06- Apr2018
Posted By: DPadmin
31 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

14- Aug2017
Posted By: DPadmin
147 Views

2017 growth hacks: Use affiliates to improve PPC reach

Owning more paid search spots on search results can increase your clicks by 30–50 percent for each additional spot that you occupy. To get this type of monster click growth from paid search, tap on your affiliates, partners and resellers to make a paid search land grab. For example, if your CTR (click-through rate) alone is 2 percent, removing one competitor and replacing it with one affiliate with a CTR of 0.8 percent grows your additive CTR to 2.8 percent — a 40 percent gain!

The learnings I am about to share come from years of working with search marketing clients through my position as CEO of The Search Monitor.

Growth hack 1: Use affiliates to protect brand terms

One of the most effective ways to use your affiliates is to box out competitors on your brand and brand+ keywords. In this hack, you will grant a trusted list of affiliates with brand bidding rights. Typically, you will also restrict ranking so that your ads always appear on top. By utilizing affiliates to fill in competitive ad spots on your brand+ keywords, you effectively reduce the reach of your competition.

The big benefit: More page real estate for you

This tactic works best if you are in a highly competitive space with three or more advertisers bidding on your brands. If you are already dominant — i.e., the only advertiser on your brand and brand+ keywords — then this tactic does not make sense for you.

The big challenge: Cannibalizing your clicks and messaging

To protect yourself from cannibalizing your SEM team’s efforts, you need to ensure a few safeties are in place:

  1. Your affiliates are granted limited rank rights so that you are always at the top.
  2. Your affiliates stay on message so that there are no conflicting offers showing.

Below is an example of Verizon taking advantage of this tactic. All of the top positions are for Verizon — nicely done!

By contrast, the screen shot below provides an example of ADT getting taken advantage of by not using this tactic. Positions 2, 3 and 4 are occupied by competitors.

If the cumulative CTR for ads on this keyword is 6 percent, then assuming the off-brand competitors are able to snag 2-3 percent CTR as a group, ADT has lost ~50 percent of its potential clicks. Given that SimpliSafe has a better offer at $15/month versus ADT’s offer of $9/week, the click loss might be higher than this.

Growth hack 2: Use affiliates to bid on brands you sell

To extend your reach, consider granting your trusted affiliates with direct linking rights to brand bid on brands that you sell. Direct linking involves an affiliate using your display URL in the ad (so that the ad looks like yours), and then driving the clicks through an affiliate link as the destination URL, then directly to your website.

The big benefit: More reach for you, no SEM budget changes

This tactic extends your paid search reach without extending your paid search budget. Your affiliates take on the risk and the budget, while driving traffic, branding and attention to your own website.

Amazon uses this tactic a lot. Amazon’s reach is tremendous because it uses this tactic across nearly every brand where you see an Amazon ad. The ads below are all direct linking ads from Amazon’s affiliates marketing on non-Amazon brands: Nike, Keurig, DKNY, Logitech and Verizon:

The big challenge: Direct linking is risky

Allowing affiliates to link directly is a bit risky, which is why most advertisers do not allow their affiliates to do it. A few problems can arise without careful monitoring:

  1. If the keyword lists overlap with your SEM team’s list, direct linking will cause tremendous channel conflict between the affiliate and paid search teams.
  2. Ad copy and messaging need to be carefully monitored to ensure that the messaging is on-brand.
  3. If the affiliate direct links on your own brand name, you have defeated the very purpose of this tactic; you should never allow affiliates to direct link on your own brand name.

To showcase these challenges, here are a few Amazon backfires:

  • Here, Amazon gave its affiliate too much leeway. The resulting keyword choice and ad copy messaging makes no sense:

  • Here, an Amazon affiliate sneaked up on Amazon’s own branded keyword. Brand bidding should never be allowed by direct linking affiliates. We call this problem “URL Hijacking”:

Do your homework

If you are going to deploy either of the above tactics, be sure to do your homework so that all goes well and you can sleep easily at night.

Define your search policy. Your affiliate agreement must describe exactly what is and is not allowed, including keyword bidding, messaging and direct linking.

Pick trusted affiliates. Pick affiliates who have the ability to manage SEM properly. To gauge trust, ask these questions:

  1. Is your affiliate monitoring its own activities? A huge credibility win is when your affiliate uses a compliance monitoring utility to police itself.
  2. Is your affiliate risky to other merchants? Try to gain insight into the brand bidding behavior that the affiliate poses towards other merchants.

