Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Copy & paste comes to Bing Ads UI

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Bing Ads has rolled out a handy update, bringing the ability to copy and paste keywords and ads within the web interface.

You’ll now be able to add keywords and ads to new campaigns and ad groups without having to either use Bing Ads Editor or enter everything in manually in the UI. Just as in Google AdWords, there are now new copy and past options under the “Edit” tab on the Campaigns tab. Control+C and Control+V also work.

Once you copy what the ads or keywords you want to add, just navigate to the ad group where you want to include them and paste. You can opt to pause them once added and choose whether to include the keyword bids and destination URLs.


(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)

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How to make SEO a company-wide habit

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A few months ago, the Content Marketing Manager at a client’s organization reached out to me, asking if we could provide his copywriting team with an SEO training session.

I was floored! We had been optimizing the majority of their content for years, but they had never shown any interest in doing it on their own.

Why the sudden change? A new VP of marketing had come on board with search experience and wanted to make SEO a priority across the entire marketing department.

After years of trying to get them engaged, all it took was a new person to come in and make it happen. And now, it’s become the norm for individuals within the department to consult us on SEO matters. Amazing!

Coincidentally, this all occurred as I was reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, a book that looks at habits, how those habits are formed and how businesses have used the habits of their consumers to market to them

It got me thinking… How do we make SEO a company-wide habit within our organizations? After all, we know that the SEO team can’t do it alone.

While I don’t have all the answers (yet), I think a few of these can help:

Get executive buy-in

In the story I mentioned above, SEO became a department-wide initiative because the new VP made it so.

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The problem is that not every executive is going to come in and advocate for you. In fact, the majority probably won’t. So, how do you get them on your side?

Work with your internal advocate

If you work at an agency, you have a contact within your client’s organization who works to get your recommendations implemented and keeps the program moving. In my experience, they are usually organized, knowledgeable and amazing at managing relationships within the company.

They are also key to the agency’s success. To help them advocate for you (and themselves), make sure they have the information they need to present to the higher-ups. Find out what KPIs the exec is tasked with hitting, and put together some data around how the SEO program can help them reach that goal.

Show them the results

Whether you are on the agency side or the in-house SEO manager, executives care about money. If you can show them your efforts are driving sales and revenue, and it’s a key part of the marketing program, it’ll be hard for them to deny the need.

However, if you want them to be the SEO habit-driver, you also need to show them how everyone within the team is involved.

They need to understand why the web development team should be thinking about SEO implications and why the PR team should be working with the SEO team to acquire not just mentions, but bylines around key themes and topics.

Go team!

Make it easy

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You know what people hate? More work. It’s often the reason other departments don’t want to work with SEOs. They think they will get more work.

The thing is, they aren’t wrong. Adding an extra step to a process is, in fact, more work — but when that little bit extra pays off, the results can be beneficial for everyone.

To make SEO easy for those around you, consider the following:

  • SEO cheat sheets. We often provide our clients’ copywriting teams with an SEO one-sheet, breaking down the elements they need to consider when creating a blog, white paper, or other piece of content. This includes elements like title tags, cross-links, ALT text, calls-to-action and more. The idea is that they have it in front of them and can simply reference it when they have a question vs. having to ask someone or search online.
  • Dedicated SEO email or chat. If you can get a person even thinking about SEO, you want to make sure you answer any questions they have as soon as possible. If they have to email your contact, who then has to forward it on to you, too much time can pass — and by the time they hear from you, they’ve already gone ahead and implemented what they were doing without your input.

    To avoid this issue, set up a dedicated email that can shared be shared across the team (ex: seo@company.com) or give them a dedicated Skype/chat name they can use when they have questions.

The less friction people encounter, the easier it will be to form a habit.

Provide positive reinforcement

Have you ever trained a puppy? Just kidding. But in all seriousness, as Duhigg points out in the book, the more positive reinforcement you can surround yourself with, the easier it is to break a bad habit or create a new one.

