Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.
From Search Engine Land:
Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:
Search News From Around The Web:
Local & Maps
SEM / Paid Search
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Smart Bidding strategies in AdWords use machine learning to adjust bids tailored for every auction. The algorithms take a number of factors into account, including, of course, the type of bid strategy. The newest addition to AdWords Smart Bidding strategies is Maximize Conversions.
From this week’s announcement:
Maximize Conversions also takes historical performance into account. Unlike Target ROAS or Target CPA bid strategies, Maximize Conversions is concerned with conversion volume rather than return on investment goals. Maximize Conversions will spend the daily budget in pursuit of more conversions.
Google says decking company Trex saw a 73 percent increase in conversions, a 59 percent increase in conversion rate and a 42 percent lower CPA in its first test using Maximize Conversions.
A few things to note for Maximize Conversions:
Maximize Conversions is now listed as a Bid strategy option under campaign settings in Search campaigns.
The post Google adds Maximize Conversions automated bid strategy in AdWords appeared first on Search Engine Land.
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Google is rolling out a new update for art-related searches today.
According to the announcement, the Google Search team joined up with Google’s Arts and Culture team to improve how its systems “understand and recognize” artwork — offering more relevant results.
“When you search an artist like Gustav Klimt, you’ll see an interactive Knowledge Panel that will highlight ways you can explore on a deeper level,” writes product manager Marzia Niccolai. “Like seeing a collection of the artist’s works or even scrolling through the museums where you can view the paintings on the wall.”
Google says its search results will now include more information about the artwork and the artists, offering up details on the materials used to create specific pieces of art, when the art was created, and where it resides now.
Google’s latest update also includes a new Street View feature that doubles as a virtual museum tour guide.
“Now as you walk through the rooms of the museums on Google Maps you’ll see clear and useful annotations on the wall next to each piece,” writes Niccolai. Available on desktops using Chrome and mobile, it allows users to click on the annotations to find more information or zoom into a high-res image of the artwork.
Google shared the following video to show how the new Street View feature works:
To develop the new Street View feature, Google says it used visual recognition software to scan the walls of participating museums and categorize more than 15,000 works of art.
The post Google’s latest search update gives art lovers a deeper dive into the masterpieces appeared first on Search Engine Land.
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Content marketing isn’t a new strategy anymore, and as every corner of the web fills up with content, marketers increasingly need to prove ROI and drive revenue. Modern SEO has, for years, been the secret weapon for creating content that stands out above the noise — and now that B2B marketers are discovering the value of mapping content to the buyer’s journey, SEO is already equipped to help.
Why align content marketing to the buyer’s journey?
Among other benefits, mapping marketing activities to the buyer’s journey has proven to increase upsell and cross-sell opportunities by 80 percent.
And that’s because the buyer’s journey has changed. The internet puts all of the info directly into buyers’ hands, which has shifted most of the traditional buyer’s journey into marketing’s territory.
Now, 77 percent of B2B purchasers won’t even speak to a salesperson until they’ve done their own research first, and they might be performing as much as 90 percent of the journey on their own. The question for marketers, then, becomes, Are those buyers consistently finding your brand along their journey?
Because if they’re not finding your company, they’re finding your competitors. Talking to prospects throughout the buyer’s journey means defining the path, discovering how prospects are navigating it online, creating content that finds them when they want it and adjusting with the market.
1. Define and understand the buyer’s journey
We all know what a basic buyer’s journey looks like, but mapping marketing activities to that journey means digging in and uncovering some specific details about the journeys that your unique buyer personas are taking. The buyer’s journey for someone investing in a tech platform, for example, might be very different from the buyer’s journey for someone hiring a logistics partner.
When defining the specifics of your audience’s unique buyer’s journey (and there may be more than one if you are targeting different personas within the purchasing team), ask yourself and your team:
Answering these questions as specifically as possible for your audience will help you create a solid foundation from which to optimize content.
2. Uncover unique insights with keyword and user intent research
With detailed buyers’ journeys in hand, the next step is understanding how your audience navigates that journey online—specifically via search engines because they are definitely using search engines. 71 percent of B2B decision-makers start the decision making process with a general web search.
And traditional keyword research is no longer enough. People use Google to ask questions, and working with Google’s algorithms to get your content to your audience requires marketers to understand the questions behind the keywords.
Google has defined four micro-moments that describe most search queries:
User intent starts by understanding which micro-moment is happening with each target keyword. Google your keywords and see what organic results Google provides. Those 10 links can tell you:
A Google search for “content management,” for example, produces a definition in the featured snippet, several other “what is” suggestions and a whole page of organic listings for content that defines the term:
If your company produces content management software, then, you know that when your audience searches this term they are looking for a clear definition. They don’t need flashy content features, they’re at the beginning of the buyer’s journey, and they’re probably managers or executives. Use user intent insights to map your keyword to buyer journeys.
All of these insights will help you create content that meets the right personas at the right stage of their journeys.
3. Create content for every stage in the journey
It’s time to create some content — or optimize existing assets if adequate content already exists.
First, review existing content against new user intent insights, and figure out where you do and do not have content that meets (or tries to meet) the user’s need. If a keyword has a strong Buy intent, do you have a sales/product page? If a keyword has a strong How or Do intent, do you have helpful resources? If the answer is no, it’s easy to start prioritizing.
Additionally, consider whether the content:
Optimize content you have that is already on the right track. It’s much easier and faster than starting from scratch.
Finally, create content to fill in the gaps where you don’t have anything that answers the question/pain point for a keyword/user intent combo.
You might find yourself with a long list of content that needs optimizing and/or creating — which is great! Don’t rush through the process, though, and create low-quality content. Prioritize the work, and develop a reasonable content calendar to keep the project moving.
4. Measure and adjust
As with any SEO and content marketing strategy, of course, keep monitoring engagement and conversions to make sure you’re getting the most out of your efforts. Look for signs of engagement (or lack of):
Other standard SEO metrics can also help determine how the strategy is performing before sales start increasing:
If something isn’t working — if an organic listing isn’t getting clicks or a form isn’t getting filled out — test some other options. Rewrite the title and meta description that appears in search results. Shorten the form and change the color of the button. If small changes don’t seem to help, reevaluate your user intent research and make sure you are answering your audience’s questions better than the competition.
These metrics demonstrate signals of a larger problem relating to your content not working.
Using SEO to influence B2B buyers at every stage
A company that fails to acknowledge how the buyer’s journey connects with content creation is ultimately wasting time and missing out on potential customers. Aligning SEO, content marketing and the buyer’s journey, however, is the secret to creating a brand voice and presence that nurtures leads through their own buyer journeys.
Define your buyer’s journey, uncover insights through keyword and user intent research, then create content for each step. When you go in to measure your efforts, you’ll find that the metrics speak for themselves.
The post How to use SEO to influence B2B buyers at every stage of the buyer’s journey appeared first on Search Engine Land.
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Today’s Google doodle honors Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, the first female architect to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Hadid earned the prestigious award on this day in 2004.
The doodle leads to a search for “Zaha Hadid” and includes an illustration of the architect beside the Heydar Aliyev Center, the cultural center she designed in Baku, Azerbaijan. According to the Google Doodle Blog, Hadid used “… historic Islamic designs found in calligraphy and geometric patterns to create something entirely new” for the design of the cultural center.
Google reports Hadid studied art and architecture at the Architectural Association in London:
In addition to winning the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Hadid was also the first woman to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects. Other structures designed by Hadid include Germany’s Vitra Fire Station and the London Aquatic Centre.
Google notes users can also find Hadid’s work in its Google Earth interactive exhibit.
The post Zaha Hadid Google doodle honors first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize appeared first on Search Engine Land.
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For anyone familiar with my articles, you’ll know I like to write a lot on a couple of specific topics:
Today, we’re going to look at an area where both apply: reviews.
In this article, we’re not going to dive into specific strategies for acquiring reviews, as those change over time (though I will be linking below to a couple of fantastic pieces that cover well some current approaches). Instead, we’re going to look at why reviews are important and how Google looks at them — and likely will be looking at them in the months and years to come. We’re going to be looking at business reviews, obviously, but we’re further going to consider reviews of specific products and similar areas.
What are ‘entities?’
