Conversion 101: How to Create an SEM Legend Exercise

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need a remodel or disasterDon’s Contracting is in steady demand. The local market is tight, supply is low and demand is high. Don will tell you he makes his living off of word of mouth. He doesn’t worry much about online experience. He has a personal edge over many other contractors, because of how he makes his customers feel and the quality of his work.

Don doesn’t think about the experience of the people referred to him. He knows this level of demand may not continue forever so he has to to make hay while the sun shines. Today his potential customers happily take the personal recommendation. Yet, they will likely start their journey to hiring him online. Let’s think about the buyer legend from Samantha’s point of view.

Don is a talented remodeler and contractor. He has been working with the Keller family (all names have been changed to protect the innocent) for the past year on remodeling several parts of their home. They love Don and recommend him to friends all the time.

Samantha was referred to Don by the Keller family. Samantha has never done any significant remodeling in her home. She is looking to remodel her kitchen. She has tried speaking with a couple of contractors already. Those experiences left her with even more questions, and less confidence, than when she first started out. She is so grateful that the Keller’s told her about Don.

The first thing she does is Google his name and/or his business name.

kitchen remodeler austin searchWhat would happen if she could not find anything under his name? What do you think might happen if she found all kinds of negative reviews for Don? She might start a broader search for “kitchen remodelers in Austin” to see who and what show up?

To build a buyer legend for search you must perform a pre-mortem. We begin by having your team imagine that the customer has completed her (or his) buying journey and either didn’t buy at all, didn’t buy what you sell (in favor of an alternative solution), or bought from a competitor.

Now ask yourselves:

  • What went wrong that led to these outcomes? Think of Murphy’s law. Now think up fixes, resolutions, and workarounds for each failure point.

We can assume from what we know of Don that if people hire him, they will love him and tell others and that will drive people to go back online and search for him after the recommendation and continue this positive circle of business. The part that is not clear is:

What questions do you think Samantha might have before she even calls or completes an online form for a contractor to come to her house? Might she not call if she does not get some critical ones answered? It’s possible.

Now we start to outline our experience from the end moving forward, step by step, to the first step. You should be doing this for all your high value campaigns.

For this post let’s focus on just one part. In the comments below, list all the possible questions Samantha might want answered from the website if she landed on it before she contacts Don.

In our follow up post we will tell you exactly what we put together for Don based on our research. We will also share some of the screen shots of competitors so we can evaluate how well they did at helping the customers through the experience and building confidence.

The post Conversion 101: How to Create an SEM Legend Exercise appeared first on Bryan & Jeffrey Eisenberg.

July 26th 2016 sem

Google To Rank Mobile Page Speed Separately

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According to Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes, Google is planning to rank mobile site speed separately from desktop. This means that if your mobile site loads quick and the desktop version of your site is slow you will rank better for the same query in a search done on a mobile device than you would on a desktop Google search.

Jennifer Slegg of The SEM Post noted that Illyes mention of this at Search Marketing Summit Sydney was the first time that Google confirmed that it indeed plans to make page speed a factor in its next mobile friendly update. Illyes told Jennnifer that the update will be in a matter of months. Illyes has been hinting at mobile friendly sites ranking higher for months.

Google added a mobile friendliness to their search ranking algorithm well over a year ago, but this is the first time that they are actually going to use mobile speed as a factor in their ranking and specifically for searches occurring on mobile devices.

Google offers a rich amount of information on how webmasters and web developers can make a site speedier and mobile friendly in general. Start here.

The post Google To Rank Mobile Page Speed Separately appeared first on WebProNews.

June 4th 2016 Google, Mobile, Search, sem, SEO

Advanced Audience Targeting for Remarketing #SMX

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Advanced Audience Targeting for Remarketing #SMX was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

If you can do precise audience targeting, you can have more control over who sees your ads — and get more conversions for your marketing buck! In this in-depth SMX West 2016 session, we’ll find out how to use advanced targeting techniques like remarketing lists, custom affinity lists, YouTube remarketing and more. The goal is to maximize your ad campaign ROI.

Speakers for audience targeting session

(From left) Pamela Parker of Search Engine Land with speakers Joe Kerschbaum, Mark Irvine and Amy Bishop


Pamela Parker, Contributing Editor, Search Engine Land (@pamelaparker)


  • Mark Irvine, Sr. Data Scientist at WordStream (@MarkIrvine89)
  • Joseph Kerschbaum, Account Director at 3Q Digital (@joekerschbaum)
  • Amy Bishop, Director: Audits, Outbound, Training at Clix Marketing (@hoffman8)

Mark Irvine: 4 Ways to Find the Audience of Your Wildest Dream — & How to Convert Them!

