Leveraging Breaking News: The Journey, Episode 18

Originally published on: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/leveraging-breaking-news-the-journey-episode-18/

The Journey, a Social Media Examiner production, is an episodic video documentary that shows you what really happens inside a growing business. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qk9lJq6MXA Watch The Journey: Episode 18 Episode 18 of The Journey follows Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, as he continues to pursue what many will see as an impossible goal: to […]

This post Leveraging Breaking News: The Journey, Episode 18 first appeared on .
– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

AdWords Event Tracking Made Easy: How to Track Custom Conversions

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/WordStreamBlog/~3/u91HE3aB-kw/adwords-event-tracking

Custom event tracking is an amazing way to quantify all those valuable actions taken on your website that regular old conversion tracking can’t capture.

In most instances, tracking form fills on your website as conversions is as simple as using the URL from a “Thank You” page and setting up a goal in Google Analytics or AdWords that says “hey, this was a valuable action.”

In some cases, though, a valuable action—something you might want to track as a conversion—occurs on a single page; no “Thank You” page means no URL change, and that makes conversion tracking tricky.

adwords custom conversion


This is where custom event tracking comes into play. It allows you to measure the results of some on page action (like, say, a form fill in a light box or a product added to a shopping cart) by wrapping that action in code; upon completion, a conversion is recorded without bringing your prospect to a new page.

It’s super versatile and, in some cases, necessary for account success.

In this post I’m going to walk you through the complete process of setting up custom event tracking for your AdWords account, from establishing and importing Google Analytics goals to creating your custom event code and, finally, implementing it on your site.

Custom Event Tracking: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?

Event tracking is a way to record certain user interactions on your website. Depending on your business, some of these actions could be worth optimizing for in AdWords. Some examples of events that can be tracked are:

Button clicks (the most common, and the once we will be discussing today) Downloads Log-ins Adding an item to a shopping cart Social sharing

Setting up a custom event to track conversions is not as easy as setting up a Goal using a destination URL (the way most lead gen conversions are recorded) but it isn’t as scary as it sounds.

If you use a lightbox or any other type of dynamic on-page pop-up as the host for a form fill, you’ve certainly asked yourself how to track form fills that are not pushed through to a “Thank You” page. Here is an example of a lightbox form fill pop-up that does not push through to a “Thank You” Page when filled out:

example of a light box form fill with no landing page

Screenshot courtesy of EveryUSB

Now, some would argue that they do not have a need to create a goal on form fills because they can track leads in their CRM.

While it is important to pull this data into your CRM to collect leads, I would argue that it is equally (maybe even more) important to be able to track these leads as conversions in your Analytics & AdWords accounts. This is what will allow you to make those essential data backed decisions in your AdWords account. So basically I’m saying…

Please don’t not implement custom events.

If you’re capturing value (whether that’s new leads or purchases) without the use of “Thank You” pages, custom events are the only way to record vital data that represents performance and, as a result, the success of your business. Once you’ve set up a custom event goal in Analytics and added its code to your site (more on that in a minute), you will be able to track this information in AdWords. This provides direction as to which areas of your account are successful already and which ones are falling short. Since you’re spending money on advertising, this is, you know, pretty important.

With that…

Building and Implementing Your Custom Event Tracking Code

There are a few options when it comes to creating custom event tracking templates but Raven Tools is my favorite (and it’s free $$). Head on over to their free GA Event Tracking Code page to get started.

Don’t be intimidated by the custom form fields: you could literally type in anything you wanted to and it would work. I would recommend inputting text that can help you identify the specific goal you’re creating. This will help avoid any confusion in the future if you happen to build out multiple events.

event tracking code builder for custom events

Only the first two fields, “General Category” and “General Action,” are required for you to be able to move on to the next step.

In my example (above) I used “Form Fill” as the General Category because…you guessed it… I’m tracking a form fill as the conversion. Feel free to use anything you think would help identify the goal. In the past I have used; “Submit,” “Lead Capture,” “Form Submission,” Etc.

In the “General Action” field, I used “Click” because this is the action being taken to trigger the conversion.

