12- Apr2018
Posted By: DPadmin
20 Views

3 Critical PPC Tasks You Should Do Every Day

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising remains an effective way to grab the attention of your target audience and drive them back to your site so they can engage with your products and services.

Obviously, the higher your ads appear to the top, the more likely that someone will click on that ad.

That said, just getting the click isn’t the goal.

Getting a click that results in a sale, phone call, or lead is the goal.

In order to ensure the best opportunity for success, it is incredibly important to establish some sort of regular daily cadence or task list for your PPC campaigns.

While the rise in AdWords automation is helping with some, here are three PPC tasks that you should be doing every day to ensure nothing in the account is broken.

Daily Checklist Detail

1. Check Your Key Performance Indicators

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are an important metric to help marketers determine the effectiveness of many different kinds of campaigns.

When you decide to invest in PPC, you need some way of measuring the performance of your ads, or you’re just throwing away money without knowing whether your campaign is working.

The types of KPIs that you choose to prioritize will depend on your marketing goals.

Some of the most common types of KPIs for PPC campaigns include:

  • Number of clicks: This KPI tells you how many people actually clicked on your ad, which gives you a good idea if your ad is grabbing people’s attention. Clicks won’t always give you a full picture of how well your ads are doing, but they are an important piece of the puzzle.
  • Click-through rate: This KPI is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the total number of impressions (views). There are different sweet spots for click-through-rates based on your industry.
  • Cost per click: This measures the amount of money you’re spending on your ad campaign based on how many people click on that ad. It is calculated by dividing the total amount you paid for a campaign by the number of times someone clicked on the ad. It’s a good way for you to determine whether your budget for that campaign was too high, too low, or just about right. A good rule of thumb is to check in on your brand CPCs. If you see a spike there, it can negatively affect performance.
  • Conversion rate: This measures the number of conversions that were directly generated by your ads. It is calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of clicks.

These are just a few KPIs that are important in a PPC campaign.

Checking through these numbers on a daily basis can help you see if there are any outliers like a sudden surge of clicks or higher conversion rates on a particular day.

2. Review Your Negative Keyword List

One of the best ways to attract more clicks is to make sure that the language of your ads optimizes the most appropriate keywords for a search.

But when you’re running a PPC campaign, it’s equally important that you create and monitor your negative keyword list.

If you fail to include a negative keyword list on their campaigns, it can seriously dent the ROI for your ads.

For those who are new to the PPC game, here’s a quick primer that will help you understand a negative keyword.

Let’s say you’re selling shoes online.

You will want to include keyword variations that include gender, intent-based queries (e.g., “buy” and “on sale”) and qualifiers (e.g., “running”).

But what if you wanted to exclude higher-volume, lower converting terms (e.g., “womens shoes”).

In the below example, you can see how excluding terms based on match type will impact your ability to target specific types of keywords:

Negative Keywords Samples

By creating a list of negative keywords, you’re telling search engines that these are not relevant words for your business and that your ads shouldn’t show up when people conduct searches using those words.

You should review your negative keyword list daily because search behavior changes regularly.

Make sure your list is updated to avoid spending money on ads that show up in front of people who aren’t part of your target audience.

There are two quick ways to find potential negative keywords:.

Popular Search Terms

Popular Searches

The new ‘Searches’ card in Google AdWords will highlight the most popular words and phrases driving traffic to your site.

Click the Words tab for an even more granular look.

In this example, we discovered two potential negatives to include in the campaign:

Words Card

Knowing which keywords a majority of searchers are using to find your website can help you both add valuable new keywords, and create lists of negative keywords you discover to be irrelevant.

Search Query Reports

Google’s Search Query Reports will give you the most comprehensive way to check for negative keywords that you may need to add to your list.

While getting this granular may not be a daily task, if you see some warning signs (like those in the previous example) a dive into your search query report from the previous day may be warranted.

3. Review Your Daily Budget

Your AdWords average daily budget is not fixed, which means that as you review your campaigns daily, you can change that budget based on analyzing some key KPIs.

Combine that with Google’s daily budget change that increased daily budgets by 2x and you have a good reason to monitor this daily.

The most common application of budget management involves shifting across days of the week.

For example, if you notice that your ads are generating more traffic on a Wednesday, but are dead on a Monday, you may want to shift some of your budget to take advantage of what’s happening on Monday to maximize your ROI.

Ad Delivery Method

Delivery Method

Reviewing your budget can also help you determine whether you need to change your ad delivery method.

AdWords has two types of delivery method:

  • Accelerated delivery: This shows your ads earlier in the day and typically chew up your daily budget before noon. You can only choose accelerated delivery if you’re using AdWords’ automated bidding.
  • Standard delivery: This displays your ads more evenly during the day. If you choose manual bidding, your campaigns automatically default to standard delivery.

Device Type

Budget by Device

Another quick check-in on your daily budget spending is how your budget is being spent across devices.

With the explosion of mobile, if not kept in check, the percentage of mobile spend compared to conversion can become skewed – essentially stealing your opportunities for desktop conversions.

Similar to the Popular Search Terms card, Google also has a “Device Type” card that will show differences across devices for clicks, impressions, and conversions.

Visually, this is a no-brainer to add to your daily budget checks.

Adaptation Is the Key to PPC Campaigns

When you launch a PPC campaign, one of the keys to success is making sure that you stay on top of KPIs, keywords and budget so that you can quickly determine if something is awry, and change how you’re approaching things.

The whole idea of PPC is to generate more quality visitors so they can turn into customers, but if you’re not performing daily reviews of your campaigns, a small problem can quickly snowball into a crisis.

Source: 3 Critical PPC Tasks You Should Do Every Day

12- Apr2018
Posted By: DPadmin
21 Views

Why Google Shopping is dominating retail search marketing 

As Google has scaled up its Shopping products in recent years, there has been a growing consensus in the retail search marketing space that Shopping ads are one of the most effective ways to win valuable consumer clicks.

This is especially true of the non-branded, broader search terms that are typical of the early stages of the customer journey.

During this phase, Google Shopping ads – commonly referred to as Product Listing Ads, or PLAs – are considered to be a key means of engaging consumers early, and boosting new customer acquisition.

If the trends that we are currently seeing continue, 2018 will be a year of increased investment in Google Shopping ad formats across product-based search.

While text ads are still the most popular advertising format in many categories, retail-specific categories tell a very different story, with spend on Google Shopping ads far outstripping text ads in retail categories.

A new study by AI-powered search intelligence platform Adthena, analyzing 40 million search ads from more than 260,000 retailers, has shed light on the extent to which Google Shopping ads have come to dominate retail search marketing.

In this piece, we will look at some of the key findings from the report, explore the causes of Google Shopping’s phenomenal expansion, and consider what retailers can do to “future-proof” their search marketing strategy against upcoming shifts in the market.

