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What is App Store Optimization? (ASO)

Posted by on Feb 9, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on What is App Store Optimization? (ASO)

What is App Store Optimization? (ASO)

With more than 6 million mobile apps in the major app stores, getting your app discovered is one of the biggest issues facing mobile app publishers today. This is why understanding app store optimization (ASO) is so crucial.

But what is app store optimization, and how can you make the most of it? Here’s what you need to know to help your app rank well.

What is App Store Optimization (ASO)? 

App store optimization is the process of optimizing mobile apps to rank higher in an app store’s search results. The higher your app ranks in an app store’s search results, the more visible it is to potential customers.

That increased visibility tends to translate into more traffic to your app’s page in the app store.

The goal of ASO is to drive more traffic to your app’s page in the app store, so searchers can take a specific action: download your app.

The ASO process also requires a crucial understanding of your target customer base, including the keywords your potential customers are using to find apps similar to yours.

When you learn more about which keywords are being used, you will better understand your potential customers’ language so you can hone in on the best keywords to use.

App Store Optimization (ASO) factors to pay attention to include:

App name and titleKeywords DescriptionSubtitleTotal number of downloadsRatings and reviews

We’ll cover how to optimize for each of these factors below, but first let’s talk about why AOS matters.

Why Is ASO Important?

According to Google, 40 percent of apps are discovered through app store searches. This makes search in the app store the most used method for discovering and downloading new apps.

Simply put, this means that:

If you’re not using ASO to increase your app’s search ranking, you’re missing out on the largest discovery channel available to your app.

With hundreds of thousands of apps in each app store vying to rank above one another, the reality is most publishers are not investing in app store optimization.

So here’s my gift to you: ASO is your secret weapon. Spend time every week improving your ASO, and you will meaningfully impact your app’s ranking and overall success.

How to Help Your App Rank: The Basics of ASO 

Much of what I’m about to explain is actually SEO basics.

If you’re already familiar with these for web searches, there are still a few key differences within the App Store.

Let’s start by breaking down the various components that can affect your ASO:

Main ASO Factors

These factors have the largest impact on where your app ranks, so pay special attention to these factors.

App Name/Title: The keyword placed in the title should be the one with the heaviest search traffic. Spend time researching which keyword that is, because changing your title too often can be detrimental. As your app begins to rank higher and gain more reviews, your app’s news will begin to spread by word of mouth. Changing the title can make it difficult for word to spread about your app.Keywords: To improve your search rankings, you need to know which keywords are relevant and used most often by your target audience. It is helpful to monitor competitors to realize how you compare week to week.

Besides being the most important ASO factor, the title and keywords can be modified easily. so you’ll want to optimize them regularly.

Secondary ASO Factors

First impression matter — but there are several other factors that heavily weigh impact whether users tap that download button. These include:

Total # of Downloads: Your number of downloads are significant to ASO, but you don’t have complete control over them.Ratings and Reviews: Also important and difficult to control. However, there are ways to incentivize happy users to rate and review

Here’s a complete breakdown of all the factors to keep in mind when optimizing your app for better rankings.

1. App Title

The title is our first impression online. It’s what drew you to read this post, and it’s what will draw users to your app.

Optimizing with a keyword in the title increases search ranking for that title by 10.3%!

Obviously, some limitations apply, as the App Store is very regulated.

You’re given only 30 characters for a title in Apple, and keyword stuffing is a surefire way to risk being banned.

Users are also wary of downloading shady-looking apps for privacy concerns.

Think about it — would you rather have “Evernote” or “Note Taking Note App for Notes” on your smartphone?

Be smart about how you optimize.

Pandora, for example, does everything right.

Its icon is sleek and simple, and with a short name, it was able to fit in three essential keywords.

When searching the App Store for “free,” “music,” or “radio,” you’ll find Pandora at or near the top.

2. App Description

Here’s where things get a bit murky. Technically the App Store algorithm ignores the description.

Users, however, are a different story.

Rather than optimizing for SEO, focus on explaining the features and benefits of your product.

While it seems like you have a lot of space to do this, you actually don’t.

Truncated snippets are shown on your product page, and a few readers will ever click “more” to read beyond what you see here.

You have 252 characters to make your pitch and convince someone you’re worth downloading. So. you’ll want to keep it short and sweet.

There’s no room for fluff, and you may need to A/B test several iterations to find what works best.

3. Keyword Metadata

Apple provides you with 100 characters to enter keywords separated by commas.

These help your app get discovered through search and related content.

There’s no need to duplicate efforts here, so choose keywords you haven’t already used in the title.

Some in-depth keyword analysis can be done using Apple Search Ads.

This feature is only available to iOS app developers and is an essential tool for listing any project.

You can also use a keyword research tool like Ubersuggest to find common key terms and test them.

4. App Subtitle

You’re given a subtitle below the title in search results. This is also limited to 30 characters.

It gives you another chance to use more descriptive keywords.

TypeShift, for example, uses the space to input its main search word.

This is a cleaner look and can work well.

I would’ve still taken the opportunity to use some keywords in the title, but that’s out of my control.

Which is a great segue to my next topic.

5. App Reviews and Ratings

Customer reviews and ratings are an important consideration for users, especially those unfamiliar with an app brand.

Apps with higher ratings also ranked higher. This raises a tricky dilemma: you want more ratings and reviews, but not if they are negative. So, you need a way to connect with your customers inside your app, giving them a place to vent and talk directly to the developer.

On the flip side, you want to guide happy customers to leave positive reviews for you.

The average rating of the top 100 free apps in the App Store is 4 stars!

Quality clearly matters.

The lower your rating, the fewer consumers who will be willing to consider downloading it.

Think about it. When was the last time you downloaded a one-star app?

You may have rated an app one star, but it was likely rated three or more stars when you downloaded it.

Ratings also affect conversions.

Maintaining a high rating is often easier than raising one from two or four stars.

That’s why it’s important to solicit reviews from customers within the app.

One time is all that’s necessary, and it needs to be done within the first 72 hours.

That’s how long 77% of users will use an app before never again turning it on.

It’s also important to wait until after the customer has a chance to use the app.

Instead of basing it on a timer, consider a push notification when the customer completes certain actions.

Examples of great times to do this are after the first level of a game or after a customer sends their first message through your encrypted messaging app.

Try not to be too spammy, though, and keep in mind your app’s performance can affect its rating.

Ultimately, you want a page full of glowing reviews.

Finally, don’t be shy about replying to negative reviews.

It’s possible a bad customer experience happened due to an error or glitch that’s since been corrected.

Thank users for their reviews whenever possible, good or bad, and correct issues brought up. This is your time to gather valuable user feedback.

This is your time to gather valuable user feedback.

6. App Downloads

Ultimately it’s a download that matters.

An app preview video and screenshots help convert indecisive users.

Both the App and Google Play stores use the number of times an app has been downloaded to determine ranking.

More specifically, it’s the current download rate.

For example, while an app may have one million overall downloads, a newer app can beat it by getting more downloads this month.

The preview video and images can be a major factor in this.

The majority of top apps in the App Store use app previews to increase customer conversions.

Once you have a user, however, you’ll need to keep them.

It’s harder than it sounds, and Apple is paying attention.

What can you do to get more downloads for your app?

Improving your app optimization is a great place to start. Beyond that, work on marketing your brand and app to improve recognition, awareness, and appeal, from app store description to images, ratings/reviews, and social media presence.

How Retention Impacts ASO 

Retention rates are important for mobile device rankings, but the bar isn’t set very high.

The average app has only a 29 percent retention rate after 90 days.

Further breaking things down, we can look at the retention rates by industry.

Media/Entertainment, Lifestyle/Travel, and eCommerce/Retail apps have the best three-month retention rates.

There are so many apps available in the App Store that users download plenty to never use them.

A study found Americans use an average of 30 apps each month out of the roughly 90 they have installed.

This means even if your app is downloaded, it’s unlikely it’ll ever be used beyond the first 72 hours.

How long your app stays installed and how many times it’s used while installed can help App Store search rankings.

Now that you understand how the search rankings work, it’s time to explore best practices for publishing an app to ensure it’s seen and downloaded.

Do Apps with Higher Ratings Rank Higher in Search Results?

Yes, higher rankings do result in higher search results. Here’s a test performed by taking a random sampling of keywords and categorizing them by difficulty related to rankings. 

An “easy” keyword results in fewer than 25 apps trying to rank for that keyword. “Medium” keywords are included in 25-100 apps, and “competitive” keywords are those in 100+ apps.

Based on this test, there is a clear trend showing that apps with higher ratings also rank higher for keyword difficulty.

Do apps with better ratings rank higher? Yes.

(But don’t beg for them; earn better ratings for your apps the right way.)

Conclusion 

Like SEO, ASO is a process that needs to be monitored and constantly tweaked over a period of time. Your optimal set of keywords rarely is the set that you first opt to put in the app store.

In most cases, little or no research on keyword searches occurs before the app submission, leaving most apps hidden, and the likelihood of discovery quite low.

To reap the rewards of ASO, you need to invest time and effort. If you do, you’ll have a consistent channel driving traffic to your app.

Being found is one of the most difficult challenges for mobile apps, but it is a problem you can actively solve with the tips above.

Have you found success with ASO? What has helped your app rank better? 

The post What is App Store Optimization? (ASO) appeared first on Neil Patel.

9 Must-Have Content Writing Tools for SEO Content Writers

Posted by on Feb 8, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 9 Must-Have Content Writing Tools for SEO Content Writers

9 Must-Have Content Writing Tools for SEO Content Writers

Search engines are the starting point for 93 percent of website visits. Besides, 75 percent of internet users don’t scroll beyond the first page of search engine results.

These statistics point to two conclusions. First, ranking on the first page for particular terms can be more useful and vital than most forms of advertising. Second, you should strive to be on the first page if you’re to catch people’s attention. 

For you to tap into these benefits of organic search results, you need a solid SEO content strategy. Here are the tools that can help you streamline your SEO content creation process and make it more effective:

Google Trends

If you’re just starting and you haven’t settled on the subject matter yet, Google Keyword Trend is the perfect starting point. Google Trends is a feature that shows you how many times a search term has been entered into Google Search comparative to the total search volume in a given time frame. 

Google Trends can help you discover event-driven spikes in given keyword search volume. Besides, Google Trends provides you with vital keyword-related data like geographical data of users and search volume index. The platform also allows you to change the time frame, location, industry or category, and search (in the news, web, YouTube, or shopping) for more detailed data. 

Once you’ve established what users/ potential customers are searching for online, you should settle on particular low-competition and high-search-volume keywords. If you don’t rank highly for such keywords, your content won’t be visible on search engine results. 

An effective rule of thumb is to focus on about two keywords in every article or blog post. This will allow you to create focused and detailed content as well as enable you to locate your keywords in strategic places – for instance in your headline. Having fewer keywords will also help you avoid keyword stuffing. 

Keyword Research Tools

Google Keyword Planner

Google keyword planner enables you to know the keywords which are popular in given niches. It also helps you find out the competitiveness of given phrases. An effective SEO strategy is built on keywords that are high-volume as well as not too competitive. But what stands out about this keyword planner is that its data comes straight from Google and so it’s extremely accurate. Moreover, it’s free!

LSIGraph

LSI helps you find the most lucrative semantically related keywords/phrases for your paid marketing and SEO. LSI keywords are phrases related to the main keyword. You should use them in your SEO content to help search engine crawlers to contextualize your content better.

Better still, LSIGraph helps you discover the top-ranking content for your keyword, which is fantastic because for you to outrank everyone else, you must learn from the best.

Research Search Intent and Create Outline 

SEOPressor’s Blog Title Generator

If you choose to start your article with a headline, you can use this title generator to create multiple title ideas from your keywords. To generate title ideas, you only need to enter your keyword. If you don’t like the ideas, you can refresh and generate another set of unique ideas. 

The main reason why you should use SEOPressor’s title generator is that it spawns titles that are useful and relevant to readers.

Answer the Public 

Answer the Public is a visual research tool that helps connect your keywords with search questions and suggested searches. Google and Bing’s auto search results are a treasure trove of insights for marketers.  

As you type a keyword into Answer the public, you’re provided with an aggregated view of search questions. This macro view of search questions provides a window into the ‘searchers’ emotions and motivations. This is an effective but underutilized source of marketing research. 

BiQ keyword Intelligence

BiQ generates long-tail keywords that are linked semantically to your main keywords. You only need to enter a single seed keyword for BiQ to generate numerous long-tail keywords. 

BiQ’s features include keyword intelligence which helps you conduct local SEO and decipher customer behavior through keyword intent analysis. Its content intelligence feature provides you AI-guided optimization steps and tone suggestions. Besides, BiQ comes with other useful features like site intelligence, rank intelligence, markup intelligence and more.

Optimizing Your Content

SEOPressor WordPress plugin

SEOPressor  WordPress plugin gathers vital SEO analytics of your site in one place. It thus helps you to ensure that your content is presented optimally – that you have adhered to the SEO best practices and the most favorable keyword density.

You’re able to bolster your SEO, thanks to SEOPressor score which scales from 0 to 100. The score is based on your content’s readability, word count, and semantic quality. The higher you score, the higher you’re likely to rank. 

Besides, this plugin provides you with suggestions on how to optimize your content naturally. For instance, it suggests where you should place keywords, and warns you of keyword stuffing. It also recommends LSI keywords. 

GDoc SEO Assistant

 GDoc helps online marketers, writers, and bloggers to analyze and boost the SEO value of their content. It bolsters your SEO efforts by providing data on your keywords, including trends, search volume, and competition

GDoc’s key features include SEO score which informs you how well you’ve optimized your content and the SEO Suggestion feature which provides you with real-time content optimization suggestions. Also, its Related Keyword feature helps you improve your content’s semantic relevance.

Post Editing Tool Readability and Grammar

Hemingway App

Hemingway was the master of writing easy to read prose marked by short sentences. Online readers have short attention spans; they don’t want to read lengthy, flowery, and verbose sentences. The Hemingway app helps you create easy to read content with short sentences. 

All you have to do is to paste your article into the app, it then highlights problematic areas in several categories: use of adverbs, passive voice, overly difficult phrases or words, or exceedingly complex sentences. You can then scrolls through your content and rectify the highlighted areas – simplify complex sentences, use active verbs and get rid of unnecessary adverbs. 

The Hemingway app also categorizes your content based on its reading level. The lower the reading grade, the more accessible the content is to a wider audience. In the long run, the app helps you to become a better writer capable of spotting and fixing errors.

Grammarly

For your content to be SEO-friendly, it must be grammatically correct and logically structured. Even if your content is useful, no one will want to read it if it’s incoherent and flooded with basic errors. You won’t have clients if your content isn’t easy to read.

Grammarly uses natural language processing and artificial intelligence help you create clear and effective online content. It checks for grammar errors, spelling errors, and plagiarism. It also offers suggestions about tone, delivery style, vocabulary, and concision.

The best thing about Grammarly is that you can install it into your browser where it’ll grammar- and spell-check all the stuff you write online. You can also download its desktop app for offline use.

Conclusion 

Great writing tools enable you to craft compelling content by helping your brainstorm ideas, find errors, perfect copy, and ultimately create content ranks high on search engines. To create optimal content, try out the above writing tools.

Why Your Pages Aren’t Indexed by Google – Confirmed Indexing Issues

Posted by on Feb 4, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Why Your Pages Aren’t Indexed by Google – Confirmed Indexing Issues

Why Your Pages Aren’t Indexed by Google – Confirmed Indexing Issues

Google is facing serious indexation issues these days, affecting countless businesses all over the world.  Despite the official announcements that the indexation issues have been fixed, the problems seem to persist.

 

With great power comes great responsibility. Therefore, we can only hope these issues will be solved as fast as possible for all webmasters and company owners that are already facing a difficult year for their businesses. 

 

 

Google is undoubtedly one of the largest and clearest monopolies in the world. Bing, its closest search competitor, has just 2 percent of the market — hardly a significant threat to Google’s 90 percent. So, what happens when Google’s SERP is not working accordingly? 

 

Let’s see!

 

Google Indexing Problem – Confirmed on October 1, 2020

 

It all started at the end of September when a number of complaints related to pages being dropped from Google’s search index appeared. Lots of people started reporting index coverage issues and crawl errors on forums, Facebook groups, etc..

 

Twitter was the most popular channel for this type of issues, as usual, as it’s the only place where there is a chance that a Google representative might actually respond to the issue. 

 

The same happened in this case, with the mention that this time, Google’s representative John Mueller wasn’t aware of the issue, as stated in the screenshot below.  

Of course, this leaves a lot of room for speculations on this matter, yet we prefer to leave those thoughts on you and present you only the facts for now. 

 

 

Lots of other discussions were generated on this matter all over the places, Search Console Help and Black Hat World to mention just a few. Below you can get an idea of the vibe that was on Twitter regarding this matter.  

 

 

On October 1st, 24 hours later, Google officially announced that some indexing issues do exist and they are working on solving them. 

 

We are currently working to resolve two separate indexing issues that have impacted some URLs. One is with mobile-indexing. The other is with canonicalization, how we detect and handle duplicate content. In either case, pages might not be indexed….

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) October 1, 2020

 

For the following three weeks, they kept on communicating updates on the problems and how they were fixing them. The most recent and important updates on this matter are the following:

 

October 9: the mobile indexing was effectively resolved yesterday, with about 99% of the URLs restored. 

 

October 20: the canonical issue was effectively resolved last Wednesday (Oct. 14), with about 99% of the URLs restored. We expect the remaining edge cases will be restored within a week or two.

 

Meanwhile, Google communication revolved around this type of messages:

 

There’s no action to take with these issues on the part of site owners.
We apologize for the issues here and are working rapidly to resolve them.
We’ll update this thread as each is corrected.
It may take days to fully resolve both these issues completely, but we have restored many URLs already and are working quickly to process more.

 

All good in the hood, you might be tempted to say. Google had a bug, they fixed it three weeks after.

 

Just that things are not exactly like that. Beside the fact that three weeks of not indexing new content or de-indexing old one is a very big amount of time in Internet days measure, the problem is still on, as several webmasters reported. 

 

We have two examples of our own that confirm the issue is still on. Not sure if you know, but the same hard-working team that developed cognitiveSEO, crafted the brand monitoring tool BrandMentions.com as well. Both examples will be from this website.

 

The first one is a really cool research on best time to post on Instagram (I might be subjective here, but you can check it out to see for yourself). 

It doesn’t seem that the URL has crawl issue, yet, it is not indexed by Google. It is a unique content piece, with no special indications (it doesn’t have noindex directive). 

 

The article was published on the BrandMentions’ blog on October 13.  I don’t believe it was a “Tuesday, the 13th” bad luck. Most likely, Google didn’t manage to fix the issues for 99% of the URLs as they were claiming. And yes, there might be the chance that the article is within that 1% of not-fixed URLs. But this is not the only example. 

 

 

The second example is a page that presents info on brand tracking, also belonging to brandmentions.com. This time, the page seems to be crawled (on the same unlucky Tuesday, 13) but today, 20th of October, is nowhere to be found within the SERP.

 

Of course, we hope that this will change and by the time you’re reading this article the page will be indexed and ranking pretty well. Yet, for the moment, the Google Indexing issue seems to be persisting. 

 

 

What Is the Google Canonicalization Issue 

 

Google stated in a Tweet from October 2nd that “ […] If the canonical issue is involved, URL Inspector may show the URL as a duplicate & the Google-selected canonical will be different from it.  The issue with canonicals impacted roughly about 0.02% of our index, beginning around Sept. 20 until late yesterday around 4:30pm PT. We’ve since restored about 10% of those URLs and keep reprocessing more.” 

 

What does this exactly mean?

 

It’s somehow a duplicate content issue.  Let’s say that you’d publish a fresh article and soon after a scraper copies your entire article and publishes it just the same. 

 

The canonical tag added on your site would tell Google that your article is the original one and that it is the one that should be ranked first. You can basically tell Google “Instead of this page, show this page.” So, if you have page B ranking on some keyword, you can basically tell Google to show page A instead.

 

Yet, once the canonicalization issue appeared, Google would not show the original content, but the syndicated one (the one that it’s a copy of the original one). 

 

Canonical tags are Google’s recommendation for several situations, as you can see on their page or on the image below. 

 

 

There are billions of web pages, and Google has the job of ranking them. Ideally, all websites should have unique pages. Each and every page should contain original content. In reality, however, duplicate pages are to be found more often than you’d think. 

 

So, Google crawls your website and finds 3 pages trying to rank for the exact same keyword. Not only that Google has to pick between billions of different websites, it now also has to choose between duplicate pages on the same website. That seems tough indeed, so that’s why the canonical tag is there, to tell Google what is the original piece that should be ranked.

 

And when an issue of this size appears, you remember how important it is for the search engine to do their job correctly, but also for the webmasters to have everything set up correctly. 
Yes, it seems that even with even if you have everything alright on your side, issues can still appear. 

 

At the time you are reading this post, this type of issues shouldn’t appear anymore as Google stated that they have been fixed. Yet, given the current situation and the fact that webmasters are still complaining about it, let’s hope for the best and expect the worst. 

 

What Is the Google Mobile Indexing Issue

 

The Mobile indexing issue caused new web pages to take a very long time to get indexed and appear in Google’s index. Some of the new published content is still not indexed. 

 

Even the big sites where affected by these issues. Below you can see some screenshots made by Ewdison Then. He reported this issue on September 29, as he found it really strange that all these sites posting news every couple of minutes have nothing indexed from the past hour.  

 

 

Google stated that “if a previously indexed page has gone, it might be the mobile-indexing issue, where we’re failing to select any page at all to index.”

 

As you could see in the screenshots above, lots of webmasters complained that they simply vanished from the index.  As you can see in the screenshot below, Google stated that the issue impacted just a few websites (roughly 0.2%).

 

This may sound like a small number but remember that Google’s index is huge and 0.2% of it is still a big number.  The Google Search index contains hundreds of billions of webpages and is well over 100,000,000 gigabytes in size. Therefore, 0.2% of all this enormous amount of data doesn’t feel that small of a percentage anymore. 

 

 

The mobile indexing issue was the first to be fixed according to Google, with almost two weeks before the canonicalization one. Yet, hopefully this issue won’t appear anymore in the future as this is impacting the search and people’s businesses big time. 

 

Google faced indexing issue in the past as well. Last year, for instance, a similar problem happened, with people facing indexing issues from all domains and countries. Let’s hope that this time the fix is for good and these types of issues won’t appear anymore. 

We’re aware of indexing issues that impacted some sites beginning on Friday. We believe the issues are mostly resolved and don’t require any special efforts on the part of site owners. We’ll provide another update when the issues are considered fully resolved.

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) April 7, 2019

 

 

How Does Google Indexation Issue Affect Your Business

 

The short answer to this would be: BIG TIME. 

 

Home pages, articles, product pages were de-indexed all of sudden. Imagine your business’s site not appearing in searches anymore, at all. 
The errors in Google search will cause massive drop in organic traffic, your content marketing strategy will not be useful anymore 

 

It’s already a difficult year, and the indexing issue is making business lose even more. 

 

It’s easy to forget that, at the end of the day, Google is just a private business, like any other. One that has a worldwide monopoly on search engines, with a staggering 92.27% market share that we all depend on, and that has managed to insert its namesake as a common word in the dictionary. But a private company, nonetheless. So, while we would all like to understand what has and is happening and move on with our virtual lives, it might not be as easy as that.

 

Yet, with great power comes great responsibility. Or at least, it should. 

 

Whom should the businesses losing their income for over two weeks blame? Yes, bugs happen all the time and all apps, be them big or small have them. And yes, we tend to misuse the Google engine as a “reality interface”. But Google has their reponsibilites as well.

 

For instance, Google is influencing economy by the way ads are ranked right now: the more a company pays, the more often the add will be visible. Google answers that result from queries are also already ranked when searches are conducted. And Google is responsible (on a certain percentage, of course) for a company’s value. Google is of course doing this already for ads, but it does that for the whole SERP already. 

 

A sudden disappearance, or more generally a dramatic and sudden change event is an often-used narrative device in much of literature and film. It is sometimes left unexplained, but always manages to elicit a strong emotion. Such is the mass disappearance of 2% of the world’s population in TV series “The Leftovers”, or the sudden stop of any death for an entire country in Jose Saramago’s “Death with Interruptions” novel.

 

In real life, such events are usually much smaller and less dramatic in scale, but they are not without consequence.

 

We will probably never know the real number of impacted businesses.

 

What we do know is that an issue of this amplitude translates in very stressful situations for business owners and their employees, for companies’ general well-being and profit, in a year that is already difficult enough for so many. 

 

Can You Do Anything in This Situation?

 

The short answer is no. We just need to wait and hope for things to get back to normal, a phrase we are sure you’ve heard way too many times lately.

 

On September 30th, Google announced it had suspended the request indexing feature temporarily from their webmaster tool.

 

There were no detailed explanations as to why, just a vague mention of infrastructure changes.

 

As days went by, company officials insisted that things were fine, while complaints around Google indexing issues persisted as more and more businesses seemed to be impacted. 

 

Google is so ubiquitous nowadays that most of the time we do not even think of it as a private company. Both the Oxford English Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary added “to google” as a transitive verb back in 2006. It is so common that it is just… there. And with an over 90% market share, this way of thinking is no surprise.

 

The problem with all of this is that we tend to think of common nouns as more trustworthy, for some reason. Like Google were no longer a company, but some public utility service, whose only intention is to help its users, rather than trying to balance that and make a profit as a market-leading private company.

 

And companies sometimes will be more interested in profit than in other things, like fairness or truth. Which is not to say that Google has purposefully lied in the past or did not put enough effort in fixing their bugs. But it has, at times, told it in ways that were profitable: not telling the whole truth about the impact of links from press releases, not disclosing anything about the Hummingbird algorithm update except long after its effects had already taken place, or not mentioning the current submit URLs and indexation bugs from the very beginning.

 

Even if all of this is true, though, it is what companies tend to do. They keep a little to themselves, they over or undersell, as it fits their purpose. But due to Google’s quasi-monopoly, they are also able to bend the playing field, not just accuracy or truth. Of course, the search engine giant is under no obligation to play nice. As a private company, they do not need to tell anyone how they update their algorithms, when they have bugs, what is the intended impact of their actions or what their strategy is. And yet there is a whole industry that is trying to figure out these exact things.

 

 

With the hope that this article will be indexed and you’ll get to find it easily within the SERP, we’re looking forward for your opinion on it. 

The post Why Your Pages Aren’t Indexed by Google – Confirmed Indexing Issues appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

Google Ads new features: Five tips for your Google Ads campaigns

Posted by on Feb 4, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Google Ads new features: Five tips for your Google Ads campaigns

Google Ads new features: Five tips for your Google Ads campaigns

30-second summary:

Every year Google adds more automation and complexity to their ad products.
While it can help day to day campaign management, it comes at the price of readability and control over your campaigns.
Marketers are constantly challenged to find effective ways to maintain control over their campaigns and strategies.
To succeed in 2021, you need to integrate more data, retain control over automatic Google optimization, fight against the increased competition, yet you will not have more time for this.
Google Ads audit provider, SEISO audited over 8000 accounts and observed that marketers, on average, can save up to 32 percentage on their spend with no impact on performance by trimming the right branches.
SEISO’s Martin Romerio looks at the five new key actions you should focus on for successful Google Ads campaigns.

As PPC business becomes more mature, it is harder to find new opportunities for your SEM campaigns’ management, keeping on top of the latest trends that will help you reach a better ROAS. Every year Google adds more automation and complexity to ad products like Google Ads. While it can help day to day campaign management, it comes at the price of readability and control over your campaigns.

As a marketer, you need to maintain control over your campaigns and strategies. Google’s optimizations are not always in your best interest nor do they know the context of your brand. One solution could be to use a campaign optimization tool like SEISO. It helps you to get insights into your campaigns while remaining in charge of the final decision.

To succeed in 2021, you must be able to do new things: integrate more data, retain control over automatic Google optimization, fight against the increased competition, yet you will not have more time for this. Let’s look at the five new key actions you should focus on:

Content created in partnership with SEISO.

1. SKAGs out, Intent in

Google favors consistency within campaigns. The more similar performance your keywords have, the better the campaign will perform overall. This has been the rationale behind the infamous single keyword ad groups strategy (SKAGs) that was popular a few years back. Truth be told, it was an unmanageable mess. Luckily, lately, Google introduced a few updates that made SKAGs irrelevant: match type update, close variants.

So if consistency is key but SKAGs is overkill, what are we to do? As is often the case in marketing, we need to work with common sense. In this situation, the user’s intent should be the North Star around which you group your keywords.

Internet users who searched for the name of your brand are more likely to convert and buy once on your site. First, all search terms relating to your brand should be grouped together as they bring the best ROAS. Second, terms mentioning keywords such as “price” or “discount” are strong signals of buy intent, you should bundle them together. While phrases including “specifications”, “size” or “warranty” are important for you to bid on, your CTR and CR will be lower, thus you should have a reduced bid for those. And so on with a view to improving results, you must visualize and quantify the areas in which you can improve things and find new clients. The trick is to keep the structure of your account separate.

This can be a time-consuming and confusing process. An easy way to start is to use insight tools such as the SEISO Google Ads analyzer report to assist you in understanding your current campaigns.

2. Declutter up your campaign, no more wasted ad spend

With dozens of campaigns, hundreds of ad copies, and tens of thousands of keywords, keeping a close eye on each of them can be overwhelming. Yet it is key to your success. Underperforming spend represents your Google Ads investment that has a low-quality score or isn’t converting enough. As time goes on, keeping a handle on things gets more time consuming as you are adding news terms and copies every day. After a few years, it can become unmanageable.

To reduce the wasted spend you’ll have to drill down two reports: the Quality Score and the Search Query Report to analyze the search terms that trigger your ads.

You can also save time and quantify your potential savings with the free SEISO cleaning tool. Our observation with over 8000 accounts audited monthly is that marketers, on average, can save up to 32 percentage of their spend with no impact on performance by trimming the right branches.

3. Double down on your strengths

Often advertisers think that to increase their sales you have to buy new keywords.

While it is true, it is at least as important to make sure you have the maximum market share on the keywords for which you are the most profitable (beyond branded traffic of course).

The best way to make sure you don’t lose any opportunity, you need to monitor the ‘Impression Share’ you have on Google Ads SERPs.

Lost impressions represent missed opportunities on searches related to your keywords that you choose to bid on. You need to focus on the top 10 campaigns and check for the market shares of your competitors and monitor closely when you are not shown.

On average 94 percentage of SEISO users are seeing that they are not always present on their top search terms SERP when they run their 1st audit.

4. Make it shine

Copy and visuals are playing an increasingly important role in campaigns. As a user is exposed to more than 6000 ads daily, you need to stand out to get a chance to attract its attention.

The quality of the creation weighs up to 80 percentage in the performance of Facebook Ads campaigns, we observe a similar trend on Google Ads.

And the importance of the visual is also increasing on the Google Ads network.

The secret to optimizing your ads and creatives is to give in to the power of statistics. You can never know for sure which creative will work the best, but you can now easily test your best guesses. The magic number is between three and 5. Always test at least three and no more than five ads in an ad group.

Think about the benchmark: SEISO will also give you recommendations for priority areas to improve: optimization of ads, use of ad extensions.

5. Spend smarter, not more

More and more, Google is catching up with Facebook on the user-centric approach. Your spend needs to be allocated not only on keywords or placement levels but also take into account the user profiles.

Data is gathered from users’ declarative information, when and where they are online, as well as Google Analytics shared data and inferred data from previous search queries (that is, if a user searches for baseball game score, he is a sports enthusiast). To take user profiles into consideration, make bid adjustments to your most valuable audiences and criteria.

It is key to integrate a dimension for audiences for your campaigns: socio-demographics, time of the day, day of the week, geography, devices, and more.

Starting the year with good resolutions is great, but it is only the first step, the key to having a state of the art Google Ads account all year round is to maintain a steady job.

There is much more to discover in the SEISO analysis report, including expert tips and Google Ads best practices, account activity analysis, budget management recommendations, and more than 75 criteria sifted.

Are your Google Ads Campaigns optimized?

To test SEISO for free TODAY, click here.

The post Google Ads new features: Five tips for your Google Ads campaigns appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

SEO Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Posted by on Feb 3, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on SEO Mistakes You Need to Avoid

SEO Mistakes You Need to Avoid

As a business owner, you most likely already know that SEO is essential to help you stay in business. The problem is that SEO techniques keep changing.

Therefore, it is crucial to stay abreast of what counts as good SEO practices. In the early days of search engine optimization, SEO techniques were, for the most part, simple and straightforward.

As search engines got better as a result of more complex algorithms, the standards of SEO changed along with it.

 Nowadays, marketers and business owners, especially small business owners, need to take a lot of more minor things into account to get noticed by potential customers.

The main reason for this is that getting ranked high on search engines is the difference between night and day.

If your website is not within the first five or six sites on the search page, the likelihood of getting ignored by customers is very high. The following are some of the more common SEO mistakes that you can avoid making as you go into 2020.

1. Be More Specific

Businesses, even larger ones, are learning that being too general in their ad campaigns is a mistake. In the old days of advertising, companies hoped the right people would notice their ads. Not so anymore.

With the arrival of the Internet of things, it is now possible to be not just specific, but very specific when trying to get noticed by the public. Even though the Internet is vast, you can still use it to find and target your exact audience.

The following questions deal with specific SEO techniques.

Are you targeting men or women?What age group are you targeting?Do you have a specific geographic location in mind?Are you considering income and education levels?

The idea here is to try and figure who exactly your customer base is. Keep asking yourself questions regarding who you want to notice your products or service.

2. Keywords are Still in Fashion

The next SEO mistake that is surprisingly common has to do with keywords. Keywords are still an integral part of SEO, and it will be for the foreseeable future. However, what has changed is the usage of keywords.

There was a time not too long ago when all you needed to do was to stuff content with relevant keywords, and the search engines would pick it up, but this is no longer the case, mainly because it is no longer possible to “fool” search engine by such gimmicks.

But there is more to it than smarter algorithms. The software the search engines use is now looking for specific keywords, not just the number of times it appears.

The only way to remedy SEO mistakes involving keywords is by researching the right keywords to use. There are tools available to help you with finding proper keywords, including Google’s Keyword Planner.

3. SEO Mistakes in the era of Smartphones

You are living in an age where everyone and their grandparents are using mobile phones, especially smartphones. Smartphones are, after all, small computers that fit in your pocket.

Most people are now using smartphones to do Internet searches, including staying in touch with other people on social media. What does all this mean in the context of SEO mistakes?

It means that websites need to be optimized for smartphones as well. Google has made it clear that search engine rankings will be affected if mobile optimization hasn’t been taken care of.

Fortunately, it is not difficult to make your site mobile friendly, as long as you follow some steps, and there are plenty of tutorials available for business owners who do not have a marketing team.

4. On-site SEO Mistakes

A fairly common mistake done when websites are created is forgetting about on-site SEO. Many business owners tend to focus on off-site optimization and forget about on-site work.

The concept of on-site optimization is simple; the meta description tags and the title need to be optimized for the page to get a respectable ranking in search engines.

In short, it is the meta descriptions and the title that search engines look at when deciding the relevancy of the site.

You could have the best website in the world, but if the title and meta descriptions do not match the quality of the website, it will not get noticed.

5. Social Media SEO Mistakes

Just as smartphones have become a game-changer in people’s lives, social media has also become an integral part of keeping in touch with people and knowing what’s going on in the world.

Hence, it was only a matter of time before social media became a tool for marketers. To get ranked high in searches, one of the parameters Google and all other search engines will look at is social media presence.

If the search engines notice a strong engagement of your brand in social media, the more it will get ranked high in searches.

6. Sloth Sites and Crashes

So far, we have looked at the content side of things. But what about the site itself? An analogy that can be used here is a vessel and its contents. If a website is a vessel, then what it is showing viewers is its contents.

The vessel also needs to be in good shape. Search engines do not treat slow loading websites kindly. Another issue is error codes. Google will not tolerate websites that keep crashing, and if it isn’t dealt with in time, it will affect the reputation of your site.

Fortunately, there are tools available to check for errors and other issues that may affect your website. As far as SEO mistakes are concerned, having websites that do not function properly is one of the worst mistakes a webmaster can make.

7. Not Using Analytical Tools

Unless you are running a big company with lots of staff and funding to work with, it can be expensive to hire someone to see how things are going on the SEO front. Thankfully, there are tools, even free tools to help you analyze matters and make sure you’re not making any SEO mistakes. By far the most popular of these is Google Analytics. In a nutshell, SEO analytical tools will let you know how viewers of your site interact with it. From keywords to content to ranking, traffic and domain-related issues, it all can be diagnosed and fixed with the help of SEO analytic tools. 

Some Honorable Mentions When It Comes to SEO Mistakes

The “devil is in the details” as the old saying goes, and it can also be applied to SEO mistakes. For example, take optimized anchors. An optimized anchor is an anchor text used as a keyword to link to another site.

And Google will look at anchor texts as part of their search algorithms. The next item on the list as far as SEO mistakes are concerned is links or backlinks.

The thing to watch out for is that the quantity of the backlinks is more important than quality.  The bottom line is that with a little attention and care, it is possible to create websites that get picked up and prioritized by search engines.

14 SEO Tips that Will Help Increase Organic Traffic to Your Blog

Posted by on Feb 2, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 14 SEO Tips that Will Help Increase Organic Traffic to Your Blog

14 SEO Tips that Will Help Increase Organic Traffic to Your Blog

If you run any sort of website or blog, you probably think about traffic a lot.

You might even be obsessively checking your daily organic traffic, looking to see how many new visitors came to your site.  At least that’s what I used to do, every time I published a new blog post.

However, increasing your website organic traffic is not as simple. 

The blogosphere is crowded, and these days just publishing engaging, useful information is not enough. There needs to be an ongoing marketing strategy to drive more organic traffic to your website. 

Here are 14 actionable SEO tips on how you can increase your organic traffic to your website.

1. Set up a Content Marketing Strategy and Calendar

Creating content is an integral part of SEO, although it requires time and resources.

You can provide more in-depth information on a blog to build authority in your niche. Regular posts will create an extensive catalog of content that is optimized for your readers. 

Google also loves fresh content, and they rank consistent bloggers highly. Besides, readers will spend a lot of time on your blog since there is always new content to consume. A longer average visit time for every visitor will translate to a good search engine ranking. 

It takes time to build authority sites, and you may even find that content that you wrote months ago is driving most of your current organic traffic. Once readers trust your influence in a particular segment, they will visit your website if they have queries. 

For a business blog, you can also work out all the events and holidays coming up in the year and work out how you can align these with the business. 

2. Advanced Keyword Research and Target Long-Tail Keywords

Established websites can get away with using highly competitive search terms and those with a high keyword search volume. The case is different for new sites, however, as they need a lot of organic traffic to build their brand. 

Long-tail keywords are intent-driven, and they typically have low competition and low search volume, but high conversion rates. 

To discover new long-tail keywords that you can use, type different seed keywords into Google, and take note of the auto-suggestions. When you type these suggestions, write down the related ideas on the bottom page. You can then curate long-tail keywords around what users are searching for. 

Target low hanging fruit

Use LSI keywords

3. Content Pillar and Supporting Pages

4. Optimize for Both Readers and Search Engines

Your content should speak to the intentions of your audience and also rank well in search engines. 

For Readers

You get carried away with trying to rank well in search engines that you forget about your audience. Your readers represent the traffic, and search engines only direct them to your site. 

Write for your buyer persona – address to your readers

Use platforms like Quora and Facebook to understand what your readers want, and then address these needs. You can enable comments if you would like two-way communication with your readers. While comments will build a community, you may have to moderate them and implement anti-spam measures. 

Sprinkle videos, links, and attention-grabbing images in your posts to break the monotony of text. You want your readers to enjoy browsing through your blog. Infographics are other fresh ways you can use to present information. 

Blog posts should be mobile-friendly so that your readers can consume them wherever they are. By incorporating social media sharing, your readers can share your content with other readers, which will increase organic traffic to your website. 

For Search Engines

Once you have created high-quality and persona-optimized content, it is time to set it up for SEO success. Spice up your posts with the appropriate keywords, but ensure you use them organically. Tools like Google Keyword Planner will help you predict how the keywords will perform. 

The title tags to your content should be relevant since it is the first thing that consumers see when going through result searches. Title tags also include meta descriptions, which are summaries of your content. A reader will quickly skim through the meta description to determine if the post has the kind of information that they are interested in. 

Your readers should take away something actionable from your post. Do-it-yourself tips are one way to empower your audience and drive more organic traffic. You can also identify and use authoritative sites as references so that search engines view your posts as accurate and relevant. 

5. Be Active on the Blogosphere and Social Media

Once your blog is up and running, it is time to build industry relationships with other players. Start by looking for authority publications in your niche to write for. Such publications have a large reader base that you can tap into for a consistent flow of backlinks. 

You can also leverage on different social media platforms to promote your brand. You will need to identify the platforms that are popular with your audience. Sites like Facebook and Twitter bring together diverse demographics and interests, but they are niche social media sites as well. 

Optimize your content for the site you are using to boost your organic traffic. Hashtags are, for example, useful tools on Instagram. You can build your authority on Quora as readers seek answers to industry-related questions. When answering queries, aim to be specific and passionate, and give your readers some useful takeaways. 

6. Dominate Features Snippets

Google’s featured snippets have become coveted SERP real estate since their introduction in 2016. The snippet gives information on a particular topic and cites a website. It ranks above the first result, which is the best position you can hope for your blog. If you provide content for Google’s featured snippet, you can expect your click-through rate to increase.

The primary types of featured snippets are paragraphs, lists, tables, and YouTube. Adding ‘How-To” sections in your posts is one way to optimize your content for snippets. 

Featured snippets are not only a reserve for well-ranking websites as Google also pulls content from lower-ranking SERPs. Utilize tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to discover the snippets that a particular site ranks for. 

To optimize your content for featured snippets, perform keyword research, and do a competitor analysis. You want to improve on what is already available by making it more valuable to consumers. Add a hook to your snippet to get organic traffic, and ensure that the blog post gives readers more than they came for. 

7. Use Data and Metrics to Optimize Your Results

Data and metrics will help you determine the effectiveness of the SEO strategies you have put in place. 

Google Analytics has many tools that will indicate the performance of your website and give you more information on your readers. This tool will analyze how you get your traffic, which can be through referrals, organic search, social media platforms, or other links. 

You will see the volume of sessions and the bounce rate of the traffic. Your social media traffic will tell you where your brand is performing best so that you know where to invest the most effort. You will also determine the rate of conversions that your campaigns are recording. 

Google Analytics includes behavior reports that will tell you how your readers navigate through your site. You can use the information to finetune your content and attract more organic traffic. 

8. Internal Linking

You should establish an internal linking structure that signposts related pages. This strategy will keep readers on your website for longer. 

9. Guest Blogging/ UGC

Guest blogging is another way to broaden your audience, and it starts by reaching out to industry influencers. Write compelling content and include backlinks to your site in your guest posts. 

10. Optimize your Meta Title

So the challenge now for any business or blog is to make sure that when people look for a product or service like yours, they find you and not your competitor. 

The meta title, URL, and description are important for an optimized web page or blog post. 

Keep your URL short and sweet, and make sure your meta title and description is intriguing and answer the search intent of the keyword you are targeting.  It’s simple but effective

13. Incorporate Video into Your Content Strategy

14. Make Sure You’re Offering Value 

Most importantly, always make sure you’re offering value.

If you’re writing a blog post, what is it people are going to take away after reading your post?  If you’re selling products or services, why would they buy from you rather than your competition? 

People will visit your site on a regular basis if you give them a reason to. That’s why it is important to always provide new, engaging, and thoughtful information on a regular basis. 

Conclusion

Blogging has become a high-stakes pursuit, and you have to learn SEO to have a fighting chance. At the base of any great SEO strategy is high-quality content, as this is what keeps your users on your site once they get there. Driving this traffic to your website is the more difficult part, but doing keyword research, analyzing your competitors, and optimizing your content for search engines and consumers is your best bet. 

SEO Forecasting in Google Sheets

Posted by on Feb 2, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on SEO Forecasting in Google Sheets

SEO Forecasting in Google Sheets

Posted by Tom.Capper

Way back in 2015, I published an article giving away a free, simple, forecasting tool, and talking through use cases for forecasting in SEO. It was a quick, effective way to see if a change to your site traffic is some kind of seasonality you can ignore, something to celebrate, or a worrying sign of traffic loss.

In short: you could enter in a series of data, and it would plot it out on a graph like the image above.

Five years later, I still get people — from former colleagues to complete strangers — asking me about this tool, and more often than not, I’m asked for a version that works directly in spreadsheets.

I find this easy to sympathize with: a spreadsheet is more flexible, easier to debug, easier to expand upon, easier to maintain, and a format that people are very familiar with.

The tradeoff when optimizing for those things is, although I’ve improved on that tool from a few years ago, I’ve still had to keep things manageable in the famously fickle programming environment that is Excel/Google Sheets. That means the template shared in this post uses a simpler, slightly less performant model than some tools with external code execution (e.g. Forecast Forge).

In this post, I’m going to give away a free template, show you how it works and how to use it, and then show you how to build your own (better?) version. (If you need a refresher on when to use forecasting in general, and concepts like confidence intervals, refer to the original article linked above.).

Types of SEO forecast

There is one thing I want to expand on before we get into the spreadsheet stuff: the different types of SEO forecast.

Broadly, I think you can put SEO forecasts into three groups:

“I’m feeling optimistic — add 20% to this year” or similar flat changes to existing figures. More complex versions might only add 20% to certain groups of pages or keywords. I think a lot of agencies use this kind of forecast in pitches, and it comes down to drawing on experience.Keyword/CTR models, when you estimate a ranking change (or sweeping set of ranking changes), then extrapolate the resulting change in traffic from search volume and CTR data (you can see a similar methodology here). Again, more complex versions might have some basis for the ranking change (e.g. “What if we swapped places with competitor A in every keyword of group X where they currently outrank us?”).Statistical forecast based on historical data, when you extrapolate from previous trends and seasonality to see what would happen if everything remained constant (same level of marketing activity by you and competitors, etc.).

Type two has its merits, but if you compare the likes of Ahrefs/SEMRush/Sistrix data to your own analytics, you’ll see how hard this is to generalize. As an aside, I don’t think type one is as ridiculous as it looks, but it’s not something I’ll be exploring any further in this post. In any case, the template in this post fits into type three.

What makes this an SEO forecast?

Why, nothing at all. One thing you’ll notice about my description of type three above is that it doesn’t mention anything SEO-specific. It could equally apply to direct traffic, for example. That said, there are a couple of reasons I’m suggesting this specifically as an SEO forecast:

We’re on the Moz Blog and I’m an SEO consultant.There are better methodologies available for a lot of other channels.

I mentioned that type two above is very challenging, and this is because of the highly non-deterministic nature of SEO and the generally poor quality of detailed data in Search Console and other SEO-specific platforms. In addition, to get an accurate idea of seasonality, you’d need to have been warehousing your Search Console data for at least a couple of years.

For many other channels, high quality, detailed historic data does exist, and relationships are far more predictable, allowing more granular forecasts. For example, for paid search, the Forecast Forge tool I mentioned above builds in factors like keyword-level conversion data and cost-per-click based on your historical data, in a way that would be wildly impractical for SEO.

That said, we can still combine multiple types of forecast in the template below. For example, rather than forecasting the traffic of your site as a whole, you might forecast subfolders separately, or brand/non-brand separately, and you might then apply percentage growth to certain areas or build in anticipated ranking changes. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves…

How to use the template

FREE TEMPLATE

The first thing you’ll need to do is make a copy (under the “File” menu in the top left, but automatic with the link I’ve included). This means you can enter your own data and play around to your heart’s content, and you can always come back and get a fresh copy later if you need one.

Then, on the first tab, you’ll notice some cells have a green or blue highlight:

You should only be changing values in the colored cells.

The blue cells in column E are basically to make sure everything ends up correctly labelled in the output. So, for example, if you’re pasting session data, or click data, or revenue data, you can set that label. Similarly, if you enter a start month of 2018-01 and 36 months of historic data, the forecast output will begin in January 2021.

On that note, it needs to be monthly data — that’s one of the tradeoffs for simplicity I mentioned earlier. You can paste up to a decade of historic monthly data into column B, starting at cell B2, but there are a couple of things you need to be careful of:

You need at least 24 months of data for the model to have a good idea of seasonality. (If there’s only one January in your historic data, and it was a traffic spike, how am I supposed to know if it was a one-off thing, or an annual thing?)You need complete months. So if it’s March 25, 2021 when you’re reading this, the last month of data you should include is February 2021.

Make sure you also delete any leftovers of my example data in column B.

Outputs

Once you’ve done that, you can head over to the “Outputs” tab, where you’ll see something like this:

Column C is probably the one you’re interested in. Keep in mind that it’s full of formulas here, but you can copy and paste as values into another sheet, or just go to File > Download > Comma-separated values to get the raw data.

You’ll notice I’m only showing 15 months of forecast in that graph by default, and I’d recommend you do the same. As I mentioned above, the implicit assumption of a forecast is that historical context carries over, unless you explicitly include changed scenarios like COVID lockdowns into your model (more on that in a moment!). The chance of this assumption holding two or three years into the future is low, so even though I’ve provided forecast values further into the future, you should keep that in mind.

The upper and lower bounds shown are 95% confidence intervals — again, you can recap on what that means in my previous post if you so wish.

Advanced use cases

You may by now have noticed the “Advanced” tab:

Although I said I wanted to keep this simple, I felt that given everything that happened in 2020, many people would need to incorporate major external factors into their model.

In the example above, I’ve filled in column B with a variable for whether or not the UK was under COVID lockdown. I’ve used “0.5” to represent that we entered lockdown halfway through March.

You can probably make a better go of this for the relevant factors for your business, but there are a few important things to keep in mind with this tab:

It’s fine to leave it completely untouched if you don’t want to add these extra variables.Go from left to right — it’s fine to leave column C blank if you’re using column B, but it’s not fine to leave B blank if you’re using C.If you’re using a “dummy” variable (e.g. “1” for something being active), you need to make sure you fill in the 0s in other cells for at least the period of your historic data.You can enter future values — for example, if you predict a COVID lockdown in March 2021 (you bastard!), you can enter something in that cell so it’s incorporated into the forecast.If you don’t enter future values, the model will predict based on this number being zero in the future. So if you’ve entered “branded PPC active” as a dummy variable for historic data, and then left it blank for future periods, the model will assume you have branded PPC turned off in the future.Adding too much data here for too few historic periods will result in something called “overfit” — I don’t want to get into detail on this, which is why this tab is called “Advanced”, but try not to get carried away.

Here’s some example use cases of this tab for you to consider:

Enter whether branded PPC was active (0 or 1)Enter whether you’re running TV ads or notEnter COVID lockdowns Enter algorithm updates that were significant to your business (one column per update)
Why are my estimates different to your old tool? Is one of them wrong?

There’s two major differences in method between this template and my old tool:

The old tool used Google’s Causal Impact library, the new template uses an Ordinary Least Squares regression.The old tool captured non-linear trends by using time period squared as a predictive variable (e.g. month 1 = 1, month 2 = 4, month 3 = 9, etc.) and trying to fit the traffic curve to that curve. This is called a quadratic regression. The new tool captures non-linear trends by fitting each time period as a multiple of the previous time period (e.g. month 1 = X * month 2 where X can be any value). This is called an AR(1) model.

If you’re seeing a significant difference in the forecast values between the two, it almost certainly comes down to the second reason, and although it adds a little complexity, in the vast majority of cases the new technique is more realistic and flexible.

It’s also far less likely to predict zero or negative traffic in the case of a severe downwards trend, which is nice.

How does it work?

There’s a hidden tab in the template where you can take a peek, but the short version is the “LINEST()” spreadsheet formula.

The inputs I’m using are:

Dependent variablesWhatever you put as column B in the inputs tab (like traffic)Independent variablesLinear passing of timePrevious period’s trafficDummy variables for 11 months (12th month is represented by the other 11 variables all being 0)Up to three “advanced” variables

The formula then gives a series of “coefficients” as outputs, which can be multiplied with values and added together to form a prediction like:

“Time period 10” traffic = Intercept + (Time Coefficient * 10) + (Previous Period Coefficient * Period 9 traffic)

You can see in that hidden sheet I’ve labelled and color-coded a lot of the outputs from the Linest formula, which may help you to get started if you want to play around with it yourself.

Potential extensions

If you do want to play around with this yourself, here are some areas I personally have in mind for further expansion that you might find interesting:

Daily data instead of monthly, with weekly seasonality (e.g. dip every Sunday)Built-in growth targets (e.g. enter 20% growth by end of 2021)

Richard Fergie, whose Forecast Forge tool I mentioned a couple of times above, also provided some great suggestions for improving forecast accuracy with fairly limited extra complexity:

Smooth data and avoid negative predictions in extreme cases by taking the log() of inputs, and providing an exponent of outputs (smoothing data may or may not be a good thing depending on your perspective!).Regress on the previous 12 months, instead of using the previous 1 month + seasonality (this requires 3 years’ minimum historical data)

I may or may not include some or all of the above myself over time, but if so I’ll make sure I use the same link and make a note of it in the spreadsheet, so this article always links to the most up-to-date version.

If you’ve made it this far, what would you like to see? Let me know in the comments!

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PPC award winners talk strategies for competitive times, industries, and marketplaces

Posted by on Jan 31, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on PPC award winners talk strategies for competitive times, industries, and marketplaces

In an interview with contributor Matt Van Wagner, the SEM initiative Search Engine Land Award winners talked about their strategies for a donation campaign combatting news searches during the bushfires in Australia, improving CRO in the very competitive financial services space, and improving margins for seasonal retail campaigns on Amazon. Watch the video below to check out the tactics:

Best Overall SEM Initiative – Small Business

Matt Eden, Head of Performance Media at Reef Digital Agency

Tell us about your campaign, Matt.

Matt: The Vincent Paul Society approached us in late December about running a bushfire campaign. With bushfire campaigns, in particular, because Australia goes through this cycle of having bushfires, we usually have a build that’s ready to go. This one was a bit different because the crisis was much larger than we’ve ever had before. We tend to run our campaigns using broad-match modifiers initially. And then whittle down the list as quickly as we can with negative keywords and running those across just single keyword efforts.

I logged into it the next day at 9 am. And within that period it had raised already about $10,000 to $15,000. We’ve had a $10,000 budget that was due to run until January 11, but given just the amount of traffic, the amount of volume that was coming in the client quickly increased that because there was just a huge overwhelming number of donations that were coming in. So then we used that skeleton build that we had and then iterated on that and make it adaptable to 2019.

What were some of the challenges of that because it sounds like it moved very quickly? What surprised you on this campaign?

Matt: The big surprise was the number of donations that came in. When we look back to the end of last year, there were so many charities, so many news outlets, so many people on social media that were trying to drive donations and drive awareness, particularly for rural Australia. So what surprised me was there was still an enormous volume of users coming through, in spite of all this competition that was out there. We call it competition because everyone’s kind of fighting for the same thing, which is really just to drive donations for those areas. But it was really just the number of people that were still there that worked that wanted to donate, and it just maintained momentum; it didn’t stop. 

One of the biggest challenges was trying to avoid news outlets. Because we were on broad match

modifier, we wanted to avoid overlapping with any news outlets, anyone that might be searching for news, “bushfires near me” there was a huge amount of volume for keywords like that, looking at the live map to see where fires were, where they needed to be evacuated. Just avoiding all of that, or that sort of traffic, and actually wanting to stay away from it as much as possible. 

From what I understood that you noticed, and this was very clever, but you notice that the weather patterns or smoke patterns and influence on your campaigns and even react to that, you know, we have all these levers in front of us with you know all of the demographic and geographic and time of day. Tell me a little bit about what that was all about.

Matt: In Sydney, where I am, quite often a lot of the days, it was covered in smoke. And that would get a bit of a media uptick, you get a bit of news coverage out of that. So we’d upweight our bid, we were just running enhanced CPC for this as opposed to the bidding strategies, we would upweight our bid on those days in particular. But we’d also upweight them on days when there was controversial news coverage. I don’t know how much you saw, but our Prime Minister kind of dropped the ball several times with a bushfire crisis. So really upweighting the bids there as well, because we knew people would be looking and knew people would be active.

Best B2B Search Marketing Initiative – SEM

Christian Nicolini, VP of Paid Media at Ignite Visibility

Matt just talked about hammering home a couple of really powerful tactics and using them very effectively one-off, but you’ve had to do something different in a highly competitive marketplace. So if you can, tell us the story. And what the challenges were and what you had to do with paid search in order to make them successful.

Christian: This particular client is in the financial services space, seven-figure budget, very explicit acquisition goals. We’ve been working with the client for the last three years. We were coming up on the measurement period, which was March 1 through December 31 year over year. And we had just come off of our best year after acquiring this client from a previous agency. We had a lot to improve on if we wanted to beat year over your numbers, which, in turn, was about 40% year over year. 

And simply put, the conditions have revolved around four key search marketing pillars. Internally, our team is made up of disciplines such as our data science program, our search program, our creative, and CRO program. And we try to create the synergy between all these programs to allow us to achieve a really ambitious goal without increasing much of a budget. 

That goal was personalizing the search results, maximizing exposure in a high-value auction using impression share strategies, curating a landing page experience using dynamic elements on the site, and then bridging that gap between online and offline conversion tracking. And what I’ve found is we have to push back information from an open opportunity, a lead, and then push back the scoring of those leads and closed opportunities back as low as they keyword level, and even the creative level, and then being able to differentiate what segments of our marketing images are impacting the highest quality of leads coming through. 

And I know you were talking about challenges prior with Matt, and with us the competitiveness of this auction is a challenge within itself. CPC is extremely high–closing in on the three digits, typically between $50-80 CPCs depending on the type of service that we’re bidding on. The client really struggled to hit a specific CPA target while scaling the budget. Of course, you can scale the budget, but maintaining the CPA that we needed was a difficult challenge. 

On top of that, fending off competitors with brand search. Insulating against our competitors was a challenge within itself and making sure that we are always going after net-new opportunities and not expanding our budgets and brand search environments where the competition wasn’t necessarily as relevant. 

When it comes to maintaining on-site conversion rate, when you typically scale enterprise search like this, dealing with budgets in the seven figures, it’s really easy to buy traffic. What’s harder to do is buy a ton of traffic and convert that traffic and try to maintain that conversion rate. So we had to bring in some resources on the CRO front, which enabled us to overall increase our engagement rate at the ad level. We were able to leverage impression share bid strategies and analytics to maximize our exposure while keeping costs down. And we were able to maintain our on-site conversion rate while increasing our reach and traffic to our site by incorporating a really disciplined CRO strategy.

Best Retail Search Marketing Initiative – SEM

Brittany Oliverio, Director of Channel Solutions at Sidecar

You were working in a retail space which is pretty competitive. Margins are always a challenge there. Can you tell us a bit about what the problem was, what the market looked like, and what you were able to do and how you’re able to do it?

Brittany: Amazon charges fees just to advertise simply advertise as a couple of different fulfillment methods that they layer on extra fees. So generally when advertising on Amazon margins are slimmer, than when advertising on other channels. Due to this, a lot of our customers have some issues with advertising and their margins and need to make sure that they are obviously making money on their lower margin products.

Summit Sports sells outdoor apparel and equipment ranging from boats to snow gear and ski equipment. THeir products were not only seasonal, but in different seasons. They were having a hard time figuring out how to set up their campaigns when some of their products were higher and lower margins as well as seasonal.

We started off by looking at brands, product types, and actual individual use to see where the different margins lie, and how it made sense to break out the campaigns. We found that the their private label items, as you would suspect, had higher margins than the third party items. We took that data and were able to break the brands out into separate campaigns. We worked with the ebbs and flows of their peak seasons and low seasons as well as the margin differences to set up different cost of sale goals across the different campaigns that we had set up.

You had to feed some sales and margin data into your bidding system. How was that? Was that easy? Was there a lot of manual connection? What did you do?

Brittany: It definitely took a lot of work on our back end internal tools. This is a strategy that we had used previously, across some of our Google customers that we saw worked pretty well. It is newer in Amazon, just due to the newness of the platform and not having all of the capabilities that Google does. So we worked pretty hard to update our internal technology to be able to ingest the data, and therefore make data-driven decisions off of the margin. So we were able to set different cost of sale goals per campaign based off of the margin data, because they had different goals per campaign. Then our technology would look at the data and make it adjustments according to those cost of sale goals that we had set up.

What what was the biggest surprise? Did it that it happened quickly? Did it did it take a lot of iteration?

Brittany: I think the biggest surprise was that it worked pretty quickly. A lot of data needs to be ingested in order for our technology to make these decisions. But given that we’ve worked with some in sports, for a bit of time before we decided to implement this strategy, we had enough data to work off of. We were able to make some pretty impactful adjustments pretty quickly. We increased their revenue significantly within two of their marketplaces while remaining at their cost of sales, which was the main priority.

Watch the video above for more tips from the Search Engine Land SEM Initiative Awards winners.

The post PPC award winners talk strategies for competitive times, industries, and marketplaces appeared first on Search Engine Land.

The Wrong People Won

Posted by on Jan 30, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The Wrong People Won

The Wrong People Won

My initial attraction toward SEO and the web was largely that it was like a new and parallel world that bypassed many traditional gatekeepers.

I wrote an ebook which originally had inconsistent formatting and it was riddled with spelling and grammar errors. I learned to write by writing poorly and often while reading great writers daily.

Ultimately it did not matter that my efforts were subpar on some fronts as few people read early copies, and I was receptive to feedback on how to improve it and rapidly did.

The above process … growing while few people see your ugly work … is actually one of the advantages of *NOT* taking venture capital. You get to learn at your own pace while risks are low and only really lean into something when you know it is working. You keep making small bets that won’t kill you and then when something works better than you expect you can *REALLY* lean into it.

I ultimately did that with SEO, blogging, and a couple other areas I can’t mention too much as I had partners on some projects.

This blog never even started as its own site. It was a section on a different site that was spun out to become its own site when it was obvious blogs were being algorithmically over-promoted due to the cross linking from other bloggers and the instant exposure RSS feeds offered.

Instead of begging a book publisher to publish a book I had a higher margin product and the book publishers were begging me. The market was inverted and an outcast won by bypassing traditional gatekeepers.

When SEO was easy it was the same sort of deal. As long as you tried to learn about what the algorithms valued & put effort behind it you could rank for almost anything.

Early on that meant begging, buying, or borrowing links any way you could. If a project was throwing off big money you’d try public relations and to get high quality links to help reinforce the position and increase its longevity. But even junky links worked fantastic back in the day. That’s part of why there was so much blog comment spam, referrer spam, expired domains, cheeseball web directories which actually had pagerank in the URL, article directories, private blog networks, all sorts of other paid links like Text-Link-Ads.com, etc. etc. etc.

New channels provide new opportunities. Small players prove the model, drive adoption, and then over time the affiliate or independent publisher is replaced by some big publisher or a scrape-n-displace offering from the central market operators.

If you take a broad enough view of the world the above sort of water cycle repeatedly happens across all media formats and channels.

New channels emerge
Smaller players and hobbyists are attracted to the new and shiny object
Limited competition & regulation
Channel grows wildly
Channel locked down by regulation or a monopoly

When the channels are new they have the greatest chance of failure, but the biggest potential rewards for early adopters.

As channels are established and competition increases almost all the profit margins get handed over to the central market operator. Everything gets adjust on an “as needed” basis. Anything that hands too much of the profits over to a third party publisher gets cloned by the central network operator, becomes against the terms of service, or is algorithmically or manually neutralized by the central market operators.

affiliates used to be able to sit at the end of the conversion funnel and extract profits from the most valuable keywords, but new algorithmic signals make it hard to stay competitive with limited value add, differentiation, or brand building
commercial keywords are all ads in the search results above the fold & many brands feel the need to bid on their pre-existing brand equity for defensive purposes
Google hid keyword data from organic search & later started to hide some from paid search campaigns as well.
the Chrome browser by default only allows extensions to be downloaded from their official store & while Google got a lot of Chrome distribution through negative option bundling on Flash security updates, they prohibit app bundling in their app store
Apple’s iOS and Google Android allow the central network operators to track third party app usage. The Apple Appstore and Google Play have mandatory 30% rakes and may disallow certain widely used apps after those features have been baked into the operating system or cloned and default bundled on new phones.
YouTube takes a 45% revenue share rake & the ad inventory is sold exclusively through Google tools where Google takes up to another 20% rake off the top
Amazon uses your sales data and product design to create what amounts to an effective clone job of it (going so far as to say there are fake safety issues to demand to see where it was manufactured) and then you are forced to bid on your own brand as Amazon gives itself free ads on your brand for their product clone job
Google and Facebook try to suck content into their networks via Instant Articles and AMP. Google gives AMP priority placement in their search results (just like they did previously with Google+, Google Checkout, Google Base / Google Shopping / YouTube / etc etc etc).
Rather than competing, Google and Facebook partnered to illegally bid rig auctions to destroy header bidding & preserve monopoly profit margins, keeping control over external publishers. Google also pushes “privacy” obfuscation which harms third party publishers and third party ad networks while bypassing those firewalls for its own ad network. They are also looking to use their web browser to do away with cookies, further kneecapping other ad networks.
Early Pinterest Ads sent users offsite and often cost only a couple cents a visit while all the internal cross promotion & viral spread across Pinterest was effectively free. Then over time advertisers start getting charged for pins even being opened and getting a user to actually leave Pinterest and click through can cost $5 or $10 a click. Long after I saw Reddit threads about how I was a washed up hack who could not compete in the modern market I literally used Pinterest to seed the growth of a site which now gets about a million organic search visits a month. I recently tried further promoting that site on Pinterest in some new areas, but the economics no longer works for that particular site on that channel.

If you play by the rules suggested by private market participants you are betting that they won’t dramatically change their ecosystem at the drop of a hat and they won’t compete against you.

And that bet is a REALLY bad bet.

Networks do not stay on top & in control by stagnating. They change with society & if they are influential enough they also change the structure of society.

The Texas AG lawsuit of Google for manipulating the online display ad market lays bare how power works:

Google employees agreed that, in the future, they should not directly lie to publishers, but instead find ways to convince publishers to act against their interest and remove header bidding on their own.

I could easily write a 100 page blog post on that lawsuit while feeling guilty for leaving many things out.

For example, did you know Google stole AdSense earnings from publishers in the AdTrader ad network and lied about refunding that money to advertisers as AdTrader also managed some of the advertiser accounts which got a $0.00 rebate:

We confirmed through multiple sources, both within and outside of Google, through our Google invoices, and data collected from Google APIs that Google never actually refunded any of the confiscated publisher earnings to the advertisers. In fact, Google’s own support team admitted that they never had a system in place for such refunds.

Google is the network I have studied most and know the most about, though others certainly know Facebook equally well. All the large networks growth the predacious exploits.

Even with limited Facebook usage I know they have at various points in time promoted: games, hype headline fake news, lists and viral quiz junk from Buzzfeed, real actual news sites, the Instant Articles version of real actual news, live video, friend content, etc. Facebook also bought Onavo, a VPN network to track the growth of competing apps. That data was used to inform their WhatsApp purchase. And they could see which features from what external networks they should clone, like when Instagram copied much of SnapChat’s offering.

You can follow the Facebook terms of service in everything you do, but the odds of that delivering you real and sustainable profit streams is low.

“You can be unethical and still be legal that’s the way I live my life” – Mark Zuckerberg

Few publishers will be experts at both optimizing for the flaw or overpromotion in the current algorithm or network set up AND being good at reinventing themselves to appeal to the algorithms of tomorrow. You ultimately want to use some of any excess profits to build a destination people seek out so you are less dependent on the central network operators.

At the same time, if you ignore the algorithms and just hope for the best you are probably going to lose to a competitor who clones most of your strategy AND manipulates the result set.

You sort of have to figure out what is being over-promoted today AND then try to figure out what will matter tomorrow, while reinvesting profits to the point you are no longer really faking it until you make it.

Realizing that all success is temporary is vital to encourage yourself to take advantage of the opportunities in front of you, while also ensuring you have a plan B in place that acts as a bridge to tomorrow in case your primary channel bombs.

Almost all profit margins (particularly for newer players lacking access to connections, massive cashflows, strong legacy brands, etc.) come from operating somewhere in the gray area. Behave in a manner that is legal, but push the boundaries of terms from other players.

Google funded eHow. Demand Media was ultimately a pump and dump operation. Those who followed it late got their asses handed to them, but those who got in early had plenty of profits they could reinvest in other lower risk ventures. At one point Mahalo publicly listed their page-level earnings data. One of my buddies went through and put that keyword list through TextBroker and uploaded a few hundred articles to an old blog. After about a year that led to a free house for one of their family members. 😀

Now Google has far more data to use so it is hard to be anywhere near as exploitative or lowbrow as an eHow or a Mahalo was and expect that stuff to back out.

When Matt Cutts was on TWIG in 2013 he stated:

If you want to stop spam, the most straight forward way to do it is to deny people money because they care about the money and that should be their end goal. But if you really want to stop spam, it is a little bit mean, but what you want to do, is break their spirits. There are parts of Google algorithms specifically designed to frustrate spammers. Some of the things we do is give people a hint their site will drop and then a week or two later, their site actually does drop. So they get a little bit more frustrated. So hopefully, and we’ve seen this happen, people step away from the dark side and say, you know what, that was so much pain and anguish and frustration, let’s just stay on the high road from now on.

Some of the stuff I like best is when people say “you know what, this SEO stuff is too unpredictable, I am just going to write some apps.”

This past year is the year when “writing some apps” was revealed to have the same core problems that SEO has. Central market operators grabbing their tithings (fight between Apple and entities like Spotify and Epic Games, Google Play pushing through similar 30% rake requirements) and then outright banning apps like Parler from their app stores.

The COVID-19 pandemic moved everyone and everything online.

The ad money follows the attention stream. If the central network operators pay creators nothing then those creators who have a following will find other ways to monetize. Cygnus was early to SEO and he was early to influencer marketing.

Selling a sliver of attention and then using that funds flow to improve website usability, website design, content quality, brand awareness, reach, etc. … is usually going to work out better for most people than trying to raise venture capital. Many small bets and incremental improvements yields much higher odds of success than a few really big bets.

Speaking of bets, I follow the stock market a bit because it teaches a lot about human psychology, markets and marketing.

Well before the COVID-19 crisis happened the repo market froze. In fact, the Federal Reserve was discussing alternative ways to fund the market’s liquidity without looking like they were directly subsidizing and bailing out hedge funds:

the new approach could also create political problems for policy makers, analysts said. The problem centers on the central bank lending directly to hedge funds, the little-regulated investment vehicles that tend to serve wealthy or institutional investors. … Though hedge funds are key participants in the market—where they both borrow and lend cash—lending to them directly through the FICC would raise questions about whether the government was backstopping their bets, analysts said.

When the COVID-19 crisis happened optics no longer mattered. Bailouts ensued. Without them levered hedge funds were screwed as many instruments became illiquid and spreads blew out even in bedrock stable markets:

Of particular concern: The hedge funds were using trading strategies similar to those employed by Long-Term Capital Management, a fund that collapsed in 1998 and nearly caused a financial meltdown. The bet that hedge funds were making earlier this year was simple enough. Called a basis trade, it involved exploiting a price difference in the Treasury market, generally by selling Treasury futures contracts — promises to deliver a bond or note at a set price on a set date — and buying the comparatively cheap underlying securities.

Toward the end of last year and early this year Bitcoin was a rocket ship on the thesis of mass money printing leading to currency debasement and revaluing finite alternatives to fiat cash upward.

And then regulators began dropping hints while banks started to put the breaks on it. And XRP got kicked hard by the SEC, leading to delisting.

Tether may be an absolute scam (it’s hard to short Patio11’s knowledge), but in spite of that there are a lot of retail traders bored at home chasing anything that moves. There are ETFs like GBTC sucking up a huge share of the Bitcoin float with no intent of ever liquidating any of the position.

If sports and society shut down and people are stuck in their homes gambling is an unsurprising source of entertainment. Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy got this and quickly became a day trader when he didn’t have any sports to talk about. 😀

Above I mentioned a bit how the Federal Reserve was ultimately bailing out hedge funds. In an easy money market where central banks are printing tons of money what a lot of hedge funds do is buy higher beta growth names while shorting lower beta value stocks, particularly if they feel those companies are destined to go under.

In some cases the short bets believe ideas from a category apply to a specific company in a way they do not. And that can lead to a massive short squeeze, especially if the company announces a buyback and/or insiders buy.

In other cases, the shorts are so confident in their position, they go HOG WILD with low interest leverage and literally short the entire float of a company, trying to drive it into bankruptcy.

Recently Melvin Capital and some other well-connected hedge funds went short GameStop’s stock and a Subreddit named WallStreetBets took the other side of that position.

GME has a 52-week low of $2.57. After being pumped by the Subreddit the stock closed today at $347.51, leading to billions in losses for hedge funds which shorted over 100% of the stock.

According to @S3Partners, short sellers lost $14.3 billion on $GME stock today… just today.— Riley de León (@RileyCNBC) January 27, 2021

The hedge funds that shorted over 100% of a stock … were market manipulators aiming to manipulate a market.

When they win, that is capitalism.

When they lose, they get bailed out, contact regulators and have pressure applied to prevent THE WRONG PEOPLE from winning.

There are over 2.6 million Wall Street Bet users and only 10,000 hedge funds. The power of the proletariat is now!— Reddit Investors (@redditinvestors) January 27, 2021

The SEC published a statement on market volatility, the Biden administration mentioned it was watching GameStop, Nasdaq’s CEO suggested halting trading to allow hedge funds to steamroll Reddit users, the Discord group for WallStreetBets was shut down, and Reddit (at least temporarily) banned the WallStreetBets subreddit for hate speech.

That WallStreetBets was temporarily nuked will likely make the degenerate gamblers even more aggressive.

Emergency Press Conference – The Suits Shut Down @wallstreetbets @WSBChairman My prediction is tomorrow will be intergalactic for $amc $gme $nok

(Im not a financial adviser. Don’t listen to me) pic.twitter.com/oYrsPOz8Vx— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) January 28, 2021

You can see a lot of moves coming if you understand internet culture.

does one throw one, two, three, four, or five hundy at $TR on open? :)— uoɹɐɐ (@aaronwall) January 26, 2021

But in many ways we are now where the outcomes will be pre-determined in order to ensure THE RIGHT PEOPLE win.

Wall Street Bets does to the suits what the suits have been doing to main street for a century. Then one call to Reddit, one call to Discord, one call to Robinhood…

It there anyone out there who still doesn’t think the system is rigged against the little guys?— Tyler Winklevoss (@tyler) January 28, 2021

Politicians will determine outcomes after the fact.

I’m assuming that the next time a hedge fund starts to make too much money shorting and destroying a business, that they will be de-platformed from their Blomberg terminal and throttled by their prime broker in the name of orderly markets and consumer protection.— Tyler Winklevoss (@tyler) January 28, 2021

The more THE WRONG PEOPLE win, the more intervention there will be to correct the natural order.

The Fed throws in trillions in liquidity & stocks fly higher it’s cool.
Pelosi loads up on $TSLA calls the stock flies higher it’s cool.
Bunch of little retail guys load up on calls & stocks fly higher it requires White House & Treasury monitoring & servers get shut down.

Right.— Sven Henrich (@NorthmanTrader) January 28, 2021

Risk is much higher than most perceive because outcomes matter more than process & some multi-generational politically-connected wealth is losing badly to THE WRONG PEOPLE.

Gamestop:
Perhaps they got lucky.
Maybe just a flash in pan.
So dismiss them if u want.
But if read their messages u see its not just about money.
They’re discovering their voice.
& that they’re powerful.
IMO this is partly why wont be so easy for Fed to bailout Eurodollar Mkt…— Santiago Capital (@SantiagoAuFund) January 28, 2021

An upstart online stock broker set trade commission prices to zero. Other brokers followed. And now that broker is telling stock buyers which tickers they are no longer allowed to buy.

Robinhood will not allow opening positions in $GME $AMC $BB $BBBY $NOK $KOSS $NAKD— Open Outcrier (@OpenOutcrier) January 28, 2021

When THE WRONG PEOPLE win we find our two sided markets become one way trades.

It’s hard to find market manipulation more flagrant than this, but since it’s being done to protect the wealthiest and most powerful — Wall St oligarchs who own and control the establishment wings of both parties — it’s very hard to imagine the government treating it as such: https://t.co/VJnXpMAqkJ— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 28, 2021

Can that be called a marketplace or even an attempt at a remotely honest market?

No.

And it is even worse than it looked initially, as Robinhood not only prevented customers from buying $GME stock, but created a cascading wave of selling by placing “theft by conversion” forced sell orders at market on customer accounts.

They are automatically selling shares. pic.twitter.com/o9XCdL9ND1— Sunny (@555Sunny) January 28, 2021

That is fraudulent, criminal market manipulation.

When hedge funds ‘collude’ and discuss top picks at Ira Sohn (and prices move as they speak), that is legal + legit.

When 2.5 million retail investors spot an opportunity to make money and ‘collude’, that is totally illegal + not legit.

Brokers then collude to screw them!— Puru Saxena (@saxena_puru) January 28, 2021

Only losers actually eat creative destruction:

“just like 2008, trading was shut down to save the hides of erstwhile high priests of “creative destruction.” Also just like 2008, there are calls for the government to investigate the people deemed responsible for unapproved market losses. … it was all well and good for investment banks and executives of phoney-baloney companies to gorge themselves on funhouse profits on a funhouse economy, but when amateurs decided to funnel just a bit of this clown show into their own pockets, finance pros wailed like the grave of Adam Smith had been danced upon.”

We are now at the point that the internet is no longer a spot for weirdo outcasts & instead it is reshaping the rest of society.

If you’re looking for an analog on how Citadel might be playing this Melvin/$GME/@RobinhoodApp fiasco, remember that back in the early 2000’s Citadel invested in Comscore so they could get exclusive rights to their traffic data DAYS before anyone else. Same game, different name— PAA Research (@ActAccordingly) January 29, 2021

Part of a person as awful as Trump getting elected as president was micro-targeted South Park inspired videos sent to minorities reminding them of Hillary Clinton’s super predators speech.

And who could forget her laughing about having the head of Libya murdered, a former nation which fell apart to such an extreme degree they had open air slave auctions.

Another part of Trump getting elected was Obama promising “Hope and Change” but then standing between banks and pitchforks for the intentional and malicious fraud that led to the 2008 economic blowup.

As it turns out, a Citigroup insider had the Obama cabinet picked out before he was even elected.

Citigroup was the biggest TARP recipient.

Citicorp is the same company which illegally merged with Travelers, then had that merger made legal after the fact by getting the Great Depression era Glass-Steagall Act regulation repealed:

”I think we will look back in 10 years’ time and say we should not have done this but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930’s is true in 2010,” said Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota. ”I wasn’t around during the 1930’s or the debate over Glass-Steagall. But I was here in the early 1980’s when it was decided to allow the expansion of savings and loans. We have now decided in the name of modernization to forget the lessons of the past, of safety and of soundness.”

After the internet stock bubble popped the Federal Reserve lowered rates dramatically and left them there far too long, creating a massive hunt for yield. This led to a housing bubble and deteriorating loan standards with fog-a-mirror NINJA loans and similar dominating the market due to the insatiable demand for “risk free” yield. Entities like Citigroup created a ton of bogus mortgage paper they knew was garbage. Their entire board of advisors was repeatedly emailed by Richard M. Bowden about the fraud:

I started issuing warnings in June of 2006 and attempted to get management to address these critical risk issues. These warnings continued through 2007 and went to all levels of the Consumer Lending Group. We continued to purchase and sell to investors even larger volumes of mortgages through 2007. And defective mortgages increased during 2007 to over 80% of production.

If you control the government economic outcomes are determined by politics.

Citigroup was so confident in their control of the political outcomes they continued to dump bad loans on the FHA after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were forced into receivership.

THE RIGHT PEOPLE WON.

“Squeezing the oligarchs, though, is seldom the strategy of choice among emerging-market governments. Quite the contrary: at the outset of the crisis, the oligarchs are usually among the first to get extra help from the government, such as preferential access to foreign currency, or maybe a nice tax break, or—here’s a classic Kremlin bailout technique—the assumption of private debt obligations by the government. Under duress, generosity toward old friends takes many innovative forms. Meanwhile, needing to squeeze someone, most emerging-market governments look first to ordinary working folk—at least until the riots grow too large. Eventually, as the oligarchs in Putin’s Russia now realize, some within the elite have to lose out before recovery can begin. It’s a game of musical chairs: there just aren’t enough currency reserves to take care of everyone, and the government cannot afford to take over private-sector debt completely.

From long years of experience, the IMF staff knows its program will succeed—stabilizing the economy and enabling growth—only if at least some of the powerful oligarchs who did so much to create the underlying problems take a hit.

But there’s a deeper and more disturbing similarity: elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

The third Citigroup bailout, in late February, converted government-owned preferred stock to common stock at a price significantly higher than the market price—a subsidy that probably even most Wall Street Journal readers would miss on first reading.” – Simon Johnson, The Quiet Coup

Any government which intentionally subsidizes and promotes massive fraud undermines its legitimacy.

Obama was so rotten he made Trump look like a reasonable choice.

Who were the people hurt worst by Citigroup’s fraud?

Poor minorities.

So it should come as no surprise Citigroup published “research” on how racism is holding back the U.S. economy.

Don’t blame us for stealing your house, crashing the economy, and causing millions of people to lose their jobs. Instead, blame white people. Perhaps you could hit an old white man walking down the street in the back of the head with a brick and upload your crime videos to your social media channels. #hope #change

If Obama the president matched Obama the candidate the Citigroup board would have been imprisoned, that bank would have been dismantled, and the above “research” would not have been published.

“I was in my early teens during the ’08 crisis. I vividly remember the enormous repercussions that the reckless actions by those on Wall Street had in my personal life, and the lives of those close to me. I was fortunate – my parents were prudent and a little paranoid, and they had some food storage saved up. When that crisis hit our family, we were able to keep our little house, but we lived off of pancake mix, and powdered milk, and beans and rice for a year. Ever since then, my parents have kept a food storage, and they keep it updated and fresh. Those close to me, my friends and extended family, were not nearly as fortunate.” – ssauronn

Income & wealth inequality – particularly if it is driven from the combination of the offshoring of the industrial base Clinton & Bush did then the sort of fraud Citigroup did – often leads to a breakdown of cooperation across society, and then, arbitrary violence.

If you make people’s lives miserable and tell them they are victims many of them will believe you.

Some of them will live down to the standards you set and see any isolated incident as a pattern of conduct which deserves retribution.

The media tells people economics is violence, words are violence, they are victims, they are owed something, and … surprise … that drives violence.

Violence is a (temporary) shortcut to status for young men with lots of testosterone but limited prospects or success in society.

Growing up in a single parent home on welfare only adds further fuel to that fire because there is not only a sense of entitlement and unfairness, but often elevated stress levels and a deep sense of shame and resentment.

I now have a 4 year old daughter. I have screwed up a great many things in life, but I don’t know anybody more confident than she is.

When my wife was pregnant with our only kid I nearly died from a sepsis infection & my daughter was nearly a miscarriage.

The above is not hyperbole.

Here I was in the hospital getting multiple IV antibiotics.

When they told me I might die soon I was like “oh well, that’s that.”

Then my wife came over and heard that & was crying uncontrollably. I then realized the sort of cascading set of dire outcomes and played it off like the infection was nothing while pushing to do whatever I could to get better fast before other bad outcomes happened.

A couple months later our dog died and my wife then gave an emergency early birth. His death caused an early term birth. If I had died a few months earlier then almost certainly my daughter would have been a miscarriage, then my wife likely would have committed suicide.

About a decade prior – around the time Obama was making Citigroup whole on their frauds while passing the costs onto the rest of society – a racist black guy sucker punched me and called me nigger. That chipped the root of one of my teeth. Slowly over the next decade part of my jaw rotted away from an infection that exploded into near death in the middle of my wife’s pregnancy. And my daughter nearly had no life.

Writing the above will have many people suggest it is I that am racist for suggesting the racist person who tried to kill me should have had a longer prison sentence for his other violent crimes, or maybe we should restructure the economy away from financial bubbles and offshoring.

I’m of the view that anyone who is convicted of multiple separate violent crimes should be permanently caged or put to sleep, because when you commit violent acts repeatedly you do not deserve to live as you are not only harming the person you sucker punch or such, but you could also end the life of their unborn child.

The sepsis happened while we were traveling. The initial hotel we were staying at was sold out on the final day so I just happened to stay in a hotel across the street from a hospital. A few hours before jumping on a 15 hour flight I went over to the hospital and they turned me away saying it was just a dental issue. Then my wife brought be back over, they looked at me, and were like … oh, you are about to die.

That infection came back no less than 3 times. I had to get multiple teeth ripped out. I’ve had multiple fixed bridges.

If you add up the health expenses, emotional issues (more for my wife than me – much harder to lose someone you love than it is to die), inability to work, having teeth being wired in place, what seems to be dozens of dental visits, getting teeth ripped out repeatedly, etc … my social safety net payment funding kids being born into broken homes with no dad not only nearly liquidated my family, but also cost millions extra.

I absolutely despise race baiters who promote arbitrary violence and the big crimebanks like Citigroup which plunder society.

Fuck those people.

I live on the other side of the world and thus do not get to vote on how 30%, 40%, or (if Biden uncaps FICA) 50%+ of my labor is spent.

Last year when I ACHed income tax payments I sent in over 1,000 times what the president did.

One of my friends told me they didn’t blame Trump they blamed the system, but I thought that was an absurd claim as a leader should not only comply with and improve rules, but they should also set an example.

The idea I should pay a thousand times more while having no vote or voice *AFTER* leaving on account of being nearly killed by a racist person who called me nigger, WHILE also being lectured about racism … is a bit much.

The reasons I liked Trump (before the $750 income tax payments and nutbag January 6th siege) were:

he was hated by the media, so they’d cover wrongdoings (even making some up)
until the COVID-19 crisis hit, he was broadening the economy (which is why he got higher minority votes than any republican presidential candidate in decades in spite of the COVID-19 lockdowns)
his administration pushed through an antitrust lawsuit against Google for their monopolistic bundling practices (which will at least restrain Google slightly, provided Biden is not a third Obama term)

The above being said, the January 6th siege was absolutely idiotic, and looked like it was something out of South Park.

Google’s Eric Schmidt played a vital role in the Obama elections & administration. Their relationship was so close it was called “The Android Administration.”

When the FTC investigated Google the Obama administration intervened to prevent justice. And now Schmidt’s shadowy “use AI everywhere in weaponry” startup is deeply embedded in the Biden administration.

We are back to an administration loved by the media. The controversy are hence reduced to casual magazine cover shoots.

Mainstream media: please serve your vital roll in society. Cover that casual photoshoot and not the Darth Vader aspects of Eric Schmidt.

Biden pushed against the “racist” attribution of the COVID-19 crisis to its source in China, though few have considered how “free trade” with a country with over a million slaves would impact living standards as it deindustrializes the country and destroys the middle class.

If a country has a live organ harvesting program for its own citizens, do we want to have close ties to it?

If a state-controlled economy dumps fentanyl into your country they deserve nothing but ire and disrespect, at least until that problem goes away.

While we are seeking out a just global society, does LeBron James say “technically the Chinese Uighur slaves who make my Nike shoes are not black, so it is all good! #BLM”

Free capital flows plus structural trade deficits from “free trade” with slave states = declining domestic living standards.

If you have an average to below average IQ, did not come from wealth, have high living costs, and you must compete against literal slaves your life is probably going to suck.

Declining living standards can be masked temporarily through manipulating economic data, but fake data can’t restore hopes and dreams and aspiration for something better.

When I was inside the Fed, it was acknowledged internally that the core PCE was a broken metric that understated & misrepresented true inflation. The decision was made to continue using the broken gauge because Fed models would not work if true inflation was used.

QE is a lie. https://t.co/E3LlQhTPyv— Danielle DiMartino Booth (@DiMartinoBooth) January 4, 2021

That loss of hope will fuel deaths of despair, desperation, and a desire to believe in just about anything.

The race baiting “equality of outcomes” promoters only throw further fuel on the fire by telling people they are victims and pointing their ire in the wrong direction.

Burning down the local nail salon in a riot is not going to change the Federal Reserve bailing out hedge funds who are manipulating the stock market.

Instead of acting like an enraged victim, read Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron and then consider what skills you can lean into to make a positive change in the world.

The process and outcome of that “free trade” & papering it over with increasing debt leverage was well known in advance.

Look no further than this 1994 Charlie Rose video interview of Sir James Goldsmith.

Ultra-wealthy plutocrats were willing to partner with the CCP and sacrifice the US middle class in order to gain more wealth and political power.

THE RIGHT PEOPLE won.

For some people the web was a life raft, but a lot of the easy wins have already been had.

And the central network operators are getting more aggressive with scratch-your-back censorship for those in political power.

As more and more services happen online, more and more of business profit margins are flowing online, and the online networks are having a massive impact on the portions of the economy which remain offline.

The central network operators can choose to ban an outgoing president while ignoring politicians who call for genocide in other markets to curry favor to political leaders.

As Zuck would say …

“You can be unethical and still be legal that’s the way I live my life”

Tim Berners-Lee will likely end up saving the web he created by promoting decentralization.

If that doesn’t work, we are stuck with Zuck and Eric Schmidt restructuring society as they see fit.

That would would be increasingly unjust, corrupt and violent. So I am *REALLY* rooting for Tim Berners-Lee to pull a second rabbit out of a hat.

Categories: internet

SEO community mourns Hamlet Batista, advocate for automation in SEO and beloved friend

Posted by on Jan 28, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on SEO community mourns Hamlet Batista, advocate for automation in SEO and beloved friend

SEO community mourns Hamlet Batista, advocate for automation in SEO and beloved friend

RankSense CEO Hamlet Batista, a mentor to many in the SEO community and someone fellow marketer Mike King called “the best of us,” died on Tuesday night, leaving those who knew him, admired him, learned from him and loved him, reeling from the loss.

Hamlet passed away after suffering from a case of COVID-19, Maura Loew, operations manager at RankSense, confirmed to Search Engine Land.

Hamlet’s contributions to our industry spanned numerous publications and conferences, including our own. His drive to share his knowledge has been widely recognized, and applauded, by his peers.

🙇Wow. I guess I can retire now… kidding!

Thank so much John! 🙏

I love showing what is possible to do with #Python 🐍🔥 https://t.co/VnG50bZoW8

— Hamlet Batista (@hamletbatista) June 24, 2020

“I’m a trained engineer, and we’re native problem solvers . . . Our calling is to fix stuff that we see is inefficient,” he said in a vlog with Barry Schwartz, providing us with a glimpse of what motivated him throughout his career. In the video, he also shares an anecdote about his son, and how the engineer’s mindset has been passed down to him as well.

From time to time, he would also share his personal achievements with the community. I distinctly recall when he earned his citizenship (which was exactly a year ago today), and his excitement about participating in our democratic process for the first time. As a child of immigrants, I was proud to witness these moments, and Hamlet’s service to the industry continues to set an example for all of us, but especially people of color such as myself.

🇺🇸 my first election as a new US Citizen 🙌🏼 #VoteEarly 🗳 pic.twitter.com/osKF6viAbN

— Hamlet Batista (@hamletbatista) October 25, 2020

“The [SEO] community was incredibly important to him, and we’ve seen the outpouring from the community which tells me that the feeling was mutual,” Loew said, adding, “He always saw himself as part of that community and formed a lot of friends that way.”

Hamlet advocated for automation and helped raise awareness for Python’s potential applications in SEO. “Even though he’s been working on that for seven or eight years, maybe more, it’s only been the past year or two that he has been able to focus time on threading that message, and so he told me two years ago that he was going to start a movement of automation in SEO and Python in SEO and he did,” Loew said, “I can’t give him all the credit, there’s been many people contributing but . . . RankSense as a company, our app is related to that, but that’s sort of part of his vision.”

His reputation in the community runs parallel with what he is known for as a leader. “Hamlet brings to SEO a thoughtfulness, an analytical nature and even a scientific approach, and that is what he has taught all of us, every person on his team, to follow in his example,” said Loew, adding that he also cared about all of his employees, both as people and professionally. “He was a wonderful leader and he will be truly missed,” she said.

Those who would like to help support Hamlet’s family during this difficult time can do so via the GoFundMe campaign organized by his close friend and fellow community member Lily Ray. All donations will go directly to Hamlet’s family.

To date, the coronavirus pandemic has claimed nearly 430,000 lives in the U.S. alone.

On behalf of the entire search community, thank you for everything, Hamlet. You’re already missed.

The post SEO community mourns Hamlet Batista, advocate for automation in SEO and beloved friend appeared first on Search Engine Land.