Google Ads Guide: An Introduction to Smart Shopping

Google Ads Smart Shopping campaigns are a fully automated campaign type that combines the look of traditional shopping ads with the dynamic aspect of dynamic remarketing campaigns. Google utilizes your Shopping Feed, Bids and Machine learning to match your ad to what it believes is a relevant search. It also has the capability to show a personalized ad to users who have engaged with your products or your website though GDN.

Still not running Smart Shopping Campaigns? Well get on it! Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started.

Smart Shopping Ads appear across Google networks including the Google Search Network, the Google Display Network, YouTube, and Gmail.

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Google Search

Search queries along with predicted intent are used to determine which of your products will be shown.

Google Display Network (GDN)

Display Ads are personalized based on previous user engagement with your products or website.

  • You are required to also upload your logo (which should already be in Google Merchant Center), an image, and text.

We have seen that Smart Shopping takes priority over traditional Shopping campaigns and display remarketing campaigns for the same product within the same account. So if you see a decrease in performance for those ad types, that’s why. If your Smart Shopping campaigns are successful, we recommend pausing Traditional shopping campaigns altogether.

Bids and Budgets

Google recommends practitioners use the combined historical daily spend of your current Standard Shopping and display remarketing campaigns to set a budget for your new campaign.” You can always set an initial budget to test and adjust accordingly after the learning period.

Along with a fully automated Smart Campaign, comes (you guessed it) Automated Bidding. Seer is leaning heavily into automation and recommends testing smart bidding strategies whenever possible. Smart Shopping campaigns automatically work to maximize your conversion value within your determined budget. If you have a minimum return goal you need to hit, you can also set a target return on ad spend (ROAS).

  • After the learning period (~15 days), check in and adjust tROAS goals to meet efficiency and/or conversion goals.
  • For better return, set a more aggressive ROAS target. This will help the Google Ads algorithm strive toward a higher return, rather than focus on conversion volume. Note: Conversion volume as well as overall volume will decrease.
  • For more visibility and conversions, set a less aggressive ROAS target. This will help the Google Ads algorithm strive toward conversions, rather than focus on return. Note: Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) will decrease.
  • Check in every few weeks to make sure this campaign is hitting your goals and adjust return targets appropriately.

Run a device analysis

💡 Get reporting on device performance and use this to improve your product page performance on specific devices OR tailor your shopping feed content to specific devices.

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Product Segmentation

💡 Run an Item ID report (Reports > Predefined Reports > Shopping > Item ID Report) to view performance by product. You can use this data to sort products into different campaigns by performance or identify feed optimization opportunities.

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Identify Negative Placement Opportunities

💡 Run an account-level automatic placements report (Reports>Predefined Reports > Display/Video > Automatic Placements (group)) and identify negative placement opportunities, if applicable.

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Exclude Poor Performers

💡 Exclude product groups or individual Item IDs from your campaign based on performance.

We get it, it can be nerve-wracking trying a new campaign type for the first time, especially an automated one. But trust the machine!

Give The Machine Time To Learn

While you should check in on your campaign the initial days after launch to make sure it’s delivering correctly, you don’t want to start judging performance right away. Give the campaign ~15 days to learn your campaign and optimize toward your goals.

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Make Sure You Have Enough Data

The initial days after launch are not going to give you enough conversion or revenue data to truly evaluate performance. The more data you have to evaluate performance, the better. Stop Guessing – let the data tell the story.

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Consider Your Primary KPIs and Goals

Although Smart Shopping can be a bit of a black box, machine learning is optimizing towards the goals and KPI’s you initially set.

You may think to yourself: “This campaign has fewer impressions/clicks than my traditional shopping campaign.” or “This campaign has a different Average CPC than my traditional shopping campaign.”

But remember: If you set a tROAS goal, Google is working toward getting your campaign as close to that ROAS target as possible. As mentioned above, for higher return, set a more aggressive ROAS target. For more visibility and conversions, set a less aggressive ROAS target.

💡  Pro Tip: Try not to adjust the tROAS goal within the learning period.

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Take Seasonality Into Account

Slower times of the year for your business/industry are usually a great time to test new initiatives – but it’s definitely important to account for seasonality. If you’re a swimsuit company that launches a Smart Shopping campaign in November – campaign performance at that time may not be a true indicator of Smart Shopping’s true potential.

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Take Lag Conversions Into Account

Lag refers to the time between when a user clicks an ad and when the same user completes a conversion action (in E-Commerce, it would be a transaction).

Why does this matter? Some conversions take more time than others. I have seen conversion variances fluctuate as much as 10-15% (even on a weekly basis). If your account usually experiences lag conversions, it may take a little more time to gauge true performance.

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Now that you have these tips and tricks under your belt, it’s time to create your first Smart Shopping campaign. If you have any other questions about Smart Shopping, or PPC in general, reach out to the greater team here at Seer!

And be sure to sign up for the Seer newsletter to stay up to date on all things digital!


SEOs: Do You Suffer From “Imposter Syndrome”?

Introduction

This week, I wanted to talk about imposter syndrome in the SEO world. 

“Imposters” are people who feel like a fake; people who may be doing their job just fine but feel like, at some point, they’re going to be ‘found out’ as a fraud or as someone who shouldn’t hold their position.

I first experienced imposter syndrome when my (amazing) teammates congratulated me during my first month at LSG. They said I was doing a great job with SEO, but I felt like I was just doing…my job, not going above and beyond in a way that warranted praise. “Surely,” I thought, “I’m getting away with something. It’s only a matter of time before I’m found out as mediocre.” And yet… I wasn’t. Two years running!

Imposter syndrome is common among people who are new to their jobs, but you’d be shocked at how prevalent it is even among people who are “experts” or have been doing SEO for years. Here are a few experiences some of my co-workers have had with imposter syndrome:

Interview 1: Tessa Voecks, Director of Project Management

When did you start experiencing imposter syndrome?

T: “I’m a perfectionist and have a ton of anxiety, so I think part of imposter syndrome will always be part of me. I just never feel good enough no matter what I do, or I reach a goal or get close to reaching a goal and then one up the goal…so I never really reach my goal…It’s not healthy.

I think it started at the job before coming to LSG. It was due to being made to feel I wasn’t good enough. I was constantly put down for being a woman in a man’s industry, and was constantly told I might know marketing things but I’d never ‘understand’ my employer’s products or dev work because ‘it’s really a man’s product/trade’. 

I was constantly belittled and put down despite running small but really successful SEO tests. I’m mad at myself for not sticking up for myself at the time, but they’d put me down in a way that was ‘nice’ and not obviously mean/rude. Hindsight, I wish I had the confidence to present my case and not take no for an answer.

Now, I have imposter syndrome more, but for different reasons (like poor self-confidence). I feel I’m fairly intelligent, but since meeting so many more people in SEO as well as working with my brilliant co-workers, I feel like I don’t belong…I just feel plain dumb at times. It just causes me to shut down for fear of judgment. It’s for sure something I’m trying to work on though. I remind myself daily that being wrong is an opportunity to learn not to fail.”

What do you think brought on your imposter syndrome or made it worse?

T: “In the first case it was poor leadership, poor treatment of women, and an environment that refused to adapt but rather than explaining why not, they’d just put people down.

Now, it’s just my own lack of self-confidence, anxiety, and constantly comparing myself to other brilliant SEOs in the space. These are really hard things to overcome because they are just part of me. Regardless of counseling/therapy/feedback, it’s just who I am. Trying to listen to the ‘good voices’.

Do you still suffer from imposter syndrome?

Yes. I just lack the self-confidence to feel equal to or smart enough to compare to my peers. Fear of being excluded and not fitting in is also part of it. I just feel like there’s no way I’m able to be as smart as other SEOs, even though I know if I put in the work, I sure could. Self-confidence. It’s something I’m trying to work on, but it’s really hard.”

What kinds of things have you done to relieve those feelings?

T: “I think part of me will never recover, and I’m okay with it. It keeps me driving and wanting for more. But to try to combat some of it, I’m trying to stick my neck out there and interact w/ people in the SEO space on Twitter and other forums/blogs about non-SEO related things. Seems weird, but it’s given me the confidence to fit in before I toss out my own SEO thoughts. 

I am also trying to be just overall more brave about voicing my opinion. At least once a day I take a ‘risk’ and speak up about something that makes me super nervous. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong, but either way, I’m reminding myself daily that being wrong isn’t failure, it’s a way to learn. But it’s HARD!”

