At a time when companies have growing access to consumer data from an increasing number of sources, privacy is more important than ever. But it’s also important for privacy advocates to understand what’s going on before they formally complain to regulatory bodies.
It asserts that Google is using a “secret, proprietary algorithm for assurances of consumer privacy” and that the company uses “an opaque and misleading ‘opt-out’ mechanism.” It further argues that these are “unfair and deceptive trade practices” and confer FTC jurisdiction. It’s asking for an injunction accordingly.
Store Sales Measurement began testing in 2014 and was rolled out in the US earlier this year. In contrast to the statement in the EPIC complaint, Google does not receive or have access to personal credit card transaction data.
What Google is getting is anonymous, aggregated information from credit card companies; it doesn’t see specific purchases and can’t identify individuals. Google also doesn’t know what was purchased; it receives information that among a group of X number of users exposed to a digital ad campaign, a subset bought something in the advertiser’s store. That information (on an aggregate basis) is reported back to the advertiser to help assess the efficacy of the campaign.
In addition, the data is encrypted and, according to Google, it cannot be used to identify individuals. Google told me through a spokesperson that it “does not share any personally identifiable information with advertisers or partners for this product.”
Google is not unique in this arena — Facebook introduced offline sales measurement through Custom Audiences in 2013. Other companies, such as Oracle and 4Info can do similar kinds of sales-related offline tracking.
Google’s opt-out process is a available under Google My Activity–>Activity Controls. Users can opt-out by unchecking the box below.
Google has not done a good job publicizing this opt-out option, nor is it intuitive. Clearly that process can be dramatically improved.
EPIC is right to push for more transparency around privacy and use of consumer data. However in this case they get some basic facts wrong.
By the same token, Google, Facebook and others can do a better job educating consumers about how their data is being used and the kinds of controls that can be exercised over that data. Both companies over the past couple of years have tried to do this with mixed results.
Most consumers don’t really have a clear sense of how their digital data is being used behind the scenes. But in the case of Google’s Store Sales Measurement, it’s not being misused.
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LocalSEOGuide is releasing a new Google My Business monitoring tool called “Locadium.” It’s conceptually similar to other local listings monitoring services; however it’s exclusively focused on Google My Business (GMB).
Yext, Moz, Brandify, Vendasta, BrightLocal, SIMPartners, Chatmeter, among others, also provide local listings scans and monitoring. However, according to LocalSEOGuide founder Andrew Shotland, Locadium is the only tool that will monitor both the “front end” (consumer fields) and “back end” (API) of GMB. It sends alerts when there’s any change on to a company’s listing in any of the data fields.
It will be marketed to agencies, multi-location brands and SMBs. Pricing is variable for agencies and brands but for SMBs it costs $5 per month.
Similar tools on the market monitor local listings across the internet. However Shotland doesn’t see Locadium evolving into a broad-based listings monitoring service outside GMB. “We have no desire to compete with Yext,” he says. The appeal of Locadium is its focus and simplicity. “It’s a classic point solution.”
Shotland indicated the next piece of functionality he wants to add is a single report for GMB insights for multi-location enterprises so marketers working with them don’t have to check location by location.
The post Locadium: a new ‘point solution’ to monitor GMB listings changes appeared first on Search Engine Land.
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Today is your lucky day! Due to the volume of inquiries surrounding this year’s awards competition, the deadline for entries in the Search Engine Land Awards competition has been extended until Friday, August 4th at 11:59PM PT. No further extensions will be granted so be sure to get your submissions completed on time.
The judges are eager to begin the review process as we expect the level of competition to set even higher standards for our already tough program. Speaking of judges, this is also a good time to share a little more about how our judging process works.
Privacy & confidentiality
Since we ask for a significant amount of detail and supporting data in our application process, your (and your clients’) privacy and sensitivities around confidential data is extremely important for us to address.
That’s why we keep our primary panel of judges — those who review the main campaign initiative categories — limited to full-time employees and contractors of Third Door Media (our parent company) who also produces our conference series, Search Marketing Expo. This reduces any concerns around any competitors seeing information related to process or budget during judging. Also judging these highly sensitive categories are official representatives from the top search platforms, Google and Bing, who are also bound to strict confidentiality standards.
For the in-house team awards, we work with our trusted in-house workshop presenter Jessica Bowman and other internal resources. In the special case of the individual awards (Search Marketer of the Year), we invite the previous year’s winners to participate in selecting the successors along with past winners. (As of this writing, the rules state that each individual may only receive this honor once.)
Other measures are in place to reduce conflicts of interest in judging, and judges are asked to recuse themselves from reviewing and scoring any application in which they may have a personal or business connection.
As an applicant, in the terms and conditions, you may also specify how much data you are willing to let us share in follow-up coverage of any case studies submitted. Of course, should you win an award, we will work with you to showcase your achievements in a manner in which you (and the client, if applicable) feel most comfortable.
Now, get back back to working on completing your entry to be considered among the best in SEO & SEM, and wow us with your best work to take home the highest honors in search marketing. Enter here.
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Many organizations are struggling to optimize their staffing and skills to compete in a rapidly changing marketing world. What worked yesterday in marketing and technology may not work today – or tomorrow. With the rapid infusion of technology into the marketing organization, tensions between marketing and IT are inevitable.
How do you structure marketing to manage martech? What skills do you look for….or even need? How do you foster collaboration across groups in this new environment? Who’s in charge? Who should be?
Join Scott Brinker and our panel of martech experts as they explore the challenges facing CMOs looking to transform their marketing organization. They’ll discuss emerging best practices and the pros and cons of different management structures. You’ll also gain insights into how they manage and run their own companies.
Register today for “Organizing for Martech: Re-examining modern marketing,” produced by Digital Marketing Depot and sponsored by MarTech.
The post Organizing for Martech: Re-examining modern marketing appeared first on Search Engine Land.
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This article was co-authored by my colleague at Go Fish Digital, Chris Long.
Part of being an effective SEO is being incredibly efficient with the tasks at hand. You just aren’t going to have the time needed to go deeper and continue to add value if you’re spinning your wheels doing manual, repetitive tasks.
Because of this, we have always valued things that can make you more efficient: tools, scripts, automation, and even interns!
Today, we dig deep into our toolbox to pull out five of our favorite ways to maximize your SEO productivity output.
1. Automate Google Analytics data extracts & reporting
Generating monthly reports is one of those repetitive tasks that can consume a day or more at the beginning of the month (especially in the agency world!).
If you’re manually pulling data from Google Analytics, you need to be constantly checking that your date ranges are correct, that you’ve applied the proper segments, that you’re analyzing the right metrics, and that you’ve accessed the primary profile in the first place. Not only would automating this type of reporting save time, but it would also ensure consistency and eliminate mistakes.
And while scheduling reports in Analytics is fine, reporting can really be taken to the next level with the Google Analytics Add-On for Sheets. This add-on is a lifesaver for us during reporting time!
By adding this to Google Sheets, you can pull data directly from the Google Analytics API without ever having to log into the Analytics interface. To start, you’ll need to configure which metrics, date ranges, segments and profile the API should be pulling. Next, you simply run the report; the data is then loaded into your spreadsheet automagically.
The beauty of this whole system is that once you have set up your reporting framework, the amount of time spent gathering Google Analytics data each month should be drastically reduced.
For most of my reports, all I do is adjust the date ranges at the beginning of each month, and I let the API apply all my segments and collect only the metrics I need. I also create charts in the same spreadsheet that reference the cells this data gets pulled into.
With some very minor changes to the spreadsheet each month, I’m able to pull all of the data I need and have it formatted into easy-to-read charts.
This little add-on easily saves me about a day’s worth of work every single month.
2. Find internal linking opportunities with Screaming Frog
Internal links are one of the most underrated ranking factors in SEO. They not only allow you to optimize the destination pages for the exact keywords you want, they also provide a great opportunity to strategically distribute link equity in a way that targets your key landing pages.
Because of this, we’re continually providing clients with recommendations on improving the internal links on their websites. And from this, we have plenty of evidence that it works, even with some of the most competitive keywords there are.
For large and enterprise websites, it can be tough to find every one of those juicy internal linking opportunities awaiting your attention. The good news is that Screaming Frog comes with a “Search” feature that makes finding internal linking opportunities a breeze.
Before running a crawl of a website, simply navigate to “Configuration > Custom > Search” and add keywords you want to optimize for. Screaming Frog will then crawl the whole site and return URLs that use that text in the “Custom” report section. You can run a search for 10 different keywords at a time so you can include the different variations of the keyword you’re optimizing for.
You can also pair this search with Screaming Frog’s Include/Exclude feature to only search for opportunities in specific sections of your website. For improved productivity, I like to use the OpenList extension, which opens all of the URLs at once in separate tabs.
3. Scale keyword research with Merge Words
Google is better than ever at understanding the topic of a web page through its improved entity recognition. Better language processing allows Google to group related terms and understand their context.
This means it’s extremely important to not only understand your core keywords but semantically related terms as well. Keyword strategies revolving around concepts such as TF-IDF are gaining more traction among search professionals.
Google’s improved language comprehension means that your pages are capable of ranking for a much larger set of keywords than the ones they’re optimized for. While this is great for SEO, it can be intimidating to start keyword research with this in mind.
How are you supposed to determine all of the different keyword combinations you should be including in your content? And how are you to know which keywords to actually implement on the page?
Enter the Merge Words tool. This simple tool allows you to add words to three separate columns; then, as the name suggests, it will merge every combination of all of the terms you entered.
Now, instead of spending a great deal of time manually plugging keywords into your keyword research tool, you can quickly combine all of the different identifiers into Merge Words, then copy-and-paste that data into your keyword research tool.
An example of how this could be used is with an aftermarket car parts retailer. They could merge lists of all of the makes/models (Acura MDX, Acura TL, etc.) they provide parts for with all of the products they carry (headlights, seat covers, etc). The result is every combination of make/model with every part they provide (e.g. Acura MDX headlights, Acura MDX seat covers, Acura TL headlights, Acura TL seat covers).
They could then plug this list into the Google Keyword Planner to see what the most searched keywords were.
4. Scale SEO improvements with global changes
SEO productivity doesn’t have to just refer to specific tactics to make the collection of data easier. Productive SEOs are also capable of applying this thinking to campaigns as a whole to scale their success. While page-level recommendations can be extremely beneficial, often times it can be tedious and lead to diminishing returns to solely optimize a website on a page-by-page basis.
Especially with larger enterprise websites, it can be hard to move the needle for a website’s organic traffic by just picking at individual pages.
For this reason, I believe the most productive use of an SEO’s time is looking for global improvements. These sitewide improvements can be the most beneficial use of time as the SEO or developers only need to make the change in one location and yet it can impact thousands of pages.
So, how can you identify changes that can be made on a global level? One we do quite a bit is tweak title tag and meta description template logic so that it includes important words, phrases, and modifiers that people commonly search for along with the primary keywords.
Another valuable sitewide improvement is to look for errors that are built into the website template. Once again, Screaming Frog is our best friend. Start by running a crawl of a website, then sort the reports Screaming Frog provides by “Inlinks.” This shows how many links on the site contain that error.
Oftentimes, we’ll find internal 301 redirects or 404 errors that have thousands of inlinks pointing to them. This is a great clue that this error is occurring site-wide, and a simple change to the template can fix this issue across a large quantity of URLs.
5. Make interns part of your company culture
This may sound like cheating, but sometimes a repetitive or tedious process just needs that human touch. We’ve found that these types of tasks are perfect for interns. They get to do real work, and it frees up our team members for more difficult and meaningful work.
Our summer internship program has been a great success, and we work really hard to make the internships a win-win for everyone involved.
The interns benefit because we pay them well and they get great hands-on, real-world experience beyond grabbing coffee and filing documents. Go Fish Digital benefits by having capable hands ready to take on some of the more repetitive tasks that need to be performed manually.
The program is also a great way to identify talent early, and several former interns have gone on to be great full-time team members with the company.
In running the program, here are some of the things we’ve learned that have really helped us run a strong, efficient program:
Scaling, efficiency, and productivity are core tenants my company — and for good reason.
If you can find a better and faster way to do something, you increase your quality output while freeing up time to do the more thoughtful (and more rewarding) work required to be successful at SEO.
The post 5 tools, tips and hacks to maximize your SEO output appeared first on Search Engine Land.
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If you own SEO at a multi-location brand (or an agency that works with them), it can be hard to sleep at night.
Once upon a time, we were approached by a multi-location retailer about a Google My Business (GMB) problem. Apparently, at some point, Google updated the phone number on a decent percentage of their GMB pages from the local store number to their national customer support number.
They had discovered this because their customer support calls — and cost — had gone through the roof virtually overnight. The problem got fixed, and things went back to normal, but I doubt the person managing their GMB program ever got a good night’s sleep after that.
Over the years, most of us in the Local SEO world have become accustomed to Google updating GMB pages, even those that have been claimed, seemingly on an algorithmic whim. We’ve noticed this is particularly common with images:
The old “change your dealership photo to a cat picture” trick
If you’ve seen any of our Local SEO presentations in the past year or two, this shot is probably familiar, but it’s so good I can’t stop sharing it! Nor can I stop sharing a more recent example we call, “You Want a Slice With That Jeep?”
And because a picture is worth a thousand words, let’s take a look at this luxury apartment building turned Porta-Potty depot:
When Google shut down MapMaker earlier this year, a metric ton of images in the Local Knowledge Graph got changed. And while I am sure Google’s engineers did a ton of testing, what we’ve seen over and over again is that Google often doesn’t know exactly how changes to one part of its systems will affect other parts. It’s one of the reasons we Local SEO types have jobs. It’s also the reason why we find ourselves a bit cranky in the morning.
This issue was happening so often, we actually built a tool to monitor front-end GMB changes because we were pretty sure that GMB’s dashboard was not alerting us to a good portion of updates that were getting published.
Auto-generated retailer department GMB pages
Often, the problem is not that Google updated a GMB page you have already claimed, but that it creates new pages for you that you don’t know exist. This issue can be acute for multi-location retailers that have, or appear to have, multiple departments. Over the past year or two, we have seen Google auto-generate department GMB pages, often with disastrous results. Following are a few special ones.
The image below shows a typical GMB page for a store with multiple departments. Often, these “stores within a store” are legitimately created by the brand and can be great when it comes to ranking for local, category-specific queries.
But if you click on the “Costco Hearing Aids Center” link in the Department listings, it takes you to an unclaimed, clearly auto-generated GMB page that is marked as “Closed today” — this screenshot was taken at 12:00 noon on a Wednesday.
What’s that you say? I’m losing business based on a GMB problem I didn’t even know I had? It’s hard to hear GMB alert me to that issue without my hearing aid! Or, maybe they will never actually alert you to stuff like this, but you might notice your customer base has started skewing towards people who can actually hear.
Here’s an unclaimed Target Photo Center listing with no phone number, address or a website link — but hey, at least it’s open.
And it’s not like Target’s SEO team is asleep at the wheel. GMB is likely not going to alert them that this listing has even been created. And there’s not enough time in the day to click on every GMB listing for every Target store to see where it leads.
In Target’s case, at least Google is polite enough to not give out mistaken data. But when it auto-generates these department GMB pages, it also often auto-generates the linked website URLs, which is not always a recipe for success. Check out the website link to this auto-generated Sam’s Club* Optical Center:
This Website link takes you to an old Optical category page on the site which provides a not-so-great user experience (good thing most visitors need glasses and won’t be able to see it well):
I could go on for a while with examples, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t the only one. So I asked a bunch of other SEOs on Twitter (where else would they be?) how many had had GMB updates go live without their approval over the past six months:
78%. That’s not a rounding error.
Burnt GMB offerings
Most SEOs I spoke with who handle large accounts see a huge percentage of listings that get “updates” notifications from the GMB dashboard each month. One quoted 920 out of 1,080 pages they manage. Often, these are just suggested changes to “Offerings” or “Amenities,” which are likely not huge deals:
Another told me that up to 30% of their GMB listings change in some way every month. And while I suspect that Google alerts us to most of these changes, that still leaves a huge number of updated GMB pages that we never know about… until a client sends a “WTF” screenshot….
How to monitor your GMB pages for updates
Thanks to Google releasing a GMB API last year, there are plenty of great third-party tools for keeping track of changes to your GMB pages. Here are a few:
Good night and good luck!
*Full disclosure: Sam’s Club & Yext are clients of Local SEO Guide
The post If your GMB page updates & no one knows, does it make a sound? appeared first on Search Engine Land.
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Google’s latest Gboard updates for iPhone lets users easily access YouTube and Maps via the search-enabled keyboard and includes a new “Ink” drawing feature.
Now when you tap the ‘G’ to open Gboard, a ‘YouTube’ and a ‘Maps’ option appears, making it possible to add your current location via Maps or search for a YouTube video and add the link.
There is also a new Ink drawing feature that lets you draw a message instead of typing it. To access, tap the emoji icon and select the pen icon at the bottom of the screen.
Google says Gboard also now supports three new languages: Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi.
The post Latest Gboard iPhone updates include access to Maps, YouTube & a new drawing feature appeared first on Search Engine Land.
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One cool thing about being a content marketer is that you tend to become an expert in your topic. You probably know an awful lot about your business, your project, or your subject matter.
In fact, you might actually know too much about it.
It’s called the curse of knowledge. Because we research our topics deeply and spend so much time writing about them, we tend to understand the technical specs inside and out. We have a great grasp of the under-the-hood details that make the thing work. And we think customers want to know all about those details.
But most of your potential buyers? They don’t care.
What have you done for me lately?
To be effective, marketing needs to show exactly what the offering does for the person buying it.
The features of your offer are what make it work. The benefits are the results it creates for the customer.
What transformation does your product or service empower? What does it allow the customer to become that she isn’t today?
Jimmy Choo high heels aren’t coveted because they’re comfortable or well-made. (Even though devotees believe they are.) Women buy them to feel confident and gorgeous.
Hybrid cars aren’t popular because they’re fuel-efficient, money-saving, or environmentally friendly. The real benefits are feeling virtuous and smart, with the warm, fuzzy glow that comes from believing you’re saving the world.
The five-minute feature check
Quick, take a look through the last persuasive piece you wrote (blog post, sales page, podcast script) and take note of all of the features you talk about.
Copy and paste them all into a fresh document. Then, after each feature, add the words:
The final results will be phrases like:
In about five minutes, you’ll uncover the weak spots in your persuasive content — the places where you were thinking about you and what you offer, and not about them and what they get out of it.
You might not use the words “so you can” over and over again in your final copy — but you will be writing with an understanding of your audience benefits.
Not all benefits are equal
The curse of knowledge can also lead you to focus too much on what some copywriters call fake benefits.
These are the benefits of your product or service that you think are important. And you might be absolutely right. They could be critical to delivering the results your audience wants.
The trouble is, the customer doesn’t particularly care.
These could be things like:
But that doesn’t tell us what the buyer gets to have, do, be, feel, or become by moving forward with this purchase.
What those customers might actually want could be to:
Features do matter
Features are the specific, convincing details that demonstrate why your solution is effective. As long as they’re tied directly to customer-focused benefits, your buyer will stay interested.
Here are some features that have been translated into benefits and presented as a set:
Take another look at your five-minute benefit check. Any fake benefits in there?
Wants, not needs
You’ve got one more check to make before you call it good.
Are the benefits you’ve identified things your audience genuinely wants, or are they things you think they need?
When you’re translating your features into benefits, make sure those benefits are driven by wants. Look for emotional drivers like pleasure, comfort, status, and self-image. You can also seek to put a stop to pain, either physical or emotional.
It’s not only hedonistic emotions that can drive behavior — values like patriotism, justice, and fairness can play powerful roles with the right audience. It’s still a pretty good idea, though, to pair them with a little self-interested hedonism if you can. Fair-trade coffee wouldn’t sell nearly as well if those arabica beans didn’t taste so good.
We like to think that logical drivers like efficiency, physical health, preventing future problems, and scientific evidence influence our decisions, but, they typically don’t have much impact. But those “rational” benefits are helpful when they’re used to justify an emotional decision that’s already been made.
The customer who already wants the beautiful high-heeled shoes tells herself that Jimmy Choos will last longer and feel better than a cheaper brand.
The customer who already wants to feel enlightened and virtuous tells himself that the fuel economy of the Prius clearly makes it a sensible choice.
Marketing vs. manipulation
There’s an important difference between putting your best foot forward and crossing the line into manipulation.
The key lies in making two promises:
The impression you create with your marketing needs to be realistic and truthful. If it isn’t, you’re a con artist and a creep — and your audience will rightly shun you when they figure that out.
If you liked this Quick Copy Tip, click here to read other posts in the series.
The post Boost the Relevance of Your Content with Benefits and Features appeared first on Copyblogger.
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If you want to celebrate the harvest, you have to celebrate sowing the seeds. Phebe Trotman shows us that success leaves clues. Also, how to never run out of prospects and where to find them.
Who is Phebe Trotman?
Phebe Trotman is a network marketing leader who leads a growing international team from her home in British Columbia, Canada. She also holds numerous Athletic awards including: BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum Team Induction, W-League Championship, W-League Player of the Year, NAIA Championship, NAIA Player of the Year and two time All-American. As a retired professional athlete, she transferred her athletic success and lessons from the soccer pitch into the entrepreneurial world.
When Phebe found Networking Marketing, the thing she loved most about the profession was the opportunity to create teams where everyone is welcome to play at their very best!
Phebe is a top income earner in her company and has won numerous incentive trips and awards, including Top International Customer Sponsor, Trainer of the Year, and Runner Up Distributor of the Year! She attributes her success to an incredible team of business partners who have developed a culture fueled by the power of recognition and appreciation!
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” (Neale Donald Walsch)
Must Read Book
Recommended Online App
Recommended Prospecting Tool
Video and Webinars
What Did You Learn?
Thanks for joining me on the show.
So what did you learn?
If you enjoyed this episode please share it on social media and send it to someone that needs extra motivation in their MLM business.
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The post 367: Becoming The Leader You Are Looking For by Phebe Trotman appeared first on MLM Nation: Network Marketing Training | Prospecting | Lead Generation | Leadership | Duplication | Motivation.
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