Mark Irvine is a data scientist who researches industry trends in PPC. Dating is a lot like audience targeting. More of us are doing it online. It can be hard to find someone interested in you. Sometimes you’re going to stalk them (just a little bit). Your first impressions mean everything. It’s too easy to lose a good fit by not following through. He suggests approaching digital marketing like a courtship.

#1: Finding Someone New

Finding your ideal match is a journey. You don’t always know what you’re looking for right away. Rethink your key audiences. 40% of baby product purchasers live in households without children! Use Google Analytics to re-think the key audiences for your campaigns. He puts up a slide showing the conversion rate per in-market segment (found by opening Audience > Interests > Affinity Categories in GA). which helps you identify the key, most profitable demographics for your campaigns.

#2: The Chase

Chase past visitors with remarketing. Remarketing is going to reengage your best visitors. Highly engaged users are more likely to later convert. Remarketing is not just for display anymore! The same trends of conversion for engaged users are true across platforms, and users are 76 percent more likely to click on a remarketing ad! Google Customer Match boasts some of the best conversion rates in the industry.

(Note: Another WordStream speaker delved into Customer Match earlier this week; you can read Cleo Hage’s session liveblog for more on that.)

#3: The First Date

Choose where to court your audience. Couple relevant audiences with relevant website targets to boast positive engagement. Find your content match. Look to GA to find top referral placements — these will also be your top ad placements.

Get off mobile and app ads, though. Nearly half of all in-app ad clicks were found to be accidental. Typically we see mobile apps ad placements with a high CTR but disappointing conversion rate. Disclude your ads from in-app placement.

#4: Break the Dumb Rules

Don’t limit yourself with short membership duration or impression caps. This happens because it’s an industry best practice to set low impression caps to prevent annoying users. But actions speak louder than words. Users are more likely to click on remarketing ads when they’ve seen it 4, 5 or 6 times. Impression caps can hurt more than help, and ads are almost never served to their full impression cap. (He gives a few examples: a daily impression cap of 2 is delivered an average of 1.21 times; a cap of 3 gets an average of 1.54 impressions; 4 averages 1.75 impressions; etc.) Ad exposure increases CVR.

Give people time. Use your GA Time Lag Report to determine how long users wait before they buy. Set your membership duration to include 95 percent of your sales. Nurture people who are legitimately in your sales funnel even if you’re not sure what the time period should be.


  • Use Google Analytics to find new audiences and demographics.
  • Remarket to your best-converting audiences.
  • Identify the best relevant content to pair with your audiences.
  • Stay persistent with your best converting audiences! Avoid restrictive frequency caps and membership durations.

Amy Bishop: Best Practices for Audience Targeting in Remarketing

Before we can talk about audiences, we first have to talk about the goal of the campaign. Because remarketing is not a goal, even though successful remarketing is helpful. Think of what problem you’re solving, what you have that they need or want. This will help you define your audience.

Remarketing goals

  • Keeping consumers engaged throughout a long buying cycle
  • Closing the sale
  • Bringing back previous buyers
  • Prospecting (lookalikes)
  • Announcing new products
  • Re-engaging consumers with accessories or add-ons

Remarketing lists for search ads:

  • Bid up valuable lists within search campaigns
  • Exclude lists from non-RLSA
  • Typically have lower CPCs and CPAs than non-RLSA campaigns.

The funny thing is this is a lower funnel audience, but we’re paying less for them.

Remarketing lists for shopping ads are similar to RLSA but for Shopping.

Remarketing for Dynamic Search Ads — RDSA is great for query mining with a safety.

Social remarketing is another push channel:

  • Great for the mobile reach
  • A lot of different ad formats
  • Great for prospecting
  • Social engagement can help provide trust and expand reach and Lookalike Audiences.


Now you have your goals and your channel. It’s time to talk about the audience you want to achieve those goals.

Out with the old: Remarketing to everyone who hits the home page is out. Build informed remarketing lists using information you can gather from:

  • Pages visited
  • Source/medium/campaign information
  • Actions taken on site (events, goals, conversions)
  • Location
  • Demographics

Example lists:

  • Loyalists (via email, or UI login)
  • Completed a micro-conversion
  • Visited a page that speaks to their needs (product, industry)
  • Remarketing lists for channels that don’t offer remarketing
  • Hyperlocal lists
  • Layering lists for specificity
  • Seasonal or recurring needs
  • Leads that haven’t closed

If they’ve visited a page that speaks to their needs, hit them with another page, product or industry, that also speaks to that need. Layer lists for specificity.

slide of pulling data through the CRM

They created lists for demographics, crossed them with segmented lists, and were able to zone in on age ranges that performed best.

