Brand Search Strategy: Save Campaign Spend and Drive More Organic Sales

Branded keywords tend to be deprioritized in organic search strategies because many businesses assume the following:

  1. Our site will automatically rank in organic for all branded searches
  2. Branded searches drive less revenue
  3. Customers ask branded questions after making a purchase
  4. Customers will call in to ask brand-specific questions

Question: Which of the above is false?
Answer: (All of the above)

Customers are actively searching for specific questions about a brand online and they want to find them quickly. Branded keyword searches typically tend to have a significantly higher Click-through Rate (CTR) than non-branded keywords in organic.

Many businesses are paying to rank for branded keywords in PPC campaigns that are driving zero conversions because:

  1. Users are not seeing your site rank in organic
  2. The landing page content is not focused on answering common questions.

Businesses are wasting money, and losing out, on an opportunity to drive more sales for free in organic. For example, Southwest is only appearing for 1 out of 10 People Also Ask Results that appear for their branded term, “Southwest.”

drive more organic sales

The Seer team saved a client $40,000 in annual paid spend by removing branded service-related questions from campaigns and optimizing on-site pages to rank in the top organic results.

Interested in getting these results for your business? Follow these three steps to save money and build a strong user experience for your customers:

  1. Understand your customer’s purchasing journey: Focus on specific questions that users have about your business in the “purchase” or bottom-of-the-funnel stage
  2. Find cost savings: Use PowerBi or another data analysis tool to find queries where you are wasting spend quickly
  3. Optimize content for organic rankings: Optimize existing pages or create new content to own the SERP for branded customer questions.

What questions do customers have about your brand? There are a variety of methods to find this information. I’ve compiled the top three ways I use to find this data effectively.

Customer Interviews

The best way to learn about what your customers really care about is by asking them! The common customer “bottom-of-the-funnel” questions include shipping information, return information, hours of operation, and contact information for customer service. These are only beginning to scratch the surface for your specific business.

Interview your customers directly, hear about their pain-points, concerns, issues, and challenges when landing on your site and learning about your business.

Focus your questions on customers’ bottom-of-the-funnel experience to narrow in on customer service content.

  • Example Questions:
    What questions or concerns do you have before taking a [site conversion i.e. placing X product in your shopping cart or before submitting a lead form]?

Once a customer lists the questions and concerns, drill in on each one:

    • Why do you have this concern?
    • How does my site currently answer this question (if at all)?
    • How could my site better answer this question?

People Also Ask

Google shares common questions people have about your business directly in People Also Ask (PAA). This is a helpful, free resource that gives you a first-hand glimpse into what your customers are asking online.

Using a keyword tool, like STAT, pull data on the top 10 PAA for each of your target keywords. Check out this video on how to analyze PAA data in Power Bi in minutes:

Keyword Research

In addition to reviewing PAA’s, good ol’ keyword research will always be a valuable way to learn what your customers want to learn about in relation to your brand.

When first conducting branded keyword research, I recommend following these steps:

  • Pull a branded keyword list using your favorite keyword tool
  • Categorize your keywords by topic using an n-gram tool to find common themes

After you have an understanding of the common branded questions your customers have, it’s time to dig into where you can save money on your branded paid campaigns.

Here are the recommended steps at a high-level:

  • Pull a search query report from Google Ads and import into PowerBi
  • Pull the keyword ranking report from your favorite keyword tool and import into PowerBi
  • ‘Marry’ the data in PowerBi using a bridge
  • Group the keyword topics (discovered with the n-gram above) by creating a conditional column
  • Group the keywords by number of conversions by creating a conditional column (see section ‘conditional column.’
  • Analyze the data by creating visuals that pinpoint keywords with low to zero conversions and driving cost

For a detailed explanation on this process, check out this video on how to find wasted PPC spend.

Below is an example dashboard to find wasted PPC spend.

Focus on Branded Terms that Drove 0 Conversions

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  • Keywords that fall under this bucket (drive zero conversions), may be potential terms to negate or opportunities to reduce spend

Find Branded Organic Keyword Opportunities

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Once you’ve narrowed in on branded searches that are relevant and impactful for your business, you’re ready to compile a content optimization plan to add to existing page content or build new, tailored on-site pages to rank highly for branded terms in organic.

For helpful tips on building branded content, check out these posts:

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Google Shopping Experience Update Reveals 2020 Trends and Insights

Google wasted no time in jumpstarting 2020 with a core algorithm and shopping experience update early in the new year. Although it’s too early to determine the core algorithm update’s full impact on the search industry, the Google Shopping update already provides some direction and insights to Google’s greater plans and goals for 2020. Let’s take a look at what the update changes and how it’ll affect the ecommerce landscape.

Shopping Experience at a Glance

When shoppers enter search queries in shopping experience on mobile like “Women’s jackets,” “Men’s running shoes,” or “slim fit jeans,” Google pulls results from an index containing more than one million online shops. Google then combines popular product results for a query into one detailed, organized layout, displaying a variety of retailers selling the same or related products and their prices. Users can easily filter products by department, type, size and style.

How it Works

To appear in Google’s search index retailers must set up product feeds in Google Merchant Center and provide product information to fulfill fixed criteria. If a retailer fails to meet any of the criteria, such as providing prices or listing product conditions, Google denies them from appearing in the index. Google includes qualifying retailers in the highly structured product feed and product listing ads (PLAs), where they appear in the mobile experience. Consumers searching in shopping experience are then able to:

  • Read reviews and easily compare prices across brands and retailers in one efficiently organized browser.
  • Quickly filter to related, popular products.
  • See brand history and additional information in the SERP.

The improvements to Shopping Experience align with a 2020 prediction Searchmetrics Inc. CEO Jordan Koene issued in the Voices of Search podcast about Google’s plans for the year, including the trending increase of zero-click SEO positioning in SERPs:

“I believe that one of the key transitions in this is going to be due to the fact that Google has over the last decade or so needed to find ways to appease consumers in a faster way. This really started with mobile and like mobile usability and the ability to show an experience that provided enough information on mobile.”

Google Moves to Acquire More Ecommerce Territory

The update indicates Google is aiming to acquire more territory from retail competitors and marks a continued effort to improve the mobile experience. Big name brands like Walmart and Amazon performed exceptionally well last year, successfully weathering Google core algorithm updates and peaking during the holidays. Their successes are attributed to their specialized offerings and user-friendly site layouts, providing robust categories and filter options.

Shopping Experience shares some of the successful features Amazon and Walmart use but Google is differentiating themselves from competitors by broadening the buyer experience. The improvements evolve the traditional shopping experience by providing controlled snippets and experiences while adding options to the SERP. The consolidated features improve the browsing experience, succinctly answering navigational, informational and transactional shopper queries.

The Update’s Potential Impact on Competitors

Google’s efforts to carve its own space in ecommerce may seem like a huge threat to competitors like Amazon and Walmart, but ecommerce juggernauts will likely remain unaffected. Searchmetrics Inc. CEO Jordan Koene analyzed the update, stating that although Google will acquire more informational searches through shopping experience, industry-leading retail companies should remain successful with their current marketing strategies:

“I think everyone wins in this game … Do I think Google’s trying to get more mind searches? Yes, but the reality is ecommerce stores should focus on is availability, shipping and the customer experience. That’s what they should continue focusing on. Not concentrate on trying a search experience.”

Expect to see more updates from Google throughout the year modifying and adding new features to create a better, personalized experience for shoppers. Participating marketers and companies should begin tracking visibility and ensure product descriptions are updated to ensure readability and seamless integration into Google’s shopping feed.

12 Unique social media marketing methods that work wonders

It’s a fact. Today, every business needs a strong social media presence. No matter whether you run a small local shop or a multinational company, social media should be an essential part of your marketing strategy. 

Not only a social media platform helps you connect with your target audience, increase awareness about your brand, but it also boosts your leads and sales to a great extent.

Since around 2.96 billion people use social media platforms worldwide, it’s no passing trend. According to, by 2021, this number is going to reach 3.09 billionSo, if you’re not using this fantastic tool yet, you’re surely missing out on an incredible marketing opportunity.

Source: Hootsuite

Undoubtedly, social media is one of the ideal platforms to market your business. However, due to increased competition and the rise of social media algorithms, the entire landscape of social media has changed. If you really want to stay ahead of your competition, you need to look for unique social media marketing ideas that can spice up your social media campaigns.

In this post, we will make you familiar with some creative social media marketing ideas. However, before that, let’s have a quick look at some social media statistics that is important for you to know.     