Content produced in collaboration with Adthena.

The growth of Google Shopping

The Google Shopping ad unit has evolved considerably over the past few years, with increased attention and prominence afforded to Shopping ads in the search results page. This has resulted in a rise in clicks and impressions that has fueled the growth of Google Shopping ads in retail categories.

As of Q1 2018, Google Shopping ads are driving 76.4% of retail search ad spend in the US, and 82% of retail search ad spend in the UK – an overwhelming majority in both instances.

Adthena’s research found that in the US, this 76.4% of search spend was responsible for 85.3% of all clicks on AdWords or Google Shopping ads between January and February 2018. In the UK, the 82% of retail search ad spend invested in Google Shopping ads was responsible for 87.9% of clicks.

These figures confirm that Google Shopping ads are still offering good value to retailers in terms of spend/click ratio, and suggest that the value of Google Shopping ads has not (yet) reached saturation point, with room for growth in some key areas.

Mobile is one of these: according to Adthena’s research, although shopping ads on desktop generate a slightly greater share of clicks, Google Shopping ad spend on mobile now matches that of desktop, supporting evidence that mobile search is serving as a crucial touchpoint for product purchasing decisions.

Presently, Google Shopping ads on mobile are driving 79% of device ad spend in the US, and win 87.9% of clicks. With Google shifting more and more emphasis onto mobile search, this is likely to become an increasingly important area for retailers to invest in, and we may yet see these numbers grow further.

However, how much longer can Google Shopping continue its rise before the market eventually becomes saturated? To answer that, we need to understand what has fuelled Google Shopping’s dominance of the retail search market in the first place.

What is fueling Google Shopping’s retail dominance?

Ashley Fletcher, VP of Marketing at Adthena, believes that prominence and reach are the two key factors that have driven the rise of Google Shopping ads in retail search marketing.

Google’s introduction of a carousel for desktop Shopping ads in October 2016 was the first major change which gave increased prominence to Google Shopping ads. Since then, the ad unit has only developed further, with even more different formats for advertisers to benefit from.

“The unit has evolved both in terms of prominence on the page and in terms of ad features,” says Fletcher. “It’s also very rich in content – particularly on mobile – with multiple variants of the unit available to advertisers.”

In the US and the UK, the number of ads in the desktop carousel has even doubled as of February 2018 to surface 30 paid listings. This may go some way to explaining the particular dominance of Google Shopping ads in the US and UK – as we saw from the statistics in the previous section.

Then there’s reach: as Fletcher explains, in the past year, Google Shopping Ads have begun influencing users higher up the purchase funnel through far broader terms, appearing for much more generic product searches than before.

“In the last year, Shopping ads have started to trigger on a lot of the upper-funnel, generic terms – like “red dress”, or “black dress”. This is really driving users into a brand experience around those generics: it encourages the user to start drilling into those terms, and conduct longer-tail keyword searches off the back of that.

“These are very high-volume terms, keywords with a lot of traffic – so mastering that could be a challenge for search marketers, but you now need to be present at the top of that funnel, as well.”

While these developments have spurred a huge surge of growth in Google Shopping ads over the past two years, Fletcher believes this expansion won’t continue for long.

“In 2018, we’ll get closer to saturation point,” he says. “I don’t think there’s much room for further growth.

“Then I think we’ll get into the space we were in with text ads, where advertisers will be limited on spots, margins are going to be squeezed – meaning CPCs are going to increase – and it will come down to marginal gains: how can you optimize performance, as growth slows down?”

What can retailers do to get the most out of their ad spend in that environment?

“First and foremost, being able to manage at scale is a must-have,” says Fletcher.

“Secondly, master your categories. If you are a retailer, then knowing that you’re winning in – for example – men’s board shorts, and getting down to that level of knowledge with your categories, is essential.

“If you don’t do that, then you’ll have a very blinkered view of what’s going on.

“If you’re a department store retailer, for example, and your products reach more than 200 different categories, there is a dependency on knowing how well you’re performing in each of these categories. You’re going to have different competitors in each one: the challenge is knowing that, and making sure you are still winning there.” 

Adapting for the future of search marketing

The rapid uptake of Google Shopping ads as the most significant part of retail ad spend budgets reveals how quickly search marketers adapt to new formats and opportunities.

As search advertising practices continue to change and new formats are introduced, advertisers will need to maintain this agility in order to keep ahead of the game.

“Google Shopping can be quite daunting for some advertisers when they take their first steps into it,” says Fletcher. “But if you do that with enough research, and enough context about what’s going on in each of your retail categories, you’ll have a far better chance of surviving.

“If you don’t follow the trends, adopt early, and understand these channels, you will get left behind.”

Amazon Shopping, for example, is a growing force in the retail search landscape which Fletcher believes will only play a bigger role in years to come, threatening to erode the dominance that Google Shopping currently enjoys.

Even as they take steps to future-proof their search marketing campaigns in the realm of Google Shopping, search marketers should investigate the opportunities presented by Amazon, in order to ensure the longevity of their search marketing strategy going forward.

Source: Why Google Shopping is dominating retail search marketing | Search Engine Watch

12- Apr2018
Posted By: DPadmin
26 Views

7 marketing and promotion tactics to get your content discovered 

Contributor Kristopher Jones outlines seven tried-and-true content promotion strategies that will drive traffic to your content and website.

It’s no secret a well-executed content marketing campaign can deliver a solid return on investment.

According to Demand Metric, content marketing generates three times more leads than most outbound marketing strategies at 62 percent less cost.

As marketers pad their budgets with more money to invest in content marketing this year, one strategy that often gets overlooked is content promotion.

According to a survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 55 percent of B2B marketers were not even sure what a successful content marketing campaign looked like!

Content without promotion is like link building without links or creating a landing page without a call to action. That’s why promotion should take equal focus with creation.

Let’s look at seven tried-and-true content promotion strategies that will drive traffic to your content and website.

1. Paid social promotion

Paid social promotion can be one of the most precise strategies available to market your content to people who are interested in and most likely to engage with your content.

For example, by using Facebook’s Audience Insights, businesses can segment audience lists by select boundaries, such as demographics, psychographics and intent. This allows marketers to create audience segments that are more in line with their brand and specific topics of content on their website.  There are several benefits of paid social promotion:

  • Increase website traffic with relevant visitors.
  • Generate more conversions by marketing to people with high purchasing intent.
  • Familiarize users with your brand.

Even advertising content over native or display ads can help to increase brand recall for customers who come across your website in future searches. Only now, they’ll think of your brand as a bit of an authority because they’re already familiar with your brand.

Paying to promote your content over advertising channels is a good way to cut through the noise and the competition.

Paid promotion is also an excellent strategy to target users who have interacted with your website or blog in the past month. Remarketing not only increases your chance of reclaiming a missed conversion, but it also helps to foster brand loyalty by providing them useful content based on their past consumption.

