This is where things get good for advertisers … If you can design ads that help Google’s business objectives, you’ll be rewarded—monetarily. Google will actually provide you with a lower cost-per-click rate if your advertisements gives them money and keeps their users happy.

It’s easy to confuse money with success. When it comes to paid advertising, money is important, but it’s not everything. Your company needs to think about a campaign’s relevance, quality score, targeting and much more in addition to its financial backing.

Don’t rush to conclusions

The human mind likes to know where things come from. It loves tales, stories and simple explanations. Humans remember and share myths, origins and creations.

To an extent, these preferences are harmless. After all, isn’t it fun to take a big winter’s snooze after November 23 and blame it all on something you ate? Of course it is! Myths are all fun and games, until they cause a detrimental result—like decreasing your company’s bottom line.

If you want to stay on the enjoyable and laughable side of myths, remember the three PPC misconceptions above. When they come up, remind yourself that they’re not based in reality, and steer your company in another direction.

Source: 3 widespread PPC myths you’re mistakenly falling for

25- Jan2018
Posted By: DPadmin
26 Views

B2B PPC Tactics: 4 Best Practices to Start Using Today

Discover some of the best practices on B2B PPC campaigns that you can use today, including attribution models, ad types, video, and more.

If you work in digital marketing, you might not normally think of B2B PPC (that is, pay-per-click for business-to-business campaigns).

Most digital marketers think of PPC as a B2C (business-to-consumer) discipline for either direct sales (retail, such as apparel or electronics) or for lead generation (identifying and matching potential customers for services, such as consultations for financial services or finding a new healthcare provider).

Your job as a PPC marketer in the consumer space is as you’d expect. You run paid search ads for your product or service that nudge searchers to your landing page and hopefully get them to convert. And as a B2C PPC marketer, you have a relatively short sales cycle.

Why the B2B PPC Conversion Funnel Is Different Than B2C

There are different rules of engagement for marketing toward a business audience than toward consumer audiences.

Let’s go over some of the bigger points of differentiation.

Multiple Decision Makers

While a consumer shopping for a new winter coat probably doesn’t have a lengthy approval process, multiple stakeholders, and a legal department to vet contracts with, your business customers do.

Longer Sales Cycle

One of the immediate effects of having multiple decision-makers in the sales process is a longer sales cycle.

A while back, Salesforce found that the average B2B sales cycle is 84 days long(though they vary wildly, and may be significantly longer for your company).

The longer sales cycle means business customers may take weeks or months to eventually choose to sign up for your subscription service or enterprise-scale product.

Need for Multiple Messaging Points Across the Funnel

Because there are multiple stakeholders involved in B2B purchasing decisions and because the sales cycle tends to be longer overall, it’s far more important to have relevant messages for the appropriate audience at different funnel stages.

Searchers in exploratory mode will respond better to upper-funnel messaging without a strong push to sell. On the other hand, searchers who are deeper in the funnel – reading reviews, comparing costs and individual service or product features – may instead be better served by a stronger call to action that drives them to convert.

The Beginning of the B2B PPC Funnel

The B2B PPC funnel starts out in a different manner than a consumer funnel. You can’t exactly hand out free samples of your enterprise-scale software on a tray at your local shopping mall.

Instead, you’ll likely introduce them to your funnel with a visit to your company’s online presence – if not your main homepage, then most likely a specific landing page on which you’re featuring a virtual offer, such as a webinar, eBook, infographic or another asset.

To procure that asset, visitors will need to sign themselves up for your funnel by filling out a lead capture form.

Once these visitors have become part of your funnel audience, your next task is targeting them properly by way of AdWords Audiences.

Presumably, you’ll also have your own specific qualifiers for types of leads for different stages.

At this point, you’re most likely using a CRM solution (if you have one) to score and qualify leads, after which, these audiences should be moved to deeper-funnel audiences for your PPC ads. Meaning, you don’t want to be showing top-funnel ads to these deeper-funnel leads, but rather, more-appropriate messaging to this warmer audience that will nudge them to the bottom of the funnel.