  • 95% of adults (aged between18 to 34) are most likely to follow a brand through social networking. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • Around 63% of customers expect businesses to offer customer support via social media channels. (Source: Smart Insights)
  • 42% of the world’s population has an account on one or more social media platforms. (Source: Statista)

Tips to boost your social media marketing strategy

1. Layout your goals

Having a solid marketing goal is essential for every business. However, if you don’t know what you want to achieve, how are you supposed to attain it? 

Before you jumpstart your social media marketing, make clear goals and objectives that will align with your marketing efforts. It is advisable to write down your goal. A study reveals you’re more likely to be successful if you write your goals.

To layout your goals, you can:

  • Use number (such as reach 10,000 Facebook followers)
  • Set a deadline
  • Make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based (SMART)    

2. Learn about your audience

To create a successful social media strategy, you must have adequate knowledge of your audience. You should be able to know their needs, wants, and desires. Below are a few tactics that can help you better understand your audience.

  • Survey your audience to know their pain points better
  • Take a look at their demographics
  • Participate in conversations on forums used by your target audience
  • Respond to comments on your social media channels.
  • Get feedback

When you exactly know who your target audience is, you can better help them.

3. Produce diversified content for different social media platforms

For most businesses, it is easy to post pictures to Instagram and short tweets to Twitter. However, on most social media platforms, you can display different kinds of content, including video, photos, infographics, blog posts, and more. It is essential because if you keep producing the same content time and again, it may bore your audience, and that can keep you from reaching your goals. By providing diversified content, you also determine the best content types for your target audience.         

Social media marketing stats

Source: SmartInsights

4. Don’t ignore video content

Video marketing is one of those social media marketing trends that has been continuously growing. In 2018, 85% of all internet users in the United States watched online video content monthly on different devices. It shows that video is an excellent medium to promote your business.

There is no doubt about it that millions of hours of video content watched every year on different social media platforms. However, your videos must be watched by the right people. After all, there is no use in a video going viral if viewers do not belong to your market. 

Try to target the right people so that they can take the actions you want them to take after watching your videos. For the same, you must define your target audience before planning your marketing strategies. Some of the tools you can use to identify your audience include Google Analytics – Audience Tab, Keyword Planner, Facebook Business Page Insights.

Narrow down your audience based on their gender, interests, age, occupation, knowledge level, or location. Also, create a quality video with tools like Magisto that precisely explains your product or services and answers most of the queries of your audience and prospects. 

Don’t forget, high production values, smart use of keywords, and timing of your videos matter a lot in the success of your video marketing. Also, track your results from time to time and customize your tactics based on those results. 

5. Try sharing user-generated content from your fans and followers

When you share user-generated content on your social media profiles, it gives your followers a fresh perspective on your brand and helps you build stronger relationships. 

Even a survey reveals that people trust content from an average person more than they do from businesses.

You may ask your buyers to share their experiences with your products and services so that you can use that content on your social media profiles. 

For example, if you run a furniture store, you can ask your buyers to share the picture of how they position your furniture at their homes. After that, you can share those pictures within your social profiles with the profile link of the buyers to give other prospects an idea about how they can use your products. It will surely boost the interest of other potential buyers in your brand.      

6. Give education

No matter what your goals are, you must provide education about your products or services to your customers. Providing education is one of the best ways to build relationships with your target audience. When you give your audience practical advice or valuable information, they look to you as an authority and become your loyal customers. Social media is a great platform where you can educate your followers about your business without any hindrance. As per your convenience, you may provide educational resources such as blog posts, white papers, webinars, and more. 

7. Less promotion and more storytelling

When you take an educational approach, you do more teaching than selling. Storytelling is also educational in nature. Nevertheless, the power of storytelling lies not in teaching people things they weren’t aware of, but in showcasing relevant characters and situations evoking emotional responses. These responses stimulate action more effectively than the content involves self-promotion on social media.

8. Try influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is an ideal way to promote your products via social media platforms. When you collaborate with an influential person not only it boosts brand awareness but also builds trust. Perhaps this is the reason, around 2/3 of retailers in North America use some form of influencer marketing.

Source: MediaKix

Always choose a social media influencers whose vision matches with your own. Below are a few tips for selecting the perfect influencer for your brand.

  • Examine the engagement metrics and other insights of your potential influencer
  • Take out some time to invest in social listening so that you can find an influencer who is relevant to your business
  • Take a look at their skills. Since influencer marketing is more than just likes, communication, and engagement, an influencer must have some technical knowledge. It will be a bonus if your potential influencer is skilled in graphic design, crisis management, and other practical experience. 