Before undergoing a paid promotion strategy, it’s key to have your goals outlined. These can include increasing readership for your content or generating more conversions on your website. With these in mind, you can quantify the impact of these strategies and assess their success.

2. Targeted sharing

Facebook is no longer the business to consumer (B2C) marketing giant it once was; after its last algorithm update, it limited organic reach for business posts on the platform.

One way to reach more people over social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram is through targeted sharing.

Targeted sharing is essentially tagging someone in a post in hopes that they will share your content with their audience. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Link to people in the snippet who would be interested in your article.
  • Link to sources featured in the article directly in the snippet.
  • Directly engage industry peers with a question or point of debate in the snippet to curate conversation over a topic.

Twitter’s advanced search tool allows you to find people in your niche who are close to you geographically, using certain hashtags and more:

Instagram recently introduced a “follow” hashtag that allows users to view content in their newsfeed using a certain hashtag. This has opened up an entirely new platform for businesses to reach more customers over Instagram who are already interested in your industry.

3. Use videos over social media

Another proven method to cut through the noise on social media channels is to include videos in your content.

The statistics around video marketing are truly staggering:

  • Google states that half of internet users “search for a video related to a product or service before visiting a store.”
  • Views on sponsored videos on Facebook increased 258 percent between June 2016 and June 2017.

From my experience, including a video on a landing page can significantly increase your conversion rate. In my opinion, the demand for video content over social media far outpaces the demand for written content.

Video can also be more engaging than written content. A compounding or viral video is the definition of a gift that keeps on giving.

Of course, there’s always a caveat. Hosting a long, informative video on your content can discourage click-throughs to your landing page, especially if it’s used to promote written content. I suggest posting a teaser video, an eye-catching image or a graphics interchange format (GIF) in your content to entice users to navigate to the landing page.

4. Influencer marketing

I believe influencer marketing is one of the most underutilized tools in our industry.

Influencer marketing is powerful in theory. Not only will influencer shares expose your content to a new audience, it confers credibility in the eyes of that audience.

According to a study from MuseFind, 92 percent of people trust influencers more than advertisements or celebrities.

There are many ways to approach this strategy: You can reach out to influencers directly in your industry to share your content or engage in a promotion partnership.

Consider using tools like Followerwonk and Intellifluence to find active influencers in your industry to reach out to.

You can also mention an influencer within your content or link to them in a social media snippet to attract their attention. This increases the likelihood that they will share your content to promote their own brand. In turn, this increases your content’s quantity of shares and link opportunities.

5. Content syndication

Content syndication is not new to search engine optimization (SEO), but it’s not often the focus of many content marketing strategies. Content syndication is a great strategy to instantly expand your audience reach with little effort.

Do your research before identifying a site for syndication. Ask about their analytics to see what their visitor traffic is like and monitor keywords to identify the topics of discussion being held.

If you decide to syndicate content on sites like LinkedIn, Medium or community forums, it’s best to be picky. Only share your best content.

If you do participate in a content community, understand that half of your responsibility is also sharing other people’s content to remain an active member. This will help establish relationships across your industry for potential link opportunities and shares.

6. Link building

Link building remains one of Google’s three most important ranking factors when determining organic rank. It is a good idea to increase your content’s reach and visibility by improving its organic backlink signals.

It’s important to remember that link building needs to be strategic when promoting a specific webpage. I wouldn’t put a lot of effort into building links to a topical blog post, evergreen content or webpages that serve a valuable function in your website’s information and sales funnel.

Here are just a few basic link-building strategies to promote content to a wider audience:

  • Guest post on authoritative publications with a contextual link back to your content.
  • Engage in broken link building using manual outreach to offer more value to existing content.
  • Email industry thought leaders about a piece of your content that would be valuable to their future research.

Ironically, the best link-building strategy out there is to craft high-quality content that people organically link back to on their own. Of course, this requires promotion for people to find this content in the first place, but hopefully, you’ll get some ideas from this post to help with that.

7. Personalized email marketing

Email marketing is a great way to market to customers who are already interested in your brand. Email marketing has the benefit of increasing customer retention while also delivering shares and links right to your content.

Not everyone on your email marketing list will jump at the chance to read your next blog post. Here are some basic strategies to increase email engagement:

  • Design an e-newsletter to promote recent posts to your blog or showcase your most viral content for the month.
  • Segment subscriber lists based on their interaction with your site.
  • Personalize emails to include the name of the recipient, as well as pertinent information related to their engagement on your site.
  • Include interactive content, such as a fun GIF or video, to make emails stand out and warm up subscribers to future emails.
  • Conduct split testing on headlines and messages and measure their impact.

Final thoughts

Content marketing has taken on a life of its own as a buzzword in our industry. With reduced organic reach over both search and many social channels, it’s never been more important to focus on promotion strategies that cut through the noise and get content discovered.

Source: 7 marketing and promotion tactics to get your content discovered – Search Engine Land

06- Apr2018
Posted By: DPadmin
27 Views

6 Growth Marketing Best Practices for Higher SEM Profitability

We’ve all heard of growth marketing.

But what does growth marketing actually mean?

At the risk of over-simplifying, growth marketing is essentially the path to attracting the right visitors to your business. Not just the low-hanging-fruit, top-of-funnel visitors, but those who are “sticky” and likely to lead to a conversion or sale.

Search engine marketing (SEM) is the unsung hero — and the secret weapon — for today’s growth marketing leaders.

In addition to achieving a successful consumer decision journey across multiple channels and devices, search delivers bottom-line results and ensures on-track results for the long-term.

Here are six best practices for a winning SEM strategy.

1. Deliver Value Across the Decision Journey

As the behavior of your fragmented customers evolves, your growth marketing plan should as well.

Who are the customers behind all those clicks?

New research from Bing Ads allows us to better understand the five distinct stages all customers share:

  • Initiation: Getting background information and buying landscape to become a more informed researcher.
  • Research: Exploring buying guides, recommendations, and products that meet basic criteria.
  • Compare: Comparing a handful of products that meet the customer’s criteria, including ratings, reviews, features, and cost.
  • Transaction: Finding where to buy, then seeing pricing and promotions, availability, and local stores.
  • Experience: Getting customer service, asking maintenance questions, and making additional purchases.

2. Align Your Campaign & Business Goals

Search can impact, and help you measure, your business goals.

