Monthly Archives: November 2015

Common Questions Asked Regarding Google AdWords

By | Search Engine Watch | No Comments

Many people have questions regarding Google AdWords but few will ever have the opportunity to ask an AdWords representative personally. However, at a recent conference, individuals had the chance to ask their questions to AdWords product managers directly. Below we’ve summarized the top ten questions asked during the Q&A session as well as solutions to the problems brought to attention:

Multiple people were concerned about a notice stating “below first page minimum bid” when no substantial changes had been made to the account. However, it was explained that this message is popping up because of the recent changes made to AdWords that help improve the estimates for certain volume keywords. It is recommended that webmasters look over both their Auction Insights Report as well as their keywords’ performance to ensure their website maintains a high level of quality keywords.

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Secondly, users wanted an explanation for the gradual increase in CPCs. There are many reasons as to why CPCs can increase over time, and in most cases the increase is unavoidable. However, brand keywords can cause your average to increase rapidly due to large gaps found between bids and CPCs.

There were also questions regarding mobile traffic and their conversion rates. Users wanted to know why their mobile traffic had a lower conversion volume than their desktop traffic. It was explained that many mobile users may be converting in non-traditional ways that may not register as normal AdWord conversions. It is recommended that webmasters check all conversions to get a more accurate understanding of mobile users’ conversions.

It was then noted that all metrics and search terms related to Google Play could be found in the normal reporting. You can also see what search words trigger your ad and make it visible to web-users. Next, users wanted to know how to exclude showing ads to potential clients that are outside of their target area. This is a simple solution that requires you to set your radius targeting to reach customers in a certain area.

The question as to what Google is doing to protect ad users from fraud and spam was brought to attention. It was explained that Google will not tolerate any invalid activity, and that many precautions are taken to ensure fairness in regards to search results and advertisements. For information regarding these procedures you can refer to their Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center.

The AdWords product managers were also asked to better explain how their automated bidding system calculates bids. Basically, automated bidding adjusts bids at the moment of the auction for each impression. Numerous signals are factored in to ensure your bid fits within the specific context. Every time your bid enters an auction this process is repeated. The AdWords employees then went on to better explained the pricing model for universal ad campaigns. These campaigns use a cost-per-install model, meaning that your entire budget can be used to get the maximum number of installs.

Google AdWord users also had a few questions regarding emails and email lists. They first wanted to know how they could directly upload their email lists into AdWords without sharing information with their agencies. It was explained that email lists could be uploaded directly to AdWords as long as users had access to their account. To help ensure the security of the information, users could apply the SHA-256 algorithm to the email addresses. It was also explained that any email address can be uploaded, and does not have to necessarily be a Gmail email account. Additionally, Customer Match will help users sort out customers that have a Google account affiliation.

While there were many questions answered throughout the course of this meeting, the questions/answers summarized above were found to be the most helpful.  We hope that the information provided in this article will help you better understand how Google AdWords operates.

Google’s Partnership with Yahoo and how it Changes SEO

By | Search Engine Watch | No Comments

Google has recently formed a partnership with Yahoo, leaving many users wondering how their websites will be affected by this change. For years Google has dominated the search engine world, but this partnership with Yahoo marks the beginning of a change in the way users interact with search engines.

This new deal arose after Yahoo and Bing renegotiated their partnership, freeing Yahoo to partner with other search companies. Now Yahoo has a deal with both Google and Bing, and they are now able to use either search engine to see which yields the best results and most lucrative ads.

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However, this new partnership will have little effect on search results as a whole. If you search on any of these three major search engines, your results will look almost identical.  All this partnership really indicates is that Google is aware of the shift in search engine technology that has already started. We are moving towards a more platform-agnostic SEO and therefore Google is more willingly to give away search results and ad space to Yahoo.

This shift, however, should not have a huge effect on how you handle your personal SEO strategies; but you do need to be more aware of how you rank on other search engine sites, not just Google. This should make the SEO process more simple for you, as you will eventually only need to implement one set of strategies in order to ensure a high ranking on all the search engine websites.

This change could also have an effect on your paid advertisements, particularly through Google AdWords. This gradual shift could alter the costs of ads as well as change the demographics your ads target. Overall, this new partnership does not change much in the SEO world, but it does indicate that search engines are changing and becoming more platform-agnostic.

The Importance of Unblocking JavaScript and CSS

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Most webmasters have probably received an email from Google telling them they need to unblock JavaScript and CSS . While informing webmasters to allow certain resources on their website is not something uncommon, unblocking JS and CSS is a new warning from Google. This has left many webmasters wondering why it is important for their site enable these files.

The most important reason Google needs to have these resources available is so that websites can be more mobile-friendly. By unblocking JS and CSS, webmasters would actually be helping improve their mobile sites. Rendering these resources to Google also helps Google better identify websites that are using sketchy SEO tactics or highly visible ads and ensure that they are demoted or removed from the rankings.

While Google has warned people about disallowing these two resources for quite some time, many people either ignored these warnings or were just unaware of them until recently. Unfortunately, the email Google sent out was somewhat vague and many webmasters felt it was unclear as to what was being blocked. And while Google provided steps in their email to find the resources that needed to be unblocked, their suggestions seemed quite time consuming. A simpler method to finding the blocked resources is to look under “Blocked Resources” in your Google Search Console. This will be able to inform you what resources need to be unblocked and where they are located.

This can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but there are few key factors you need to focus on when unblocking JS and CSS. Webmasters should note that their homepage is the most important page regarding these resources and it should be your first priority to allow JS and CSS on this webpage. It is also crucial for webmasters to make sure that all resources are unblocked on both the desktop version and mobile version of their website.

Thankfully, once the blocked sources are identified and located, unblocking them should be relatively easy.  In the majority of cases, all you need to do is check the robots.txt and unblock JavaScript and CSS files. And, to make sure these resources are allowed, all you have to do is add the following to your robots.txt file:

User-Agent: Googlebot

Allow: .js

Allow: .css

However, if you area blocking entire directories then you would need to use something like this instead:

User-Agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /deep/

Allow: /deep/*.js

Allow: /deep/*.css

It doesn’t matter how you unblock JS and CSS, all that matters is that you actually do it. By disallowing these two resources you are hindering your website from ranking as high as it could in Google. Unblocking JavaScript and CSS is the easiest SEO fix for your site!

How to Attract Local Customers

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It can be difficult for service-area businesses (SABs) to attract local customers when they do not have a physical storefront for potential clients to visit. Oftentimes, SAB owners will have to go and meet customers instead of customers coming to them, resulting in clients in numerous different cities. For example, a SAB located in Indianapolis may have to travel to visit potential customers and end up with clients all over Indiana. While this may seem like a positive thing, it can severely hinder the ranking ability of an SAB website. However, there are many steps you can take to help reach more people in your local market.

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First, you need to decide on what physical address you are going to use and put it on all of the sites you use to market your services. This address can be your office address or a home address, it doesn’t matter as long as it is located in the your target area. Next, you need to decide whether or not you are going to hide your address from potential customers when they Google your business. You should hide your address if you are using a home address and don’t want customers to visit or you are using an office address that is not staffed during the day. However, it is advisable to have your address listed on your website and other marketing sites to help attract local customers and to get your site higher in Google rankings.

You also need to consider how you are going to list the areas you service on Google My Business. You want to attract a large customer base while still focusing on your local area. But be warned, listing too many zip codes or cities as service areas can result in your pinpoint being moved to a different location than your actual place of business. My advice is to list the major cities you service but don’t go overboard with it.

Another helpful tip for service-area businesses is to have long store hours listed online. One advantage of not having a storefront is that you can list the hours your business is open as the hours you are available to take calls. Many service area businesses will claim they are open 24 hours since they are always available to answer their phones. This can be a simple yet effective way to attract more clients; people want to know that they can get ahold of you whenever it’s most convenient for them.

Lastly, it can be difficult for SABs to rank in Google outside of the city they are located in. If you are interested in servicing areas outside of your city than it is crucial that you develop a good marketing plan to target other areas. This can be done by creating interesting content that includes the various areas you do business in. For example, if your business is located in Indianapolis, IN but you do a lot of business in Carmel, IN, then it would be beneficial for you to put content up regarding your work in Carmel with the location listed. It can also be beneficial for SABs to utilize Private Blog Networks to help generate more website traffic.

Attracting local customers can be difficult, but implementing the steps listed above can help your business significantly increase its local client base as well as climb the ranks of Google in your area.

 

Ever-Changing SEO

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It’s no secret that SEO is essential for a strong online presence for any website, but what many people don’t realize is how different good search optimization looks now than it did a few years ago.  No longer is it beneficial for a site to be loaded down with numerous keywords, in fact, that could actually hurt your website more than help it.

The way people search today for sites today has changed drastically from how they used to use Google and other various search engines. More and more people are typing in whole phrases or questions to find what they are looking for online which means that the keyword method has become almost obsolete.

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A much more beneficial SEO strategy is creating informative and exciting content for your site without concerning yourself as much about working in different keywords.  It will be just as valuable in the long run if you create targeted content for your site rather than obsess over the exact words you use when creating the content.

Another overused SEO strategy is utilizing backlinks. Using too many backlinks can actually harm your site, especially if Google detects that the backlinks are coming from unrelated or bogus websites. Again, instead of focusing on having numerous backlinks, try to gain a following the natural way. Take advantage of social media websites and other sites related to yours to attract more potential customers.

Lastly, computers are being used less and less and it is vital for webmasters to recognize this and take appropriate actions. In fact, if your site doesn’t cater to mobile users, Google will either push it far down in the rankings or remove it completely. Try to cater your site to mobile device users by breaking content up into smaller sections and making your images smaller. This will make your site more pleasant to navigate on mobile devices and will ultimately help you climb Google rankings.

SEO is constantly changing, and so are the strategies to help make your website successful. My best advice is to stop obsessing over getting your site at the top of the rankings and start focusing on marketing towards your target audience. As you build a natural customer base, the high Google rankings will follow.