Interview 2: Wesley Anderson, Local SEO Analyst

When did you start experiencing imposter syndrome?

W: “When my boss at my old agency told me to figure out SEO and made us start selling it before I had even started to see results. Ever since then I have felt like I had to play catch up. It was a bad way to start for me.”

What do you think brought on your imposter syndrome or made it worse?

W: “Reading blogs on SEO sites that seemed like everyone else had it figured out with their data and apparent ranking changes, when I didn’t really see that on my end.”

Do you still suffer from imposter syndrome?

W: “Here and there. Being at Local SEO Guide has shown me that SEO doesn’t really have set rules, and everyone has to figure out what’s best for the website. Though there are a few things that are important: content, links, and technical SEO.”

What kinds of things have you done to relieve those feelings?

W: “Talking to other people in the industry! Learning that everyone is doing their best to figure it out. Once I got past the conference speakers and the blogs that seemed like everyone had it figured out, it was easy. There’s a whole SEO world where everyone is sharing information and trying to help each other.”

Interview 3: Dan Leibson, EVP of Search

When did you start experiencing imposter syndrome?

D: “Basically as soon as I started working with Andrew (Founder/CEO). 

I basically went from being a behind the scenes SEO operator (who just had to get shit done) to working with someone who, in their words, was a ‘C-Grade SEO Celebrity’. So I started comparing myself to those types of people, which is never good for self esteem.”

What do you think brought on your imposter syndrome or made it worse?

D: “It was a major shift from being a behind the scenes SEO operator to being in the ‘SEO Scene’. You think everyone has it going on or knows everything, has some special secret, etc. Spoilers, they don’t.”

Do you still suffer from imposter syndrome?

D: “So, I was just talking about this with some speakers at SMX (Search Marketing Expo). I think that, in general, my imposter syndrome has finally gone away, though it pokes its head up here and there when I am doing something new.”

How have you recovered from imposter syndrome?

D: “Just focused on getting stuff done here at LSG. Also, power posing (the Amy Cuddy type). Kick my feet up, do victory arms, etc. Remember, no one knows everything, and this space is just marketers marketing marketing.”

Interview 4: Zoe Sterling, Local SEO Analyst

When did you start experiencing imposter syndrome?

Z: “I think it was after my internship ‘ended’ by Dan calling me to hire me. I was kind of like…’You want to hire me at 19, as someone who knows barely anything other than what people have taught me?’

I don’t think I really understood how the whole company worked because I had never experienced a remote job (let alone any large scale full time job) and so I was kind of feeling like I wasn’t supposed to have this job.”

What do you think brought on your imposter syndrome or made it worse?

Z: “I think Nick W. brought up imposter syndrome on a group call after someone praised him for something, and since I’ve never worked (outside of retail) I had no idea what it was. And then I looked it up, and I was like, ‘If my coworker feels like that, then how should I feel?’”

Do you still suffer from imposter syndrome?

Z: “No. I feel like I’ve kind of gotten the idea of this whole world of SEO, and I realize that there is a skill set level that is required, but as long as you use resources almost anything is able to be figured out. After going to Search Marketing Expo I really was, like, ‘Okay, I got this. I’m where I’m at because I can do this.’

Also, I think after meeting everyone at the conference I saw how nice and supportive they all were, and that they’re all here to help me. I saw that I’m not fighting a battle alone, and that I didn’t have to isolate myself so much by thinking that I didn’t belong in SEO.”

How have you recovered from imposter syndrome? 

Z: “I think I recovered on the last company retreat when I met everyone and realized that they’re just humans and not computer wizards (even though they kind of are, still!). 

Once I had an idea of most things that people were doing in the company, it made everything seem less foreign to me. I felt like I was helping out with everything, and that they needed my help.”

Interview 5: Nik Wright, Director of Content

When did you start experiencing imposter syndrome?

N: I don’t think imposter syndrome can be relegated to an exact moment in time. For me, it’s situational. It can arise at any time, with varying intensity.

However, after about 10 years of working in journalism and publishing, a familiar industry, I made the jump to SEO and content strategy. Within a few months, I had all sorts of people asking me SEO questions that I had no qualifications to answer, compared to you and our coworkers.

For example, 3 months after I started here, one of my grad school professors asked me to deliver a guest lecture on SEO for journalists. I got the deer-in-headlines feeling when the request came, fearing that I’d end up babbling some incoherent, hand wavy stuff about title tags and topics. It ended up being fine. From that talk, I still get questions for advice, lots of thanks, and even a few client leads for our company.”

What do you think brought on your imposter syndrome or made it worse?

N: “I think for most people, imposter syndrome is the result of overconfidence being in debt to underpreparation. And a little bit of debt is OK and healthy — it keeps you on your toes. If you’re somewhat prepared to deliver a talk, take on a job, leap into a situation you’re rusty at dealing with, having confidence in yourself will inspire others to be confident in you, too.”

Do you still suffer from imposter syndrome?

N: “Every day, to some degree. With more experience, small wins, and trust of others, it goes away bit by bit.”

What kinds of things have you done to relieve those feelings?

N: “For me, I mitigate imposter syndrome by asking lots of “dumb” questions, and being honest about my abilities and knowledge.

One trick I’ve used to really help is called “Inversion,” which my old college pal James Clear writes about. It involves imagining the worst case scenario for anything. Thinking of all the ways something can go wrong. Then avoiding all of those things.”

Conclusion

Have you experienced imposter syndrome while working in the SEO world? Tell us in the comments what it looked like for you and what you’ve been doing to overcome self-doubt.


How Google Algorithm Updates Inform Content Audit Processes – Jordan Koene // Searchmetrics

Episode Overview: Google’s recent series of updates all share a common thread of improving the user experience and changing the way their search engine evaluates and labels high quality content. Join host Ben as he interviews Searchmetrics’ SEO Strategist and Advisor Jordan Koene about the signals coming from Google on how they’re assessing high-quality content in 2020 and how to perform content audits that will put you on the right track toward success before the next content algorithm update.

Summary

  • The best content audits balance organic writing using your company or brand’s voice, providing content that is useful to users and creates excitement and engagement.
  • The first component of a content audit is conducting an assessment of your content stock, documenting the types of content you have and accurately grouping content assets for your SEO and content teams.
  • Creating more content for the sake of it often does more harm than good, when optimizing existing content can increase visibility and prominence on Google.
  • Google’s focus on improving the user experience with the BERT update, September update and late Q4 – early Q1 updates indicate a continued concentration in 2020 on publishing updates that further prioritize content quality and user accessibility.

GUESTS & RESOURCES

Ben:                 Welcome to the Voices of Search podcast. I’m your host Benjamin Shapiro, and today we’re going to talk about auditing your content for the quality signals that Google really cares about. Joining us today is Jordan Koene, who is an SEO strategist and an advisor for Searchmetrics. Okay. On with the show, here’s my conversation with Jordan Koene, SEO strategist and advisor for Searchmetrics. Jordan, welcome to the Voices of Search podcast.

Jordan:             Hey, Ben.

Ben:                 Dude, it’s our first podcast recording with you on the other side. How is life as an advisor?

Jordan:             Pretty good. Actually, it’s been great. Oddly enough, since transitioning to an advisor, I have had a great opportunity to connect with a few of our customers and work with the team a little bit on this side. And it’s been a great pleasure and I’m really looking forward to this new chapter and turning this leaf and continuing to make Searchmetrics a success but contributing to the SEO community.

Ben:                 So, when you think about life as an advisor, not as a daily operator, tell us what it’s like to be doing this podcast from the beach in your shorts.

Jordan:             I wish it was that simple. I got to find a job. So I can’t just spend all the time on vacation.

Ben:                 It’s a rough life.

Jordan:             Right. A rough life. No, but I think there is some great value in being on this side. The first one is I can really dig deep and look at SEO from a variety of different angles and bring in that outside point of view on things. And I think that’s going to help Searchmetrics and help the SEO community alike.

Ben:                 So, let’s talk a little bit about what’s been happening in the SEO community and one of the hot topics that we’ve been hearing a lot about is all of the updates and how Google is signaling that they are thinking different about content and they’re thinking differently about quality. When we sat down earlier this week and talked about what we were going to discuss in the podcast, I said, let’s go back to the beginning. How do you do an audit? How do you figure out what is the problem with your website, with your SEO efforts and how could you make the biggest focus?

Ben:                 And you said, you know what, the biggest area of focus on change right now is in the content landscape. Let’s figure out content audits first. First off, walk me through what you consider to be a content audit and how is that changing?

Jordan:             Yeah, this is a great topic and this is one that is really often misunderstood from many sides of the aisle, from the management teams, from the content editorial writing teams, and as importantly the SEO teams. Ultimately a really good content audit is not writing for robots. It is not writing for Google. It is continuing to maintain your brand voice, being focused on developing something that is useful for your users, creating engagement, creating excitement through content. It’s all the things that your traditional content writers are preaching about in terms of what makes content useful and successful.

Jordan:             So, that is one area just to start off with because there’s often these debates and these misguided comments between these teams about what is a content audit and what is optimizing or writing content for SEO.

Ben:                 So, it seems like there has to be a marriage between those two things to be effective in the sense of content has to be engaging, it has to have a purpose, it has to be something that your customers want to consume or it’s not going to end up having a business impact. On the flip side, you can game Google in some capacity by understanding what are the words that they are going to prioritize for the keywords that you think are going to drive the most traffic.

Ben:                 So how do you blend the two mediums to be thinking about what is going to be effective content in terms of customer engagement and conversions and what’s going to be effective content in terms of optimizing for what Google is going to show to people that you think are going to be your customers?

Jordan:             A few years ago, my default answer would have been data, data, data, data, data, which is not the entire story. Data is certainly an important component of it, but before you really even introduce data to the content audit conversation, you actually need to start with effective communication. To do a good content audit or to have a good relationship with your content teams requires you to spend the time with those organizations and those teams defining what their goals are, what their objectives are and how you can help them drive towards those.

Jordan:             In addition to that, you need to really understand what is it that your brand or your company is trying to achieve or convey through this content. So actually live and breathe and consume the content that you’re ultimately going to provide an assessment on.

Ben:                 I think at the end of the day, data is obviously very important in doing a content audit. But I’d say that there are two types of data. There’s your qualitative and your quantitative data. And you can crunch all the numbers and see what the query count is for a specific keyword and try to figure out what your best shot at showing up have the highest ranking. That’s all the math behind SEO. The qualitative data is going to your customers, going to the other members of your team and try to understand some of the problems that they’re trying to solve and some of the questions that they’re asking so you can create content that is actually going to solve a business purpose.

Jordan:             Correct.

Ben:                 So, I don’t know if I’d necessarily say it’s not data that is the answer. It’s just not only numbers. It’s not only the quantitative, but it is the qualitative as well.

Jordan:             Yeah, absolutely. And I think the big thing that have work very well for good audits is that through kind of doing this interview process with those content teams to define those quantitative metrics, you’re actually prioritizing what it is you’re going to assess in that content audit. Because a lot of SEOs want to just start off with the general blanket things.

Ben:                 So, basically what you’re saying is step one is you have to go and do your homework. Right? Go meet the customers and understand what their pain points are, go talk to your customer service team, go see what questions the customers are asking. Go talk to your product teams then and see what solutions they’re creating and figure out how to create content that merges and marries those questions and experiences.

Jordan:             Absolutely. That is absolutely right.

Ben:                 So, once you go through and you have a general understanding of the landscape, then what comes next in a content audit?

Jordan:             So, to kick off a content audit, Ben, the first component is to really do an assessment. Take stock, take an inventory of what it is you have on your site, what kind of content do you have, and identify that content and collect that content in a way that can be communicated to both the SEO and content teams.

Ben:                 So, when you think about creating an inventory or assessing what the assets you have for content, how are you segmenting that? Are you looking, I’m thinking ecommerce first. What are our product pages? What are our category pages? What are our guides and customer support, our home pages? What are the other categories of pages I’m missing?

Jordan:             So, a lot of things that people are missing when it comes to content is that it’s not just the URLs or pages that you have on your site. That’s certainly one element of the audit. There are a variety of other content assets that you can be leveraging such as media. So there’s different media assets, video podcasts, like what we’re on right now. Another piece of data that is often overlooked and is really important is structured data. So can I use certain structure data elements to help convey my message and communicate to consumers through search?

Jordan:             Things like price, ratings, location, there’s a variety of different structured data elements that can be leveraged within content. And then lastly, I think one of the most interesting things that most people overlook is the use of taxonomy or information that helps you understand how a site is organized. So this is a very often misunderstood and overlooked component of content, but the way you catalog or organize the content on your site has a direct impact on your performance, and that is by nature a content asset.

Jordan:             It’s often managed and maintained by a variety of teams in your organization. And if you don’t look at that and consider that as part of your content audit, you might be missing one of the biggest opportunities.

Ben:                 So essentially there’s two steps here when you’re going through inventory, one is figuring out how many of each asset you have, whether it be media, types of pages, elements of structured data. What are the assets that you have? And the second piece is where do they live within your site? If all of your videos are structured 10 links down from your homepage, you might want to surface those a little higher if they’re critical to your business and not make your consumers hunt for them.

Jordan:             Right.

Ben:                 Once you have a good sense of first and foremost what are the problems that you’re trying to solve, who your customers are and what the solutions you have, and then you’ve gone through your inventory process, how do you start to marry the two and think of what your strategy should be and fill in the gaps?

Jordan:             Yeah. So the next step here is prioritization. So where am I going to get the most bang for my buck? And so this is where SEOs start to really get excited and start geeking out. So things like low hanging fruit reports, which is basically anything that ranks essentially on page two of Google. How can you get that to move to page one? Or target lists, so lists that have a targeted set of keywords that you want to focus on or you want to really emphasize or pages that are missing certain key elements, missing an H1 or missing a title or missing a good description.

Jordan:             So, these are priority mechanisms and I think this is a really important part of the conversation right here because priority tools often get misunderstood in our space. They get misunderstood for directives, like you must do X. You must always do the following and if you don’t follow this rule, SEO will never work. And that’s not really what a priority list is. A priority list is just helping you understand what is going to give you the most output or the most productivity.

Ben:                 This is the thing that I struggle with the most with evaluating any of my web properties is understanding, great, I have all this content, I know how my website is performing, how do I figure out what to do to make it better? And so I think that the call out of, look for the pages that you have that are surfacing on page two of Google. No brainer. Hey, you’re going to get much better value if somebody doesn’t have to click to the next page. Something that is close to being visible on the first page, looking for things that are obviously broken.

Ben:                 Look for priority keywords, all things that’ll help you figure out what to prioritize. And I’m always sitting here saying, “Hey, there’s got to be a diamond in the rough here. I know I’ve created a lot of great content and it’s not being surfaced. Can’t I optimize one of these pages and bring it from ranking 250th to ranking second?” At what point do you start thinking about looking at some of the long tail or buried pages and optimizing those?

Jordan:             That’s a great question. It really depends on the nature of the site and the business and this is one of those things that will get quickly exposed in an audit. If you’re working with a really large website that has tens of millions of pages, this becomes about how can I implement things at massive scale. So back to the inventory topic. If you have structured data that you can apply that might help you lift the rankings for many of these pages in a long tail scenario, then it might make a lot of sense to prioritize that as one of your recommendations in your content audit because you can apply structured data to tens of thousands and millions of pages.

Jordan:             On the contrary, if you’re dealing with a really small site, a site that may only have a few hundred or less pages, this becomes much more of an exercise around targeting. It’s about understanding what is it that’s going to work for these keywords, whether they be long tail because of the location variation or they’re long tail because of some sort of permutation or the topic itself is very focused or niche topic. Knowing what it is you’re trying to go after, targeting that by understanding the competition that’s ranking for that, dissecting what those pages have in terms of content will eventually drive the decision making necessary to lift the rankings for those pages.

Ben:                 How do you figure out the difference whether you should prioritize optimizing your existing content, updating the content, or just creating new content? When you start going through an audit and you’re thinking about where to really invest your effort, when should you start thinking about making changes to pages or just creating new pages?

Jordan:             Oh man, this is a great question, Ben, and I think this is one that is often overlooked by SEOs. And it’s one where we’ve become very accustomed in not only the search space, but just online in general has become very accustomed with this philosophy of more is better. Just keep pumping out more content. We’ve got this process in place. We create lots and lots of content, keep it going, don’t stop the machine. And that’s not really true, and it doesn’t work. In fact, it creates often more harm than good.

Jordan:             And so, to answer your question here, there’s a couple of components to knowing the answer of do you go and optimize what you have or do you go and build something new or more of it? The first question is what are your resources dedicated to today? So and oftentimes for SEOs, you don’t control where the content resources are going or who’s telling them what to do. You’re just a stakeholder. You’re someone who can give them input, but you’re not necessarily the owner of that. So understanding where your business currently stands on that, optimize it or build it spectrum is really important as an SEO because from that point you can actually direct the organization to make good decisions.

Jordan:             The second thing here is that you can make really strong arguments very quickly for optimization, but it requires good data to justify why that investment is good. It’s so much easier to sell the story of create something new and they will come. Everyone wants to believe in optimistic point of view, but the optimization story is one that has tons more value because the journey is shorter. Think about from this perspective, once you have a page in the index, once you have a page in Google, if you can get more people to visit that page, it’s way faster.

Jordan:             You don’t have to get Google to index, you don’t have to get Google to rank it. It’s just a matter of optimizing what you have. And so think about that component when you’re trying to scale these, putting these two options on a scale in which one you should pick between optimization or create new content.

Ben:                 I think of it from a word count perspective where you’ve already written some sort of a piece of content, a blog post, a product description, whatever it may be. You already written your thousand words on a page. If you’re going to create another piece of content, you’ve created another thousand words to get Google to rank a similar page as opposed to you might only have to change 50 words to optimize the page to gain incrementally more value.

Jordan:             Right.

Ben:                 So, there’s always some sort of a strategy and assessment that’s dependent on the brand. Jordan, as you think about the last stages of your content audit, when you’re going through and you’re evaluating your site, you’re figuring out what to optimize, what to create. There’s also the aspect of what do you cut, how do you figure what is not necessary and what you should be calling off of your website.

Jordan:             This is one that a lot of …

Ben:                 Throw some haymakers.

Jordan:             Yeah, I know. This is a big one here. There’s a lot to unpack on the, I call it deprecation. There’s a lot of different names for.

Ben:                 I like page murder.

Jordan:             Page murder.

Ben:                 No?

Jordan:             Page assassin. But on a serious note, I think there are various ways to go about this piece of the content audit. One of the most critical ones is knowing how to assess garbage. There are core KPIs that every company is driving towards, whether it be traffic, whether it be sessions, engagements, leads. There’s a variety of different KPIs. But ensuring that you’re tying your assessment of what needs to be removed to business metrics is the most important thing you can do. I remember one of the greatest stories and projects we ever worked on was we’re working on a site that had tens and thousands of different locations across the United States and then variations of those pages.

Jordan:             We show the CEO a specific page that included a product in a specific city. That product did not exist anywhere near that city. In fact, you couldn’t find that product within a thousand miles of that city because it was a tiny little city that didn’t sell that type of product. And so the reality of having that page, it was awful. It was a bad user experience. There was no inventory available. There was no product available and it just made no sense.

Jordan:             And so, knowing your audience and knowing how to prioritize the data that’s going to prove these things, proximity to the inventory was the data point we were using in this example, really helps to ensure that you are deprecating the right pieces of content.

Ben:                 So, Jordan, I guess the last question that I have for you is the signals that Google has been sending to the SEO community about how they think about content has been changing. Tell me about your takeaways after all of the recent updates and how do you think Google is changing the way that they evaluate content?

Jordan:             Ben, I’m glad we’re talking about this. And one of the reasons when we started unpacking this topic that we wanted to talk about this was because we felt like Google is very quickly moving in this direction, this direction of these content quality metrics, these somewhat subjective metrics that are not easy to understand require a deep set of knowledge, both institutional knowledge like what is it that your company does or has when it comes to content as well as great SEO knowledge and data to justify things.

Jordan:             And so net summary here is I really believe that the SEO space is very quickly going to face some serious content algorithm changes. The BERT update recently, the September core update and then the couple of updates that took place in December and January really were targeted towards low quality experiences, low quality content, thin content experiences. And I believe that by the time May comes around, the time period where Google typically make some big changes, we could see a big set of core updates focused on content and content quality.

Jordan:             Going back to some of the big Panda updates. For those of you who’ve been in the space for a while, Panda updates were often targeted towards content quality metrics.

Ben:                 I think what we’re seeing is Google getting more sophisticated with their ability to interpret the real meaning of content and not only we’ve seen it go from the domain level to the page level and now I think what we’re going to see is down to the paragraph level and even the sentence level.

Jordan:             Absolutely.

Ben:                 And so, it’s not necessarily going to be quality being dictated on your entire article. It’s going to be, “Hey this one line is the most important line of your blog posts. We’re going to grab that content and feature it in position zero or other elements on the page. And Google is really tokenizing each individual sentence and paragraph.” And to me that’s like the big thing that’s coming in terms of content and how we should be thinking about prioritizing and auditing our content is …

Jordan:             Bingo.

Ben:                 … What are the short form pieces of content that are relevant because I think that’s going to be more valuable to Google long term.

Jordan:             No doubt. No doubt. I think there’s a lot of learning that’s going to take place over the next three to six months in the SEO community around content quality and the signals necessary to be successful.

Ben:                 So, Jordan, help me land the plane here. In terms of summarizing and giving SEOs who thinking about going through a content audit or looking for somebody to do a content audit for them, what’s the golden rule? What’s the tip? How do we summarize and give some best practices?

Jordan:             Yeah, start analyzing what it is you have in Google. So the first and most effective place to start is go to Google Search Console and see what Google is indexing and not indexing. Oftentimes, Google tells us very clearly that they’ve crawled and don’t like something and we just seem to ignore it, like it’s just some mistake from Google. It’s not. So that’s one thing that I just want to leave out there because it’s such a simple task for many SEOs to do. And then the next big thing there is start having those conversations.

Jordan:             There are various content owners and stakeholders within your organization. Start having conversations with them, not just about SEO, but about what is the goal of our content, why are we publishing this content. And through that discovery process, you’re going to find some great opportunities to not only optimize, but maybe even expand the content you have on your site.

Ben:                 All right, great advice. Jordan, congrats on graduating to adviser and excited to see you again. Get back out there on those waves. Enjoy the beach while you can.

Jordan:             All right. Thanks, Ben.

Ben:                 Okay. And that wraps up this episode of the Voices of Search podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversation with Jordan Koene, SEO strategist and advisor for Searchmetrics. We’d love to continue this conversation with you. So if you’re interested in contacting Jordan, you can find a link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes. You can send them a tweet. His handle is JT Koene. That’s J-T-K-O-E-N-E, or you can find more information about Jordan at his personal website. It’s jordankoene.com, J-O-R-D-A-N-K-O-E-N-E-.com.

Ben:                 Just one more link I’d like to tell you about in our show notes. If you didn’t have a chance to take notes while you were listening to this podcast, just head over to voicesofsearch.com where we have summaries of all of our episodes and contact information for our guests. You can also send us your topic suggestions or your SEO questions. You can even apply to be a guest speaker on the Voices of Search Podcast. Of course, you could always reach out on social media. Our handle is voices of search on Twitter and my personal handle is Ben J Shap, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P.

Ben:                 And if you haven’t subscribed yet and you want a daily stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, we’re going to publish episodes every day during the work week. So hit the subscribe button in your podcast app, and we’ll be back in your feet tomorrow. All right. That’s it for today, but until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.


Podcast Guesting – Why it Should be Part of Your Content Marketing Mix and How to Setup Your Pitch

The question, “What’s your favorite podcast?” has become as popular of an ice breaker as “What’s your favorite TV show?” This is because podcasting awareness has exploded in recent years, so it’s a perfectly normal question to ask while making small talk.

To really bring the podcasting trend into perspective, a recent study from Statista found that, in 2006, only 22% of consumers knew what a podcast was, but by 2019 over 64% of consumers were aware of podcasting. And, by 2020, it’s estimated that podcast listening will grow to 132 million people in the United States – that’s a lot of subscribers! 

As podcasts grow in popularity, so does the demand for finding engaging podcast guests that are able to share their expert opinion, thoughts and ideas. And although podcasting has become a very crowded market, you’d be surprised how few businesses are actually leveraging these opportunities. Maybe this is because we’re all so focused on trying to start a podcast of our own?  I digress…

Unfortunately many people tend to think that podcast guesting is a low impact, high effort task. This can’t be any further from the truth. While it certainly involves a few hours of prep work, the benefit of being featured on a podcast that is popular amongst your target audiences is worth its weight in gold. 

If you consider yourself a subject matter expert, there are three main reasons why you should be incorporating podcast guesting into your content marketing mix, along with some considerations for once you get started with this strategy.

1. You’ll extend your reach to highly engaged audiences 

Podcasts have built-in audiences of active listeners. Although many of us listen to podcasts while walking our dogs, cooking and doing other tasks, this activity actually makes listeners more receptive. According to a BBC study, brand mentions in podcasts deliver an average 16% higher engagement and 12% higher memory encoding than the surround content. This is because the intimate, conversational nature of the podcast environment creates an elevated state of engagement, even for brand mentions. They’re also moments in which we’re not traditionally being advertised to and many times the host will incorporate a personal anecdote or experience using the product, so it makes the ad more memorable and personable. 

While your first instinct might be to pitch podcasts that can be found on Spotify’s Top Podcasts page, I recommend reaching out to lesser-known podcasts that discuss a niche topic that’s related to a topic you’d like to discuss. This is definitely the best route if you don’t have a lot of on-air experience. But even more importantly, it’s the narrow similarities that make deeper connections. If you share a very specific interest with the producer of the podcast and their audiences, the conversation is going to be more meaningful to those participating and those who are listening. 

For example, I recently had the pleasure of working with Arielle Spiegel from CoFertility. CoFertility had just launched and Arielle wanted to help spread the word about this amazing resource, so I began researching podcasts that discuss the topic of fertility and found Beat Infertility

Beat Fertility is all about empowering those experiencing infertility and is hosted by Heather Huhman, a career and workplace expert who specializes in helping people who dream of becoming parents navigate the complicated world of fertility treatments and other paths to parenthood. The podcast has an engaged audience of listeners who, while they’re all on their own unique journey, they share a similar experience and are compassionately engaged with each episode.

Here’s the message I sent to Heather:

When pitching to be a podcast guest, I incorporate the following elements into my message:

  1. In the subject line, make it clear that you’re pitching a podcast guest.
  2. Always link to the professional page of the person you’re pitching (or your own personal page if you’re pitching yourself). This could be a personal website, LinkedIn page or author bio on an outlet or blog.
  3. Provide a brief bio of the podcast guest (less than 2 sentences, if possible).
  4. Suggest a topic to discuss. If the topic has already been discussed, that’s definitely okay! Reference the episode in which it was discussed and explain what new insights or angle you’d like to talk about. This actually proves to the host that you are a listener of their podcast and will go a long way.
  5. Offer to setup a time to discuss over the phone and brainstorm.
  6. If applicable, provide an overview of the company that the guest would be representing (a boilerplate is also fine here) and make sure to call out what makes the company or product different from its competitors.

Heather from Beat Infertility ultimately was interested in having Arielle on as a guest and you can listen to the episode hereSince airing, Heather has also introduced Arielle to others in the fertility space, including prospective clients for Arielle and her partner’s fertility-related marketing consultancy. All goes to show that the conversation doesn’t stop once the interview is over with. These are connections you’ll continue building relationships with and sometimes you might even be invited back on the show!

2. You’re creating content without actually doing any of the legwork

If you’re a great conversationalist, the best thing about being a guest on a podcast is that you’re not the one who is actually producing the content. All you have to do is show up and talk. If you do find the idea of being interviewed tricky or intimidating, I’d argue that as long as you take the time to prepare thoughtful talking points you should be okay. Jay Baer from Convince & Convert has a really useful guide and to help with nailing a podcast interview and I highly recommend the accompanying checklist! Remember that you’re the expert and have faith in yourself – you got this!

After the interview is live and published, the content doesn’t stop there. Most times, podcast hosts will share the episode with their social media following on all of their various channels that they use. If they have a blog, they’ll also produce blog content summarizing the episode and will reference everything that was discussed in the episode itself (more on the benefits of all that later!).

Once the Beat Infertility episode featuring CoFertility aired, Heather posted three separate posts on both Facebook and Twitter encouraging her followers to take a listen. 

This additional content from another authority in the space helps you gain credibility with other podcasters, as well. Slowly but surely, you’ll be able to pitch yourself as a guest on podcast shows with larger audiences and eventually your reputation will grow.

3. There’s incredible value from an SEO-perspective 

Beyond the endless benefits of reaching highly targeted and attentive audiences (and even potential business leads) without actually putting in the legwork of producing the content yourself, being a guest on a podcast has a number of SEO-related benefits.

Along with releasing the episode, podcast hosts will publish either a summary or the full transcript of the episode itself. So with every podcast you appear on, you’re creating more backlinks to your site. I also always remind people that, if anything you reference during the interview has an accompanying page on your website with more info, share it with the podcast host afterwards in case they’d like to reference it in these notes. In the example with CoFertility, Heather included a bullet list of what the listener will learn during the episode and linked back to CoFertility twice:

This is especially of value because Google announced in August that individual podcast episodes will surface in search results and that they’re automatically transcribing all the podcast episodes it finds. Now, if someone does a Google search for a show about a niche topic or an interview with a specific person, the results will be potential podcast episodes that match their query. Google has also stated that it will eventually take specific signals into account when determining what episodes to surface, such as how many people listened or whether the podcast is one that has a lot of authority in the space.

Along with this, the backlinks that are created via social shares also contribute to your SEO profile and builds credibility with not only new audiences but also with Google. Needless to say, as you progress on your journey of podcast guesting and continue lining up interview spots, you’ll naturally grow your backlink profile with links from relevant, quality sources. 

Conclusion

Hopefully by now I’ve convinced you that podcast guesting is a strategy you should be incorporating into your content marketing mix. While having a recorded conversation with a stranger seems daunting, as long as you prepare accordingly it is truly an efficient and organic way to attract new audiences and build leads, all while boosting your SEO efforts. And once you’ve done a few, you’ll become a pro at podcast guesting!

The post Podcast Guesting – Why it Should be Part of Your Content Marketing Mix and How to Setup Your Pitch appeared first on BuzzStream.


Social learning: How to optimize your Facebook PPC campaign

For many of us, social media is a mysterious and ever-changing corner of the internet. Networks rise and fall at rapid rates, but one always seems to stay at the forefront of our minds. It’s clear that Facebook is the place to be, and 2.26 billion users may feel inclined to agree. If you feel like you’re not getting the most out of Facebook PPC ads (or are too afraid to take the plunge right now), you may have asked yourself how effective campaigns can take place through the social network. 

As the data shows, Facebook is only a narrow second-place to YouTube in terms of popularity among US audiences, and the world-renowned social network is twice as popular as its nearest like-for-like competitor. 

(Image: LYFE Marketing)

Naturally, this means that your PPC campaigns will be accessible for more users if utilized on the pages of Facebook. If your business has serious ambitions focused on attaining more customers or scaling as efficiently as possible, it’s certainly worth looking at building some PPC campaigns to go on Facebook.

But how exactly can users optimize their PPC campaigns? And just how effective could Facebook PPC actually be? Let’s delve into how businesses can optimized their Facebook PPC campaigns in a way that drives conversions and generates growth: 

Optimize your sales funnel

Facebook ads perform a little differently to Google ads, for example.

In the case of PPC advertisements placed via Google, it’s clear that audiences will be actively looking to buy the products or services in question, whereas with Facebook, it’s far more likely to be the case that you’re appealing to audiences who are simply browsing with little intention of making an immediate purchase.

This could potentially be problematic if you’re looking to operate on a smaller budget for advertising. 

With this in mind, it could be more useful to create a Facebook campaign that’s more focused away from the act of making an immediate purchase. Through using Facebook as your platform, it’s potentially most useful if you run a series of campaigns at the same time, all with different goals which could lead to creating your own social sales funnel. 

One of the most purposeful funnels you could create as part of your Facebook PPC campaign could focus on engagement. This helps to lure new customers in and is perhaps most effective when undertaken through the medium of video. 

It’s worth taking a moment to consider exactly who your target audience are before focusing on crafting a campaign that builds meaningful connections with them. 

Be sure to build engaging content for prospective customers and optimize your campaigns. When an uploaded piece of media has attained a healthy number of views – say, over 2,500 – create a new conversion campaign that targets users who viewed around 25% of your video.

By targeting audiences who have already engaged in viewing your campaign, it’s possible to yield much higher conversion rates as opposed to marketing in a more unfocused manner

Build exposure through frequency

It’s possible to monitor the number of times one specific user views your advertising campaign through ad frequency. This is an important metric because audiences that witness your ad repeatedly are more likely to recall it.

It’s important to leave your mark within campaigns – but be careful of overdoing your frequency – if your ad appears too often, it’ll only lead to users ignoring your branding. 

To help you take control of your exposure, be sure to place a frequency cap on your advertising report. Once the audience is saturated, your PPC costs will slowly begin to increase.

If you notice sharp increases in your costs, it could be worth duplicating your ad set and re-launching it for new targets – thus helping to realign your campaign for new audiences. 

Make your budget go further

A/B testing is always a great way of checking which type of campaign is best for your business.

When you first create your PPC setup for Facebook, you’ll likely be running two-to-three ad sets with multiple adverts within each set. To pick which ad set is more effective, it’s important to study the metrics available to see which campaign is best helping you accomplish your goals. 

When you’ve determined which ad is performing best, gently allocate more budget towards the set – a steady boost of about 10-20% will help to optimize the money you’re using without taking too many dangerous risks. 

If you continue to see encouraging results, repeat the process each day until you see signs of diminished returns on your investment. 

To help to study your ad performance more forensically, Google Analytics has a reliable platform for gaining insights into campaigns, while external platforms like Finteza can provide rich insights into your overall website performance as well as deep traffic quality checks. 

Fine tune your target market

Proper placements bring perfection to PPC campaigns. It’s possible to use automatic placements here as well as edit your settings. There’s no right or wrong answer here, but different options will benefit different types of campaign. 

For example, if you decide to incorporate Instagram into your ad reach, it’s reasonable to expect far greater engagement, but it’s likely that you’ll see far fewer comments or likes if you choose to place your ad as a Facebook page post.

Another effective add-on comes in the form of Facebook Messenger, which generally performs well when it comes to conversions. Audience Network placements can often increase a brand’s reach but it’s important to constantly monitor your metrics to ensure that no budgeting is being wasted. 

Get the right bidding option

Facebook uses an auction-based system when running advertising campaigns. Simply put, the social network chooses the most appropriate ad for audiences based on the level of money bid by a company and its performance on the website. 

The bidding system utilized by Facebook is becoming more complex than earlier in the 2010s however, and now users need to choose how they want to optimize their ads. Advertisers need to pick the type of campaign they want to run – whether it’s based on conversions in the form of link clicks, landing page views, or certain on-site interactions. 

Naturally, this will require some introspection and businesses will need to have a clear idea of their respective advertising goals before determining the bidding option that best suits them. 

Recycle ads to preserve engagement figures

It’s vital that your advertisements go down well with their intended audiences. More popular ads will be viewed widely as more favorable among users, and will likely receive considerably more engagements from targets.

However, many of the ad tests that you’ll perform to optimize your PPC campaigns will remove your comments and restart your engagement stats for each post. 

This can be a nuisance because of the value of likes and comments to advertisers, however, it’s possible to utilize the technique of ‘social stacking’ in a way that helps to keep all interactions in tact for all to see online. 

To perform social stacking, go to the ad preview page for the existing advertisement you’re aiming to keep. Click on the drop down menu to the top right of the preview and select the option ‘Facebook Post With Comments’. Copy the end of the existing URL for your ad and then choose to ‘Use Existing Post’ when setting up a new campaign. Paste the copied Post ID from the previous step and voila – a brand new PPC ad with all the relevant likes and comments carried over.

Peter Jobes is the Content Marketing Manager at Solvid, a digital marketing agency who specializes in SEO, paid advertising and website designing.

The post Social learning: How to optimize your Facebook PPC campaign appeared first on Search Engine Watch.


WordPress Site Health: What is it and where to find it?

WordPress 5.2 introduced a brand-new feature called Site Health. This is a tool that monitors the health of your site and notifies you of any issues or improvements to make. It is important for you to keep an eye on this page as this is where all major plugins will drop their notifications as well. Let’s dive in.

What is Site Health?

Site Health is a tool in WordPress that helps you monitor how your site is doing. It consists of two parts: a Status screen and an Info screen. You can find the Site Health tool via Tools > Site Health in your WordPress backend. In addition to WordPress’ checks, plugin developers can also integrate with Site Health.

As it gives critical information, you would expect it to show notifications in an additional way. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. At the moment, you can’t set an email reminder for it or find a widget on the dashboard. Luckily, the latter will be added in WordPress 5.4 due to arrive at the end of March 2020.

You can find Site Health in the Tools menu in your WordPress’ backend

Status page

Arriving on the Status screen, WordPress runs a performance and security analysis that checks your site and gives notifications and recommendations. At the top of the page, you’ll also notice a coloured circle that gives you an idea how healthy your site is. Seeing red? You’ve got work to do.

All the notifications are collapsable, so you can click on the title to see more information. You’ll also find links to more information about the issue and how to it.

Quickly get more context by clicking on a status message

Info page

On the second page, you’ll find an Info screen with detailed information about the configuration of your site. You can use this information to get help from your web host or developer when you run into trouble. Simply copy and past the information when needed!

Checking your WordPress settings is easy

Why should I care about Site Health?

Just as you should care about your own health, you should care about the health of your site. You could see Site Health as a kind of doctor — it finds problems and proposes solutions. These improvements range from upgrading your PHP version to deactivating unused plugins for security reasons and from implementing HTTPS to checking if the REST API is available. Simply click on a notification to see additional steps to take or more information about the check. You’ll also see which plugin notified you of the improvements.

In the future, Site Health will be the goto place for these kinds of checks and notifications. Increasingly, WordPress plugins will put relevant checks and notifications on the Site Health dashboard. This makes it a critical part of your journey towards building an awesome, secure and up-to-date site.

Yoast SEO & Site Health

As of Yoast SEO 13.2, you’ll find some of our checks in Site Health. For instance, you’ll find the permalink check, the paging comments check, the default tagline check and the Ryte-powered indexation check in Site Health. We’ll probably move more checks to Site Health whenever that makes sense. In addition, we also warn you if your site can’t connect to MyYoast to activate Yoast SEO Premium.

Yoast SEO places several notifications on the Site Health status page

All about Site Health

Site Health might miss a little bit of visibility right now, but that doesn’t mean you can simply forget about it. A dashboard widget is on its way and there will probably be a lot more new stuff in the future to look forward to. For now, please keep an eye on Site Health so you and your site can enjoy a bit of good health!

The post WordPress Site Health: What is it and where to find it? appeared first on Yoast.


Seer Interactive Wins ‘Top Workplaces of 2020’ Award

We’re ecstatic to announce that Seer Interactive has been selected as a 2020 Top Workplace in both Philadelphia and San Diego. While this isn’t our first time receiving this recognition, it’s still as humbling as ever, since the winners are selected based on employee feedback exclusively.

The full-list of winners will be published in The Philadelphia Inquirer and San Diego Union-Tribune in April 2020 so, stay tuned. In the meantime, we’ll pull back the curtain on the process for selecting the Top Workplaces and what it means for Seer to be recognized as an exceptional employer for another consecutive year.

What does it mean to be a winner?

A bit of backstory….The Top Workplaces program was established in 2006 and nearly 14 years later, they’ve surveyed over 20 Million employees across 57,000 organizations. Needless to say, the data-backed insights spanning more than a decade is music to our ears at Seer.

Within each region, the winning companies are broken down by sizeband, which corresponds to the number of employees within that particular location. (Small, Mid-size, Large) Philadelphia recognized 125 Top Workplaces in the region, while San Diego selected 85 SoCal winners.

What did the competition look like?

Any organization (public, private, nonprofit or government) with 50+ employees in that local market is eligible to participate. In order to be considered, Employers can either be nominated or simply opt into the competition.

What is the process for determining the Top Workplaces in each market?

Every year, the Top Workplaces are selected based on employee feedback from Enerage’s anonymous engagement survey. The survey includes 24 conditional questions that have been purposefully selected based on neuroscience and bench-marking data.

  • There are strict guidelines surrounding the distribution of the survey, to avoid employees getting pressured to respond positively (There’s even a question in the survey that addresses this too)
  • Top Workplaces intentionally uses a third-party survey to determine the winners, to create an objective method of evaluation across a wide variety of dissimilar employers.
  • Survey responses are anonymized, to protect the employees’ identities and ensure the validity of the feedback. (Folks will always be more forthcoming & unfiltered in their responses, if they know it can’t be traced back to them) In fact, Energage only shows survey results aggregated by a minimum of 5 employees, to ensure confidentiality across smaller teams & sub-groups.
  • Each organization must have, at least, a 35% response-rate to the survey, to ensure that it accurately reflects the sentiments of the team (For reference, Seer had an 89% response-rate)

The anonymized employee survey evaluates each organization across 15 workplace culture-drivers within 4 major categories.

BestPlaces1

BestPlaces2

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We received the award — now what?

The fact that Seer was named a 2020 ‘Top Workplace’ is a huge honor BUT, that doesn’t mean we can start popping the champagne when we receive that coveted, yellow ribbon. In fact, our work has just begun.

In addition to having our team complete the anonymous, annual survey via Energage, Seer always purchases the premium insights-package, in order to gain an even better understanding of how we’re doing as an organization. This comprehensive report takes a deep-dive into the survey feedback and provides actionable-recommendations, to help improve organizational health and company-culture. (which leads to better employee retention & engagement)

Energage leverages comparative analytics to uncover unique insights across the entire agency, while taking a variety of factors into consideration. (location, department, demographics, seniority, company tenure, etc.) Additionally, we’re able to compare the results YOY in order to gauge where we’ve improved and declined across the agency.

TopWorkplaces

Seer’s VP of People, Emily, weighed in on how the Energage survey informs the direction for her division.

“We leverage the team’s feedback to help us prioritize the different people-related initiatives that we invest time in each year. Our Division went into 2020 with our own OST so, while the employee survey doesn’t drive 100% of objectives for the year, it definitely helps us to prioritize based on the team’s pain points.”

In fact, some of the Seer team’s most beloved employee programs and policies were launched as a direct result of the survey feedback…..

Top Workplaces Survey Feedback Seer’s Course of Action
Confusion on how compensation is determined (2016)

Developed a formalized & data-driven Compensation Strategy that includes Salary Transparency

**9% >> 97% Team understanding of how salary decisions are made

Employees in 6-12 month tenure bucket are disengaged & experienced higher turnover rate (2019)

On-boarding revamp: Move to cohort-style Tuesday start-dates, 1:1 meeting with your Team Lead on Day 1 or 2, launch Universal Role expectations and Associates monthly meeting

Reduced Employee Turnover in Year from 41% (2018) >> 17% (2019)

Too many meetings (2020) In-progress; Exec Team working to create guardrails for effective meetings & identify inefficiencies

While humility is an important pillar of our Values, we’re pretty damn proud to be recognized as a Top Workplace for the 6th year in a row. We asked a few members of Seer’s Executive Leadership Team to share what this win means to them…

Wil Reynolds Headshot Photo Erin Simmons

“A lot of people are investing time to make Seer the type of company that people want to bring their skills & talents to everyday. Any time we win, it’s a bit of validation to the People Team, managers, etc who spend countless hours thinking “How do we make ourselves a great company to work at today, and whose reputation makes it a great company to be from.” This win is a team wide thank you to the folks on our People Team, who work tirelessly not just to get people here but to make it a great place to stay for a while, learn a ton, have fun, and level up.”

Wil (Founder & VP of Innovation)

Crystal ONeill Headshot Photo

“The Top Workplaces Award is not our end goal with the engagement survey but it is a welcomed output and something we’re proud of earning – it takes the entire team to win an award like this.  It’s easy, especially in a company focused on challenging the status quo, to focus on all the things we want to improve on (those things are important!) and to unintentionally overlook the things going well.  This award helps to showcase the bright spots —  the things that are resonating well with our team and helps give a bit of an extra push to keep putting in the time, energy and resources into those things that make this a great place for our team .”

Crystal (President)
Emily Allen Headshot Photo

“While being named a Top Workplace again is awesome, that’s not the reason we participate every year. Our goal is to understand how we’re doing from the team’s perspective. Getting the feedback directly from our team is the motivation and the recognition is just the cherry on top!”

Emily (VP of People Operations)

The awards don’t stop there though!

Liking what you hear about working at Seer? We’re hiring — check out our Careers page for more details or apply now to our open positions. Can’t wait to hear from ya!

VIEW OPEN POSITIONS

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Six great ways to get more out of your digital marketing campaigns in 2020

As we enter 2020, it’s time to leave behind old marketing strategies and adopt new ones. After all, there is a lot of innovation happening. From AI in customer service to influencers taking over social media, a lot has changed in the last year. Digital marketing campaigns now sprawl across different channels, tools, and processes.

While some strategies might remain partially the same, they will get a facelift in 2020. If you are looking to take your marketing to the next level in 2020, we’ve got some tips for you.

Here are some of the best ways to get more out of your marketing campaigns this year:

1. Create more video content

Videos have transformed the content marketing landscape. They have changed the way brands promote their products and create content. And video content is also becoming more popular. Wondering why?

Because people like watching videos.

In fact, 72% of people said that they would like to watch videos to learn about a product or service.

If you haven’t been using video content, you’re losing out on a lot of opportunities to grow your brand. With the evolution of social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, the video content game has changed dramatically. Video content is a versatile tool to increase brand awareness and drive engagement.

So, what kind of videos can brands create for promotion?

There are many different options — educational videos, onboarding videos, meet-the-team videos, customer journey videos, event videos, and more.

Looking for inspiration?

Take a look at the Reebok video marketing campaign

They created a video for their #HonourYourDays campaign which shows a woman’s relationship with running in reverse mentioning that the average human life is about 25,915 days.

While it doesn’t directly promote their products, it does highlight the importance of fitness. It’s a great way to spread awareness without being too promotional.

Source: YouTube

2. Use chatbots to enhance customer experience

With the help of intelligent chatbots, you can also leverage customer data. These virtual assistants are capable of collecting data from customer interactions and giving you insights into how your brand can improve.

For example, if customers are complaining about a specific product, you can dive deep into the issue and understand the problem on a granular level.

Providing a great customer experience can help brands increase lead generation and revenue. What’s more, it can also help you improve your customer experience and lower your customer acquisition cost.

One of the biggest benefits of customer service chatbots is that they are available 24×7 and give quick responses to queries.

Chatbots are also great tools for helping customers keep track of their purchases.

Mastercard’s chatbot on Facebook Messenger

For example, Mastercard’s chatbot on Facebook Messenger allows its users to ask specific questions. On it, a user can ask how much they’ve spent on food or on Uber.

For each user, the answer is personalized based on their bank statement. Users can also send submit questions to ask for more information about a particular product.

Mastercard's Facebook Messenger chatbot used for digital marketing

Image via Mastercard

3. Focus on personalization

Most content marketers believe that when a prospect customer engages with their brand and makes a purchase, it’s a win.

But what’s next?

A customer journey starts right from when a target customer engages with your brand and it continues through conversion. But it also includes providing customer support and elevating their buyers’ journey to turn them into cheerleaders of your brand.

So, it is essential to reach out to your audience and provide valuable services that are not solely revenue-centric. 76% of consumers believe that it’s easy to switch to a different brand to find an experience that will match their expectations.

So, how can you provide a memorable experience to your customers?

That’s where personalization comes into play. Not only can it improve the customer experience you deliver, but it can also boost your sales.

Providing a personalized experience can significantly impact your relationships with your customers. So, how can you create a more personalized experience for your customers?

Tools like Google Analytics and Cortex can help you get insights into your audience’s behavior. By using that data, you can find out what kind of content your audience is looking for and then optimize your content creation strategy accordingly.

4. Leverage influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has grown to become a whopping five to ten billion-dollar industry. It has helped marketers reach their target audiences, generate brand awareness, get more leads, and boost sales.

Collaborating with social media influencers has become a great way for brands to promote their products and services. When an influencer endorses your brand or reviews your product, it can get you a lot of publicity.

How?

Take a leaf from Daniel Wellington’s digital marketing strategy

To create buzz about their brand, they send their watches to multiple influencers. They encourage those influencers to create posts with the hashtag #DanielWellington to help promote their products.

Daniel Wellington’s digital marketing strategy

Source: Instagram

Another example of great influencer marketing is Subaru’s #MeetAnOwner campaign

In this campaign, the company reached out to influencers from diverse backgrounds. One of the biggest influencers in their campaign was Devin Graham (@devinsupertramp) with over five million YouTube subscribers at the time. He is known for his daredevilry.

By partnering with Devin, Subaru was able to reach out to outdoor adventure junkies. Graham’s sponsored video with Subaru gained around 1.3 million views and 1.1k comments.

Source: YouTube

5. Automate your email marketing campaigns

About 73% of marketers consider email marketing to be crucial to their company’s success.

But it can be a time-consuming strategy. If you’re short on time, there is a way out – automate your email marketing campaigns. Not only can it help you save a ton of time, but it can also help you create more personalized content.

With this strategy, you can ensure that your content is delivered to your customers at the right times.

For instance, if a customer has abandoned their cart, you can send them a reminder to complete the transaction.

Here’s an example of how American technology company, FiftyThree, notifies their customers about abandoned carts with an appealing message.

example of automating email marketing campaigns

Source: Shopify

Marketers often use these emails to encourage their customers to take another step or get closer to a purchase.

Emails also provide you with an opportunity to upsell your products.

For example, an email that includes a section containing products similar to a user’s previous purchases can trigger their engagement.

Amazon's example of using product suggestions via email marketing

Source: Smartrmail

Email automation saves the time and efforts that are otherwise invested into following up with each action of a user. It also reduces the potential for errors such as hitting the send button prematurely when the user might not be ready.

6. Build a community

Building a community around your brand will help you improve your brand awareness, drive higher engagement, and organically boost your SEO.

When users create and share content around your brand, you are likely to get noticed by search engines. Brand mentions, post shares, comments, and likes — all of these help your cause.

Further, having a community of followers also helps strengthen your branding.

When you share valuable content that helps your target audience or aligns with their interests, they tend to associate more with your brand and become loyal customers.

Some companies even have brand ambassadors who regularly create content for them in return for benefits such as free products, invites to product launches or other events.

A great example of a community is GoPro, an action camera company that has solidified its position in the market by building a strong community of sports enthusiasts, photographers, and adventurers across the world.

The brand builds personal relationships with their customers while maintaining a focus on its target audience of sports enthusiasts.

example of GoPro's digital marketing campaign

Source: Instagram

Conclusion

Videos, chatbots, influencer marketing, personalization, and more — there is a lot of innovation happening in the digital marketing space. Anyone, from big brands to mom-and-pop stores, can use these strategies to grow their business. What are you waiting for? It’s time to incorporate these strategies into your marketing plan for 2020.

Have you used any of these strategies before? Please share your experiences and insights in the comments section.

Shane Barker is a Digital Strategist, Brand and Influencer Consultant. He can be found on Twitter @shane_barker.

The post Six great ways to get more out of your digital marketing campaigns in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.


Measure your social media efforts with UTM tags

Every company should have a social media strategy. It helps you to increase traffic to your website, it makes it easier to engage with (potential) customers and you’ll increase brand awareness. Of course, you want to see if your efforts pay off. Are you getting closer to the goals that you’ve set up in your strategy? Let’s take a look at how you can measure your social media efforts.

Ways to measure social efforts

If you spend your time writing social posts, creating images and more, you want to know if your social media strategy and your campaigns work. Of course, you can check Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights, and Instagram Statistics. But the thing is, those show only a limited amount of information, mostly about what happens on that particular platform. If you’re doing fine with just the information that the platforms provide, of course, that’s great.

Perhaps, though, you want information about the relation between social media and the traffic to your site. That’s where UTM tagging comes in. UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module. Google uses this method to track your URL so you can track custom campaigns in Google Analytics. In other words, it helps you to see whether a post or campaign on social media actually led to more traffic on your website.

Using UTM tags

A UTM tag consists of parameters that will help you track back your URL and give you information. The UTM tag will always come after your URL when you share it on a social channel. So, you take the URL of a post and simply paste the UTM tag after the URL. By doing so, for instance, it could look like this:

Measure your social media efforts with UTM tags

There are several websites that help you build a UTM tag, but it’s always nice to understand what you’re looking at. The UTM we use when sharing this post on Twitter, for example, is: 

#utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=seo-post-social&utm_content=link&utm_term=measure-social

The source is mandatory. The other information, such as content and term, gives a more detailed explanation about the type of things you’re sharing on social media platforms. Make sure to be consistent in your tagging. If you mix uppercase and lowercase, Google Analytics will see it as two different types of tags. This means that data gets separated in Google Analytics. At Yoast, we use a # to start off the UTM tag, but most tools use a ?. We use the # because then we know for certain that we are not causing duplicate content since Google ignores anything after the #. So let’s break down this UTM tag, shall we?

The parameters

utm_source=twitter.com
The source explains where visitors are coming from. Because we’re sharing this post on Twitter, we’ll use twitter.com. For Facebook, we’ll use facebook.com. And so forth.

utm_medium=social
The medium explains what kind of medium is used (duh). Twitter is a social media platform and Facebook is a social media platform, so we’ll use social. By grouping all social media platforms with the medium=social UTM tag, we can easily see in Google Analytics what all social traffic is doing for our site. This way, we can compare a post that’s been shared on all social media platforms to, for example, the same post shared in newsletters. 

utm_campaign=seo-post-social
Where source and medium tell you more about where your visitors came from, the campaign tag tells you more about the subjects you’re sharing on, in this case, social. For instance, if you have a product launch or a sales campaign, you can use this UTM tag to track in Google Analytics how that specific campaign is doing. Your campaign is something you have to think about really well, as it has to cover everything you want to be covered. The one that we use for this post is the one that we use for all the daily blog posts that we share. If we share something, for example, that has to do with the Yoast Care fund we’ll use ‘utm_campaign=carefund’.

utm_content=link
The content piece describes what kind of content you’re sharing. You’re always sharing a link, that’s true. But if you’re sharing an image, your content will be utm_content=image… As the image will be the central point. (or video, gif, voice memo, whatever you’re planning on sharing!)

utm_term=measure-social
The utm_term tag is mostly used to add keywords for Google ads. That doesn’t mean you can’t use them for other things than ads. This tag can be used to add more information about the post you’re sharing on social platforms. For instance, the topic of the post you’re sharing or the date.

Make your own UTM

Once you get the hang of creating a UTM tag, you’ll do it with your eyes closed. But for now, it might still seem confusing. A good tool to use when you just start building your UTM tags is the Campaign URL Builder tool by Google Analytics. It’s important that you use the UTM tags in such a way that you can understand it and get the correct data from it in Google Analytics. It doesn’t matter if another company or website does it differently, as long as you know what your own UTM tag means. You have to find a way that works for you. In the image below, you’ll notice that the order of the parameters in the generated campaign URL differs from how we did it: This does not matter.

Campaign URL Builder by Google Analytics

Make sure that you save your campaigns somewhere, so that in the future, when you post something that’s related to the campaign, you can make sure you use the same one. Whenever we post a YoastCon 2020 related blog post or page, you’ll see we use &utm_campaign=yoastcon2020. Or for anything that’s related to the Yoast Care fund, we’ll use &utm_campaign=carefund.

Let’s measure your social media efforts!

Now, I can hear you thinking: ‘That’s all nice and stuff, but now what? Who will tell me if my social media posts are working?’ Well… You will! With the help of Google Analytics of course! In the video below, Annelieke, Lead of our Research team, explains how you can interpret your data and where you can find the information that you collected with the use of your UTM tags.


To find the relevant data in Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns. Here, you can find all the campaigns that you’ve set up an UTM tag for. In the search bar, you can search for more specific campaigns. Just type in the campaign name you want to learn more about! You’ll find information about the number of users that clicked on that campaign, the bounce rate and the conversion rate, for instance. Watch the video, for more options and a more detailed explanation.

Note: Facebook likes to mess things up with your self-made UTM tag that you put all your hard work in. Even though that’s not very nice of Facebook, you can still see where people went by looking at the landing page. 

Now it’s your turn!

Creating and measuring your UTM tags might be a little hard in the beginning. But, believe me, you’ll find a way to make it work for you. Take your time for both creating and measuring, and start with a campaign that you really want to be measured. If you’re still asking yourself: “But why should I… does social media even influence my SEO?” then I suggest you to read this post that’s answering that exact question and come back later. If you’re ready to start, then I wish you the best of luck!

What’s your favorite way to measure your social media efforts?

The post Measure your social media efforts with UTM tags appeared first on Yoast.