9. Make use of VPN (Virtual Private Network)

If you think VPN is a tool to hide your IP address only, you’re mistaken. VPN is not just a security tool that ensures your privacy on a public network; it’s much more than that. 

Most new businesses are not aware that a VPN can help them understand their competition. From launching marketing campaigns to monitoring PPC adverts to evaluating search engine rankings, there are plenty of places where VPN is helpful. 

Since in this post, we’re discussing social media platforms, let’s find out how can VPN help you with YouTube advertising.Using VPN helps social media marketing

Source: Statista

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that YouTube is the most popular video platform of the time. According to Alexa, YouTube is the 2nd most popular search engine worldwide, behind Google. There are numerous benefits to advertising on YouTube. One of the most significant advantages is that it provides a broader reach to your business.

If you have an audience in different regions, states, or countries, you will need to know what works best in that particular region. Well, VPN can help you with this situation. Using a VPN, you can get your location to the region or area your target audience is. Thus you learn about your audience – their issues and needs. Based on that information, you can understand your customer’s persona, what they are looking for, and create marketing strategies accordingly.

Nowadays, several VPN providers available in the market, but not all are equals in terms of quality and customer support. It is advisable to look for the best VPN only. Read reviews of different providers before making your final decision.     

10. Take advantage of the enthusiasm of loyal customers

Your loyal customers have the potential to become brand advocates. They can boost awareness of your brand by providing social proof that helps prospects to build trust in your business much more quickly.

Social media is a great tool to motivate your loyal customers to become brand advocates. Below are a few tips that you can put into practice.

  • Ask your followers for reviews on social networks such as Facebook and Google
  • Take interview of your satisfied customers and share their stories on Facebook and Instagram
  • Support the submission of positive user-generated content and use them in your different social media campaigns.
  • Hold contests and give discounts. It would motivate people to spread the word about your business on different social media platforms.

11. Increase humanization

We all respond strongly to people in comparison to robots. By humanizing your brand on social media platforms, you can boost your marketing strategy. Perhaps, you interact with your followers by responding to your comments and user-generated content. However, it is not enough. To stay ahead of your competition, you must highlight your team members and their stories, and connect each of your social media marketing efforts back to your unique brand story.

Try to infuse humor in your posts. However, it does not mean you can go with anything. Keep a balance of fun and information. 

12. Use of chatbots for social media marketing

Over the years, chatbots have come a long way. Today’s bots are more smart and useful. They are capable of providing initial customer service, automating a function, and boosting user experience. 

Even people have started liking bots. A survey conducted by HubSpot concluded that 47% of respondents were open to buying products using a chatbot. It would not be wrong to say that chatbots have become more widespread on social media.

You can synchronize your chatbot with multiple platforms. For example, you can offer a chatbot on your Facebook Messenger, and it can also be used through Twitter direct messages. It will ensure a consistent experience across your social media profiles. 

Chatbots can be used to start conversations, encourage sales, answer questions, and offer individual customer support. 

Final thoughts

Social media has turned into an essential part of the marketing strategy for any business. And why not? It is a great way to reach a wide audience, demonstrate your expertise, show your authenticity, encourage engagement, and offer responsive and quick support. 

Although social media marketing takes a lot of hard work, its benefits are difficult to ignore. If you’re not taking it seriously, you will miss out on leads, customers, and ultimately sales.

Don’t forget, social media platforms are created for conversing with others. You won’t see the desired results until you don’t make your audience a top priority. Moreover, each social media platform is different, so you must know what kind of content works best on them. We hope the methods mentioned above will help you take your social media marketing to the next level. 

The post 12 Unique social media marketing methods that work wonders appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Featured Snippets Will No Longer Be Repeated in Search Results

Written By: Mike Kaplan & Aoife Laughlin.

Could you hear it?

On January 22nd, 2020 at 4:30 pm SEOs around the world collectively groaned at the announcement that Google has begun to deduplicate results on Featured Snippet pages.

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In other words, Google is now preventing URLs from appearing twice if they own the featured snippet. While Google has been testing this update since at least November 2019, this still caught a number of SEOs off guard.

Previously, a website could capture the featured snippet (position 0) as well as capture the first organic result (position 1.) With this update, there are no longer 11 ranking positions on page 1 (featured snippet + 10 blue links), as the snippet is now counted as one of the 10 organic listings.

