We talk a lot about local search and local search trends here at SEW and in the industry as a whole.
How have consumers changed the way they interact with local businesses? How can local businesses respond? And what can we anticipate about future trends?
Yext recently released some interesting findings on local search trends based on their internal data.
They analyzed a sample of more than 300,000 customer business locations active from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018.
What can we learn from this data about how consumer search behavior changed in 2018 versus 2017? And what might these changes tell us about the year ahead?
Key local search trends from their analysis include:
We spoke with Zahid Zakaria, Yext’s Senior Director of Customer Insights and Analytics. Zahid leads the data team behind these new findings.
He’s been at Yext since August 2015, and spends nearly all of his time focused on client data. How can they unify data? What are the right metrics? How does an impression on a listing compare to an impression on a page? How can they understand the insights in local search trends?
These questions and more led them to this analysis. They’d seen that the local search market has been consistently growing, but wanted to find what insights demonstrated that growth.
First, about the data set and the approach
“We deal with tremendous data here at Yext,” Zahid said. “We power more than a million businesses globally. And we do quite a bit to ensure that all the work we do is based on a very complete data set.”
For these local search trends, the data set includes:
Timing: Every data point included in this set remained live for the entirety of January 1, 2017 — December 31, 2018. So it wasn’t affected by clients opening new locations, etc.
Distribution: They examined business primarily located in the US, and also had significant representation of businesses in Western Europe (mainly the UK, Germany, and France).
In other words, quite a clean and thorough data set to work with.
They examined how metrics compared from the 2018 calendar year versus those same metrics for the same businesses for the 2017 calendar year.
So what did they find about local search trends?
The biggest takeaway was that consumers are interacting more with businesses via local search and local listings. Local interactions as a whole have increased.
Perhaps because search technology has gotten better, perhaps because SEOs are nailing it, but this rang true across the board, including Google, Alexa, and Siri.
As Zahid said, “There is unbelievable consumer interaction data happening on websites.”
What do those interactions look like?
1. New reviews per business location increased 87% in 2018 versus 2017
In other words, the volume of reviews per business nearly doubled this past year.
Whatever the reason, consumers seem to be feeling more comfortable treating an online business page as the representation of the business itself. And they seem to show little reserve in expressing their opinions there.
Beyond that, though, consumers take time and effort to leave a comment. They want to return the interaction.
And these brand interactions only increase the value of focusing on these listings.
2. More interactions via AI-enabled services than business’s own websites
“AI-enabled services” includes any consumer-based service powered by AI.
This could be traditional search, voice search, voice assistants, chatbots, Google, Alexa, Siri, Facebook, Yelp, Bing, etc.
Yext found that across nearly all industries, businesses have seen a greater proportion of their brand interactions happening via AI-enabled services rather than on their own websites.
73% percent of high-intent traffic occurs off a business’s own website.
Most businesses see 2.7 times the traffic on third-party sites verses on their own website.
(Caveat: these two stats were actually isolated to May 2017, in a survey of 20,107 business locations. We’re including them here as they represent a portion of the broader data set and local search trends as a whole.)
Consumers may find a business in an off-site interaction. They then would visit a business’s local page to take action.
This represents a fundamental shift in how consumers find out about and interact with a business.
Marc Ferrentino, Chief Strategy Officer at Yext, commented on this point:
3. More consumers took action in search results
Within search results, there was a 20.1% increase in clicks to call, clicks for directions, and clicks to a business’s website.
Yext called these “Customer actions per business location.”
As we’ve seen since the beginning of local search, many consumers search in “micro-moments” of need. They’re often ready to make a purchase, walk into a store, place an order, etc.
Yext’s data shows that this trend is becoming even more prevalent.
4. Actions on transactional local pages saw increased 30.4%
Some businesses have “transactional” local pages, where consumers can book appointments, place orders, sign up for information, etc.
Increasingly, these pages are where the action is.
On this, Zahid elaborated, “When I as a consumer click the website link that shows up in a listing profile, what do I do? Surprisingly, it’s not get directions or make a phone call. It’s actually everything else.”
Consumers, it seems, increasingly want to complete their task — whatever they went searching for — via the page itself, without having to call or visit a location.
At the beginning of local search, we met consumers who wanted to make a phone call or get directions.
What we’re seeing as a trend, however, is that consumers don’t want to call to make an appointment, or get directions to a store to buy something.
They want to take those actions from the local page itself.
Key takeaways for SEOs based on these findings
So we’ve seen the above local search trends. Customers interact more with local business pages. They leave reviews. They take actions — increasingly beyond just calling and getting directions. And they come through a different point of entry than they have for the last twenty years.
With that information, what can we do moving forward? Zahid pulled these four takeaways.
Based on these local search trends, how should we act in 2019?
Based on this data, what can we predict about the rest of the year? And what can we do with that information?
Zahid drew three primary conclusions.
1. Understand the interactions of local pages and listings — understand what works and what doesn’t
2. Think about consumer questions and answer those
3. Map data sources to answer future questions the right way
What are your go-to methods for data analysis?
