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7 Strategies That Will Get Powerful Results for Your Marketing and Sales Teams [Free Webinar on May 24th]

Posted by on May 10, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 7 Strategies That Will Get Powerful Results for Your Marketing and Sales Teams [Free Webinar on May 24th]

7 Strategies That Will Get Powerful Results for Your Marketing and Sales Teams [Free Webinar on May 24th]

Are your sales and marketing teams aligned? Or are they working in silos, with only a vague understanding of what the other team is doing?

If your sales and marketing teams aren’t working well together, you’re not alone.

According to LinkedIn, 93 percent of sales and marketing professionals say their company has issues with alignment, such as antagonism between teams, excluding others from planning, and challenges communicating.

Sales and marketing misalignment can result in lower sales, lost leads, and annoyed customers. Are you ready to improve the relationship between sales and marketing?

Join Neil Patel and the Pipedrive team for a free webinar on sales and marketing alignment on May 24th at 8 am PST.

Why is Sales and Marketing Alignment So Important?

When the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, you lose revenue, deliver a poor customer experience, and miss opportunities.

A lack of sales and marketing coordination costs businesses an estimated $1 trillion a year in the US alone. 

For example, say marketing creates a campaign to drive what they think are qualified leads to a new landing page.

Unfortunately, sales redefined how they qualify leads a few weeks ago–but no one told marketing.

Now, that landing page is flooded with leads that sales will never follow up on. Marketing says “Look at all that traffic! Why isn’t anyone following up on all those leads?”

While sales sees low-quality traffic that will waste their time, so they focus on leads from a paid campaign instead.

Everyone’s frustrated, and no one wins–least of all your customers.

So how do you get everyone on the same page? By using strategies that bring sales and marketing together, increase communication, and play to everyone’s strengths.

What strategies should you use? That’s what we’ll cover in our next webinar, created in partnership with Pipedrive.

Who Should Attend Our Sales + Marketing Alignment Webinar

If you have a marketing and sales team of two or more people, you’ll want to attend this webinar.

Here’s why: setting up sales and marketing alignment from the beginning is the best way to prevent misalignment.

If you have a larger team and struggle to get everyone on the same page, this webinar will be crucial. We’ll cover a range of strategies, from automation to removing silos, to help both teams share data and strategies.

Remember, everyone is on the same team–and we’re all looking to drive growth. Making it easy (thank you, automation!) to share data and insights will improve everyone’s metrics–especially your bottom line.

What Types of Businesses Is This Webinar For?

Any business with a sales and marketing team (even if it’s only one person each!) will benefit from this webinar.

That includes organizations in industries like:

B2B businesses looking to improve their sales and marketing metrics SaaS companies looking to increase sign-ups E-commerce businesses looking to scale. Brick and mortar companies struggling to grow online and in-person sales.

What You’ll Learn in Our May 24th Webinar

In our upcoming webinar, you’ll learn seven strategies to help your sales and marketing teams work together to drive leads, traffic, and revenue.

Neil will share strategies like using automation and integrations to eliminate data silos, aligning communciation cadences, and integrating call data so both teams can leverage it to improve customer experience.

For each strategy, we’ll share data points on why it matters, results in the form of case studies, and provide step-by-step instructions on how to implement our strategies for your business.

The webinar will wrap up with a Q+A session where you can ask questions and get advice on implementing these strategies in your own organization.

Want to join us? Sign up today and join us on May 24th. We look forward to seeing you.

New Education Q&A structured data help document from Google

Posted by on May 10, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on New Education Q&A structured data help document from Google

New Education Q&A structured data help document from Google

Google has released another new help document to its search developer documents today – named Education Q&A. This technical help document explains how to add Quiz structured data to your flashcard pages to appear in the Education Q&A carousel in Google Search results, Google Assistant, and Google Lens results.

Supported page types. Google said these two page types currently support this type of structured data:

Flashcard page: A page that contains flashcards that typically have a question on one side and an answer on the other side. To mark up flashcard pages, continue reading this guide to learn how to add Education Q&A schema.Single Q&A page: A page that only contains one question and is followed by user-submitted answers. To mark up single Q&A pages, add QAPage markup instead.

Technical requirements. Google listed out these technical requirements for the Education Q&A structured data:

Put structured data on the most detailed leaf page possible. Don’t add structured data to pages without questions.All questions must use the Flashcard value for the eduQuestionType property. Pages that contain other question types are not eligible for the Education Q&A carousel. For pages with other question types, consider using Practice Problems.Ensure that your host load settings allow for frequent crawls.The questions on your site should be immediately visible to users on the page, meaning that the questions aren’t held only in a data file or PDF.If your page has only one question followed by several user-submitted answers, use QAPage markup instead.

English only. This seems to only be available right now for English language queries, Google said the Education Q&A carousel is available in English when searching for education-related topics on desktop and mobile.

Opt out. Google you can opt out of showing up in this search feature by using this form.

More. There is lot more detail including the technical structured data samples, how to test and monitor the results, and even this screenshot.

Why we care. Anything you can do to differentiate how your content is displayed in Google Search may improve your visibility in Google Search and thus your click through rate from Google to your site. Of course, you should test it and see if the results are worth the effort and the clicks drive more conversions.

The post New Education Q&A structured data help document from Google appeared first on Search Engine Land.

The secret to achieving omnichannel success

Posted by on May 10, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The secret to achieving omnichannel success

The secret to achieving omnichannel success

A sublime customer experience allows customers to move from channel to channel without losing their place or the information they’ve entered. To successfully deliver these experiences, brands must meet current data, security, and personalization challenges with ambitious strategies and first-rate technology.

Join seasoned experts from Redpoint Global in a live webinar and learn how you can creatively collect first-, second- and third-party data to engage and retain consumers.

Register today for “Data-Driven Answers to Achieve Omnichannel Success” presented by Redpoint Global.

The post The secret to achieving omnichannel success appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Google’s digital marketing course offers bad SEO advice

Posted by on May 10, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Google’s digital marketing course offers bad SEO advice

Google’s digital marketing course offers bad SEO advice

That uproar you hear? It’s SEOs calling out Google today. 

Google’s new Digital Marketing & E-commerce certification course, which was announced May 2, includes cringe-worthy SEO advice so bad that one of Google’s search advocates – Danny Sullivan – is disavowing it.

What happened. It all started with a tweet from international SEO consultant Gianluca Fiorelli. In it, he shared this screenshot of a slide discussing how to avoid keyword stuffing:

This is Google’s official advice from the course:

Write more than 300 words on your webpage.Your webpage is more likely to be ranked higher in search engine result pages if you write a higher volume of quality content.Keep your keyword density below an industry standard of 2%.This means that 2% of the words on the webpage or fewer should be target keywords.Be thoughtful about keyword placement.Your keywords should be used only once in the following places on each page within your website: page title, subheading, first paragraph, and body conclusion. 

“Seriously… ‘write more than 300 words’? and ‘keyword density’?” Fiorelli tweeted. “I mean… keyword stuffing is bad, sure! but solving it by spreading SEO myths that SEOs try to eliminate?

“I know that this course is very entry-level, but exactly for this reason myths like these ones should not be taught. Did the SEOs in Google review the course?”

“This can be ignored”. Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, responded to Fiorelli, essentially disavowing the course. 

“I’m not on the team that produced that, nor are they part of the Search team,” Sullivan replied. “As someone from the Search team, we don’t recommend any limits or ‘density’ or anything like that. This can be ignored; I’ll pass it on.”

He then linked to Google’s advice from search, Google’s SEO Starter Guide. That document makes no mention of keyword density or word count minimums.

Keyword density. Keyword density is a percentage that tells you how often a keyword or phrase is used on a page. You divide the total number of times a keyword or phrase is used by the total number of words used. Then multiply by 100 and you have your percentage. (Or just copy-paste a URL or your text into a free online keyword density calculator.)

Here’s the fun thing with keyword density. I’ve spoken with many SEOs in the past who swear they successfully figured out the right keyword density in the past and it helped them rank pages. The exact keyword density varied – I heard anywhere from 2% to 10% was the sweet spot, depending on who you talked to (and what year) and what industry they were using it in.

So keyword density myth has a kernel of truth to it. Because it used to work. 

But let’s be clear: there is no keyword density “industry standard.”

Google has downplayed keyword density, as far back as 2006, when ex-Googler Matt Cutts shared advice about writing useful articles that readers will love. In part, he wrote:

“… in the on-page space, I’d recommend thinking more about words and variants (the ‘long-tail’) and thinking less about keyword density or repeating phrases.”

In a 2011 video, Cutts was asked: “What is the ideal keyword density of a page?”

Key quotes:

“So the first one or two times you mention a word, then that might help with your ranking, absolutely. But just because you can say it seven or eight times, that doesn’t mean that it will necessarily help your rankings.”“I would love it if people could stop obsessing about keyword density. It’s going to vary. It’s going to vary by area, it’s going to vary based on what other sites are ranking it. It’s not a hard and fast rule.”

But Google search has advanced much since 2011. Today, it’s not uncommon to find some pages ranking for certain keywords without ever using the keyword it’s ranking for within the page.

Keywords absolutely matter. But there is no magical ratio of keywords to content that can guarantee traffic and rankings. 

Enterprise-level SEO consultant Jessica Bowman said she was shocked to see Google define any keyword density, which Google and SEO leaders have disputed for years. She also said:

“I do guide writers on the number of keyword repetitions to use in content (but avoid any discussion/research on density). The reason for specifying the number of repetitions for keywords is that in my experience writers won’t naturally mention keywords enough to establish relevance for the keyword you want to rank for.”“When guiding writers, I include seven keyword types to guide writers such as: Primary keyword, secondary keyword, words that are part of an authoritative discussion on the topic, words to use in links, etc. Each has a number of repetitions to include. I find this guides the writer into a direction of building out robust content with an authoritative discussion that will perform well in search engines.”

Marie Haynes, owner of Marie Haynes Consulting, said she was also quite surprised that Google’s course provided specific advice on keyword density. She wondered if, perhaps, the person responsible for writing this course content wasn’t fully experienced in SEO.

“As with all SEO-related information you find on the web, this is a good example of why we should always have a strong reference to point to when making SEO recommendations. Not everything that is written on the internet is true, even if it comes from Google itself!”

Word count and SEO. Where did that 300-word advice come from? I highly suspect a Yoast page. Compare this quote:

“We advise writing more than 300 words for regular posts or pages, while product descriptions should be over 200 words. Why is that? A higher word count helps Google better understand what your text is about. And, generally speaking, Google tends to rank longer articles higher.”

To what Google says in its course:

Write more than 300 words on your webpage.Your webpage is more likely to be ranked higher in search engine result pages if you write a higher volume of quality content.

See the similarity? It could be a coincidence. Or not.

Google’s search representatives have said, repeatedly, that word count or content length is not a ranking factor. 

John Mueller said this in:

2018 on Twitter: “Word count is not indicative of quality. Some pages have a lot of words that say nothing. Some pages have very few words that are very important & relevant to queries. You know your content best (hopefully) and can decide whether it needs the details.”2019 on Reddit: “Word count is not a ranking factor.”2021 in a Google Search Central SEO Office Hours video: “From our point of view the number of words on a page is not a quality factor, not a ranking factor. So just blindly adding more and more text to a page doesn’t make it better.”

Regardless, the correlation between word count and ranking has long been a hot topic of SEO studies. The problem, as always, is correlation studies are generally for entertainment purposes only. 

I started in SEO in 2007. Around that time, 250 words was considered best practice for blog posts. Then it basically started to increase every few years. 250 became 500, then 1,000, then 1,500. Last I saw, HubSpot was claiming 2,100-2,400 is the ideal length of blog posts.

We also had some briefly popular concepts, like 10x content and skyscraper content (until people figured out “results may vary” and not everybody wanted to read a novella before learning how to screw in a lightbulb).

My advice on writing content is simple: write what it’s worth. It should be long enough to be comprehensive and better than what your competition has published. 

Word count is truly one of those “it depends” situations – it depends on the type of content, the format, your goal, the audience, the industry, search intent, and lots of other variables. Also, blog posts are not product pages or other types of pages. 

Why this is bad. Google said “all course instructors are Google employees who are subject-matter experts.” But this advice clearly calls into question the validity of this course and the value of the certification.

This situation made me think of a quote from the movie “Inception”:

“An idea is like a virus. Resilient. Highly contagious. And even the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.”

Replace “idea” with “SEO myth” in that sentence, and that’s the problem. Somebody from (or on behalf of) Google wrote this course. I suspect many Googlers watched and gave sign-off on the content of this course. 

Now, many are predicting that some people will use this course to claim to be “SEO certified” by Google. 

Plenty of bad SEO myths have made the rounds over the years. But the origin for most of those myths could always be traced to conclusions drawn by practitioners and influencers publishing articles or “research studies,” speaking at conferences, or sharing updates on social media. 

Google has provided plenty of high-level guidance around SEO best practices, but nothing as specific and outright wrong as this before – let alone in digital marketing training that ends with official Google certification. 

Bowman said this is another reminder that you need to be careful what type of content you read – because sometimes it’s outdated advice, even if it was recently published. Bowman also said:

“It’s better to get an understanding of SEO by learning from SEO industry thought leaders who have been around for a while – where you can see across the board what seems to be working and legitimate tactics, so that you can identify what is bad or questionable advice. From there choose the ‘person’ you want to train you and your team, because this Google certification shows that even known and respected companies have people giving out bad advice.”

In fact, most of Google’s search representatives have tried to debunk these bad SEO myths in the past. Repeatedly.

Why we care. Google touted this certification as a way to upskill or reskill employees. The problem: this course has bad SEO advice. Anyone who takes this course is learning bad practices that somebody, at some point, will have to help them unlearn. 

Yes, the course is “free” right now. But people invest their time (which is one thing they can never get back) in this certification, all to learn some bad SEO practices that wouldn’t have even helped you rank a decade ago. 

While Sullivan brushed it off, saying it can be ignored, the people taking the course probably won’t read his tweet disavowing it. Or the other tweets and social media updates calling it out for inaccuracy. Or the articles calling it out, including this one. That’s the problem. And it’s one that can’t be ignored. 

In 2016, Google concluded SEO certification would be a “bad idea.” Well, they were right. Here we are in 2022 and SEO is part of Google’s certification in digital marketing. And it’s certainly proving problematic, just days after launching it as a piece of its digital marketing certification. 

Google is a trusted authority. It is the biggest search engine in the world. Most people taking this course (again, given by Google employees who are subject-matter experts) will trust the information they are being taught about SEO. Hopefully, Google will update this course and have it reviewed by true SEO subject-matter experts. 

If Google keeps teaching SEO myths, these SEO myths will only continue to spread like a virus. Except this time, the myth is coming straight from Google itself. 

The post Google’s digital marketing course offers bad SEO advice appeared first on Search Engine Land.

How to prepare yourself for Google Analytics 4

Posted by on May 10, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to prepare yourself for Google Analytics 4

There’s a new Google Analytics coming to town and it’s time to get ready! This new Analytics will eventually replace the good old Universal Analytics as we know it. Although you can use your current Analytics for another year, we strongly recommend getting started with Google Analytics 4 right away. In this post, we’ll tell you a bit more about why you should get started now, what you can expect from Google Analytics 4 and how to get ready for it.

Over two and a half years ago, Google made its first mention of Google Analytics 4. The reasons for creating this new type of analytics are the changes and complexities that now come with collecting and analyzing data. People’s online journeys are becoming more complex (and spread out over several platforms or devices). In addition, privacy is becoming increasingly important in how you collect data. That’s why they’re introducing this new version of Google Analytics.

Why should you start up your Google Analytics 4 now?

You will be able to use Universal Analytics until July 1, 2023. From that day on, it will no longer process any data. But that doesn’t mean that you should wait until that date to create your new Google Analytics 4 property. We strongly advise you to create it now as this will allow you to start collecting data on your new property. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on that all-important historic data when you need to make the switch in July 2023.

It’s good to know that this new property can happily coexist with your current Analytics property. Getting started with Google Analytics 4 doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to use your Universal Analytics anymore. This property will continue to function and collect data until the data we mentioned above. But you will eventually have to make the switch, so let’s dive into what this new version of Analytics, formerly known as “App + Web” entails.

What to expect from Google Analytics 4

“Meet the next generation of Google Analytics”, that’s what Google says about this newest version. On their help center page they name a few advantages over Universal Analytics:

It’s durable for the future and privacy-focusedIt uses machine learning to get you insights into customer journeys across platforms and devicesIt has enhanced integrations with Google’s advertising platform to optimize campaign performance

Insight into a more complete customer journey

Get a grasp on the customer journey from A to Z, even when customers use multiple platforms and devices. This is especially interesting when you have both a website and an app. The customer journey will no longer be broken up by different platforms used or organized in different sessions. This gives you a better understanding of how the customer interacts with and moves through your website and/or app.

A necessary focus on user privacy

Sharing a lot of personal information online has become more and more normal through the years. To protect people’s data and help them understand how their data is being used, countries around the world have set up data protection laws. For the EU countries, for example, this is the GDPR. This new Analytics property comes with country-level privacy controls, to help you collect valuable data while making sure you comply with these privacy regulations.

In addition, Google Analytics 4 allows you to further customize who has access to what data. This ensures that different teams or external partners can access the data that they need. Without you having to give any access that isn’t in line with your company’s policy.

Predictive capabilities when it comes to user behavior

Thanks to its machine learning models, Google can use your data to predict future actions that your audience may take. Google Analytics 4 comes with two predictive metrics that make this possible. The first one is purchase probability, which predicts the likelihood that users who have visited your app or site will purchase something in the next seven days. The second one is churn probability, which predicts how likely it is that recently active users will not visit your app or site in the next seven days. These predictive metrics can help you reach the right people with the right message and through the right channel.

Improved interaction with other Google services

This new property comes with improved integrations with other Google services. Services like Google Ads, Search Ads 360 and Display & Video 360. You might be wondering what you can do with this. Well, it actually makes it way easier to use your Analytics data to optimize your advertising campaigns. This improved interaction allows you to make informed decisions that can boost your traffic and sales, based on real insights.

Improve your marketing efforts with data-driven attribution

This new property uses data-driven attribution to give you an idea of the impact of individual marketing activities. Data-driven attribution comes down to what contribution each interaction brings to conversion outcomes. So, this model calculates the effect of your marketing activities and helps you figure out which paths you can improve. It actually determines which touchpoints are most likely to drive conversions. You can also export this data to Google Ads to optimize your ad campaigns.

How to prepare yourself…

There’s no way around it, eventually, Universal Analytics will be replaced by Google Analytics 4. Google actually encourages people to set up this new property (alongside your current one) as soon as they can. So how can you prepare yourself? We’ll discuss how to set it up when you’re already using Analytics. But also how to set it up when you’re not using Analytics yet.

When you’re already using Analytics

The very first step is to create a Google Analytics 4 property for your website. This can be done from your Google Analytics account. Setting up this new property doesn’t mean that you’ll lose access to your current analytics setup. This setup will remain the same and functional. The new property will collect its data next to your existing property and you’ll be able to access them both.

To help you set up your new property, Google has actually introduced a GA4 Setup Assistant wizard. To use this wizard, you will need to have an editor role on your Google Analytics account. The steps on how to get to this wizard, are thoroughly described on Google’s page on how to add a Google Analytics 4 property (to a site that already has Analytics).

When you’ve created your new property, there are a few more things you can do to make sure that you’re getting the most out of it. As we said, this new version is focused on giving you more insight into the complex customer journey and improving your marketing efforts. Google’s page on how to make the switch to Google Analytics 4 gives a great overview of what you can do to properly set up Google Analytics 4. If you want to learn even more, you can take their Skillshop Course to discover what’s new with Google Analytics.

When you’re new to Analytics

If you aren’t using Analytics yet, and this feels like a good moment to get started, you will have to start with setting up an account. You can do this by going to google.com/analytics and clicking ‘Get started today’. When you’ve logged in, you can go to Admin (the cogwheel in the bottom left corner) and click the blue button ‘Create Account’ in the top left corner. You will need to set an account name and decide on what data you will want to share with other Google services.

After that, you click ‘Next’ and add a property to your new account. Google explains how to do this on their page on setting up Analytics for a website and/or app. After you’ve set up your new account and property, you can start getting familiar with Analytics and dive into the data to get more insights into your site visitors and their behavior. Of course, it can be overwhelming at first. But you can find loads of information and training in Google’s training and support section. Or check out our blog posts on Google Analytics to learn more and get started.

To summarize

Although you can still use your Universal Analytics property until the 1st of July, 2023, it pays off to already add a GA4 property to your account. This helps you get used to this new way of analyzing your data and it comes with new features that give you more insight into your audience and the performance of your marketing campaigns. Adding this new Analytics property won’t change anything in your current Analytics set up, you’ll be able to use and view both properties until July 2023. After that, your old property won’t process any new data and you will have to make the switch to Google Analytics 4. So start right away and get the most out of this new version of Google Analytics!

The post How to prepare yourself for Google Analytics 4 appeared first on Yoast.

Virtual environment optimization (VEO): The next evolution of SEO?

Posted by on May 10, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Virtual environment optimization (VEO): The next evolution of SEO?

Reality is no longer limited to what you see in front of you. We now have alternative realities, including virtual and augmented.

These technological advances are making big changes in the world around us. It is important to have a full understanding of these concepts, as well as how to use them for the future of marketing and e-commerce. 

Virtual and augmented reality are now surpassing the use of entertainment and also heading in the direction of businesses. Trends based on age, time and the pandemic are all leading toward a completely online commerce field.

Could we at some point eventually leave behind the era of SEO and enter a new state with new terms and theories? 

What is virtual reality? 

Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated environment created by computer technology.

Display technology allows for an immersive, virtual experience compared to traditional user interfaces. When virtual reality is applied, users are transported into a three-dimensional world where they can interact with a 3D environment. 

The most recognizable component of virtual reality is the head-mounted displays (HMD). Popular companies that are already applying virtual reality to their products include HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR (PSVR). 

Three main types of virtual reality 

Virtual reality can be broken down into three main sectors:

Non-immersive VR: A computer-generated virtual environment in which the user is aware and controlled by the physical environment they are in. The most common example is a video game where players enter the “game world” with its own storyline and characters. Semi-immersive VR: An environment partially based in a virtual setting; typically used for training and educational purposes with large projector systems and graphical computing. An example of semi-immersive VR would be flight simulators that pilots have to use during training. Fully-immersive VR: The most realistic VR experience where sight and sound are fully immersed in the virtual setting. When wearing the appropriate VR gear, users will be able to see and feel the digital environment around them as if they are actually there. 

Virtual reality vs. augmented reality 

Augmented reality (AR) is the use of technology to enhance what users see in the real world, with a digital overlay that incorporates artificial objects. Augmented reality is able to combine elements of both the physical and digital world or adds digital elements to a live view. 

2016 hit mobile phone app, “Pokemon Go” is a prime example of augmented reality. Users could walk around in the real world and search for Pokemon characters that would appear first on their phone screens, and then in the real space in front of them. 

Put simply, here’s the main difference between VR and AR:

Augmented reality is an addition to the real-world experience.Virtual reality is creating an entirely new atmosphere and experience from scratch. 

What about the metaverse? 

In broad terms, the metaverse will combine virtual and augmented reality to create a world that continues to exist even while you aren’t playing. It will be a realistic, online sphere where users can go to hang out with friends, attend work meetings and even buy and sell products.

In the idealistic version of the metaverse, the virtual items will be interoperable and allow you to take items from one platform to another. 

Some people may argue that the metaverse has already existed for some time, specifically in video games. For example, “World of Warcraft” already allows the players to buy and sell goods. “Fortnite” has the option of virtual experiences, such as a generated concert or user-created exhibit.

However, someone claiming that “Fortnite” is the same as the Metaverse would be the same as someone claiming that Google is the epitome of the internet. There is much more to the scope of the metaverse and what it can potentially offer.

As it is still a work in progress, there is still some speculation on what exactly the metaverse will be and look like. However, it is apparent that the product has shaped new building blocks for the technological world.

For instance, there will soon be the ability to host hundreds of people in one single server, which could likely go up to thousands or even millions. There are also motion-tracking tools, which can be used to follow the users’ movements in real-time. The metaverse will not only have a huge impact on entertainment and social aspects but on marketing as well. 

Where we stand with virtual reality  

It’s true that virtual reality has not yet lived up to its full potential, even acting as an unfulfilled promise over the years.

Solutions are needed to overcome obstacles in VR, including:

Price and availability.Bulky headsets.Technical glitches.

However, statistics show that virtual reality is on the rise, in both popularity and demand. 

Beyond recreation and at-home entertainment, virtual reality is being used in the following fields: 

Training: Law enforcement officers have started to use virtual reality as a cheap and safe alternative to training. Simulations can be used for interviewing suspects, practicing arrests, or dealing with dangerous scenarios. Travel: The travel industry suffered from the Coronavirus pandemic, and new inventions of VR helped to satisfy the wanderlust of many travel enthusiasts. Various companies have created immersive ways to travel the world, including National Geographic Explore VR – which lets you visit breathtaking places such as Antarctica or Machu Picchu. Real Estate: Companies like Zillow have started to integrate virtual reality into their business. Virtual reality can provide several benefits to real estate agents, such as cutting down costs, and time and letting the potential buyer “window shop” through multiple homes at a time. Military: Virtual reality is a key technology used by the U.S. Department of Defense. Virtual reality is used by the military for training that is considered too expensive, rare or dangerous to perform in real life. It is also useful in manufacturing weapons, as well as optimizing equipment. Sports: A long-time tactic of sports teams has been studying recorded practices or games to analyze the performance of players and their opponents. Now with the use of virtual reality, major sporting sectors such as the NFL, NASCAR and the NBA have all begun to use VR to help with practice and training in real-time simulations. Entertainment: When people first think of virtual reality it is typically for entertainment. Video games are the most common source of VR or AR. However, there are other forms of VR entertainment – immersive cinema and VR amusement parks. Architecture: Advances in virtual reality have been able to act as a powerful tool for communicating design intent with architects. Using VR can help with stages including design-to-construction, evaluating designs and showcasing proposals and working out errors before the building process begins. Art: Artists can push the boundaries and limitations of their work using virtual reality. Consumers can “enter” the piece of artwork through interactive videos, walkthroughs, and 360-degree spherical panoramas that feel like museum-quality exhibitions. Aviation: Pilots must undergo extensive training by using flight simulators and computer screens. Virtual reality has become a more efficient alternative to previous flight simulators, which were either too expensive or bulky. With the use of VR, pilots can practice the in-flight experience, and even build planes. Conference rooms: Facebook has introduced the potential future for conference calls through VR: Horizon Workrooms. Instead of sitting on Zoom, employers and their employees will soon be able to enter a VR space with their own avatars and sit around a digital conference table together. Data visualization – Virtual reality and augmented reality can help communicate information faster and in a more digestible manner. Concepts like the stock market, climate change, and even Brexit would be easier to understand for businesses with the help of VR data visualization. Journalism (immersive journalism): Immersive journalism describes digitally produced stories that help create a first-person experience with the news and ongoing events. Virtual reality has been used for immersive journalism in cases such as in Guantanamo Bay, where a journalist virtually entered the prison to obtain real audio and visuals to obtain a story. Marketing/advertising: Virtual reality can enhance marketing and advertising for just about any company. Providing a realistic experience of a product to customers can help push the likelihood of them purchasing it. Volvo Reality was the first example of a VR test drive to let potential buyers touch, feel, and experience their vehicles.  Social media: Facebook’s rebrand to Meta is one of the main examples of VR entering the world of social media. Facebook Horizon will allow users to experience social events together, chat with friends, and even build virtual worlds. There are also VR apps such as VRChat and REC Room which allow users to meet and play games in public and private rooms. 

SEO and marketing in virtual reality: Staying on top of trends 

“As technology is evolving so rapidly, it is important that companies incorporate new technologies into their business to help keep up with the times,” said Cas Paton, MD of Onbuy.com

There are many indicators pointing to the future of shopping going fully online. As the audience gets younger, the urge to avoid stores is greater.

Based on an OnBuy.com survey, 53% of those between the ages of 25-34 would rather shop online than go into a physical store. One of the reasons for this is to avoid talking with the staff while inside the shop. In addition, 61% of millennials claim to find it more efficient to speak with a retailer via text or online chat.

There has been a huge shift into e-commerce, as online stores become the showrooms for customers to try out a product, and the physical store acts as an experience center, rather than just a place to buy a product.

Generation Z (Gen Z) refers to the group of people who were born in the late 1990s into the early 2000s. Gen Z is a unique, new breed of consumers. Growing up in a world full of technology has affected the way that young people view their shopping experience. It is assumed that this generation will have a huge impact on the way people shop in the future. 

According to studies, Gen Z has no loyalty to brands and wants to consistently change their style and appearance to keep up with current trends. This can make it difficult for brands to earn their trust; however, it does leave room for other opportunities.

Instagram has taken advantage of the fast-paced shopping among the youth, with one of their latest features including the linking of brand’s sites directly in a posted picture. 

The Coronavirus pandemic has also had a huge impact on the shopping industry. When the world was in lockdown, it was impossible to go into physical stores to purchase goods.

However, this created a massive increase in online shopping. In fact, Amazon’s revenue soared with a 40% increase during the COVID lockdown. 

Considering all the above factors, it is clear that the ways of physical shopping are a thing of the past.

Consumers now seek quicker, more efficient ways to buy their products. With the use of advanced technology, people of all ages can buy whatever they want at the touch of their fingertips. 

What’s next: Virtual environment optimization (VEO)?

Virtual and augmented reality have already begun making a huge impact in a variety of fields. Why shouldn’t we assume the next area of domination would be in shopping and e-commerce?

If it’s an immersive, online experience that shoppers want, then it seems like VR and AR are the answer for the future.

Current examples of virtual and augmented reality used in marketing include Nike’s VR world experience to try on clothing and shoes, and IKEA’s “The Place” app which allows shoppers to use AR to place furniture in their homes. 

Imagine buying a new outfit from your favorite store, or shopping for your weekly groceries from the comfort of your home. While cell phone apps can already assist in buying products online, the opportunity that VR has to offer for online shopping can exceed any current shopping experience we currently see today. 

There is clearly no sign of technology slowing down, and it is the responsibility of marketers to stay on top of the future of VR commerce.

Search engine optimization (SEO) has been a huge part of marking and commerce in the last few years, but the future of virtual reality commerce could bring a new term into existence: virtual environment optimization (VEO). 

Mindy Weinstein, founder and CEO of Market Mindshift, believes virtual reality is here to stay, and as SEO, we need to adapt and be prepared to market within this new environment:

“The metaverse’s growth is inevitable and it is something that we should start taking into account now,” Weinstein said. “For instance, given that the metaverse is a visual environment, we should ensure that optimized images are included in our SEO content strategies. Also, the metaverse is already set up for audio, so it is not a big leap of imagination that some type of voice search option will be developed. Therefore, I believe that as the metaverse evolves, voice search needs to be top of mind for digital marketers.”

More to come

Tune in to our next article to find out about marketing in virtual reality and optimizing for the future of virtual reality and augmented reality.

The post Virtual environment optimization (VEO): The next evolution of SEO? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Press Release: Bounteous Wins Alongside Shake Shack at 2022 Webby Awards

Posted by on May 10, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Press Release: Bounteous Wins Alongside Shake Shack at 2022 Webby Awards

Bounteous announces that alongside Shake Shack, it has been named the Best Food & Drink App in the 26th Annual Webby Awards Internet Celebration.

How a self-audit SEM checklist can protect your work from external audits  

Posted by on May 10, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How a self-audit SEM checklist can protect your work from external audits  

How a self-audit SEM checklist can protect your work from external audits  

Search audits have the power to either help or ruin people’s work (and sometimes their career) at the same time.

And honestly? That’s a good thing.

SEM audits are powerful. External and internal audits are needed for the direct and indirect value they bring to your operation.

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Audit types

First, let’s talk, non-extensively, about the most common types of audits:

New biz pitch audit: These are straightforward – the goal is to find (usually surface-level) holes in the current efforts. Expect to do a lot of remote searches and ghosting your IP. You’ll likely use third-party tools like SimilarWeb, Semrush, Adthena and SpyFu to estimate competitor spending and determine their approach. No doubt about it, these aren’t fun. But the payoff could be literal dollars of new business.The “under the hood” audit: This is done when you’re pitching new business and the brand is already over their current agency. The business gives you some degree of keys to the castle with access to Google Analytics and their Google and Microsoft ads accounts. These are fun. There will be few, if any, unanswered questions. It’s also easier to win business and a great way to kick an operation in the gut when they are already down.“The consultant” audit: Huge pain, where the brand has brought in a “consultant” who is all-knowing, and questions the most minute things, forcing you to question your best practices and decide if truly is best in class.Self-audit: This is a noble and shockingly helpful self-check scenario. This is you doing a gut check of your own work on a semi-regular basis (monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.) It also helps you find out when the engines changed something via a glitch or just forgot to tell you, and you can go back to them self-righteously and demand your money back.The “invited third-party” audit: Honestly, these are my favorites. Anyone working on an account long enough gets “account fatigue” and cannot see the forest behind the trees. Here you bring in a trust third-party (outside operation or someone in-house who doesn’t work on the business) to eyeball the business. Less pressure, more trust, less “throwing of hands.” This becomes educational for all more than anything else.

No matter the type of audit, the end goal is the same: to find the brand a way to make more profit, directly or indirectly – whether through incremental revenue generation or cost-savings operations.

Doing a great audit

How do you do a great search account audit? “Great” is a relative term in search audits.

It really comes down to what level of access you have. That will decide your next steps for the audit.

But it always starts with a handy QA checklist consisting of settings that need to be reviewed – from simple things like GTM on the site, GA on the site, and whether geotargeting is in place, to more advanced scenarios, such as: Are Bing syndicated search partners on, is their unique ads in rotation for RLSA audience and are ads on/off during low sales periods of the day.

This QA checklist will have hundreds of checkpoints to review. It is designed to help you successfully launch a new campaign. But an audit is basically a QA checklist in reverse.

What makes audits so powerful?

Well, it is easier to explain findings than explain their potential. All of these findings are from real audits:

Scenario 1: A credit reporting brand refused to allow the team to bid on the term “free credit report.” An audit found multiple keywords mapping to that term within an SQR, all with higher CPCs. They were accounting for 73% of those keywords traffic. Each keyword had a Quality Score of 3. If the brand actively bid on the term “free credit report,” with appropriate ad copy, the QS would come in closer to 5. Estimated cost savings by making this change to the client was $573,000 per fiscal quarter.Scenario 2: A car wash brand was trying to figure out how to save funds while driving more visits to their locations. It was documented that the average target consumer would drive a max of five miles for a car wash in their markets and would research the car wash only an hour before going. It was discovered that geo-targeting had a 10-mile radius for advertising, ads ran 24/7 and no local search campaigns were live. Roughly 30% of the ad budget was being spent on consumers too far away and/or unlikely to come given the time of day. Adjustments to both geography and daypart were made to reallocate funds to local campaigns.Scenario 3: Sports nutrition CPG was informed by their agency they were getting stellar performance on YouTube front-end metrics, and they were. However, the data was only surface level. An audit of content triggering ads was done. Keep in mind, sports nutrition means scantily clad individuals, sweating, drinking protein shakes and pre-workout powder. The content audit noted that the agency failed to put negative parameters for brand safety in place. 40% of spend for a year was spent on videos related to Cocomelon, BabyBus and Super Simple Songs. Ultimately, the brand took legal action against the agency running YouTube based on the audit. Seeking damages for the amount spent inappropriately.

Scenario 4: A QSR brand was in review for a new agency and gave all operations competing in the RFP a look “under the hood.” To the surprise of all the operations, it was observed that the brand was not using brand keywords while having rather weak SEO. In addition, 10% of budget spend was used during breakfast hours, which accounts for less than 3% of total revenue, while actively losing out on impression share due to budget. This finding (after we won the business) led to bidding on brand terms (and the good old “SEM+SEO: 1+1=3” theory), generating a 10% lift in SEM+SEO revenue. In addition, ceasing SEM during breakfast hours allowed for a reallocation of budget to later in the day during peak periods and reduced impression share loss due to budget.

Scenario 5: This was a well-timed internal review, and honestly, it still sends a cold shiver down my spine. About 10 years ago, we had to lay off an employee, and he was incredibly displeased. On his way out, he had created automated rules to raise manual bids by 100% 3x a day, every day, and to raise budget caps 1,000% once a week. The cherry on top was that he had created a rule to automatically reactivate campaigns if they were paused every two hours. An audit of scheduled activity and rules revealed all of this and was performed the day after his departure. If you’re wondering, the answer is yes, he lost his severance. We had to provide a legal deposition, and an unnamed search engine was notified by various legal teams to give activity over based on IP address.Scenario 6: Honestly, this was the weirdest audit of my career. In 2011, my team was understaffed, and we were running a well-known credit card brand business. This brand promoted a self-created holiday to encourage holiday shopping at local stores rather than online. It was decided to run an online video campaign with the brand. The targeting was pretty wide open. We just had a list of negative keywords. We asked the video platform to run it for us, and they obliged. It was a very short run, a total of five days. We audited the oddly terrible performance after the run to figure out why the performance was so bad. The well-known video platform had used our negative keyword list (a list littered with a wide variety of terms showcasing the worst of human depravity) as the target list. This audit resulted in a reimbursement of $500,000 of media spend and 25% on top of it for pain and suffering.

I share all these scenarios not to frighten, only to inform.

Audits happen. Protect your work.

In the past five years, I’ve gone through four audits on my work. Why? Because a consultancy told the brand it was needed.

It’s nerve-racking and anxiety-provoking, in part because every operation has a different point of view on the proper way to deal with work.

However, my team regularly does internal audits, starting with a simplistic QA document. So we were able to retain our work because “our house was in order.”

A QA document does not take much to create. It just requires you to make an excel spreadsheet, with every setting in a UI, and an hour of your time to review it regularly.

An audit, especially done by an uninvited outsider, is never a welcomed experience. But if you regularly audit yourself and/or your team’s work, it won’t be a problem for you when an outsider does it.

Doing this will give you the most power possible within the search marketing world.

The post How a self-audit SEM checklist can protect your work from external audits   appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Google adds new valid page metadata help document

Posted by on May 10, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Google adds new valid page metadata help document

Google has added a new help document named valid page metadata that talks about how Google can process invalid or inconsistent HTML with the issues around invalid markup. Google also updated its help document on title links with a new section on “no clear main headline” in the troubleshooting section.

Valid page metadata help document

The new “use valid page metadata” help document can be found here, and it reads “using valid page metadata ensures that Google can process the HTML markup of your pages.” “Google tries to understand HTML even when it is invalid or inconsistent with the HTML standard, but errors in the markup can cause problems with your website in Google Search,” the document added. For example, if you use an invalid element in the head, Google ignores any elements that appear after the invalid element.

This is more of an issue for schema or structured data but can potentially also impact other areas in which Google may not understand an element in your HTML.

Google said you should only place valid metadata inside the <head>. Valid metadata includes the following HTML elements:

titlemetalinkscriptstylebasenoscripttemplate

Google added not to use invalid elements in the head:

The following elements are invalid when used in the <head>, and therefore aren’t supported by Google Search when placed in the <head>:

iframeimgAny other HTML element

Updated title link help document trouble shooting item

Google also updated its title link help document, which was originally published in October 2021. Google first renamed the sub-head from “Avoid common issues with title elements” to “Troubleshooting common issues.”

Google also added a new section named “no clear main headline” that reads:

When there’s more than one large, prominent headline, and it isn’t clear which text is the main headline for the page. For example, a page has two or more headlines that use the same styling or heading elements. If Google Search detects that there are multiple large, prominent headlines, it may use the first headline as the text for the title link. Consider ensuring that your main headline is distinctive from other text on a page and stands out as being the most prominent on the page (for example, using a larger font, putting the headline in the first visible h1 element on the page, etc).

Why we care

SEOs, in general, should be up-to-date on the Google Search developer help documentation. Many of you have already read through these documents once or twice. Learning about new documents being posted and changes to existing documents can save you time on understanding what has changed or how Google sees SEO and Google Search.

These two changes may help you communicate to your stakeholders how to build better pages that work better for Google Search.

The post Google adds new valid page metadata help document appeared first on Search Engine Land.

How to get better leads and conversions with Google’s AI

Posted by on May 10, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to get better leads and conversions with Google’s AI

How to get better leads and conversions with Google’s AI

If you’re looking for ways to modernize your PPC optimization, you’ve probably come across value-based bidding (VBB). This technique revolves around teaching AI systems at Google and Microsoft what types of conversions you value most. Together with automated bidding and ad formats like responsive search ads (RSAs), the ad platforms can then prioritize getting you more of the best conversions and significantly improve the results from your ad budget.

VBB can make successful advertisers better, and it can even be a solution for advertisers who’ve tried and failed at PPC because they were unhappy with the quality of the conversions when leads were low quality or buyers made too many returns.

In this article, you will learn how to deploy VBB for three different types of advertisers: pure-play e-commerce, hybrid retail and lead gen.

The principle behind VBB

The idea of value-based bidding is that automated bids should be based on the value the resulting clicks and conversions add to your business. That’s not so different from the idea of bid management in general. But rather than achieving this goal through the manipulation of CPCs or targets like tROAS or tCPA, it’s achieved by teaching the machine the true value of conversions. 

The reason VBB is so important in PPC in 2022 is that automation is now the standard way new campaigns operate and when you give automation bad or incomplete goals, you risk creating a vicious cycle that leads to poor results in those campaigns. 

One problematic scenario is when advertisers give the ad engines an incomplete picture of what their goals are. Is the conversion they’re reporting to Google truly the conversion the CFO of the company cares about, or is it just some intermediate goal that happened to be easier to set up?

It’s similar to a problem you may face with people. When you hire someone for your PPC team, you can only expect them to drive great results if you tell them what results you’re after. If you tell your new teammate to get as many leads on the landing page as possible, don’t be surprised if those leads aren’t all of the most reputable origins.

If, on the other hand, you tell your coworker that the leads on the landing page will go to the sales team and they expect those leads to be well qualified, they will likely change how they go about generating leads and the quality will go up. If you tell them they will be judged not just on the volume of leads but also how many turn into paying customers, results are likely to get even better.

And so it goes with machine learning too. The machine will only do a great job if you teach it what you’re really after!

So let’s look at how you can teach the machines what a conversion really is and which type of conversions are the kind you’d like to get more of.

Optimizing PPC with better conversion data

There are two levels of sophistication when it comes to teaching the machine about the value of your conversions. Let’s start with the more sophisticated and precise method first. For every click or order, we will teach the machine what happened in the weeks after the original conversion event.

For lead gen advertisers:

The most sophisticated method of teaching the ad engines what you value relies on offline conversion imports (OCI), a method that depends on capturing the gclid or msclkid, passing it through your CRM and then feeding it back to the ad engines within 90 days as the value of the ‘conversion’ becomes more clear. 

Recently Google introduced Enhanced Conversions for Leads, a simpler method with many of the same benefits but without the need for storing the click id in your own system.

For retailers:

Ecommerce advertisers don’t need to grab the engine’s click ID but can instead send their own unique order ID with the conversion. As the true value of the sale becomes clear, advertisers can restate values to the ad engine within 55 days. Look up conversion value adjustments to learn how this works.

If you haven’t implemented one of the three methods above, it’s probably not because you weren’t aware of them, but rather because there is a technical limitation within your team that’s made it hard to implement. So let’s look at a new, simpler alternative to optimizing PPC with your conversion data.

It’s called Conversion Value Rules and lets you tell Google more about how to value different conversions based on a common attribute, like location, device or audience. While not as precise as the other methods, it’s a much easier way to teach the machine so it can start to prioritize the types of conversions that matter more to you.

Questions to help determine the true value of conversions

With Conversion Value Rules, advertisers create rules to adjust conversion values based on attributes like location, device, and audience.

When setting Conversion Value Rules, advertisers should focus on elements of a conversion that Google may not be able to observe like lifetime value, average deal size, lead-to-sale conversion rate, returns, etc. Google already knows about conversion rate differences between different locations, but what they may not know is what happens to conversions from different locations after they start to engage with your business.

Let’s look at some example questions to guide yourself to an initial set of Conversion Value Rules.

Conversion Value rule questions for lead gen advertisers:

If you generate leads for HVAC installers, do prospects in certain zip codes have bigger houses and spend more on a typical installation?If you generate leads for education, do prospects in cities that are closer to campus tend to stay in the program longer?If you generate leads for plastic surgery, do prospects who read your article about rhinoplasty tend to become repeat customers and have higher lifetime value?

Conversion Value rule questions for pure-play e-commerce advertisers:

Do purchases made in a hurry on mobile devices lead to more items being returned for refunds?Do purchases from people who read your blog with tips for runners tend to be more frequent repeat buyers of running shoes from your brand?Do purchases from those who engage with your social media platforms tend to lead to a bigger brand impact when they share their own images of their purchase with their friends?

Additional Conversion Value Rule questions for hybrid retailers:

Hybrid retailers can ask the same questions as pure-play e-commerce retailers but refine their Conversion Value Rules further with additional questions like these.

Are customers in California worth more because it’s the only state with physical stores?Are customers who shared their email address when they shopped in-store worth more because they make fewer returns?

Now that you have an idea of what types of questions to ask to get an idea of conversion signals Google may not be able to detect on its own, it’s time to create rules for your most important traffic segments.

Which segments to score for Conversion Value Rules

The sample questions above can get you thinking about Conversion Value Rules to create, but you may quickly get stuck on deciding for which locations or audiences to answer these questions. That’s where a good PPC management tool like Optmyzr can help. 

Optmyzr’s new tool for Optimizing Conversion Value Rules starts by asking advertisers to rank the typical value for each of the highest volume locations and other segments detected for a site.

The tool also helps solve the challenge of deciding a good value for each rule. It helps with a question like: if a customer from California is worth more than average, exactly how much more valuable are they? The good news is that VBB will work even if your answers are not precise. Just creating a Conversion Value Rule that says a conversion from California is a bit more valuable than typical will help steer the engine’s AI automations in the right direction. It’s like giving it a nudge that says if all else were equal, it should try to get more conversions from California.

To make this scoring process easier, Optmyzr asks advertisers to rank every segment on a scale of 1 to 5. It can be a bit jarring as a data-driven marketer to be asked for a gut-based judgment call, but like Google’s mantra of “don’t let perfect get in the way of good enough,” the beauty is that this type of optimization works well as an iterative process rather than a quest for instant perfection. 

Rate which attributes correspond to better or worse than average conversions to help build Conversion Value Rules.
Screenshot from Optmyzr.com.

After ranking around 30 segments, the tool will have enough data to create an initial batch of Conversion Value Rules which will teach Google’s AI how to get better conversions for your company.

Determining the right Conversion Value Rules

After you’ve thought about the relative value of different conversions for a business, the next step is to translate those insights into rules. Remember Conversion Value Rules can be for a single attribute, like just location, or for combinations of segments, like location + audience, or location + device.

These combinations can be complex to figure out and cumbersome to maintain but Optmyzr’s tools can help with this too. Using the principle of the wisdom of the crowds, it uses scores from you and your team to come up with a sensible set of Conversion Value Rules. For example, an advertiser who values conversions from California a lot and who also sees more value from mobile conversions may see a value adjustment of +20% for that combination.

By setting Conversion Value Rules like this in Google, Smart Bidding strategies like Maximize Conversion Value with an optional tROAS can go to work to find more of the highest quality conversions.

Conclusion

In modern PPC, where bids, ads, and so much more are automated, advertisers can still get an edge over their competitors. This requires taking true-and-tried principles like solid bid management and knowing the new ways to optimize these levers. Value-based bidding is the modern way to improve bidding. And thanks to innovations from Google and Optmyzr that make optimizing Conversion Value Rules easier than ever, better-performing campaigns are now well within any advertiser’s reach. If you’re interested, you can try Optmyzr free for two weeks.

The post How to get better leads and conversions with Google’s AI appeared first on Search Engine Land.