Let’s take a look at an example from the Seer blog and walk through how this update has changed search results.


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On January 22nd, the Seer Interactive blog ranked in both position 0 and position 1. On January 23rd, we still own the featured snippet, but our organic rank is now in position 11 and Quora has moved up to capture the new position 2.

At this particular time, it is unclear how this will affect traffic to our page, however, SEOs seem ready to believe that we’ll see a lower CTR, despite having the most visible result on the page.

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So What Else Do We Know?

As usual, the SEO-Twitter space has been lit up with questions and concerns about this change and the extent to which it will impact other elements of Google’s search features. We’ve compiled some of the questions and responses from Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, here. Danny’s responses are in italics below each question.

1. In the case of Featured Snippets with an image from a second URL, there is nothing to deduplicate

Jeff Flowers: “[…]What about a scenario where the text in a Featured Snippet comes from URL-01, but the image is from URL-02…..Will both URLs be removed from SERPs?”

Danny Sullivan: “Image didn’t have a web search listing, so there’s nothing to deduplicate”

Russ Jones: “Take this current example for “who is the smartest SEO in the world” which has a picture of Britney Muller but claims Tom Crewe is the smartest in the snippet., I imagine, would lose its regular position, but would retain ranking?”

Danny Sullivan: “When featured snippets show images from another site, those sites weren’t in the web search results to begin with. So no change. That works independently of each other.”

2. This will not apply to other elements of search

Jeff Flowers: “[…]Will this also apply to other Rich Results, such as image carousels, interesting finds, PAAs, etc?”

Danny Sullivan: “No”

Gennaro Cuofano: “Is this affecting also Knowledge Panels? Because for what I can see from this example, it does. Though it seems inconsistent to me to use the same approach for knowledge panels – on desktop results – where the position of the panel on the SERP is on the right side…”EO6 jvHW4AAIkRA

Danny Sullivan: “That’s not a Knowledge Panel. It’s a featured snippet-like variant. We are deduplicating there. On mobile, where most people search and these are inline, it especially makes sense.”

3. There are only 10 net and unique listings in SERP results

Barry Loughran: “I get there are now 10 unique listings but net listings are down one, right?”

Danny Sullivan: “If there’s a featured snippet, it was 11 net listings, 10 unique. Now it is 10 net and unique. If there wasn’t a featured snippet, it was 10 net and unique listings. That’s unchanged.”

4. If you lose your featured snippet, you will likely remain at the top of the SERP

Alan Bleiweiss: “[…] Site X has FS. Organic for that page/query specific combo, disappears. What if they lose the FS? Will they instantly regain the previous high organic position for that page/phrase combo?”

Danny Sullivan: “I would expect so. To be a featured snippet, you had to rank in the top results. Then we elevated. And now we deduplicate. If you don’t get featured, deduplication ends”

5. Deduplication only applies to the first page

Alan Bleiweiss: “2) In the example I found earlier, both had their organic on page 2. Except neither should have ANY organic in this new scenario.”

Danny Sullivan: “Nothing I’ve shared says you can’t have duplication happen beyond the first page of results. Deduplication is only about what happens on the first page. As things evolve, the whole “it’s showing up on page two” might not happen. So I wouldn’t say that’s how it works.”

Dustin Woodard: “Starting today, Featured Snippet URLs in #google #serps will only occupy one placement on page 1. A FS is now counted as position 1 of 10 & the non-featured snippet version will live in position #11 (page 2). Is my graphic accurate?”


Danny Sullivan: “No, it is not. We are simply deduplicating on the first page of results. There’s no guarantee that the listing will then show up on the second page in position “11” or any spot like that. We haven’t said that. It might happen. Might not.”

6. Deduplication applies to SERPs with two featured snippets as well

Danny Goodwin: “Not sure if it’s already been asked but what if there are 2 Featured Snippets? Do both sites go to Page 2? How would Position 11 vs. Position 12 be determined?”

Danny Sullivan: “Deduplicate both. The whole page two stuff, by the way, people shouldn’t get hung up on. It’s about deduplicating on the first page. It’s not always guaranteed the URL will somehow come back up on the second page.”

What Can We Do About Featured Snippets?

First, you’ll want to identify which pages on your site currently trigger featured snippets. At Seer, we love using STAT to quickly create a dynamic tag to track the keywords triggering snippets. This allows us to then dig into the impact on rankings for those terms using Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

Once we’ve identified which keywords and pages are triggering snippets, we’re able to dig in to see whether or not remaining in the featured snippet – and losing the additional page 1 organic listing –  is actually valuable for the site. Stay tuned for a follow up as we review the impact of this update.