Given the general influx of data marketers have to deal with, and given that Zahid heads up a data team that has to deal with swarms of data points from millions of individual businesses — I couldn’t resist throwing in this question.
His answer? No secret sauce.
Like most of us, he first turns to Google Analytics and Google Search Console to look at his own website data and ask what trends are there.
Then he moves to other website sources: Google My Business, Facebook, etc. He’ll also use listings such as Yext’s own Intelligent Search Tracker, Brightedge, and various other rank trackers.
After that, he’ll look at third party industry level sources of information: Google Trends, publications.
Taking all of those things together, he’ll take a holistic look at what’s happening.
One of the most challenging things?
Final thoughts to keep in mind on this data set
In closing, Zahid gave one friendly caveat: These are trends, not benchmarks.
What’s changed in the new Google Search Console? And how might those changes affect us?
In this article, contributor Mike Zima gives us a text / video combo showing us around the updated Search Console. Specifically we explore how these updates can be beneficial to small businesses.
Watch the nine minute video here, or read the text below.
Ps, he filmed it in Mallorca, Spain, so you really might want to check out the video.
First, it was Google’s mobile-first index. Now, it’s the new Google Search Console.
These might seem like they’re designed to make your life more difficult (or at least, more confusing). But in reality, these updates, especially the updated Search Console, can make your life as a small business owner easier.
Here we list the three important features in the update, how they work, and why they’re great tools for small businesses to use in growing their search strategy.
The Performance Report
The most powerful section of the redesigned Search Console is the Search Performance Report, previously known as the Search Analytics section.
How it works
The Search Performance Report contains features that are similar to the old Search Analytics, which is helpful for those trying to make the change over to the new system. In fact, if you liked the functionality of Search Analytics, you’ll love Search Performance.
Search Performance offers more long-term data than Search Analytics, showing you up to 16 months of search performance data for a more complete long-term analysis.
Like Search Analytics, you can overlay various performance metrics (total impressions, total clicks, average CTR, average position data, etc.) with one click. The difference is that you don’t have to choose between filtering for a search query, search type, country, or device—you can look at all of them at the same time. The only downside is that you can only overlay two comparisons at once, for example, desktop vs. mobile.
Why it’s good for you
If you need to see all of the necessary information in order to make an educated decision about your SEO strategy, this is the tool for you.
You can see your short-term and long-term performance at quadruple the previous range offered—allowing you to track campaigns through their entire life cycle and take action.
Better still, you won’t have to jump between graphs to juggle information. It’s all in one place and ready for you to begin using.
In short, it’s hard to find a tool that will give you more insight into your search strategy.
The Index Coverage Report
The Index Coverage Report is a combination of the old Blocked Resources and Index Status sections.
How it works
The updated report is a great way to stay up-to-date on how your site URLs are indexed.
Let’s say you discover an issue with your URLs. Clicking on those error URLs will bring up page details and diagnostic tools.
Now, you probably have several teams that work on fixing a problem like this, right? Which means those teams have to have the correct information (not to mention, the same set of information!) at the right time in order to fix the issue and keep your site running with minimal disruption.
At the top of the report is a share button that allows you to send the diagnostic information to all the relevant team members who need it. This will create a shareable link, sort of like when you share a Google Doc.
Of course, you also need to be able to see when a problem has been resolved so you can know to move forward to the next item.
Plus, if the problem has been fixed, Google can update their index accordingly. The Index Coverage Report allows you to validate a fix. This signals to Google to crawl the page and reprocess the affected URLs at a high priority.
Why it’s good for you
The Index Coverage Report is fantastic for small businesses because it’s a free and easy way to monitor how your site is performing in the Search Index. It helps you spot issues quickly, get information quickly to your team, and fix problems with minimal downtime.
With the Index Coverage Report, your site can perform better and faster and your team can stay on top of their game—no matter how big or small the problem is.
AMP Status, or Accelerated Mobile Pages Status, is a way for website owners to validate fixed AMP URLs.
How it works
In the former version of Google Search Console, you would get a list of AMP URLs with errors and recommended fixes, but you couldn’t request that Google process the repaired AMPs.
The new Search Console remedies this issue by allowing you to validate repaired URLs and request higher priority processing.
The Console will run several tests once you validate a fix to see if you’ve handled the problem properly and will let you know right away whether the page passes muster.
If it does, Google will go ahead and process the remaining pages. If it doesn’t, it will give you a notification and recommendations.
In addition, the new Console has an expanded validation log so you can see a list of all fixed URLs as well as URLs that failed validation or are still pending.
Why it’s good for you
This is good for your business because it helps you stay on top of your URLs. You can see exactly where the issue is and how to fix it, then you can take charge of it. You can share the information with your team, work on a solution, and verify that solution right away.
From there, you don’t have to wait to get indexed again. You can ask for priority processing to make sure your site starts performing as soon as possible. And that means you can spend less time worrying about your search strategy and more time putting it into action.
Ready to use the new Google Search Console?
