Category: Google Ads

05- Aug2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
494 Views

9 things most people don’t understand about SEO

New to the world of search engine optimization (SEO)? Columnist John Lincoln explains some things you might not know about this online marketing discipline.

woman-computer-annoyed-ss-1920SEO is a complicated discipline. There are many components to it, and best practices change from time to time. Add to that the fact that Google updates its algorithm frequently, causing ranking shifts that are known to make digital marketers lose sleep.

Additionally, Google often releases new technologies that offer alternative ways to rank. That makes the lives of SEOs even more complicated, as they have to overcome a learning curve to properly serve their clients.

One day, it might be easier to become a doctor than an SEO — kidding! (But not really… )

Even now, though, there’s a lot of misinformation (and missing information) about what it takes to rank a page in organic search results. Here are nine things most people don’t understand about SEO.

1. Bigger really is better, in most cases, for big terms

In some niches, Google favors larger sites.

If you’re launching an e-commerce site that sells men’s jeans, it’s not likely that you’re going to rank at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) for the search phrase, “men’s jeans.”

Why? Google “men’s jeans” right now and see who’s at the top.

Means Jeans - SEODisregard the sponsored ads, and you’ll notice names like Macy’s, Nordstrom, American Eagle, Levi, and Kohl’s. Do you really think you have the SEO power to knock any of those brands out of their position?

Spoiler: You don’t.

Google will generally favor brands that are household names over new startups when it comes to ranking. That’s because the search giant wants to provide the best possible experience for its users.

So does that mean all hope is lost if you’re running a new company that wants to sell men’s jeans online? Not at all.

First of all, you can optimize for your own brand name. That way, once you’ve got some reputation in your space, people can still find your site by searching for your name.

Also, you can run paid ads. They can put you at the top of the SERPs, but keep in mind that advertising can be costly. As of this writing, the suggested bid for “men’s jeans” is $2.09 per click, according to Keyword Planner, so your margins had better be spectacular.

You should also look for alternative keywords that you can use to promote your brand. You might come across some golden opportunities that even your biggest competitors haven’t noticed.

For example, you might be offering a specific style/color combination of men’s jeans. Optimize your site for a search term that includes that style and color.

2. Websites are broken up into segments

The reality is that you’re not trying to rank a site. You’re trying to rank pages within a site.

Unless you have a site that’s a just a single landing page, then ranking a page and a site aren’t the same thing. It’s more likely that you have various segments on your website, including a home page, a contact form, a blog, a categories page, a price table, an FAQ and possibly other parts. For example, if you take a look at the Levi’s website, they have a structure that breaks the site up into sections for Men, Women, Kids and so on.

Some of those segments are more valuable than others. For example, you’re probably not interested in ranking your contact form. However, you certainly want to rank the content on your blog. Focus on ranking pages that will reel in potential customers from the SERPs. Then, use your favorite method to capture their contact information and add them to your email list.

3. You might just need to rank for a few terms

You might think that to be successful in SEO, you have to rank for dozens of search terms in the top three positions. That’s not necessarily the case.

If you’re in a micro-niche or your target market is very narrow, it’s likely that you can get away with just ranking for one or two terms. For example, if you’re selling “disc profiles,” you are going to make most of your revenue from a few core terms.

Disc Profile ExampleThe main point here is that for some sites, ranking for lots of terms makes sense. For others, you can make great money just targeting a few core terms.

4. Content marketing is very competitive

You’ve probably heard “content is king.” Unfortunately, so has everybody else in your niche.

That’s why you need to be at the top of your game when it comes to inbound marketing. Invest the right amount of time and money into keyword research, hire the best writers, update your blog consistently, and pull out all the stops to create attention-grabbing headlines with amazing content.

I recommend using BuzzSumo and Moz Content. Both allow you to analyze a site’s content, uncover their strategies, track the new content they create and search the most popular content. Both create some pretty nice reports, too.

Take a look at your competition — then make a better page for your site.

5. Early adoption pays off

As we’ve seen, Google is known to release new technologies from time to time. Some of those technologies can help you rank in the SERPs.

That’s why you should be an early adopter.

