Schema markup has been in existence for years. Yet it’s still one of the least used optimization techniques in SEO. Search engines understand it, but do you? If not, we’re here to explain how incorporating schema into your SEO processes will benefit your website. Marked up pages have shown direct correlations for higher rankings on the search engine results pages. Once you read this article, you will have a basic understanding of what schema is.
On October 24 and 25th, members of the Efferent Media team headed into New York City, this time to the annual SMX East SEO/SEM Marketing Expo, whose programming is directed by Search Engine Land. At SMX East, representatives from over a dozen marketing companies were present, offering solutions for client reporting, service automation, and more. The two-day convention, held at the Jacob Javits Center, featured dozens of focused learning sessions for SEO and SEM. There was a wealth of information presented over the two days, and each member walked away with different perspectives on the convention, as well as some sweet swag!
Members of the PPC team, including Director of Paid Media Andrea Fine and Search Coordinator Joe Czarniecki, were on hand when Google Ads representatives announced that they were rolling out four new metrics to assess pay per click campaign effectiveness. The new metrics include:
- Impr. (Abs. Top) % – Search absolute top impression rate
- Impr. (Top) % – Search top impression rate
- Search (Abs. Top) IS – Search absolute top impression share
- Search (Top) IS – Search top impression share
Andrea Fine discussed the impact of the new metrics, and shared some of her thoughts. She reported, “I gained a greater understanding of the average position metric. It’s not as cut and dry and I thought. I didn’t know that Position 1 can be above or below the organic results. I loved the benefit of learning about Google’s new, previously unannounced metrics to help bid to TRUE location on search results page.”
She continues, “I learned a new way to find where our clients’ target audience is online. Look at referral traffic in Google Analytics, sort by most conversions. Separate by device category and review ad placements on both mobile and desktop to ensure they have advertising on the site and the ads are placed well. Add qualifying sites as placements in campaign.”
Joe Czarniecki said that the new Google metrics were a major takeaway for him as well: “These new metrics are more important because they help you bid to your true location on the search results page rather than seeing an average with the avg. position metric. Measuring with these prominence metrics helps advertisers by removing any uncertainty in ad position. Additionally, it clears up any confusion in when you’re analyzing your campaign and unlike optimizing for avg. position, there’s no weirdness with bidding.”
Search Coordinator Eileen McGovern was impressed by the multitude of link building possibilities and the technical seminar on SEO siloing presented by Bruce Clay, a long-acknowledged SEO expert. Of link building, she says, “A lot of SEOs are afraid to link build, because the penalties for doing it wrong can be severe. In our post-Penguin world, it’s understandable but it causes SEOs to be too conservative. If you’re practicing black hat SEO, then be fearful. But these seminars prove that there are many effective white hat tactics to build legitimate links.”
About the SEO siloing, she says, “It’s amazing how a site’s hierarchy can affect organic rankings, and how quickly it can be done. Website design needs to be done with SEO in mind. We need to move away from old design conventions and optimize sites in a way that makes sense to Google/Rank Brain. If not, then we’re wasting time and opportunities. We always say that ‘Content is king’ but that content needs to be presented in a manner that makes sense.”
Each member of the Efferent Media team enjoyed meeting with the speakers and connecting with industry experts. Industry heavyweights include Barry Schwartz, Bruce Clay, and Eric Enge were in attendance, offering an uncommon accessibility. The two days spent attending this conference provided the team with the latest tactics and each member is looking forward to utilizing the insights that they picked up on behalf of Efferent’s client base.
There are many reasons why you need a digital marketing company for your business. Technology is constantly changing and algorithms on search engines and social media sites are often updated. Making sure your business ranks well on desktops and mobile while finding the target audience that leads to actual sales is a constant challenge and you need a digital marketer who meets that challenge every day.
Strong digital marketing is vital to help your business grow but when searching for a company to help your business, you may not be certain what to look for and what questions to ask. Efferent Media has a proven track record in helping clients achieve their goals and we want to share the questions we think you should be posing to your digital marketing company.
Do You Have a Portfolio/Who Are Some of Your Past Clients?
Asking to see a marketing company’s portfolio of past work and asking for references is important for multiple reasons. If a company is unable to provide a portfolio, this can raise several red flags. It could indicate lack of organization on the part of the digital marketer. It also might mean they’re uncomfortable about providing client information, which raises the question as to why. If a marketing agency tells you they don’t have a list of past clients, it can call their credibility into question.
But seeing a marketing company’s portfolio gives you an idea as to how they approach their work. It can give you insight into whether or not the marketing company’s work aligns with what you’re looking for and what your company’s goals are. Seeing a company’s prior work and references from clients will let you know what types of businesses and industries the marketing company has experience working with.
What Services Do You Provide?
It’s important to know what a digital marketer can offer you and whether these services fit your marketing needs. You need to gauge the level of your needs when talking to the marketer. Every company is different. A small company has different needs than a Fortune 500 company or a major brand. A new company has different goals than an established business. You want to make sure a digital marketer provides the services you’re looking for, but you also might not need everything they provide.
Among the services a digital marketing company commonly offers are:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Paid Search Engine Marketing or Pay Per Click (PPC)
- Web Development
- Social Media Marketing
- Social Media Community Management
- Content Development
- Video Production
- Paid Placements
- Media Buying
- Mobile Application Development (Android/iOS)
If SEO is a service you’re considering, it’s critical that you know what types of techniques the marketing company is using. You want the marketing company to use white hat techniques which involves optimizing content organically to ensure it performs well on search engines. They should avoid using black hat or grey hat techniques which involve getting high search engine rankings in an unethical manner. This may help achieve high rankings in the short term, but once the search engines catch up to what a black hat marketer is doing, it’s going to be a very expensive problem for your company to fix. The search engine can penalize or even ban your company which will bring your marketing effort to a screeching halt.
Do You Outsource?
Knowing who you are dealing with is a big part of the service you’ll receive. It may not be as clear as you think because digital marketing agencies are known to outsource some or even a great deal of the work they do. It’s not uncommon for marketing companies to work with:
- Remote or Satellite employees
- Other Agencies
Sometimes this can be done without affecting the marketing company’s product, but there are some problem areas. Outsourcing can cause delays and confusion creating stress if you have a specific need or have time frames to adhere to. There can be problems if the work is being outsourced to areas that aren’t in the same region or time zone as your company. The results can be a lack of familiarity with your local market and workers who understand your product or the needs of prospective customers in your area.
Who Will I Be Working With on a Regular Basis?
When you’re looking for a digital marketing agency the employees you meet with or interact with on the sales call may not be the same people you’re going to deal with on an everyday basis. While it’s hard to determine exactly who your main contacts will be in every case, because there are so many different types and levels of service, we can speak generally about digital marketing employees who commonly serve as client contacts. They include:
- Account Manager: They may be your main point of contact although you’ll likely deal with other employees as well. This is the person who will provide you with regular updates. The account manager will let you know about current specials, changes in your campaigns, report on key performance indicators, and more. The account manager collectively collaborates with different departments within their company. This provides an easy streamlined process.
- Project Manager: A project manager also works in unison with different departments overseeing campaigns. This boosts communication and allows you to speak with someone who is familiar with the entirety of the work being done on your behalf for a particular campaign or project.
- Department Heads: In some cases it’s more convenient to deal with a point person from individual departments to get specific information. This is not unusual especially when dealing with true in-house agencies that have all of the departments you’ll work with on site. Many agencies use sophisticated tools that allow interdepartmental synergy. This can give a more customized experience to clients and it’s a great way to immerse them in what’s going on with their marketing campaigns.
How Do You Report on Results?
While businesses always want to see the tangible results of their marketing campaign, most managers are also immersed in running the day to day operations of their business. There’s no one size fits all approach to reporting results, which presents a challenge to digital marketing agencies trying to produce the results of their work.
If you’re hiring a digital marketing agency, sometimes there may be campaigns in which you would like to receive daily reporting. In some cases, you might have to look at data reports 2-3 times a week to decide where you should be allocating budget for the marketing campaign. In most campaigns, monthly reporting is an industry standard. This allows the analysis of an entire month; which leads to month over month reporting and even year over year reporting within a monthly report. Quarter over quarter reporting is another useful way of reporting results
You need to decide the level of reporting that’s right for your company. Whatever level that is, you want always make sure you have a clear line of communication with the agency. Drawing a statement of work (SOW) is a great way to make sure both you and your agency understand the relationship.
How Frequently Will You Meet?
This is another area where the answer depends on the approach and schedule of the client. Meeting in person is important, in our opinion, but if that can’t happen, bi-monthly or monthly calls for review or strategizing are mandatory. Business owners are often busy running their operation and don’t have the time to meet as often as they’d like. There have also been plenty of instances where a business might have a designated representative to deal with a marketing company. This allows meetings to occur more often.
Monthly and quarterly meetings are the most common types of in person meeting. But this can change depending on seasonality or due to distance between the marketing agency and the client. Sometimes technology can get the job done and online or telephone conferencing can save both parties travel time.
Is There a Contract I Need to Sign?
Contracts are common if not standard procedure in many cases. They allow a business to feel comfortable with exactly what they are getting from their digital marketing agency. They allow everyone’s expectations to be stated, and executed.
Some agencies or companies prefer using a statement of work instead of a contract. Sometimes there might be no contract at all. Whatever the situation, you want to make sure you have an agency that is going to make you and your business a priority.
Now for the Best Part
Efferent Media is an agency that works completely with in-house employees. We use ethical White Hat SEO techniques, and offer every service listed above. Our priority is achieving results, driving positive return on investment (ROI), and full transparency. We deliver thorough and cohesive monthly reports and for some clients we do customized reporting. We invite you to come ask us the questions we’ve outlined today.
Advertising on Google
It’s no secret that Google dominates the search engine market share. As their share continues to grow month over month, companies are buying more ads, and people are increasingly clicking on those ads. According to The Wall St. Journal, Google’s revenue from advertising rose to $21.5 billion in the second quarter of 2016.
That’s a lot of money. Would Google like to make more? Of course, but there’s something else they care about – relevancy. It’s in Google’s best interest to show the most relevant search results possible. It’s what keeps their market share growing.
So how does Google balance revenue and relevancy? That’s where quality score comes in.
What is Quality Score?
Quality score is a scale of 1-10 that Google uses to rate the relevancy of an advertiser’s ads and landing pages in relation to the keyword being searched. There are 3 components Google uses to determine quality score:
- Expected Clickthrough Rate
- Ad Relevance
- Landing Page Experience
The more relevant your ads and landing pages are to the user, the higher your quality score.
How Can a High Quality Score Save You Money?
Per Google’s “Settling the (Quality) Score” report, a high quality score leads to:
- Better ad positions for less cost
- Lower cost per click
Most people assume that the highest bid gets the top spot, but that’s not how the Google AdWords auction system works. In order to maintain relevancy in their search results, Google uses something they call Ad Rank. Ad Rank is your bid multiplied by your quality score.
If you have the highest Ad Rank of all the advertisers in the auction, your ad will be in the top spot. If it’s too low, your ad may not show at all. The higher your quality score, the less you have to bid to obtain the same Ad Rank.
This is why Quality score is especially important for small businesses and advertisers with a limited budget. If you put time into optimizing your account, you can end up in higher positions than your competitor even if your bid is less.
7 Tips to Help Increase Quality Score
Now that you understand quality score and how important it is, it’s time to take some action to boost your score.
#1 – Make Sure Your Keywords Are Grouped Properly
One of the biggest mistakes new advertisers make is creating one ad group with a bunch of keywords that aren’t related to each other. Don’t make this mistake. Create tight ad groups and make sure the keywords in the ad group match your ads.
Let’s say you own a bicycle shop. You sell various types of bikes such as mountain bikes, road bikes and hybrid bikes. You should have ad groups for each bike type. Then you can tailor your ad text to each type. If someone is searching to buy a new mountain bike, they are more likely to click on an ad that says “Great Selection of Mountain Bikes” than “Great Selection of Bikes.”
#2 – How to Optimize Your Ad Copy
Your ad copy should include the keywords you are targeting as well as content that is actually on your page. If you’ve followed the first tip and have tightly themed ad groups, you should be able to write relevant ads that speak to the keywords in the ad group.
It’s not just about keywords. Anything you mention in the ad text needs to be on the landing page. Whether it’s a specific offer or benefits of your service, if it’s not on the page you’re not providing a good experience for the searcher. Not only will you lose out on a potential customer, you will pay with higher costs per click.
#3 – Improve Your Landing Page Experience
Along with making sure the landing page is directly relevant to ad text and keywords, there are other steps you can take to improve landing page experience.
- Be transparent about what your business does and make sure your contact information is visible and easy to find.
- Be sure your page is easy to navigate. Don’t make users hunt for information and don’t annoy them with pop-ups while they’re browsing.
Landing page optimization isn’t only essential to help quality score, it can improve conversion rate and lower your cost per acquisition. Those are key performance indicators (KPI’s) that you should always be looking to improve.
#4 – Always Be Testing Ads
Always have at least 2 ads per ad group to test against each other. When there’s a clear winner, pause the underperforming ad and write another ad to try and beat the winner. By doing this you should be rewarded with higher clickthrough rates, which lead to higher quality scores!
#5 – Check the Search Term Report & Add Negative Keywords
Stop your ad from showing on non-relevant terms by adding negative keywords. If you sell mountain bikes but only sell them for adults, you don’t want someone who searches “mountain bikes for kids” seeing your ad. You would add kid, kids, child & children as negative keywords. Now whenever someone uses these words in their search, your ad won’t show.
Doing this prevents wasted spend for you and prevents wasted time & frustration for the searcher. It’s a win-win.
#6 – How to Decrease Page Load Times
Site speed is important to Google because it is important to users. People are busy and generally impatient when it comes to waiting for a page to load. Having a slow loading site will not only hurt your quality score, it will cause potential customers to click away from your site and click on a site that loads faster.
How fast should it load? According to Google, nearly half of all visitors will leave a mobile site if the pages don’t load within 3 seconds. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to test your site’s speed. You’ll get a grade and suggestions on how to fix issues that are slowing it down.
#7 – Use All Relevant Ad Extensions
Ad extensions give you more real estate on the search engine results page. They help you stand out from your competitors and improve your clickthrough rate. Higher clickthrough rates will help boost your quality score.
Only use extensions that are relevant to your business. Spamming the results page with irreverent information is not good for your business or quality score.
It’s Not All About Quality Score
It’s important to keep in mind that quality score is there as a tool to help assess your account & if it’s deemed relevant to Google. It should not be something you use to measure the success of your campaigns. Having a 10/10 quality score on a keyword that does not convert for you is not going to do anything for your business.
If you have the time to put into it, optimizing your account for quality score will save you money & allow you to compete with companies with much bigger budgets then yours. But a lot of business owners are already multitasking & simply don’t have the time manage their account properly.
If that’s the case, consider hiring an agency like Efferent Media to manage the account for you. The management fee can be a lot less than the fees you will be paying Google for a poorly managed account.
Learn more about Efferent Media’s Search Engine Marketing Services and how we can help your business get the highest quality score and lowest cost-per-acquisition possible. We don’t help Google make money. We help Google stay relevant.
How Branding Can Affect Your PPC Campaign
Today, with a little organization and know-how, it’s easier than ever to run a well-targeted PPC campaign online and land your ad right in front of your ideal buyer. And by leveraging the power of remarketing, the odds of landing a conversion are that much higher. With all of that said, the best way to stack the odds in your favor comes down to utilizing the aforementioned tactics wisely. That means taking advantage of every pixel on your screen, and using each one to build a lasting impression.
Defining your branding is essential to the success of any impression. In the plainest of terms, it’s the reason that you can see golden arches — or even just the colors red and yellow — and suddenly want a cheeseburger. Billions of dollars have been spent making that response possible. By exposing you to that branding over the course of your life, McDonald’s has created a Pavlovian response to their logo. There’s something very fundamental about us seeing something and making an association. It’s also the same mechanism in our brains that helped our ancestors know which berries were okay to eat, and which ones were poisonous.
You might be asking, “What does my ancestors hunting for berries have to do with my remarketing?” Simple! By understanding and tapping into visual language and associations, you can have a highly effective campaign that works consciously and subconsciously. And you don’t need a supersized budget to put these principles to work!
The Effect of Branding Over Time
In this case, we take “effective” to mean two different things:
This is the goal of any good campaign, isn’t it? However, we propose a second scenario:
Maybe six months from now, you run a new campaign: new product, new message, but same branding. If the target demographic is the same, chances are the person who hasn’t converted is in that pool. Your branding will resonate with that person.Does this scenario sound familiar?
“Hey, nice [product]. Who make that?”
“It’s from [company].”
“Oh yeah, I think I’ve heard of those guys…”
That is the power of effective branding at work.
We’d like to help your brand achieve it maximum impact potential. Let the branding experts at Efferent Media help you establish — or refine — your company’s visual voice. Call 631-867-0900 today, or fill out our contact form here!
After all the hard work that is put in to getting your clients to visit your webpage, how do you now convert them into leads? Landing pages are a great start!
A landing page is a web page that allows you to capture a visitor’s information through a conversion form. The pages are effective in that they convert a higher percentage of visitors into leads by removing distractions that may exist on your website. Landing pages have the ability to target a very specific goal to your audience — either from e-mail or ad campaigns via social media — and include a call-to-action (CTA) that you want potential clients to take while on the page. Landing pages are underestimated by some, but here are a few reasons you should consider implementing them: [Read more…] about 3 Reasons You Need Landing Pages
The Holiday season is here. Advertisers have saved a lot of their annual budgets for this very moment. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are looking for increased profit this very second. While many of them will turn to Social Media, not all of them will be successful. In fact, advertising on Facebook and Instagram is more complicated this time of year than any other. Let me explain.
Don’t get me wrong, advertising on Social Media is the way to go. In fact, there’s nobody that can target better than Facebook and Instagram besides the post office. However, it’s easy to get confused in the process if you don’t understand the way Facebook and Instagram ads actually work. [Read more…] about Run Last Minute Social Ads This Holiday
Getting the most out of your advertisements is crucial to success. With that in mind, how does one really measure the success of their ads? Facebook provides conversion pixels to ensure you’re getting your message across, and your business goals are met. Conversion pixels allow you to track when users end up on the website page you want them to, like your purchase confirmation page.
So, what is a conversion pixel? In short, a conversion pixel is a bit of HTML code that presents a 1×1 pixel on the landing page of your choice on your website. When someone clicks on your ad and ends up on the page containing the code, it will show you the conversion on your Ads Manager page. [Read more…] about Tracking Your Instagram and Facebook Ads with Conversion Pixels
Everyday social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and now Pinterest, are moving into the world of paid advertising, some with more success than others. It’s hard to monetize these websites because they’re social in nature. With no clear ROI, some businesses are still hesitant to spend marketing dollars on them. There’s one site planning to launch ads that may change all of that. Pinterest may be able to monetize it’s service in a way that no other social media website has been able to accomplish yet. [Read more…] about What Pinterest Advertising Means for Businesses