The new Google Search Console is designed with your business needs in mind. Google’s developers took requests and feedback from businesses like yours to create a more robust Search Console than ever before.
We hope this article has given you more insight into the new Search Console and how you can take advantage of its features to see success in your own business.
Have any questions? Leave a comment below or on the video!
Mike is the Co-founder of Zima Media.
The post Google Search Console for small businesses [Video] appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Here are some ways you can get automation to play nice and to drive your KPIs in a controlled and accountable way. Learn how to automate yourself to success in PPC.
Since the main purpose of Paid Search (like all marketing) is to communicate and persuade humans to choose a business, manual management is unlikely to disappear entirely.
However, Google, in particular, have been investing massive sums in machine learning so as to reduce marketers’ reliance on human management of campaigns.
Whilst we’re in this hybrid stage (a little like where we’re at with self-driving cars) it pays to not entirely reject automation.
Also, with the gradual takeover of Google Ads’ new UI, some legacy bid rules setups will be changed or removed. So getting accustomed to the more AI-style automation will be important in the coming months.
Here are some ways you can get automation to play nice and to driving your KPIs in a controlled and accountable way.
What’s great about automation?
I am the Head of Account Management at ESV Digital, and we have always employed automation in a number of ways so we’re no strangers to letting computer power take the reins.
However, we always monitor the effect on performance and the decisions made by our silicon-hearted friends.
There are currently two broad types of automation right now:
Screenshot taken by the author from Google Ads.
The simplest and also most risky element is the bid automation. It’s simple because in Google Ads it boils down to simply setting a performance target and seeing what happens. The risk is in the fact that…you merely set a performance target and see what happens!
There are more rule-based ways to bid but they are somewhat limited both in control and in the fact that they cannot take advantage of the more target-oriented bidding schemes (called Smart Bidding) which bid per query (based on all the context of that query, such as user history, browser, location etc.).
To simplify your decision on which option for bidding to go for, look at the data levels in your account. If it’s dealing with many hundreds of conversions per day, you’re likely going to see a pretty good performance with Smart Bidding. If you’re talking a couple hundred or less per day, you’re going to need to set it on only the highest-converting parts and generally, the rules will work better.
The reason is Smart Bidding is entirely algorithm-based, which needs data. The less data, the less accurate. So scale is extremely important if the algorithms are going to do the right thing more often than not.
Screenshot taken by the author from Google Ads.
This automation segment comes in a variety of flavors and purposes. The major examples of automation you have tangible influence over are:
Other elements that are not really in your hands include:
The advent of Google Ads scripts allows the more code-loving amongst us to really automate creative in almost any way you like but most users will limit themselves to using Google Sheets to populate ad copy with Countdowns and Ad Customizers.
Screenshot taken by the author from Google Ads.
This should serve as a good introduction to this subject and we hope it will be very helpful when managing your PPC campaigns.
Steve Plimmer is the Head of Account Management US at ESV Digital.
The latest tweak to Google’s search results which lets us browse, save, and delete results from similar searches we’ve made before is the next step in the company’s journey toward making the SERPs even more intuitive, tailored, and useful.
Access to our respective search histories is not a new Google feature. Each of us can – if we have a Google account – simply click Settings > History, and from there browse, search for, or delete any past searches we want to.
The launch of Google’s new activity cards on January 9th appears to be building on the principle of giving the user more control.
So what functionality do they offer? And what are their implications for transparency, SEO and how we move around online?
What are Google activity cards?
For certain searches, we will begin seeing a small card marked “Your related activity” at the very top of the SERPs. We can expand this card to show results we have clicked on when making similar searches in the past.
The spiel from Google is that this is particularly useful for long running tasks:
Bringing bookmarking/pinning functionality to search
There is more to activity cards than merely offering another set of results to peruse.
In a couple of clicks users can save searches to collections. This gives another layer of organization where users can view and scroll through a digital pinboard of relevant past searches they have made.
It is also just as simple to delete any unwanted results from the card too.
We have known for a long time that certain search results appear because we have clicked through to that page in the past.
Activity cards make things more transparent, even for the most casual Google user.
It is now far more clear to visualize what in a set of SERPs is appearing there because of our own behavior rather than the strength/popularity of the content according to other users.
Implications for SEO and user journeys
It’s a little too early to see any definite implications these cards will have for search engine optimization and how much they will change our journeys as users.
Bear in mind that at this stage the cards are only appearing for selected searches. Specifically, the cards appear on so-called long running tasks where Google deems them relevant.
That said, for results that do include activity cards, those cards can be seen to occupy the most important part of the SERP. They appear right at the top of the page, even above sponsored listings.
This might frustrate digital marketers if we see sponsored and organic listings in the main SERP receive less traffic.
It also might make life a little more difficult for newer sites if Google’s users – for certain searches, at least – already have a well-clicked plethora of personally trusted domains.
Additionally, those who are skeptical about the risk of digital echo chambers may also view such personalized results as a problem rather than a solution.
Broadly a positive move
While it remains to be seen whether activity cards make any drastic changes to search and our habits, I think they are a positive move in terms of transparency and control for the user.
