As if we didn’t already have enough to think about in any given SEO campaign, it is now imperative to separate and refine your approaches to mobile and desktop search.
While mobile has become hugely significant over the last couple of years, this shouldn’t be to the neglect of desktop. Although SEO for mobile and desktop follow the same basic principles and best practices, there are nuances and discrepancies that need to be factored in to your overall strategy.
Part of this is the keyword rankings: you won’t ever know how to adapt your strategies if you’re not tracking the rankings separately for each. Research from BrightEdge found that 79% of listings have a different rank on mobile devices compared with desktop, and the top-ranking result for a query is different on desktop and mobile 35% of the time. These are statistics that simply cannot be ignored.
Why do they do differ?
Before delving into how to compare keyword rankings on mobile and desktop, it’s first important to acknowledge the why and the what: why they are different and what it means for your SEO strategy.
It’s paramount to understand that desktop and mobile searches use different algorithms. Ultimately, Google wants to provide the best user experience for searchers, whatever device they are using. This means creating a bespoke device-tailored experience and in order to do that, we need to delve deeper into user intent.
It’s all about user intent
The crux of the mobile versus desktop conundrum is that user intent tends to differ for each device. This is particularly important when considering how far along the funnel a user is. It’s a generalization, but overall mobile users are often closer to the transactional phase, while desktop users are usually closer to the informational phase.
For example, we can better understand user intent on mobile by understanding the prevalence of local search. If a user is searching for a product or service on mobile, it is likely to be local. In contrast, users searching for a product or service on desktop are more likely to be browsing non-location-specific ecommerce sites.
Let’s also consider the types of conversions likely to occur on each device, in terms of getting in touch. Users on mobile are for more likely to call, by simply tapping the number which appears in the local map pack section. Alternatively, desktop users would be more inclined to type an email or submit a contact form.
What on earth is a micro-moment?
To better understand the different ways in which consumers behave, it may help to spend a little time familiarizing yourself with micro-moments. These refer to Google’s ability to determine a searcher’s most likely intent, and is particularly important for mobile users, when a consumer often needs to take immediate action.
For example, if a user is searching for a local product or service, the local map pack will appear, but if they are searching for information then the quick answer box will appear. These micro-moments therefore have a significant impact on the way the SERPs are constructed.
Once you’ve understood the user intent of a given searcher, you can ensure that you are providing content for both mobile and desktop users. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that content with longer word counts continues to perform well on mobile, despite the general consensus that people on mobile simply can’t be bothered to consume long form content. This harks back to Google’s prioritization of high quality content. Besides, anybody who has a long train commute into work will understand the need for a nice, long article to read on mobile.
With that context, we can now return to the matter at hand: rankings. Of course, you could record the rankings for both desktop and mobile the old-fashioned, manual way, but who has time for that? In short, any good SEO tool worth its salt will enable you to track both desktop and mobile rankings separately. Here are some favorites:
- SEMRush is a personal favorite among the plethora of fancy SEO tools. SEMRush provides a comprehensive breakdown of mobile vs desktop results (as well as tablet if you really want to geek out) and displays the percentage of mobile-friendly results for your domain.
- SearchMetrics offers Desktop vs. Mobile Visibility metrics, detailing individual scores for desktop and mobile, as well as overlap metrics which show how many keyword search results appear in exactly the same position for both. You can also drill down further to view how a website performs with regard to localized results.
- Moz. Through Moz Pro, you can track the same rankings metrics for both desktop and mobile. Filter by labels and locations to dig further into the data.
- Google Search Console. Don’t have access to any of the above tools? Don’t worry as you can still rely on the trusty Google Search Console. When looking at your search analytics, filter devices by comparing mobile and desktop. Even if you do have access to an SEO tool that allows you to do comparison analysis, it’s definitely still worth checking in on your Search Console insights.
Rankings are only part of the picture
It’s important to remember that rankings are only a tiny part of the picture; it’s essential to take a more holistic approach to the mobile vs desktop issue. This means taking the time to dig around Google Analytics and unearth the data and meaning beyond the vanity metrics.
You may have higher rankings for mobile, but those users might be bouncing more regularly. Is this a reflection of the user intent or is it a poor user experience? Does higher rankings for one device correlate to higher conversions? If not, then you need to consider the reasons for this. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, so you must take a tailored approach to your strategy.
Quick tips for differentiating your strategies
You’ve got your mobile and desktop rankings sorted. Now you need to create or amend your strategies for both devices. Here are some quick tips to do so:
- Separate mobile and desktop-specific search terms in your keyword research
- Factor in voice search for mobile devices
- Consider implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages where appropriate
- Carry out a mobile SEO audit on your site
- Include mobile vs desktop into your tracking and reporting, going beyond the rankings
- Revisit your content strategy to ensure you are factoring in both mobile and desktop optimized content – cater for both types of user.
In short, tracking your keywords on mobile and desktop is absolutely essential for both reporting accuracy and supporting separate SEO strategies for each device. But don’t stop there; it’s more important to understand why the rankings differ and how you can use that information to refine your SEO strategies.
The arrival of the Pinterest Lens and Google Lens has ignited a battle for visual search engine supremacy. Beyond opening up a new revenue stream for e-commerce stores, visual search could completely alter consumer habits and purchasing decisions.
In a world driven by instant gratification, visual search can open the door toward “snap and surf” purchasing, streamlining the search interface. This provides a promising outlook for e-commerce stores that develop their product listing ads (PLAs) and online catalogs for the visual web.
While still in its infancy, optimizing for visual search could greatly improve your website’s user experience, conversion rate and online traffic. Yet images are often given very little attention by SEO experts, who generally focus more on optimizing for speed than for alternative attributes and appeal.
While visual search won’t displace the use of keywords and the importance of text-based search, it could completely disrupt the SEO and SEM industry. I’d like to discuss some of the fundamentals of visual search and how it will affect our digital marketing strategy moving forward.
What is visual search?
There are currently three different visual search processes being employed by major search companies:
- Traditional image search that relies on textual queries.
- Reverse image search that relies on structured data to determine similar characteristics.
- Pixel-by-pixel image searches that enable “snap and search” by image or by parts of the image.
In this article, I’m focusing mainly on the third type, which allows consumers to discover information or products online by simply uploading or snapping a picture and focusing their query on the part of the image they’d like to research. It’s essentially the same as text search, just with an image representing the query that’s being matched to it.
TinEye provided the first visual search application, which is still in use today. This form of image search matched the image to other images on the web based on similar characteristics, such as shapes and colors. Unfortunately, TinEye provided a limited range of search applications by failing to map out the outlines of different objects in an image.
Today’s image recognition technology can actually recognize multiple shapes and outlines contained within a single image to allow users to match to different objects. For example, Microsoft’s image search technology allows users to search for specific items pictured within a larger image.
Microsoft is even working on detecting when the selected portion of the image has a shopping intent, showing “related products” in these instances. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s visual search is fairly limited to a few verticals, such as home appliances and travel.
Right now, this technology is limited. What companies like Pinterest, Microsoft and Google are investing in is a visual search application powered by machine learning technology and deep neural networks.
The idea is to get machines to recognize different shapes, sizes and colors in images the same way the human brain does. When we look at specific pictures, we do not see a sea of points and dotted lines. We immediately identify patterns and shapes based on past experiences. Unfortunately, we still barely understand how our minds interpret images, so programming this into a machine presents some obvious complications.
Visual search engines have come to rely on neural networks that utilize machine learning technology to improve upon its process. Companies like Google benefit from their wealth of information that allows its Lens application to constantly improve upon its search functionality. Google Lens is not only able to identify different objects within pictures but is also able to match them to locations near you, provide customer reviews and sort listings by the same principles that govern its own search algorithms.
Implications and future
So, what does this technology entail for users and businesses? Imagine being able to snap a picture of a restaurant and have a search engine tell you the name of the restaurant, the location, peak demand times and menu specials for the night. This technology could feasibly be used to snap a picture of a pair of shoes from a magazine or from a stranger and enable you to order them right there.
For e-commerce stores, visual search puts people very high in the funnel. With some unique images, product reviews and a good product description, you can entice buyers to make a purchasing decision on the spot.
This will also open up the field of competition a little bit. The Pinterest visual search engine is by far one of the most disruptive on the market. However, Pinterest’s search engine only redirects pinners to posts on Pinterest, meaning you’ll need to develop a presence on this platform to reach those audience members.
With the rise of voice search and natural language processing (NLP) accompanying this trend, this technology could help kick-start the trend of interface-free SEO. (Although I suspect that keywords and text-based search will still retain its importance, even for shopping and purchasing decisions.)
In terms of optimizing for visual search, some of the most fundamental SEO practices will still apply. Structured data remains incredibly important, especially for visual search algorithms like Microsoft’s that still rely on it to match characteristics.
It’s important that images are displayed clearly and free of clutter so that visual applications have an easier time processing them. Beyond this, you should stick to the basics of image-based search optimization:
- Add descriptive alt-text to images for indexation.
- Submit images to an image sitemap.
- Optimize image titles and alternative attributes with targeted keywords.
- Set up image badges and run them through a structured data test.
- Optimize for ideal image size and file type.
- Utilize appropriate schema markup for images and content pages.
- Optimize images to render on mobile and desktop displays.
Visual search will provide a new revenue stream for e-commerce stores and vastly improve the user’s shopping experience. This could have a major impact on SEO and paid media, bringing back a renewed focus on image optimization, which has long been ignored by SEO practitioners. This new frontier of search will only reinforce existing strategies for SEO and make the need to optimize for mobile search and your visual web presence more prescient.
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.
Initiating a new Google AdWords campaign is exciting, whether you’re running a small campaign or a large one. To run a successful campaign, follow these seven steps.
Businesses are extremely effective when it comes to driving qualified and relevant traffic to your website – especially when people type in specific keywords related to your business.
What are Google ads?
Google offers businesses the opportunity to advertise on their search pages. This is Google’s exclusive advertising platform where advertisers bid on specific keywords in order for their ads to appear in the search results when people type them in.
Since advertisers pay for these clicks, Google makes money from these campaigns – known as pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Depending on the relevancy of the keywords to conversions for your business (and the competitiveness of the keywords), this type of campaign may need to be tweaked to suit your specific needs, ensuring that you don’t spend money on the wrong content and keywords.
How do Google ads appear?
Google ads typically appear once an auction is completely focused on specific keywords. How do Google ads appear?
- Advertisers choose a list of words and phrases relevant to their business based on the terms people are most likely to use when searching for related products and services.
- Advertisers then bid on these keywords covering how much they are willing to pay for users to click on their ads.
- Google combines a quality score along with the bid to determine which ads appear on the search engine.
- Once the user clicks on your ad, you will need to pay a specific cost based on Google’s cost per click for that particular ad.
AdWords typically work on an auction system. This system takes place during every keyword search undertaken by users.
What affects a quality score on Google?
In order to win AdWords on Google and have your ad appear in relation to specific keywords, you’ll need to ensure that your quality score is high. A higher score and good bid amount will put you in a better position to get your ad placed on a Google SERP. The following factors make a difference to your quality score:
- Relevance of the search query to your Google ad and ad group
- Relevance of your ad to your landing page
- Historical data covering the click-through rate for the ad and ad group
- Historical account performance
What are the benefits of a higher quality score on Google?
Apart from getting your ad placed for certain keywords, there are additional benefits for your business if you have a higher quality score, such as:
- Lower costs. Google tends to reward advertisers who have high quality scores in the form of lower costs per click, which ultimately helps enhance their return on investment.
- Greater exposure. With higher quality scores, you will notice your ads displaying more often in the search engine and in more prominent positions than others, which enables you to get more conversions and clicks without having to change your bid.
Businesses looking to build successful ad campaigns on Google should always try to get a higher quality score for their long-term benefits.
How to make your Google Ad campaign successful
Certain actions will help make your Google ad campaign more successful, so make sure you follow them in your quest to build the online reputation of your business.
Keep track of customer demand
One of the key ingredients of a successful Google ad campaign is customer demand. If people aren’t searching for relevant products and services, then your efforts in Google are hardly going to work. Before starting any online campaign, check the following:
- Ensure adequate search volume to target the market you’re going after
- Research what consumers are looking for and tailor your ad solutions accordingly
- Create products and services that are in demand.
Once you’re able to keep track of customer demand, you’ll be in a better position to deliver a successful Google ad campaign.
Always have a clear goal in mind
Any SEM campaign must have a goal and the desired outcome in mind in order to be successful. You will likely run an AdWords campaign in your quest to grow sales or win followers for your business, in addition to creating more brand awareness. Consider the following:
- What is the outcome you’re looking to achieve from your ad campaign?
- Who are you looking to target?
- What kind of keywords are being searched for that may be relevant to your business?
- How can you make your ad relevant to the keywords typed into the search engine?
- What action do you want to drive for readers?
You must always be aware of the specific call to action you are trying to get your targets to perform so that you can create a clear ad campaign that directly reflects your goals. Never go live with any campaign until you’ve identified your goals clearly and know what you need to measure results.
Write for your target customer
Any ad you write must be relevant to your specific target audience, so your tone, language and call to action must be adjusted accordingly. What do your ads need to do for your target?
- Attract attention with the right tone and context
- Raise customer interest
- Convince customers to perform your desired call to action
- Lead customers into taking that action
When you write ads that resonate with your target audience, your ad campaign will have stronger results.
Be clear with your keyword targeting
When you implement an ad campaign, you should have all types of keyword targeting included in your overall strategy for the best results. Your keyword targeting strategy should include:
- Broad match. Google shows your ad when a similar phrase or keyword is used but has a higher chance of irrelevant traffic being driven to your website. You should ideally bid lowest for broad match keywords.
- Phrase match. Google displays your ad when a user types in the specific phrase your ad is optimized for, giving you more control over who sees your ad. Bid a higher amount than broad match keywords.
- Exact match. Google will only display your ad when the user types in the exact keyword or keyword phrase, which is why this gives you the most control over who sees your ad and has the least bounce rate. If possible, bid the highest for exact match keywords.
Keep your ad groups separate according to keyword type in order to ensure the campaign remains well organized.
Create a strong selling proposition
Having a clear and unique selling proposition is key when you’re looking to cut through the clutter and come up on top with your Google AdWords campaign. Customers should be well aware of why they are choosing you over your competition, which is why you need to have a strong unique selling proposition. Here are some benefits to creating a strong selling proposition:
- A strong USP generates more traffic while keeping away unwanted leads – ensuring more quality leads to your website.
- It boosts conversion rates.
- It can reduce the time customers spend on price comparisons, especially if you’re offering something unique.
The best way to create a strong USP is to understand your customers more intimately, so you solve problems and give them what want. When you pay attention to their shopping behavior and patterns, you’re in a better position to create something that adds value to their needs.
Optimize your Google AdWords campaign
You can never create the perfect AdWords campaign from the start. So you will need to optimize it midway to ensure that you’re getting the best results. Consider the following:
- Keyword bids. From the time you start generating clicks to your website, you should consider optimizing your keyword bids. You can raise the bid for keywords bringing in good sales. If the keywords are not generating the results you want, lower the bids or switch to other keywords.
- Landing page conversion rates. Landing pages should always offer what is being promised in the ad or else you run the risk of the customer bouncing off. Landing pages that stick to the ad content usually result in higher conversion rates and greater profit for the brand.
- Click-through rates. Any quality score for a website is determined directly by the click-through rate of a particular Google ad. Test different campaigns simultaneously, if possible, to see which ones get you the most number of clicks.
Once you’re able to optimize your Google AdWords campaign, you’ll start to see greater traction for your desired call to action – which, in turn, is beneficial for your business in the long haul.
Be aware of what your competition is up to
Knowledge of what your competition is up to will help you make more informed decisions about your specific Google Adwords campaign. Here’s what you need to know:
- Use keywords your direct competition is optimizing for
- Create call to actions that generate the best results from your target audience
- Thoroughly examine the look and feel of landing pages
Once you have knowledge of these factors, you can optimize your Adwords campaign effectively to ensure that it is structured and well organized.
Effective Google Adwords campaigns can help you boost the profitability of your business, but you must build them around powerful concepts in order to be successful. Consider working with online marketing experts who can help you take your business to the next level.
Doing business today means finding a way to market your company by harnessing the power of the internet. Still today there are companies that forgo the use of the internet thinking it is too complicated or that they will be fine without it. This kind of thinking is troubling since implementing a digital marketing strategy can do untold wonders for your business. Conversely, many companies adopt digital marketing practices without formulating a guiding strategy. Attempting to market your company or its products online without an overarching digital marketing strategy can be almost as unproductive and frustrating as having no digital marketing presence at all. The choice to implement a digital marketing strategy, therefore, is an easy one. However, since the efficacy of various marketing strategies evolve over time, it is wise to keep the marketing strategy fresh. Here are a few digital marketing strategies you should consider for 2017.
Video is Still King – People on the internet love watching videos. For this reason there is no better way to embark on a marketing campaign than to employ the use of video. With video streaming sites such as YouTube and with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter relying heavily on video ads, launching an ad campaign based on video ads seems to be a safe bet. According to Eddie Madan, CEO of Edkent Media, video engagement rates are higher than engagement with other types of media because, as he puts it, who doesn’t love being entertained? Video ads allow users to drop their guard and willingly view a commercial. If the video is animated, the chance that they will view the ad is even higher. Video allows users to watch and listen to the ad without having to devote a large portion of their concentration to reading copy. One important note to remember is that a video ad must be fun, entertaining and visually captivating in order to attract viewers.
Interactive Emails – There is something gratifying about being able to interact with emails right in your inbox without having to open another page. With the aid of integrated HTML and CSS this is quickly becoming a much-used tool in digital marketing. Interactive emails allow customers to add items to their carts, choose between colors and styles and even play games right in the inbox. Customers will appreciate this added functionality and it may convince them to interact with the email even more. Keep in mind that even when emails are opened, they are unlikely to be clicked on. Sending out an interactive email can change your click through rate dramatically. Customers will see that your emails aren’t similar to the run-of-the-mill variety they’ve become accustomed to and will sense that your company is a step ahead of the rest.
Social Video Will Explode in Popularity – The importance of video on social media will magnify in importance in 2017. With so many users relying on social media for video entertainment, the importance of using these platforms to launch marketing campaigns will become even more important. Video uploads on just Facebook alone have grown by 75% over the last year. And with over a billion views every day, marketing managers are taking new interest in Facebook. In addition to this, with Facebook’s insistence on autoplay videos, video views are almost guaranteed. Even though Facebook allows the customer to turn off video autoplay, they are either unwilling or unable to do it. Additionally, Facebook’s introduction of live video has created another tool for marketers as it tests users’ willingness to take part in a live-streaming experience.
Mobile is Making Bigger Inroads – The days of catering primarily for desktop computer users seems to be coming to a close with the increasing use of mobile devices as a way of connecting to the internet. 2016 saw mobile traffic increasing massively and the same upward trend is expected in 2017 as well. The upsurge in mobile use means that marketing managers need to make a concerted effort to cater to users on mobile as well as desktop. Marketing managers need to ensure that all visitors will have the best experience possible when visiting the website. In addition to this, Google is beginning to demote sites that do not have adequate mobile optimization – an even greater reason why catering for mobile is so important.
Linking of Machine Learning and Marketing Automation – What good is it to have data but then fail to use it in an effective manner? The injection of machine learning into digital marketing seeks to solve this problem. Machine learning tools allow the marketing manager greater insights into the customers habits and needs. This allows companies to strategize without having to waste time wondering which tactic to employ. Since algorithm will control this messaging, marketing managers no longer have to spend time selecting message, frequency and target demographic. In 2017, look to how marketing takes on a new life with Google Home, and Amazon’s Alexa as conversation with machine learning gadgets is leveraged for marketing strategy.
Countdown Timer in Emails – Countdown timers aren’t at all a new tool used by marketers. However, marketing managers are finding new utility with the tool as they slip them into marketing emails. Countdown timers help convince would-be customers that the proverbial window is closing and that they must take action now. These tools have the added benefit of being a visual aid that the potential customer can recognize and understand in one glance. Additionally, since Gmail displays HTML by default, countdown timers are always shown in emails.
Crafting a digital marketing strategy is a matter of keeping one’s ear to the ground and staying abreast of the fresh trends that can attract new eyes. However, it is good to remember that there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to adopting digital marketing practices. Much depends on your customers, your business and what works for you. Knowing these three factors inside out will help you to make better decisions about which tactics you should employ. If tried and true strategies work for you, then there is little reason to change.