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How to Manage a Profitable PPC Campaign (Lessons Learned After Spending $1 Million on Google Adwords)

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Manage a Profitable PPC Campaign (Lessons Learned After Spending $1 Million on Google Adwords)

How to Manage a Profitable PPC Campaign (Lessons Learned After Spending $1 Million on Google Adwords)

What does it take to run a profitable PPC campaign on Google AdWords? 15 lessons learned after managing more than $1 Million advertising on Google.

The main goal of a PPC Campaign is to generate profit. If that goal is not achieved, then you should take the correct decision and stop your campaigns because you are simply losing your money.

This is a very basic principle that every business owner should follow, whether it’s PPC campaigns on AdWords, Facebook Paid ads, LinkedIn Ads or any other platform.

Don’t get me wrong, a PPC campaign can be profitable. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to grow your business fast.

The problem is that running profitable PPC campaigns, is not always so easy. If you fall into the trap believing that you can make money with PPC by just setting up a campaign and let it run on ‘auto-pilot’, then it’s like throwing your money in a black hole.

Proper PPC management needs to be planned correctly. The process begins before creating your campaigns on AdWords and continues as long as the campaigns are generating a positive ROI.

More than 1 Million Dollars Managed on AdWords the last 2 years

More than $1 Million Spend on PPC Campaigns

As a certified Google AdWords Partner, we manage a number of PPC campaigns for our clients. The last two years, the total ad spend was more than 1 million USD.

Obviously, the return on investment was bigger than that, and this is the reason our clients increased their spending to those levels.

Our experience with AdWords goes back even more years and my goal with this post is to share with you the lessons learned and help you understand how to launch, setup and manage profitable PPC campaigns.

For those new to AdWords and PPC, let me just mention that Paid Search Advertising (PSA) is one of the components that make up SEM (Search Engine Marketing). The other component is SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Components
What is a profitable PPC Campaign?

Before we get into the details on how to improve the performance of your campaigns, let’s clear out what do we mean by profitable PPC campaigns.

A profitable PPC campaign is the one that generates a positive Return on Investment (ROI).

The Return On Investment (ROI) is usually calculated as:

ROI = (Revenue – Cost of goods sold) / Cost of goods sold.

In this case the cost of goods sold should include AdWords costs (i.e. ad spend and management fees).

For example, let’s say you have a product that costs $50 to produce, and sells for $100. You run a PPC Campaign on AdWords and sell 10 products per month.

Your total sales are $1000, your AdWords Costs are $250 (Ad spent and management fees).

Your ROI is ($1000-($500+$250)) / ($500+$250) = 33%.

In this case you are making profit from AdWords.

The point I want to make here is that when calculating the profitability of an AdWords campaign, you should not only take into account the Advertising and management fees but also other costs.

Likewise, you should also include in your calculations indirect benefits gained from running a Google campaign like sales or leads generated because of the exposure you have with AdWords.

Consider the example below. The total online sales were $250 but because of the indirect benefits offered by AdWords, the company generated an additional $200 in sales. This should also be included in your calculations in order to arrive at an accurate figure.

How to Calculate Adwords Costs

Don’t overlook this step because if you don’t have a valid way to calculate the true return from the investment made on PPC, it will be difficult to decide if this a profitable channel for your business.

15 Lessons Learned After Spending $1 Million on Google Adwords

Follow the 15 best practices below to increase your chances of succeeding with AdWords.

1. Create a plan with goals and milestones

Planning is important when running PPC Campaigns. Before creating your campaigns in AdWords, you should create a plan with specific goals and milestones.

Your initial plan should include things like:

The ideal number of conversions per month
The ideal cost per conversion
The ideal cost per click
Max budget to use per day
Total monthly budget
The type of campaigns to setup first and the tests to perform
Ideas of what campaigns/ads/bidding strategies should be tested throughout the lifetime of a campaign.

You can create your plan in an excel spreadsheet and then use the same spreadsheet to monitor the performance of the campaigns on a monthly basis.

Our spreadsheet besides the initial plan includes a sheet for monitoring purposes and a sheet for each campaign that we write (among other things), ad ideas and a log of all changes made to the campaign and the effect on CPC (cost per click), CTR (click through rates) and conversions.

2. Structure your account correctly

It is important to structure your account is a way that is easy to manage. If you have a couple of campaigns then that’s not an issue but as you expand your reach and create more campaigns, the account needs to have a proper structure.

Best practices for account structure include:

Create country specific campaigns – If you are running campaigns in more than one countries, it is recommended to have one campaign per country. This way you will be able to set separate budgets and have better control on targeting.

Create campaigns matching your site structure / products – This is basic but important. Your account structure should ‘replicate’ the structure of your website as much as possible.

Separate Campaigns for Display / Search / Remarketing – Each campaign should have a unique goal and it’s recommended to use different campaigns for search traffic, display or display remarketing.

AdWords Account Structure Best Practices
3. Create themed ad groups

What do we mean by themed ad groups? That keywords in an ad group, ads and landing pages have the same theme i.e. they should be very specific.

To make it more clear:

Keywords in an ad group should have a close relationship. Don’t mix irrelevant keywords in the same ad group. For example, if you are promoting engagement rings, don’t have “solitaire engagement rings” and “round cut engagement rings” in the same ad group. These should be placed in their own ad groups.
Each ad group should include at least 3 ads. This is officially recommended by Google and a must-follow guideline.
ALL the keywords in the ad group should be included in at least one of the ads (in either headline 1 or headline 2)

If you have keywords that are not in the ad group ads, you should consider removing those keywords and creating a new ad group.

Themed ad groups increase relevancy, ad rank and lower costs.

4. Start with a low budget and increase gradually

Don’t allocate the max of your daily budget from day 1. Start with a low budget and then increase that gradually depending on how your campaigns perform.

There are a number of advantages of following this approach:

First, you get a chance to enrich your negative keyword list and avoid spending money on irrelevant clicks.
Second, you give enough time to AdWords machine learning system to ‘understand’ the objectives of your campaigns and make better ‘recommendations’ and decisions.
Third, you will be able to make informed decisions as to where you should allocate your budget. Some campaigns will perform better than others and your daily budget should be allocated accordingly.

5. Start with modified broad match keywords and then switch to phrase or exact match

When you start a new PPC campaign, you don’t really know which keywords are the most valuable for your business.

You can perform keyword research when setting up a campaign but at this stage it’s only predictions.

Only when you start the campaigns you can know for sure which keywords (or search queries) perform better than others.

Keyword Match Types (Google AdWords)

A great way to do this is to start with modified broad match keywords.

When using modified broad match, you will end up with a big list of ‘search terms’ that have actually triggered one of your ads to be shown or clicked.

Run for your campaigns to gather enough data and then duplicate them (pausing the original ones) and change your keyword types based on these rules:

Search terms that triggered your ads to show – add them as “phrase match keywords”
Search terms that generated conversions – add them as [exact match keywords]

What is the benefit of doing this?

One of the biggest factor affecting the Cost Per Click (CPC), quality score and ad position is relevancy of your keywords and ads.

By switching to phrase and exact match keywords and making sure that these keywords are also included in your Ad headings, you will dramatically reduce your costs while at the same time increase conversions.

6. Use negative keywords to get rid of junk

Do not underestimate the power of negative keywords. Losing money on clicks that are not related to your products or services is a total waste of money.

Negative keywords are a very powerful tool to make sure that your ads are only shown for the keywords that matter for your business.

My advice is to review the search terms report on a weekly basis and add any irrelevant keywords as negatives using the modified broad match type.

For example, if you are don’t offer any products or services for free, you can add the keyword +free as a negative, to exclude all search terms that include the word free.

This is a more efficient way than adding all combinations as phrase or exact match.

Hint: To make it easier to manage your negatives, use negative keyword lists that can be shared between campaigns.

7. Use the most appropriate bidding strategy

AdWords has a number of options when it comes to bidding strategies. Depending on your goals, you should choose the appropriate type.

This process can be a bit tricky and it will require patience and a lot of testing.

Google has some recommendations about bidding strategies and campaign goals but you should test each one to find out what works better for your niche.

Adwords Bidding Strategies

My recommendations are:

Try to avoid manual bidding. This can get out of hand if you have a lot of campaigns to manage.
Use Maximize Clicks when running your modified broad match campaigns to get as many clicks as possible and have enough data to analyze in your search queries report.
Start your phrase and exact match campaigns with maximize clicks and once you get some conversions switch to maximize conversions.
Use target CPA is you are confident about your ‘ideal’ cost per acquisition.
Use Target search page location and aim for the top position when you have a promotion campaign running (i.e. a Sale) for a limited duration.

8. Take advantage of ad extensions to increase ad space

Google insists on using all available possible extensions within your ad, for a number of reasons.

First, it’s a step towards achieving a higher ad rank (which means better ad positions at a lower CPC).
Second and most important, it increases the space of your ads and makes them more prominent and visible.

Be creative when it comes to the use of extensions and try to use as many extensions as you can. Do some competitor analysis and look at how your competitors are taking advantage of ad extensions and make sure that your ads look more ‘attractive’ in the search results.

Video: Benefits of using Ad Extensions
9. Don’t always bid for the top position

It is true that ads in the top position receive the most clicks. At the same time, it also costs much more because everybody wants to be in the top position.

My advice is to do some tests and compare your clicks and costs of having your ads in the top position or in a lower position.

What you will find is that if your ads are well formatted with extensions and compelling messages, you can still get a decent number of clicks and conversions but at a much lower cost.

So, don’t always try to get to the top but look for the best way to get what you want (i.e. conversions) while keeping your costs low.

10. Avoid the use of duplicate keywords

Having the same keywords in the same ad group, campaign or account is a bad practice. It not only confuses Google but it also increases your costs.

A common mistake is to use the same keyword in different match types, without doing some checks to ensure that the one does not override the other.

A typical example is when you use both [exact match] and +modified broad match types in the same ad group.

For example, let’s say that you have these keywords in the same ad group:

[blue widgets] +blue +widgets

During the auction they will compete each other because the modified broad match type will be triggered for search queries that are exact match

What you can do to avoid this is to add an extra keyword to the modified broad match to make it:

+blue +widgets +extra word

This way, your keywords won’t compete with each other during the auction.

The best way to find out if you have duplicate keywords is to use the Google AdWords Editor.

Login to the AdWords Editor, connect your account and download the campaigns.

Go to TOOLS and select FIND DUPLICATE KEYWORDS.

Adjust the different settings and click FIND DUPLICATE KEYWORDS.

Duplicate Keyword Tool in Google Adwords Editor
11. Use Geo-Targeting, Customer Profiling and Demographics Targeting

Google AdWords gives you the ability to target users based on their location, device, age and gender.

Study the various reports and segment your users into groups based on their location, age and gender and either increase the bid for those groups or remove users that don’t match the profile of your potential customer.

A good place to start is to analyze the Geo and demographics reports in Google analytics and decide how to apply these rules in AdWords.

Demographics Targeting in Google Adwords

In AdWords you can find these settings under DEMOGRAPHICS and LOCATIONS. Excluding a particular age group, gender or location is simply a matter of selecting them from the list and choosing EXCLUDE.

12. Don’t always trust Google Recommendations (Opportunities)

Google is using machine learning to provide Recommendations that can increase the performance of a campaign and account in general.

While some of their recommendations are good, sometimes they may suggest actions that are not the best option for your campaigns.

My advice is not to apply their recommendations blindly but to be selective on what to adopt.

Having a spreadsheet to keep track of all changes made to a campaign, can help you reverse changes that did not generate the expected results.

13. Optimize your Landing Pages

Most people when working with PPC campaigns, they tend to spend all their time trying to optimize a campaign without thinking about the landing page.

This is a big mistake that can greatly impact your conversions.

Landing page optimization is a huge topic but three simple things you can do are the following:

First, make sure that you are redirecting users to the most appropriate landing page on your website. This might be AdWords 101 but spend some time and review your landing page URS.

Redirecting users to your homepage may not be the best option. Either create dedicated landing pages for AdWords users or improve your existing pages to be relevant to what you are promising in the Ads.

Second, examine your CTR and conversions. Find out which ads have a relatively high Click Through Rate (+5%) but a low conversion. For those ads, take a look at the landing page URL and either change it or improve your landing page.

Third, take a closer look at the bounce rate of the pages that are used as AdWords landing pages. If they have a very high bounce rate then it means that users leave your website without interacting with the page or website.

This is a signal that you need to change or optimize your landing pages.

14. Expensive products / services work better on Adwords

The last 5 years I had the opportunity to run PPC campaigns for a number of clients in different niches and the results show that AdWords Campaigns work better if you have expensive products or services to promote.

The competition is intense in almost all niches and this in turn increases the cost of getting a lead or customer from Google. Expensive products or services have a higher profit margin than low cost products and this gives enough room to run profitable campaigns.

I’m not saying that you cannot use AdWords if your products are not expensive, it can work provided that the costs are reasonable. From my experience though, we had more success promoting and increasing the sales of relatively expensive products or services.

15. Increase your Ad Spending only if it creates a Profit

Last but not least, don’t forget that the primary reason of using AdWords or any other PPC platform is to make money. If after a few months of testing, you have not reached this point then you either need to:

Reconsider your strategy
Get some expert help
Forget about PPC and concentrate on other SEM channels like SEO to get traffic to your website.

Conclusion

When you visit the Google AdWords home page for the first time, it gives you the impression that you are just a few clicks away from getting customers from Google Search.

While this is not wrong, it’s not completely correct either. Yes, you can setup a PPC campaign in minutes but in order to get to the point of running profitable campaigns, it takes a lot of time and effort.

Managing campaigns on AdWords is not a task for beginners because mistakes cause money. It took us a number of years to learn how to run effective campaigns and this was the result of testing and experimenting with different settings and scenarios.

Each campaign is unique but over the years we managed to create a methodology that is proven to work over and over again.

What I have explained above, are just some of the things you need to take into account when managing your campaigns. The list is by no means complete but it covers the most common mistakes we found after auditing tens of AdWords accounts.

The single takeaway message of this post related to what you should do as your first priority, can be expressed in a single word, relevancy.

Create very specific ad groups with highly relevant keywords and ads that match what the user is actually searching on Google. Create your optimization plan, work on your campaigns and soon you will be able to run campaigns that generate profit for your business.

The post How to Manage a Profitable PPC Campaign (Lessons Learned After Spending $1 Million on Google Adwords) appeared first on reliablesoft.net.

What are keyword synonyms?

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on What are keyword synonyms?

What are keyword synonyms?

If you’re a Yoast SEO Premium user, you might have noticed that Premium now offers keyword synonyms. But we also have the multiple focus keyword functionality. So what exactly is the difference? And which of the two should you be using? In this post, I’ll explain what keyword synonyms are and what the difference is with multiple focus keywords. Also, I’ll give you some information about future development plans for Yoast SEO premium.

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What are keyword synonyms?

You want to rank for a specific term. That term is your focus keyword. If you’ve done your keyword research properly, this will be the term that is used the most by your audience. But Google is able to recognize synonyms as well. So, if you’re aiming to rank for ‘bicycle’, Google will understand ‘bike’ as well. In the keyword synonyms field, you’ll be able to fill out synonyms. In optimizing your post, the Yoast SEO analysis will take these synonyms into account.

You can use keyword synonyms in order to take plurals into account as well. We’re currently working on making our analysis much smarter so that it will recognize plurals automatically.

Multiple focus keywords does not suffice anymore

The multiple focus keyword functionality has been a Premium feature in Yoast SEO for several years. We built it because our users wanted to optimize for various terms. In many cases, these terms were synonyms. But multiple focus keywords were also used in order to optimize for related keywords.

Google has become much smarter in analyzing texts. At Yoast, we felt that the multiple focus keyword functionality did not offer enough for our users to optimize their texts. That’s why we’re working on improving our functionality. The keyword synonyms functionality is the first of many features we’re planning to release. Read more about our roadmap in my blog post about synonyms and keyword distribution.

Use synonyms for synonyms

If you want to optimize your text for multiple synonyms of the same focus keyword, I would advise you to use the new keyword synonyms field. The synonyms functionality will be improved in the next few months. If you have any thoughts on how to improve it, feel free to leave your opinion in the comments.

Use related keywords for multiple focus keywords

It can be really wise to optimize your post for more than one keyword. Make sure your post stays focussed though. Always make sure that keywords are related. You cannot optimize a text for ballet shoes and Italian cuisine without writing a text that is really, really weird. Google understands related keywords, which is why using words that belong together, will help in your ranking.

The multiple focus keyword functionality will also be updated in the upcoming month. The new functionality will be called ‘related keywords’ and will be designed especially to optimize posts for related keywords.

Using synonyms in multiple focus keywords

If you’re used to optimizing your synonyms with our multiple focus keyword functionality, feel free to keep doing so – for now. Nothing has changed yet. But, keep in mind that we are going to replace the multiple focus keyword functionality with a related keyword functionality in one of our following updates.

Conclusion

The new keyword synonyms functionality is the first of many changes Yoast SEO Premium will make in the upcoming month. Next to synonyms, we’re going to add morphology recognition. We’ll be able to recognize your focus keyword in plural and singular, and you won’t have to use the words in a key phrase in the exact same order any more.

We’re in a bit of an in-between-phase now. The multiple focus keyword functionality will change, but we’re not quite there yet. However, we did not want to wait with rolling out the first step of our synonym functionality either. That’s why we chose to keep both functionalities intact, up until the related keyword functionality is finished.

Read on: ‘Why you should buy Yoast SEO Premium’ »

The post What are keyword synonyms? appeared first on Yoast.

7 Inventive Ways to Improve Your Organic CTR Using Google Search Console

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 7 Inventive Ways to Improve Your Organic CTR Using Google Search Console

7 Inventive Ways to Improve Your Organic CTR Using Google Search Console

In a world obsessed with rankings, sometimes it’s hard for us SEOs to remember that those rankings are worthless if they’re not accompanied by a high click-through rate (CTR). Why should you care about your organic CTR? Besides the obvious benefit of increased site traffic, Google often rewards higher CTRs with higher rankings. CTRs also pay off with increased brand awareness – the higher your CTR, the higher your ranking, and the better visibility for your brand. In this article, I’ll walk you through seven ways you can use Google Search Console (GSC) to improve your organic CTR. What You’re…

The post 7 Inventive Ways to Improve Your Organic CTR Using Google Search Console appeared first on The Daily Egg.

Google Shopping and how to capitalize on your new shop window

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Google Shopping and how to capitalize on your new shop window

Google Shopping has been growing in prominence in the search results, which is no surprise given the attractiveness of the image-based ads and the mobile-friendly experience.

Advertisers have enjoyed the extremely high conversion rates driven by the natural filtration shopping ads deliver. Much like an offline shopping experience, a customer can decide if they like an item (and the price) before the click ever happens.

As the Shopping results have matured, the higher conversion rates have naturally led to higher costs as the market balances out but only recently, Google announced a discount on clicks bought through a different comparison provider within Google Shopping results.

Clearly, Shopping presents a huge opportunity for many digital retailers. But when you take a step back, there’s another reason that brands should be focusing on this channel.

In addition to having high conversion rates because they filter out clicks from disinterested users, the Shopping results are a really good way to attract browsing behavior from a better qualified audience from higher up the funnel.

The results act as a shop window to your site, attracting in the right type of customer. Normally, non-converting traffic is considered to be of low value, but suddenly with Shopping this traffic is more targeted and so users are more likely to re-engage at a later time, or through a different channel.

When creating attribution models for clients we have noticed that Shopping often works best when viewed on a first click model. This strongly supports the idea that Shopping offers an inspiration-based path to conversion, attracting users to your site for the first time, when ordinarily they may have opted for a different competitor in the market.

Traditional search ads tend to compete on discounts and delivery messages, which are no match for the product desirability you can convey in well-optimized Shopping ads and campaigns.

So how can advertisers capitalize on this opportunity?

The path to Shopping success can be broken down into three steps – build, enhance and optimize.

At the heart of any good Shopping campaign is building an accurate and detailed Shopping feed. Without this, it will be near impossible to compete effectively. This task can be tricky without the right technical expertise, but there’s plenty of specialist third parties who can help. Once the feed is in good shape, building a basic structure using the low, medium and high priority settings, allows advertisers to focus on top performing keywords and also separate brand and non-brand searches.

Secondly, advertisers can drive more clicks and increase conversion rates by enhancing campaigns. What’s crucial here is sharing data and insight from traditional text ad campaigns. How can you tailor product titles and descriptions according to what is performing well in the text ads? Supplemental feeds are helpful here, allowing you to make changes on the fly, without altering the main feed. You can introduce sales messaging like this too.

Finally, how can you differentiate yourself from the competition and optimize effectively? It’s worth thinking about what needs to be conveyed in a Shopping ad that isn’t shown in the image.such as a premium material or high thread count. All the time bearing in mind that Shopping is a numbers game and there should be a clear correlation between cost per click and return.

Where the optimisation point becomes really interesting is if an advertiser has physical stores as well as ecommerce sites. There are further gains to be had here with store visit tracking showing extremely strong results. The propensity for a user to click on a Shopping result and then visit the actual store is very high.

It’s evident that Google Shopping results are the new shop window, attracting qualified visits to both an advertiser’s website and physical stores, and that capitalizing on Shopping offers advertisers value beyond the last click ROI.

 

6 Easy Ways to Discover Your Search Competitors

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 6 Easy Ways to Discover Your Search Competitors

6 Easy Ways to Discover Your Search Competitors

Who hasn’t heard the proverb “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”? This phrase alludes well to a key aspect of good SEO strategies: knowing who your search competitors are.

Your search competition is made up of sites competing for the same search visibility as your own domain. Search visibility refers to how visible your website is in search engine results. You need to who you are fighting against in the search results battlefield (and understand what their strategies are) because that’s how you can suss out where your SEO efforts will be best spent.

Even if you know who your traditional business competitors are, you need to bear in mind that if they are not competing for the same keywords as your sites, then they are not a “search” competitor.

So, how can you easily find your real online competitors? There are many ways to do this manually (using search engines), as well as free and paid tools to help automate this process. Here are six quick and easy tools to help you with your competitive research:

Prep work: Identify your keywords

Before getting started, you need to know what key terms your site is targeting (and ranking for). If you don’t have a seed list of keywords or know which ones you’re ranking for, I recommend using Google’s Keyword Planner, SEMrush or Moz Keyword Explorer to discover them. You can read this keyword research guide if you need further help on the process of how to find keyword for your business. Not all keywords and phrases are made equally, however: pay special attention to phrases with high and mid average search volume (this means a high or moderate number of searches for a particular keyword usually in a month) and an achievable difficulty score. Once you have established your list of key search terms, it’s time to find your competitors.

1. Google Search

This is the most manual process for finding your online competitors and is totally free / straightforward. Now that you have your seed list of top keywords, it’s time to search for these terms on Google. Which pages consistently rank in the top 10 positions? If you sell bespoke sofas, for example, and you search for this term, you will see who’s ranking in the top six spots:

Tip: The results you find will depend on your location and how Google personalised your search, however, you can construct your own Google search URLs to avoid personalised searches. For example:

https://www.google.com/search?q=example+query&pws=0&gl=gb&hl=en

q=example+query – this means you’re searching for “example query”.

pws=0 – this disables personalisation.

gl=gb – this means you’re searching as if you’re in the UK.

hl=en – this means you’re searching as if your browser language is English.

If you want to take it one step further, you can analyse results’ digital relevance through observing their Domain Authority (DA). DA is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that measures the predictive ranking strength of entire domains or subdomains. Learn how Domain Authority is calculated with this link.

You can view a website’s DA by using MozBar, a free Chrome extension:

A Domain Authority score ranges from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank. Pay special attention to those that have a higher score than yours, so in the next step, you can try to understand the reasons why they are outranking you.

Also, you may find competitors within the paid results, as shown below:

Keep in mind that these two websites with the label “Ad” in green you see above are not organic results. These brands are bidding to appear, in this case, for the keyword “bespoke sofas,” so they are not showing up as a result of their page’s relevance for this search term.

2. Google “Related:” search operator

Another way of using Google to find your online competition (which is less time-consuming than checking search results by manually typing in your target keywords) is by performing a search using the operator “related:” followed by your domain. It will help you identify websites that Google thinks are similar to yours and therefore they might be considered as your competitors.

You need to type “related:[your URL website]” in the search box. In this example, I searched for domains related to “argos.co.uk”:

Note that the “related:” operator may only work for certain industries, and is typically best for larger sites. That said, it’s quick and worth trying to spot any overlapping domains, and potentially identify ones you may have otherwise overlooked.

Check out the Google search operators list to learn more.

3. STAT (paid)

STAT is one of the ranking tools that we use every day at Distilled. In order to find who your search competitors are in STAT, you need first to set up keyword tracking. Plug in your domain and keyword seed list, then let STAT do its thing for about 24 hours (it takes at least a full day for ranking information to populate). Once the information is available, go under the “Competitive Landscape” tab – there you will find your top search competitors based on the keywords you’ve given STAT.

Within this same section you can track organic “share of voice” to see which domains are winning, which ones are losing and those that could become a potential threat:

Competitive Landscape Analysis Example. Source

Most Frequently in Top 10 in Google and Bing Example. Source

One of the most useful functionalities available in STAT is a keyword tagging tool, that allows you to group your keywords by specific types. If your company sells pet products, you may have a tag to group keywords targeting all variants of pet food searches as opposed to a tag grouping keywords targeting pet grooming searches.

Aside from tracking your domain’s performance across groups of keywords, you can analyze whether you have different competitors within each keyword segment. Using our pet store example, if one of your segments is pet food and another is pet grooming, you will probably find that competitors differ between these two categories.

4. SEMRush (paid)

SEMRush is a competitive research tool that provides keyword ranking and traffic data. You need to pay for a subscription for unlimited data. However, SEMRush does provide a “freemium” model that allows you to see some information in its free version.

To find out which websites SEMrush considers your competitors, enter your domain and scroll down to the “Main Organic Competitors” section.

Domain Analytics Overview Section on SEMrush.

SEMrush calculates your competitors based on the analysis of the number of keywords of each domain and the number of the domain’s common keywords. This means the more keywords you share with a website, the higher the competition level would be. Focus on the five or six competitors with the highest competition level.

Competitors Section on SEMrush.

5. Searchmetrics (paid)

Searchmetrics will also give you an overview of your current online presence, including some of your main competitors, for both organic and paid. To use this tool, you need to pay a monthly subscription and, as opposed to SEMrush, Search Metrics doesn’t provide any free data.

Go to the “SEO Research” tab and click on “Competitors”. One of the nice features this tool provides, different to SEMrush, is the competitor chart (below) where you can see in a graph how many keywords you share with your most related competitors. On the right side you will see your broad competitors, the ones you share fewer keywords with, and to the left the ones you share more keywords with. You can display up to 250 different competitors on the graph.

Competitors Section on Search Metrics.

6. Google Maps

Google Maps is great when you own a local business and you want to find your local competition. Go to Google Maps and search for your [“keyword” + Location], you will see all your competitors near you:

Google Maps results for “pet shops near Wimbledon”

In the example above, we search for “pet shops near Wimbledon” and Google shows similar businesses on the map as well as listings on the left side. If, for instance, due to proximity you want to include also New Malden as an area to find competitors, you can zoom out the map to expand your results across Wimbledon and New Malden. Otherwise, if you want to look into a more specific area of Wimbledon, you can zoom in the map to shrink your competitors’ results.

Summary

Now you have six different options for finding your search competitors. We suggest combining between free and paid tools when possible, so you can take advantage of the specific functionality / feature from each option:

Tool

Paid/Free

Specific Feature or Benefit

Google Search

Free

Know in which position your competitors are ranking for your keywords directly in search results

Google “Related” Search Operator

Free

Find your competitors by only typing your URL

STAT

Paid

See different competitors according to the keywords categories/tags you create

SEMRush

Paid with free options

It offers the widest number of competitors

Searchmetrics

Paid

It displays a graph showing up to 250 competitors with the number of keywords you share with each one

Google Maps

Free

it shows competitors by searching for localisation

How often should you check who your online competitors are?

New competitors may come to the scene over time, so it’s important to stay on top of the domains within your search landscape. TL;DR? Identifying your search competitors isn’t a one-and-done exercise. Depending on your industry, you may see rapid or regular influxes of new competitors for your terms.

For example, Amazon began selling tickets to music concerts, West End theatre performances, and Off West-End shows two years ago. Shortly thereafter, this giant suddenly became a direct search competitor of tickets sellers’ websites (London Theatre, Ticketmaster, London Theatre Direct, etc). As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In order to be prepared for new competition, we recommend you repeat this competitive research every quarter or at least twice a year.

Next steps

By this point, you have already identified your online competition and have a list of five or six brands for you to monitor. The next step is to perform a competitive analysis, which will allow you to observe why they may outrank your site, and point you in the right direction to craft your own SEO strategy.

Try this process out, and let us know what you find! If there are other ways you like to find your online competitors, share your tips as well.

9 Ways to Use Heatmaps to Improve Your SEO

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 9 Ways to Use Heatmaps to Improve Your SEO

9 Ways to Use Heatmaps to Improve Your SEO

Using heatmaps is like being Jason Bourne. You get to spy on your visitors and see exactly what they’re doing. And, like Jason Bourne, you’re not trying to be evil — you’re just trying to understand what they want. The same is true with SEO. You’re trying to understand what keywords people are searching for to find your business. You need to know what content you can create to drive links and keyword rankings. Essentially, the idea behind both is that the better you understand your audience, the better you’ll be at creating content that meets their needs. And when…

The post 9 Ways to Use Heatmaps to Improve Your SEO appeared first on The Daily Egg.

Google’s 2018 Updates So Far And How They Already Impact Your Website

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Google’s 2018 Updates So Far And How They Already Impact Your Website

Google’s 2018 Updates So Far And How They Already Impact Your Website

I wish I knew earlier about this Google update! is something many site owners or marketers say on a daily basis. Moreover, it would be heaven on earth if we also knew how all those Google algorithm changes, be they official or unnamed updates, should be dealt with.

 

Most times, we get to see how rankings fluctuate, traffic drops, and still, we don’t know what to do. What’s more, we always think it’s us who made a mistake and, therefore, got downgraded. This blog post will both prove you’re wrong and agree with you. Plus, we’ll teach you what every change Google made so far in 2018 is doing to your site and how you can improve your marketing and SEO moves.

 

 

Early 2018 Google Updates
Offering a Very Slow Experience Will Get Websites a Downgrade in Rankings
A Search Console Year-Plus of Data Adding
A Google-Backed Twitter Account Meant Solely for Search News
Switching from HTTP to HTTPS Gets Mandatory
“People Also Search For” Box
Chrome Tidies Up Messy URLs When Shared
Search Console Crawl Limits Changed
Mobile-First Indexing
Multifaceted Featured Snippets
The Relevancy Update
Google’s Mobile Friendly & Rich Results Tools Now Read JavaScript Sites
“Mentioned on Wikipedia” Carousel in Search Results
New AdWords Features
Conclusion

 

After a year like 2017 with significant algorithm changes and updates, Google doesn’t seem to want to settle down. Danny Sullivan, the officially-appointed ombudsman from Google, made it clear that they do various minor updates daily plus some more serious ones during the year: We do some type of focused update nearly daily. A broad core algorithm update happens several times per year.

 

Those would be focused, yes. We also have lots of updates focused on specific little things each day that go into the core algorithm. This is a broader general change to the core algorithm.

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) March 12, 2018

 

Guess this is how we could explain the hectic fluctuations in various Google algorithm monitoring tools. Webmaster and marketers alike often felt overwhelmed by the density and frequency of these ranking fluctuations and tried to interpret their activity, correlating their analysis and findings, and reaching a conclusion or providing an educated guess until Google would have officially confirmed them.

 

Screenshot taken from cognitiveseo.com/signals

 

Google likes messing around with people’s website traffic and site owners’ feelings – it sort of gives people mixed feelings regarding Google: both love and hate.

 

Many updates or changes in the way Google’s algorithm works is given by an interesting paradigm skillful webmasters know how to read. And that is the one provided by Barry Schwartz, the update guru of our digital marketing world:

 

When you have both signals, SEO chatter, and tools start lighting up, it is a good sign something major changed in the core ranking algorithm with Google search.

barry schwartz

Founder at Search Engine Roundtable @rustybrick / rustybrick.com

 

 
1. Early 2018 Google Updates

 

The 2018 updates pace is pretty aggressive, one might say, while March seems to have been the busiest month in terms of changes and ranking fluctuations. We’re not talking officially announced updates here, but only the SERPs activity as seen in forums and Google algorithm updates tracking tools. 

 

Talking about Google-confirmed updates, it’s quite seldom for Google to officially confirm updates; it only happens several times a year. As a result, many updates that impacted websites across the world wide web might not be named and talked about as much as those regarded as significant by the Googlers. A fit example would be the March 7 one, widely known as a core algorithm update meant to reward “the under-rewarded sites”, as some webmasters would say. It has greatly impacted traffic and rankings while also needing a longer time span than usual.

 

The specifics of Google’s algorithm will always remain under wraps.

sam gowing

Writer at Fifty Five and Five @_SamGowing / fiftyfiveandfive.com

 

However, even when Google does give official statements about one update or another, they are quite evasive when it comes to confirming or guide users through. Maybe that’s why Barry Schwartz often says: “The answer, according to Google, is really nothing”.

 

Whenever site owners or fellow marketers want to dig more into what it looks like being an algorithm change, they turn to Barry Schwartz, as the go-to high-quality source regarding monitoring, researching, analyzing, and dissecting Google both confirmed and unconfirmed updates. Even though Barry’s posts often start as being speculative, they’re nonetheless worth checking them out and following him as they usually get confirmed later on either by fellow webmasters or by the Google team itself.

 

 

Either way, be the update Google-confirmed or unconfirmed, bearing a name or not, impacting websites over a shorter or longer period of time, it’s clear that there are fluctuations and while some sites might see drops in traffic, others might notice gains. As a consequence, both the lucky and the unfortunate sites should neither rub their gain in, nor lose confidence, but stick to building great content that makes searcher want to return to your page.

 

There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) March 12, 2018

 

Without further ado, we shall talk about the 2018 Google updates that happened so far, focusing on those that were Google or webmasters-backed and already influenced the traffic and ranking flow of many websites.

 
2. Offering a Very Slow Experience Will Get Websites a Downgrade in Rankings

 

This update happened in the first month of 2018. Usually, December comes with a good share of inactivity, but this last December 2017 proved to be quite busy, were we to look at all the updates that have rambled on the Google streets: the Google-confirmed Maccabees updates that made a target out of some celebrity sites as well, knowledge graph updates, SEO starter guide update, extended meta description space, rich results testing tool new release and many more.

 

Mobile Page Speed as a Ranking Factor
source: seroundtable,com

 

Getting back to our sheep, January 18 was marked by a Google-official announcement that regarded a page speed update scheduled to come into effect this July (we’d better hurry and make the right changes to our site, don’t we?). Google said this is a new ranking algorithm designed to lower the SERP position of some mobile pages that deliver a really slow experience to the end user. 

 

Therefore, here we have it: a brand new, officially-announced Google ranking algorithm: page speed. Starting July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for all mobile searches.

 

Slow mobile pages that will get hit by this update will most likely not be notified in the Google Search Console given that this is an algorithmic thing, not a manual action. The good news, though, is that Google forecasted their actions to hit only a small percentage of pages presenting the slowest loading time and therefore a handful of queries. Schwartz, too, thinks this update is not very disruptive given that a page would have to be super slow to really get hit by this major update.

 

To be clear, there is no ranking boost for being fast, just a downgrade for being really slow.

berry schwartz

Founder at Search Engine Roundtable @rustybrick / rustybrick.com

 

How this Google update impacts you

 

Apart from what we’ve previously said above – that it won’t impact the traffic and rankings lest you provide (at least) a reasonably satisfactory and fast experience to your users (which comes pretty obvious),- some webmasters raised a question: what comes first – canonical URL or AMP URL? This comes after many started worrying on how big of an impact will this update cause on their sites.

 

 

If a page’s canonical page is very slow but the AMP URL is very fast, will Google use the AMP or the mobile URL for measuring speed and ranking the page? Although, in theory, Google uses the canonical URL regardless whether there’s a desktop or mobile page involved and they have an AMP URL, Google confirmed that since the AMP URL is provided and is mega-fast, then no downgrade in rankings will take place. Berry’s answer is this:

 

The answer is AMP for speed will be what Google uses for this algorithm, not your canonical URL because that is what is being served. But for other signals, like content, links, etc, Google will use the canonical mobile URL. Confused? Yeah, thought so.”

berry schwartz

Founder at Search Engine Roundtable @rustybrick / rustybrick.com

 

What’s more, many Google users confuse this new speed ranking update with the Mobile-First Indexing update – they’re independent from one another, so don’t mingle them.

 

Last but not least, this January/July major ranking update will not boost the rankings of those pages that are fast, but only downgrade those that are extremely slow.

 
3. A Search Console Year-Plus of Data Adding

 

This update seemed to drive people crazy after Google: digital marketers and webmasters alike were very happy to learn that starting on January 8, the search giant released a new version of their Search Console with 16 months of stored data. 

 

It's here! Google officially announces the new Google Search Console: "We are now starting to release this beta version to all users of Search Console" with many updates including 16 months of data in Search Performance – Thanks @googlewmchttps://t.co/W0DNDFexxu pic.twitter.com/mCPV8EvaMz

— Aleyda Solis (@aleyda) January 8, 2018

 

Today's Search Console launch is the start in the biggest revamp of this tool in 12+ years. Excited to get your feedback on it! https://t.co/2VS8faUHLl

— Elliott Ng (@elliottng) January 8, 2018

 

Besides Google Search Console Beta getting live for everyone with 16 months of stored data in the Search Performance report, Google also added various enticing new features to this version, such as an updated Index Coverage report (alerting you when bumping into new issues and helping you monitor their behavior), and a changed AMP status and Job Posting report.

 

How this Google update impacts you

 

Everybody can now understand how to optimize their site for Google, given how simple everything is (or at least it seems). In addition, having an extended period of data storage, you can now deploy more in-depth analysis of long-term trends that might impact more than one year. You will be able to work with really actionable data and make a wiser decision regarding your website and the overall user experience.

 

source: webmasters.googleblog.com

 

Also very important is the fact that the Google team intends to make this Google Search Console updating process a long-term one, hence they will continue adding new features and changes to their version. As a consequence, the Google team is asking for continued feedback – after all, how do you think the new GSC version got launched?

 
4. A Google-Backed Twitter Account Meant Solely for Search News

 

Danny Sullivan, Google’s public search liaison, decided to create a brand new Twitter profile meant to inform, guide, explain, and be in contact with all Googlers and users and announced it on January 26. Most of us already got those from following Danny’s profile but he found it more suitable to deliver messages regarding Google search on an entirely new profile and spare his following of Star Wars and Star Trek tweets, should they be interested mostly in the search side.

 

 

How this Google update impacts you

 

While this isn’t really a Google algorithm or ranking update, it still counts as a smart move meant to benefit all of the Google fans out there. I myself am quite thankful for this twist of events and seek to follow the Google SearchLiaison profile as closely as possible.

 

Why, you might wonder. Well, simply put, as Berry Schwartz is the primary source to check when it comes to Google updates in general, such is the new Google SearchLiaison profile the go-to source of information when it comes to every search-related thing, explanation, debate, or piece of news. 

 
5. Switching from HTTP to HTTPS gets mandatory

 

This security-centric turn comes to prove once again the Google really cares about the user experience and trust websites provide to their visitors. Similar to the page speed update  mentioned earlier, Google announced on February 9 that starting July 2018, websites should have an SSL addition to their site and provide an HTTPS-backed experience to their users, or else they’ll be punished.

 

source: searchenginejournal.com

 

How this Google update impacts you

 

This HTTP-to-HTTPS issue is twofold: first, it’s for your own good and safety to use HTTPS instead of HTTP (“S” actually comes from “security”), two, Google will straightforwardly warn your visitors that your website is not safe browsing, leading to a pretty high bounce rate.

 

source: searchenginejournal.com

 

Given that Chrome holds a good browser version market share of 50% worldwide, we can say this update will impact many web owners. Therefore having a protruding notice in the Omnibox warning users that your website is “Not secure”, might increase bounce rate and take a toll on advertising impressions, affiliate links, and e-commerce overall sales. Here’s a list pointing out how many Chrome users there are and the impact level this update might have on various regions and countries, should website not switch to HTPPS.

 

source: searchenginejournal.com

 

Switching to HTTPS might be a bit difficult but it pays off. Most web hosting providers already provide this service for free or manage to give you HTTPS certificates at a rather low cost. So you have no excuse postponing this as money shouldn’t really be a problem.

 
6. “People Also Search For” Box

 

 This Google change got live on February 13 and got fully implemented on desktop search already. Somehow, it’s similar to “people also ask” section except that this one directs people to other SERPs.

 

Anyone else seeing this behavior in #Google‘s serps? Different look than before and they appear after clicking on the link then coming back to the serps. @rustybrick @jenstar #SEO pic.twitter.com/YVMbCsMHio

— Sean Van Guilder (@seanvanguilder) February 13, 2018

 

How this Google update impacts you

 

The new look is one search refinement meant to benefit organic results. Should you not qualify for a keyword entered in a search query, Google could lead visitors to your site when offering them variations of the first query. Or the other way around: if you focused on optimizing your page content and used both short and long keywords that might answer to a vast array of queries, you might appear twice in SERPs.

 

Google showing 'People also search for' suggestions when we click through to a result and then go back. @JohnMu has said before that click data doesn't affect rankings, but this suggests it's at least monitored. Seen this before @rustybrick @randfish? #SEO pic.twitter.com/65hwz6jIxI

— Glass Digital (@GlassDigitalLTD) February 13, 2018

 
7. Chrome Tidies Up Messy URLs When Shared

 

Starting February 19 this year, Chrome v64 cuts off unnecessary tails and the end of an URL when sharing it using the URL streaming “Share” in Chrome. 

 

Berry Schwartz had a feeling that this new feature is tied to the canonical page URL. AMP has similar sharing features in order to deliver an easy-to-use and relevant URL. 

 

 How this Google update impacts you

 

Besides the impact we’ve mentioned above, the one with using and delivering a usable URL, there are two more consequences to this update. 

 

On one hand, having the original URL trimmed when shared could be a little annoying, given that when it opens the page, it would load only the top of the page and lose the specific location it had when attached to, say, the anchor text.

 

On the other hand, who knows, maybe this feature will become really useful at some point in the future.

 
8. Search Console Crawl Limits Changed

 

One major update from Google happened on February 19 when the giant search engine radically changed the Search Console crawl limits due to spam and abuse.

 

Although there’s only a small percent who could abuse the system, it happened nonetheless and the team had to take action.

 

The Search Console limits per option changed:

 

Before: Crawl only this URL submits only the selected URL to the Google for re-crawling. You can submit up to 500 individual URLs in this way within a 30 day period.
After: Crawl only this URL submits only the selected URL to the Google for re-crawling. You can submit up to 10 individual URLs per day.

 

Google Search Console also changed numbers here:

 

Before: Select Crawl this URL and its direct links to submit the URL as well as all the other pages that URL links to directly for re-crawling. You can submit up to 10 requests of this kind within a 30 day period.
After: Select & Crawl this URL and its direct links to submit the URL as well as all the other pages that URL links to directly for re-crawling. You can submit up to 2 of these site recrawl requests per day.

 

How this Google update impacts you

 

Barry Schwartz thinks this update might not be such a big deal to white-hat SEOs who don’t use this tool so often, given that a submission for indexation normally happens on a limited basis. But it might block some spam and unnatural activity from black-hat users.

 

 
9. Mobile-First Indexing

 

This Google update birth story is quite a soap opera. Once upon a February 22 day, webmasters and digital marketers alike gave a shoutout to a big announcement Google made at PubCon regarding a new ranking algorithm. Gary Illyes from Google announced onstage that the search engine webmaster team intends to roll the mobile-first index for more sites in the following weeks. 

 

Announcement – In the next month and a half or so, Google is moving a LOT of sites to mobile first.@methode #Pubcon

— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) February 21, 2018

 

The mobile-first indexing update didn’t come into effect until around March 26, as John Mueller didn’t give an exact date regarding the full start. Those monitoring fluctuations in Google rankings and traffic couldn’t tell either when exactly this updated started given the quite lengthy period of activity. What’s more, it almost gone completely unnoticed as there were few to no sites to signal their new ranking position from which to determine whether they were hit by this update or not.

 

 

How this Google update impacts you

 

To best explain this update and what it does to your site,  we could say that mobile-first indexing points out to Google’s attempt at indexing and ranking your website from a mobile point-of-view, when applicable. That is, should you have a mobile-friendly website, Google would index and rank your mobile version first. When I said “when applicable” it meant that Google will treat the world wide web this way only when bumping into sites that follow the best practices required by mobile-first indexing, therefore wouldn’t impact the other websites that didn’t check this aspect on their list. At least for now.

 

We evaluate each site individually on its readiness for mobile-first indexing based on the best practices and transition the site when the site is ready.

google search

developers.google.com

 

This update is a global and multilingual rollout, thus it’s meeant for everyone and will impact everyone.

 

It's global – across countries & languages.

— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) March 27, 2018

 

Regardless if your website is ready from a mobile-friendliness standpoint or not, optimizing and having mobile-friendly content is still relevant in marketing strategies that seek to make the website perform better in SERPs. Given there is a vast array of ranking signals that may influence your position in search, you might deliver content that is not necessarily mobile-friendly or is slow-loading. Having said this, optimizing your website for mobile would set your marketing strategy on fire, so you should definitely not postpone it. 

 

 

N.B.: This update is mobile-first indexing, not mobile first index, where the primary index is still the desktop one, this one only being added to the core one.

 

 
10. Multifaceted Featured Snippets

 

A new form of featured snippets was released on March 1 and it’s meant to answer queries that might be driven by more than one need and search intent.

 

Last month, we shared how Google would be displaying more than one featured snippet, when deemed useful. This is now rolling out live on mobile and will eventually come to desktop over time. More here: https://t.co/b2u4T9RvUW pic.twitter.com/ENJFa8ppkE

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) February 28, 2018

 

Google said they intend to provide more than one featured snippet for queries that might serve or have several potential intentions or purposes associated. This is one more step forward in what Google is trying to better understand the users and update it’s AI algorithm to deliver the best and the most satisfactory result possible. 

 

How this Google update impacts you

 

Having a Google update such as multifaceted featured snippets is great news for both site owners and content marketers. This means that more sites will get the chance to be featured on position 0 in SERPs. 

 

 

Site owners will have a double shot at ranking high in search while content marketers’ efforts of optimizing their content in order to be featured up there, will finally be rewarded. 

 

On the other hand though, I sense this update might be a bit nagging to the user, given that this will only get the page more crowded than it already is. 

 
11. The Relevancy Update

 

On March 9, there were some unnamed updates, yet online marketers knew how to interpret them and realize how big it was. while inquiring Google webmasters. John Mueller from Google confirmed in a Webmasters Hangout that these updates had to relevancy:

 

The updates that we made are more about relevance where we’re trying to figure out which sites relevant for certain queries and and not so much quality overall. It doesn’t means its a bad sign, we may just be finding that your site isn’t relevant for these particular queries.

john mueller

Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google @JohnMu

 

How this Google update impacts you

 

Marie Haynes and her team investigates several site that got hit on March 9 and noticed similarities among most of them. Many of the victims were relatively big brand who lost rankings on their articles, which , on a closer look, showed signs of duplicate content in regard to other sites’ content. This clearly pointed out the fact that Google intends to sift sites that don’t raise up to the standard of providing helpful, useful, and unique content on their pages.

 

This is not an update pointing to who is bad and who is good – but they rather seek to refine their answers to people’s queries – hence, they want to give the good answer not just the one that ranks for it.

MARIE HAYNES

Blogger @Marie_Haynes / hiswebmarketing.com

 

Seeing a drop around March 9 might show you were hit by this relevancy update. Getting downgraded doesn’t necessarily mean that your content is awful, but because Google saw one or more of your competitors being more qualitative than you.

 

Should you start optimizing your content and trying to fix everything so to see results as soon as possible won’t help you on the spot. When refining your marketing strategy, start with a site audit, read the Quality Raters’ Guidelines very carefully, and ask someone who’s close to you but unfamilliar with your website to compare you with your competitors and tell you what they see, and last but not least, cut off from duplicate content.

 
12. Google’s Mobile Friendly & Rich Results Tools Now Read JavaScript Sites

 

If Google has a hard time reading JavaScript Sites, then this update comes as a great surprise and a piece of great newson March 10. Tom Greenaway from Google, at Google I/O 2018 said that Google approaches indexing and ranking of JavaScript pages very differently than non-JavaScript ones.

 

In more human words, the Googlebot might have issues indexing and rendering the contents of a JavaScript page and might need to do it in more than one wave. Hence, Javascript powered website in Google are deferred until the fit resources to process that content.

 

 

And yet, Google worked their mobile-friendly and rich results rendering tools to be able to work with sites built in JavaScript language. In more technical words

 

Those tools can now both show the screenshots for JS-based sites, rendered DOM, show JavaScript errors and stack traces as seen by the Googlebot’s web render service. The tools will show rendered HTML, the console log, exceptions, and stack traces.

berry Schwartz

Founder at Search Engine Roundtable @rustybrick / rustybrick.com

 

How this Google update impacts you

 

Well, from now on, websites built in JavaScript will be readable from a mobile-friendly standpoint, while also appearing in rich snippets when somebody would enter a query from the mobile phone. Websites will double, if not triple their visibility, rank higher, and get increased traffic to their sites. This update is pretty much self-explanatory. 

 
13. “Mentioned on Wikipedia” Carousel in Search Results

 

Many website owners complained about Google not mentioning where the carousel info was taken from so the switch is quite significant. Google added on April 11 a new featured to their carousel and is visible to both mobile and desktop end users. 

 

source: seroundtable.com

 

When clicking on the carousel, it leads you not to the brand site but to the actual Wikipedia page of that brand or product.

 

How this Google update impacts you

 

It’s still not clear to what kind of searcher this carousel appears or in what country, yet one thing is clear. Big brands or websites that got featured in Wikipedia doubled their chances of appearing in Google SERPs. 

 

What’s more, some searches trigger a featured snippet instead of a carousel, hence this is quite an intricate update. 

 
14. New AdWords Features

 

Starting early this year, Google added new AdWords features almost every month: January, March, April, and May. In January, Google started allowing advertisers to add, edit, or remove keywords while they’re busy doing something else. Also, users have now the chance to quickly identify and name Display ads issues from the Overview page and find out more about every impression shift in search results. March had its fair share of new features, while April and May showed low activity with only one update each, April promising the chance of getting an insider look into keywords that aren’t showing ads together with an explanation, plus “get more done in less time”.

 

source: support.google.com

 

How this Google update impacts you

 

All these AdWords updates are meant to positively impact your advertising efforts and help you learn more from an environment you’re so much expecting results. Google’s aim is to allow you get deeper insight from your data in order to make the right selling decisions.

 
Conclusion

 

The updates that got launched so far in 2018 had to do a lot with user experience:

Google wanted pages to load fast (page speed), not have intrusive ads, lacking mobile optimization, and be relevant.

Even though, as Schwartz names them, many ranking fluctuations didn’t point out to a heavy or core update and were more some sort of “hiccups”, one thing is sure: Google is set to make their search engine as human as possible and as smart and cunning as a human being. 

 

Every month, there has been a lot of chatter, debate, educated guesses in forums such as WebmasterWorld, Black Hat Forums, Google forums, as proved by the tools that monitor Google’s changes that mainly affect traffic and rankings (cognitiveSEO, SERPmetrics, Mozcast, Advanced Web Ranking, Accuranker, Algaroo, RankRanger, SEMRush). 

 

 

Overall, we can expect more from Google as the time passes. Should you want to be ready for the upcoming updates or just fix your websites as much as you can for the ones that come into effect this July – page speed update and switching from HTTP to HTPPS -, make sure you read this post. 

 

Google has one love and one heart: their users, and that’s why they’ll continue focusing on mobile that’s on the rise lately, improved user experience (UX), and richer and more relevant content experiences. 

 

User experience will continue to be in the spotlight and more specifically will be driving users to spend less time in the search results and more time on websites with the richest content experiences.

victoria doherty

Digital Marketing Executive at blubolt / Victoria Doherty

 

The post Google’s 2018 Updates So Far And How They Already Impact Your Website appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

Are Writers Expected to Do SEO? New WordPress SEO Tools to Support Content Writers – BruceClay

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Are Writers Expected to Do SEO? New WordPress SEO Tools to Support Content Writers – BruceClay

Are Writers Expected to Do SEO? New WordPress SEO Tools to Support Content Writers – BruceClay

Are Writers Expected to Do SEO? New WordPress SEO Tools to Support Content Writers – BruceClay was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

We’re in a time when writers carry a heavy responsibility. They produce the fuel — SEO-ready content — that marketing engines need to drive sales forward.

Content marketing requires a LOT of content. In fact, 72% of marketers surveyed said relevant content creation is the most effective SEO tactic.

It makes sense, then, that writers should be equipped with tools that help them make informed SEO decisions along the way to making relevant, optimized content.

At the beginning of each year I share my marketing predictions, and last year I wrote:

“New tools will help content marketers produce targeted, high-quality content at the time of publishing. Content writers demand more data and become more technically bold as easy-to-use tools provide traffic and competitor SEO stats, ushering in a new generation of targeted high-quality content.”

Admittedly, this led to the WordPress SEO plugin that we developed and announced last October. After all, if you predict something you should also act on it!

What a plugin like Bruce Clay SEO for WordPress does is give writers and publishers a tool to create targeted content that is reasonably search engine optimized. Writers are empowered with website and web page analytics data in a familiar environment in a user-friendly UX. Writers get competitive analysis of the targets they are aiming to outrank with their own content. And writers get all this at the point of publishing allowing for streamlined analysis within the World Wide Web’s most popular publishing platform.

This is critical because …

Original Content Is Becoming Harder to Produce

Marketers are increasingly turning to content as a way to market to ad-averse digital natives. As a result, the amount of content available on every topic possible has grown exponentially. Content works at every stage of the customer journey from brand awareness to lead generation. And everyone knows that content is needed to be in business today. This has led to content burnout.

It’s obvious that today’s best writers have a growing need for SEO skills to help them analyze data and decide what content needs creating.

Content burnout or overload has happened as so many topics have been covered in-depth online. Original content is harder to produce because so much has already been written on so many topics. Targeted content is in some ways easier to produce because of the amount of tools available and the lower volume of existing content online, but to produce both original and targeted content is still difficult.

Is Too Much Content a Bad Thing?

This content economy has positive implications for SEO. The more quality content you have on a site covering one particular topic, the more likely you are to rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs). We believe that authors need SEO to become first among equals.

Creating a massive amount of quality SEO content makes it hard for the competition to keep up. As long as your body of quality content is continually increasing, companies with smaller budgets or that begin producing later will find it difficult to ever catch up to your site in terms of domain authority.

But if you are new to the web, not all is lost. What helps new bloggers is that even though much content exists online, most of it never gets any attention. In a study of a million articles, 75% of 100,000 randomly selected pieces had no external links and fewer than 39 shares.

A 2015 study by BuzzSumo and Moz analyzed the shares and links of over 1 million articles to see the format of content that get relatively more shares or links.

We believe that writers who are able to produce great written content with search marketing value have a huge advantage. By properly optimizing their content for search, writers are gradually adding SEO to their normal content-focused duties.

Are Writers Expected to Do SEO?

At one point, 85% of B2B marketers reported they couldn’t connect their content marketing activity to business value. This led to a number of reputable organizations making it a priority to determine what the ROI of content marketing was, and what it should be.

Now we know a lot about the ROI of content marketing, like:

Content marketing brings in 3x leads per dollar spent vs. traditional outbound marketing.
Companies with blogs produce an average of 67% more leads per month.

Even with all the information about content marketing ROI, only 21% of content marketers say they are successful at tracking content ROI.

Understanding the ROI of SEO has additional challenges because there are a number of ways SEO affects revenue, and a number of ways to “do” SEO.

We believe it is vital to provide authors with feedback on their work — traffic, time on page and bounce rate — in order to increase quality and SEO awareness.

Additionally, ROI from an SEO campaign often extends well after the campaign is over, making it even harder to track. Years ago, a study showed 43% of marketers couldn’t measure the ROI of their SEO. Imagine if every writer had access to data to see how popular their articles are and how much new traffic their content is bringing to a business!

As a writer, having access to the tools that show you how you’re performing provides focus and direction when deciding what pieces to create next to contribute to business objectives.

How Content Writers Are Doing SEO

The content marketing industry is becoming more data-driven as it matures. This means leading writers have adapted by becoming more technically savvy, using tools that provide data to justify why a particular piece of content is needed, as well as tools to show how it’s performing after publishing.

This Whiteboard Friday video details how bloggers should SEO-optimize their posts. A good portion of the video is devoted to teaching bloggers how to do research during the pre-writing process. The premise of the video is this:

Pick a goal for the post
Choose an audience
Find 3-5 long-tail keyword phrases
Scope the competition
Create the post

Only the last step has anything to do with the creation process; all of these SEO suggestions take place before the first word is written. As a result you would almost never find a content writer job description without SEO as a need-to-know skill.

As our dependence on data increases, writers need to continue to access as many data sources as possible to create new SEO content. Not only do writers need to know where to find data, they also need to understand how to use this data to create meaningful content that resonates with their target audience.

What Was Missing

Writing quality content may not be enough. The tie breaker we see over and over is a deftly search-optimized page. Tools have evolved to allow writers unprecedented access to data, yet there’s still plenty of room for improvement, especially in the area of SEO content tools.

Hunting for data on multiple websites, scouring through months of Google Analytics data and typing queries into Google itself eats up precious time that could be spent creating content that’s going to bring more traffic and revenue to a site.

WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system, boasts over 50,000 plugins. But with all its flexibility and power, the platform is still lacking. WordPress is a content management system and not an SEO tool. Let me repeat that. WordPress is obviously about content management and not SEO.

Here are some of the things we’ve found that most WordPress content creators still need:

Ability to optimize for more than one keyword
Content performance data
Visual map of keywords within a post
Customized keyword analysis based on the actual page content
Automatic tracking of which posts/pages are succeeding in search results with rankings and traffic data
Mobile-friendly scoring, mobile errors and page speed statistics
Duplicate content flag
Content reading level score of your post compared to the top-ranked competitors
Gamification for authors and contributors through author-specific post metrics (top posts, rankings, visitors and more)
Access to rich, integrated research and analysis tools

Many of the tools added to the WordPress platform are not adequate for a writer taking SEO initiative. Most data is not in one place and is not readily available to an author or publisher. If these tools were condensed into a single place within WordPress, then more writers would create quality content that is highly-targeted and data-driven. Because the tools and processes are scattered and time-pressed writers don’t often have the time to go to multiple websites to gather all the information, SEO success may suffer.

There Is an Easier Way

It’s obvious that today’s best writers have a growing need for SEO skills to help them analyze data and decide what content needs creating. In fact, it is a very big part of every writer’s job already and will become even more so in the future.

But hunting for data on multiple websites, scouring through months of Google Analytics data and typing queries into Google itself eats up precious time that could be spent creating content that’s going to bring more traffic and revenue to a site. The solution is to bring data to writers in the content publishing environment.

Adding SEO into the publishing workflow is the surest way to improve the distribution and visibility of labor-intensive content investments — that’s why we’ve been working hard to finish our coming Bruce Clay SEO plugin and bring it to the WordPress community.

If you’re looking for a solution that will quickly provide insights to writers and publishers looking to get answers without going through half the internet to find them, sign up for the early preview release of our SEO plugin for WordPress. It will give you answers to your most pressing SEO needs within WordPress, saving hours of frustration.

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How To Get Google To Index My Website (Simple Steps)

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How To Get Google To Index My Website (Simple Steps)

How To Get Google To Index My Website (Simple Steps)

Site indexation may seem like a fairly passive task. Just write some content, optimize it for search engines, upload it to your site, and just wait for the magic to happen — right? Not necessarily. How can you get your content on Google faster? How do you get Google to index the pages that you updated? Google’s indexation process is very effective, but it isn’t perfect. And considering that it’s impossible to reach your marketing goals if your pages aren’t indexed, indexation isn’t something you should leave up to chance. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to help…

The post How To Get Google To Index My Website (Simple Steps) appeared first on The Daily Egg.

Annelieke’s Analytics: What is Page Value in Google Analytics?

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Annelieke’s Analytics: What is Page Value in Google Analytics?

Annelieke’s Analytics: What is Page Value in Google Analytics?

Most people find it difficult to go from reporting the basic stuff in Google Analytics, like pageviews and sessions, to analyzing data. Drawing valuable and actionable conclusions based on data is even more challenging. Everyone searches for ways to do this, and learns while doing so. Here, I want to discuss a metric in Google Analytics that can help you with putting data into actions. It’s called: Page Value.

What is Page Value

Page Value is a metric you’ll find in the All Pages report in the Behavior section. This metric tells you if the page has contributed to a conversion or not. Google’s definition is:

Page Value is the average value for a page that a user visited before landing on the goal page or completing an Ecommerce transaction (or both).

You can only see a true value in the Page Value column if you have implemented enhanced eCommerce tracking and/or if you’ve set up goals and assigned goal value to them.

If you have none of the former, the Page Value of your pages will be $0.00. As you can see in the screenshot below:

Goals and goal value

The Digital Marketing Evangelist Avinash Kaushik is pretty clear when it comes to goals.

If you don’t have goals, you are not doing digital analytics. You are doing I am wasting earth’s precious oxygenalytics. 

And he has a similar opinion when it comes down to assigning a value to your goals.

Without goals and goal values you are not doing web analytics, you are doing web I am wasting your life and minelytics.

I tend to listen to Avinash Kaushik and I’d recommend you do the same ;-). If you have a clear goal for your website, which means that you know what you want your visitors to do on your site, then translate that into goals. And assign a value to your goals. This means that every website should have goals, for I hope that every website has a goal to exist.

Start with reading this awesome post about goal values on Kaushik’s website. It’s about how to add economic value to goal conversions that don’t directly lead to revenue for your website. Because these conversions probably lead to indirect revenue for your business. Once you’ve set up goals with a Goal Value, the Page Value metric in Google Analytics gets more and more interesting.

Page Value for eCommerce sites

If you’ve implemented eCommerce tracking in Google Analytics, Page Value will be added automatically. Please don’t add Goal Value to the eCommerce goals you’re creating. The eCommerce tracking will take care of that for you.

How Page Value is calculated

Like a lot of things, Page Value is best explained with an example. In this case, I’m going to use the example Google gives:

In this example we’re going to calculate the Page Value of Page B. The formula is:

(eCommerce Revenue + Total Goal Value) / Number of Unique Pageviews for Page B

We see two sessions in which page B was viewed. Each session had a unique pageview so the number of unique pageviews for Page B is 2. We also see that the Goal of Page D is completed two times and Goal page D has a goal value of $10. Which adds up to $20. Then in Session one, an eCommerce transaction of $100 has taken place. This will result in the following formula:

($100 + $20)/2

This means that the page value of Page B is $60.

What does the Page Value of a page tell you

Your pages should have a purpose. Some pages sell stuff / convert and some merely inform readers about a certain topic. Others assist in making a conversion. If pages that are meant to sell or convert have a low page value, something is going wrong. And if you see that pages you’re not actively using in your strategy have a high Page Value, you might want to consider adding that page to your strategy.

It also works the other way around. If you notice that some pages have a lower than expected Page Value, then these pages are driving people away from a conversion. The same goes for pages with high traffic but low Page Value, and pages with low traffic but high Page Value. As you might’ve guessed, looking at page value is insightful and useful to optimize your conversions!

Blog and Page Value

It all depends on the goals and goal values you have. Let’s say you have a blog and one of the goals of your blog is to get newsletter subscriptions. So you want to set up that goal and add a certain goal value. By doing so, you can identify which blog posts lead to more newsletter subscribers than others. This gives you information about what kind of interests your audience has. You might even conclude that putting posts of interest in your newsletter will lead to more engaged newsletter subscribers.

Also, if you want to start a campaign or promote something on Facebook, for instance, you can choose to share a post with a high Page Value. This makes sense, because you know that it will lead to more conversions / newsletter subscribers (or whatever the goal is) than a post with a lower Page Value. Think about the information the Page Value metric can give you for your marketing as well as your website optimization strategy!

Online shop and Page Value

You can use this principle if you have an online shop as well. If you’ve enabled and correctly implemented enhanced eCommerce tracking, you can see those transactions in the page value of your pages. Of course, you want high page values for your product pages. And you want to find out which other pages lead to conversions. Use this information to identify which pages can be used best in your marketing campaigns. And check where these pages are on your website, can people access them easily?

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an actionable metric in Google Analytics to optimize your website and your marketing campaigns the Page Value metric is the way to go! It gives you information about what works and what doesn’t work for your business. Of course, Page Value doesn’t come by itself, you need Goals with Goal Values and/or eCommerce tracking if you have an online shop. But it’s worth to set this up. Good luck!

Read more: ‘Perfecting your goals in Google Analytics’ »

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