The word “selfie” has very recently been named Oxford’s word of the year, to the surprise of many it beat out “twerk” for that honor. Selfie is a term that has recently taken on popularity and has risen in use by 17,000 percent within the last year.
There have been quite a few words, which could be characterized as informal or shorthand language, that have become a staple or mainstay within mainstream speech, well at least for now. Language is constantly changing and taking on new dynamics. We are always being introduced to new words and ways of talking about everyday things.
With the induction of selfie into Oxford’s Dictionary, it made me think about the constant change in language, which led me to think about SEO, since the most important aspects have a lot to do with language or keywords. SEO’s have to keep up with how consumers talk and what words they use to search for products and services. In order to target specific demographics and have them convert, you have to use their language. This goes into shaping campaigns and strategies that add value for the users or in other words include a focus on user intent. Here are some reasons, from Hubspot, on why user intent is so important:
User intent tells you what users are looking for.
User intent tells you how users are searching for things.
User intent helps to set clearer demographics.
User intent helps you to create better, much more targeted landing pages which in turn help increase conversions.
User intent helps to create better content strategies.
Social media optimization is an important part of social media management. There are a lot of brands that are doing a great job integrating Social Media and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but few are taking it to the next level and employing the use of Paid Media or PPC ,which can also be a great contributing factor to social media success. Below is a graphic Apogee has created to give you tips on how to start utilizing all three.
One of the most important aspects of managing a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign is optimizing that campaign. When I say “optimizing” I mean structuring your account to maximize your Click Through Rate (CTR) while minimizing your spending. Without optimization, your campaign could spend inefficiently and generate undesirable results. So here is a list of ways to optimize and then tweak your PPC campaigns for the best possible results.
Refine your keyword list
Once you have a list of keywords, you want to regularly update your list in order to keep keywords relevant and useful. Remove keywords that are spending a lot of money. Also, remember that match type optimization is a better approach. (Note: this usually would not be the case for long-tail keywords, which most often have very low CTRs, but high conversion rates).
Maintain ad copy quality and relevance
Your ad copy should enable customers to solve the problem represented in their search and should include a good call to action or CTA. You should also always A/B test the ad copy to see which ad copy resonates better with the searcher and CTAs work the best in terms of conversions and CTRs.
When it comes to the relevance of your ads, think about conversational ad copy vs. technical/feature rich ad copy. Figure out which type of ad copy resonates best with your target audience. The more relevant the ad copy the more chances of higher CTR’s.
You also want to test your ad copy by conducting “real life” searches. Put yourself in the mind of your customer and search as they would. When you see your ad, ask yourself if it is answering their problem.
Manage quality score breakdown
Benchmark and keep track of all your quality scores in order to know when you should look into performance issues. If your quality scores are taking a dive, look into the following:
Check your destination URLs to make sure the landing pages work and that there haven’t been any changes.
Check your site speed. Slow site speed can be a negative signal to Google, which will negatively affect your quality score.
Optimize ads that have a low CTR, which would be <1.5%.
Make sure that your landing page includes the keywords that drove people to it.
Is your budget being used as effectively as possible? Do well converting campaigns meet their full spend early in the day? To get the answers to these questions, make sure your review your:
Percentage of budget allotted for your PPC campaign
Percentage of budget used to date for that month
If there is a campaign that is converting higher than what?, as it relates to volume, consider moving dollars off of lower converting campaigns and adding it to the better performing campaign.
You should always be looking for ways to expand or add keywords within existing ad groups. Also look for new ad group themes and ideas. To make sure you’re not wasting money on unwanted clicks, you also want to research new negative keywords, including exact and phrase match keywords. Don’t forget to pause poorly performing keywords that have low return on investment or ROI or low quality.
Optimize Google AdWords Enhanced campaigns
Now that Google has mandated enhanced campaigns, there are a few things you can do in order to further optimize your spend and make sure that you are targeting where the users are. You can target contextual information like a users location, device, and the time of day to target and start/stop your ads.
One of the most important parts of PPC campaign management is bid adjustment and optimization. Below are formulas given by Google for mobile, location, and time bid adjustments. (Note: If you don’t have a mobile site, you can exclude mobile traffic by making your adjusted bid -100%. But you need to ask yourself why you don’t have a mobile site).
Review your desktop and mobile performance: In order to optimize your mobile bid adjustment you must find out the ratio of mobile to desktop and tablet conversion value.
Review your performance by location: Adjusting your location bids you can optimize results in high-performance locations and de-emphasize low-performing locations. “To maximize conversion at a particular CPA or ROI level, a common best practice for setting bid adjustments is to equate your target metrics across all locations. – Google”. Remember to aim for a broader location target rather than a narrow one for better results.
Review your performance by time: In order to optimize time bids, compare the performance of your ads at different times compared to your overall performance goal. Then using this formula, you can calculate an optimal bid for each time period. The use of this formula will help calculate a goal that is set using a cost-per-action target.
Optimizing a PPC campaign should consist of gradual data driven changes over time. You will get closer to having a great campaign with great results by integrating these optimization steps into your daily managing routine.
Landing page development can be complex and difficult to get just right, which is why most companies do A/B or multivariate testing to get their landing pages to convert. Before you start such testing there are rules that every landing page should follow, no matter the focus of the page. Below we have listed 5 quick tips to get your landing page off to a good start.
Tip #1: Call to Action
The intent of your landing page should be clear and it should have a single focus.
The call to action (CTA) should be included above the fold and must be obvious when user lands on the page. “Above the fold” means that your CTA should be visible on the first screen when someone lands on your page, and they should not have to scroll down to see the CTA. You will want to check your Analytics to see how people are viewing your page, and through which devices, to decide where “above the fold” best fits with your design.
The CTA should stand out and it must be visible over other landing page elements.
Be sure to choose a relevant CTA for your business, whether it be a form fill out or a phone number.
Tip #2: Keep It Simple
Only include important and relevant information that will prompt your visitor to fill out a form or give you a call. This information could include features, benefits, or pricing, or other relevant descriptions that support the CTA.
Avoid visible clutter. Don’t use too many images or videos. Keep it simple yet still visual.
You should consider removing all design elements that do not support your CTA.
Tip #3: Use Trust Elements
Consider including real testimonials from product users. The use of testimonials will only lend to the credibility of your landing page, product, and or business.
Consider including product reviews, recognition, accolades, or certifications. These inclusions will make you look more credible and can be used to persuade a user to follow through on the CTA.
Tip #4: Navigation
The landing page does not need to include your usual navigation links. The use of navigation links can be a distraction and a gateway for the visitor to leave the page.
Tip #5: Content
All the important information should be above the fold.
Only use relevant images and video. Don’t use images or video that do not pertain to the information displayed on the landing page or support the CTA.
Be persuasive, but avoid a hard sell.
Use bullets for more organization and simplification of your content.
Creating landing pages isn’t an easy task and requires a lot of thought, but following these tips will ensure that you’ll have a great foundation.
The other day I saw this status from a friend on Facebook:
Unless I’ve got something really witty to say or share something funny from some facebook page, I feel like I don’t deserve to make a facebook post. Pretty amazing when a social networking site can make you feel insecure about socializing.
It is pretty amazing and I agree that there has been an increase in pressure to only share or post things that are interesting or funny. While this likely creates a more appealing experience for those scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed, it’s frankly not socializing. Social interaction is about personal dialogue between two or more people who don’t necessarily need to be having the most interesting or insightful interaction. An average real-world social interaction may involve telling one another about a boring day, or two people just getting to know each other. One person thinking to themselves for an hour before gathering all their friends and acquaintances to announce some carefully worded insight or to play a hilarious music video is a poor simulation for social interaction.
I want to explore this recent trend of de-socializing social media, focusing on Facebook specifically, as it has the most longevity and popularity. While I have to mainly draw from my personal posting habits on Facebook, I’m convinced they are indicative of a general trend. Back when I joined Facebook in 2006, I posted to friends’ walls daily and made status updates at least once a week. I’m sure that part of this can be attributed to the fact that I was discovering a new outlet for socializing and to the fact that I was in high school, which was a time when I had few ambitions beyond making friends. Still, for the next 3 or 4 years I used Facebook in a similar manner, perhaps with slightly less frequency as time passed. Now compare this to the last year or two, in which I haven’t posted a single status, I only post music or cool videos to my closest friends and family a couple times a week. If I think there is something that could be taken as inappropriate or offensive in the music or video, I send it as a private message instead. Maybe the change in my Facebook activity is a result of personal changes or changes in my friends, but I believe there are bigger factors at play.
Social Pressure to be Anti-social
Facebook has been around for 12 years and has been widely used for a majority of that time. Inevitably, unwritten Facebook rules or etiquette have arisen in these years. Anyone who uses Facebook on a regular basis has found that some people get too personal too often. (Almost) Nobody wants to be that person who annoys all their friends by sharing their hourly woes and triumphs as if the status update bar is the next line in their private diary. Because of this, there is actually a lot of social pressure to censor or refine one’s public posts.
I have found a huge social deterrent to be the frequent change in privacy policies. It’s hard to trust Facebook when one day you’re posting something you believe only your friends can see, and the next it turns out that anyone can see your posts until you manually change certain settings. Fortunately, Facebook has recently done a good job of making it very simple to control the privacy of specific posts or types of posts.
At the same time, user privacy is being compromised in other ways. Facebook apps have access to user data, and some have taken advantage of this by selling it to a third party for a relatively low cost (http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2012/10/25/facebook-investigating-how-bulgarian-man-bought-1-1-million-users-email-addresses-for-five-dollars/). Some Facebook pages will use an enticing title to get a large number of likes, and then sell to a brand to make that brand seem really popular. Obviously, these spammy tactics are harmful to the Facebook community. The idea that one’s privacy could be compromised without their immediate knowledge is frightening, especially in an age where it’s a standard practice for an employer to view potential employees’ profiles to weed out the seemingly irresponsible and unmotivated.
Social Media Marketing
Advertising and other business opportunities on Facebook, which include fan pages, brand pages, and apps, have been detrimental to socializing on Facebook. The fact is, nobody posting ads or running their company’s Facebook page is there to socialize. They simply want to get more attention and drive sales. While giving users options to like and share brands and products does encourage socializing, users also have to wade through posts that have nothing to do with their personal interests. It’s a fine line that I don’t think Facebook or online marketers have gotten right yet.
Personal Conversation vs. Screaming for Attention
One big thing that social media sites don’t focus on enough is the fact that socializing is traditionally, and I would say inherently, intimate. It’s a conversation or a few words shared between you and a friend or a small group of people. At some point, there are too many people in the room, and you can’t feasibly communicate and personally connect with them all at once. Facebook statuses and tweets are analogous to a shouting match in which every person is screaming for attention from all their friends at the same time. This is one thing I think Google+ got right. With circles, users can share things with a targeted group of people that all have some kind of common ground. However, with most social sites, there is so much information from so many people, a user is bound to miss details and intimacies that they would typically get in a real social setting and they’re bound to see plenty of things you don’t care about.
So what does all this mean for online marketing? Well for the most part, Facebook users aren’t opposed to giving likes to brand pages, as long as those pages aren’t controversial and are relevant to their interests of course. But overall, spreading your brand name is more difficult, as users have become more reluctant to share anything of low quality. On the other hand, if you have some really high quality content, today’s Facebookers will jump on it. Users are eager to share really great stuff, and if it came from a brand they like and trust, that’s even better. This content could be a cool promotional deal, but it could also be a funny video or some insight on a current event or holiday. If marketers treat users who like their pages as friends instead of customers, I think they will bring back some of the social aspects that social media has been losing, and they will ultimately gain trust and support.
Reclaiming any further socialization falls on those at Facebook who handle privacy. Maybe social media is moving away from socializing. Maybe “social” has a different meaning in the context of the internet. Maybe we should leave the socializing for the real world and keep our shouting matches to the virtual world. Factors such as body language and vocal inflections may never play a part in social media, but I believe that social media used to be better for socializing, and that it could and should be made even better than it used to be.
Every year I dread the New Year’s Holiday. Just the thought of making pledges to eat better or start working out gives me chills. I dutifully pledge to give up this or give up that and fail miserably on January 1st at about 9:40 a.m. This year I thought I would take a different approach; focus on my passion for Search Marketing to set me up for success and allow me to leave my personal life out of it!
How about making PPC Management Resolutions for 2013?
If you are like a lot of PPC Managers, you’ll likely have inherited an AdWords account. Clients typically want to get up and running and see results ASAP. This usually forces us to keep them up and start working on the re-structuring of the account as we go. Most of the time, there are common mistakes that have put the account into your hands that must be fixed before you start seeing some traction.
Resist the urge to keep campaigns set up the same way as you inherited them; even for a short period of time. Make your account assessment and hit the biggest areas of opportunity first. Taking a little time upfront and re-organizing the account’s structure will give you the click-thrus and not send them to your competition. These are all things we know and typically do as PPC professionals–so if nothing else it’s a reminder for me to Here is my top 3 list for 2013:
1. Where possible; split out larger Ad Groups:
Assess your client’s Ad Groups. Most of the time, you can make them smaller and more targeted. By doing this, you can decrease the number of keywords in your ad group which will allow you to be as specific as possible to your searchers intent with your ads. You can be far more relevant and send the searcher to the appropriate Landing Page. Once they are taken to the highly relevant page, they are more likely to convert for your client with higher CTR’s, higher Quality Scores and lower Cost per Clicks. Sometimes, the issue really is with the client’s web site and whether they have highly effective Landing pages for each of your Ad Groups. Hopefully you can convince them that changes they make will benefit their business.
2. Don’t rely on Google Optimization for my A/B Ad Testing.
I’m going to utilize Google’s ‘Rotate indefinitely’ Option which will show lower performing ads more evenly with higher performing ads to give me a better understanding of what’s happening without the automatic optimizing rotation. Then I’m going to be tougher and delete (not pause!) the ads that are not performing…what’s the point of keeping them in the ad group if they’re not converting?
3. I pledge to utilize Excel more than I do.
It’s a love-hate thing I know for most of us but once we get down and dirty with it, what a fantastic tool we have to drill down on the data we have available to make the wisest decisions for our accounts. 2013 is the year I fall back in love with pivot tables!
As I was working on this, I asked my colleagues here at Apogee Results what their PPC Resolutions would be and they had some excellent ones:
Ryan is going to focus on maximizing Ad Extensions to increase his CTR on his account ads. Hopefully Google will get cracking and improve the tracking capabilities for them as well.
Cori is going to (not listen to Ryan, ha ha – Just kidding) try and stay on top of Google’s Changes which is a pretty hefty goal. She gave a solid example regarding Google’s Conversion Optimizer Requirements:
Your campaign uses AdWords Conversion Tracking or is importing data from Google Analytics.
The campaign has received at least 15 conversions on the Search Network and 30 conversions on the Display Network in the last 30 days. This conversion history enables the system to make accurate predictions about your future conversion rate. So, the more data we have, the more accurate we can be.
The campaign must have been receiving conversions at a similar rate for at least a few days.
Kaolhi wants to get more in-depth on Google Analytics and all the ins & outs and dig into the reporting it has available.
Each December, it is tradition for Apogee Results employees to volunteer their time to Coats for Kids in Austin, TX. The annual community project, now in its 26th year, collects and distributes coats to eligible children in Central Texas. Every year, the Junior League of Austin, Jack Brown Cleaners, KASE 101, and KVUE partner to bring the community together to ensure that the children of Central Texas stay warm (if that ever happens this year!).
Last year, with the help of sponsors and 2,600 community volunteers, Coats for Kids distributed approximately 33,500 new and gently used coats to young people in Central Texas.
Donations come in from individuals, businesses and groups, and may be in the form of new coats, used coats or monetary donations. Watch the KVUE Austin news clip for more information or to learn how you can contribute or for more information, visit Coats For Kids.
This blog post presents some great ideas on how to approach video SEO beyond the basics of using rich snippets and getting links. It is more of a strategy session than a tutorial. The ideas discussed include: self hosting a video rather than hosting on YouTube if the goal is traffic and conversions, using different types of videos to fit your different goals, and if possible, creating videos with some SEO in mind instead of trying to optimize after a video is already created.
This is an excellent and comprehensive post on link building in the current, post-penguin environment. Not only does it discuss different types of links and how to get them (with a list of useful link-finding tools), but it also delves into an overall strategy for building a link profile. This includes how to decide if and when to remove links, tracking the progress of a link profile, and looking at what the future might bring in terms of updates.
Google has begun to show detail about medicine in the search results similar to how a famous person’s biography might show up in a SERP when their name is searched. Data from various authorities on medicine are part of Google’s knowledge graph, which attempts to contextualize words by making connections between words that the algorithm deems to be semantically related. This development will be particularly useful for any business in the medical field.
MDG advertising created this large Infographic with a lot of statistics about online holiday shopping trends. While there isn’t a lot of explanation about what these numbers mean, it’s a good visual that makes it easy to realize some powerful trends. Tablets are becoming a huge factor in that more and more people are using tablets to shop as well as shopping for tablets. Online holiday shopping also seems to be starting earlier and ending later in the year, beginning in October and going past Christmas.
A company trying to decide whether to do SEO or PPC should realize that the most successful campaign will likely implement both at some level and have a hand in numerous other marketing outlets. This article gives 10 good reasons why your company should do PPC, and specifically Google AdWords, while responsibly prefacing that AdWords should probably not be used as a replacement for SEO. Some of the best reasons are probably the first four given, which are that it is scalable, measurable, flexible, and faster than SEO.