Monitor for compliance and report often. For this plan to work, all of your affiliates must comply with your rules. Carefully monitor search results pages, automate reports, get alerts and fire off complaints if affiliates are not following your rules.

How will you know if this strategy is working?

Below are signs that your plan is working:

  • Your traffic increases from the paid search channel.
  • Your reach increases — your ads appear on more search results.
  • You see fewer competitors on your brand terms.
  • Your CPC (cost per click) decreases — our clients expect to see a 50-60 percent decrease in CPCs.
  • Your CTR increases — our clients have seen 30-40 percent increases in clicks.

Source: 2017 growth hacks: Use affiliates to improve PPC reach

26- Jul2017
Posted By: DPadmin
132 Views

3 Reasons Why Landing Pages Are Important for a PPC Campaign

What is a landing page? A landing page at its most basic is any web page that a person can visit or “land” on when navigating the internet. They are stand-alone pages, distinct from your main website, that are developed for the purpose of advertising, and with a goal to generate conversions and leads.

Since landing pages are designed separately from the main site, there are usually no options to navigate, forcing users to focus on the copy or message that is tailored to the conversion goal of the page. Featured images, use of color, calls-to-action, and a lead generation form are all essential parts of a landing page that help to increase conversions.

For the purposes of this post, we will focus on the relationship between landing pages and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns; however, the following best practices can be applied to all traffic sources.

1. Landing pages improve paid search campaigns

If you have ever advertised on Google AdWords, you’ll be familiar with its grading system known as Quality Score. Your Quality Score is determined by the following factors:

  • Your ad click-through rate (CTR)
  • The relevance of each keyword to its ad group
  • Landing page quality and relevance
  • The relevance of your ad text

The quality of your landing page is an important factor that contributes to your Quality Score, and the better your Quality Score, the lower your cost-per-click will be—resulting in you getting more value from the campaign.

RELATED: Designing Effective PPC Landing Pages for Mobile Devices: Advice From Real Experts

Google wants to show ads to its users that are most likely to solve their problems so they can take action. A landing page serves this purpose as it does not have excess navigation links and includes messages on the page that are specifically designed for advertising campaigns. The information, therefore, is very relevant, meaning there is a high likelihood that users will fill out call-to-action forms or call your office.

2. Landing pages increase conversions

Businesses that advertise through search engines are more focused on increasing their sales versus trying to increase brand awareness. As a result, their PPC traffic is psychologically different from their organic traffic and needs to be marketed to differently. A user who visits a landing page will either immediately take action by filling out a form, or will simply just leave the page, so the window of opportunity to convert PPC traffic is small. However, since limited information is presented on a landing page, visitors are not overloaded with extraneous information, and if they are the right audience, they will be more likely to take action.

Landing pages are set up separate from main websites, and with the help of online tools like LeadpagesUnbounce, or Instapage, advertisers can do split tests (also known as A/B tests) of the copy, calls-to-action, and other features to test and improve conversions without affecting the main site.

3. Landing pages generate data and insights

To find out whether Google AdWords is right for you or if you should advertise somewhere else (on Facebook, for example), a landing page can help identify the most efficient channel for generating leads. The insights generated by a landing page can also help to identify the right message or call-to-action that will increase conversions, which can then be used to increase user experience, resulting in a lower cost per lead.

Should you ask for users’ phone numbers on a landing page, or just names and emails? You can do split testing on your landing page to find out if adding a field for a phone number increases conversions.

In conclusion, landing pages are an invaluable part of a PPC campaign and will not only help improve ad performance, but will directly contribute to the bottom line of your business.

Source: 3 Reasons Why Landing Pages Are Important for a PPC Campaign | AllBusiness.com

12- Sep2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
137 Views

Want To Double Your Search Engine Traffic? Think Like A PPC Expert

Every click counts. That means it’s definitely worth 2-3 minutes of your time (or someone else’s time) to write accurate, concise, and enticing title tags and meta descriptions. That little bit of extra time could easily end up getting you two or three times the traffic you’re getting now.

How much is a click worth to you? If you do pay per click advertising, like so many small businesses do, you’ll know the answer to that immediately. Odds are good, too, that what you’re paying for a click is higher than you’d like. Many companies are paying $2, $5, even $10 or $20 just to get people to click on their ads once. And that’s without the guarantee of generating any business just for the privilege of making the pitch.

While we pay big bucks for clicks on ads, we tend to neglect the free clicks. The title tags and descriptions of our pages are showing up right next to those expensive ads, yet most of us are spending almost no time on the “ad copy” for our free, organic search listings. Often, those title tags we use aren’t even unique, or they’re written as an afterthought.

