All posts tagged 'oogle' | MXS Solutions

Google Expanded Text Ads Deadline: January 31st, 2017

GOOGLE EXPANDED TEXT ADS: TICK-TOCK

Google Expanded Text Ads: Coming to a campaign near you you!The deadline for changing over (if you haven’t already) to the updated Google Expanded Text Ads in Google Adwords is fast approaching. The deadline set is January 31st, 2017. Many advertising agencies like MXS Solutions have been working since last summer to get our older accounts switched over to the new format while since it’s launch of Expanded Text Ads, every new ad getting created in the new format. If you have Google AdWords campaigns that are currently in the Standard Text Format, it’s not the end of the world (unless you have OCD). Your Standard Text Ads will continue to run with the Expanded Text Ads, but you will not be able to edit the older formatted ads.

WHAT IS AN EXPANDED TEXT AD?

According to Google, Expanded Text Ads are different from the Standard Text Ads in some key ways.
For Instance:

  • Two headline fields (up to 30 characters each)
  • A single, expanded description field (up to 80 characters)
  • A display URL that uses your final URL’s domain
  • Two optional ”Path” fields, used in the ad’s display URL (up to 15 characters each)

One of the main differences is that your “Display URL” does not need to match your “Final URL”. This makes things somewhat more simplistic for making it easier to add new Ads and reduces the chance of a wrong URL being inputted.

ADVICE FROM GOOGLE FOR EXPANDED TEXT ADS

We like how Ginny Marvin from Search Engine Land laid out what to look for with Expanded Text Ads (article here) and we just also wanted to reiterate what Google has been saying.

  • Test multiple versions of your expanded text ads. Try different approaches with the new space your ads now have. Shoot for 3–5 new ads per ad group. Advertisers who test multiple creatives see better performance.
  • Focus your testing on headlines. Headlines are the most important parts of your ads, and you now have an extra line to experiment with.
  • Replicate what works in standard text ads in your expanded text ads. For example, if you mention pricing or use keyword insertion in a successful standard text ad, carry those over to expanded text ads.
  • Consider shorter headlines on brand terms. Sometimes “Your Company’s Name — Official Site” might be all you need. You aren’t required to use all of your available characters. Test shorter ad copy, especially on terms where someone might not need a lot of additional info.
  • Leave your standard text ads running until the new versions are consistently outperforming them. An expanded text ad isn’t guaranteed to be a winner simply because you have more characters.
  • Leave your top performing ads running, regardless of their length.
  • Review your pre-existing ads for previous success with longer headlines. Consider promoting description line 1 in a standard text ad to you new headline 2, especially if that ad performed well in the past.
  • Don’t implement the same expanded text ad across many different ad groups. Your ads should be tailored to users’ searches.
  • Don’t blindly insert a new second headline without changing the rest of the ad. Add content that is relevant to the query and fits well with the rest of the creative.
  • Don’t write expanded text ads that lose their relevance to a user’s query. Remember that user query in your text.
  • Don’t leave out specific benefits or attributes of your product that had proven to be enticing in the past. Test all of your benefits to find what works in the new format.

(Google Source on Expanded Text Ads)

Keeping your website current for success online

We've all been there.  You built a website, and it looks great.  The content is finalized and all of it has been pushed to production.  All the team members involved high-five each other and get started to work on the next task at hand.  What about your newly published website?  It became stale the second it was published.  How is that you ask?  Well, the information that it was published with was not the latest (hence publishing was the last thing that your team did), so it already is out of data.  Keeping a website that is up to date and fresh is the success of many websites online, if not all of them.Increase visibility online with Google Analytics

Good Information: Why change?

Let's list some key factors in why you want to have regular updates to your website.  These will help you understand the importance of why we do this regularly.

Search Engines need help finding you - this helps

If you like to be found in Search Engines, regularly updated content is the key on out to stay relevant to them.  Search Engines will give priority to websites that update often and prefer to list the latest pages first.  Value is placed higher for unique, and regularly updated websites.  If you don't pay attention to your site after publishing it, your rankings will more than likely take a tumble.

The "busy" of Business - are you working?

Is your last post from 4 years ago?  If so, folks visiting your website could think that maybe your business hasn't done anything, important or otherwise, for many years.  Another thought could be that you have gone out of business, which would be the worst thought to a potential or current customer.  Publishing an article, just to show the business has a pulse, from time to time is a good thing.  You can start with a monthly publication, and then move it up week-to-week if you can afford to do so.

Got External Links?