We found many key takeaways from the recent appearance of Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai at Congress in December.
One of the main ones, though, was realizing just how difficult a task Google has in assuring everyday search users that they can trust the search results.
Google spend a lot of energy helping users believe that the results they receive appear due to metrics such as whether content is fresh, popular, or has been visited by the user before – rather than by favoritism or bias on the part of the company itself.
These clearly-labelled activity cards might promote greater awareness of just why users receive the results that they do.
Similarly, there is also something to be said for introducing casual users to be more hands-on with taking ownership of their search activity.
Users still need to click through to Settings to view/delete searches from all their history. However, seeing how easy it is (just a couple of clicks) to browse and delete results in the activity card may promote other ways users can find things they’ve searched for in the past. It can also help users remove things they want to get rid of.
The post Google Activity Cards: Inviting users to be better connected with their past search activity appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Scaling is all about making repetitive tasks more productive to be able to focus on more creative things and experiments.
I know a lot of people will cringe at the idea of scaling social media marketing because it is supposed to be all about human connections.
There are also many people who don’t believe you can attract any substantial amount of clicks from social media.
Well, both may be true but only if you do that wrong:
That’s not possible to build good traffic from social media without at least some sort of automating / scaling.
And while truly effective engagement cannot be efficiently scaled, you can scale all other parts of the puzzle, at least to some extent:
Cross-post with calendar publishing tools
Even if you have a dedicated full time social media team at your disposal, constantly publishing on social media is difficult to achieve. Big corporations have rotating shifts that handle it but for most of us we have to operate on a smaller scale, especially budget wise.
We can get around that by publishing scheduled posts, which includes cross-posting from one platform to another. That will cut the time spent on social media in half.
That doesn’t mean that all of your posts should be pre-made and scheduled, or that they should go to every single platform. It still takes intelligent planning.
My personal method is to sit down every month and plan a month’s worth of social media posts based around content that is going to be circulated and is already scheduled to post. Using ContentCal, I get all of those posts ready to go on all platforms.
ContentCal is an affordable social media editorial calendar with some cool productivity features:
From there, my team will dedicate time every day to manage regular social media interactivity. They will respond to posts, find brand mentions using listening tools and searches and do the more thorough work involved in the process.
Supported platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram
Put your content in front of influencers where they expect it
The power of influencer marketing cannot be overstated. Twitter has become a particular powerhouse for the tactics, but Instagram, YouTube and even Snapchat are gaining a lead. Cultivating a relationship with influential social media users is mutually beneficial and can have lasting effects on your brand.
I have done the long term version of this, which takes a lot of time and effort for both you and the influencer. Viral Content Bee (Disclaimer: This is the project I co-founded) strives to make it easier by connecting you and the influencers straight away.
You share their content, they share yours. Both get some much needed exposure and without shady pay deals. It is easy and effective.
The main thing it eliminates any possible frustration of the “being used” feeling when influencers receive pitches to share something daily. Instead, they join that platform to find your content: All you need to do is to put it there.
Supported platforms: Twitter, Linkedin, Mix, Pinterest, and Tumblr.
Track your growth and learn from that growth
Growth for its own sake is important enough and that doesn’t even get into the importance to a brand, organic traffic and profitability. But one thing we sometimes forget is what we can learn from exponential growth and how it applies to future campaigns.
Some things work. Some things don’t. We need to be able to clearly see which is which and change it up accordingly. This is where watching every one of your social channels is critical, so you can respond to every tick up or down you may see.
Over time you will also begin to notice trends that can have a huge influence on your branding. Business can change their entire social direction based on the findings of these types of analytics.
There are endless tools for this purpose. My personal favorite is Cyfe because it is an all in one business dashboard that is fully customizable. You create your own widgets, monitoring whatever you want to and all for $19 per month (they have a free version but if you are going with a higher number of channels you will want to pay the money for the full features).
Cyfe can manage both social media monitoring and growth for you, from one single dashboard.
Furthermore, the best widget I ever created was a Google Analytics dashboard that monitored the traffic that came from each one of my social media accounts. It really showed where my team and I needed to focus our energies.
Supported platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Google Analytics…
What NOT to scale
Some things you just cannot scale or automate well, so it’s better to stop trying.
Truth be told, marketing is going to be more and more automated going forward. Technology is making authentic and effective personalization possible, so marketing automation (including social media automation) discussion should mature. If you want to see your social media marketing bring any kind of ROI, automate.
And how do you scale social media for it to bring more traffic and leads? Share your tips!
The post How to scale your social media marketing to build traffic and leads appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
So, the powers that be want to know if PPC is the right solution for their business.
Your boss will have many questions about Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. So, as a marketer or assistant, it’s important to understand how this channel will help to reach your company’s online goals.
Google Ads is the leading PPC platform. And you should arm yourself with info about its workings and how it will benefit the business.
Eight questions your boss is likely to ask you about PPC
1. What will it cost?
Your boss will want to know what PPC will cost. This is often a difficult question because there are many factors to the costs that you’ll be charged including:
It’s always best to start with a test budget. That will differ for each business type of course, but it should be sufficient enough to get you traffic that will help you assess the performance.
I recommend a test budget of $600 per month which would equate to about $20 per day. So, within a month, you’ll be able to assess the performance of the ads and search terms and adjust accordingly.
However, this will depend on the keywords you will bid on and the suggested bids. So, start by doing keyword research and use the forecasting tool to assess what you need to spend and what budget to assign your campaign.
2. How long does it take to set up?
Setting up Google Ads campaigns is quick and can be done in a couple of hours. Your boss is likely to ask this question to decide when to start running the ads. So it’s important to be able to answer it.
However, it does depend on the type of campaign you are setting up and also the number of campaigns.
Search campaigns for example are quick to setup and can be ready in a few hours. A shopping campaign on the other hand could take days or weeks. That’s because of the many features you have to setup and the lengthy review process. This includes:
It can take up to a week or two to get your shopping listings live on Google.
3. Does it work?
Naturally, your boss will want to know if PPC works. You can point to the thousands of businesses that use it and quote stats like “businesses make an average of $2 income for every $1 they spend in Google Ads”, to show that its working for millions of businesses.
Of course, your boss will be more interested in knowing if it will work for her business. This is where you’ll need to carry out some research and produce some numbers.
Google Ads has free research tools like the Keyword Planner tool. You can use it to research potential keywords for your campaigns and show the stats for traffic volumes and what you’re likely to pay.
You can also use the forecasting tool to show the likely performance of your ads and where you will be positioned. All this gives insight to which market is looking for your products or services.
4. Do we have the skills to set up Google Ads?
Your boss will want to know if there is in-house talent to make Google Ads work for the business. As an advocate for Google Ads, you should have the answer on who will setup and manage campaigns.
And you have a number of options:
5. Are we tied into a contract?
If you’re looking to partner with a Google Ads expert, your boss will want to know the terms. So, will a contract be required and if so, how long?
This will depend on a number of factors. For example, if you’re looking to run a short campaign, for a few months, then it will be a short contract.
Three month contracts are the norm. And this is usually sufficient time to know if your campaigns are working or not. You can use this as a trial period to show your boss the value of launching PPC campaigns.
Many experts offer rolling contracts, meaning you can cancel at anytime.
6. Should we not do SEO instead?
For many businesses, the choice of online channel is between PPC advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) And the choice is usually down to cost. PPC is perceived as costly because there’s always a charge, whereas SEO is seen as cheap because there’s no traffic costs.
For that reason your boss is likely to gravitate towards SEO. However, there’re pros and cons to both channels and it’s important to be able to explain them to your boss.
One major advantage that PPC has over SEO is that traffic results are instant, whereas SEO traffic can takes months, and that is not guaranteed.
So you’ll need to be able to explain this effectively to get buy-in.
7. What can we do to beat competitors?
Your boss will be familiar with competitors in your niche. However, he’ll not have the knowledge on what they’re actually doing and how they’re performing with Google Ads. So you’ll do some competitor research using tools like Spyfu and SE Ranking.
These tools are insightful and show you what keywords and ads competitors are using. You’ll also be able to spy into their average positions for each keyword and what their Cost Per Click (CPC) is.
8. Where will Ads appear?
If you’re running a search campaign, your ads will appear on Google and their search partner sites.
The exact positions in the auction results will depend on a number of factors:
These are the main factors to consider. And as you manage your campaigns, you’ll discover the best ad positions for your ads and adjust bids accordingly.
Whether you’re a digital marketer or an assistant tasked with finding out more about PPC advertising, it’s important to know how this channel will help your firm. This will help you explain its benefits to your boss and get buy-in to launch this channel.
The post PPC advertising: Eight questions your boss will ask appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Google originally released InMarket Audiences in 2014 for Display and YouTube. A few years later, in 2018, Google released InMarket Audiences for search, and Bing followed suit this summer. So why should marketers care?
InMarket Audiences allow advertisers to find users who are currently searching for products or services similar to yours. The users are identified based on their past search behavior.
Actions that Google and Bing look at to establish past search behavior are clicks and the resulting conversions, as well as the content of the sites and pages that they visit.
These users typically have not been to your site before, making them valuable in helping you achieve your new customer acquisition goals at an efficient CPA or return on ad spend (ROAS).
Google has included over 170 InMarket Audiences and has been adding additional audiences over time. Some industries that are included are: apparel & accessories, auto & vehicles, baby & children’s products, beauty products & services, business services, computers & peripherals, education, employment, travel, software, real estate and sports & fitness.
InMarket Audiences enable advertisers to capture users who are actively researching or planning in different audience segments that Google and Bing have established.
Adding these audiences as bid-only or looking at the audience insights tab allows you to have a better understanding of the consumers interacting with your brand.
Application of InMarket Audiences
InMarket Audience segments can be found by going to Campaigns, then Audiences. You will then select what they are actively researching or planning (in-market); once you click and expand the audiences you will see all of the ones you can apply.