Use NoSnippet Tags to Opt-Out of Featured Snippet Rankings

As featured snippets are typically served for informational queries, and can result in a lower click-through rate, you may find that you no longer want your website to appear here. Fortunately, Google has released a NoSnippet tag that will prevent your page from being served in the snippet. Using the nosnippet tag will block all snippet rankings (featured and regular) from picking up your tagged pages.

You can also use the data-nosnippet tag to prevent specific text from appearing in featured snippets. This allows SEOs to control the specific information being pulled into snippets and served by Google.

If you’re not a fan of the particular content being pulled into the snippet for your page, you can use the data-nosnippet tag to exclude certain sections of text from being shown in the snippet. Note that if you use these two tags in conjunction, the nosnippet tag will take priority and no snippets will be shown at all for your page.

Now, another important thing to point out is that these nosnippet tags apply to all snippets. If we want to prevent our site from appearing only in featured snippets, but retain all others, we can use the max-snippet tag to lower lengths. So, if you want a page to opt out of featured snippets, then use max-snippet. But if you want your site to opt out of all snippets, then nosnippet is the way to go.

Fortunately, opting out isn’t the only way to further capture clicks from SERPS. Claire Carilie points out that although you may have lost out on the informational featured snippet, you can still use FAQ schema to provide value to users.

For websites that are now ranking in the new position 2, below the featured snippet, this can be a great way to further distinguish your page from the snippet, and ideally a way to capture that click from users. In some instances, using FAQ schema in a position 2 result may provide even more relevant information to searchers than a featured snippet might, as you can write the exact answer that will appear in the schema.

So Wait, How Did We Get Here?

If we take a step back and look at Google’s shifts over the last few months, this update seems logical, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, Google has actively been shifting from providing results to providing answers that solve a user’s problem. You can even see this within their mission statement:

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So how are they organizing the world’s information in a universally-accessible and useful way? At this point it should be obvious: through featured snippets. This helps to explain why we’ve seen such a dramatic increase in results triggering featured snippets.

The next question to ask is, how is Google ensuring they’re providing useful (or accurate) information to users? Since August 1st, 2018, Google has steadily rolled out Broad Core Algorithm Updates that are largely centered around reducing the visibility of low-quality or irrelevant content and rewarding articles that accurately answer user questions. In other words, Google has been visibly working to provide users with the best piece of content to answer their query for years now. This is also seen through the rise of E-A-T.

So how did we get to today?

We’ve already gone through one Diversity update in July 2019, which was intended to provide more answers from more domains in search results. We consider this update to be the natural evolution of the diversity update (Diversity 2.0, anyone?), as the whole goal behind this is to, in Danny Sullivan’s words, “declutter the results & help users locate relevant information more easily.”

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OK, That Was a Lot. What’s the TL:DR?

  1. A page that captures the featured snippet will no longer have the ability to also rank elsewhere on page 1
  2. Deduplication does not happen for video featured snippets, top stories, interesting finds, people also ask boxes, and other SERP features
  3. There are no longer 11 organic results on a SERP that contains a featured snippet
  4. There is no more “position 0”, only position 1, which now includes featured snippets
  5. A page that captures the featured snippet may still share that snippet with an image from the same page
  6. There is a chance, but no guarantee, that your featured snippet URL will rank on page 2 of search results
  7. Google has already released tools to help control or indicate which URL should or should not be served in a featured snippet, as well as what specific content should be served

For more information, we highly recommend following this thread from Google’s Search Liaison Danny Sullivan.

Additional Resources:

Search Engine Round TableGoogle Now Drops A Site’s Normal Snippet When Featured Snippet is Displayed

Search Engine JournalGoogle: Webpages with Featured Snippets Won’t Appear Twice on Page 1

Don’t Miss Another Update

You may be sad to say goodbye to your page 1 double real estate on Google, but you’ll be happy when you sign up for updates from Seer! Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest news in search.

5 Things to Check After Launching a PPC Campaign

One of the beauties of PPC is that there’s no such thing as “set it and forget it”. We can move spend around and make optimizations to improve the efficiency of our spend, even a few days after launching. Let’s walk through 5 quick checks to get your campaign moving in the right direction.

Check your traffic and approval status

This is kind of a no-brainer, but check to make sure your ads are delivering! If you spent a ton of time building your campaigns, you want to make sure they’re generating traffic.

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In addition to checking overall traffic, take a look at the approval status of your ads. Even if you’re seeing impressions come through, you might be running into disapproved or limited approval ads and missing out on some traffic. Head over to Google’s policy manager to see if this is the case:

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Check your bids

Setting keyword bids before launching a campaign is always difficult, so it’s a good idea to check on these after launch. If your bids are too low, you likely won’t be generating much traffic. Set a filter on your Keyword view in Google Ads to only view keywords whose bids are below the first-page estimate:

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Don’t always trust Google’s first-page bid recommendation! If a $20 or $30 recommendation seems high compared to what you’re bidding for similar terms, raise the bid little by little and monitor traffic.

Using Impression Share to influence bid adjustments

Additionally, you might have keywords that are above Google’s first-page bid estimate but getting very little visibility. Pull in some impression share metrics (Search Top IS is great for this) to see if you could benefit from a bid increase.

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In this case, our bids are good in Google’s eyes, but our Search Top IS (share of impressions received above the organic results) is below 50%. Check spend and conversion volume for these terms and raise the bid if you want more visibility.

Verify conversion tracking

Conversion tracking is vital to the success and measurement of any PPC campaign, obviously. While this step should really be done before launch, it’s helpful to double-check your tracking once campaigns are live, too.

Checking your settings

Whether you’re seeing conversions in the Google Ads UI or not, you should check your conversion action settings:

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If you have a conversion that you definitely want to count in your totals, make sure that “Include in Conversions” is marked as “Yes.” Additionally, you should see a status update for all conversion actions that tells you if you’re recording conversions for that action or not. Google usually lets you know when the last conversion was recorded and if any tracking tags are on your site or not.

Use Google Tag Assistant to verify code placement on your site.

Checking conversion webpages

Another way to verify that tracking is working on the right pages is to view the webpages on which the action is tracked. Click into a specific conversion action, then navigate to Webpages. If the conversion has been tracked, you’ll see the URL associated with it. This could be a thank-you page (if you’re tracking URL hits as conversions) or standard site pages (if you’re tracking button clicks, events, etc.)

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Turning on auto-tagging

If you’re importing conversion goals from Google Analytics but not seeing any of them come through in Google Ads, make sure you have auto-tagging turned on. While this is a small setting hidden in the UI, it’s extremely important. Here’s a quick explanation of auto-tagging from Google.

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Basically, auto-tagging allows Google Ads and Analytics to speak to each other and attribute PPC conversions accordingly. To see if it’s turned on, head to Settings, then Account Settings in the UI.

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Look at search queries

If you hate wasting money on irrelevant search terms like we do, you should be checking your search queries very closely after you launch new campaigns. No matter how buttoned-up your account structure, match types, and negative keyword lists are, some clutter is bound to come through.

To get a quick view of non-converting queries, use the filter below. These aren’t all going to be irrelevant terms, so you’ll have to do a bit of sifting to find negative opportunities.

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Want to speed this process up? Our tool, Saving Ben, uses organic and competitive data paired with your PPC data to identify irrelevant queries across your account!

Plan long-term optimizations

Once you’ve gotten in a groove with the basic checks and optimizations after you launch campaigns, it’s time to plan out some more impactful analyses that align with your goals.

If you’re running campaigns around home improvement, plan a demographic or audience analysis to adjust bids for in-market audiences or certain age groups. Is your business seasonal or impacted by weather? Figure out how you can allocate budget around the country based on the temperature of time of year. The sooner you start to think of and plan these bigger ideas, the easier they’ll be to execute down the road.

Looking for some more advanced PPC tips to help you with your campaigns? Check out more of our blog posts or get in touch!

Also, be sure to sign up for Seer’s newsletter to stay up to date on all things digital!

SEO in 2020: Experts Predict Top Digital Marketing Trends

The start of a new year is a time for reflection and for making resolutions about what to do better. 2019 saw numerous big changes to Google’s search algorithm, with several core updates and the use of BERT to improve how the search engine understands user queries. But what does 2020 have in store? How are user behavior and user expectation changing and what can SEOs do to keep up with Google’s continued fine-tuning of its algorithm? In this post, digital marketing experts share their thoughts on what to expect in the next 12 months.

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Making predictions about the future of digital marketing can be a thankless task – it’s not easy to second-guessing Google or to picking out which of today’s trends are going to shape tomorrow’s world. Luckily, we found a few individuals bold enough to make predictions and share their thoughts on how they expect SEO and digital marketing to change in 2020. As always, do feel free to join the discussion in the comment section and let us know which developments you are most excited about this year.

Going into 2020, what’s your favorite piece of advice for marketers?

Hazel Volker, Digital Solutions Specialist, Mr Price Group

“I love this piece of advice from Tara Robertson: She says that the need for content and experiences that favor quality over quantity is going to increase. She describes the current climate as the ‘age of authentic marketing’, and I agree with her assertion that you can grow loyalty amongst your audience by focusing on more relevant, more relatable marketing.”

Which trends do you see coming and what should digital marketers focus on in 2020?

Natasha Walker, Search Strategist, Equator



“Local SEO is changing. Google’s hotel search function is now serving results based on your search history and showing you hotels similar to ones you’ve previously stayed in. This could potentially narrow the amount of people you can reach, but if those people are more relevant, they’re more likely to convert. You need to be present throughout the customer’s journey – so relying on a single channel such as SEO isn’t going to be enough anymore.”

What do you think will change in the world of paid search?

Natasha Walker: “Looking at PPC, I think this will continue to focus on audience targeting. Google introduced affinity audiences for search ads last year, which is a big step because we can now target people who we know are relevant to the products/services we’re marketing. We shouldn’t need to guess what someone’s search intent is anymore, because we should be targeting the right people from the start. There’s no doubt that keywords are still important – they’re what PPC is built on – but it’s not enough to bid on a few keywords and hope for the best.”

How do you see the search market as a whole? Is there a world beyond Google?

Natasha Walker: “I think we’ll need to start focusing more on a wider range of platforms, and not just Google. For the most part, search queries are no longer growing and if they are, it’s by small percentages. Google, and perhaps the wider search market, has become saturated and that’s unlikely to change. But we know that people are spending time on platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Amazon and Quora, so the question is, how do we reach them? We should be considering these platforms as part of a wider marketing strategy, or be ready to trial them to see what works.”

Marcus Pentzek, Chief SEO Consultant, Searchmetrics GmbH

marcus pentzek

marcus pentzek

“I see increasing diversification in the world of search. Not only is Google changing – people are as well. They are not just using Google anymore, with some heading over to alternative search engines like Amazon, Ebay, Quora or Pinterest to get their questions answered. By covering the relevant channels for your own topics, you can diversify your traffic sources. Another thing is that the global climate debate might also cause less people to use Google and turn to Ecosia, which invests ad revenue in planting trees. And so you know, Ecosia’s results are driven by Bing, not Google.”

What are the key online marketing topics that your company is focusing on in 2020?

Hazel Volker: “We’ll be looking at how we can optimize websites for Voice Search and how we can increase our use of videos as a source of information. And of course, high-quality content is more important than ever so in 2020 we’ll be working on ensuring that the content on our website is as strong as possible.”

Marcus Pentzek: “A big topic for SEO will be how to respond to the fact that Google is answering more and more search queries directly in the SERPs. This is just with Featured Snippets, but Google is giving its own properties more room and this is pushing organic results down to page 2.”

What has been the most exciting digital marketing development in 2019?

Marcus Pentzek: “For me, two of the most exciting changes to search in 2019 were the introduction of BERT and ERNIE into search algorithms. And I expect the near future to see more advances in search engines’ abilities – rivalling humans in their capacity to understand the queries people use for their searches, whether these be entered via keyboard or touchpad, or spoken out loud to their assistant app – these developments and what they (will) mean for SEO are what excited me most in 2019.”

Love thy neighbor! Is there anyone you’d like to give a shout-out to?

Marcus Pentzek: Steven Kang from SEO Signals Lab for his incredibly funny SEO memes and extremely interesting discussion openers. If you don’t know him, be sure to check out his stuff in 2020. And thanks to Laura Laubinger from Oddity Asia, who introduced me to the exciting topic of KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) in Chinese ecommerce.

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The Beginners Guide to Google Tag Manager

The Beginners Guide to Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is a vital tool for any webmaster or site owner. The system plays a critical role in managing any website’s tags. It makes tag management fast, efficient and easier to understand for those of us who aren’t pro coders. This definitive guide will give you all the information you need to become a Tag Manager expert.