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Google has some significant changes to to its Ads offering over the last couple of weeks. We asked our Head of Paid Search (PPC), Dave Karellen,  to explain how this will impact advertisers…

Google Ads’ move to first-price auctions

Google has confirmed that it will move to first-price auctions for Google Ad Manager by the end of 2019, when it will begin to run a single, unified auction and remove last look.

The move affects display and video inventory sold via Ad Manager, with no impact on auctions for ads on Google Search, AdSense for Search, YouTube, and other Google properties, and advertisers using Google Ads or Display & Video 360 do not need to take any action.

Google Ad Manager’s Sam Cox said: “With this change, every offer from programmatic buyers will compete in the same unified auction, alongside inventory which is directly negotiated with advertisers. An advertising buyer’s bid will not be shared with another buyer before the auction or be able to set the price for another buyer. The buyer that wins the auction pays the price they bid. By simplifying our auction in Ad Manager, we can help make it easier for publishers and app developers to manage and get fair value for their inventory.

“Since the change from second to first price will require both buyers and sellers to make changes in their programmatic strategies, we’ll give everyone time to prepare over the next few months before we start testing. During this time, publishers and app developers will need to rethink how they use price floors and technology partners will need to adjust how they bid for Google Ad Manager Inventory.”

Why has Google made this change?

Dave says: “While at first glance, this is just another way to increase Google’s already swollen pockets by removing the discount feature of bids, it actually makes sense when it comes up against other ad exchanges. Where other ad exchanges have implemented a first-price bidding model, it gives them a competitive advantage over Google. Therefore, it’s become something of a race to the bottom and Google can’t afford not to make this change as to not would limit their visibility.

How will the change to a Google first-price auction impact publishers?

“The drawbacks are that header bidding and ad demand partners will decrease in value, as will the impact of things like yield optimisation and header bidding. Those with high-quality ad inventory, however, will have a competitive advantage.”

How will it affect day-to-day strategies?

“It will mean that anyone with very large bids should probably review these as they assume it will be discounted and aren’t actually prepared to pay that much in most cases. More people will move towards having a bid that reflects exactly how much they are prepared to pay.”

Will it result in a fairer playing field?

“Yes, but it would have been better had the move towards a fairer playing field been that all other ad exchanges had to adopt a second price model than Google having to adopt a first price model. But they aren’t regulated in that way unfortunately.

“As a final point, it’s important to note that while Google making this move on the GDN (Google Display Network) makes sense for them; if they were to do the same on Google Search then the only reason they would have to do this is to make more money, and would be a pretty unscrupulous move.”

Google Ads to retire ‘average position’ metric

Google has confirmed it is to sunset the ‘average position’ metric in Google Ads in the third quarter of 2019, having last year rolled out Impression (Absolute Top) %” and “Impression (Top) %, which describe what percent of your ads appear at the top of the page and absolute top of the page which “give you a much clearer view of your prominence on the page than average position does”.

Source: Google blog

How will the new performance metrics (announced end of 2018) work?

They give an idea of how often your ads have appeared at the top of the search results page, or at the top of the page and in position 1 (absolute top). This information has already existed, albeit it in a different format, with ‘Top vs Other’ segmentation. While it’s a welcome addition, the problem is that average position still very much has its place. By taking away average position in the same swoop, it means that there are measurement blanks left. For example, there’ll be no way of distinguishing between position 2 and position 3 if they’ve both appeared top of page.

Will this shift in understanding of average position be problematic for Google advertisers?

It’s been suggested that it could help to provide an explanation for lower CTR campaigns for advertisers who incorrectly believe that they’re dominating the top spot for the keywords relevant to their target audience.

Dave says: “It will be problematic in that a lot of optimisation and reporting techniques will have to change. You don’t have to be too cynical to conclude that it’s another move towards Google forcing bid strategies as the only way to optimise, buy taking away key metrics to optimise. It can also be confusing that there are two metrics which would like they do the same thing for both top and absolute top.

“Search Top IS and Impr (Top) % both sound like they do the same thing but give wildly different results. The first is defined as impressions on top/eligible impressions on top and the second is Impressions on Top/Impressions.

“The denominator difference on these means that sometimes one will be bigger than another (eligible impressions are bigger than impressions, and top impressions are smaller as a set than impressions, therefore eligible top impressions can be either bigger or smaller than total impressions).

“The difference between these two metrics is being overlooked, and they may be able to provide at least somewhat of a dual perspective on bidding for the more sophisticated advertisers after average position is sunset.”

Google to introduce shoppable ads on Google Images

The new format enables you to highlight multiple products available for sale within your sponsored ad among Google Images results. Google is currently testing this on a small percentage of traffic with select retailers, surfacing on broad queries like “home office ideas”, “shower tile designs”, and “abstract art”.

It also introduced Search absolute top impression share” and “Search (Top) IS, which show what percentage of the total available metrics your impressions represent and which it says “are the best metrics to use if you want to optimise for position”.

Ginny Marvin at Search Engine Land wrote “Change is constant in search advertising, but average position has one of the few constants for more than 15 years. Yet, with the removal of right rail ads, in particular, its utility has sharply declined in recent years.”

Source: Google blog

Surojit Chatterjee, Vice President, Product Management – Shopping, said: “A recent study shows that Google is the first place US shoppers go to discover or find a new brand or product. But shoppers aren’t just doing their searches on Google.com. We’ve seen that 50% of online shoppers said images of the product inspired them to purchase, and increasingly, they’re turning to Google Images.”

Google is also bringing Showcase Shopping ads to Google Images as well, offering shoppers “a more inspirational and rich visual experience”.

What opportunities will this offer to Google advertisers?

Dave says: “Monetising Google Images has been tried before and it failed. It will offer some opportunity for increased scope, but it may still be the case that performance and conversion rates will be weak. Not many people are in purchase mode when in Google Images.”

How will this work alongside traditional Shopping Campaigns?

“They’ll just fit in in the same way a Search Partner would. It will be interesting to see how segmentable it will be to report on, and also whether there will be an opt-out function, such as the one that exists for Search Partners.”

Want to find out more about optimising your paid search strategy? Download our suite of PPC Uncovered eBooks.

The post What the latest Google Ads updates mean for marketers appeared first on Click Consult.

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The latest broad core update to the Google algorithm was announced yesterday – with SERP trackers recording a few consecutive days of heightened activity – but what does it mean for now and in a broader sense?

Google is furious, the Mozcast is inclement and the Algoroo has been clearing small buildings in a single bound. In fact, as would be expected in a week where Google announced a broad core update (referred to, in many places online, as Florida2), all similar tools are showing increased fluctuation in search engine results pages (SERPs).

The update, which was announced via the Google Search Liaison Twitter account, has no specific required action or ‘fix’, but was announced in order to prevent overreaction from webmasters who might see a drop as a trigger for making a lot of unnecessary and potentially damaging changes.

This week, we released a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before. Please see these tweets for more about that:https://t.co/uPlEdSLHoXhttps://t.co/tmfQkhdjPL

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) March 13, 2019

In actual fact, as an article published in Search Engine Land reminds us – this variety of update is intended to reward, or at least recognize, good content that was being overlooked rather than to penalise any other activity.

Nevertheless, there was a blog on every SEO related site rushed out yesterday to cover the announcement. While there have been few updates warned about in advance (the first Mobile Friendly update and the Speed Update being the major exceptions), there has been fairly regular communication – though not as many as the community’s inferred updates might demand.

The reason for this – as posited by Danny Sullivan through his @SearchLiaison Twitter account – is that Google will tend only to announce updates where there is no action that webmasters can take, in an attempt to prevent them making unnecessary changes to their sites.

Sometimes, we make broad changes to our core algorithm. We inform about those because the actionable advice is that there is nothing in particular to “fix,” and we don’t want content owners to mistakenly try to change things that aren’t issues…. https://t.co/ohdP8vDatr

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) October 11, 2018

This, to the relief of the search industry, clearly implies that there are a lot of updates where there are things we can do – but also that these are usually not announced. The exceptions – as a tweet from later the same day states – are larger updates where actionable advice is beneficial.

Sometimes, an update may be more noticeable. We aim to confirm those when we feel there is actionable information that content owners might take. For example, when our Speed Update happened, with gave months of advanced notice and advice….https://t.co/Nwi8I9rooP

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) October 11, 2018

The introduction of the Search Liaison position at Google – as well as its history of Googlers that are heavily involved in the SEO community (Matt Cutts, John Muller, Gary Illyes etcetera) – shows that Google is fairly committed to outreach, and for good reason. The search community is quick to notice changes, and it’s quick to ask questions – and often make accusations – and as these changes begin to come more rapidly over time, the search community at large can get a little fraught.

The search and digital marketing industry has played a small but not insignificant part in the rise of Google and there has been a historical assumption from some quarters that Google should return the favour and keep us in the loop as things progress – an assumption that has done little but cause resentment as time after time, the ‘we make hundreds of changes a year’ message is rolled out.

The major issue with this is that the technology that powers these updates, the business conditions and even political conditions that drive changes and updates are likely to be orders of magnitude more complicated than when Cutts joined the WebmasterWorld fora back in 2000 as GoogleGuy.

Not only is it likely that machine learning and consequent rapid iteration of updates has made some changes virtually unknowable, let alone communicable to all but the most involved programmers on the Google staff, but there are likely to be a lot of changes aimed at overcoming political, technical and other issues which would represent, and fairly, commercially sensitive decisions.

While I’m no fan of many of Google’s decisions over the last decade, its outreach in the search industry has been reasonable and while they really need to just give us the data on voice, they do provide the search community with a lot of information which can be overlooked in the rush to identify and name the latest update.

Source: Algoroo

Source: Accuranker

As can be seen from the above charts, which show a definitive increase in the frequency of activity over the last five years, we are approaching a point where flux is virtually the typical state of SERPs and this is only going to increase as machine learning begins to take on more of a role – a machine is able to iterate and assess far more quickly than us puny humans, after all.

Therefore, while it will always be beneficial to keep one eye on this fluctuation – to seek to identify trends and shape best practice – the unrelenting fascination with updates is counterproductive. The advice has remained consistent – to create the best possible content, and provide the best possible experience for users.

While the manner of execution may change over time, the advice will remain consistent and we would perhaps be better served by attempting to ensure that we are operating at our best and doing what we do well – identifying trends, building, writing and optimising for the web we want to see.

For the moment, at Click, like most agencies, we’ll be keeping an eye on the SERPs and the tools that track them, trying to make inferences and seek correlates while concentrating on improving content and onsite experience. There are activities we can undertake to build strategies that incorporate the expected actions of Google, and the rising technologies that are likely to shake things up – but expending energy lamenting transparency from Google is a waste of energy that could be better deployed elsewhere.

Keep up to date with the latest in search news by subscribing to our blog – or contact us to find out how we can help your brand worry less about updates.

The post Google’s latest ‘Broad Core Update’ continues a trend of increasing activity appeared first on Click Consult.

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The UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library, has chosen Click Consult to deliver its paid search (PPC) strategies, following a competitive pitch process

The business, which has a turnover of over £30 million, is the third-largest employment website in the UK.

Our CEO Matt Bullas said: “Like CV-Library, we focus on delivering high quality solutions, and consistent, reliable results.

“The calibre of the brands we work with – including Kwik Fit, Britannia Hotels, Brosch, Chill Insurance, Liverpool ONE and our list of recent award wins are testament to the skills, experience and passion of our ever-expanding team of experts.

“Our data-driven and creative strategies are proven to achieve long-term results for our clients, and we look forward to growing CV-Library’s visibility even further.”

Pete Bass, Head of Candidate Acquisition at CV-Library, commented: “We’re delighted to be working on our paid search strategy with the team at Click Consult, as we continue to drive high levels of traffic to our site each month.

“With their specialist search knowledge and impressive client portfolio, the team at Click Consult were the obvious choice for our business and we look forward to a successful partnership throughout 2019.”

Interested in having an expert eye cast over your PPC account? Contact us today for a free, no obligation review from our award-winning team.

The post CV-Library appoints Click Consult for paid search brief appeared first on Click Consult.

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Our Head of SEO assiduously followed a conference hashtag, the top stuff from our search marketing newsfeed and more

Thursday Facebook outage

Facebook went down, as did Instagram and, despite it being the largest and longest outage in its history – Google Trends suggests nobody cared.

“Facebook down” trend

“Instagram down” trend

Google ad labels

A few sources are reporting the spotted change in Google Ad labelling that was spotted on mobile yesterday. The move will be the first since 2017’s shift from yellow to green labels and looks likely to reduce the differentiation between ads and organic results.

Tuesday/Wednesday

Yesterday was spent trying to get my spectacles repaired, but now that I can see again – here’s Tuesday and Wednesday’s news (which seems to promise digital competition, sterner privacy laws and break-up of the big tech companies).

Google broad core algorithm update

The Google SearchLiaison Twitter account announced that a broad core algorithm update (referred to, in many places online, as Florida2) has been rolled out over the last week (beginning on 12th March) – with the normal advice that there is no quick fix, it happens a few times a year and to continue implementing best practice.

This week, we released a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before. Please see these tweets for more about that:https://t.co/uPlEdSLHoXhttps://t.co/tmfQkhdjPL

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) March 13, 2019

Elizabeth Warren

2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has begun pushing for the break up of the big tech giants – whose control of data, she believes, is a threat to democracy and breaches monopoly regulations. In response to this, and to allay any fears of misuse, Elizabeth Warren’s Facebook ads were briefly removed by Facebook.

One of the best bets to make it to the main event, Warren may be the first credible threat to Google, Facebook et al in the event she becomes the first female president of the US.

Stuff I haven’t read yet

Continuing in the theme of digital regulation and legislation, the UK Government’s Unlocking digital competition, Report of the Digital Competition Expert Panel was released today. I haven’t had the chance to read the near 200 page report yet, but there seems to be some interesting interesting mentions of ‘pro competition’ approaches – which, depending on the adoption of recommendations, could gel with Warren’s campaign.

Benchmark 2019

We launched Benchmark 2019 today! The fifth Benchmark conference, is now accepting ticket applications and raising the blood pressure of the marketing team here at Click. You can read all about it here.

DuckDuckGo

The privacy oriented search engine’s CEO has testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee, stating that privacy legislation doesn’t need to be anti-advertising. DuckDuckGo, which uses context cues rather than behavioural, can serve as an example of what’s possible, he believes – while also stating that privacy legislation could encourage competition.

Monday

Today’s news is a sight for sore eyes – contact lenses have never agreed with me.

Pubcon

While we might not have been able to stretch to a jaunt to Florida, we were able to follow along with the talks via social media, and our Head of SEO – Mark McGonigle – has put together a list of key pointers from a conference that focused on some of the aspects of search that are most in the zeitgeist at the moment. You can read all about it here.

Dating your content

Not like that. Search Engine Land is carrying on a Google announcement of six best practice tips for temporally dating your content – you should:

  1. Show the last time a page was updated
  2. Use the right time code (UTC/CET etc.)
  3. Whatever you do – do it consistently
  4. Don’t use dates arbitrarily connected to the content or dates in the future
  5. Follow structured data guides
  6. Minimise the number of dates mentioned on a page in order to avoid muddying the waters
‘Don’t treat Millennials like other generations’ says article full of generalisations

I include this mostly as a how not to, but the article does have some interesting stats. I was sort of happy when, over the last six months or so, the word ‘Millennial’ was gradually phased out of marketing articles to be replaced by ‘Gen-Z’, but as this one popped up, I may as well address it – you can’t make sweeping statements (even if backed up by ‘research’) about a demographic that covers almost 20 years.

I started university before almost every household had internet, while many of my millennial colleagues were still attending nursery school when smartphones became ubiquitous. Generations, generally, defy generalisation – it’s why search and digital was able to offer something to advertisers – with the ability to cater to and personalise by person rather than broad demographic trend. It’s a shame to still see ‘Millennials did such and such’ articles pop up in news media where we can forgive them for not knowing better, but marketers have far more precise tools available to them – we should ensure we’re using them (speaking of which – there’s a good bit on attitudinal segmentation from Deloite here).

Keep up to date with the latest search and digital marketing news and views by subscribing to our blog – or contact us today to see what we can do for you.

The post This week in search marketing [11/03/2019] appeared first on Click Consult.

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You may or may not have noticed that the Benchmark conference site has been updating slowly over the last month, but we’re almost there – and with six months to go, the time to apply for your ticket is here!

With each passing year, we set ourselves the challenge of outdoing the previous conference – and we think we’ve managed it so far. Last year saw us move to a new venue to cope with the numbers, and this year we’re expecting to push the Hilton to its limit as we assemble our search and digital experts in Manchester for the fifth Benchmark Search and Digital Conference.

With some familiar faces and a lot of major brands represented – both on stage and in the audience – Benchmark represents one of the finest opportunities to learn from and meet fellow experts.

2019 will see the return of speakers from Bing and Google, as well as a host of top speakers from across the digital marketing mix delivering talks specifically designed to help you keep ahead of the changes that are coming thick and fast at the moment.

Whether you’re new to search, or an established professional, Benchmark will help to prepare you for the future of search with talks from one of the founders of schema.org helping you get to grips with structured data while Vodafone’s Search Product Owner will offer you insights from one of the world’s largest mobile service providers.

It’s going to be a great year – we hope you’ll join us! Apply for your ticket today!

Check out previous conferences here, or contact us today to see what Click Consult can do for your brand!

The post Benchmark Search & Digital Conference 2019 is only six months away! appeared first on Click Consult.

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Google Data Studio is a free piece of reporting software that allows you to use data from multiple channels, and display it in a number of different ways.  It also allows you to easily change date ranges for the data you are viewing, which is really handy for creating reports for clients and/or stakeholders

Whilst it has been available for some time now, Google have been slowly adding more functionality that makes it even more powerful. We’ll be looking at how best to utilise Data Studio as part of your reporting

Tips for using Google Data Studio [on.click VLOG] - YouTube

Ensure you are tracking the right things

Before we start looking at Data Studio itself, you need to make sure you are tracking what your users are doing on your site. Even if you are starting at a very basic level (button clicks, page views), then you can move onto more complex actions further down the line (offline conversions, Enhanced eCommerce).

If you are looking for more tips on how to set up tracking for your site, you can refer to our vlog about effective tracking for your website, as well as many help guides scattered throughout the net.

Ensure everything is tagged properly

You also need to be measuring where your traffic is coming from before setting up your reporting. It’s no good setting up reports until you are tracking the channel, campaign and targeting that has brought them there.

Google and Bing Ads make this easier than most channels with auto-tagging, but channels such as social and email are the two where this is most commonly overlooked.  If you don’t currently have a set template for your URL tagging, then Google’s campaign URL builder is perhaps the best place to start.

Use blended data sources

Blended data sources are amongst the most useful of Data Studio’s updates, allowing you to combine data from different sources within the same graph or table.  This means you can combine data from your different ad platforms, link your ad platform data to Google Analytics, or link data from your CRM platform to these systems.

You will need to find a ‘join key’ between the sources you are combining, which is a dimension that is consistent between these sources (such as ‘campaign’ or ‘month of year’), which needs to be in a consistent format across these sources. You also need to be mindful of filters, which need to be applied when building the blended sources else they will not filter correctly. Don’t fret if it takes a few attempts to set this up correctly!

Use custom metrics

Custom metrics have become far more powerful now they have been introduced to blended sources. They allow you to create metrics that you would not have access to without manually piecing data together, and still allows you to change date ranges to automatically change these new metrics.

For example, you can combine click and cost data from multiple advertising channels, combine Google Analytics revenue with data only available in other channels, or cost per offline sale for lead gen sites.

Get creative

The key thing with all this is to constantly look for now ways to report success. It’s fine to start off with a basic report whilst you are getting to grips with the platform, but keep looking for new opportunities and ways to display the data you have available. Is there something that you would love to have access to more regularly that would normally take you ages to piece together manually? See if someone else has done the same thing on forums, or simply have a go at trying to piece together the data yourself.

It’s also really important to stay on top of any new developments and features, as something that wasn’t possible previously could be in a new update.

For more on getting the most out of Google Data Studio, take a look at John Warner’s talk from Benchmark Conference 2018 5 Simple Steps to Optimising Your Monthly Analytics Reporting –  watch, read or download the slidedeck.

The post Tips for using Google Data Studio [on.click VLOG] appeared first on Click Consult.

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While we were unable to make it to the conference, we monitored the Pubcon hashtag with interest – and were able to pick up a few points we think will be of interest to our readers

Marie Haynes

A personal favourite of mine in the world of SEO – and the person behind the ever useful ‘Search News You Can Use’ newsletter, Marie Haynes talk hammered home a point that has been slowly permeating the SEO community over the last couple of years – but which she feels will be a major influence in the industry this year:

  • Link Building = Public Relations in 2019 – While the manner by which the digital marketing industry earns its links has shifted a lot over the years, we need to accept that link building needs to become a PR role. With search engines now creating ontologies, meaning unlinked mentions and context clues are all part and parcel of the authority of a site that links previously represented the whole (or almost whole) of.
Danny Goodwin (Search Engine Journal)

Goodwin tackled the possible gains from rewriting and updating content – especially important at a time when EAT is ever more important. The takeaway points from his talk – according to the hashtag – were:

  • 8 of top 10 pages with the highest page views in 2018 were rewrites
  • Posts typically increase traffic by 2x, 5x and even 10x+
  • Featured Snippets can be passed from old to new content
  • Don’t mess with content that works. If you have content ‘unicorns’ that are doing very well, leave them alone.
  • Google On Low Quality Content (inadequate EAT, main content quality is low, unsatisfying amount of main content, exaggerated/shocking title, ads or supporting content distracts from main content, unsatisfying amount of info about website or content creator, mildly negative reputation of website or content creator).
Gary Ilyes (Google)

Delivering news from the horse’s mouth, Gary Ilyes focused on the importance of optimising images. With Google set to monetise image search, it’s entirely sensible for the search engine to look to tidy up these results and ensure they’re delivering the best possible results.

  • Adding structured data to your pages and images may result in having your images “badged”, thus stand out more in image search.
  • Examples include seeing prices, in stock availability, etc. in image search next to your image.
  • Using images – It is important to have text on the page! Text around the image helps Google know what the image is about. Google uses image recognition, but not for every image. Not to rely on the recognition of images too much. Use text.
  • Are you using JS to display images, such as lazy loading? It’s often not search friendly. Google often sees the placeholder pixels. Google doesn’t scroll. They load up to 10k pixels in the height of the page and look at that. If lazy loaded, Google may not see the images.
  • Is a PDF considered an image by Google? PDF’s are binary files just like images. Google crawl the PDFs then pass them on to normal indexing. Then they convert the PDF to HTML internally. Images in the PDF are lost.
  • Google images is not just for memes, it can actually drive traffic, people sometimes forget that
  • If your images reside on their own URL, you can use the Mobile Friendly Tester to see if those URLs can be properly seen by Google.
  • Ensure you images are accessible to Googlebot
  • Add an image sitemap so Googlebot can find your images faster
  • The text around the image, the title and description of the page should be relevant to it
  • Add structured data to your pages so your images stand out more in the search results

Dan Saunders (Edit)
  • 62% of shoppers start their experience on Amazon
Deep Crawl
  • Faster Site = More Conversions. 53% of consumers will abandon a site of it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
@purnavirji – Senior Global Engagement Manager at Microsoft

Well worth a follow on Twitter for search insights (and just generally), Purna Virji had the following advice on voice:

  • Over 70% of consumers have never used voice search to make a purchase. When a voice app gets a new user there is only a 6% chance they will come back the following week. Voice CX needs to be better.
  • Key takeaway for voice: Write for the ear, not the eye.
@seosmarty – Brand Manager at Ninja’s Marketing

With a talk on link building, the Pubcon hashtag carried this advice from the ninja’s talk – your efforts need to include:

  • Linkable content
  • Vanity bait (ego-baiting)
  • Preliminary relationship building
  • Broken link building
@rehor – Marketing Technologist

Echoing the advice Click has been giving this past year or two, Marketing Technologist Elmer Boutin had these pieces of advice to give:

  • Make Schema.org your new favourite website
  • Start adding appropriate structured data to your content….NOW
  • Pay attention to information on sites like LinkedIn and Wikipedia
  • Claim your brands’ knowledge cards

@kevgibbo (Founder of Re-Signal)

What really matters in SEO, according to Kevin Gibbons is the following:

  • Is it indexed, how is indexed
  • How are signals consolodated (Content, links (internal/external), redirects. Fewer, stronger pages
  • Content (talk about the right things, the things people are searching for, the things top pages are ranking for, the things top pages are talking about, expand to domain/topic level opportunities, what’s driving value to competitors) Every person, every time.
  • Intent – match popular search terms. Google tries to show a mix (fractured Intent) of popular searches in their results and generally top pages talk about what people search for, meet user needs and fulfill your promises.
@GregGifford – Local SEO Expert

While we’ll have to wonder which film franchise his deck was themed with, we’ve seen Gifford often enough to know his advice is worth noting. On this occasion, Twitter returned these snippets from his talk:

  • The local SEO alogrithm is different than organic search
  • Links from local business are pure Gold
@casieg (Senior Director of Digital Marketing @KoMarketing)
  • Consumers are 131% more likely to buy after they’ve read a piece of educational content. Invest in content
Arsen Rabinovich – SEO Diagnostician at TopHatRank.com

Another talk which seemed, from the hashtag, to be plugged in to the same font of knowledge as Click Consult, the Rabinovich advised attendees that they should be paying close attention to:

  • Information architecture (IA)
  • Topic organisation (siloing Breadcrumbs)
  • Internal links and their anchors, and understanding how they relate to your target pages
@Ryan Jones – SEO Director @ WTFSEO.com

The focus for your SEO efforts, according to the Twitter reports from this talk, should be:

  • “Errors” that aren’t errors
  • Missing XML or HTML sitemap
  • High Speed Page
  • Missing Robots.txt
  • No custom 404 page
  • Missing H2/H3 tags
  • Title/description too long/short

While we may not be able to match Pubcon for location, our Benchmark Search and Digital Marketing Conference is now accepting applications for 2019 tickets – with the conference likely to tackle many of these topics and more, so apply for your place now, or contact us to see what Click Consult can do for your brand.

The post Key takeaways from Pubcon 2019 appeared first on Click Consult.

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When it comes to your SEO strategy, there are many different ways to ensure success. In our latest infographic we look at ten simple steps that will set you on the way to the top of search results and ahead of the competition

Our team of award-winning experts have compiled the following tips:

1. Understand your business – The first step is to know the products and services that you are offering and the how you want to take them to market. You need to have a clear pricing structure in mind and must consider the needs of potential customers to find them.

2. Build a website – It goes without saying that in order to sell online you need to have a website that both showcases your offering and allows customers to make purchases and bookings. Building a website from scratch is a good way to launch or relaunch a business and brands that already have a website may consider refreshing it with a new design and technical search engine optimisation (SEO). You want to make sure that it is eye-catching, easy to navigate, accepts payments/bookings and that there are clear calls to action (CTAs) to entice the buyer.

3. Know your audience – This is vital, if you know who your audience is then you have the best chance at marketing to them. You need to understand both where and how they search and make sure you will appear in those searches.

4. Know your competition – Just as important as knowing your audience, businesses need to be able to conduct competitor research. Doing this can help identify gaps in both content and your route to market and can act as a direct reference to what a potential audience is looking for. Businesses which regularly look at their competition often grow far faster than those that don’t.

5. Keyword researchKeywords are the terms that you need to rank for in search engine results pages (SERPs) if you are to increase traffic and ultimately sales. Think about how your audience will find you and the types of search that have plenty of volume.

6. Website optimisation Optimise, optimise, optimise. Everything on your site needs to go with the times. Prepare for mobile search, voice search, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and beyond. Another significant consideration is site speed – making sure all of your images are formatted correctly is a quick way to reduce load times.

7. Add/update Title Tags & Meta descriptions – There has been much talk about the impact that title tags and meta descriptions have on where your site ranks – Google has previously stated that they have no actual SEO benefit. So why should you bother? Well, whilst they won’t improve you position in SERPs, they do tell Google what your webpage is about and allows it to pull from  the keywords to form a search engine results page. Top tip: in your meta descriptions, write out the question you’re addressing while targeting the proper keywords.

8. Get writing – Content is one of the most important parts of a website. It must contain both the keywords and general information regarding a product and needs to adhere to the EAT guidelines that have been made something of a priority in the latest Google algorithm update.

9. Build links Link acquisition is a vital component of any SEO strategy. It allows businesses to connect with bloggers and influencers to build up a network of trustworthy links. These links boost performance in SERPs as they allude to the relevance of your site for a particular search term.

10. Hire an agency – Understanding the nuances of SEO can be tricky and it is for that reason so many brands turn to expert agencies. Having an agency onside allows you to form a bespoke strategy and to constantly ensure that you are adapting to Google’s ever changing ranking methods.

Explore some of the creative work we’ve produced for our clients, including eBooks and infographics. Need some advice on improving your brand’s online visibility? Contact us today – we’d love to hear from you!

The post Evolve your SEO strategy – Infographic appeared first on Click Consult.

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Your weekly news round-up from the world of organic and paid search (SEO and PPC), social media and content marketing…

Monday Google Ads to retire ‘average position’ metric

Google has confirmed it is to sunset the ‘average position’ metric in Google Ads in the third quarter of 2019, having last year rolled out Impression (Absolute Top) %” and “Impression (Top) %, which describe what percent of your ads appear at the top of the page and absolute top of the page which “give you a much clearer view of your prominence on the page than average position does”.

Source: Google blog

It also introduced Search absolute top impression share” and “Search (Top) IS, which show what percentage of the total available metrics your impressions represent and which it says “are the best metrics to use if you want to optimise for position”.

Ginny Marvin at Search Engine Land wrote “Change is constant in search advertising, but average position has one of the few constants for more than 15 years. Yet, with the removal of right rail ads, in particular, its utility has sharply declined in recent years.”

Google reacts to EU Copyright Directive

Google has issued a statement reacting to the finalised text of the new EU Copyright Directive, urging policy makers to take into consideration any “ unintended consequences that may hurt Europe’s creative economy for decades to come”.

The controversial Directive has been criticised by consumer associations, creators, publishers and academics who warn that it will effectively act as a censorship machine, limiting the ability of millions of people – from creators to everyday users – to upload content, while also threatening to block users in the EU from viewing content that is already live.

The Directive creates vague, untested requirements, which are likely to result in online services over-blocking content to limit legal risk. And services like YouTube accepting content uploads with unclear, partial, or disputed copyright information could still face legal threats… [the lastest version of the Directive] hurts small and emerging publishers, and limits consumer access to a diversity of news sources. Under the Directive, showing anything beyond mere facts, hyperlinks and “individual words and very short extracts” will be restricted. This narrow approach will create uncertainty, and again may lead online services to restrict how much information from press publishers they show to consumers. Cutting the length of snippets will make it harder for consumers to discover news content and reduce overall traffic to news publishers, as shown by one of our recent search experiments

Kent Walker, SVP of Global Affairs, Google

Keep up to date with all things digital and search marketing by signing up to our blog, or check out our resources to take your efforts to the next level with our industry leading insights.

The post This week in search marketing [04/03/19] appeared first on Click Consult.

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Did you know that WordPress accounts for nearly 60% of the CMS market? Also according to recent figures nearly 30% of all websites across the globe are run on the WordPress platform. Pretty impressive considering it all started in 2003 following the discontinuation of b2/cafelog

If you’re reading this, then I take it you’re one of those people. Whether you own an eCommerce store or a WordPress blog, over the next five minutes and 50 seconds (yes, we timed it) we’ll take you through a quick Q&A of WordPress SEO tips & best practices.

  1. What is the best SEO plugin?
  2. What are permalinks?
  3. How to improve site speed
  4. What about international SEO?
  5. How do I optimise my images?
  6. What is the best social media plugin?
  7. What is the best eCommerce plugin?
What is the best SEO plugin?

There are a number of SEO plugins all of which talk a good game. But for me, what has become the industry standard is Yoast. The Yoast SEO plugin has pretty much everything that you need. For businesses it is well worth investing in their premium package for a one-off fee of £79.

For this, you will be able to create your XML sitemap, robots.txt file, get internal linking suggestions, set a focused keyword for each page and easily edit the page titles & meta descriptions of your pages and posts and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Yoast also offers a number of additional plugins that will help with Local SEO, Video & News SEO and eCommerce.

Sidenote: During the 2019 YoastCon conference, YoastSEO announced they will provide live indexing with both Google and Bing.

What are permalinks?

Permalinks in WordPress essentially mean ‘permanent links’ and are the URLs of posts and pages on your site. When you first install WordPress, these are set to the following format:

https://www.yourdomain.com/?p=1234

Not very SEO friendly right? Fortunately there is a very easy fix for this. Simply go into your WordPress settings, select Permalinks and set the structure to ‘Post name’ type.

This will give you the best permalink structure for SEO best practices as it will contain your categories and post name. For example:

https://www.yourdomain.com/category/your-post-or-page-name/

How to improve site speed

Site speed has been confirmed as part of Google’s algorithm and getting it right will help both in climbing the Google rankings and delighting your customers. There are a number of ways you can improve your websites speed on WordPress, however for this guide we will just focus on the caching side of things.

My plugin of choice is W3 Total Cache. This is a much more advanced plugin so you will need a developers assistance with this one. The plugin helps with post and page caching and the caching of JavaScript and CSS files. It also supports the minifying and compression of those scripts, works in line with technologies such as AMP & SSL and also works in line with other plugins such as WPML (international sites), CDNs and many more.

Warning! You should only ever have one cache plugin installed.

What about international SEO?

For those businesses which are global and offer their WordPress site in multiple languages, you cannot go wrong with WPML (The WordPress Multilingual Plugin). International SEO is probably one of the hardest of SEO disciplines to get right both from a site structure and a usability point of view.

With WPML, you will have the ability to translate your URLs, meta title tags and descriptions, menus and most importantly adds the correct hreflang code to your site. This code tells Google, that the same content is available in multiple languages and protects you from issues related to duplicate content. We will cover this in greater detail in a future SEO guides.

How do I optimise my images?

Again getting the right plugin will let you optimise your images so they are perfect for your SEO performance and image search. Your cache plugin will automatically cache your images, but adding Imagify will allow further lossless compression and the removal of EXIF data.

You can already set the alt text for an image within WordPress, but for a site with hundreds or thousands of images it is not always possible to add alt tags to every image. Therefore you can add the Automatic image ALT attributes plugin which will use the file name of the image as your alt text, thus saving you a lot of soul destroying hours.

What is the best social media plugin?

With this one, there are a number to choose from and to be honest you can’t go wrong with any of them.  It really is all about how you want them to look on your website and which social media platforms to include.

Rather than me recommend one to you, take a look at this 10 best social media plugins for WordPress 2019 post on WPBeginner. Here you can choose which styles, platforms and more importantly, which ones will not negatively affect your sites performance.

What is the best eCommerce plugin?

For me, there is only one and that is WooCommerce. Similar to Yoast, this has become the industry standard for eCommerce sites on WordPress, being used by 21% of the top 1 million websites.

Built with developers in mind, this plugin lets you control every element of your store including adding additional extensions to help combat any issues you may have. It links in with Google Analytics, Amazon and eBay and as mentioned earlier in this Q&A, it links perfectly with YoastSEO.

We can show you what it will take to grow your website’s visibility with a extensive organic search (SEO) analysis from our experts. Cut through the noise of your competitors and make your brand stand out from the crowd – contact us today for your free audit!

The post 7 WordPress SEO plugins to maximise your search rankings appeared first on Click Consult.

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