For starters, take a look at accelerated mobile pages (AMP). That’s an open-source project backed by Google that enables webpages to load lightning-fast on a mobile platform. AMP pages can appear at the very top of mobile search results in carousel format. You can see a visual of this in the video below:

Video Player

 

Speaking of mobile, make sure that your site is fully mobile-friendly. Google uses mobile-friendlinessas a ranking factor for mobile search results, so if you expect your site to rank there, it had better behave well for a mobile audience.

Finally, be an early adopter when it comes to using HTTPS on your website instead of HTTP. Even though Google announced back in 2014 that it was giving secure sites a ranking boost, a lot of sites have still stubbornly refused to make the switch. If you want to potentially have an edge on your competition, use HTTPS.

When it comes to SEO, you need to be the first to market with new technology. These are just a few examples. It takes time to plan, develop and execute, so it is always a good idea to start when the news of new tech breaks.

6. SEO can be used to target different global markets

Did you know that you can rank your site in different countries? If your product or service is something that can be appreciated by people outside the United States, you should optimize your site for an international audience.

One way to do that is by offering a country-specific domain — for example, if you’re targeting people in France, you can use the country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) of .fr. You can also host separate content for each different country on a directory or a subdomain.

When targeting other markets, don’t forget to translate your content into the appropriate foreign languages. After all, you can’t expect your content marketing efforts to be successful if people in foreign countries can’t read your articles in their native language.

You should also register your business in foreign countries, list your business in web directories specific to those countries, and even have your site hosted in those regions.

Here is a client we recently pushed into 27 different countries and languages. Check out this growth in Italy alone.

SEM Rush Italy

7. There are lots of ways to be visible in Google results

You might be under the impression that the only way to rank in Google is by building backlinks and using on-site SEO so that a page ends up as high in the SERPs as possible. However, there are other ways to gain visibility and visitors from the SERPs.

For example, if you can get into Google’s Knowledge Graph, your brand can potentially earn a prominent spot at the top of the SERP, to the right of organic listings. It’s quite an effort to get a Knowledge Graph entry, but once you do, you could give your brand a big boost.

You can also stand out from the crowd by using structured data markup to display rich snippets, which are visual enhancements to a SERP listing. Structured data markup is added to your website code to provide Google with more information about the content on your site.

If you Google “best pancake recipe” right now, you’ll see results that include aggregate ratings in the form of stars. You’ll also see calorie counts. Those are rich snippets, and they make the listing in the SERPs stand out.

By the way, you’ll also see that there’s a direct answer at the very top of many search engine results pages. That’s another way that you can achieve search visibility: by establishing your site as an authority in your space and producing content that Google determines to be a quick answer to a user’s query.

If you have a brick-and-mortar business, you can also rank within the local 3-pack. If you Google the name of your city plus the word “plumber,” you’ll see a map below the paid ads at the top. Just below that map, you’ll see three listings in your area. (To get started with local SEO, check out Marcus Miller’s “The big picture guide to local SEO: ranking in 2016 & beyond.”)

As discussed above, publishers can rank by appearing at the top of the mobile SERPs when they implement accelerated mobile pages (AMP).

Here is a list of common result types that appear in Google’s blended search results pages:

  • Organic listings
  • Knowledge Graph cards
  • The local 3-pack
  • Instant answers (also known as “featured snippets”)
  • AMP carousel
  • Google Images
  • Google Videos
  • Google News

SEMrush and many of the other SEO ranking tools actually report on these varying result types now, which is great.

SEM Rush ReportThe main point is, there’s more than one way to win.

8. There are many different specialties in SEO

Search engine optimization is a broad online marketing channel that includes a handful of niche disciplines. There are SEO practitioners who specialize in technical SEO, link building, content marketing, local SEO, international SEO and more.

And guess what? Each requires a different skill set.

Bottom line: You need to determine first how you want to rank a site and then select the appropriate campaign strategy.

9. There are other search engines besides Google

Sure, Google is the undisputed leader in web searches. That doesn’t mean that other search engines don’t exist and that people in your target market don’t use them.

The most obvious competitor to Google is Bing. That’s Microsoft’s search engine, and as of this writing, its share of search traffic is growing faster than Google’s.

And don’t forget about YouTube. Believe it or not, YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world behind Google.

Of course, there’s also Amazon. You might think of Amazon as more of an e-commerce giant than a search engine. However, it’s the starting point for 44 percent of consumers searching for products.

When you’re optimizing your content assets, make sure that you take into account the broad spectrum of search engines that exist online. Where you choose to focus your optimization efforts will depend on your goals online.