Before we get to any of the above, we need to cover what an entity is to really start to wrap our heads around how they play their role. If you’ve not yet heard of entities as they relate to search algorithms, they are defined by Google as follows:
This seems like a fairly straightforward concept, and it is. Essentially, an entity is a thing. It may be a specific person, like “Danny Sullivan,” or it may be a singular and defined idea, like “evolution.”
While simple, the impact of entities on search is massive — and it’s sadly one of the most overlooked areas of discussion in SEO. So today, we’ll take steps to remedy that in at least one area.
Let’s talk about reviews
We’re going to begin our discussion in an area we all tend to think of when we think of reviews…
Business entity reviews
From a search standpoint, it can be useful to think of your business the way the law does (if you’re incorporated, at least): it is a thing that is unique and autonomous. It may be connected with other entities, but it is not the same as them, nor does an adjustment of those connections necessarily impact the business entity itself (a business may change its CEO while changing very little, for example).
Let’s get a feel for how this all works — and since an image is worth 1,000 words, let’s look at a graphical representation of our business in Google’s eyes:
OK, perhaps this picture isn’t worth 1,000 words, but let’s assume this is your business. Now let’s add in some connections that are natural. Entities connected with your business will appear in dashed red circles, and blue arrows will establish the relationships between these entities.
Now we’re getting started in illustrating how entities work. Your business entity is connected to other entities in ways that define many of its characteristics. If you want to simplify it, you can think of them like links to and from that entity. We’ll get a into that further below; for now, it’s enough to understand that a business entity is connected to other entities that define what that business is, where it’s located, who and what it’s connected to and so on.
Now, let’s add in some reviews in green dotted circles…
Now we can start to see how reviews fit into the picture. They’re not simply an unknowable ranking factor that’s “good because it’s good,” but rather a simple-to-understand addition to a business entity calculation. The more reviews you have, the more trusted the global review average will be — but further, the reviewers themselves are entities that factor in. In this area, we’re just starting to witness the first implementations of the entity status of the reviewer factoring in, but this will push forward dramatically in the coming months and years.
At this point, you may be asking what I’m referring to regarding the reviewer entity status. Great questions, hypothetical you! As was reported last week, Google has changed the way they display reviews for hotels on mobile to look like:
The key part here is the information related to the type of visitor (e.g., Families, Couples). This requires taking in entity information related to the reviewer and adjusting specific review scores based on it. So let’s look at how that fits into our graph:
This is extremely limited in its scope to include only the number of reviews someone has done and their marital status — in reality, there would be dozens or hundreds of different connections.
With just this limited example, however, we can see that if the searcher is married, they are highly likely to enjoy their experience with Acme Business Entity, whereas a single person may not like it. These are the types of expressions of entity metrics we’re seeing presently in hotel reviews, but let’s flash forward a bit.
Dave and Bill have also done a lot of reviews compared with Jane’s 2, indicating they are less likely to be spammers and they understand how the review system functions. Inevitably, other areas of their own entity metrics will factor in, such as their other reviews and ratings, age, location and so on, and many of these will invisibly influence the rating system.
The idea that the algorithm will be adjusted to weight reviews from people with similar demographic or interest-based characteristics higher is not a big reach. In the example above, does it make more sense for me as a married guy reading reviews to see the total average of 3.6/5 or the adjusted average only considering people with characteristics similar to my own, which would yield a 4.5/5?
What we’re seeing with hotels is fine, but it isn’t broad enough in scope to hit the nail on the head across all sectors. It’s a proof of concept, and it’s interesting. But there is more to me than whether I’m solo or married, traveling for business or with my family — and to believe Google will not be taking this into account is short-sighted. And here’s why that’s great…
The vast majority of businesses could not (and should not) attain a 5/5 rating from every demographic. They cater to their audience, and that’s what they should do. A hipster restaurant with craft beer would suit me well now, but back when I was a starving student… not so much. Understanding who’s writing a review and what they expect and enjoy needs to factor in strongly.
This recent step with hotels makes sense, but it cannot possibly cover all the variables that would go into a review being fully applicable to me. Rather, Google can weight all the various entity information they have and come up with what they determine to be the most applicable reviews for me.