We know small businesses tend to underinvest in search engine optimization. When we surveyed over 1,100 small businesses earlier this year for the Wasp Barcode Technologies State of Small Business Report,we found that only 25% – about one in four – are doing any search engine optimization.

Wasp Barcode Technologies State of Small Business Report, found that only 25% – about one in four – are doing any search engine optimization.
Wasp Barcode Technologies State of Small Business Report, found that only 25% – about one in four – are doing any search engine optimization.

ADVERTISING
That was a disappointment, but neglecting these title tags and page descriptions is a huge missed opportunity. Once you view your web pages’ title tags and meta descriptions like they were ad copy, you’ll immediately want to improve them. As you pay per click advertisers know, it’s quite possible to double or triple the click-through rate on a pay per click ad. Sometimes all it takes is using the right word or phrase.

Two massive upsides of better title tags and meta descriptions

If you start applying ad copy thinking to the title and meta description tags of your pages, it means you can probably double or triple the click-through rates for your organic search listings. This has two massive consequences:

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You can double or triple your organic search traffic without any other changes. No link building, no content development – nada. Just rewrite those title tags and meta descriptions so they’re more enticing.
Increasing the click-through rate of your organic search listings is widely believed to affect the ranking of your pages. In other words, the higher the click-through rates are for your organic search listings, the more the search engines will interpret that as a signal your pages are more relevant to users. So your pages will rise in the search results.
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These are the results of the Searchmetrics’ 2015 Google U.S. Ranking Factors study.

Now is a particularly good time to try this

Google GOOGL +0.74% (and Bing) appear to be testing longer title tags.

The implications of this are significant, but they vary a lot from page to page and search to search. For instance, some letters take up more space than others, so I can’t tell you “use up to 77 characters,” because some title tags will get cut before that.

There’s also evidence that Google is appending brand names to title tags, which could use up even more space. This appending move by Google is interesting, because some companies have been adding their brand or company name to their pages for years. Hopefully we won’t start seeing duplicate company or brand names in title tags.

Testing your title tags and meta descriptions

The best news about thinking of your title tags and meta descriptions as ad copy is that you’ve already got the information you need to make improvements. Your Google Search Console account (previously known as “Webmaster Tools”) has a report that shows the click-through rates for your pages.

Take a screenshot of this report and then make your title tag and page description copy changes. Circle back about two weeks later to see if your pages are performing better. That’s it. It’s not the slickest system, but it is enough to double your traffic.

Google Search Console account (previously known as “Webmaster Tools”) has a report that shows the click-through rates for your pages.
Google Search Console account (previously known as “Webmaster Tools”) has a report that shows the click-through rates for your pages.

Conclusion

If you’re paying for traffic, you already know how competitive, and expensive, it is to get clicks. So it’s time to stop taking the free traffic you are getting from the search engines for granted.

Every click counts. That means it’s definitely worth 2-3 minutes of your time (or someone else’s time) to write accurate, concise, and enticing title tags and meta descriptions. That little bit of extra time could easily end up getting you two or three times the traffic you’re getting now.

Actually, I recommend you calculate the value of that extra traffic, based on how much you’re spending on paid clicks now. You may have just found a way to nab $10,000 or more in free traffic.

Source: Want To Double Your Search Engine Traffic? Think Like A PPC Expert

24- May2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
352 Views

Companies Will Spend $65 Billion on SEO in 2016, Much of it Will Be Wasted

Entrepreneur magazine contributor, Mike Templeman, shares his thoughts on the SEO snake oil being solicited by top agencies and advertisers alike.  SEO takes time and like Mike references, there is no “overnight” fix or silver bullet that can take you to the top.

———–>

Don’t get burned by a snake oil salesperson when it comes to your company’s SEO needs.Do you know what snake oil is? It’s a term used to describe any product with questionable or unverifiable quality or benefit. If you read this Wikipedia article on the topic, you’ll see that real oil from snakes used to be prescribed as a cure for everything from small cuts on up to arthritis and skin diseases.

And a recent study came out touting that companies will be spending $65 Billion on SEO this year.

Now, as the title to this article would imply, I believe that the SEO industry, and the digital marketing industry in general is full of snake oil salespeople. Individuals who knowingly are selling a product that either will not work for the buyer or that they know is of inferior quality.