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So make sure you are giving your team as much positive reinforcement as possible when they are making SEO part of their process, make sure you

  • include other departments in SEO reporting;
  • call their success out in meetings; and
  • send email congratulations for wins.

Make it about them. Your success is often dependent on theirs, so show them how they are making a difference.

Truthfully, they may have no idea. The development team has been amazed when we showed them how a redirect they implemented helped drive a huge number of new visits and leads. While they aren’t on our side for everything, they now often consult with us before making changes.

Check in

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As SEOs, we know we must be continually working to make our sites and brands better. It’s certainly not a “set it and forget it” type of program.

However, I do find we’ll often work with a department on a specific item and then never follow up again. That’s not how you build relationships, and it’s certainly not how you help drive habits.

Whether it’s weekly, monthly, bimonthly or whatever, don’t forget to check in with the folks you aren’t working with on a daily basis. A quick email or phone call just to say “Hi,” thank them for something they did or ask if you can help with something can go a long way.

The point is to keep yourself and SEO top of mind. Plus, if they like you, they’re more apt to help.

Final thoughts

Creating a new habit is hard, and doing more work isn’t always fun. The key is to make everyone part of not just the process, but the success. If you want others to believe in SEO, you need to show them why they ought to — and more importantly, how it benefits them.

Hopefully, these tips can get you started, and SEO will become a company-wide habit in your organization!

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)

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Success is an illusion if you can’t measure it; learn how at SocialPro

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Driving traffic through earned/owned and paid social media advertising is the beginning of the journey. The rubber meets the road when visitors interact with landing pages and become customers. And social media marketers need to prove their mettle, not just speculate about their accomplishments.

SocialPro has sessions designed to help you demonstrate the results you’re achieving and report it effectively to your managers. Topics include:

  • Credit Where Credit Is Due: Demystifying Social Attribution
  • What Your Social Data Should Be Teaching You
  • Generating Social Conversions & Leads
  • Measuring Up With Social Analytics

View the entire agenda now.

Combine these sessions with SocialPro’s focus on earned, owned and paid social advertising, and you’ve got the recipe for success from the wide end of the funnel to the narrow.

facebook keynoteBreaking news!
We’ve are excited to announce that Wei Kuan Lum, head of Facebook’s SMB business marketing, will be delivering our opening keynote. She is a growth hacking evangelist (acquisition, retention, content, programmatic) focused on driving growth for B2B and B2C startups and Fortune 100 companies.

See the entire speaker lineup here.

The early bird gets the savings

Register for SocialPro by May 28 and pay $1,495 — Rest assured, your investment will be worth every penny. We guarantee it.

You’ll get two days of keynotes, measurable tactics, networking with the pros and conference amenities for an exceptional value. Register Now!

–The SocialPro Conference Team

P.S. Attractive team rates are available. We can help! Email registration@socialproconf.com or call (877) 696-7401, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.


(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)

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Chinese scrutiny of Baidu ads after bogus cancer treatment causes death

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Earlier this week, Chinese government officials announced an investigation into the way Baidu presents paid search results following the death of college sophomore Wei Zexi. He died after pursuing a bogus cancer treatment advertised on the site.

Chinese advertising regulations reportedly don’t currently include search results. The case has sparked an outcry in China amid concern that Baidu is misleading Chinese consumers because many people may not be aware that results at the top of the page are paid search advertising. However, the site does label ads in search results.

According to published reports, Wei Zexi pursued a cancer treatment advertised on Baidu at a military hospital that claimed an experimental cure developed in collaboration with Stanford Medical School. That was a false statement (There was no collaboration), but Wei Zexi relied on it, underwent the treatment and died on April 12 this year.

Many Chinese have expressed anger at the government for not doing more to protect consumers who may be confused by the accuracy or veracity of search results.

Chinese search market

Baidu controls more than 70 percent of the Chinese search market and serves roughly 600 million monthly users. News of the Chinese investigation caused Baidu’s stock to drop on fears that the government intervention might impact the company’s search advertising business.