There is a lot to know

What you don’t know can hurt you when it comes to SEO. Going forward, it’s important that you also keep up with the latest changes in SEO best practices — otherwise, your future optimization efforts might fall flat.

 

Source: 9 things most people don’t understand about SEO

03- Aug2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
380 Views

7 e-commerce SEO trends we’re seeing in 2016

Few types of online business can benefit from SEO more than e-commerce websites that allow for direct consumer transactions. Not only can you secure more web traffic (and a larger stream of revenue), you can also optimize specific product pages to funnel traffic to your most profitable or popular pages.

But SEO (and e-commerce in general) is always evolving. New technologies, new insights and new best practices emerge on a regular basis, and the best e-commerce webmasters are jumping on these changes to stay ahead of the competition.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of seven important SEO trends in the e-commerce industry you should be paying attention to:

1. Out-of-the-box SEO is better than ever

SEO technology is developing just as quickly as the search engines that have inspired them. What do I mean by “SEO technology”? I mean the third-party apps, widgets and tools webmasters can use to optimize their sites and improve results — with minimal manual input required.

In fact, some “out of the box” solutions have emerged in the template web design industry, enabling webmasters to ensure the on-site optimization of their sites in just a few steps upon launch. WordPress plugins have also been around for a while that handle a good amount of on-site SEO automatically, such as Yoast SEO.

These products and developments are tempting, and in fact useful, but currently, there’s no solution that can automatically perform every on-site function. You’ll still need to customize things like your title tags, navigation, rich snippets and so on, if you want to see the best possible results.

2. Long-form content is crucial

Until recently, product pages on e-commerce sites were places for short-form content: a title, a brief description, a handful of photos and a few customer reviews. However, user demand and search engine favoritism have shifted toward long-form content in almost every niche.

Longer-form content provides more detail, more long-tail and conversational phrases (which lend themselves to more relevant search queries) and more market differentiation from the increased competition that has arisen in recent years.

I strongly encourage you to develop more long-form content on your company blog, describing your products and offering insights on your company, provided your topics support that length without unnecessary fluff.

3. Sharability is key

Social media has been popular for many years, but it’s still somehow escalating in importance. In a recent survey I conducted of 357 online marketers, What Works in Online Marketing, 52 percent of respondents said they are currently seeing a positive ROI from social media marketing, while 65 percent believe it will become even more important over the course of the next five years. Most notably, 96 percent of respondents said they planned to increase their budgets or keep them the same over the next year.

More users are signing up for high-popularity standbys like Facebook, and newer, cutting-edge platforms like Instagram and SnapChat are shaping up to be major hits for younger generations.

One of the best ways to generate more visibility and more primary and secondary ranking signals (like inbound links and social signals, respectively) is to encourage more social sharing throughout the shopping and checkout process.

Have your users share your products. Have them share reviews. Have them share when they check out or when their products arrive. Keep your audience engaged with social opportunities throughout your site, and your visibility across search engines and social media channels will thrive.

4. Video content is outperforming pretty much every other kind of content

As mobile devices, WiFi availability and video sharing capabilities become more advanced and prominent, users are demanding more video content. Video content can show up as rich media in search results (if it’s hosted on YouTube) and has more potential for virality than any other type of content.

In fact, if you aren’t using video content on your product pages and in your company blog, you’re already behind the times. Video content is only going to become more popular, so get moving.

5. Mobile optimization is now absolutely critical

The basics of mobile optimization were already solidified by Google’s Mobilegeddon update, but merely meeting Google’s thresholds for mobile optimization is no longer enough to stand out in the search world.

Mobile optimization is about offering the best possible content and functionality experience to mobile users, who grow in numbers compared to desktop users by the day.

Mobile optimization is also starting to include app optimization, which Google is favoring heavily with developments like app streaming — and one day soon, e-commerce platforms may need to develop their own mobile apps just to survive in terms of visibility.

6. Voice search and digital assistants are gaining popularity and usage

Just a few years ago, digital assistants seemed like useless gimmicks that failed to recognize voices accurately and provided less-than-stellar results even when they did. Now, more people are relying on voice search, and every major tech company seems to have their own digital assistant capable of extraordinary feats, including Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google Now.

Savvy e-commerce marketers are beginning to capitalize on this trend, offering more colloquial phrasing, more optimization for long-tail phrases and more “rich answers” that digital assistants can provide directly.

7. Local results are becoming more prominent

Local SEO has undergone a handful of overhauls in the past few years, and it’s likely that new technologies (like wearable tech) will increase the importance of local results even further.

E-commerce companies often don’t think about a local strategy, since they operate on a national level and therefore want to target a larger national audience. However, pursuing a local strategy in addition can help e-commerce companies differentiate themselves from the competition and target a smaller, possibly more relevant niche that their competitors are deliberately trying to avoid.

There may be a clustering effect as more e-commerce companies begin to realize the benefits here, which is good motivation to get involved as early as possible.

Final thoughts

Keep an eye on these seven trends to ensure that your campaign remains relevant and visible in the modern era. Depending on your goals and how heavy a role SEO plays in your overall business growth, the suggestions above should take a high priority in your marketing spend.

That being said, these certainly aren’t the only trends I anticipate developing for e-commerce, and it’s hard to predict exactly what’s around the corner — so keep your campaign flexible, and always be on the lookout for the next breakthrough development.

For those managing search engine optimization for e-commerce websites, contributor Jayson DeMers has some advice for what to focus on to stay ahead of the competition.

Source: 7 e-commerce SEO trends we’re seeing in 2016

11- Jul2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
360 Views

Redesigning the Remote: How Online Video Changes the Way Viewers Tune In – Think with Google

Video used to be confined to a TV screen in the living room. If people wanted to watch the game, snuggle up with a romantic comedy, or see what was happening in the world, they picked up a remote and flipped through the channels.

Mobile has changed all of that, allowing viewers to tune in from virtually anywhere and at any time. According to a recent study, one in three adults between ages 18 and 54 use their smartphone as their primary device for watching online video.1

These new viewing habits have changed the nature of in-home viewing. Half of YouTube users who watch YouTube videos on their smartphones watch while at home.2 But just because people can watch on mobile doesn’t mean they’re only watching on mobile. In fact, the time people spend watching YouTube on a TV screen has more than doubled year over year.3

One in three adults between ages 18 and 54 use their smartphone as their primary device for watching online video.

Related Story

Evolution of TV: Reaching Audiences Across Screens

As TV content shifts to internet, audiences fragment, creating complexities for distributors, programmers, and advertisers.

To learn more about the role of online video in people’s lives today—and what that implies for brands—Google partnered with Flamingo and Ipsos Connect to conduct a survey and interview consumers about how they watch and where. We found that people use different screens for different reasons, including the type of content.

Whether people want to master a specific look or to see who won on last night’s awards show, those who watch beauty, fashion,4 entertainment, and pop culture5 YouTube videos prefer to watch on their smartphones. “The day after the Oscars, I watched a ‘top moments from last night’ kind of video on my way to work,” says Jim in New York.

“I like watching beauty videos by bloggers on my phone when I’m putting on my own makeup,” says Veronica in Chicago. “It’s kind of like talking to a friend when I’m getting ready.”

 

Mobile Has Changed The Way We Watch | YouTube Advertisers

For travel6 and food7 videos, people primarily watch on their desktop or laptop. “I watched a video about Patagonia on my computer,” Kylie in New York says. “I was already on my computer going through some emails and stuff, and it came up on my inbox.”

People who watch beauty, fashion, entertainment, and pop culture YouTube videos prefer to watch on their smartphones.

TV is still where people turn most often for news,8 sports,9 and comedy,10though. For some people that were interviewed, group viewing works best with a larger screen. “We cast a lot when we have people over, mostly just funny or entertaining YouTube videos,” says Paul in Chicago. “A big group of our friends will come over and we’ll each go round sharing our favorite videos on the TV screen.”

What this means for your brand

Related Story

How Online Video Influences Your Audience

Understanding how the rise of mobile video can help improve your brand metrics.

The consumer shift to mobile creates significant new opportunities for your brand to connect to your audience. Here are two ways you can plan for this world that’s driven by preferences and online video trends:

  • Follow the video: Your consumers are following their passions with online video, from their smartphones to their computers to their TVs. Ask yourself: Can people watch your videos on all devices? Are you thinking holistically about video on all screens?
  • Understand the context: Think about what’s happening in the moment when consumers are watching your ad. Where are they? What are they doing? What device are they on? Figure out what is likely to be their mindset in that moment, and choose the best ad format, length, and placement accordingly.

Watch this video to learn more about how to adapt your online video content to reach your consumer:

 

The Near Frontier of Mobile Video | YouTube Advertisers

 

Sources
1 Google/Ipsos Connect, “Cross-device Viewing Behavior Study,” U.S., n=2,397, among adults aged 18–54 who go online at least monthly and watch online video, Feb. 2016.
2 YouTube Data, 2016.
3 Google/Ipsos Connect, “Cross-device Viewing Behavior Study,” U.S., n=2,091, among adults aged 18–54 who visit YouTube at least monthly, Feb. 2016.
4 Google/Ipsos Connect, “Cross-device Viewing Behavior Study,” U.S., n=580, among adults aged 18–54 who go online at least monthly and watch Beauty & Fashion content at least monthly on YouTube, Feb. 2016.
5 Google/Ipsos Connect, “Cross-device Viewing Behavior Study,” U.S., n=569, among adults aged 18–54 who go online at least monthly and watch Entertainment & Pop Culture content at least monthly on YouTube, Feb. 2016.
6 Google/Ipsos Connect, “Cross-device Viewing Behavior Study,” U.S., n=1,984, among adults aged 18–54 who go online at least monthly and watch Travel content, Feb. 2016.
7 Google/Ipsos Connect, “Cross-device Viewing Behavior Study,” U.S., n=2,171, among adults aged 18–54 who go online at least monthly and watch Food & Recipes content, Feb. 2016.
8 Google/Ipsos Connect, “Cross-device Viewing Behavior Study,” U.S., n=2,328, among adults aged 18–54 who go online at least monthly and watch News content, Feb. 2016.
9 Google/Ipsos Connect, “Cross-device Viewing Behavior Study,” U.S., n=1,919, among adults aged 18–54 who go online at least monthly and watch Sports content, Feb. 2016.
10 Google/Ipsos Connect, “Cross-device Viewing Behavior Study,” U.S., n=2,298, among adults aged 18–54 who go online at least monthly and watch Comedy content, Feb. 2016.

 

Source: Redesigning the Remote: How Online Video Changes the Way Viewers Tune In – Think with Google

16- Feb2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
539 Views

Guardian Owl D I G I T A L (@guardian_owl) • Instagram photos and videos

[G o o d] Morning #digital friends! Not sure where we’d be without ☕️????.#didyouknow Neurofuse, one of the most popular nootropic formulations out there, was originally developed by Harvard students looking to gain an academic edge but not interested in the risks associated with prescription products. They built a safe and effective formula and recently released it publicly. Read the full article —>http://nextshark.com/9-reasons-elite-entrepreneurs-are-using-study-pills-to-crush-work-1/ #google #instadaily#instapic #instagood #guardianowldigital #louisville #coffee #coffeeaddicts#me #love #energy #awake #business #women #girlboss #marketing#professional #life #goodmorning #googlepartners #louisvilledigital #tech #technology #entrepreneur #seo #sem

[G o o d] Morning #digital friends! Not sure where we'd be without ☕️?. #didyouknow Neurofuse, one of the most popular nootropic formulations out there, was originally developed by Harvard students looking to gain an academic edge but not interested in the risks associated with prescription products. They built a safe and effective formula and recently released it publicly. Read the full article —>http://nextshark.com/9-reasons-elite-entrepreneurs-are-using-study-pills-to-crush-work-1/ #google #instadaily #instapic #instagood #guardianowldigital #louisville #coffee #coffeeaddicts #me #love #energy #awake #business #women #girlboss #marketing #professional #life #goodmorning #googlepartners #louisvilledigital #tech #technology #entrepreneur #seo #sem #keurig

A photo posted by Guardian Owl D I G I T A L (@guardian_owl) on

09- Feb2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
429 Views

Super Bowl Ads drove 7.5 incremental searches for Advertisers

Google stated that 82% of TV ad-driven searches during the Super Bowl occurred on mobile devices. This year, the ads drove 7.5 million incremental searches during the game which was a 40 percent higher lift than last year.

The winning Super Bowl Ad of 2016? Audi, “Commander” won the top spot.  Four of the top five ads driving lift in brand search were from automotive manufacturers: Audi, Acura, Honda and Kia.