Nothing like people talking about things, especially if they are using your website a the source.  Chances are, if you have some good content, they just might link to it.  This is called natural link-building, and it is huge for quality score in Search Engines.  The more naturally created links coming from quality sites, the better.  Keeping the site up to date more often with quality content increases the likelihood of it getting linked to from other websites and blogs.  This can help get you noticed in the long term.

Keeping the website shiny

It's not difficult to keep a website update.  A business just needs to establish some ground rules and then stick to them and the cycle of publishing content, and it will always be getting updated.

Steal this blog...

... Or the idea of a blog.  A regularly released blog is a great way to keep visitors coming to your site to see what you have to say.  This could be a blog about your business on-goings, tactics of the industry or just some topic that your business is really passionate about.  This will keep your website fresh and relevant so that it will show visitors and Search Engines that your site still has things to offer.

Got things to say that are news-worthy?

Most businesses have things to say that are news-worthy.  Have a breakthrough on something? Write about it.  Did you just meet a goal in a focused area?  Write about it.  Did employees at your business just complete training on some national standard (e.g. ISO 9001)?  Write about it.  The form of a news item can come in many different flavors, and a news article that is about your industry will keep your website in the limelight with Search Engines, and more importantly, your website visitors.

Visitors love images and videos - and so do the Search Engines

Website visitors are generally visual.  Having website areas like image galleries and video galleries not only provide eye candy, but can also provide valuable image search results when users are searching Search Engines like Google solely based on images.  If you tag your images and videos appropriately, this provides another avenue of being found by a Search Engine.

Client testimonials

If you can get great client testimonials out of some customers, this adds fresh content.  If you have a lot of customers and are able to get a lot of testimonials, this can assist in conversions of future customers as well.

More content

It's true, content is king!  Well organized content can make your website appear more valuable to Search Engines like Google and Bing.  Be sure that it's relevant content to your website and industry.  You do not want to have spammy content, "just to have content."  If your business is customer-oriented where you are working with them in person, then perhaps a friend staff page with pictures of your employees and titles would help this out so that customers know who folks are before they set foot in your building. 

At the end of the day, keeping your website up to date with it's content, imagery, etc. will help in the long run.  This not only will keep your business engaged with the website, but also provide value to customers and potential customers alike.  Just remember that moderation is the key.

 

Giving AdWords a Dynamic Boost

Most folks that use AdWords on the surface and don't dive too deeply into it may thing that Ads are just what they create for the product or service that they are pushing.  They may not realize that they have an excellent resource at their fingertips (or mouse click) called Dynamic Search Ads.  These can "auto-build" ads based on the content of your website.  This means that if you have an expansive website, this may be a great addition to have in it's own campaign (so you can budget it much easier).  We generally recommend creating a Dynamic Ad Campaign in conjunction with traditional ad campaigns within your account.Google Dynamic Search Ads

Google Dynamic Ads: Defined

According to Google:

- Dynamic Search Ads uses Google's organic web-crawling technology to automatically target relevant search queries based on your website content

- Incremental traffic from Dynamic Search Ads can fill in gaps in your keyword campaigns for great return on investment (ROI)

- Dynamic Search Ads offers a powerful way to target ads to many queries through an easy campaign-creation workflow

Google Dynamic Ads: Defined by MXS

We love our dynamic ads here at MXS.  While you can just use them and nothing else, you may not be able to compete with others that are going after the same market.  If they have specific keyword phrases being targeted and you do not, they generally will win.  The bonus here is that you can have campaigns that target specific pages with specific keyword phrases, and bid appropriately for them.  With the dynamic ads, this will literally "pick up the rest".  In some cases, the dynamic ad may be better suited for a customer's keyword search phrase than the actual keyword phrase we use in another campaign.  This means that the algorithm that Google AdWords uses picked it for various metrics and the bid is less (sometimes a lot less) than what it could have been with the exact phrase.  Sound Greek?  It's Ok, all you need to know for your business is that having Dynamic Ads around is a good thing that can yield additional leads to areas on your website.

Top 5 Google AdWords features you should be using

Those that have been around the Internet are very aware of Google and know that they are constantly innovating their products.  This equates to new releases on existing platforms and introductions to new products.  AdWords, being one of their keystone products, has released hundreds of new features just over the last year alone.  Many of these features were not even announced publicly, but rolled into the framework regardless.  Some of these updates may not affect the masses of AdWords users, but some may and should be put in order of importance.Top 5 Google AdWords Features

Top 5 Google AdWords Features

We've compiled a list below of the top 5 Google AdWords features that you should be using.   For sake of transparency, it is possible for anyone using Google AdWords to use their online website to perform most functions required to have successful online campaigns, but these tools below can make more efficient use of your time when setting up or updating your online campaigns.  These are in order of importance (in case you wanted to start with #1).