For example, let’s take a review for a Mexican restaurant and look at just a few characteristics Google might consider if I were personally searching. Some of my core characteristics include:
Armed with this data, Google is going to know that when I’m looking up a Mexican restaurant in a new city, the rating given by a middle-aged person who tends to like good food and is willing to pay for it is going to be a lot more relevant than a review from a student who tends to hit up cheaper places to save money. Both may give a five-star review to different locations, but what they recommend is not equally applicable to me — and thus, their impact on reviews and the weight they pass to an entity needs to be adjusted.
Similarly, if both reviewed the same restaurant, and if that restaurant is known to have a higher price range, the review of the one known to visit and rate pricier locations should be weighted higher than the review of someone who may have their opinion skewed by feeling the pricing is too high (or they weight it more highly because they paid more for it, not because it’s actually good).
Flash forward in review evolution a bit, and these variables would appear in an equation that would look something like:
In such a scenario, each factor is given a relevancy score (how relevant is gender to the enjoyment of Mexican food?) and then adjusted by machine learning over time to account for personal considerations and the wide array of other factors that would be taken into account on top of this very short list.
Let’s look at the following illustration (these weight numbers are examples and not indicative of what actually is in the algorithm):
We can get a feel for how much weight each of the factors has, with gender hardly impacting them at all and past ratings of Mexican restaurants factoring in heavily. Remember, we’re looking at a person here and the value of their reviews on my results. Rightfully, whether the reviewer is male or female would have very little impact on the weight of their review; however, their writing of past reviews of other Mexican restaurants, their age being close to mine and having written a large number of reviews would cause more emphasis to be placed on their review.
If I’m right, then in the near future we’ll see the review system change to place more weight on reviews where the reviewer is similar to the searcher, and where generic influencer scores will be placed on individuals (human entities). Furthermore, I would suggest it’s highly likely that not only will review weighting be adjusted as a result of personalization, but the actual search results themselves will be more personalized than they are today.
Thinking about products
I’m about to go out on a limb to discuss an area that I feel makes sense, but for which I’m just spit-balling. We’ve been talking a lot about the impact of reviewers on review weighting and relevancy of a site to a specific demographic. But I would suggest that the products a business carries — and how those products are reviewed — may well impact an entity’s overall prominence, too.
Let’s look at a simple example based on our second entity illustration above.
What I would predict we will see in the near future is that the reviews of a specific product, or “product entity,” will impact a business entity’s status if they sell that product (even if the review is from a different site). If a company were selling only products with low reviews across different sites, I would put forth that that business entity’s overall score would be diminished (certainly for queries related to those products or that product category).
One can think of this as tall-tale breadcrumbs. All of these products are understood to be under a specific hierarchy/category, and that category is understood to contain low-quality items (though, again, this could be adjusted based on reviewer demographics). And thus, the Acme Business Entity would be reduced in the value assigned to it for that category of products.
I need to stress, again, that at this time I have not seen any evidence of this. As I said above, I’m just spit-balling here. But if one simply thinks about an environment where Google wants to provide its searchers with results that will meet their needs — and assuming they have the information to connect the reviews of one product with another on a different site — it is a logical and beneficial angle to pursue.
So, what do you do?
We’ve covered a lot here about how entities and reviews can and likely will impact rankings and how review scores will likely be augmented further in the very near future to place more weight on those reviews that more closely match the searcher’s intent and interests. So let’s review what you need to pay attention to…
In the end, the point is that we can no longer focus on simply how our business entity is reviewed but must look at how the entities it’s connected to are reviewed and who is doing that reviewing. We’re being forced into an environment where we need to look at our business as a whole, what we offer, who we partner with and who we cater to. While we need to respond to negative reviews as always, we need to be more conscious of who is doing the reviewing and whether they are part of our target demographic.
I promised above to link to some resources on how to get reviews and the risks involved, since we didn’t talk much about those specific strategies here. Here are some of my favorite pieces on the subject:
I hope that if nothing else, this article has given you food for thought. While a lot of this article is based on ideas not yet implemented, most are logical, and we’re starting to see some of the early signs that this is the direction things are about to take. Our job (yours and mine) is to be ready for these things when they come, and being ahead of the curve in understanding what’s happening will help us make business decisions that lead naturally to a better entity status for our companies. Fortunately, there is no downside to following the ideas listed above; it’s simply forcing us to understand the complexity (and simplicity) of the way Google approaches entities as outlined in their many patents on the subject and changes we’re seeing them make every day.
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“Learning and cultivating leadership, in this business, is huge to long-term success.” Todd Burrier shows us what leadership in network marketing is all about. And also, how to get past a rough start in network marketing.
Top performers in all professions have coaches. Whether you’re an actor like Tom Cruise… an athlete like Tiger Woods… an entertainer like Beyonce… Or a top earner in MLM. They all have coaches to continually improve their performance
All the top MLM leaders and successful distributors need coaches to continually improve their business. No matter what level or rank you are, I can coach you to your next milestone. Click HERE to see what is available.
Who is Todd Burrier?
Todd Burrier is a 28 year old MLM veteran in the network marketing profession who has been full time for the past 27 years. Not only has he made millions in the profession but he has coached and mentored multiple 6 figure earners.
Asides from being a leader, Todd has also written 3 books about MLM including his latest book, Leading with Heart, Powerful Wisdoms for lasting leadership in network marketing.
Todd has been married for 28 years, has 2 grown children and live out in Westminster, Maryland.
“Help enough other people get what they want, and you’ll get what you want.” – Zig Ziglar
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The struggle when I started my freelance writing service business looked like this:
And I completely understood why filling up pages with words was not valued. Nothing is worse than paying for a service that doesn’t produce results.
When writers charge low fees for content writing that doesn’t persuade prospects to take action, two dangerous things happen:
If a client thinks that the money they paid you was a waste because they didn’t make it back in sales, they’ll view you as interchangeable with any other writer — and there’s probably someone else who charges even less than you for a comparable lack of results.
This situation perpetuates the cycle of writers thinking that making a living off of their craft is unrealistic and businesses devaluing writers because they aren’t familiar with the power of the right words.
When clients see what the right words can do, though, everything changes.
Smart businesses value copywriting
To end the disappointing cycle, you need to offer the proper balance of content marketing and copywriting.
Once I learned about copywriting, my writing business benefitted in two main ways:
If the work you do for a client makes them a profit that exceeds the cost of paying you, everyone wins. You get paid what you’re worth and they are happy to pay high rates for your services.
If you’re interested in joining our list of Certified Content Marketers who we recommend to businesses, make sure to add your email address at the end of this post. You’ll be the first to know when the program reopens to new students.
3 resources to help you take control of your writing career
If you’re anything like I was, you’re looking for enjoyable, artistic writing work, but you’re also disciplined and practical.
So, you’re asking yourself questions like:
You may even be thinking about possibilities down the road like becoming a different type of entrepreneur or joining a larger organization. (I joined the Copyblogger team after running my freelance business for six years.)
Somewhere along the line, we got the idea that marketing was another word for lies. Don’t buy it.
Smart marketers don’t accept the excuse of “It’s just marketing” to hide the truth or produce crummy work that benefits no one.
Wise marketers embrace art as integral to what they do, as much as strategy and execution are.
Emotion moves us to act.
In fact, the Latin root for the word emotion means “to move,” because emotions motivate what we do. We don’t necessarily want to make them seethe with anger or burst into tears, though.
The goal is not necessarily to get someone to feel, but rather to want — and to act on that want.
The success of a writing business depends on so much more than your ability to write.
It’s often difficult to balance writing for your existing clients and attracting new clients. Consequently, your writing income may vary at different times throughout the year and the work you love to do never quite feels sustainable.
Whether you’re just starting your writing business, or you’ve been building it for a while and are hoping to make it more financially secure, these 15 tips support a healthy, productive solopreneur venture.
Writers: Looking for even more proven ways to position yourself for greater success?
Our Certified Content Marketer training is a powerful tool that helps you learn new writing strategies and position your business for greater success.
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“I need to find more time in the day for my business”…said every Part Time Marketer on the planet. Time is most definitely the most limiting resource for entrepreneurs building their business “on the side”. Ask any Part Timer and they’ll tell you… “If only I had more time!” There’s really 2 parts to the […]
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