You might be thinking, OK, segmented lists perform better but there’s still a lot of volume coming from other lists that aren’t segmented. So, break out segmented lists as much as you can and create a catch-all campaign that excludes the segmented list. If your catch-all is bigger than your segmented lists, you may want to capture more information. The end goal is the primary conversion, but it shouldn’t be all or nothing for data collection. What can you get from them the first time they visit your site so you can deliver the right creative and product to them in remarketing?

Example funnel:

Example Remarketing Funnel

Remarketing ads should be helpful. Align messaging with consumer needs and interests, such as:

  • Product or category they viewed
  • Seasonal promotion, product, service or event
  • New products
  • Accessories for things they have purchased
  • Sale or promotion

You’re trying to be helpful and useful and facilitating the conversion from your end. So customize ads and landing pages based on the info you’ve used to create your lists. The more you know, the better you can deliver.

When to make exclusions? Sometimes your audience isn’t what they seem. Not everyone will buy no matter how many times you remarket. So they will build audiences with the sole purpose of exclusions.

As an example, they built a remarketing list targeting visitors of a page. Though CPC was somewhat high, lead volume was also high. They excluded visitors that spent less than 5 seconds on the site (to cut spend on uninterested consumers). The results? They noted a 50.3 percent decrease in CPA, from $84.61 to $42.51.

Previous purchasers shouldn’t always be excluded.

Joseph Kerschbaum: Targeting an Audience That’s Never Visited Your Site, i.e., Magic

Joe Kerschbaum at SMX West

Joe Kerschbaum at SMX West

How do you get email addresses? Second-party data exchanges, co-sponsorships with other places. You get these emails and you put them in your remarketing list and start encouraging them. Customer Match freed your email lists and gave them room to breathe.

Now you can segment audiences in your CRM, including people who have never been to your website as well as previous customers, lost customers, etc. (see slide below).

Segment audiences in CRM slide

Where your Customer Match ads appear: Google search, YouTube and Gmail. Here are his points on uploading your email lists into AdWords:

  • Upload first-party data in AdWords as an audience list. Lists are uploaded via a privacy-safe, hashed method.
  • AdWords matches your email addresses to Google accounts (and then discards all data).
  • You target or exclude your new audience list across devices and channels. This can improve the reach of your search, Gmail and YouTube campaigns.
  • AdWords generates “Similar Audience” lists from original email lists when eligible (only available for Gmail and YouTube).

He sees good match rates, as we see in this data from WordStream:

Upload email lists into AdWords data

There’s a magic potion made from these tasks (ingredients):

  1. Pull email list from your CRM.
  2. Define audience segments before uploading.
  3. Upload list into AdWords and create audience.
  4. Create separate campaign for these targets.

Now you’re suddenly targeting people who have never been to your website.

Here’s another magical feat, getting a repeat app user.

Typically app download = success! But sometimes you put in all that effort in getting an app download and then open an account in the app and then never come back. Then your app is like a ghost town. So, there’s a way in AdWords to remarketing to people who have been to your app.

App Remarketing Process

Remarket to your app users. Promote sales, feature updates or your company’s other apps. Here’s a flow chart:

App remarketing process slide

There is just a bit of code that has to be added to the app. Don’t cry. There is help in Google Developers! The article is “Mobile Apps Conversion Tracking and Remarketing.”

Kerschbaum’s “magic potion” ingredients for app remarketing are:

  1. Have a solid user base for your app.
  2. Integrate additional tagging into your app.
  3. Create RMKT audiences for mobile app users.
  4. Create new campaigns for app RMKT.

Similar Audiences

Google’s contextual engine monitors browsing activity on Display Network sites over the last 30 days and determines other users with similar behavior. If you segment your audiences, Google creates a similar audience for you. Voila!

Examples of similar audiences

With Similar Audiences, conversion rates are right around the same as other remarketing, so there’s your trick for more volume.