Let me explain. I run a marketing agency. I have to hear dozens of horror stories every week about wasted budgets, sites damaged beyond repair, digital campaigns that produce zero results and everything else business owners and marketers are terrified of. These stories are the grownup versions of the campfire stories we told each other as children. Except now, they end in the loss of millions of dollars. Terrifying, I know.

Now, I mentioned that I run an agency, as such you’d think that we’d have a pretty good grasp on marketing. But you wouldn’t guess that if you looked at my spam folder. I receive hundreds, yes hundreds of unsolicited emails every day from marketers promising to take my brand to the #1 spot in Google (total lie). Or to bring me thousands of visitors in a matter of weeks (liar liar pants on fire). They tell me that my site is breaking numerous rules set forth by the search engines and if I don’t fix them my company will die a fiery death (oh really?).

Related: Here’s What Really Matters for SEO in 2016

These are the Exhibit A’s in the snake oil industry of digital marketing and SEO.

To see the Exhibit B’s you’ll need to reach out to an agency of your choice and ask to speak with their sales team. Odds are you’ll end up talking with someone that will guarantee that your wildest dreams will be fulfilled by focusing on SEO. Or maybe they’re a social media agency. If that’s the case, their silver bullet will undoubtedly be social media. Either way, they’ve got the tonic that will cure your website’s disease. And if you act now, you’ll be guaranteed results!

Look, as someone who has worked in SEO and every other digital medium for the last decade or so, I can tell you that there are no silver bullets and that nothing is guaranteed. I also know that SEO doesn’t work for some companies. Just like PPC isn’t for everyone, nor is social media. After all, billboards and commercials don’t work for every industry, so why would digital marketing be any different?

But let’s examine what makes a lot of SEO services snake oil and give you the information you’ll need to protect yourself.

Why is it snake oil?
Snake oil originated in the medical industry. It was used as a cure for ailments. It was easy for salespeople to pull the wool over they’re buyers’ eyes because back in the day, no one really knew what the heck was going on with their bodies. Medical information wasn’t as readily available. And since medical conditions are by nature quite scary, the sufferers were ready to believe anything that was thrown their way.

Well, guess what? The Internet is the new medical industry when it comes to snake oil. You see, the Internet is still not that old. It’s really only become prolific over the last 20 years or so. With that being the case, most people don’t understand the ins and outs of it. Yes, like a medical condition, they can tell when something is wrong. But they’re not really quite sure what the cause of the issue is. Enter the snake oil salespeople.

Whenever there are uninformed customers, there will always be predatory groups looking to take advantage of that situation. And with a 65 Billion dollar industry up for grabs, the streets are running wet with snake oil right now.

Related: 10 Questions to Ask When Hiring an SEO Consultant

What I’ve seen.
While some snake oils can be rather harmless, when it comes to your digital marketing snake oil is anything but. For instance, I wrote an article a few years back about a large company that was removed from the Google search results due to their digital marketing activities. They had some sloppy marketing being done and it ended up making them disappear from the search results. Harmless, right? Wrong. You see, this company relied heavily on their search results for new leads to their call center. This call center was staffed by dozens of people. These people had families, mortgages, and relied on that income.

Well, when the phones just stop ringing one morning, it’s going to be very hard for a company to keep employing an entire sales floor. And while the company did their best to avoid the inevitable, they eventually had to face the facts and they ended up laying off the entire department.

So this one company that unfortunately trusted a snake oil salesperson, ended up having to lay off almost 50 people at a time when the economy wasn’t doing so well. I’m sure there was a lot of financial pain felt by these families.

So, yes, snake oil SEO can be extremely dangerous in today’s digital economy.

How do business owners avoid getting burned?
This is probably the most important part of this article. As I mentioned earlier, the reason these groups are able to prey on consumers is because of the lack of information. To this end, you need to gird yourself with knowledge. Do research on the topic you’ll be discussing with your potential agency partners. Have talking points and specific questions that you’d like answered. By doing this, you’ll be able to avoid the bottom-of-the-barrel snake oil salespeople that can’t even face mild scrutiny.

Related: The Top 4 Reasons SEO Is Dead

Once you’ve weeded those ones out, you’ll want to really do your research on the agencies that have made the first cut. Check the background of the founders, look for third party reviews. Ask them for case studies, testimonials, and references. Do not look at a slick sales deck and assume that because they can put together a decent PowerPoint that they can provide you with proper marketing services. I’ve seen hundreds of dreams crushed on the expectations set by a nice sales presentation. Any group you don’t feel 100 percent comfortable with should be cut after this.

Now that you’ve made it to your third round of choices, you’ll want to watch what they produce for you very closely. Don’t accept an agency that does not give you full visibility into what they’re doing. I can’t tell you how often I see shoddy work being done, and the business owner would have been able to identify that work as being shoddy, but because they weren’t aware it was being done, they had no way of stopping it.

Because of this you’ll want to make sure that the group you’re working with is willing to show you everything they’re doing and will actually take the time to explain and train you on what they’re doing. After all, an informed client is the best kind of client.

And if you follow these steps, you’ll be assured that you’ve probably weeded out all of the snake oil salespeople and you’ll be working with a reputable agency. Now, this doesn’t guarantee that you will get great results. As I mentioned above, sometimes SEO isn’t a solution for all industries and sometimes marketing campaigns don’t result in massive successes. But those are the chances you should be willing to take. If you know you’re working with the right group that does things the right way, then you’re in it together. And the engagement should feel like a partnership, rather then a vendor relationship.

So, as you’re out there trying to spend your marketing dollars wisely, watch for those shady characters that are touting the magical properties of their services. Odds are, there’s a lot of snake oil in their pitch.

Source: Companies Will Spend $65 Billion on SEO in 2016, Much of it Will Be Wasted

24- Feb2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
276 Views

Google To Shut Down Google Compare Products In US And UK On March 23

The vertical lead generation programs for credit cards, auto insurance, mortgages and travel insurance will start winding down Tuesday, February 23.Google’s lead generation product known as Google Compare, will start sunsetting this week.Google’s lead generation product known as Google Compare, will start sunsetting this week.

In an email sent to partners and acquired by Search Engine Land, the Google Compare Team told Compare partners on Monday night that the product will start to wind down on Tuesday, February 23, 2016. Google Compare will shut down completely in both the US and UK — the two markets where Compare is offered — one month later on March 23.

The email to Compare partners:

From: Google Compare Team
Subject: An Update on Google Compare

Dear Partner,

Beginning on February 23, 2016, we will start ramping down the Google Compare product, which is currently live in both the US and UK. We plan to terminate the service as of March 23, 2016. As you know, Google Compare (formerly Google Advisor in the U.S.) has been a specialized, standalone service that enables consumers to get quotes from a number of providers for financial products such as car and travel insurance, credit cards and mortgages.

Despite people turning to Google for financial services information, the Google Compare service itself hasn’t driven the success we hoped for. We greatly appreciate your partnership and understand that this decision will be disappointing to some. But after a lot of careful consideration, we’ve decided that focusing more intently on AdWords and future innovations will enable us to provide fresh, comprehensive answers to Google users, and to provide our financial services partners with the best return on investment.

We’re grateful for all the feedback that you have provided over the course of this product’s development, and we are looking forward to partnering with you to achieve greater success in the future.

We will work with you during this transition and beyond. Please reach out to your Google representative if you have any questions and to discuss the next steps.

The Google Compare Team

Google has confirmed the email’s authenticity.

The company only recently began rebuilding the Compare product from the ashes of the Advisor program in the US. The single piece left standing from that initial effort was the credit card offering — savings accounts, CDs and mortgages had all discontinued. Compare for Auto Insurance launched just last March, starting in California. Then Google relaunched Compare for Mortgage quotes in November with Zillow and Lending Tree among the launch partners. Both of those relaunches had limited roll outs. In the UK, Google Compare has been running since 2012 for car insurance, mortgage rates, credit cards and travel insurance.

A Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land that while searches on these queries remained high, the product didn’t get the traction it hoped for and revenue was minimal. That’s in part due to the limited availability of the products in both the US and the UK.

In the UK, the Compare product also came under scrutiny in 2014 by the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK financial services industry regulator, when comparison sites complained Google was competing unfairly by placing its own product at the top of the search results. However, any legal concerns did not play a role in the decision to close Compare, we’re told.

What’s next? Google says the focus will primarily be on AdWords and transitioning partners to standard ad products. However, it may still focus on the space and look at new product avenues.

While the move will come as a surprise to many outside the company, apparently internally this decision to terminate Compare is not coming as a shock. The Google spokesperson said the company will help Googlers currently working on Compare find new roles within the company.

Source: Google To Shut Down Google Compare Products In US And UK On March 23

21- Feb2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
387 Views

Google AdWords Switching to 4 Ads on Top, None on Sidebar

It seems that Google is rolling out a change to Google AdWords that sees 4 ads at the top of the search results, none on the sidebar at all, and an additional 3 ads at the bottom of the search results.  This replaces the usual mix of top, bottom and sidebar-heavy AdWords ads, depending on the specific search result.