In order to see performance on these audiences, you will need to apply them as bid-only layers on your current campaigns, just as you would regular audiences (remarketing, similar audiences and customer match). Once you have enough data, you can make bid adjustments based on those segments.
There are a few things that you should keep in mind before you apply these to your campaigns.
If you have multiple audiences layered on, that user can only be in one audience. Google will decide what audience they are in should that user click or convert. The audience with the highest bid adjustment will come first if the user falls into multiple audience buckets.
It is important to have higher bid adjustments for remarketing audiences or customer match audiences over other audience buckets because these users have shown particularly strong intent.
It is especially important if the user that you are remarketing to has already reached a lead page/has added to cart or initiated checkout.
We have talked about the importance of applying audiences to your campaigns as bid-only to learn more about the consumer you are interacting with and push on stronger performers. It can also be important to pull back on poor-performing users that you don’t want to advertise to so aggressively.
Analyze current performance
Advertisers can currently look at audiences in the Audience Manager tab, then in Audience Insights. Advertisers can view the audiences that Google deems most relevant to their business. Google gives the top 10 audiences for your business and applies an index, which is a comparison of the InMarket Audience to the general population.
You might be surprised by some of the audiences that Google deems relevant. You might be expecting users to fall into a certain bucket, but they are actually falling into different InMarket Audiences. In order to get a full initial read, you could apply all InMarket Audiences to your campaigns — then, after your initial performance analysis, start to narrow down to your largest InMarket Audiences.
In past testing with a few advertisers, we have seen reduced CPAs and improved CVRs when compared to non-audience visitors.
Future optimizations and testing efforts
Some ideas for future tests of InMarket Audience would be launching them as “target and bid on” campaigns that contain broad keywords. If you have a product or service that has search queries that could be seen as business to business or personal, this type of campaign could be a good option for you. InMarket Audiences can help qualify those searches and lead to a reduction of inefficient spend.
We have seen much success in using InMarket Audiences to gain incremental leads at a lower CPA than new site visitors. Before implementing these campaigns, we used the relatively low-volume similar audiences for search; adding InMarket Audiences has allowed us to more quickly scale accounts.
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The new year often comes with a resolution to find a new job. And conversely, many companies put off their hunt for new talent until after the holidays, which makes January the perfect month to review resumes and make sure they’re up to date on the skills employers are looking for.
And for those looking for jobs in PPC, paid search, and SEM, employers could be looking for surprising skill sets this year. According to a new study from SEMrush that analyzed over 4,500 PPC job listings on Monster and indeed, countries around the world, from the US and the UK to India, have got quite a few region-specific needs for new hires. However, some skills remain universal.
What are the most in-demand skills for PPC, paid search, and SEM for 2019?
Here are employer-identified top skills from around the world, along with experts’ advice for how to make sure your 2019 resume has the skills employers are seeking.
1. In the US, employers are looking for Excel skills
The US was the only country in the study that ranked Excel proficiency as its number one most desirable skill, with 36% of employers prioritizing a knowledge of Excel for new hires. This means that if you’re hoping for a new job as a PPC/SEM specialist or strategist in 2019, you really need to make sure you’re focusing on your knowledge about VLOOKUPs, advanced charting, and pivot tables, according to Joel Bondorowsky, PPC optimizer, online marketing expert, and founder at PPC Designs.
“Vlookups are a function of Excel that is on top as it is the most important,” Bondorowsky says. “Without knowing how to perform a lookup, an employee will not be able to combine performance data from two different reports, such as an Adwords spend report with a product sales report. Employers in all of these countries are mostly looking for workers to help sell products in that specific market.”
2. Content marketing is queen in the UK and India
Perhaps a bit surprisingly, 35% of postings from the UK listed content marketing as an in-demand skill for PPC specialists and strategists. And in India, the number is even higher, with 42% looking for content marketing skills. And while those numbers seem a bit unexpected, Nitin Manchanda, SEM expert and global head of SEO at Go Euro, wonders if startup culture might be a contributor:
“I would not consider ‘content marketing’ as the most trendy skill for this profile, which is the case for Indian and the UK market,” Manchanda says. “Maybe these are job posting from startups which are looking for an all-rounder who could contribute to Content Marketing as well.”
3. Ad creative is still what really counts
In 2018, “automation” was a buzzword that had the industry talking about what the future might hold in terms of jobs lost out to AI. But according to Bondorowsky, the conversation around automation leaves out a key element: only humans can fully understand what it takes to target exactly the right message to the right customer. However, understanding how to combine automated tools with human insights is an important skill to have as the industry changes:
“Automation will also never interest people into having a desire to purchase a product, and then take action to do it,” Bondorowsky says. “Only internet marketers who understand the tools to target people with different intent that can write ads to appeal to them can do this. Looking at 2019 and beyond, I can only stress this point. People buy from people, not machines. Automation and AI do not replace the online marketer, and it supplements them. The best PPC campaign managers in 2019 will understand how to use the advanced technology we are given to communicate our sales message like never before.”
4. Engagement metrics matter more than ever
And while keywords have been a longstanding priority, according to Dido Grigorov, SEM expert and SEO specialist at Serpact Ltd. & NetPresenta Ltd., audiences, not keywords, should be a PPC specialist’s main focus in the coming year:
“A good PPC specialist should be more focused on audiences in the future, not on keywords like before,” Grigorov says. “Audience engagement metrics will continue to be more and more important, which is expected and absolutely normal. We make campaigns for people, it’s understandable to evaluate them according to the engagement metrics in priority.”
How to make sure you have what employers are looking for in 2019
If you’re among those seeking out new opportunities in 2019, analyze your professional profile and make sure you’re including the skills employers most value. Download the full white paper by SEMrush, “Top Required PPC Skills and Platforms,” for a complete list of the top skills you’ll need to stay competitive in the coming year.
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Have you ever tried to search for some data online when you were multitasking and couldn’t type the text? It would be quite challenging without the opportunity to conduct voice search.
According to PWC report, 71% of respondents would rather use their voice assistant to search for something than physically typing their queries. And what’s the most important is that the differences between spoken and typed queries may cause different SERP. It means that your competitors’ voice search optimized websites have much more chances to engage most of your potential customers or subscribers.
If you want your website rank for voice queries as high as for the typed ones, this article will help you discover all the steps you should undertake.
Voice search evolution
Do you remember when voice search required calling a phone number from your mobile device and saying your search query? Well, it was in the early days of voice search (to be more precise, in 2010), and few people actually used it.
Since then, voice search has improved significantly. On June 2011, Google announced they started to roll voice search on Google.com. Once being available only in English, today there are about 60 languages supported in Google Voice Search.
With ‘Hummingbird,’ updated in 2013, the concept of typed and especially spoken search changed a lot. The algorithm emphasized natural language processing and was aimed at considering the users’ intent and the context of the query. From that moment search questions structured in sentences got more relevant answers. So, it influenced voice search, which is usually formed from long phrases, a lot.
How to optimize for voice search
Experts’ opinions about optimization for voice search differ but each of them agrees that it’s an important part of an SEO process.
Here is, for example, Jenny Halasz’s mind: ‘While voice search is certainly the future of how we will do most searches, there’s not really too much you can do to optimize for it that is different than regular SEO optimization. Because Google’s goal will always be to return the best result based on the person, location, and history, it’s hard to guess exactly what the right answer for a query will be.”
And this is what Shane Barker says about it: “Facilitated by the launch of voice-based digital assistants like Siri and Alexa, voice search now constitutes a significant part of all online searches. And its share is only going to rise to a level that SEO experts can’t deny its importance. The question is, who will be best prepared when voice search takes up a majority share of all searches? And the answer to that is SEO experts who are devoting their time to it now. However, there is another side to it. Though voice searches are likely to be a really important part of SEO in the future, it is not the case now. While my advice would still be to start preparing for it, I would advise against allocating a substantial part of your budget to it.
So, let’s speak about the ways of voice search optimization.
Due to the differences between the results of typed and spoken ways of search, your site optimization for the traditional search isn’t the same as the voice search optimization.
The most significant thing to worry about is that people using their mobile assistants to conduct voice search get only one top result. As half of the search will have been conducted by voice by 2020, half of your potential customers won’t see your website even if you’re the fourth in the SERP. Ranking the top will be the main goal for every business owner.
So, what are the essential factors for you to consider optimizing for voice search?
Have you heard about featured snippets? These are ones which Google forms from the most relevant content and places in the top of search results, like this:
The reason I mentioned these snippets is that Stone Temple Consulting claims that 30% of 1.4 million tested Google queries contain them. And you can be sure that if the results include featured snippet, your voice assistant will demonstrate it. That’s why one of your goals when willing to get ranked in voice search results should be providing such a quality data for Google to express it in the featured snippet.
Do people search for your website when they want to buy something or to find out some information? The reason a person looks for websites is called user intent. Sometimes it may be obvious and expressed in the query with the words ‘buy,’ ‘price,’ ‘how to,’ ‘what is,’ etc. Sometimes it’s only in the users’ minds.
Regardless of how the intent is expressed, due to the Hummingbird update, Google dwells into the context of the search query, investigates the sites’ content and provides you with the relevant answers. For example, if I say ‘oscar winners,’ it’s most likely I’m interested in the recent ceremony, not in the results from 20 years ago. And search engines understand it. That’s why you should consider user intent when creating the content which will enhance the relevance of your pages to specific search queries. If you want to optimize your page for a featured snippet, your main aim should be understanding user intent and giving your audience an immediate answer.
And here is what Jenny Halasz says about this topic: “Try to match your customers’ intent with your content, seek to answer questions, and provide details wherever possible. The same steps you take now to optimize for answer boxes are going to help you in voice search too.”
Long tail keywords & Questions
Searching for some information with the help of voice assistant, people behave as if they’re talking to a human. Most of them don’t simply use short keywords, but instead, they ask questions and prefer long phrases.
That’s what Shane Barker says about this subject: “Use more conversational keywords and phrases that people use while speaking, not while typing. Essentially, these will be long-tail keywords but phrased in the way people speak.”
By the way, using long tail keywords is a good practice not only for voice search optimization but also for traditional SEO. The fact is that the key phrases containing more than 2 words have the lower difficulty (or competition) level and provide the great chances to rank the top.
As I’ve already mentioned, along with long phrases, people also tend to use questions for voice search. For instance, when typing the query, a person tries to use the most relevant keywords and writes something like ‘the best coffee in NYC.’ But voice query sounds much more natural. First of all, talking to your voice assistant, you should start with ‘Hey Siri…,’ ‘OK, Google,’ etc. These phrases make you think you’re communicating with your device, not just conducting the keyword-based query. That’s why looking for the best coffee, you’re most likely to ask the question, such as ‘Hey Siri, where can I drink the best coffee?’
To find out what questions your target audience may ask and not to spend much time, you can use special services, such as Answer the Public or Serpstat Search Questions. If you go with Serpstat, simply type the word or a phrase best describing the subject of your content and see how people usually search for it.
Shane Barker: “Answer your customers’ common questions on your website or blog. Use a conversational tone for phrasing these questions, to rank well for voice queries.”
When you choose the questions you’re writing about in your post, add them to the pages around your site. Create h2 headers using these queries and provide an answer in the body text. Answer the questions concisely and make sure the main idea is stated briefly.
After you answered the question directly, you can also cover other related search questions. It’ll help you rank for as many variations of queries as possible.
Not to lose your position at featured snippets, keep your content fresh and update it regularly.
The time needed for your page to load influences whether it will appear in voice search results or not. So, if you want your page to be visible to all those people who prefer voice search, make sure its loading speed is high enough.
As people searching by voice are always on-the-go and don’t have time to wait, it’s difficult to overestimate the importance of optimizing your page speed. Before taking any actions, analyze your website speed with PageSpeed Insights. The service will tell you whether your site’s loading time is low enough, and what you can do to lower it. Mind that mobile speed data is the most important for optimizing for voice search. Also, to Shane Barker’s mind, you should make a website mobile-friendly because a majority of voice searches happen via mobile devices.
What is structured data? It’s code added to HTML markup and used by search engines to better understand your site’s content. Using structured data, you make search engines crawl and read your content efficiently.
With schema markup, you can better control the way you provide the brand information, and the way machines interpret it. Structured data implementation results in rich snippets which are known to increase click-through rate, drive traffic and bring you competitive advantages. Here’s the way these snippets differ from the normal ones:
Having this data can also help your pages appear in featured snippets and, consequently, in voice search results. Shane Barker also appeals to use structured data markup to provide better information to mobile devices about your website and its content.
So, if you do everything correctly and produce content interpreted by search engines as highly relevant (and if you’re lucky enough), your snippet will become featured:
Here’s what it looks like in the code:
To find out how you can implement structured data to your site, use Schema.org vocabulary. There’s a set of schemas which enables SEO experts to markup their websites.
When elaborating structured data, you should remember it’s easy to become spammy. Use the data which is relevant to the content you provide. Moreover, it’s essential to update your markup, as everything tends to be constantly changing, and your website isn’t a conclusion.
The BrightLocal report says that 58% of consumers use voice search to find local businesses. It isn’t surprising as most people conduct voice search when they’re walking or driving somewhere and willing to discover where they should head for.
For the cases when people search for something like ‘best donuts in LA’, it would be good to use the keywords including the cities or countries where your business works.
What’s the most important, conducting voice search people are even more likely to use ‘near me’ phrase. If I decided to eat some donuts, I would rather say ‘OK Google, donuts cafe near me,’ than ‘donuts cafe in Los Angeles.’ In this case, the search engine will use my location to understand which cafes are the closest to where I am at the moment. To appear in the relevant results for such queries, don’t add ‘near me’ key phrases to your content. Jenny Halasz also thinks the same way: “Keep in mind that “near me” queries are simply adding a location intent to a search. It’s not necessary to actually use the words “near me” on your site anywhere. If you want to rank for “pizza near me”, then, by all means, track that keyword’s performance on your ranking tools, but don’t worry about putting “near me” in your actual site code.”
In most cases, search robots use Business Listings information. So, make sure you’ve added all the necessary information, such as brand name, address, opening hours, etc. to Google My Business page. Shane Barker talks about this as follows: “Optimize your Google My Business listing and provide accurate and updated contact information. A lot of voice searches are for local queries and listing your business there will help you rank better for such queries.”
To wrap up
People use voice search widely. And its popularity is going to grow dramatically in the coming years. Those who already consider it in their SEO improve their content visibility significantly, as voice search results show only top pages. You can either benefit from these changes optimizing your website for spoken queries or suffer not doing anything. The choice is yours.
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Pleasure to introduce my self i am Sean Webb i am 27 years old from Manchester, UK.I am doing affiliate marketing and have spend lots of time learning how to rank easy to medium competition keywords. I have recently started PPL and Video Marketing and learning more about it.