The YouTube ecosystem is huge:

YouTube ecosystem

YouTube is getting more competitive, and your competition is going to be there if it’s not already. What are folks watching? The most active industries on YouTube are media, B2C technology, B2B technology, automotive, apparel, fast-moving consumer goods, food and beverage …

Looking at funnel position on YouTube by social network, and it shows that YouTube doesn’t close very well. It’s an introducing channel. You should see YouTube as a first-click attributor. Embrace the intent.

Remarket to YouTube viewers based on:

  • People who watch any of your videos
  • People who take an action on any of your videos
  • People who view your video as a TrueView in-stream video ad
  • People who visit or subscribe to your YouTube channel

To create your video RMKT lists, you can target anyone who viewed a video or viewed an ad. A lot of marketers using video are only posting 1–10 videos a year. Here are kinds of video creative content styles your organization might use:

  • Live action or on-location (70% fall into this category)
  • Testimonials or executive interviews (53%)
  • Combination of styles (45%)
  • Motion graphic 2D or 3D (42%)
  • Stock images or footage (40%)
  • Moving images or slide presentations (38%)
  • Animated explainers (27%)
  • Spokesperson or paid actor (26%)
  • Other (4%)

Everyone has the same restrictions — limited budget and time. But everyone’s facing the same challenges.

Here’s the “magic potion” task list for YouTube remarketing:

  1. Link YouTube to your AdWords account.
  2. Launch TruView campaigns.
  3. Create RMKT audiences from YouTube viewers.
  4. Allow audiences to grow in size.
  5. Target YouTube audiences with RMKT.
  6. Exclude customers/converters.
  7. Exclude mobile devices.

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March 4th 2016 sem

Google Analytics Power Reporting for SEO & SEM – #SMX Liveblog

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Google Analytics Power Reporting for SEO & SEM – #SMX Liveblog was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Andrew Garberson at SMX West

Andrew Garberson at SMX West

You’re using Google Analytics, but, as the SMX West audience just learned from speaker Andrew Garberson (@garberson), manager of search at LunaMetrics, you’re merely scratching the surface of the tool’s usefulness in your work life. This is a retelling of Garberson’s presentation that he writes about himself on the LunaMetrics blog here.

First, a story. Your 80-year-old neighbor gives you a call and says that he wants to buy an electric car. He mostly just drives to the grocery store and around town, and everyone agrees he should probably stop riding around town on his bike.

You think of a list of criteria for a good car for him: safe, efficient, a good warranty. He drives home in a Tesla. Yes, this meets all the criteria, but it’s a little more than that. It goes 0–60 in 2.8 seconds.

Basic electric car

Basic model you need for the criteria

Google Analytics is like the Tesla. It’s a sports car and we’re driving it like we’ve got the emergency brake on. Let’s drive it like the high performance machine it is.

Tesla car

What you got: a Tesla

Basic: Daily Reporting

Google Analytics is here for you 24/7. But we shouldn’t have to be monitoring analytics on a day-to-day basis. It’s not ideal to be worrying about analytics around the clock. Just because we have 24/7 access, it doesn’t mean we need to be there at all times.

Ideal: push notifications. “Hey, something is great/not so great.” Google Analytics Alerts is the answer!

You can tap just about every metric in GA and set an alert on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Here are 55 alerts you can set up:

Intermediate: Monthly Reporting

At this level, we’re spotting trends and reacting to trends to minimize negative and maximize the positive.

The Google Analytics optimization for this is Dashboards.

Take any standard or custom report and add it to a lightweight dashboard. Before doing this, look at what other people have done. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Go to the GA Gallery to see what others have built that you need. Avinash Kaushik is among the authors of these dashboards that you can import into your account.


You can see that there isn’t one dashboard for everything, but specialized ones. These are helpful weekly check-ins. Choose the option to “email” (from the drop-down, changing it from CSV) and you’ll get a PDF in your inbox.

Advanced: Monthly Reporting

The perfect tool for a monthly report is in between a generalist dashboard and a specialist tool — it lets you dig deep into SEO traffic by product category or SEM campaign. The middle ground tool he’s devised is using the API and Google Sheets.

You’re going to be able to make reports like budget tracking (current spend v. budget, and conversions from search v. other). For segmented reporting in Google Analytics, go to


A plugin called Supermetrics will let you pull data from everywhere (AdWords, Bing Ads, Search Console, Facebook Ads, Facebook Insights, MailChiimp, Moz, SEMrush) into Drive. The link you want to look at here is


GA can be your power reporting tool. You can do serious deep-dive reporting with Google Analytics. Or, it can be whatever you need. GA does the easy legwork reporting better than anyone else.