B2B PPC Tactics: Keywords, Attribution & Ad Types

Now that we’ve given an overview of B2B PPC and how to get prospects into the top of your funnel, let’s go into some actionable tactics you can start using immediately to nudge them through your sales cycle and get them to closed-won status.

1. Branded-Keyword Campaigns

It might not be obvious, but branded keywords are important for mid-funnel prospects in B2B PPC.

Specifically, once prospective customers become aware of you, unless they’re already breaking down your door to buy, they’re likely performing pre-purchase research.

They’re comparing features and price points between you and your competitors, and potentially performing searches either for your brand plus nonbrand terms (“ABC Software Inc. enterprise security”), comparison searches (“What’s the difference between ABC Software Inc. and XYZ Software Inc.”), or simply running repeated brand searches with your name as they go through the steps of their own due diligence.

2. AdWords Attribution

If you ask Google, the only attribution you need is data-driven attribution, which uses the publisher’s machine learning algorithms to precisely calculate and assign partial “credit” to different touchpoints in your funnel.

While the publisher will tell you that this black box algorithm is the only way to go, it should be noted that there are rather high volume requirements – 15,000 clicks and 600 conversions in the past 30 days (and subsequently, 10,000 clicks and 400 conversions per month).

For those businesses that don’t necessarily meet this threshold, alternatives such as time-decay attribution and position-based (U-shaped) may make more sense.

Position-based attribution assigns 40 percent of the “credit” for a conversion to the top of the funnel and 40 percent to the bottom, with the remaining 20 percent going to mid-funnel. This heavily weights top-funnel and bottom-funnel interactions and may make sense for businesses that strongly emphasize initial leads and closed deals only, such as commercial real estate, in which finding qualified buyers and sellers can be almost as important as closing on a property.

The time decay attribution model assigns “credit” to various touchpoints throughout the conversion journey, weighting the most recent more heavily and the older touchpoints less so.

This attribution model may make sense for highly competitive B2B spaces in which initial leads are less emphasized and closed-won deals are of paramount importance.

This attribution model may also be useful for testing purposes when comparing conversion journeys – if Conversion Journey A, which has a certain set of touchpoints and marketing content, consistently drives closed-won deals three months faster than Conversion Journey B, it may be time to more strongly emphasize the touchpoints in Conversion Journey A and do some retooling (or retiring) of the touchpoints in Conversion Journey B.

3. Remarketing & Retargeting – RLSA & GDN

Once your prospects have entered your conversion funnel, it becomes more important to serve them messaging and landing pages that are relevant to their specific needs and mindset in the current stage of their conversion journey.

In other words, it’s important to avoid inundating these prospects with top-funnel messages that no longer apply to them.

If you continue to serve these prospects ads to sign up the webinar they already watched two weeks ago, you won’t only annoy and confuse them, but you’ll also miss out on the opportunity to target them with a more-relevant, mid-funnel message.

This is what Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) is for – these search ads help you provide varied messaging for these mid-funnel prospects.

The same can be said for targeting via Google Display Network (GDN). Remarketing via GDN should offer varied but targeted ad experiences that tie together your lower-funnel website offers, such as customer success stories, budget calculators, free audits/assessments and similar.

It may also be useful to experiment with the new Display Responsive Ad feature, which pairs a text ad with a Facebook-size image and seems to work well for mid-funnel display campaigns.

4. YouTube Video Ads & Bumpers

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is… well, it’s a lot easier to digest than yet another 5,000-word white paper.

Keep in mind that video ads, at present, aren’t necessarily the strongest channel to drive final conversions – you should go in with appropriate expectations here.

That said, due to the way certain video types are counted, YouTube videos may help you drive a great deal of awareness and keep your brand top-of-mind for mid-funnel prospects in a cost-effective way.

YouTube video ads most commonly take the form of a skippable pre-roll that loads before a standard video. Fortunately for you, if viewers don’t get to the 30-second mark in your pre-roll ad, YouTube classifies that interaction as an impression rather than a paid view, and such impressions are served free of charge.

Because you can serve an unlimited number of impressions for free so long as viewers don’t make it past 30 seconds, YouTube video ads potentially offer a very cost-effective branding opportunity.

Then again, given that video watchers are more impatient than ever, we don’t recommend videos that go much further than 30 seconds in length. In fact, YouTube’s 6-second bumper videos can also provide quick reminders of your brand and your products and services to mid-funnel prospects without being overly obtrusive.

Takeaways

These tips should hopefully help point you in the right direction for B2B PPC.

As mentioned, B2B PPC is a different beast with different properties and in many cases, significantly longer conversion/sales cycles.

Due to these relatively longer sales cycles, along with having more stakeholders involved and more proof points required, I recommend taking a holistic view of your B2B firm’s entire conversion journey, preferably collating all relevant data for every touchpoint to help you craft the best campaigns and drive more final conversions and sales.

Source: B2B PPC Tactics: 4 Best Practices to Start Using Today

25- Jan2018
Posted By: DPadmin
18 Views

Making the Most of Your PPC Ad Spend  – VRM Intel

When it comes to PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, marketers are always looking for ways to improve performance. The goal is to optimize the account continuously, finding ways to save money and spend more efficiently. Anyone with PPC experience knows that there are countless ways to do this, including adjusting keyword bids, setting daily ad schedules, adding negative keywords, and so on.

Why is it that one of the most obvious ways to spend more efficiently is often overlooked? While everyone is spending time making little tweaks to try and push the needle forward, they often lose sight of the bigger picture, which is the account’s overall budget allocation throughout the year. Using both historical data and competitor’s data and being prepared to adjust on the fly, you can ensure that you are not limited when business is booming and that you’re tightening up and maintaining discipline during slower seasons. 

 

SEASONAL BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS

The most common tactic employed when trying to optimize spend throughout the year is seasonal budget adjustments. This is especially true in the vacation rental industry. Many travel destinations experience busy seasons where it is important fill all vacation rental properties, meaning it is important to allocate additional ad spend to these months.  

Property managers near ski resorts need to ensure that their winter ad spend budgets can keep up with increased winter demand. If budgets are limited during these important months, it can mean leaving easy money on the table. On the opposite end of the spectrum, once the ski season ends and the snow begins to melt, these destinations tend to experience a lull in traffic. This can be a good time to reduce bids and budgets to save up for the next big push. This is also a good opportunity to shift focus toward homeowner acquisition as opposed to reservations. 

On a similar note, it is also important to understand how specific holidays affect performance. Holidays should be considered their own entities, and even during a slow month or season it may be important to jack up budgets for a brief period to ensure maximum efficiency.  

Sticking with the ski town example, April and May (a.k.a. “mud season”) tend to be very slow booking months as snow is melting, but Memorial Day can lead to a nice influx of visitors, especially if the specific town is hosting an event. Thus, it is important that spend begins to increase leading up to Memorial Day to ensure that your budget is keeping up with traffic.  

 

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

It is also important to keep an eye on competitors and their actions, as it may be an important factor in how you spend your budget. If a competitor begins to increase their budget and bids, it is going to lead to an increase in CPC for your account. If this is during a busy period, it may mean that you need to increase the budget even further to keep up. Even though it’ll be more expensive to generate conversions, many times it is too profitable of a time period to let the competition win. 

 

BE PREPARED FOR CHANGES

Lastly, it is important to be able to adjust strategy on the fly due to unforeseen circumstances. While a lot of the previous examples involved using historical data to formulate a plan of attack, things can change out of the blue because of unforeseen weather events, natural disasters, or other large-scale events. I imagine most businesses in Houston would have benefited from completely pausing ad spend during and in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, as the focus of the entire city shifted squarely toward recovery. Similar things can be said for locations dealing with forest fires, mass protests, and so on. 

 

All in all, the moral of the story is that an easy—but often overlooked—strategy for improving account efficiency is better allocating your overall budget throughout the year. Be prepared to take full advantage of busy seasons and important holidays and to spend more efficiently during slower time periods. And most important, be ready to adapt to any unforeseen events. By being prepared you can continue to decrease the amount of wasted spend in your account and improve overall efficiency. 

Source: Making the Most of Your PPC Ad Spend  – VRM Intel

25- Jan2018
Posted By: DPadmin
47 Views

The ultimate guide to choosing keywords for ROI | Search Engine Watch

Keyword research is not easy. Every SEO has done it, but few will ever master it completely. In this guide we go beyond raw search volume data to metrics that

This is not supposed to be just another keyword research post. This post is about going beyond raw search volume data, using metrics which will help you choose keywords which deliver the best ROI for you right now.

To start with I am going to assume you have carried out your keyword research already, and are starting off with a comprehensive list (if not, our complete guide to keyword research for SEO will help you do this).

The more keywords, the better: you want to start with a massive data set and then use the below points to whittle down your keywords.

Here is the full list:

1. Get Cost Per Click data

Cost Per Click, or CPC data is invaluable to SEOs. Why should we have to test one keyword’s effectiveness against another’s when the PPC guys have already got it figured out?

If marketers aren’t spending money to appear on the keyword, it’s clearly not commercially viable. We want to be using CPC data to exclude keywords.

Any keywords with less than 50p CPC clearly isn’t commercially viable, so ditch them from your list, and prioritize all those keywords with over £1 CPC.

2. Focus on what you already rank for

This point is about prioritizing short term goals. There is no point focusing on a keyword, no matter the search volume, if you don’t rank for it.

Moving a keyword which isn’t ranking to page 1 is going to take time, and will only start delivering traffic right at the end. Moving a keyword from position 11 to position 9 can take no time at all, and you will see the traffic coming through instantly from managing to get on the first page of Google.

Below is the classification we use at Zazzle Media to secure short-term wins for our clients and to help them to manage their expectations too. The position range column refers to the ranking position of each keyword on Google.

Position RangeOpportunity Group
2 – 4Short Term
5 – 20Quick Win
21 – 39Medium
40+Long Term

Click-through rate studies all show that it’s page one or nothing, and as ‘Short Term’ and ‘Quick Win’ all sit on page 1 & 2, the vast majority of your traffic will be coming from these.

Long term keywords should not be ignored, especially if they can deliver significantly more traffic than other keywords, however your keyword optimisation strategy should reflect the effort-to-benefit ratio which the above classification will identify.

3. Choose the easy options

SEO is not done in a vacuum. For every campaign you invest in, there is always going to be a competitor out there investing more than you.

Ranking above a bigger brand is hard, very hard! If you’re not up for going toe-to-toe, budget-wise, with the big players in your field, then you’ll need to go after the easier keywords.

You can outrank more authoritative sites with more specific, more engaging content. However, as a rule of thumb we use referring domains as a signal of competitiveness on the keyword.

We use Majestic’s Open Apps to get referring domain data at scale. However, any backlink audit tool is sufficient. It’s best to look both at domain and URL level with this, with extra weight put on URL level (a 75/25 split).

Compare the average difficulty score for your keyword set against the URL on your site you wish to target the keyword on, and rule out any keyword massively out of reach.

4. Focus on traffic, not search volume

So, if I’m searching for a fashion item… I type in ‘dresses’ only to see that the results page is full of women’s dresses – this isn’t what I wanted! I then have to change the search to ‘men’s dresses’ to get the desired result. Think about the thousands of other men in my position!

But seriously, some keywords will have more clicks per search, some less. Did you know the clicks per search for the phrase ‘Chelsea Boots’ is only 0.64? This means that out of every 100 searches, it only results in 64 clicks.

A search volume of 25,000 looks absolutely massive, but a clicks per search of only 16,236 massively reduces what was a huge keyword.

We get this information from Ahref’s keyword explorer, and it really is impossible to do it any other way. You can get a lean towards how strong a keyword is through inspecting the SERPs and seeing the conformity of the ranking URLs. Are all the websites similar? Or are we seeing informational mixed with commercial results, mixed genders, etc.?

Google is all about delivering the best results for its users, and a mixed bag of results is a quick indicator that it doesn’t know what the user wants, so we’d anticipate lower click volume. It’s impossible to do it this way at scale, but will help you choose between a few keywords.

5. Use seasonal data/trends

Lots of businesses rely on seasonal traffic, which will completely invalidate average search volumes. Make sure your traffic estimates are based on when you are busiest, and focus your strategy on delivering growth at that point in time.

This means on-page and technical changes made months in advance, before consolidating link equity to key pages when they need it most.

Equally so, Google trends is your friend; go after keywords with an upward trend (obviously), don’t prioritize a dying keyword. You can get exports of your top keywords and use a SLOPE formula to determine whether your keyword is increasing or decreasing.

This is especially handy for your long-term keywords, to determine their true value.

6. Focus on keyword categories, not individual keywords

When completing keyword research, your keywords should be tightly categorized and mapped to individual URLs or directories. This allows us to see opportunity at a grander scale, helping you redraw the boundaries, and think more naturally about optimization.

Optimizing for individual keywords is so far outdated – content marketing helps us move beyond this and optimize for topics (this guide will help you do so). This helps us to be more informative and more comprehensive than our competitors. By grouping keywords by tight semantic relationships, you will not only have the head term, but also all the queries people have.

Think about it: what is more relevant and more authoritative than a directory/website that has great, in-depth content for every stage of the funnel?

Focusing on groups of keywords is not only more natural, but will deliver more opportunity for traffic growth as your supporting content ranks for keywords in its own right. If you have done enough to capture the right keywords, you can get conversions through bottom of the funnel, informational keywords.

The above six points will help you to have a more strategic approach to your initial keyword research, which enables you to get the best out of the resources you have – and get above the competition.

Source: The ultimate guide to choosing keywords for ROI | Search Engine Watch

25- Jan2018
Posted By: DPadmin
22 Views

5 Reasons Clients Fire Their SEO Agency (And How to Easily Avoid Them)

Is one or your clients about to split? Here are some common reasons clients decide to fire their SEO agency and actions you can take to prevent it.

The agency-client relationship can be fragile.

This can be especially true of SEO agencies, given the long-term commitment required to see optimal results. A lot can change during that time and, sometimes, a client decides it would be best to part ways.

However, this really doesn’t have to be the case. There are some predictable, avoidable reasons clients decide to split with their agency.

I spent more than seven years working at digital marketing agencies and learned (sometimes the hard way) to sense when clients were unsatisfied. There were some common patterns that played out over time.

The good news? A bit of honesty, clarity, and some positive results can save your agency-client relationship.

Here are five reasons clients choose to fire their SEO agency and some actions you can take to avoid getting fired.

1. “We Can’t Implement Your Recommendations”

SEO is fundamental to increase visibility, but it is harder to achieve this if you don’t control the website. As a result, hefty tomes filled with SEO recommendations can end up gathering dust in the client’s inbox.

With some larger clients, I’ve seen thousands of technical recommendations go unimplemented. The clients’ (quite valid) argument has been that these only have a value as they relate to website improvements. Without seeing the light of day, the recommendations are essentially worthless.

There are numerous reasons why this occurs. If the client isn’t in a position to give the agency direct access to the site, it usually means going through a web development queue every time a change is suggested. Should other recommendations take precedence over yours, you may find that SEO gets lost in the crowd.

Dev queue

How to Avoid This:

  • Present a business case for your recommendations. Communicate, in terms everyone can relate to, why it’s good for the client’s business to follow your team’s advice.
  • Get to know the hurdles your client faces when implementing SEO updates. Work together to overcome them.
  • Set targets for everyone. It takes a team effort to improve a site for SEO, so it’s worth creating a dashboard to track how many changes have been seen through and where the bottlenecks are. This helps to quantify and visualize any issues.
  • Build relationships with senior leaders at the client’s business.Sometimes the client requires an organizational change to get SEO bumped up the priority list. Without senior-level approval, that is unlikely to happen.
  • Add a caveat in contracts (in some cases). This can state simply that should the agency’s SEO recommendations not be implemented within a reasonable time frame, any agreed performance targets need to be revised.

2. “SEO Isn’t Delivering Like Our Other Channels”

The gift and the curse of SEO can be its long-term effectiveness as a performance channel. In theory, everyone is on board with the fact that SEO takes longer than PPC to bring positive returns.

In practice, it’s easy to grow impatient when you see how SEO stacks up against PPC or even paid social in the immediate short term.

The agreement between agency and client about how long SEO takes to work becomes particularly fraught if things start to trend downwards. Even a slight week-on-week dip in visibility can be cause for concern.

To marketers accustomed to paid search, it can be difficult to shift mindsets and accept that there are rarely instant fixes in SEO. Barring a serious technical problem, in SEO these dips can’t be reversed so readily. They must be put into a wider context and investigated in detail before actions are taken.

How to Avoid This:

  • SEO isn’t supposed to deliver like other channels, so the best way to avoid this scenario is to work on developing trust in your approach. Set expectations appropriately at the outset and provide frequent updates.
  • Make sure your team identifies any performance changes. If the client notices it first, you can seem either negligent or keen to hide something. If you feel the client may be concerned with what they see, get in touch first to allay any fears.
  • Offer to educate your client’s team if they aren’t so familiar with SEO. Clients are usually open to learning more about digital marketing.
  • If things simply aren’t turning out like you thought they would, be honest. Performance won’t improve without everyone getting on board with a new approach. That starts with an up-front conversation about what’s gone to plan, what hasn’t, and what you need to do to turn things around. Clients appreciate a bit of integrity more than anything else.

3. “We’re Not Sure What We’re Getting for Our Money”

A lot of SEO work goes on in the background. We spend a huge amount of our time analyzing trends, identifying opportunities, and preparing documents.

seo work

We have to put this time in if we want to compile an effective strategy. However, the client rarely sees this. Our processes can be hidden, with only the outputs to show.

Some clients have had a bad experience with an agency, too. I’ve seen plenty of clients approach a new agency with a paid link penalty in tow. It’s understandable that this causes a certain guardedness about SEO agency practices in general.

If we keep our processes out of sight, that skepticism will only increase. From there, the relationship is hard to retain.

How to Avoid This:

  • Spend time going through your statement of work with the client. Make sure they understand what each item is, how long it will take, and why you think it’s the best use of their budget. That way, there should be no surprises and they are free to amend things as they see fit.
  • Stick to your project plan. If there are any deviations from this, discuss them with your client and confirm the changes in writing.
  • Use a shared project management tool like Basecamp or Teamwork. This provides visibility into your team’s daily tasks and helps to assign items to the client, too.

4. “You Haven’t Delivered on Your Promises”

This one stereotypically befalls the salespeople who promise incremental, oftentimes stratospheric, improvements in performance — up and to the right to infinity. This can help get the sale, but then it’s the SEO account team that has to make good on the promise of triple-digit growth.

SEO Forecast

However, this isn’t the exclusive domain of the over-eager salesperson.

We can all get a little carried away just through the desire to please a new client.

This can leave us with performance targets that loom large on the horizon once the honeymoon period is over.

Additionally, this applies to the account team you provide for the client. I’ve seen agencies put forward an account team in a pitch document, then deliver an entirely different set of people once the ink dries on the contract. This makes the client feel like they are being taken advantage of from day one.

How to Avoid This:

  • Make it clear what exactly is being promised to a client. Performance projections, for example, can be viewed as legally binding. Clients can feel that they are buying that traffic by signing with your agency. Your methodology for calculating a forecast (if you do decide to supply one) and all caveats to this must be provided in a transparent manner.
  • As an agency, it is essential to have a clear code of conduct, both internally and in your interactions with clients. Make this explicit in your initial written agreements with a client so they feel assured that you’ll stick to your word.
  • Let your client meet their account team during the pitch phase. Often, an agency will send their best salespeople to try and seal the deal, but all the clients I’ve met really want to meet the people who will be working on their account.

5. “We Feel Like We Can Take It From Here”

“What will your SEO agency provide after month three?” Many clients have been asking this question of their agencies lately.

The perception is that the heavy lifting of technical SEO and on-site implementations will be done within this period. After that, surely it’s just about occasional maintenance and some reporting, right?

This can lead some clients to feel like, after they’ve received the initial audits and strategy documents, they’ve got all they need from an SEO agency. Basically, they think they can “take it from here.”

We know they’re wrong (obviously). But the onus is on us to make the case.

An SEO specialist can add to any conversation that relates to a client’s website. This is as valid in month 12 of the contract as it is in month one – perhaps even more so.

Our efforts have a cumulative effect. SEO practices provide more value through their application over time. This applies to our technical SEO work, content marketing, and digital PR.

The full impact of our work is lost if the relationship is severed after just a few months.

How to Avoid This:

  • Provide case studies that show the positive effect your SEO team has on a client’s business over time. This should demonstrate that you need at least six months to make a real difference.
  • When preparing a service-level agreement, make reference to specific time frames. Clients may feel that they are getting everything up front, but some of our work only really kicks into action in month four or later.
  • A lot of clients have good reasons for believing they can take up the mantle from their agency. Perhaps they have hired an in-house SEO specialist, for example. In this case, offer to transition your activities over to their team and make sure the client is in the best possible shape for success.

Source: 5 Reasons Clients Fire Their SEO Agency (And How to Easily Avoid Them)

25- Jan2018
Posted By: DPadmin
33 Views

8 PPC Mistakes to Avoid If You Want Quality Leads

If you aren’t seeing that success you expect from your paid search marketing campaigns, check to make sure you aren’t making these critical mistakes.

Have you ever noticed how often someone will complain that something “doesn’t work” if they don’t understand it?

It couldn’t be more true with PPC.

In my experience, a lot of the people who say that PPC doesn’t work are the ones making mistakes with the way their campaigns are conceived, set up, and managed. Their own efforts aren’t working, so they conclude that the whole exercise is folly.

But the “PPC doesn’t work” argument doesn’t hold up strongly against numbers.

According to Hanapin’s most recent State of PPC survey, 80 percent of marketing professionals felt good about their PPC success over the preceding year.

Other marketers are getting the results they want. If you’re not seeing that same success from your campaign, step back and look at your strategy to pinpoint where you could be going wrong.

Could it be any of the below mistakes?

1. Not Adopting New Ad Features

It’s been a long time since online advertising was just search and display, even though that’s still where the lion’s share of people’s energy is focused. These do remain potent ways to reach an audience, but newer options may be better for reaching the specific types of people you want to target in a given campaign.

sponsored InMail on LinkedIn

For example, sponsored InMail on LinkedIn may be impactful, as well as other relatively new social media advertising options like Quora ads, Instagram Stories ads, AdWords call only ads, Facebook lead capture ads, or even Snapchat video spots.

Be on top of the industry trends and stay agile. You may find that you get the best results from an unlikely format or platform.

2. Overlooking Intent Signals

If you aren’t considering different intent signals in your campaign targeting, this can severely diminish performance. Understanding the different ways your prospects engage with you at different stages of the sales funnel, and aligning your campaign to that, is key to reaching them with the right offer.

Search marketers used to think of any search for a product-specific keyword was a quality intent signal. But in the age of the non-linear, self-serve buyer’s journey, that’s no longer the case.

Someone who watches the first 20 minutes of your hour-long Facebook video product demo is displaying somewhat different intent from even someone who Googles “where to buy [your product name].”

To maximize sales, focus on targeting people who’ve displayed intent signals pointing towards the bottom of the funnel. To capture self-warmed, qualified leads, focus on the middle of the funnel.

3. Advertising for One Device Only

Yes, “mobile first” is important. I know, I know.

But focusing too much on one gadget and neglecting others can cause you to lose out on customers and leads you could be reaching with your campaign.

Might you be giving up on desktop visitors by optimizing for mobile?

Experimenting with different CTA and conversion flows allows you to target a much wider audience and miss out on fewer people interested in your offer because of the device they’re on.

4. Ignoring Click Fraud

Could click fraud be tanking your PPC results? Some projections estimate that businesses could lose up to $16.4 billion this year because of it.