Be sure to align your SEM strategy with your campaign objectives:

  • Brand awareness and perception: Bid competitively on your non-brand, brand, and competitors’ keywords. Non-brand searches are the key to starting a journey: 72 percent of brand ad clicks had a non-brand or conquest term in the user journey preceding the brand click. Searchers were 30 percent likelier to conduct a branded search after being exposed to a brand ad on a generic search query or a competitor’s branded query.
  • Win new customers: Consumers rely on search to inform purchase decisions. SEM can help with every stage of the decision process. At the start of their journey, 49 percent of consumers use a search engine to find the products they want.
  • Drive sales: Search’s strength is driving conversions. It outperforms other marketing channels across devices in conversion rates.
  • Enter new markets: The ubiquity of search allows you to activate a cross-border marketing strategy that drives foot traffic with Location Extensions, get more phone calls with Call Extensions, and increase ad clicks with Sitelink Extensions.

3. Expand Your Marketing Funnel

As our constant companion, search is no longer just a product — it’s a behavior.

We turn to search at all times and in all places, whether on our desktops, laptops, tablets, or smartphones.

Understanding how people search at different points on their purchase journeys opens the door to engage your brand with this new audience.

Having become an engine of insights, search now delivers influence throughout the five buying stages (initiation, research, compare, transaction, and experience).

SEM also reinforces your conversion funnel and unifies disparate marketing activities.

4. Take Audience Targeting to the Next Level

Right-time, right-place engagement alone is no longer enough to compel potential customers.

You need to reach as many unique searchers as possible utilizing audience targeting.

Step 1: Build richer buyer personas that consider these factors:

  • Behavioral: Past behaviors are useful for understanding consumers’ interests and their likelihood to purchase. To better measure user behavior, analyze activities across websites, searches, and content.
  • Demographic: Buying preferences are influenced by elementary but important factors that include age, gender, and location.
  • Contextual: Consumers often search in the moment. Analyzing where, when, and how they search can provide useful content for creating more impactful ad campaigns.

Step 2: Choose keywords that align with the key stages and mindsets of your target customers:

  • Initiation: Keywords such as “What is” and “Benefits of” work best at this stage.
  • Research: Keywords such as “Buying guide” and “Models” work best at this stage.
  • Compare: Keywords such as “Reviews” and “Features” work best at this stage.
  • Transaction: Keywords such as “Where” and “Coupon” work best at this stage.
  • Experience: Keywords such as “Support” and “Experience” work best at this stage.

5. Lift Other Investments with Paid Search

Optimize your search efforts by combining organic search with a paid SEM strategy.

  • Search and social: Customers who click your paid search and social ads are likelier to buy and spend more. Strengthen your keyword coverage to get more impressions, and tailor your bidding strategy for commercial-related PPC campaigns.
  • Search and TV: Search volume spikes for days after a commercial airs. In a Bing Ads study of the biggest commercial event of the year, the Super Bowl, the increase in branded search volume followed a consistent pattern across industries.
  • Search and display: Conversion rates increased by 52 percent while display and search were running simultaneously. Not only did conversion metrics increase, but campaign reach (impressions) increased by 45 percent as well.
  • Search and other channels: When Bing Ads is alone in the purchase path, purchases have a 27 percent higher order average order value than purchases not including Bing Ads, which also generate value when paired with other channels.

6. Fight & Win the Battle for Paid Search Budget Share

SEM still competes with other channels for a share of your marketing budget.

So bring along hard data that connects the dots between search engine marketing and business benefits.

Your budget share battle plan involves three elements:

Pick the Right Metrics to Measure SEM Impact

Metrics provide an easy way to see what is and isn’t working.

Your team can test, change and optimize your brand’s SEM strategy for better results.

Focus your reporting by identifying and tracking key performance indicators that reflect your business goals:

  • Acquiring new customers
  • Driving foot traffic
  • Getting more phone calls
  • Increasing ad clicks
  • Building your brand trust
  • Expanding cross-border strategy

Separate SEM Impacts from Other Channels

Know which channels drive your marketing results.

Each sale is the culmination of a series of marketing touches that may involve several channels over the course of days or even weeks.

Attribution gets quite complex at times, so if you can prove campaigns with paid search deliver ROI and bottom-line results, you’ll unlock more budget and further optimize search performance.

Apply the Same Process to Allocate Budget Between AdWords & Bing Ads

This last piece falls into place when you analyze the paid click share and query that each SEM option represents within your industry.

You’ll not only get your business in front of a large audience, you’ll be confident that your paid ads will lead to clicks.

Conclusion

SEM is the backbone of today’s marketing mix.

With so many channels and more fragmented customer journeys, the real challenge is ensuring you engage audiences at the right time through the right device.

You no longer can afford to put all of your marketing dollars into one search ad network.

Follow the best practices outlined here to maximize the reach, impact, and value of your paid search campaigns with bottom-line results.

Then your fight for marketing resources will be far easier to win!

Source: 6 Growth Marketing Best Practices for Higher SEM Profitability

04- Apr2018
Posted By: DPadmin
38 Views

How to Prepare Your Marketing Team for Mobile and Voice Search Takeover

Amplify your search success with cutting-edge SEO contractors!

Of all of the moving pieces that work together to support a digital marketing strategy, SEO is undoubtedly among the most complex and challenging elements to master.

In SEO recruitment, we recognize that SEO is a demanding, yet necessary component for any organization to prioritize. And if your team knows anything about ranking in search, you know that content marketing plays an integral part in driving SEO (and vice versa).

In today’s digital world, the value of content simply cannot be overstated – especially when organically ranking in SERPs. Because of this, SEO recruiters know that finding experienced SEO contractors who encompass sophisticated skills is critical in maintaining a strong digital presence.

There are two key trends on the rise in SEO recruitment brands must keep a close eye on – mobile and voice search. Growing organic search traffic should continue to be a priority for brands, as voice search and mobile present great opportunities for driving SEO like never before.

These trends have caught notable attention over the recent years, but are set to claim their rightful spots in search in the near future. Your organization must have the right team and support in place to stay on top of trends and satisfy search engines and web users alike.

SEO Recruiters: It’s a Mobile-First World

With over 4 billion mobile phone users today, it’s imperative brands equip their sites with mobile-apt capabilities – not doing so will severely hinder SEO and user experience. With the majority of search queries today coming from mobile, it’s necessary to optimize your content and ensure it’s mobile-ready to provide maximum user experience. This means optimizing the design of your site to ensure it’s easy to navigate, easily readable, and loads quickly.

Google’s mobile-first index is in testing, meaning the search engine will take into account mobile versions of websites before desktop. Thus, SEO recruiters highly encourage brands to ensure that all of their content exists on their mobile sites. And it’s equally important that your site pages are loading fast without causing your visitors to bounce. Users don’t have the patience to wait for a site to load – whether on mobile or desktop – and user experience is the first factor for search algorithm. By creating a seamless experience across all channels, you make the customer experience and journey as smooth as possible.

Is Your SEO Team Equipped to Master Accelerated Mobile Pages?

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) is Google’s open-source initiative that allows sites to serve super-light versions of web pages on mobile devices. It optimizes the process for mobile content creation and is a great way to boost site speed and drive rankings on mobile. In SEO recruitment, we know that implementing AMPs is no simple task and recommend organizations to rely on SEO contractors that are highly technically skilled.