Many of the ads do have additional features like sitelinks, but it is hard to tell if those have increased or not.

It was huge news in December when Google began testing 4 ads at the top of the search results, and quite a controversial one for many.  While advertisers loved it, regular SEOs weren’t so happy since it pushed the organic search results even further down the page.

AdWords hasn’t confirmed it publicly yet, but multiple advertisers are confirming this is what their AdWords reps are telling them.

Dr. Pete Meyers from Moz is reporting their Mozcast data went from less than 0.1% of their tracked search results having 4 ads above the fold to 19% of them.

Which equals a 19,000% increase.

From AdWords:

And then they seemed to be taking a joke in stride while #ppcchat’ers were waiting for the official announcement (even though all evidence points to the change being made).

 

This isn’t a huge surprise when you really think of it.  Google has been bringing their search results closer to the mobile experience over the past year, and this definitely qualifies for it.

It also leaves more room for Google’s Product Listing Ads to show in the sidebar – they are still being run in the sidebar even with 4 ads above the fold. And it shows more PLAs since Google often shows two rows of PLAs in the sidebar while only one row at the top of the search results.  PLAs can still appear above the search results though.

Google Adwords switches to 4 ads top with pla

And also makes it available for other features such as the knowledge panel.

Some are saying the rollout is expected to complete by February 22nd, which is a few days from now.

We will update if/when AdWords confirms the changes.  But all evidence from what people are seeing in the search results currently is that most people worldwide are seeing this change to 4 ads on top, 3 on bottom but none at all on the sidebar.

Update from Google: A Google spokesperson reached out to The SEM Post with the following.

“We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers.”

Update from Google #2: this change is global and impacts all languages. I asked for clarification on the commercial queries, and they are queries where people express a deep intention to buy.

Source: Google AdWords Switching to 4 Ads on Top, None on Sidebar

19- Feb2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
380 Views

Mark Cuban’s Big Idea to End the Apple Encryption Battle

The FBI is pressuring Apple to help the agency bypass the iPhone’s security features to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’s smartphone. Here’s Mark Cuban’s thoughts on the matter.

Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and owner of the basketball team the Dallas Mavericks, says Apple is doing the right thing by refusing to build special software to help the FBIunlock an iPhone belonging to one of the terrorists who carried out the mass shooting in San Bernardino in 2015.

Using a 227-year-old law, the FBI is demanding that Apple write a new version of its iPhone operating system to help the agency bypass the encryption security features in the iPhone belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook, who along with his wife Tashfeen Malik shot and killed 14 people at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino on Dec. 2. But Apple has refused to build the backdoor, explaining in a letter released to the public this week that the new iOS program could have disastrous effects on the privacy of every iPhone user.

In a blog post, Cuban writes that if Apple complies with the FBI’s demands it could start rolling down a “slippery slope of lost privacy.” The FBI says it just wants a one-off program to decrypt the locked iPhone, but Apple says once the ability to decrypt an iPhone is created it could be used to unlock any iPhone user’s phone–effectively opening a Pandora’s box that could never be closed.

Cuban says the potential for abuse could threaten the privacy millions of people.

“Every tool that protects our privacy and liberties against oppression, tyranny, madmen and worse can often be used to take those very precious rights from us. But like we protect our 2nd Amendment Right [sic], we must not let some of the negatives stand in the way of all the positives. We must stand up for our rights to free speech and liberty,” Cuban writes.

The major sticking point is that no law exists that would compel a company to write software to crack its own encrypted software, so the FBI is using the All Writs Act of 1789, which George Washington signed during the creation of the federal court system. The Act is a vague catch-all that empowers courts to issue orders even though a law doesn’t exist yet.

Apple is framing the FBI’s use of the law as a dangerous precedent, reminiscent of the NSA’s mass surveillance program revealed by Edward Snowden.

“If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data,” Tim Cook wrote in a customer letter. “The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.”

But Cuban has an answer. Cuban admits he is not one to propose more laws, but he says the All Writs Act is dangerously vague and could lead to the wholesale loss of our nation’s privacy. His answer is to create a new law specifically tailored to this unique situation, which was created by the fact that technology moves faster than law. Check out Cuban’s proposed law below:

“A company can only be compelled to remove any type of security or encryption from a smartphone or tablet, and only a smartphone or tablet, under the following circumstances:

1. There has been an event, with casualties, that has beendeclared an Act of Terrorism
2. There is reason to believe that the smartphone was possessed by a participant in the Act of Terrorism.
3. The smartphone must have been on premise during the event.
4. The terrorist who was in possession of the smartphone or tablet must be deceased.”

Source: Mark Cuban’s Big Idea to End the Apple Encryption Battle | Inc.com

19- Feb2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
434 Views

App Store SEO: The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Mobile – Moz

As the app ecosystem grows, many marketers are turning their sights towards mobile app marketing. Today’s post provides a high-level view of App Store Optimization, and gives tips on how to break into the rapidly expanding world of apps.

How to Optimize for App Store Search Engines

Let’s dive into search in the app stores, and how the search engines differ based on platform.

First things first; remember I mentioned that the app ecosystem reminds me of the web in the mid-to-late 90’s? Keep that picture in your head when you think of search. App store search hasn’t been “figured out” in the same way that Google “figured out” search on the web. Simply put, we’re still in AltaVista mode in the app ecosystem: something better than Yahoo’s directory provided, but not incredibly sophisticated like Google would become in a few more years.

Just like the web has on-page and off-page SEO, apps have on-metadata and off-metadata ASO. On-metadata ASO include factors totally within your control and are often things dealing with your app store presence. Off-metadata ASO include factors that might not be entirely in your control, but which you can still influence. Here are a few of the most important knobs and levers that you as a marketer can turn to affect your search performance, and some quick tips on how to optimize them.

On-Metadata

App Title

An app’s title is the single most important metadata factor for rank in ASO. It’s equivalent to the <title> tag in your HTML, and is a great signal to the app stores as to what your app is about. On the web, you want your title to include both a description of what you do (including keywords) as well as some branding; both elements should also exist in the app store. Be sure to include the keywords, but don’t be spammy. Make sure it parses well and makes sense. Example: “Strava Run – GPS Running, Training and Cycling Workout Tracker

Description

Patrick Haig, our VP of Customer Success, likes to break descriptions down into two sections: above the fold and below the fold (sound familiar?). He says, “Above the fold language should be 1-2 sentences describing the app and its primary use case, and below the fold should have a clear and engaging feature set and social proof.” We’ll dig into some of the differences about the description field across platforms below.

Keyword Field

The Keyword Field in iOS is a 100 character field which you can use to tell iTunes search for which keywords you should show up. Since you only get 100 characters, you must use them wisely. A few tips:

  • When choosing your keywords, just like on the web, focus on relevancy, search volume, and difficulty.
  • Don’t use multiple word phrases; break out to individual words (Apple can combine them for you).
  • Don’t repeat keywords that are already in your title (and put the most important ones in your title, leaving the keyword field for your secondary keywords).
  • Separate keywords with commas, and don’t use spaces anywhere.

Icon

Consumers are finicky. They want apps which are beautiful, elegant, and simple to understand. Your icon is often their first interaction with your app, so ensure that it does a great job conveying your brand, and the elegance and usefulness of your app. Remember, in search results, an icon is one of the only ways you can convey your brand and usefulness. Think of it as part of the meta description tag you’d create in SEO. For example, SoundCloud does a great job with their icon and branding.

Screenshots

The most important rule to remember when creating your screenshots is that they should not be screenshots. They are, instead, promotional graphics. That means you can include text or other graphics to tell your app’s story in an interesting, visual way.

Especially in iOS, where the card layout shows your first screenshot, it is incredibly helpful when an app displays a graphic which explains the app right up front, increasing conversions from search results to viewing the app page and, ultimately, installing the app.

The best app marketers also use their screenshots promotional graphics together to create a flow that carries the user through the story. Each graphic can build off the previous graphic, giving the user a reason to continue scrolling and learning about your app.

Here’s a great example of using the screenshots effectively by our friends at Haiku Deck.

As the app ecosystem grows, many marketers are turning their sights towards mobile app marketing.

Off-Metadata

Outside of your direct control, you’ll also want to focus on a few things to ensure the best performance in ASO.

Ratings

Average Ratings

Every app has a rating. Your job as a marketer is to ensure that your app gets a great overall rating. Rating is directly tied to performance in app store search, which leads us to believe that rating is a factor in app store search rankings.

Reviews

Similar to ratings, you want to ensure that the reviews your users write about your app are positive. These reviews will help increase your conversion rate from app page views to downloads.

For a great product to help you increase your rating and reviews, check out Apptentive.

