SEO Articles

Google Search Console rolls out new design

Google Search Console rolls out new design

Google has rolled out a new look for Google Search Console aimed at improving accessibility and user experience. If you login to your Google Search Console account at you will see the new design.

What it looks like. Here is a screenshot of the new design:

Why a new design. Google said this design upgrade is aimed at its efforts to improve accessibility and user experience. Google wrote on Twitter “We’re starting a journey to refresh the look and feel of Search Console. Over the next few months you’ll see small changes in the product with a goal to improve accessibility and user experience in general. We hope you like it!”

Why we care. Search Console is a tool many SEOs use multiple times per day. The new design seems fresh and clean but the functionality, thus far, as far as I can tell, has not changed.

Play around with the new design – we hope you like the updated interface.

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20211122 SEL Brief

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November 22: The latest jobs in search marketing

SEO Specialist @ Sterling Sky Inc (CA remote)

Salary: $60-100k/yrRequirements include: Strong knowledge of onsite SEO techniques (as it pertains to small businesses); and,Technical SEO experience (website crawls and analysis, identifying indexing issues, implementing schemas, updating menus, improving site structure, etc).

Content Team Lead @ Animalz (US remote)

Salary: $71-100k/yrLead a team of content marketing managers, reporting to the general manager and working closely with the COO, editors and customer operations team.This role requires at least one year of management experience, at least two years of reporting experience and experience with on-page SEO.

Digital Marketing Manager @ Sysco (US remote)

Salary: $80-120k/yrDevelop digital campaign strategy, which incorporates customer- facing communications strategy, customer path/journey, and digital media mix. Leverage customer insights, CRM capabilities, and focus groups to inform strategy. Plan and execute all digital web, SEO/SEM, and display advertising campaigns.Utilize strong analytical ability to evaluate end-to-end customer experience across multiple channels and customer touch points, recommend and execute user experience improvements.

SEO Specialist @ All Star Directories (US remote)

Pay: $82-90k/yrManage the day-to-day production and performance of one or more websites in All Star Directories’ organic channel.Work allocation will be roughly broken down as follows: 33% SEO, 33% content production, 33% conversion rate optimization.

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7 Free Tools to Check Any Site’s Website Backlinks

A backlink checker is a valuable tool in your site’s SEO. Backlinks play a crucial part in your site’s authority with the search engines. The more high-quality links pointing to your website, the more are your chances of achieving higher rankings in the organic search results. With a backlink tracker, you can analyze your link […]

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Advertisers can adapt to supply chain issues without pausing campaigns

The holiday shopping season is typically a boon for online retailers, but this year, supply chain issues coupled with heightened consumer demand have put merchants, and the PPC professionals that work with them, in a difficult position. After all, if there’s no inventory to sell, advertising those products will only lead to wasted budget and disappointed customers.

While demand is likely to level off as we move past the holidays, supply chain issues may linger. For example, furniture retailer IKEA said it expects supply chain-related shortages to last until mid-2022. Without a clear end in sight, retailers may consider halting their paid campaigns or even suspending their partnerships with PPC agencies, which may also have experienced similar client churn at the outset of the pandemic as well.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to going dark with your paid campaigns that can not only help you weather the storm but also put your brand ahead of competitors that do pull the plug on their ads.

Shutting down campaigns may cost more than it saves

“I would challenge advertisers to think creatively about their customer’s journey and avoid going completely dark, especially during Q4,” Nancy-lee McLaughlin, senior director, search & enterprise services at Tinuiti said, “A strong Q4 helps set up for a successful Q1 when you have a full-funnel strategy in place.”

Halting your campaigns altogether might result in loss of market share or brand awareness. “This might be an excellent time to reallocate some spending toward more upper-funnel projects and away from performance-based programs that are more susceptible to present issues,” Christena Garduno, CEO at Media Culture told Search Engine Land.

There are also considerations regarding the machine learning that powers many campaigns: “Campaigns that go dark for extended periods of time (7+ days) may see a new learning period when ads are turned back on,” said Fred Vallaeys, CEO at Optmyzr and one of Search Engine Land’s 2021 Search Marketers of the Year. “If that is a concern, a better approach is to reduce budgets so ads continue to run at some level while prospects are directed to buy an alternative, join a waitlist or place an order that will be fulfilled at a future date,” he added.

Whether to shut down your ads depends on your visibility in the search results and your goals. Vallaeys provided the following criteria to help guide your decision:

An advertiser who dominated a SERP risks opening the door to competition if they simply turn off ads and cede the business to others. With the usual top player gone, competitors can move in and steal your business. Many advertisers have seen how hard it can be to unseat a competitor from the top spot, so advertisers who already own the top spot may prefer to not rock the boat and substitute another landing page or product rather than go dark.Advertisers who were not previously dominant may find it less important to keep ads running when products become unavailable. While their temporary absence reduces auction pressure and hence lowers the CPC for advertisers in higher positions, consumers won’t see as much of a difference because the choices offered by the top ads won’t change as much.

Regarding the second point, Vallaeys provided the following analogy: “If I went to the mall to buy a pair of pants, I might have started my visit at an anchor tenant like Macy’s. But, if I found Macy’s was closed, I’d probably try out one of the smaller specialty retailers and maybe find that Lululemon has really good men’s pants. On my next visit, even if Macy’s was back, I might still go to Lululemon. But, if Lululemon had been closed that first time, I wouldn’t have noticed the difference and simply made my purchase as intended from Macy’s.”

Avoiding the pause

There are a number of alternatives to pausing ad campaigns that can set you up to rebound faster when supply chains stabilize.

For one, focus on the upper funnel. “Now’s the time to highlight your brand value and focus on what sets you apart from the competition,” Shelby Gagnon, product marketing manager at Microsoft Advertising wrote. “Use search and native messaging to focus on brand values and stability so you don’t lose share of mind or customers. Keeping your brand front and center while others pull back works to your advantage in gaining a share of voice and wallet in the future,” she added.

You can also shift media to promote “tier 2” products that you may have in higher supply. When assessing whether to do so, McLaughlin suggests considering the following:

Is there a challenger ASIN/SKU that has stock and may become a tier 1 product in the future with some extra support? Is this product a replacement or enhancement for the tier 1 product [that you’re having trouble keeping in supply] and how does this impact strategy?Is this shift to a “tier 2” product going to drive a different ROAS and how does this impact the total media plan? 

You can also promote digital goods, like gift cards, or other virtual products.

Another option is to simply tweak your campaigns. “Instead of spreading your budgets too thin, tighten geo-targeting and bid strategies, or spend more in locations that may be less impacted by supply shortages,”  Gagnon recommended.

You can also schedule your ads to achieve greater efficiency: “Keep ads on part-time with the use of ad scheduling to focus budget on the most profitable hours,” Geetanjali Tyagi, COO at Optymzr, said.

“Removing back-ordered, low-inventory, and high sell-through products from feeds can help maximize investment,” Marion Gendron, senior manager at Merkle, recommended, “Promoting higher average order value/luxury products with a longer click-to-purchase timeline will increase ad effectiveness.”

Lastly, adjust your messaging. Expectations can make or break the customer experience, and framing the right expectations for your audience can help you increase their customer lifetime value. “Be transparent with your customer about shipping wait times, when consumers are used to getting items in two days or less, every hour over that is painful so get ahead of this communication when you can,” McLaughlin said.

“If supply constraints are severe enough where you need to throttle driving traffic to a purchase page, ensure you have strategies set up to retarget those customers when you are able to meet those demands,” she added.

Finally, if you must cut back, comparing sales performance by channel may reveal products that are doing well enough organically that you can shift budget to in-stock items that need more exposure to compete against other retailers.

Despite pandemic-era disruption, customers have shown that they’re still looking to spend and support our brands. Maintaining a paid media presence can help you show those customers that, despite these challenges, your brand still seeks to serve them, even if you don’t have the products they’re searching for exactly when they’re searching for them.

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Facebook’s topic exclusion controls test rolls out to more advertisers

Facebook will soon expand its test of topic exclusion controls for ads in the News Feed to a limited number of advertisers that run ads in English, the company announced Thursday. First announced as a test in January 2021, topic exclusion controls allow advertisers to exclude ad delivery to users who have engaged with any of the following topics: “News and Politics,” “Social Issues” and “Crime & Tragedy.”

Why we care. If these controls roll out more widely, advertisers might feel more confident about brand safety on Facebook. The platform has been at the center of numerous controversies over its handling of misinformation and hate speech and may be falling out of favor, particularly with teenage users, which are projected to decrease by 45% over the next two years.

Creating a more brand-safe environment may help Facebook maintain revenue from ads. But, if it’s not able to modernize itself and compete with newer platforms, like TikTok, advertisers may eventually move to whichever social media platforms their audiences migrate to.

Early testing has been promising, according to Facebook. In Facebook’s early topic exclusion controls tests, it found that advertisers that:

Excluded the News and Politics categories were able to avoid News and Political adjacency 94% of the time.Excluded the Tragedy and Conflict categories were able to avoid Tragedy and Conflict adjacency 99% of the time.Excluded the Debated Social Issues categories were able to avoid Debated Social Issues adjacency 95% of the time.

More granular News Feed controls for users. Users are able to dictate whether they’re included in the three topic exclusion categories from their ad preferences menu.

The company is also testing new controls that enable users to adjust their News Feed ranking preferences. The customizations would enable users to increase or reduce the amount of content they see from their friends, family, Groups and Pages.

Looking into the future. “We see this product as a bridge between what we can offer today and where we hope to go — content-based controls,” Facebook said in the announcement, “We will soon begin exploring and testing a new content-based suitability control that will aim to address concerns advertisers have of their ads appearing in Facebook and Instagram feeds next to certain topics based on their brand suitability preferences.”

By the end of the year, the company also plans to work with third-party brand safety partners to develop a solution to verify whether content adjacent to an ad in News Feed aligns with a brand’s suitability preferences.

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