Search engines do what they can to combat click fraud and invalid traffic, but industry-wide protection will take time. You can’t rely on that when your viewability is hurting now.

Instead, you need to either use a third-party tool or start taking your own measures to protect your brand’s digital marketing.

By keeping an eye of your site’s activity logs, you can often identify IP addresses, referring websites and even geographic territories where the fraudulent activity is coming from and adjust your campaign targeting accordingly, thereby circumventing the issue altogether.

5. Serving Up Mismatched Messaging

Another mistake that loses you leads is failing to align the different assets of your ad campaign well enough. You need to optimize your campaigns for maximum message match.

Whether your targeting parameters, ad creative and landing page are poorly aligned, or your overall copy isn’t tapped into your customer’s’ needs, this can kill the ad’s overall experience and impact some of your other metrics by way of Quality Score.

Message matching has been proven to make a huge difference. For example, by using dynamic content personalization tools to align all the variables of one recent campaign for a client, Codeless Interactive was able to drive a 213 percent increase in conversion rate and a 69 percent decrease in cost per conversion.

Just don’t forget that message matching shouldn’t trump the basics – making sure that you’re targeting the right people with the right message.

6. Not Monitoring Campaigns Closely Enough

Next, don’t underestimate how hands-on active PPC campaigns can, and arguably should be. They’re anything but “set it and forget it,” and hands-off advertisers run the risk of wasting heaps of money over time if they continue to run ads that aren’t performing.

You should always have at least two versions of every campaign running: a test group and an experiment group. Document the variables of your experiments, measure their impact over a day or two or more, rinse, repeat.

Some campaign parameters you can experiment with include:

  • Adjusting budget by impression share.
  • Making bid adjustments.
  • Optimizing ad copy.
  • Changing the hours and days your ads are shown.

If you’re doing a good job with your experiments, you should see conversions rising and costs per conversion sinking as time goes on.

Remember, though, that what worked for you last week might have already stopped working for you, and you might never know why.You need to check in on all active campaigns frequently enough to spot performance issues before you spent too much money on them. That way you can make adjustments before your campaign goes too far down the wrong path.

7. Not Bidding on Branded Keywords

Yet another common mistake is not using your brand name as a campaign keyword. Many argue it’s not worth it or necessary, but even if you don’t need to use them, your competitors will. They can intercept your audience if you don’t try to outbid them.

When Growww Digital experimented with turning off brand name ads for an online marketplace client, they saw a 23 percent decrease in cumulative revenue, dropping more than $43,000, as well as a decrease in sessions. After turning the brand ads back on, their important metrics recovered back to where they were before the experiment.

branded keywords revenue

8. Optimizing for Metrics Other Than Revenue

With all the fuss over Quality Score and pressure to drive a high volume of traffic with ads, it can be easy to forget that click-throughs aren’t your end goal – and neither are lead capture conversions. These are just signposts along the way.

At the end of your funnel, and what you’re really after with advertising, is sales, revenue, and ROI.

ppc metrics

When you take your eyes off of the ultimate objective, the metrics that your PPC dashboard might be showing you can become misleading.

For example, optimizing campaigns around click-throughs is a bad idea when you have a campaign that’s getting clicks but not conversions. And even conversion rate can be misleading, and optimizing for it a potential mistake, if you’re generating low-quality leads as conversions.

You might not have your goal measurements set up for this type of tracking, and it might not even be possible, depending on your site’s tech infrastructure. This is why it’s key to integrate your ad performance data with other data, such as your Google Analytics dashboard (yes, those UTMs are useful).

At the very least, you should set up data pushes to your CRM for automatic logging of each customer’s pre-sale touches with your assets. This will allow you to identify the campaigns that send you the highest-value customers.

Everything in Its Right Place

Ultimately, most PPC mistakes happen when you don’t understand the best way to reach your audience given the specifics of your situation. By focusing on reaching your targets in the right place with the right message for the campaign’s particular goal, and tracking your results all the way through, you can stay in tune with what people want and optimize your campaign accordingly.

Source: 8 PPC Mistakes to Avoid If You Want Quality Leads