Link-building

This is discussed further below, but suffice it to say, link building to your app’s page in the app store matters for Google Play apps. Given you all are SEOs, you know all about how to rock this!

How Do iOS and Google Play Differ In App Store Search?

The differences in the platforms mean that there are different levers to pull depending on the platform. Google Play and iOS act completely independently, and often, quite differently. The differences are wide-ranging, but what are a couple of the main differences?

In general, the way to think about the differences is that Google is Google and Apple is Apple. Duh, right? Google has the built the infrastructure and technology to learn from the web and use many different data points to make a decision. Apple, on the other hand, doesn’t have indexes of the web, and comes from a background in media. When in doubt, imagine what you’d do if you were each of them and had the history each of them has.

Here are a couple concrete examples.

Description versus Keywords

In iOS, there’s a keywords field. It’s easy to see where this came from, especially when you think of iTunes’ background in music: a song has a title (app title), musician (developer name), and then needs a few keywords to describe the song (“motown,” “reggae,” etc.). When Apple launched their app store, they used the same technology that was already built for music, which meant that the app title, developer name, and keywords were the only fields used to understand search for an app. Note that description isn’t taken into account in iOS (but I expect this to change soon).

On the other hand, there is no keyword field in Google Play; there is only a description field. Thus, while iOS doesn’t take the description into account, in Google Play the description is all you have, so be sure to do exactly the same as you do on the web: cater your content towards your keywords, without being spammy.

Leveraging PageRank in Google Play

Another big difference in iOS and Google Play is that Google has access to PageRank and the link graph of the web, while Apple does not. Thus, Google will take into account the inbound links to your app’s detail page (for example, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.symantec.mobilesecurity) as a factor in Google Play search, while Apple has no such factor.


How To Measure Success In App Marketing

It’s very difficult to measure success in app marketing in the same way you can measure success in web marketing. This is especially true when you’re working with inbound channels. It’s still early, but it’s continuously getting better, with more tools and services coming out all the time to help marketers understand success. Here are some of the ways I recommend measuring success in the app store today:

Search Rankings

Just like on the web, a great way to measure your success in app store search is to track your ranking for specific search terms you care about over time and versus your competition. Rank tracking is incredibly valuable for ASOs to understand their progress.

Top Charts

Top Charts, especially Top Charts within a particular category, do a great job of allowing you to understand your success in relation to the rest of the apps in your category.

As the app ecosystem grows, many marketers are turning their sights towards mobile app marketing.

Ratings and Reviews

Just as ratings and reviews will help your ASO, they are also great metrics to track over time for how you’re doing with your app marketing. Keep track of what users are saying, how they’re saying it (pro tip: listening to their language is a great way to do keyword research!), and what they’re rating your app.

Downloads

Taking it one step further, correlating your search rankings to downloads will allow you to understand the effect your increased ASO is having on your app performance. One way we do this is to integrate with iTunes Connect and overlay your search rankings with your downloads so you can visually see how closely related any one keyword is with your downloads. It’s not perfect, but it helps!

Conversion and Revenue

At the end of the day, revenue is the most important metric you should be understanding. Of course, you should be tracking your revenue and doing the same correlation with search performance. In addition, you should watch your conversion rate over time; we often see apps whose conversion rate soars with an increase in ASO because the users are so much more engaged with the app.


Tools And Resources To Use To Help With App Marketing

To conclude this post, I want to quickly talk about some tools and resources to use to help your app marketing process.

Sylvain has written some great content and has some incredible insights into app marketing and ASO on his company’s (Apptamin) blog.

I mentioned Apptentive above, and they really are the best way I know to impact your ratings and reviews, and get great feedback from customers in the process.

In addition to having a great, free, in-app analytics product (Flurry Analytics), as well as an interesting paid advertising product (AppCircle), Flurry also posts some of the most interesting data about the app ecosystem on their blog.

If you’re looking to obtain some amount of attribution for your paid advertising (inbound can’t be split out, sorry!), MobileAppTracking is where it’s at. It allows you to understand which paid channels are performing best for you based on the metric of your choosing. Best of all, you only pay for what you use.

App Marketing Tools

This is, of course, a shameless promotion. That said, our product is a great way to understand your performance in app store search, help you do keyword research, and give you competitive intelligence. We offer a free (forever!) tool for Indie developers and scale all the way up to the largest Enterprise customers.


Now It’s Your Turn–> Visit the link below to get the full list to help guide you along your optimization way!

Source: App Store SEO: The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Mobile – Moz