  1. Google AdWords Editor
    We like to use the AdWords Editor as a training tool.  New AdWords workers that we train have to do things "the hard way" first all online, and then we show them the Google AdWords Editor program.  This way, they can draw parallels to what they are doing offline with the online version.  The Google AdWords Editor allows offline edits to Campaigns, AdGroups, Ads, Keywords, Locations and all things in between.  One of the biggest bonuses from using the offline editor is the ability to copy-and-paste data.  You cannot do this online.  Say you have eight campaigns, and you decide to add a new location.  Online, you would have to go to each of the eight campaigns and add the location.  With the Google AdWords Editor, you still have to go to each campaign, but because it's offline, you don't have to go "page-to-page" for the updates.  You can copy-and-paste the value for each campaign.  This literally shaves off minutes of work per each action.  When your done with all your "offline edits", you simply upload/publish your changes back to Google AdWords.  Speed wins in this equation.

  2. Call Tracking Features
    Mobile is now dominating online searches.  If your website is not mobile friendly, stop reading this blog and contact us immediately to help you out.  If your website is mobile-friendly, then you can rest assured that your site, if the same (and similar metrics) as a competitor site that is not mobile friendly, yours should always outrank it.  Click-to-call is the name of the game ladies and gentleman.  Google acquired Grand Central Station many years ago and it is now known as Google Voice.  With this technology, Google now uses a virtual number for "click-to-call" buttons that show with your Ads opposed to just using your number (although that is still an option).  Using their proprietary system, now website calls from the ads shown have deeper analytics other than "yep, they called", or just bypassing the button altogether to call the business directly.

  3. Targeting Ads using Demographics
    Social Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter do a great job of targeting demographics.  Did you know you can do the same thing with Google AdWords? This idea stared a couple years ago with Google to have keyword searches and display ads using targeted demographics.  This setup gives you insight into who was clicking on or viewing your campaign ads.  The information you can gather here is good, but don't expect to get things like their blood type or other really-specific information.  You will be able to see data like age, gender and if they are parents or not.

  4. HTML5 Ads
    One of the more recently added tools added to the Google AdWords arsenal is the updated Web Designer.  This allows you to create nice, great-looking, interactive and/or animated ads in HTML5.  If you remember the days that Adobe Flash was all over the Internet with interactive banners, now this can be done with the click of a mouse on Google.  HTML5 does not require an extension like the predecessor of animation "Flash" did.  These ads exist on the Google Display Network, so you may want to consider this style of ads if you are already using this form of advertising within Google.

  5. Ad Callout Extensions
    Ever wish that you could have 5 links instead of just the primary link you are pushing in your ad?  Callout extensions exists for this reason.  Underneath your primary ad's text, you can have things like "Get your special price here" or "Schedule a call 24/7 here", etc.  These callout extensions are used to highlight parts of the business.  These are different from the traditional sitelinks as sitelinks are design to send customers to specific pages of a site and/or give them a quick preview of a designated page.  Callouts are good to use to give the ad an extra push for what you are selling.

These are a Top 5 Google AdWords features, but there are plenty that we use on a daily basis that did not make the list.  Some may be more complex in nature and not designed for our audience.  The features we listed above can be used by businesses that thrive on "weekend warrior" style work or full-blown businesses that have many employees.  Google has done a good job trying to have tools to cater to almost every business.

 

Google's Right-Side Ads Disappearing Act: How it really worked.

In the middle of February, give or take a few days, Google snuffed out the ads that were showing on the right-side of the screen for desktop-oriented search results.  What this has ultimately done is increase awareness (and competition) for the top-bar results that show directly underneath the search box.  Some have speculated that this is going to make cost-per-click (CPC) go up exponentially, while others like us, assumed that it may increase slightly, but not be catastrophic.  Many also assumed that Google was doing this solely just to increase their profits.  That is a loaded statement.  Sure, Google is always pursuing new ways to earn money, but what for-profit company isn't?  Wouldn't you look at new ways to be profitable if it meant staying in the black versus the red?  If anything, Google has a good track record of being purposeful for changes to it's Google Search Engine and Google AdWords engine.

