That’s why we’re announcing Google Measurement Partners, a program that brings together new and existing partnerships to offer brands a variety of options to measure their advertising media.
The program is launching with 20+ verified partners across seven specializations: viewability, reach, brand safety, brand lift, sales lift, app attribution, and marketing mix modeling. Partners offer various solutions that work across Google advertising products, including Google Marketing Platform (including Display & Video 360 and Search Ads 360), Google Ads, YouTube, and more. Existing partner programs like App Attribution and Marketing Mix Modeling are now included in Google Measurement Partners.
Our launch partners are recognized leaders within their focus areas and provide solutions widely used by the industry. They meet rigorous standards for accuracy and use reliable methodologies to measure KPIs that matter for marketers. And we work closely with them to ensure the solutions respect user privacy.
With trust and transparency at its foundation, Measurement Partners continues our commitment to providing both quality and choice when it comes to measuring performance and helping marketers better understand their customers. Alongside our partners, we’ll keep working to establish commonly accepted standards and advanced measurement solutions that help raise the bar for the industry.
Posted by Babak Pahlavan, Senior Director of Product Management, Analytics Solutions and Measurement
Google Shopping has been growing in prominence in the search results, which is no surprise given the attractiveness of the image-based ads and the mobile-friendly experience.
Advertisers have enjoyed the extremely high conversion rates driven by the natural filtration shopping ads deliver. Much like an offline shopping experience, a customer can decide if they like an item (and the price) before the click ever happens.
As the Shopping results have matured, the higher conversion rates have naturally led to higher costs as the market balances out but only recently, Google announced a discount on clicks bought through a different comparison provider within Google Shopping results.
Clearly, Shopping presents a huge opportunity for many digital retailers. But when you take a step back, there’s another reason that brands should be focusing on this channel.
In addition to having high conversion rates because they filter out clicks from disinterested users, the Shopping results are a really good way to attract browsing behavior from a better qualified audience from higher up the funnel.
The results act as a shop window to your site, attracting in the right type of customer. Normally, non-converting traffic is considered to be of low value, but suddenly with Shopping this traffic is more targeted and so users are more likely to re-engage at a later time, or through a different channel.
When creating attribution models for clients we have noticed that Shopping often works best when viewed on a first click model. This strongly supports the idea that Shopping offers an inspiration-based path to conversion, attracting users to your site for the first time, when ordinarily they may have opted for a different competitor in the market.
Traditional search ads tend to compete on discounts and delivery messages, which are no match for the product desirability you can convey in well-optimized Shopping ads and campaigns.
So how can advertisers capitalize on this opportunity?
The path to Shopping success can be broken down into three steps – build, enhance and optimize.
At the heart of any good Shopping campaign is building an accurate and detailed Shopping feed. Without this, it will be near impossible to compete effectively. This task can be tricky without the right technical expertise, but there’s plenty of specialist third parties who can help. Once the feed is in good shape, building a basic structure using the low, medium and high priority settings, allows advertisers to focus on top performing keywords and also separate brand and non-brand searches.
Secondly, advertisers can drive more clicks and increase conversion rates by enhancing campaigns. What’s crucial here is sharing data and insight from traditional text ad campaigns. How can you tailor product titles and descriptions according to what is performing well in the text ads? Supplemental feeds are helpful here, allowing you to make changes on the fly, without altering the main feed. You can introduce sales messaging like this too.
Finally, how can you differentiate yourself from the competition and optimize effectively? It’s worth thinking about what needs to be conveyed in a Shopping ad that isn’t shown in the image.such as a premium material or high thread count. All the time bearing in mind that Shopping is a numbers game and there should be a clear correlation between cost per click and return.
Where the optimisation point becomes really interesting is if an advertiser has physical stores as well as ecommerce sites. There are further gains to be had here with store visit tracking showing extremely strong results. The propensity for a user to click on a Shopping result and then visit the actual store is very high.
It’s evident that Google Shopping results are the new shop window, attracting qualified visits to both an advertiser’s website and physical stores, and that capitalizing on Shopping offers advertisers value beyond the last click ROI.
The online world was very different when DoubleClick debuted in 1996. Things we take for granted today, like texting emoji, sharing funny YouTube videos, or taking smartphone selfies were all years away.
Of course, changes in technology have meant changes for digital marketers. There’s been an explosion of channels, formats and data. Consumers are also more aware of how they’re being marketed to and how their data is being used—and they want more control.
To address these new realities, marketers need tools that make it easy to get better results from their marketing in a way that puts privacy first.
This is why we’re announcing Google Marketing Platform.
In the U.S., adidas has started working more collaboratively across their digital teams to share insights and get a deeper understanding of their customers. Chris Murphy, Head of Digital Experience, describes their approach:
“Our adidas teams work together in one environment where we can see audience insights, what creative we’re running and where, how it’s performing, and make changes almost in real time.”
Chris Murphy, Head of Digital Experience, adidas
Better results with ads plus analytics
Google Marketing Platform builds on existing integrations between the Google Analytics 360 Suite and DoubleClick advertiser products. Marketers have seen great results when they use ads and analytics technology together. For example, BookIt used Analytics 360 to uncover insights about the types of travelers interested in their brand and used these insights to create more relevant campaigns in Display & Video 360. The result was a 20 percent increase in revenue.
Now, with Google Marketing Platform, we’re introducing ways to make our products work even better together. For example, the new Integration Center helps you discover and easily setup valuable connections between products.
Search Ads 360 and Display & Video 360
With Google Marketing Platform, we’re also making changes to some of our advertising products.
Search Ads 360 is the new name for DoubleClick Search. Search Ads 360 will continue to help you plan, buy, and measure your search campaigns on Google and other search engines.
Display & Video 360 brings together features from our display advertising products: DoubleClick Bid Manager, Campaign Manager, Studio and Audience Center. Display & Video 360 allows you to execute ad campaigns end-to-end in one place, creating efficiency in how you work and helping your teams do more together.
Don’t worry, Campaign Manager and other DoubleClick products aren’t going anywhere right away. We’ll gradually transition customers to Display & Video 360 as additional features become available.
This is just the beginning of the next chapter in our platforms story. We’re committed to building solutions that help you achieve your marketing goals while meeting consumers’ high expectations for privacy, transparency and control.
We’ll be sharing more about Google Marketing Platform and Display & