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.
The post InMarket Audiences: How to find consumers in research mode appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
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.
The post Guide to voice search optimization: Six steps to undertake in 2019 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Google Ads is an expensive game if you get it wrong.
So, we figure you’re doing what you can to measure the performance of your campaigns. But just how are you doing that?
Our best guess is you’re using your own historical data to measure your success. Of course, the inbuilt problem there is that it’s only your data. And there are few actionable insights you can get from it.
Now, we’re not saying it’s useless. These metrics will show you if you’re improving month-on-month, but the data will only show you how you’re improving against yourself.
Because when you look at your own historical data, pretty much all you can take from it is: are we doing better than we were doing before?
If the answer is no, then back to the drawing board, but if the answer is yes, you’re doing better than before, so good for you.
But how does your data stack up against the average across your industry?
We’re going to go out on a limb and say you don’t know the answer. You don’t know how you stack up against industry averages. And we’ll tell you why you don’t know…
Because that information is not so easy to get your hands on, and for most businesses it’s to all practical intents impossible.
And until you do know how you’re doing against industry averages, you’ll never know if your campaign is a true blockbuster.
Numbers: Google Ads across industry
A few years ago, Wordstream started running analysis of their client accounts to find answers on conversion rates, cost per click (CPC), click-through rate (CTR), and cost per action (CPA) by industry.
We also covered this back in 2016, if you’d like to compare how the numbers have changed.
These figures are based on a sample of 14,197 client accounts in all verticals — totaling more $200 million in aggregate Google Ads spend.
Their stated goal was to establish CVR (average conversion rate) for both search and display ads.
They ran the analysis across 20 different industries including the following:
So, what is the average conversion rate for Search and Display?
On average then, Google Ads advertisers are getting conversion rates of 3.17% on the Search network and 0.46% on the Display network. These averages have climbed significantly over the past couple years, an encouraging trend for agencies and advertisers alike.
How do those figures compare to what you are seeing — are they a relief or a shock?
Benchmark figures are important to your business
Without a benchmark it really is next to impossible to say how well you’re doing.
Maybe you had a CVR of 0.5% and you boosted that up to 1.5% — if you report that based only on your own historical data then it sounds great, right? However, you now know that the industry benchmark for the Search network is 3.17%. So if your CVR is 1.5% then you’re a long way behind the industry average.
And if your campaign isn’t hitting the average, then there’s no way to dress it up. A lot of work needs to be done just to get it to average levels. Let’s be blunt, who wants to be average?
Ask anyone if they want to be average and you already know the answer you’re going to get – nobody!
Now, if you’re not even halfway to the average CVR then average might seem attractive – but you can do so much better than average. Don’t settle for it. Use the average as marker, get your campaign up to the average and then do all you can to push it over and above. Make it a super high performing unicorn instead!
Now, we know that the top 10% of advertisers are getting five times better than the average rates. Once you get past that average marker you can go onto create highly profitable campaigns.
Okay, that’s the Search network, now what about Display ads?
The top converting ads on the display network will surprise you
What do you think the top converting ads on the Display network are?
Perhaps ecommerce? Or maybe travel and hospitality because they are so much fun compared to insurance?
Well, as we said, you might be surprised.
Ecommerce along with travel and hospitality are among the very lowest of all conversion rates across all industries on Google Display ads.
The number one winner is…
Dating and personals!
That’s right. Converting at an average of 3.34%, this swelling industry has outflanked finance and insurance to lead the pack for average CVR in terms of Display.
The top five best converting industry types (according to SEW) for Display:
And who comes in at the bottom of the pile for Display?
The very worst CVR of all industries is…
Home Goods. The CVR here is an abysmal 0.43%.
The top industry smashing it for Search CVR is dating and personals. This has a staggering 9.64% CVR on the SERPs, which is an unbelievable 2.66% higher than legal in a distant second place.
Here are the top 5 converting industries for Search:
Knowing these benchmarks is vital to your business. As we stated from the get-go, you need to know where you stand against others in your industry. This is the only meaningful way to accurately estimate your costs and ROI. If you don’t do this, you’ll take the historical data you have and maybe think you’re doing well — when really you’re way behind even the average.
Here are the rest of the numbers for Google Ads conversion rates by industry for Search and Display:
The post Google Ads conversion rates by industry: How do you compare? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Delivering a seamless user experience on your website is one important way to boost your page’s conversion rate.
This conversion rate has a lot to do with the loading speed of your website. The faster the website, the better the percentage of conversions. PageSpeed can even have a direct impact on your Ads campaigns and Quality Score.
In fact, mobile sites that load in 5 seconds earn up to 2x more mobile ad revenue than those whose sites load in 19 seconds.
The truth is that if your website takes more than 2-3 seconds to load, people will abandon it in a jiffy because that is what 40% of people do, says a report. Hence, you need to make sure that you take proper care of your site’s speed optimization.
What is the Google PageSpeed Insights tool?
To get that done, the Google PageSpeed Insights tool is a real handy tool. All new and existing website owners who are either busy in website building or maintaining a website, must definitely use this tool.
The Google PageSpeed Insights tool analyzes your site’s front-end performance and offers optimization suggestions. Providing your website a score between 0 to 100 points; a score of 85 or above indicating a well performing page, this tool can give you some great insights into the performance of your website.
Thanks to the latest update, the tool now churns up results differently than what webmasters got used to seeing. The old test really gave out frustrating results that were hard to achieve. Now it is all going to be about how your site is actually performing and about improving the user-experience and conversion rates on your website.
Now, the new updated Google PageSpeed Tool test looks like this:
Tips for getting your PageSpeed Insights to 100
Now, let’s take a look at the elements that you need to take care of, if you are aspiring for that 100/100 on your website’s Google PageSpeed Test.
1. Take care of all your speed issues
Website speed will always be a crucial factor in further improving site performance. This has been a determinant in the updated test tool as well. So, in order to make sure that you are taking care of all your site speed issues, you must take into account how the themes and plugins, along with other integrations are impacting your site speed.
Investing in a reliable web hosting service is just as important as everything else in maintaining your site’s loading times. So, it is imperative on your part to ensure reading web hosting reviews before making the choice of your web host. Make sure that you are able to implement each and every optimization move that you can take care of.
2. Give importance to visible content
As soon as a visitor lands on your website, there is this content which is visible without scrolling. Also known as above-the-fold content, this content should swiftly load on the visitors’ ends because it is a part of user experience.
Hence, it is important to ensure your HTML is presenting the content of your web page first before it is presenting other things. To get that done, you can reduce the amount of data used by your resources or simply create your HTML to load the critical, above-the-fold content first over other elements. If you are not into coding, make sure that you get yourself a theme that serves this purpose for your website.
3. Code minification is a must
If you can make your source code more compact, you can effectively tend to the site speed and user experience issues arising out of it. To do that, you will be required to remove all the code that’s not needed such as the white spaces, new lines, unnecessary and unused code, redundant formatting, comments, etc.
Here’s an example:
Minified CSS Example:
4. Optimize your images
We all know that optimizing the images present on a website can help us make our websites faster and quick to load. You can either choose to manually optimize aka compress the images on your website (but that would take up all eternity) or you could simply use image optimization plugins for your WordPress site such as Smust it or EWWW Image optimizer. For your other websites, you can use image compression tools such as TinyPNG, Compress JPEG, or other available tools.
5. Compression is the key
Simply compressing files before delivering them over the server allows your website to load faster, as simple as that. This will increase the speed to which they are transferred to the browser. Yes, we are talking about gzip compression here.
6. Implement browser caching
Your web hosting service might already have a browser caching service in place. If you still want, you can get a Caching plugin for your WordPress site such as the WP Super Cache or the W3 Total Cache plugin.
8. Accelerated Mobile Pages
Accelerated Mobile Pages helps your mobile web pages by pulling them up almost instantly, presenting the content in a decluttered matter.
AMP is short for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It helps your mobile web pages load instantly by getting rid of unnecessary formatting, content for a seamless mobile experience.
All website owners aspire for the big 100/100 in their Google PageSpeed Insights tool. However, what really matters now is how your website is actually performing and if it is offering impeccable user experience.
By following our guide above, you will definitely get steps closer to not only achieving 100/100 with the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool but also increase the traffic and conversion rates on your website.
The post Google PageSpeed Insights tool: Tips to score 100/100 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
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.