Does Your SEO Strategy Include Local Search?

Mobile users frequently conduct local search and expect quick and valuable results. For instance, if someone in Atlanta is searching for “marketing recruitment firm,” we expect MarketPro to show up on the first page and in local search results. Optimize your brand’s site for local SEO to better serve your audience. Make sure that your team has an effective strategy for building citations and making the most out of you listing in Google My Business.

The Rise of Voice Search in SEO Recruitment

SEO consultants firmVoice search is still fairly new in SEO recruitment, and is on a continuous rise. And no, it isn’t just a temporary digital fad – but 62% of marketers still have no particular plans for the rise of voice search.

Google states that 20% of all searches come from voice search, but SEO recruiters predict that number will quickly grow this year. In fact, key voice search technology like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa have soared in popularity. They allow customers to use them without having to directly type a query in or even touching the screen, simplifying the user experience.

Voice search is a great way to improve your site’s rankings with cutting-edge technology and top SEO contractors in place. Digital marketers who are familiar with voice search optimization and know how to produce content to support it are going to prove to be highly valuable.

SEO recruitment experts believe organizations who optimize their content for voice search will be far ahead of the competition. In order to make the most of voice search, SEO recruitment agencies encourage marketing leaders to create a strategy that integrates both voice and typed content to reach the full potential.

Tips to boost voice search

  • Do your research: SEO recruiters suggest CMOs encourage their teams to use voice search and experiment with it as much as possible. Marketers will get a good understanding of the types of pages Google ranks the highest, and can get good insights of how to structure their own content.
  • Structure your content to serve your audience: the majority of voice search queries are conversational, so it’s important for your SEO experts to tailor content to be suited for natural voice responses. Natural language shows intent more strongly, and should be managed by selecting keywords that are strongly based on user intent. Traditional search queries consist of a few words but voice searches tend to be full sentences.
  • Keep an eye on the roll out of speakable markup. When goes live in 2018, make sure your SEO team is equipped to thoroughly test it out and design and effective implementation strategy.

Conclusion

As an SEO recruitment agency, we understand that driving SEO and building a team to support it is not a simple task. But with expert talent acquisition and creative execution, your organization has the potential to maximize developments in technology, search algorithms, and the way consumers convert to build a strategic competitive advantage and get ahead of the competition.

Read more at https://www.business2community.com/marketing/prepare-marketing-team-mobile-voice-search-takeover-02003687

Source: How to Prepare Your Marketing Team for Mobile and Voice Search Takeover

06- Mar2018
Posted By: DPadmin
51 Views

6 facts to nail your PPC strategies in 2018 | Marketing Interactive

A research from OMD China tracked search behaviors of 150 individuals for two weeks across all their devices to understand what truly works for search advertising.

Search remains an essential component of every marketer’s arsenal, yet in China there is little understanding of the practice beyond spends, keywords and bidding.

Bhasker Jaiswal, managing partner of marketing sciences at OMD China, added that China’s search landscape has changed so fast that generic (pay-per-click) strategies don’t suffice.

Generic PPC strategies just don’t suffice anymore.

And it was marketers’ duties to delve further. The latest industry research report from OMD China, dubbed “DIVE SEARCH”, tracked search behaviors of 150 individuals for two weeks across all their devices, collecting over 13,000 search strings to shred some lights on consumer search behaviours, as well as how search advertising influences their purchase decisions.

They don’t really care about your product.

According to the study, a majority of the consumer searches are actually about basic life necessities. Product and service related searches only make up 19% of total search.

The less they know, the more they search.

 

Interestingly, females search far more than males in the automotive category (8.1 vs 5.8) and males search more on skincare than females (6 vs 4.7), indicating that those who actively search your products online are not always your target customers.

When they search, they dive.

Consumers are also found to be “information-hungry”. 90% of searchers go beyond the first search page, and 80% use more than one search engine.

No surprise, mobile eclipses PC.

 

Consumers switch search device depending on time of the day, but in general, mobile is used for its availability and PC for viewability. Mobile has exceeded PC to become the number one device used for search (52% vs 41%).

Search advertising does have a role

 

Impact of search advertising on consumer purchase decision is still significant, and it’s figure-proven. For the auto category, 69% of users find Brandzone more attractive than regular search pages, and 83% of them will click on promotional links to get more information.

Older generations adopt audio-search more than younger ones

Consumers are adopting new search technology; 97% of searchers use auto-completion while searching, and 68% use voice or picture search. Older generations use these features more often than the young for convenience.

Source: 6 facts to nail your PPC strategies in 2018 | Marketing Interactive

06- Mar2018
Posted By: DPadmin
24 Views

How To Write Compelling Ad Copy

The power behind search-based marketing has always been intent. Search engines like Google gave us the ability to put our ads in front of people at the exact moment they were searching a specific keyword. Because people were searching, we could safely assume they were ready to buy and it has worked beautifully for years.

However, over time a couple of problems started to crop up. First, with the success of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising we began to see lots and lots of competitors. Anyone could bid on a keyword and the auction-based nature of the platforms meant that average cost-per-click (CPC) continued to rise. Secondly, as Google became its own verb, people began searching for lots and lots of things. They wanted to find out the answer to trivia questions, learn details about upcoming events, get pictures of celebrities, etc. This watered down the intent. Someone searching for “King James” might want to learn about Lebron James or buy a Bible.

Get Past Keywords Keywords

Most new PPC advertisers focus heavily on keyword research and selection. They believe that if you pick the right keywords you’ll get clicks that you can turn in to sales. While I agree that you must choose the correct keywords, the attitude above forgets that each search has a unique intent. It further ignores the fact that search engine results pages offer numerous options to click.

With increased cost and competition, the key to success is less on what keywords you choose and more about what message you’re presenting, aka your ad copy. Ad copy influences who you get to click, how well qualified they are and how well prepared they are to respond to your product/service. So how do you write more compelling ad copy?

Use Emotion

While economics assumes that all people behave rationally, marketers realize that people are complex mixtures of emotion and logic. Virtually every company I have worked with could explain logically why someone should use their product/service. These appeals usually center around cost, time savings and ease of use and can be quite effective. However, consider these alternatives:

  • Lowest prices on product X
  • Don’t overpay for product X, buy from us

Our first option is matter-of-fact and gets the message across, but the second option evokes fear. People don’t want to overpay (very negative emotional association) and you offer them relief from that fear. That’s how you get the click.

Here is a handy cheat sheet of emotion-loaded words that you can incorporate into your ad copy:

words

Get Personal

I recently attended a presentation about the use of pronouns in ad copy. Mark Irvine, of Wordstream, shared the 3 most effective pronouns to use in ad copy:

#3 – “We” sells a solution

#2 – “You” speaks directly to your audience

#1 – “Him/Her” connects with a relationship

Notice that all of these pronouns shift the focus away from you as the product/service provider. People stop thinking about cost or features and start thinking about how it benefits them or how it will benefit their significant other. See the results from Mark’s analysis. Spoiler alert: They dramatically increased CTR.

Always Be Testing

Over the years I’ve had a lot of really good ad copy ideas fail. I’m not too proud to admit it. Sometimes that bone-dry descriptive ad copy is exactly what your customers want. But many times I’ve seen significant improvement in performance by testing a “crazy” idea. What will work best for your customers?

I don’t know. Your marketing people might not know either. But the only way you’re going to find out if your current ad copy can be better is if you get out there and test it. Put 2-3 ads in all your AdWords ad groups and change the campaign setting to “Optimize indefinitely” (that forces Google to give all copies a fair chance, though it won’t guarantee equality of impressions). Let your customers tell you what they prefer and what they don’t prefer with their clicks and conversions.

Source: How To Write Compelling Ad Copy

06- Mar2018
Posted By: DPadmin
18 Views

Supercharge your email marketing with Google AdWords

I have a confession to make.

The odds of my instantly deleting one of the many marketing emails I receive each day are about as good as Tom Brady and the Patriots making the playoffs — meaning it’s pretty likely to happen.

Unfortunately for all you email marketers out there, I’m not alone. According to email marketing service MailChimp, the average email open rate across industries is below 25 percent,with a click rate of 2 to 3 percent. That means that, on average, you’d need to send 100 emails to get two or three people to take any action. All that time and energy spent crafting the perfect email marketing campaign will be wasted if you don’t create a complementary strategy to get more sales from your hard-earned email list.

The good news is that you can use Google AdWords as your complementary strategy by simply leveraging the existing data you have on your email subscribers. Let’s dive into the best ways to make that happen.

Learn the ins and outs of Customer Match in AdWords

Customer Match in AdWords might be the greatest secret weapon for email marketers that Google has to offer. It allows you to target or exclude your existing customers on Google Search, Display and YouTube by simply uploading your customer email list to AdWords. Think of it as another way to nurture your sales leads besides sending them more emails.

The best thing about Customer Match is that it’s not that difficult to get up and running. Here’s what you need to do to get started:

  • Click on the “Wrench” icon in the top right corner of your AdWords Dashboard.
  • Click on “Audience Manager” under the Shared Library section.
  • Click on “Audience Lists” from the Page Menu on the left.
  • Click on the blue “+” button to create a new audience list.
  • Select “Customer List.”
  • Choose the option to upload a plain text data file or a hashed data file.
  • Choose your new file.
  • Check the box that says “This data was collected and is being shared with Google in compliance with Google’s policies.”
  • Set a membership duration (this should be determined by the types of customers that make up the list).
  • Click “Upload and Create List.”

Please note that these instructions are for the “new” version of the AdWords dashboard. If you’re interested in Customer Match but are still using the “old” version of the AdWords dashboard, see here for more instructions.

Segment your email list

Now that you have a better understanding of Customer Match, let’s take a look at how you might want to slice and dice your email list to more effectively target your sales leads on AdWords.

Take a look at the following email audience segments we use at AdHawk (my company) for a moment:

  • New and engaged email subscribers who have not become customers.
  • Email subscribers who have not opened an email recently.
  • Email subscribers who are existing customers and would be a good fit for an upgraded product or service.

Each of these email audience segments has an entirely different relationship with our business and needs to be messaged to differently. If you have a similar breakdown of your marketing emails, you can repurpose your email list segmentation for your AdWords campaigns via Customer Match. This will allow you to tailor the messaging of your ads for each segment, and as a result, help to nudge your sales leads farther down your funnel.

Create a different AdWords strategy for each segment of your email list

Once you have your email audience segments in place, it’s time to develop a unique AdWords strategy for each segment.

I’m going to use the three email audience segments noted above as examples. Your approach might be different, and that’s okay. Just make sure you’re not using general ads for every email audience segment you have on your list.

Converting new and engaged email subscribers

When a new lead signs up to learn more about AdHawk, our team goes into “educate” mode. The goal is to get them to see the value of our product and services as quickly as possible so we can move them down the funnel.

Our “Welcome” email flow takes the first steps in educating our leads, and it performs pretty well compared to the industry average. But our secret weapon emerges when we take a list of our “new” sales leads and turn it into a Customer Match campaign in AdWords.

Here’s what a typical flow for this segment looks at AdHawk:

  • Step 1: Potential customer signs up to learn more about AdHawk.
  • Step 2: After signing up, the potential customer receives the first email in the “Welcome” email flow, with a call to action to book a time with our sales team.
  • Step 3: A Customer Match segment is created for all “new” prospective customers that didn’t take action on the first email in the “Welcome” email flow.

By using a Customer Match segment for all new and engaged AdHawk sales leads, we’re able to bid up on more generic keywords that would be too risky to bid up on for a general search campaign. We’re also able to create Gmail Ads with a similar look and feel to our “Welcome” emails series that prompt a strong customer recall.

Converting unengaged email subscribers

Converting unengaged email subscribers can be a huge pain in the butt. They’ve stopped engaging with your emails, so the worst thing you could do is continue to bash them over the head with more emails.

Here’s the flow we use to re-engage leads that have left us hanging:

  • Step 1: Potential customer signs up to learn more about AdHawk but does not engage with our emails for 30 days.
  • Step 2: A Customer Match segment is created for all “unengaged” prospective customers.
  • Step 3: A Remarketing campaign is created to target prospective customers that have not converted after 30 days.
  • Step 4: We tailor the Customer Match and Remarketing ads to promote a special offer.

This group is the least likely to convert, so any new business scraped up is a huge win! It’s important to educate these stale leads on what we do and remind them why they signed up in the first place.

Upselling existing customers to a new product or service

Most marketers are so intent on attracting new business that they often forget that there is a wealth of opportunity under their noses. Don’t sleep on marketing to those that have bought something from you in the past! We use our existing customer segment to promote new features or products we feel they will be a good fit for.

Here’s the flow we use to target existing customers:

  • Step 1: A Customer Match segment is created for our “Existing Customers.”
  • Step 2: We further segment this list by renewal date to ensure that customers see our ads when their contract is up.
  • Step 3: Tailor the ads to promote additional services we offer that our customers are not leveraging.

We’ve structured our flow this way because our product runs on a subscription basis. If you’re selling physical goods that can be repurchased often, break down your segment by the products your customers have shown the most interest in. That way, you can tailor your ads to the specific products you believe would resonate most with them.

Final thoughts

Are you leveraging AdWords as part of your email marketing strategy? If you are, I’d love to learn more about what strategies you have used that have been successful.

Source: Supercharge your email marketing with Google AdWords

01- Mar2018
Posted By: DPadmin
14 Views

Why PPC? – The Advantages of Pay-Per-Click Marketing Explained

Pay-per-click is a term that all Marketers are used to hearing and while it’s widely accepted as a great way to promote your business, how much do we actually know about it? The world of online marketing can get a little overwhelming, that’s why, we’re asking what are the advantages of a pay-per-click campaign and when is it beneficial to use one?

Instant responses 

PPC advertising will deliver immediate results. In fact, the minute your campaign is approved your ads can be viewed by millions of web users. The capacity to launch a campaign quickly and ensuring it reaches your market instantly makes PPC ideal for product launches, seasonal promotions and event-focused marketing.

Take advantage of business opportunities

As it is so quick and easy to launch a PPC campaign you can really use them to your businesses advantage. Is your competitor’s website down? Have they been experiencing some bad press? No problem, you can have your campaign set up in a matter of minutes and their customers may just come running to you. When you’re in a race against time the efficiency and immediacy of PPC can really be on your side.

Track the success

Everything about pay-per-click is measurable, from the amount that you’re paying to the number of hits your website receives. This makes it a useful tool for testing different campaigns, strategies or landing pages allowing you to evaluate which are the most responsive and the best option for your business. PPC isn’t just a way to drive traffic to your site, but a way to understand exactly what your customers are looking for. It’s also very handy to have a tight budget as pay-per-click can get a little pricey when your post proves popular. The more clicks, the more it costs. By measuring the CTR you can stop the campaign before it gets too expensive.

Ensures exposure and brand recognition

PPC allows you to target specific keywords related to your industry which will help to build your brand image and establish yourself as an industry leader. This will also increase your exposure, as PPC ads are usually posted at the top of search engine results pages (depending on how much you pay) which can immediately boost the traffic of your website. On average, 41% of all clicks go to the top 3 paid ads on the search results page, if you aren’t using PPC then you’re losing those clicks to competitors that are. If you’re determined to maximise your click-share of searches for keywords relevant to your business, PPC is essential.

Highly targeted website traffic

Reaching the right audience can always be difficult, yet PPC allows you to target very specific groups. You can also choose when these ads appear which really allows you to segment your market, making sure you’re only reaching the people that will benefit your business. And being picky clearly pays off, PPC visitors are 50% more likely to purchase something than organic visitors.

Costs

Initially with PPC you only need to make a small investment, one of the biggest advantages of using a pay-per-click campaign is that there can be no charge until someone clicks on your ad. You decide how much you pay for each campaign making it suitable for all budgets, although the more you pay the greater your potential results.

You don’t have to be SEO reliant

If you aren’t the savviest in terms of SEO then pay-per-click is perfect for you. Although SEO is essential for your brand’s long-term success, this method will allow you to make profitable short-term campaigns at the touch of a button. Similarly, if your website isn’t designed for SEO you can generate traffic through PPC and won’t have to worry about meeting Google’s content-heavy criteria.

Read more at https://www.business2community.com/marketing/ppc-advantages-pay-per-click-marketing-explained-01959416

Source: Why PPC? – The Advantages of Pay-Per-Click Marketing Explained

25- Jan2018
Posted By: DPadmin
29 Views

Has AI changed the SEO industry for better or worse?

Columnist Jayson DeMers explores the impact of Google’s shift toward machine learning and discusses what the future will look like for search professionals.

With Google turning to artificial intelligence to power its flagship search engine business, has the SEO industry been left in the dust? The old ways of testing and measuring are becoming antiquated, and industry insiders are scrambling to understand something new — something which is more advanced than their backgrounds typically permit.

The fact is, even Google engineers are having a hard time explaining how Google works anymore. With this in mind, is artificial intelligence changing the SEO industry for better or worse? And has Google’s once-understood algorithm become a “runaway algorithm?”

Who was in the driver’s seat?

The old days of Google were much simpler times. Artificial intelligence may have existed back then, but it was used for very narrow issues, like spam filters on Gmail. Google engineers spent most of their time writing preprogrammed “rules” that worked to continuously close the loopholes in their search engine — loopholes that let brands, with the help of SEO professionals, take advantage of a static set of rules that could be identified and then exploited.

However, this struck at the heart of Google’s primary business model: the pay-per-click (PPC) ad business. The easier it was to rank “organically” (in Google’s natural, unpaid rankings), the fewer paid ads were sold. These two distinctly different parts of their search engine have been, and will always be, at odds with one another.

If you doubt that Google sees its primary business as selling ads on its search engine, you haven’t been watching Google over the past few decades. In fact, almost 20 years after it started, Google’s primary business was still PPC. In 2016, PPC revenues still represented 89 percent of its total revenues.

At first glance, it would stand to reason that Google should do everything it can to make its search results both user-friendly and maintainable. I want to focus on this last part — having a code base that is well documented enough (at least, internally within Google) so that it can be explained to the public, as a textbook of how websites should be structured and how professionals should interact with its search engine.

Going up the hill

Throughout the better part of Google’s history, the company has made efforts to ensure that brands and webmasters understood what was expected of them. In fact, they even had a liaison to the search engine optimization (SEO) world, and his name was Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam Team.

Cutts would go around the SEO conference circuit and often be the keynote or featured session speaker. Any time Google was changing its algorithms or pushing a new update to its search engine, Cutts would be there to explain what that meant for webmasters.

It was quite the spectacle. In one room, you typically had hundreds of SEOs who were attacking every loophole they could find, every slim advantage they could get their hands on. In the very same room, you had Cutts explaining why those techniques were not going to work in the future and what Google actually recommended.

As time when loopholes were closed, Cutts became one of the only sources of hope for SEOs. Google was becoming more sophisticated than ever, and with very few loopholes left to exploit, Cutts’s speaking engagements became crucial for SEOs to review and dissect.

The ‘uh-oh’ moment

And then, the faucet of information slowed to a trickle. Cutts’ speaking engagements became rarer, and his guidelines became more generic. Finally, in 2014, Cutts took a leave from Google. This was a shock to insiders who had built an entire revenue model off of selling access to this information.

Then, the worst news for SEOs: He was being replaced by an unnamed Googler. Why unnamed? Because the role of spokesperson was being phased out. No longer would Google be explaining what brands should be doing with each new update of its search engine.

The more convoluted its search engine algorithms were, the more PPC ads Google sold. As a result of this shift, Google capitalized immensely on PPC ad revenue. It even created “Learn with Google,” a gleaming classroom where SEO conference attendees could learn how to maximize PPC spend.

An article by Search Engine Land columnist Kristine Schachinger about the lack of information on a major algorithmic update, and Google’s flippant response by interim spokesman Gary Illyes, had all of the SEO industry’s frustration wrapped up in a nutshell. What was going on?

Removing the brakes — the switch to an AI-powered search engine

At the same time, Google was experimenting with new machine learning techniques to automate much of the updating process to its search engine. Google’s methodology has always been to automate as much of its technology as it could, and its core search engine was no different.

The pace of Google’s search engine switch to artificial intelligence caught many off-guard. This wasn’t like the 15 years of manual algorithm updates to its index. This felt like a tornado had swept in — and within a few years, it changed the landscape of SEO forever.

The rules were no longer in some blog or speech by Matt Cutts. Here stood a breathtaking question: Were the rules even written down at Google anymore?

Much of the search engine algorithms and their weightings were now controlled by a continuously updating machine-learning system that changed its weightings from one keyword to the next. Marcus Tober, CTO of SearchMetrics, said that “it’s very likely that even Google Engineers don’t know the exact composition of their highly complex algorithm.

The runaway algorithm

Remember Google’s primary revenue stream? PPC represents almost 90 percent of its business. Once you know that, the rest of the story makes sense.

Did Google know beforehand that the switch to an AI-powered search engine would lead to a system that couldn’t be directly explained? Was it a coincidence that Cutts left the spotlight in 2014, and that the position never really came back? Was it that Google didn’t want to explain things to brands anymore, or that they couldn’t?

By 2017, Google CEO Sundar Pichai began to comment publicly on Google’s foray into artificial intelligence. Bob Griffin, CEO of Ayasdi, wrote recently that Pichai made it clear that there should be no abdication of responsibility associated with intelligent technologies. In other words, there should be no excuse like “The machine did x.”

Griffin put it clearly:

Understanding what the machine is doing is paramount. Transparency is knowing what algorithm was used, which parameters were used in the algorithm and, even, why. Justification is an understanding of what it did, and why in a way that you can explain to a reporter, shareholder, congressional committee or regulator. The difference is material and goes beyond some vague promise of explainable AI.

But Google’s own search engineers were seemingly unable to explain how their own search engine worked anymore. This discrepancy had gotten so bad that in late 2017, Google hired longtime SEO journalist Danny Sullivan in an attempt to reestablish its image of transparency.

But why such a move away from transparency in the first place? Could it be that the move to artificial intelligence — something that went way over the heads of even the most experienced digital marketing executives, was the perfect cover? Was Google simply throwing its proverbial hands up in the air and saying, “It’s just too hard to explain?” Or was Google just caught up in the transition to AI, trying to find a way to explain things like Matt Cutts used to do?

Regardless of Sullivan’s hire, the true revenue drivers meant that this wasn’t a top priority. Google had solved some of the most challenging technical problems in history, and they could easily have attempted to define these new technical challenges for brands, but it simply wasn’t their focus.

And, not surprisingly, after a few years of silence, most of the old guard of SEO had accepted that the faucet of true transparent communication with Google was over, never to return again.

Everyone is an artificial intelligence expert

Most SEO experts’ backgrounds do not lend themselves very well to understanding this new type of Google search. Why? Most SEO professionals and digital marketing consultants have a marketing background, not a technical background.

When asked “How is AI changing Google?,” most answers from industry thought leaders have been generic. AI really hasn’t changed much. Effective SEO still requires the same strategies you’ve pursued in the past. In some cases, responses simply had nothing to do with AI in the first place.

Many SEO professionals, who know absolutely nothing about how AI works, have been quick to deflect any questions about it. And since very few in the industry had an AI background, the term “artificial intelligence” became almost something entirely different — just another marketing slogan, rather than an actual technology. And so some SEO and digital marketing companies even began pinning themselves as the new “Artificial Intelligence” solution.

The runaway truck ramp?

As with all industries, whenever there’s a huge shift in technology, there tends to be a changing of the guard. There are a number of highly trained engineers that are beginning to make the SEO industry their home, and these more technologically savvy folks are starting to speak out.

And, for every false claim of AI, there are new AI technologies that are starting to become mainstream. And these are not your typical SEO tools and rank trackers.

Competitive industries are now investing heavily in things like genetic algorithms, particle swarm optimization and new approaches that enable advanced SEO teams to model exactly what Google’s RankBrain is attempting to do in each search engine environment.

At the forefront of these technologies is industry veteran and Carnegie Mellon alumni Scott Stouffer, founder and CTO of MarketBrew.com, who chose to create and patent a statistical search engine modeling tool, based on AI technologies, rather than pursuing a position at Google.

Now, 11 years into building his company, Stouffer has said:

There are a number of reasons why search engine modeling technology, after all these years, is just now becoming so sought-after. For one, Google is now constantly changing its algorithms, from one search query to the next. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this doesn’t bode well for SEO tools that run off of a static set of pre-programmed rules.

On the flipside, these new search engine models can actually be used to identify what the changes are statistically, to learn the behavior and characteristics of each search engine environment. The models can then be used to review why your rankings shifted: was it on-page, off-page, or a mixture of both? Make an optimization on your site, and rerun the model. You can instantly see if that change will statistically be a positive or negative move.

I asked Stouffer to give me a concrete example. Let’s say you see a major shift in rankings for a particular search result. These search engine modeling tools start with what Stouffer coins as a “standard model.” (Think of this as a generic search engine that has been regression-tested to be a “best fit” with adjustable weightings for each algorithmic family.) This standard model is then run through a process called Particle Swarm Optimization, which locates a stable mixture of algorithmic weightings that will produce similar search results to the real thing.

Here’s the catch: If you do this before and aftereach algorithmic shift, you can measure the settings on the models between the two. Stouffer says the SEO teams that invest in Market Brew technology do this to determine what Google has done with its algorithm: For instance, did it put more emphasis on the title tags, backlinks, structured data and so on?

Suffice it to say, there are some really smart people in this industry who are quickly returning the runaway algorithm back to the road.

Chris Dreyer of Rankings.io put it best:

I envision SEO becoming far more technical than it is today.  If you think about it, in the beginning, it was super easy to rank well in search.  The tactics were extremely straight forward (i.e. keywords in a meta tag, any link placed anywhere from any other website helped, etc.). Fast forward just a decade and SEO has already become much more advanced because search algorithms have become more advanced.  As search engines move closer to the realistic human analysis of websites (and beyond), SEOs will have to adapt. We will have to understand how AI works in order to optimize sites to rank well.

As far as Google goes, the hiring of Sullivan should be a very interesting twist to follow. Will Google try to reconcile the highly technical nature of its new AI-based search engine, or will it be more of the same: generic information intended on keeping these new technologists at bay, and keeping Google’s top revenue source safe?

Can these new search engine modeling technologies usher in a new understanding of Google? Will the old guard of SEO embrace these new technologies, or is there a seismic shift underway, led by engineers and data scientists, not marketers?

The next decade will certainly be an interesting one for SEO.

Source: Has AI changed the SEO industry for better or worse?