The 3rd section, “General Label,” is optional and not needed to move on to the next step. It is helpful however if you have multiple landing pages and you want to track individual goals in Google Analytics  for each landing page. It can also be helpful if you offer more than one service/product and want to segment goals out accordingly. In my example I just wrote “Landing Page XYZ.” Try using something that will help you identify the landing page where the goal is taking place.

identify landing page-free events to create custom conversion tracking for

The “General Value” field is one that I rarely use but can come in handy in certain situations (like, say, Ecommerce). For this example, we will be leaving this blank because each form fill (event action) will be worth the same value to us.

The final field is a drop down that will give you the option to count the click as an interaction or to make the event a “non-interaction.” I always count my event clicks as interactions because, well, what’s the point otherwise?

When all the required fields are completed (or at least the first 2) you will see a code generate directly underneath where you were just inputting your text. It’ll look something like this:

custom conversion code for button instead of lp

As you can see, your fields have been dynamically added into the snippet of code that will be used on your website.

After this code is generated it needs to be sent off to your developer or whoever oversees the changes to the backend of your website. If you are the implementer of new code, leave this tab open and hang tight.

The code needs to be built into the actual submit button in the form that you are tracking (see the red box below).

adwords custom event tracking example of button for code

Once implemented, this will allow you to track every time someone clicks that submit button as a conversion in AdWords. Well, as soon as you turn that new, actionable button into a goal in GA, that is.

Creating a Custom Event in Google Analytics

The hard part is over! We built out the code and passed it on to your developer. Smooth sailing the rest of the way.

Head on over to your Analytics account and click on the “Admin” tab in the bottom left-hand corner.

google analytics custom event tracking admin tab

Go all the way over to the right-hand side of the page and look for a flag symbol with the word “Goals” next to it.

google analytics custom event tracking goals tab

Once in here click on “+ New Goal.” In the next step we want to ignore all of the fancy pre-set templates that are offered to us and we want to go down and select the “Custom” option and click continue.

cutom conversion creation in google analytics

Go ahead and name your goal and then go down and select the “Event” option.

goal description in google analytics for conversion action

In the next step we are going to have to refer to the Raven Tools window that I told you to keep open. You didn’t close it, did you? (If you did, no matter: just make sure you know the values you entered into the form fill verbatim).

Go ahead and copy the fields that you original filled out in the Raven Tools builder and paste them into the Google Analytics Goal you’re creating so it looks like this:

custom conversion parameters google analytics

Note that the text you are entering in Google Analytics must be identical to the text that you or your developer added to your CTA button. This is VERY Important. This is the only way the event will trigger.

Importing Your Custom Google Analytics Goals into AdWords

First, you’ll need to make sure that your Analytics and AdWords accounts are linked.

Once linked, open up your AdWords account, click “Tools”, and then “Conversions” from the drop-down menu.

google adwords new conversion creation tab

Once you’ve clicked the “Conversions” button you will be taken to a section that shows all your conversion actions currently in the account. On the left-hand side of this page you will want to click on “Google Analytics” to move on to the next step.

adwords google analytics integration

You should see any goals that you have just created as well as any other goals in your Analytics account that you have not imported. Select the ones you would like to track inside of your AdWords account and click “Import”.

adwords custom conversion import from google analytics

Annnnd that’s it: You just successfully imported your custom event conversion goal from Analytics in AdWords! Go to your website and run a test conversion to see if it triggers inside of Google Analytics and AdWords, respectively (note that the sync can take up to 24 hours: be patient before you start troubleshooting).

Final Thoughts

Between regular URL-based conversions and custom events, you should now be able to track most of the valuable actions being taken on your site.

The more data you have in your AdWords account the easier it will be for you to optimize and reduce wasted spend; custom event tracking is a scary looking—but relatively simple—way to give yourself more ammo for account optimization. And who doesn’t need that?

Let’s recap. Today you have…

Built the tracking code for a custom event Implemented it on the button for your conversion event (or asked your developer to do it for you) Created a corresponding conversion goal in Google Analytics Imported it into AdWords so that you can start tracking leads

And now, you’re ready to start optimizing for more—and more complex—conversion actions. Good luck!

About the Author

Griffin is an award winning Senior Paid Search Strategist on the Managed Services team at WordStream. He has been with the company for over 3 years and loves troubleshooting account issues with his teammates. When he is not at work he is either bonding with his 2 doggos Tyson & Mookie, playing video games, or taking on his next ten minute hobby. Follow him on Twitter @GriffinNauss.

How to Deal with Fake Negative Reviews on Google

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/seomoz/~3/vl_Uc5BN_rw/fake-negative-reviews-on-google

Posted by JoyHawkins

Fake reviews are a growing problem for those of us that own small businesses. In the online world, it’s extremely easy to create a new account and leave either a positive or negative review for any business — regardless of whether you’ve ever tried to hire them.

Google has tons of policies for users that leave reviews. But in my experience they’re terrible at automatically catching violations of these policies. At my agency, my team spends time each month carefully monitoring reviews for our clients and their competitors. The good news is that if you’re diligent at tracking them and can make a good enough case for why the reviews are against the guidelines, you can get them removed by contacting Google on Twitter, Facebook, or reporting via the forum.

Recently, my company got hit with three negative reviews, all left in the span of 5 minutes:

Two of the three reviews were ratings without reviews. These are the hardest to get rid of because Google will normally tell you that they don’t violate the guidelines — since there’s no text on them. I instantly knew they weren’t customers because I’m really selective about who I work with and keep my client base small intentionally. I would know if someone that was paying me was unhappy.

The challenge with negative reviews on Google

The challenge is that Google doesn’t know who your customers are, and they won’t accept “this wasn’t a customer” as an acceptable reason to remove a review, since they allow people to use anonymous usernames. In most cases, it’s extremely difficult to prove the identity of someone online.

The other challenge is that a person doesn’t have to be a customer to be eligible to leave a review. They have to have a “customer experience,” which could be anything from trying to call you and getting your voicemail to dropping by your office and just browsing around.

How to respond

When you work hard to build a good, ethical business, it’s always infuriating when a random person has the power to destroy what took you years to build. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the least bit upset when these reviews came in. Thankfully, I was able to follow the advice I’ve given many people in the last decade, which is to calm down and think about what your future prospects will see when they come across review and the way you respond to it.

Solution: Share your dilemma

I decided to post on Twitter and Facebook about my lovely three negative reviews, and the response I got was overwhelming. People had really great and amusing things to say about my dilemma.

Dear: Whoever spammed my listing this morning with fake reviews. You probably should have gone with more believable usernames. #StopCrapOnTheMap pic.twitter.com/9Nat163d93

— Joy Hawkins (@JoyanneHawkins) January 16, 2018

Whoever was behind these three reviews was seeking to harm my business. The irony is that they actually helped me, because I ended up getting three new positive reviews as a result of sharing my experience with people that I knew would rally behind me.

For most businesses, your evangelists might not be on Twitter, but you could post about it on your personal Facebook profile. Any friends that have used your service or patronized your business would likely respond in the same manner. It’s important to note that I never asked anyone to review me when posting this — it was simply the natural response from people that were a fan of my company and what we stand for. If you’re a great company, you’ll have these types of customers and they should be the people you want to share this experience with!

But what about getting the negative reviews removed?

In this case, I was able to get the three reviews removed. However, there have also been several cases where I’ve seen Google refuse to remove them for others. My plan B was to post a response to the reviews offering these “customers” a 100% refund. After all, 100% of zero is still zero — I had nothing to lose. This would also ensure that future prospects see that I’m willing to address people that have a negative experience, since even the best businesses in the world aren’t perfect. As much as I love my 5-star rating average, studies have shown that 4.2–4.5 is actually the ideal average star rating for purchase probability.

Have you had an experience with fake negative reviews on Google? If so, I’d love to hear about it, so please leave a comment.

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The Google Ranking Factor You Can Influence in an Afternoon [Case Study]

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/seomoz/~3/zmiPvIGD0HU/influence-googles-ranking-factor

Posted by sanfran

What does Google consider “quality content”? And how do you capitalize on a seemingly subjective characteristic to improve your standing in search?

We’ve been trying to figure this out since the Hummingbird algorithm was dropped in our laps in 2013, prioritizing “context” over “keyword usage/frequency.” This meant that Google’s algorithm intended to understand the meaning behind the words on the page, rather than the page’s keywords and metadata alone.

This new sea change meant the algorithm was going to read in between the lines in order to deliver content that matched the true intent of someone searching for a keyword.

Write longer content? Not so fast!

Watching us SEOs respond to Google updates is hilarious. We’re like a floor full of day traders getting news on the latest cryptocurrency.

One of the most prominent theories that made the rounds was that longer content was the key to organic ranking. I’m sure you’ve read plenty of articles on this. We at Brafton, a content marketing agency, latched onto that one for a while as well. We even experienced some mixed success.

However, what we didn’t realize was that when we experienced success, it was because we accidentally stumbled on the true ranking factor.

Longer content alone was not the intent behind Hummingbird.

Content depth

Let’s take a hypothetical scenario.

If you were to search the keyword “search optimization techniques,” you would see a SERP that looks similar to the following:

Nothing too surprising about these results.

However, if you were to go through each of these 10 results and take note of the major topics they discussed, theoretically you would have a list of all the topics being discussed by all of the top ranking sites.


Position 1 topics discussed: A, C, D, E, F

Position 2 topics discussed: A, B, F

Position 3 topics discussed: C, D, F

Position 4 topics discussed: A, E, F

Once you finished this exercise, you would have a comprehensive list of every topic discussed (A–F), and you would start to see patterns of priority emerge.

In the example above, note “topic F” is discussed in all four pieces of content. One would consider this a cornerstone topic that should be prioritized.

If you were then to write a piece of content that covered each of the topics discussed by every competitor on page one, and emphasized the cornerstone topics appropriately, in theory, you would have the most comprehensive piece of content on that particular topic.

By producing the most comprehensive piece of content available, you would have the highest quality result that will best satisfy the searcher’s intent. More than that, you would have essentially created the ultimate resource center for everything a person would want to know about that topic.

How to identify topics to discuss in a piece of content

At this point, we’re only theoretical. The theory makes logical sense, but does it actually work? And how do we go about scientifically gathering information on topics to discuss in a piece of content?

Finding topics to cover:

Manually: As discussed previously, you can do it manually. This process is tedious and labor-intensive, but it can be done on a small scale. Using SEMrush: SEMrush features an SEO content template that will provide guidance on topic selection for a given keyword. Using MarketMuse: MarketMuse was originally built for the very purpose of content depth, with an algorithm that mimics Hummingbird. MM takes a largely unscientific process and makes it scientific. For the purpose of this case study, we used MarketMuse. The process

Watch the process in action

1. Identify content worth optimizing

We went through a massive list of keywords our blog ranked for. We filtered that list down to keywords that were not ranking number one in SERPs but had strong intent. You can also do this with core landing pages.

Here’s an example: We were ranking in the third position for the keyword “financial content marketing.” While this is a low-volume keyword, we were enthusiastic to own it due to the high commercial intent it comes with.

2. Evaluate your existing piece

Take a subjective look at your piece of content that is ranking for the keyword. Does it SEEM like a comprehensive piece? Could it benefit from updated examples? Could it benefit from better/updated inline embedded media? With a cursory look at our existing content, it was clear that the examples we used were old, as was the branding.

3. Identify topics

As mentioned earlier, you can do this in a few different ways. We used MarketMuse to identify the topics we were doing a good job of covering as well as our topic gaps, topics that competitors were discussing, but we were not. The results were as follows:

Topics we did a good job of covering:

Content marketing impact on branding Impact of using case studies Importance of infographics Business implications of a content marketing program Creating articles for your audience

Topics we did a poor job of covering:

Marketing to millennials How to market to existing clients Crafting a content marketing strategy Identifying and tracking goals 4. Rewrite the piece

Considering how out-of-date our examples were, and the number of topics we had neglected to discuss, we determined a full rewrite of the piece was warranted. Our writer, Mike O’Neill, was given the topic guidance, ensuring he had a firm understanding of everything that needed to be discussed in order to create a comprehensive article.

5. Update the content

To maintain our link equity, we kept the same URL and simply updated the old content with the new. Then we updated the publish date. The new article looks like this, with updated content depth, modern branding, and inline visuals.

6. Fetch as Google

Rather than wait for Google to reindex the content, I wanted to see the results immediately (and it is indeed immediate).

7. Check your results

Open an incognito window and see your updated position.

Promising results:

We have run more than a dozen experiments and have seen positive results across the board. As demonstrated in the video, these results are usually realized within 60 seconds of reindexing the updated content.

Keyword target

Old Ranking

New ranking

“Financial content marketing”



“What is a subdomain”



“Best company newsletters”



“Staffing marketing”



“Content marketing agency”



“Google local business cards”



“Company blog”



“SEO marketing tools”



Of those tests, here’s another example of this process in action for the keyword, “best company newsletters.”




From these results, we can assume that content depth and breadth of topic coverage matters — a lot. Google’s algorithm seems to have an understanding of the competitive topic landscape for a keyword. In our hypothetical example from before, it would appear the algorithm knows that topics A–F exist for a given keyword and uses that collection of topics as a benchmark for content depth across competitors.

We can also assume Google’s algorithm either a.) responds immediately to updated information, or b.) has a cached snapshot of the competitive content depth landscape for any given keyword. Either of these scenarios is very likely because of the speed at which updated content is re-ranked.

In conclusion, don’t arbitrarily write long content and call it “high quality.” Choose a keyword you want to rank for and create a comprehensive piece of content that fully supports that keyword. There is no guarantee you’ll be granted a top position — domain strength factors play a huge role in rankings — but you’ll certainly improve your odds, as we have seen.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

The Biggest Mistake Digital Marketers Ever Made: Claiming to Measure Everything

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/seomoz/~3/IY5gkVsxKIs/claiming-to-measure-everything

Posted by willcritchlow

Digital marketing is measurable.

It’s probably the single most common claim everyone hears about digital, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen conference speakers talk about it (heck, I’ve even done it myself).

I mean, look at those offline dinosaurs, the argument goes. They all know that half their spend is wasted — they just don’t know which half.

Maybe the joke’s on us digital marketers though, who garnered only 41% of global ad spend even in 2017 after years of strong growth.

Unfortunately, while we were geeking out about attribution models and cross-device tracking, we were accidentally triggering a common human cognitive bias that kept us anchored on small amounts, leaving buckets of money on the table and fundamentally reducing our impact and access to the C-suite.

And what’s worse is that we have convinced ourselves that it’s a critical part of what makes digital marketing great. The simplest way to see this is to realize that, for most of us, I very much doubt that if you removed all our measurement ability we’d reduce our digital marketing investment to nothing.

In truth, of course, we’re nowhere close to measuring all the benefits of most of the things we do. We certainly track the last clicks, and we’re not bad at tracking any clicks on the path to conversion on the same device, but we generally suck at capturing:

Anything that happens on a different device Brand awareness impacts that lead to much later improvements in conversion rate, average order value, or lifetime value Benefits of visibility or impressions that aren’t clicked Brand affinity generally The cognitive bias that leads us astray

All of this means that the returns we report on tend to be just the most direct returns. This should be fine — it’s just a floor on the true value (“this activity has generated at least this much value for the brand”) — but the “anchoring” cognitive bias means that it messes with our minds and our clients’ minds. Anchoring is the process whereby we fixate on the first number we hear and subsequently estimate unknowns closer to the anchoring number than we should. Famous experiments have shown that even showing people a totally random number can drag their subsequent estimates up or down.

So even if the true value of our activity was 10x the measured value, we’d be stuck on estimating the true value as very close to the single concrete, exact number we heard along the way.

This tends to result in the measured value being seen as a ceiling on the true value. Other biases like the availability heuristic (which results in us overstating the likelihood of things that are easy to remember) tend to mean that we tend to want to factor in obvious ways that the direct value measurement could be overstating things, and leave to one side all the unmeasured extra value.

The mistake became a really big one because fortunately/unfortunately, the measured return in digital has often been enough to justify at least a reasonable level of the activity. If it hadn’t been (think the vanishingly small number of people who see a billboard and immediately buy a car within the next week when they weren’t otherwise going to do so) we’d have been forced to talk more about the other benefits. But we weren’t. So we lazily talked about the measured value, and about the measurability as a benefit and a differentiator.

The threats of relying on exact measurement

Not only do we leave a whole load of credit (read: cash) on the table, but it also leads to threats to measurability being seen as existential threats to digital marketing activity as a whole. We know that there are growing threats to measuring accurately, including regulatory, technological, and user-behavior shifts:

GDPR and other privacy regulations are limiting what we are allowed to do (and, as platforms catch up, what we can do) Privacy features are being included in more products, added on by savvy consumers, or simply being set to be on by default more often, with even the biggest company in the world touting privacy as a core differentiator Users continue to increase the extent to which they research and buy across multiple devices Compared to early in Google’s rise, the lack of keyword-level analytics data and the rise of (not provided) means that we have far less visibility into the details than we used to when the narrative of measurability was being written

Now, imagine that the combination of these trends meant that you lost 100% of your analytics and data. Would it mean that your leads stopped? Would you immediately turn your website off? Stop marketing?

I suggest that the answer to all of that is “no.” There’s a ton of value to digital marketing beyond the ability to track specific interactions.

We’re obviously not going to see our measurable insights disappear to zero, but for all the reasons I outlined above, it’s worth thinking about all the ways that our activities add value, how that value manifests, and some ways of proving it exists even if you can’t measure it.

How should we talk about value?

There are two pieces to the brand value puzzle:

Figuring out the value of increasing brand awareness or affinity Understanding how our digital activities are changing said awareness or affinity

There’s obviously a lot of research into brand valuations generally, and while it’s outside the scope of this piece to think about total brand value, it’s worth noting that some methodologies place as much as 75% of the enterprise value of even some large companies in the value of their brands:

Image source

My colleague Tom Capper has written about a variety of ways to measure changes in brand awareness, which attacks a good chunk of the second challenge. But challenge #1 remains: how do we figure out what it’s worth to carry out some marketing activity that changes brand awareness or affinity?

In a recent post, I discussed different ways of building marketing models and one of the methodologies I described might be useful for this – namely so-called “top-down” modelling which I defined as being about percentages and trends (as opposed to raw numbers and units of production).

The top-down approach

I’ve come up with two possible ways of modelling brand value in a transactional sense:

1. The Sherlock approach“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
– Sherlock Holmes

The outline would be to take the total new revenue acquired in a period. Subtract from this any elements that can be attributed to specific acquisition channels; whatever remains must be brand. If this is in any way stable or predictable over multiple periods, you can use it as a baseline value from which to apply the methodologies outlined above for measuring changes in brand awareness and affinity.

2. Aggressive attribution

If you run normal first-touch attribution reports, the limitations of measurement (clearing cookies, multiple devices etc) mean that you will show first-touch revenue that seems somewhat implausible (e.g. email; email surely can’t be a first-touch source — how did they get on your email list in the first place?):

Click for a larger version

In this screenshot we see that although first-touch dramatically reduces the influence of direct, for instance, it still accounts for more than 15% of new revenue.

The aggressive attribution model takes total revenue and splits it between the acquisition channels (unbranded search, paid social, referral). A first pass on this would simply split it in the relative proportion to the size of each of those channels, effectively normalizing them, though you could build more sophisticated models.

Note that there is no way of perfectly identifying branded/unbranded organic search since (not provided) and so you’ll have to use a proxy like homepage search vs. non-homepage search.

But fundamentally, the argument here would be that any revenue coming from a “first touch” of:

Branded search Direct Organic social Email

…was actually acquired previously via one of the acquisition channels and so we attempt to attribute it to those channels.

Even this under-represents brand value

Both of those methodologies are pretty aggressive — but they might still under-represent brand value. Here are two additional mechanics where brand drives organic search volume in ways I haven’t figured out how to measure yet:

Trusting Amazon to rank

I like reading on the Kindle. If I hear of a book I’d like to read, I’ll often Google the name of the book on its own and trust that Amazon will rank first or second so I can get to the Kindle page to buy it. This is effectively a branded search for Amazon (and if it doesn’t rank, I’ll likely follow up with a [book name amazon] search or head on over to Amazon to search there directly).

But because all I’ve appeared to do is search [book name] on Google and then click through to Amazon, there is nothing to differentiate this from an unbranded search.

Spotting brands you trust in the SERPs

I imagine we all have anecdotal experience of doing this: you do a search and you spot a website you know and trust (or where you have an account) ranking somewhere other than #1 and click on it regardless of position.

One time that I can specifically recall noticing this tendency growing in myself was when I started doing tons more baby-related searches after my first child was born. Up until that point, I had effectively zero brand affinity with anyone in the space, but I quickly grew to rate the content put out by babycentre (babycenter in the US) and I found myself often clicking on their result in position 3 or 4 even when I hadn’t set out to look for them, e.g. in results like this one:

It was fascinating to me to observe this behavior in myself because I had no real interaction with babycentre outside of search, and yet, by consistently ranking well across tons of long-tail queries and providing consistently good content and user experience I came to know and trust them and click on them even when they were outranked. I find this to be a great example because it is entirely self-contained within organic search. They built a brand effect through organic search and reaped the reward in increased organic search.

I have essentially no ideas on how to measure either of these effects. If you have any bright ideas, do let me know in the comments.

Budgets will come under pressure

My belief is that total digital budgets will continue to grow (especially as TV continues to fragment), but I also believe that individual budgets are going to come under scrutiny and pressure making this kind of thinking increasingly important.

We know that there is going to be pressure on referral traffic from Facebook following the recent news feed announcements, but there is also pressure on trust in Google:

Before the recent news feed changes, slightly misleading stories had implied that Google had lost the top spot as the largest referrer of traffic (whereas in fact this was only briefly true in media) The growth of the mobile-first card view and richer and richer SERPs has led to declines in outbound CTR in some areas The increasingly black-box nature of Google’s algorithm and an increasing use of ML make the algorithm increasingly impenetrable and mean that we are having to do more testing on individual sites to understand what works

While I believe that the opportunity is large and still growing (see, for example, this slide showing Google growing as a referrer of traffic even as CTR has declined in some areas), it’s clear that the narrative is going to lead to more challenging conversations and budgets under increased scrutiny.

Can you justify your SEO investment?

What do you say when your CMO asks what you’re getting for your SEO investment?

What do you say when she asks whether the organic search opportunity is tapped out?

I’ll probably explore the answers to both these questions more in another post, but suffice it to say that I do a lot of thinking about these kinds of questions.

The first is why we have built our split-testing platform to make organic SEO investments measurable, quantifiable and accountable.

The second is why I think it’s super important to remember the big picture while the media is running around with their hair on fire. Media companies saw Facebook overtake Google as a traffic channel (and then are likely seeing that reverse right now), but most of the web has Google as the largest growing source of traffic and value.

The reality (from clickstream data) is that it’s really easy to forget how long the long-tail is and how sparse search features and ads are on the extreme long-tail:

Only 3–4% of all searches result in a click on an ad, for example. Google’s incredible (and still growing) business is based on a small subset of commercial searches Google’s share of all outbound referral traffic across the web is growing (and Facebook’s is shrinking as they increasingly wall off their garden)

The opportunity is for smart brands to capitalize on a growing opportunity while their competitors sink time and money into a social space that is increasingly all about Facebook, and increasingly pay-to-play.

What do you think? Are you having these hard conversations with leadership? How are you measuring your digital brand’s value?

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

MLSP Week-in-Review: February 12, 2018

Originally published on: https://blog.myleadsystempro.com/mlsp-review-2-12-2018

Creating a successful home business requires more than just the latest hot strategy. It requires a mindset that needs to be nurtured like a garden. Zig Ziglar said motivation is like showering, it’s not required but it’s recommended that you do it everyday. The same goes for your winning mindset. Every single weekday at MLSP, […]

The post MLSP Week-in-Review: February 12, 2018 appeared first on My Lead System PRO – MyLeadSystemPRO.

4 SEO Survival Tips for the Voice Search Revolution

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/WordStreamBlog/~3/E7p2S3mPaI0/voice-search-seo

Voice search isn’t a fad, and if you haven’t yet incorporated it into your 2018 SEO strategy, then you need to. Now.

optimizing for voice search seo

In 2017, there were 33 million voice search devices in circulation, with 40% of adults using them every day. In fact, Google’s voice search tool received 35 times more search queries in 2016 compared to when it launched in 2008.

Now with Siri, Google Assistant and Cortana, any smartphone user can physically ask their phone a question. This has also extended to the home, with the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Home cropping up in houses across the world.

ComScore has predicted that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be via voice; and 30% of searches will take place without a screen.

So, what does this mean for SEO? Here, we’ll take a look at four ways you can optimise your website to help you rank highly for voice searches.

1. Aim for Featured Snippets

voice search seo featured snippets

Google Home and Google Assistant currently read out featured snippets when they answer voice search queries, so it makes sense that you aim for the elusive “position zero”.

Whilst there is no definitive answer as to how you gain that top spot, plenty of research has been undertaken to figure out how. The below works pretty well as a set of guidelines, and is worth bearing in mind when writing your content:

Answer Specific Questions: Use Answer the Public to find common questions on your chosen subject, and use that as a basis to create your copy. Include the question as an H2, and answer it in the body text directly below. Answer Questions Concisely: You don’t want to use a load of jargon that people won’t understand. Google wants to feature the best answer, so make sure yours is clear and easily digestible. Answers in the form of lists have fared particularly well in featured snippets. Write Engaging and Interesting Copy: 99.58% of featured snippets come from a page that ranks in the top 10. It goes without saying you should already be ensuring your page is well-optimised: your content should be engaging, your meta data optimised, and your internal and external link building game strong.

Remember: voice search queries will be more conversational than written queries. Make sure this is reflected in your tone of voice, to help you climb the rankings.

2. Perfect Your Local SEO

39% of voice search users are looking for business information; so it’s never been a more important time to optimise your local SEO.

local seo for voice search

Ensure your Google My Business Page is up to date, with the correct address, contact details and opening hours listed.

After all, if a user is asking “where’s my nearest hairdresser”, you want to ensure you’re in the top position (provided of course, you’re actually a hairdresser!).

Similarly, if a user is asking what time your store shuts, you want to make sure the correct information is provided, otherwise they’ll be misinformed, and you could miss out on a sale.

Other ways to optimize for local searches include building your online reviews and using structured data markup (Schema).

3. Improve Your Site Speed

page speed for voice search seo

Voice search is almost exclusively used on mobile, and it goes without saying that your website should be mobile-optimised. If it’s not, then users will simply bounce back, which will harm your rankings. A page that takes five seconds to load is 90% more likely to suffer from bounce backs, compared to a page that loads in just one second.

Google found that bounce rates on mobile are 9.56% higher than on desktops. Mobile users – and especially those using voice search – are likely to be on-the-go, and won’t have time to hang about.

Not sure if your mobile website is up to scratch? Try out Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to see if it’s deemed acceptable.

From there, you can check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights, which will provide you with advice on how to make your mobile site faster.

4. Get Inside the Minds of Searchers

Google has mentioned that it’s looking at including voice search data in Search Console, with the idea being that these searches will be separated from keyboard queries, much like desktop and mobile search data is currently separated.

The issue with this – and why it hasn’t been implemented sooner – is because voice searches are naturally longer tail search queries, due to the conversational nature of speaking out loud. Therefore, the volume of each specific query is likely to be so low that Search Console automatically excludes them.

There hasn’t been a specific announcement or deadline set for this, but it’s certainly one to watch out for. Once launched, you’ll be able to see which voice search queries are driving traffic to your pages, enabling you to optimise your site and climb the rankings further.

voice search trends data


In 2018, you really can’t afford to discount the power of voice search. The market is set to be worth $601 million by 2019; and if you don’t start to optimise your website now, you’ll be missing out on a lot of traffic in the long term.

Looking for more advanced tips? Check out WordStream’s in-depth guide to optimizing for voice search.

About the author

Elle Pollicott is an Owned Media Executive at digital marketing agency Hallam Internet. She graduated from the University of Manchester with a BSc(Hons) in Management & Marketing of Fashion Textiles in July 2014. Elle has over three years’ experience in digital marketing, having worked in a range of industries including fashion, travel and finance.