Subscribe to the BCI blog link

March 4th 2016 Analytics, Google, sem, SEO

SEO & SEM in the Competitive Automotive Space – Pubcon Liveblog

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SEO & SEM in the Competitive Automotive Space – Pubcon Liveblog was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

greg gifford and ira kates at pubcon

Greg Gifford and Ira Kates at Pubcon

The automotive industry is incredibly competitive when it comes to search engine marketing. To rise to the competition requires in-depth local SEO knowledge and PPC know-how. This session offers strategies for search marketing, both paid and organic, that all marketers can use. Our speakers are Ira Kates, who will speak to paid search, and Greg Gifford, who addresses organic local SEO.


  • Ira Kates, Senior Digital Business Strategist, 360i Canada (@IraKates)
  • Greg Gifford, Director of Search and Social, DealerOn (@GregGifford)

Ira Kates: Automotive Search: Lessons from the Kitchen

Ira cooked for 10 years and he’s noticed that lessons from chefs in the kitchen have application to search. Today he’ll use lessons from chefs he admires to illustrate ways to compete in PPC. It’s a crazy competitive time to be in the automotive PPC industry, Kates explains.

“Perfection is lots of little things done well.” –Fernand Point

basics of ppc marketing

Is the structure of your account contributing to the theme you want to tell your prospective car buyer?

The lifeblood of paid search is match type. You don’t want to compete against yourself. Funnel everything toward best performing keyword.

conversion funnel for auto ppc

If you break this funnel down, there are funnels within funnels.

  • At the national level, you’re looking at people viewing galleries, comparing specs, taking an action that they’re very interested in what the car is offering.
  • For dealer associations, ask questions of what the purpose of the organization is to support the funnel.
  • At the dealer level, he explains to customers that “these are the actions” we’re looking to get (book a test drive, contact dealer, search inventory).
  • “Aftercare” is a new area in the funnel that Ira’s added to this visual aid since last year’s presentations. Why not focus on this, especially with remarketing available?

If you’re acquiring a new PPC account, take the campaign down for a couple weeks and scrub the account to apply the fundamentals. Implementing a simple, revised negative keyword list, for example, can result in lower CPA and CPC and you can take that new funding to reinvest in winners.

Ad Copy

A meal tells a story of how it came to your plate. You eat with your eyes as well as your other senses. Your ad needs to tell the story of why someone needs to do something.

consumer micromoments

Write your ad for the moment. A year-long test across multiple competitive nameplates show the following (and the author’s take is that facts perform better than brand claims):

brand claims and nameplates

You can see a huge gap of almost doubled conversion rates in the results. Use the geo-gating built into AdWords and focus on people a mile or two within your lot. That’s how you can test claims like this.

Creative ads on competitor brand queries:

  • “Don’t Go Rogue – Escape the Mundane” – a search ad on the query “nissan rogue”
  • “Did You Mean Ford Focus? – Phew, Dodged That Bullet” – a search ad on the query “hyundai elantra”

These are fun headlines. For a national brand to do this adds character to the SERP. Don’t be afraid to test.

Testing and Learning

Start small and prove something with a little test on one ad group.

“Good food doesn’t come from following a recipe to the letter. It’s about having the confidence to experiment.” –Marco-Pierre White

This is especially true at the dealership level because 90% of competitors aren’t testing and experimenting; they aren’t rotating their ad creative out enough.

A year ago, his big takeaways was:

automotive ppc takeaway

Pay attention to things like “ga(require, displayfeatures)”. Build up audiences and bucket them. Now you can test your ad copy and speak to these people again.

Test remarketing audiences for search. He tested Remarketing Audiences in Google Analytics over a two-month period focusing on non-brand keywords.

remarketing for search

The conversions they’re driving are dealership leads.

Favorite research method: Use SEMRush to find competitor’s top SEO keywords that aren’t super competitive and focus limited conquest dollars against those keywords.

full scale RLSA slide

Jump on Google Customer Match – announced 2 weeks ago – to be ahead of the curve.  You can use this to stop your customers from going to a third-tier oil change business. The most powerful use case for Google Customer Match is you know exactly what customer is ending their lease in 3 months. Why not talk to them when they’re starting their research on search?

Finally, here are flags to watch out for if someone comes to your dealership and says they want your digital business. They should be able to speak to all these things.

Flags to watch out for:

  1. No examples of work
  2. Price slashing with no offer of how
  3. No clear vision of what your success is
  4. Not asking questions about the business
  5. Only PPC concern is bulking up accounts
  6. Can’t define CRO, new extensions or how they measure success
  7. Require you to purchase a website or any other service just for them to run PPC

Greg Gifford: SEO Lessons Learned from the Competitive Automotive Vertical

Or: You Suck at Local SEO

Get his full presentation here:

These local SEO tips will help your dealerships. Check out the weekly Wednesday workshop video on the DealerOn blog. Local SEO is a tough puzzle to crack. You can’t skate by because otherwise you’re blending into the background and will be invisible to customers. He’s going to show us the code behind the Google algo.

The automotive niche is crazy competitive, second only to maybe payday loans, bankruptcy attorneys and divorce attorneys. Every major market has 300-600 dealerships (used and new) competing for top SERP spots. No one understands local SEO is different than web search SEO.

A dealership called up complaining he wasn’t showing up in Google but really he meant Google Maps. He didn’t understand how Google works. Every dealer thinks they should be #1 and that SEO is “instant on.” Everyone thinks they’re so unique:

  • “We treat our customers like family.”
  • “We’re family owned.”
  • “We have a state-of-the-art showroom.”
  • “No haggle pricing/up front pricing.”

Every dealership says this. Automotive SEO vendors are just as bad. Things shady SEO vendors do:

  • Junk duplicated content (same content for every trim with year/make/model replaced)
  • Outdated SEO strategies (keyword stuffing meta description, multiple city names stuffed into a title tag, hidden text in a “read more” link)
  • Go 6 months without touching a site
  • X pages of content per month without a strategy

Local SEO is an easy win because no one is doing it. Do the extra stuff and blow past everyone not doing it. It changes all the time so it’s important to keep up to date and update your strategy.
Recent big updates important for local SEO:

  • Pigeon update (July 2014)
  • GMB Quality Guidelines update (December 2014)
    • Most importantly don’t include a descriptor in your GMB business name
    • Choose only the most specific categories (he suspects weight/value given to category choices)
    • Different departments with different pages must choose unique categories
  • New three-result local pack (August 2015) (read the BCI blog report of for the latest on this change)
  • Local Search Ranking Factors Study 2015 (released by Moz two weeks ago)

The restgreg-gifford-local-ranking-factors-pubcon of the presentation covers the findings of the newly released study Local Search Ranking Factors Study (LSRF). What’s changed since Pubcon 2014? See the image to the right.

  • Big drop in GMB pages
  • Drop in link signals
  • Drop in on-page
  • Increase in behavior and mobile

On-Site Signals – 23% of the LSRF

The most important question to ask is why do you deserve to rank? Content matters but don’t take that the wrong way. It’s quality of content and not quantity of content. Don’t push out so much junk.

This stuff sucks:

  • No home page content (like all jpeg images)
  • Only a few sentences on a page
  • Default page text – this is a pervasive problem in auto right now because an OEM like Audi requires all dealers to use a certain platform and the dealer never customizes the content so their site is made up of default content
  • Blatant keyword spamming
  • Awful title tags – this is the most important SEO element

Stop trying to fool the nerds at Google. Write your content for people, not search engines. For local search, when you put anything on your site, do it to make your website better for your customers. Be unique and useful.

PRO TIP: read your content out loud to someone else. This is how you can hear if the content is helpful.

Optimize content for local:

  • Include City, ST in
    • title tag – don’t put company name first (you don’t need to optimize for it)
    • alt text
    • body content
    • URLs
    • Meta description
  • Embedded GMB map (from GMB page, not from Maps)
  • Consistent NAP
  • You must have a blog (not a luxury)

Want to rank in nearby cities? Use local content silos.

Link Signals – 20% of the LSRF

  • Thanks to Penguin, links are no longer simply a numbers game
  • Get local links (example: small church websites) to local content pages (not all pointed to home page)
  • Take advantage of sponsorships, events, things you’re already doing in the community
  • Pay attention to internal linking!

GMB – 14.7% of the LSRF

  • The most important thing you can do is claim your GMB. If you’re having trouble getting the postcard or it’s claimed by an ex-employees personal account, use GMB phone support.
  • Choose the right categories
  • Upload custom user and cover image

Citation Signals

  • It’s your mentions of your NAP on other websites
  • Most dealers have a ton of citation problems. Your citations have to be 100% consistent.
  • Do a quick check of major citations with Moz Local
  • Use Whitespark to check all your citations

Review Signals – 8.4%

  • 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as reviews from friends or family.
  • 4 out of 5 people will decide not to do business with you if you have bad reviews. You can’t fake good reviews. You can’t fake caring about your customers. He turns down business from shady car dealerships. You have to be legit before you do SEO. Don’t ignore Yelp; it powers the stars on Apple Maps.
  • Read up on review strategy:
  • Make sure you have more reviews than your competitors. You need five before you get the aggregate star ratings. Get more reviews but not too many more; customers will think you’re faking results.

Bonus tip: Don’t tether Facebook and Twitter. Use any of the many tools that you can post to both at the same time without it looking to the user like it’s out of place in the native environment.

October 15th 2015 sem, SEO

105 Free SEO Resources

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toolkitIf you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of time-saving tools and short cuts that can make life easier for digital marketers.

On a recent trip down the rabbit hole of online marketing blogs, I came across the a tidy collection of SEO resources collated by Amar Hussain of website broking company FE International.

Pitched as the ultimate toolkit for digital marketers, the collection is unique in that all of the resources are free. This is great news for marketers on a budget and ideal for my SEO students, many of whom are still in college or on low incomes.

Each of the resources are categorized along the following themes:

  • A/B Testing
  • Analytics
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Content
  • Diagnostic
  • Email
  • Infographics
  • Keyword Research
  • Link Research  / Link Building
  • Local SEO
  • Resources
  • SERP Tracking
  • Speed
  • Technical
  • Toolbars / Extensions
  • WordPress Plugins

While there are many tools in the list that I know well, I was pleasantly surprised to see a large number that I haven’t seen before and can add to my own toolkit. Of these, Optimizely, WordSmith and Five Second Test were the most exciting finds.


The post 105 Free SEO Resources appeared first on Ask Kalena.

September 16th 2015 sem, SEO, Tools

Q and A: What’s the difference between calls to action and action phrases in Google AdWords?

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QuestionHey Kalena

I’m creating my own ads in Google Adwords at the moment.  When reviewing what I’ve learnt in your Pay Per Click lessons, it says under the Appropriate Language section:  “Must not feature call to action phrases (Eg click here, visit this site)”.

Yet, when I visit the Google AdWords Help Centre, it encourages the use of Calls to Action – Under the heading “Empower customers to take action”.

Have I got this twisted? Which is right? Is there a difference between Calls to Action and Action Phrases?




Hi Stephanie

The editorial rules and recommendations for Google AdWords can be confusing at times, with some advice seemingly in direct conflict with recommendations found elsewhere.

In terms of call-to-action phrases – there are very specific rules regarding the use of particular phrases within your AdWords ads. For example, you can’t use “click here” in the ad text, but you are encouraged to use other call-to-action phrases such as “learn more about” or “download your lesson”.

So the advice under the *Appropriate Language* section relates specifically to editorial guidelines, while the advice in the AdWords Help Centre relates to recommended tactics you can use, rather than specific wording.

Hope that makes sense :-)

I recommend reviewing the more specific editorial guidelines for AdWords ads as well.


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July 16th 2015 sem

Search Share: JackThreads

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Image from: JackThreads / Shutterstock

For this Search Share feature piece we will analyze search marketing data for In a previous analysis and blog post of the online men’s retailer, we found that the website was very successful in attracting, retaining, and getting its visitors to interact over the past few months. Now we will do another deep dive into the site’s digital presence with search share analysis, which is particularly important for a company that only operates on the digital platform.

The Process

We will take the top 100 search referrals, which are the keywords or phrases that lead search engine traffic to the website, and upload them into the Search Share feature in Compete PRO. Once uploaded, the Search Share feature will provide information on SEO and SEM success with paid and natural share and rate information over the past 4 weeks to tell a story about JackThreads’ performance against its competitors.

Nonbranded Clicks

Keep in mind that this list of search referrals includes the terms or keywords that are driving the most traffic to JackThreads, and it is a mix of branded and nonbranded terms. The branded keywords consisted of terms like “jackthreads” or “jack threads” that are extremely specific to the site. But a lot of keywords were nonbranded terms like “men’s fashion,” and “cheap clothes for men.” Why is this important? It can show how JackThreads compares against its competitors. If JackThreads comes in the top 10 clicks for nonbranded terms then it probably has a successful SEO or SEM strategy and people are finding it through searches for “men’s fashion,” and “cheap clothes for men”- which are relatively accurate to what the company portrays itself as. lands 5th on the brand paid clicks for this list of keywords, with 1.8% share of total paid clicks. This means that for the terms on this list, around 2 in every 100 paid clicks go to This speaks a lot to the success of its paid search strategy relative to its competitors. However, JackThreads does have some clear competition. was one competitor on the list of top 10 brand paid clicks. It had 11.2% of the paid share, significantly more than JackThreads. In other words, when people search for “men’s fashion” they are more likely to click on an ad for Old Navy than JackThreads. This means that Old Navy most likely bids on similar keywords and is successful at attracting more clicks. The clothing stores do operate in relatively similar spaces, but Old Navy is a much larger company that has established brand strength, unlike the fairly new JackThreads.

Brand Paid Clicks

Final Thoughts

Much like my conclusion in the last post on JackThreads, things are definitely exciting for the website. It is still relatively young, but most signs look positive. It will be interesting to see if JackThreads continues to build up its brand and how that will impact search marketing results. If you want to see how your search marketing stacks up against the competition, check out Compete PRO.

April 10th 2015 Search, sem, SEO

The Science of Digital Marketing

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by Todd Bailey

“There is no law except the law that there is no law” (John Archibald Wheeler), could not be more true in the digital marketing industry.  Sure, there are guidelines, best practices and policies but that isn’t to say that the industry as a whole is, and will always be, a science.

What is more important than achieving more online visits, sales, leads and brand amplification?  How do you achieve these goals when a true theory has yet to be proved and to be followed?  With so many blogs, resources and even credited educational courses how will we look back at our profession?
Early on we were hackers and lowly linkers.  Paid Search gave us a vertical to establish credibility.  Social Media and Digital PR made us cool and put us on stage instead of behind the scenes.  And analytics put us in the board room.  
Well rounded digital marketers that achieve results usually aren’t evangelists, industry news reporters or anyone we have actually even heard of.  They are experts in thinking, trying and learning.  Across all mediums of digital marketing we experiment based off countless variables; history, trends, expectations and knowledge.  
Digital Marketing as a Science is experimenting and observing.  In organic, the major search engines are our physical and material world.  But what general laws have we concluded to date?  The mass reports of the SEO practice continue to be speculation, conspiracy related to patents and their implications, small test models and algorithm update publications.
Marketing Scientists don’t have sanctioned (and controlled) associations for publishing advancements in the field.  We are at the mercy of a top ten list of for profit publishing platforms.  
Even more alarming is the Paid Search space.  Once the golden child in digital marketing filled with transparency and data but now subject to enhanced campaign modifications, lost keyword data and a sheer layer of complication forged in an algorithm set in place by publishing giants.  Easily, Paid Search does allow for better experiments and production of tangible documentation.  But, still no sanctioned (and controlled) association for publishing advancements in the field.
While still young, Social Media and Digital PR are not in a point in their evolution (or may never be) to be able to set forth general laws.  And Analytics is merely a mechanism for observing all experiments.  But then again, “If your experiment requires statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.”  (Ernest Rutherford).
We may come to a point in the very near future where there are truths.  Where facts are published as laws.  But the art of marketing is still an evolution and to be evangelical about any of our practice is a business to itself.

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The Weekly Compete Pulse

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Happy Halloweekend! Failed digital marketing strategies can be scary, lucky for you these articles are here to help. Take a look at our favorite articles from the past week below.

Three Things Every Retailer Needs to Know About Search Marketing

Clickthrough rate is just one metric that you need to keep track of in order to understand search. Learn which others are important and what else you need to learn in order to better understand your consumers here.

Getting Mobile Wrong Has Real Consequences For Sales, Brand

If you aren’t yet #gettingmobileright, you could be doing even more damage to your brand than you think. New data shows that mobile consumers are increasingly likely to turn to your competitors’ sites if they experienced usability-related frustrations on your mobile site. Read more here.

Lead Generation Metrics – Here’s How the Top Performers Do It

It’s often hard to compare B2B stats, but there certainly are champions in each industry. Learn which metrics you need to keep track of in order to stack up to them in this article.

How to Use Google Analytics Behavior Reports to Optimize Your Content

Do you know how to assess the performance of your content on your website? If you’re not using Google Analytics Behavior, you’re missing out on valuable intel. This article will teach you how to use the tool to optimize your content.

Big Data: Best Practices for Success

Are you using big data to your advantage? It can be incredibly helpful when done correctly, but without a well thought-out plan it can be daunting. Learn how to be successful in your big data project here.

November 2nd 2014 B2B, Mobile, News, sem, SEO