Google AdWords

Google Adwords: Small Businesses are still competitive

Just because there is less Ad real estate on searches doesn't automatically exclude those with smaller budgets out of the competition.  We have seen a slight uptick in Click-Through-Rate (CTR) after the Google SERP update in mid-February.  Perhaps that was one of the many reasons why Google did this?  Another reason why businesses with smaller budgets like $10k per month versus bigger companies that spend $100k per month is the fact that traditionally, the business with the smaller budget pays more attention to the details of their budget.  Other factors include improving quality scores with modifications to the landing pages, etc., to go with the Ads being shown.  The idea is not new, and Google has mentioned the "how" on this several times over.  We have become in tune with making our clients beat out the manufacturer's ads on several occasions, so we know it can be done despite a larger budget.

Google SERP: Results of the Change

One of the biggest changes that SEOs (MXS included) noticed is the drop in Impressions for our Ads, and this was across the board.  It makes sense that instead of seeing up to 11 Ads on a search results page, we now see it capped at 7 Ads.  If you don't show up in those 7 (or less), then that is (1) impression less than you had before.  We strive to hit (and keep) our clients in the #1 spot for very targeted keyword phrases that make sense for their business.  With having less Impressions now per Ads, and keeping someone consistent click average, our CTR is increasing somewhat across the board. 

Mobile

We can't have a better, more descriptive heading than "Mobile".  This word can come in many forms, but for Google AdWords, this is the new King-of-the-hill word that Google wants to see in their Ads, the sites and landing pages for these Ads.  If your page, site and/or Ad is not going the mobile-friendly route, you are going to be losing traffic to your competitors that are mobile-friendly.  This uptick has been happening for a few years now, and mostly caught fire in the last two years with no signs of slowing down.  Desktop, still has searches, but Mobile, for some of our clients, has eclipsed Desktop searches on average.  This does not include Tablet searches as they are in their own category.

Improving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you just started your business website or if you have had it for years, you should know that it is very important to rank in search engines like Google, Bing and others.  So, how do you start ranking?  Will Google or Bing just "magically" come find my site?  Unless some other website is linking to your website, the answer is no. Improving your SEO for your Business

Not to worry, everyone who has ever taken their business online has gone through this exercise in some form or fashion.

Search Engine Basics

SEO is critical in order to increase traffic to your website and get all the content you worked so hard on shown to the world.  There are some very basic things that you can do to improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with your website.

Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask and many other Search engines have algorithms at their core that figure out where a website should rank from a given search.  These algorithms are not "set in stone" and updated several times per year.  The search engines are not all the same, but there are several inner workings of each that are common. 

At the end of the day, this is what the Search Engines are looking at for ranking purposes:

  • - Content Type (and how much you have of it)
  • - Optimization Level (did you pay attention in SEO school?)
  • - PageRank (popularity - just like the high school days)

 

SEO:  Slow and Steady

In the old days of bumping up a sites PageRank (we're talking maybe a few years here), it was a common practice to spam links to essentially junk "farm" websites that hold tens of thousands of links creating what is known as "backlinks".  What these backlinks from these spammy sites did was create a false sense of importance of the website they were pointing.  The more unique sites having these links, the higher the search engine would rate the PageRank.

Don't SPAM backlinks to improve your SEO PageRank

Hold the Spam

According to Matt Cutts, Distinguished Google Engineer, he has stated that backlinks are safe... for now.  There is an internal effort going on at search engines like Google (and others) that has been reevaluating the value of backlinks.  Matt Cutts was quoted as saying:

"I think backlinks still have many, many years left in them," he said. "But inevitably what we're trying to do is figure out how an expert user would say this particular page matched their information needs. And sometimes backlinks matter for that."

In the interim, backlinks will still be viable, but be cautious of the type of backlinks you are creating trying to drive traffic to your website.  You should stay way from the "fly-by-night" link-building companies that may boost you for a few weeks or months, but search engines like Google are aware of these tactics and working towards a solution.  Matt Cutts continues onto saying:

"So I think, over time, back links will become a little less important," he said.

Quality over QuantityQuality over Quantity with SEO

 Google seems to be leading the charge when pioneering the way that websites are assigned their reputation for the website as a whole and/or individual pages.  They are taking the focus off of backlinks and putting it back on the quality of the content of the particular pages.

Wait, there's more...  pages written by experts and professionals in their particular field will be given more precedence and weight.  Page authority is going to become part of the new norm.  There is speculation to how Google will determine whether experts are "experts", but they are Google, and I'm sure they have something in the works.

 If you want to check out the video for the backlinks that was done by Google Webmasters, check it out below: