Google started its holiday doodle series on December 18 when it first introduced the family of animated penguins. Since then it posted the second part of the series on Christmas, December 25, and now today’s third entry to mark New Year’s Eve.
“Our feathery friends have enjoyed their delicious traditions and are now ringing in the new year with sparklers in hand,” writes Google on its Google Doodle Blog, “As they all admire the fireworks overhead, they think about how much fun it was to spend this time together.”
While the first two doodles in the series led to searches for “December global festivities,” today’s doodle leads to a search for “New Year’s Eve 2017.”
It has also added the following two slides to its collection of images, showing the penguins celebrating the New Year:
According to the Google Doodle Blog, there will be one more doodle to complete the series that it plans to post tomorrow on New Year’s Day: “Tomorrow, follow along as our penguin friends start a new day in a new year.”
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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:
The post SearchCap: Google Express search promo, SEO goals & search pictures appeared first on Search Engine Land.
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Another year is coming to a close, and search marketers of all stripes have had their work cut out for them over the last 12 months as the industry grappled with everything from fake news to mysterious algorithm updates to automation. Fortunately, our talented contributors were at the ready, helping our readers to navigate the shifting sands of the search marketing landscape.
Local had a strong showing in our top columns this year, as pieces with a local search focus accounted for three of the top 10 columns on Search Engine Land. These ranged from Joy Hawkins’s detailed account of the Google Hawk update to Wesley Young’s helpful tips on how to improve your Google My Business listing.
Top honors went to Sherry Bonelli for her comprehensive piece on how to rank well in YouTube’s search results. As digital video consumption continues to rise, brands are looking to take advantage of this trend by producing high-quality — and properly optimized — video content.
What else captured our readers’ interest in 2017? Check out Search Engine Land’s top 10 columns to find out!
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This week, we spotted a new treatment for Google Express in the search results. This included two new elements: a promotion for the program at the top of the results and a new look for Google Express ads in the Shopping carousel.
The “Get it with Google Express” promotion at the very top of the results, just below the navigation, touts the program’s easy checkout and free delivery. The Google Express Shopping ad features the program logo and displays the participating retailer name — in this case, Walmart — selling the product showcased in the ad.
These changes combine to make the Google Express program much more prominent on the page. Google typically displays these ads with “Google Express” in place of the retailer name and “Free shipping” in the promotion area of the ad. Here are examples of these ads in a Knowledge Panel and a regular Shopping carousel:
The test is quite limited. It’s running on mobile only in the US when it regards the offer to be particularly relevant to the query.
In August, Walmart and Google partnered to enable shopping on Walmart through Google Assistant, including Google Home devices when users link their Walmart accounts to Google Express. Target expanded a similar voice-commerce agreement nationwide in October.
It is interesting to see Google promoting its own program so prominently here. Google Express launched in 2013 as a way to take on Amazon. More than 50 retailers now participate in the program, which offers free delivery or shipping when qualifying order values are met, same-day to a week out depending on the user’s location.
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As 2017 comes to a close, many SEOs will be looking forward and setting some goals for their campaigns in 2018. In this post, I am going to take a look at the SMART goals methodology that can help you set and achieve aggressive, yet realistic goals.
SMART goals set out a series of criteria that can be used for setting marketing objectives. This is all wrapped up in the clever mnemonic acronym — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timelined — which makes SMART goals so easy to remember.
S — Specific
Specific objectives are crucial to success in any marketing campaign. We need to know what a goal or conversion is for your website and how this relates to the broader business objectives. It is easy to think, “We want to rank #1 for various search terms,” but that’s just a detail. What we really want is more exposure, more visits and more leads or sales.
It’s essential to ensure that our goals are crystal-clear and connected to our business objectives so that everyone from the boardroom to the marketing department understands what success looks like.
M — Measurable
The promise of digital marketing is that everything can be measured. But simply installing analytics is rarely enough. We have to be specific regarding our SEO goals so we can ensure we know how to measure these goals and then how to illustrate that improvements in SEO metrics are clearly correlating with improved business results. As an example: a 50 percent rise in organic traffic resulted in a 50 percent rise in conversions from organic traffic.
There are many business and SEO KPIs we can track here, but here are a few to consider:
A — Achievable
This is a big one with regard to planning. We want to set aggressive goals so we aim high (maybe our chance of hitting the goal is 50 percent), but we don’t want to set our goals too high such that they are simply unattainable.
Key areas to consider here are:
Developing SMART goals will often be an iterative process as we consider what we want and what is achievable in our campaign window with our available resources.
R — Realistic
Setting realistic SEO goals requires a solid understanding of the search results for the search terms you are targeting. If you are a national business and results for the keywords you are targeting show only local business results, then ranking in the top three may be an uphill battle. However, you may be able to generate first-page visibility with really well thought out location pages.
Realistic has to take the following into consideration:
So, you may decide that you can achieve your objective, but your goals for 2018 are to move you 80 percent of the way toward the finish line.
Realistic vs. achievable is an important distinction, as it plays into the short- and long-term nature of SEO as a marketing tactic. You may have to invest for 12 months to reach your goal, so ROI during this period may be low, and you have to factor this into your budgets when lining SEO up against more instant forms of marketing like PPC.
Note: “R” can also stand for “relevant” when considering SEO goals. It’s important to ensure that the keywords or traffic we are targeting are relevant to the products or services we provide. If we increase rankings and traffic without seeing an improvement in conversions, odds are the traffic is not relevant enough.
T — Timelined
Time is hugely important when setting SEO goals, as SEO will often take far longer than other forms of online marketing. PPC delivers visibility and traffic instantly. And no objective can ever fail if it is not timed. So we have to be realistic about what can be achieved in a given time period.
It is not always easy to determine how long SEO will take or cost, yet we must do all we can to estimate timelines and use our KPIs to track progress toward the goal.
Using SMART goals for SEO
At Bowler Hat, the SEO agency I run in the UK, a good number of inquiries will simply state that they want to rank #1 for a given keyword (or set of keywords). This is not a SMART goal. SMART goals need to state why that goal will help achieve the business and marketing objectives.
SMART goals don’t have to be complicated and will look more like:
“We want to achieve leads from organic search by 50% over 12 months. We will do this by moving our target keywords from the bottom of page 1 to the top half of page 1.”
This approach also allows you to conduct a simple situation analysis and identify if elements of your digital marketing toolbox are not up to the job. Maybe you are lacking in content assets for your SEO campaigns, or your website SEO is just not dialed in. Whatever the issue, setting SMART goals will help you identify problems and sharpen up your SEO and digital marketing in 2018 and beyond.
SEO SMARTer, not harder
In the rush to go digital, it is all too easy to forget to get the foundation of your marketing dialed in. Tools like the 4 Ps, SWOT Analysis and SMART goals can ensure your SEO is strategic to maximize results.
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In this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have and more.
Google’s Boulder office has a ski lift:
Google has a Christmas tree in a police box:
Google’s office is empty during the holiday season:
Google’s Penguin winter theme display:
Google’s kettlebells are painted in Google colors:
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432: Why True Success in MLM Comes From Creating Residual Wealth Through Retailing the Product by Kenny E. Lloyd
Real happiness lies in helping bring happiness to others. Kenny Lloyd shows us that when you focus on helping people and on doing the right thing, the money will come in abundantly. Also, if you are building a business based on recruiting, you’re going to work for the rest of your life.
Who is Kenny E. Lloyd?
Kenny Lloyd is a top earner and rumored to be the top earning African American leader in the entire network marketing profession.
He first appeared on MLM Nation on episode 412 and we wanted to bring him back a second time around to talk about the state of the network marketing profession.
Listen to this episode as Kenny and Simon Chan talk about the trends and also the good and “bad” about MLM.
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From Search Engine Land:
Dec 28, 2017 by Ginny Marvin
Here are several trends that will affect nearly every search marketer in the year ahead.
Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:
Search News From Around The Web:
The post SearchCap: Google expands reviews, disallows some negative reviews & top SEO columns appeared first on Search Engine Land.
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In closing out our big recap of all the big 2017 trends and changes in PPC, I predict we’ll see trends in artificial intelligence, audience targeting, attribution and local marketing continue to develop in 2018.
Those are all exciting areas, but that’s not a particularly earth-shattering prediction. Here is a look at five trends that are related but slightly askew from the major themes that will play out in paid search over the coming year.
1. Structured data will matter even more
It’s not just for SEO, and I suspect we’ll be talking about structured data much more on the ads side in 2018. Cindy Krum makes the case in her (must-read) column on mobile SEO predictions for 2018 that structured data will become a bigger factor in the year ahead as the mobile-first index rolls out. Krum primarily discusses Schema markup, but advertisers also provide files of structured data via product feeds in Merchant Center and Business data feeds in AdWords.
On this front, Google Manufacturer Center has been a pretty sleepy product since it first came out two years ago, but I expect more brands and manufacturers will pay attention to it in the coming year. Manufacturer Center rolled out to more countries just last month, and the recently enhanced knowledge panels underscore ways in which Google will be using this data.
Original manufacturers and brands can upload data to Google Manufacturer Center that includes:
I also would not be surprised in 2018 to see Google pulling more information into ads dynamically from landing page copy, images and schema markup, as well as sources like Google Manufacturer Center. And of course, Google isn’t the only platform relying on feeds and other structured data sources to power ad campaigns.
2. The Google-Amazon rivalry will spur search ad innovations
Amazon and Google are dueling on multiple fronts. The retail giant has long been a threat to Google’s product search business and is poised to become a search and display advertising juggernaut in its own right in 2018. Three Google ad-driven programs — Google Express, Local Services by Google and Purchases on Google — each take aim at Amazon in their own ways.
Google Express is the initiative that takes a direct shot at Amazon. Google has partnered with some 30-plus retailers such as Walmart, Costco and Target to provide streamlined checkout and free next-day delivery for qualified orders. Expect to see Google experimenting with messaging for the service as we spotted in Google Assistant this week (first screen shot below).
Local Services by Google expanded into more cities at the end of this year and will likely continue to expand in the US and include more service sectors next year.
Purchases on Google is the dark horse here. The program has been very slow to develop and still faces challenges. The goal is to make buying from mobile Shopping ads as easy as Amazon’s one-click checkout.
Amazon has been building out its own advertising portfolio for its sellers, including search ads, and will push further into programmatic to challenge Google and Facebook’s display and video businesses in the coming year.
3. Voice & visual search will impact user behavior before ads
For the first time, voice search has brought full sentences to both the way we query and the responses we receive from the engines. With visual search (Pinterest Lens and Google Lens, for example), we query with our cameras. There has been a lot of talk and hype around voice search as millions of smart speakers have been sold, less around visual search.
Both visual and voice search are still emerging, and while we won’t necessarily be building specific ad campaigns around these capabilities in 2018 (which is not to say they won’t drive ad conversions when available), advertisers should be watching how search behaviors with these media change and the kinds of results the platforms deliver.
How we think about voice search depends on whether the results are returned via screen (e.g., Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant) or via voice (e.g., Google Home, Amazon Echo). When the search results are delivered on a screen, little changes on the ads side of things, other than the case for using broad match and broad match modified becomes stronger.
What shape advertising on smart speakers will take remains to be seen, but it seems ripe for a departure from the standard AdWords auction in favor of partnership arrangements. Programs like the ones discussed above — Google Express, Local Services and Purchases on Google — could be natural entry points for introducing ads (or sponsored messages) to Google Home, for example.
Voice and visual search are both still nascent, but these are two areas in which paid teams can benefit from working with SEOs to ensure their brands or clients are on the leading edge as they evolve.
4. How we work will change — mostly for the better
Paid search managers will hand over (or perhaps more accurately, surrender) more daily tactical chores to the engines in 2018. Artificial intelligence will have a dramatic impact on the work of paid search practitioners, teams and agencies in the coming year. The year 2017 ushered in this shift as ad rotation, ad creation, bid optimization, the display of ad extensions are now more automated than ever — and those automations function better than ever. As Frederick Vallaeys points out in a two-part column on PPC agencies and AI, this evolution will create opportunities for those that adapt.
Strategic, analytical, creative, inquisitive: Those will continue to be highly prized traits of PPC team members. As AI takes over more tasks, highly skilled practitioners are no longer relegated to hours of tedious keyword research or bid optimizations. Instead they can focus on tasks that truly leverage the skill sets that got them hired in the first place. Those who are analytical and inquisitive will be even more valuable as checks against machine learning algorithms that inevitably won’t always live up to their promise and in making machine learning and technology more powerful for their organizations.
5. Channel expansion & measuring for incrementality will become more popular
The duopoly power of Google and Facebook will continue in 2018. Yes, there has been advertiser pushback against measurement errors, objectionable ad placements and lack of transparency, but marketers will continue to put the bulk of their digital ad dollars in Google and Facebook properties. That said, nimble search marketers (with time freed up thanks to automation) will be looking for growth opportunities in more channels and platforms in 2018, and search and social will continue to see more interdisciplinary overlap.
The Bing-LinkedIn combo will likely yield more opportunities in the coming year. Pinterest, Snapchat, Quora and Twitter each have varying degrees of incremental potential.
And speaking of incrementality, 2018 could be a reset year for retargeting. Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention is forcing it on Safari, for one. Second, more audience targeting options — life events, demographics and so on — give search marketers more ways to segment and better personalize their retargeting messaging on the other browsers.
Customer-centric personalization — coupled with machine learning-enabled frequency capping and targeting — could finally help clean up the mess that sloppy retargeting strategies have had on eroding user experience and campaign effectiveness. I’m still skeptical we’ll see massive change, but marketers that measure incremental lift from retargeting will be better positioned to turn the tide.
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Google is integrating third-party reviews into the Knowledge Graph for hotels. It apparently has been happening since 2016 and is entirely opt-in for the provider.
Google works directly with the third-party review source (e.g., TripAdvisor) to integrate the content. In the example below, TripAdvisor reviews for Southern California hotel Terranea are available under the “view Google reviews” link in the Knowledge Panel.
Google got into trouble roughly seven years ago for “scraping” and incorporating third-party review content from sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp into Google Places without permission. Yelp saw the move as a kind of antitrust “extortion” and mounted a vigorous campaign against it.
One of the provisions of Google’s 2012 antitrust settlement with the FTC was that the company would allow publishers to block Google from including third-party reviews in “vertical search offerings” without their being excluded from the general index. According to the FTC statement announcing the settlement:
The settlement expired on December 27. However, in a letter to the FTC, Google said it would continue to adhere to the main terms, including enabling publishers to opt out of having their content being displayed in Google’s vertical results:
As mentioned, this reviews program involves Google directly working with publishers to include their content. It’s not clear whether this will expand to other categories such as restaurants or local services; however, I expect that it would over time.
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