At a minimum, Baidu’s reputation has been harmed with Chinese consumers. Despite this, Baidu’s market share is unlikely to suffer given the relative weakness of its competitors.


(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)

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Billionth transaction via Dutch payment method iDeal

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Online payment method iDeal from the Netherlands registered the billionth transaction that happened via its system. The milestone was reached during King’s Day in the Netherlands, the national holiday that marks the birth of King Willem-Alexander. The online payment system has a market share of 56 percent and is being used since 2005.

The milestone was shared by iDeal, which announced the billionth transaction happened at a New York Pizza franchise during King’s Day on the 27th of April last month. According to iDeal, the amount of transactions increased by almost 25 percent during 2015.

Betaalvereniging Nederland, which facilitates iDeal together with the national banks, thinks we can expect a strong growth in mobile payments. All banks in the Netherlands now offer the option to pay for mobile orders with the payment method iDeal. Last year, the number of mobile payments in the Netherlands increased by 53 percent. “A quarter of all iDeal payments is already done using a smartphone or tablet”, says Piet Mallekoote, manager of Betaalvereniging Nederland. “This will only increase in the near future, as consumers increasingly use their mobile devices for shopping, ordering and completing purchases.”

iDeal gets popular across the border

According to the European Institute for Brand Management, iDeal is one of the most indispensable brands in the Netherlands, together with major brands such as Hema and Albert Heijn. The local payment method is also being used in foreign web stores in more than fifty different countries around the world. As a matter of fact, one in five payments that are completed using  iDeal, takes places at a foreign ecommerce website.

With a market share of 56 percent, iDeal is the most popular online payment method in the Netherlands.

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DHL successfully integrated Parcelcopter into logistics chain

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DHL says the test it run with its Parcelcopter drone between January and March has been completed successfully. The German company claims it’s the first time worldwide that a parcel service provider has directly integrated a parcelcopter logistically into its delivery chain.

DHL Parcel conducted the trial run between January and March this year in Reit im Winkl, a community in the German state of Bavaria. Private customers in the region tested out the the specially developed Packstations, which were called the Parcelcopter Skyport. By inserting their shipments into the Skyport, automated shipment and delivery per drone was initiated. During the test period, DHL was able to perform 130 autonomous loading and offloading cycles with its Parcelcopter.

Drone four times faster than car

The DHL drone could deal with heavier loads, longer distances and delivery to an alpine region. And the latter could have been a big game breaker, as the drone had to deal with the rapidly changing weather conditions and severe temperature fluctuation that occurred in the test area. “With that achieved, the DHL Parcelcopter then performed a series of flawless flights. Each round trip from valley to plateau at roughly 1,200 meters above sea level covered eight kilometers of flight. The drone’s cargo was typically either sporting goods or urgently needed medicines and it arrived at the Alm station within just eight minutes of take-off”, the company proudly announced. “The same trip by car takes more than 30 minutes during winter.”

Testing in urban areas

Jürgen Gerdes from DHL thinks the company has now reached a certain level of technical and procedural maturity with its Parcelcopter, that it could eventually allow for fields trials in urban areas as well. The company will now analyze performance data and use these findings to select other potential areas for testing.

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Yahoo Gemini launches retargeting for search and native ads in US

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After several months of testing with over 100 advertisers, Yahoo has launched custom audience targeting for search and native image and video ads on Yahoo Gemini in the US.

Yahoo first announced custom audience targeting in September, and has been testing it with advertisers since January. Advertisers can retarget site visitors — segmented by page visited or action taken — or import app customer lists for retargeting using mobile advertiser IDs.

Audience creation in Gemini is fairly straightforward. From the Tools tab, click Custom Audience to set up an audience of past site visitors or app customers.


(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)

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SearchCap: Google black & blue links, voice search tracking & Bing Twitter results

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Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:

Search News From Around The Web:

Industry

Local & Maps

Link Building

Searching

SEO

SEM / Paid Search


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Bing confirms testing Twitter results in search results listings

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A Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed with Search Engine Land that they are indeed testing displaying tweets, Twitter results, in the Bing search results pages. This was first reported this morning by Ruben Gomez during his testing.

Bing is using a carousel box, similar to how Google shows tweets in their search results, to include these tweets in the Bing search listing page.

Here is a picture from Ruben:

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This is what it looks without the Twitter results:

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A Microsoft spokesperson told us, “We’re constantly updating and refining the Bing search experience. We’ll share more information when available.”


(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)

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AdWords Express now shows Google Analytics goal results

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Small businesses using AdWords Express to advertise on Google, can now see goal tracking data in their Express dashboards.

Businesses can set up a new Google Analytics account, if needed, from AdWords Express. After setting up goal tracking in Google Analytics and linking it to the AdWords Express account, goal completion data as well as behavior metrics like new visits driven from the ad, time on site and page view averages will show in the Express dashboard.

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Act now: SMX Advanced early bird rates expire next week

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Nearly 75% of the tickets for Search Engine Land’s SMX Advanced are sold and rates increase next week. Don’t miss your only opportunity this year to attend this unique event experience, which has sold out each of the last 10 years!

Register now and save $400 off on-site rates. Here’s what you get:

  • Tactic-rich and fast-paced sessions that don’t slow down to explain the basics on SEO, SEM, mobile, social, conversion optimization and more! See what’s in store by checking out the agenda-at-a-glance.
  • Nearly 60 search marketing experts sharing case studies of overcoming complex hurdles in SEO and SEM. They’re selected based on experience, ability AND willingness to share the tactics and strategies that make them successful. See who’s speaking!
  • Connect with the most accomplished group of search marketers on the planet. You’ll meet them by attending the structured and casual networking events.

Join us in Seattle June 22-23 for two days of expert level sessions and discussions you’ll find nowhere else. We guarantee it.

Don’t miss out on your chance to attend SMX Advanced this year. Register today!

See you in Seattle!

– The SMX Advanced Conference Team

P.S. – Will several members of your team benefit from attending? You save even more with our discounted team rates.


(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)

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How to effectively prioritize and amplify SEO content

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Many SEOs these days are focused on content marketing. This involves building out high-quality content optimized for searcher intent, then amplifying that content through social to capture end users in their moment of need.

But what are the right steps to prioritize and amplify content? Read on.

SEO content prioritization & creation

At one point in SEO, all we talked about was being “relevant” in order to rank. However, modern SEO is about being both relevant and useful; content that achieves this is exactly what Google is looking for.

You can prioritize based on intent, striking distance, search volume and (if you have them) conversion metrics. I recommend that you remove branded keywords and low search volume keywords to get a more accurate picture.

Define your goals, and find low-hanging fruit

Let’s look at your goals. If your goal is to increase traffic by 15 percent year over year, you need to put together a plan to see where you can drive incremental traffic: local, optimizing existing landing pages, building out new content, optimizing videos and so on.

As a first step, I recommend taking a look at your website analytics and ranking tools to see what opportunities there are to drive incremental traffic with your existing assets. This could be done by looking at “striking distance” keywords, which are those that rank on page 2 of the major search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo). Moving striking distance keywords from page 2 to page 1 can drive incremental revenue and traffic, especially for keywords that have a lot of volume and transactional intent.

Pro tip: Focus on keywords that convert well from paid search and drive a lot of volume based on intent. These keywords should be your target for SEO, especially with Google’s new paid search layout pushing organic search further down the page.

Evaluate existing content and look for gaps

Determine where you need to develop useful content by conducting a gap analysis. All brands need to develop content around each stage of the buyer’s journey, as this allows you to capture search queries for many different kinds of user intent.

While many businesses understand the need to appear in search results for high-converting keywords (i.e., queries that signal intent to purchase), they often overlook the value of being visible in SERPs during the research phases of the buyer’s journey. In the digital era, this journey is not linear, but is a fragmented path to purchase — so you’ll want to be present at all stages in order to keep your brand top of mind.

Review your existing content and segment it based on intent — in other words, what stage of the buyer’s journey does it map to? From there, figure out where gaps exist, and build out content to fill in those gaps.

You can also see how your competition is doing using a tool like SEMrush, which allows you to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for. Determine where they’re visible and where they have no presence across the buyer’s journey. Take advantage of where they aren’t present by building quality content in those areas (or greatly improving existing content).

Communicate with other departments

Despite the push towards omni-channel digital marketing, many SEOs still find themselves in a silo. Having open communication with other departments (if you are in-house) or your client and their vendors (if you’re at an agency) will ensure that you are aware of any important content initiatives that need to be further optimized and prioritized.

Evaluate the content other departments are producing, prioritize it based on intent, search volume and opportunity and promote it through paid social and your existing social profiles.

Social listening

Listening to customers and finding influencers can impact visits and engagement. Social listening can give you a detailed review of your owned social landscape and competitive set. Plus, it can identify key social trends from the millions of conversations happening every day, which can help drive your content strategy by uncovering new keywords and trends that are happening now.

Content promotion

Now that you have prioritized and created your content, it’s time to promote it. The saying, “If you build it, they will come,” is sadly inaccurate. Content needs to be promoted, and a catalyst is needed to get things started.

Social amplification

Search helps social. Brands should always focus on creating high-quality and engaging content. Engaging content will be shared through social media to attract social endorsements and links, which will help improve your visibility in the search engine result pages from prioritized content.

Paid social

Paid social is a cost-effective way to help promote priority content and to drive more traffic and sales. Since paid social is relatively inexpensive, I recommend testing it to see what results you can get from paid social campaigns (e.g., an increase in links, social mentions and traffic, since they all can influence rankings).

I would only recommend putting paid support behind engaging and useful content that answers users’ questions throughout the user journey.

Final thoughts

Prioritizing content is a must for every SEO campaign to drive incremental traffic and revenue. As SEOs, we must continue to focus on building out high-quality content based on user intent that can move the needle and help our clients achieve their goals.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)

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How to Use Sequential Retargeting in Google Adwords for YouTube

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I rarely encounter marketers who have YouTube retargeting on their digital marketing plan. People try this once and usually 'aren't ready' to waste their money for an existing audience. Why is that? Lack of knowledge or curiosity? In this post I'd like to fight this unwillingness to try new features and explain the this remarketing feature for everyone (a pretty tough task knowing the difference in backgrounds and goals in our professional lives).

Adwords for YouTube: Remarketing Strategy

Let's begin with the basics. Retargeting can help to re-engage your audience and assist every stage of the conversion funnel. It's as simple as that. When creating campaigns in Google AdWords for YouTube, you can use the standard audiences (provided by Google) and custom tailored to target on YouTube. What's an audience? People with similar behaviors, similar watching history or simply the visitors of your webpage. For this post, we'll concentrate on the audience segments provided by YouTube, which are:

  • Users who shared your videos
  • Users who liked your videos
  • Users who subscribed
  • Users who commented on your videos
  • Users who watched one exact video
  • Users who watched one exact video as an ad
  • and combinations of this lists (can be altered and created manually)

Sequential retargeting, one type of remarketing, allows you to segment your audience into different categories, and also include, and of course exclude, different sections of that audience based on the previous actions they have taken. For instance, a user who clicks on the ad may be shown one version, while another user who not only clicked on the ad but also went on to add a product to the shopping cart may be shown another version.

5 Ways to Use Sequential Retargeting on YouTube

Let's assume you run a small local company - you and one of your college pals run a car converting business taking old garbage on wheels and making it electro. Simple idea - you start filming the process and publishing these episodes on your channel. People like it. People share it. After some time you are able to buy the garbage, convert it and finally sell as your own inventory. You have a place to store these little VW bugs and they really make your storefront alive. How to sell these cars? That's where your growing channel can help.

If people like something - they share it. A shared video gets additional views, and, the content is good, subsequent video content from the channel gets a bigger chunk of coverage because of growing amount of subscribers. But the process can take years to bring a substantial support for your business. To make it faster and more creative we have to use retargeting for our YouTube audience. Let's think how:

1) We can publish a series of episodes about the new project you build gradually revealing the details about it in every next episode. Using the so-called 'sequential' retargeting you can show every new episode to the viewers of the previous episode only. This will urge viewers to watch all of them but you won't be sure that they won't miss an episode making them frustrated and unmotivated to follow the sequence further.

2) You can announce the secret project and target your preroll video ads to the subscribers only forcing everyone to follow your channel in order to keep up with your updates. This makes people feel themselves special and 'chosen'. Good tactics. And you can make these videos public and available for everyone after you publish the last episode of the series.

3) You can create an interactive game and spend some money running the first video in the sequence as a preroll ad for your subscribers.

4) You can target likers, video viewers and commenters and mix these lists together (it makes sense for you of course)

5) You can negatively target the existing viewers of your channel in your new YouTube advertising campaign if you try to reach new people (potential customers, subscribers, viewers etc). For example you want to gain more subscribers and you run a campaign targeted to technofiles in Austin (you know from your YouTube Analytics that this city doesn't really know about your business) and you exclude people from the targeting who already watched your videos. Does it make sense?

Sequential Retargeting Tips 

Sequential retargeting is an enormous video advertising opportunity that many brands aren't picking up on. If you are part of a marketing team here are some thing to seriously consider if you decide to test this approach:

  • Set up your frequency cap, and limit ad impressions per user. There really is such a thing as overkill.
  • Target your campaigns locally. I don't think your ecar will be interesting for your friends in Somali. Not this year at least.
  • Think about your audience and try to group videos into groups to create 'look-alike' audiences
    Consider negative retargeting when your budget is limited and you really don't have much money to show the ad to everyone
  • Stay relevant. Your VR (View rate) has to be your king (in case that's your KPI but that's another story)
  • The value of retargeting is so underestimated so it's difficult for me to start pitching it to my clients. Customer education is the worst task we have in our professional life but if you get it done properly...dude, everyone is hooked then.

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The SEO industry is worth $65 billion; will it ever stop growing?

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Since its early days, search engine optimization (SEO) has always had naysayers insisting that this marketing discipline is a passing fad, or that it’s dead.

Not only has SEO survived this long, it’s thriving: According to a recent study by Borrell Associates, companies are going to spend $65 billion on SEO in 2016. This is more than triple what they predicted for this year back in 2008, before major game-changers like Panda and Penguin even entered the equation.

What’s more, the company is predicting that the SEO industry will continue to grow to an estimated $72 billion by 2018 and $79 billion by 2020.

Though estimates can be fallible, this does suggest that SEO has grown even more than previously expected, with a trajectory to preserve that growth well into the future. In fact, another recent survey of 357 marketers found that more than 90 percent plan to increase their SEO budgets or keep them the same over the next year. Assuming these projections are at least roughly accurate, is there anything that will stop SEO from growing?

Factors for perpetual SEO growth

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons SEO might continue to grow indefinitely:

  • More user searches. It’s likely that the number of searches per user will grow well into the future. Older generations, averse to technology, will make way for younger generations, who rely on technology for everything. Plus, technologies will become faster and more convenient, enabling even more search traffic for each user in circulation.
  • More users. The sheer number of search users will also feasibly increase, compounding the effects of the per-user search growth. This is largely due to the internet becoming more affordable and more available to different demographics. One day soon, thanks to efforts by Google, Facebook and other companies, we may enjoy universal availability of the internet. And technologies such as self-driving cars will give users more time to perform searches at times when they previously couldn’t. These changes will make it possible for almost anyone to search for anything at any time.
  • More outlets for search visibility. There will also be more outlets for search visibility, beyond the conventional search engines we’ve come to know (e.g., Google and Bing). Alternative search engines will certainly rise, but there are two main areas where I expect radical growth: first, the use of digital assistants, which bridge the gap between online and offline search; and second, search engines specific to individual platforms, like app store-based engines, Amazon.com or YouTube search.
  • Decreasing power of traditional ads. Traditional advertising methods have been dying for a long time, and they’ll continue dwindling in power until they eventually fade away. When they finally do bite the dust, a number of businesses dependent on traditional ads as a means of customer acquisition will have no choice but to look to inbound marketing campaigns in the online world to supplement their acquisition strategies.
  • Increasing SEO sophistication. We’re getting better at creating and managing more intense SEO campaigns. As a simple example, what used to be a matter of keyword stuffing and cheap link building has now become an intricate strategy of content development and publication. Furthermore, we have access to more data than we’ve ever had before, and our capacity will only grow from here.

Factors against unlimited growth

And now, some of the reasons why SEO may face an eventual halt or decline:

  • Competition and prohibitive costs. SEO spend rising means that more businesses are getting involved in SEO. That means more competition to deal with. For a while, this will be fine, but eventually the cost of entry will become prohibitive, and there will be a “tipping point” where the rise in spending tapers off.
  • The Knowledge Graph and visibility decline. Thanks to the Knowledge Graph (and similar future technological developments), users are being given more immediate forms of answers, reducing their reliance on individual site visitations to find what they’re looking for. This could eventually start compromising the ROI of SEO, pushing people out of the game.
  • Alternative search modes. Search is starting to evolve in some weird forms, including personal digital assistants, which marry online and device-specific search. These alternative modes of search are harder to predict and harder to “rank” for, since oftentimes they forgo a “ranking” process entirely.
  • RankBrain and decreasing rank predictability. Machine learning is already huge, and it’s only getting bigger. Technologies like RankBrain are starting to upgrade search systems in real time, with processes only AI programs can incorporate. That’s going to make it harder and harder to accurately assess ranking factors and respond accordingly.

The problem with definitions

It’s also important to recognize what may actually qualify as “SEO” in the strict sense. Today, this term largely refers to optimizing a website to be featured higher in organic search rankings, but already it’s starting to apply to other areas, from local results to Knowledge Graph entries, and even digital assistant-based results.

As new forms of search technology evolve, it’s likely that SEO will adapt with the times, rather than dying outright. If that’s the case, spending on what we see as “SEO” today may disappear, but spending on what we label “SEO” in the future may continue to perpetually rise.

The bottom line

It’s hard to look more than a few years into the future with so many variables and potential technological developments in play. However, it’s likely that SEO will continue to grow in popularity, in one form or another, for the foreseeable future.

With that information, you should at least feel comfortable investing further into your existing strategy. For search optimizers, that also means a positive outlook on your job security — as long as you’re willing to adapt.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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Voice search reporting coming To Google Search Console’s Search Analytics report

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Google webmaster trends analysts, John Mueller, said on Friday in a Google hangout at the 23 minute mark that Google is looking for ways to show webmasters in the Google Search Console how people are finding their pages through voice search.

John explained that Google wants to provide a way to segment out how people search for your site using a keyboard versus voice search in the Search Analytics report. John said, Google wants to “kind of make it easier to pull out what people have used to search on voice and what people are using my typing. Similar how we have desktop and mobile setup separately.”

John added that it is “tricky” because many of the voice searches are done in much longer form sentences and thus, by default, Google Search Analytics may not see enough volume for that query and group it together with the lower volume keywords, thus not showing it in the report. But he said they did have a discussion internally about how to go about separating out voice searches in that report.

Here is the Q&A I transcribed:

(Q) Does Google plan to include Voice Search Search console reports in the future?

(A) I don’t know what the exact plans are there but we have discussed something like that. To kind of make it easier to pull out what people have used to search on voice and what people are using my typing. Similar how we have desktop and mobile setup separately. I think some of that might be trickier because in practice voice queries are more long form, they’re more like sentences and real questions. And sometimes those exact queries don’t get used that often so we might be filtering them out in search console. But it’s definitely something we’ve talked about, we’ve looked into different other types of queries or search results as well to see if there is something that we could be doing their differently. If you have any explicit examples of specifically how you think this type of feature or any other feature in such console could make it easier to to really make high-quality websites, to really get some value out of search console in in a way that makes sense for you to improve your service for users then we’d really love to see those and examples.

You can hear it yourself at the 23 minute mark.

John also added later at the 26 minute mark that Google also wants to segment out AMP results as well.


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Google widely testing the title links in black, instead of the traditional blue hyperlink color

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Over the weekend, Google began testing a widely noticed change to their search results listing page by changing the color of the titles in the search results listings snippet from the traditional blue color to a black color.

Here is one of the many pictures and screen shots of this in action, this one is from @matibarnes:

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Compare the above screen shot to what most people see, the blue links, and you can see why so many people are complaining:

google-blue-title-links

We emailed Google for a comment about this on Saturday but we have yet to hear back. I suspect the response will be something like, “we are constantly testing new ways to improve the user experience, and this is just one of those many tests.”

Overall, it seems like the feedback that we’ve been hearing about the change in the color of the link is mostly negative.


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Sunday, May 8, 2016

What day is Mother’s Day 2016? Today’s Google Doodle leads to a direct answer

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Google is celebrating moms today with a Mother’s Day doodle illustrated by doodler Sophia Diao.

“As we get older, we forget how heavily we once relied on our mothers and mother-figures. Today’s doodle for Mother’s Day harkens back to a time in my youth when following Mom around was all I knew,” writes Diao on the Google Doodle blog.

The Mother’s Day-themed logo leads to a search for “What day is Mother’s Day 2016?” and includes the usual sharing icon so that users can post the doodle on their social pages.

Search Engine Land wishes all the moms out there a very Happy Mother’s Day!


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Friday, May 6, 2016

SearchCap: Google APIs, global SEO & public relations

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Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:

Search News From Around The Web:

Local & Maps

Link Building

SEO

SEM / Paid Search

Search Marketing


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5 reasons to keep doing mobile SEO even though ads are everywhere

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ss-mobile-seo“Look,” says your boss, directing your attention to the Google search results on her iPhone. She just searched on “life insurance quotes,” and the organic listings are nowhere to be seen. She actually has to scroll down past the third ad before she gets to the first organic listing.

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“Why would we continue to pay any attention to organic search on mobile when Google is only showing ads?” she says. “I just read a report from a prominent agency that said organic search visits were down seven percent year over year in Q1, as increased monetization of mobile results is pushing more traffic to paid listings, and that mobile traffic share has been flat for organic search in the past year, but it is up 10 points for paid search. Let’s just shift the budget into paid and be done with it.”

If you’re interested in growing your traffic overall, you should resist that suggestion.

While it’s true that organic search visits are down overall, according to recent reports, there are many reasons you should continue doing mobile SEO in 2016. Here are five of them.

1. The first organic listing in mobile still gets 73% more clicks than the first and second sponsored listings combined.

The first three points I’m going to mention come from research done last month by Mediative, a Montreal-based digital marketing agency and originator of the Golden Triangle study. Their white paper called “How do consumers conduct searches on Google using a mobile device?” is definitely worth downloading (registration required) if you’re interested in solid research on mobile search behavior.

[See the full story on Marketing Land]

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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Search in Pics: Karl Urban I’m not an SEO, make SEO great again hat & Google wine club

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In this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have and more.

Google wine club:

Google wine club
Source: Twitter

Make SEO great again hat:

Make SEO great again hat
Source: Twitter

Karl Urban in Star Trek: I’m a doctor, not an SEO:

I'm a doctor, not an SEO
Source: Facebook

Google New York LEGO wall:

Google New York LEGO wall
Source: Twitter


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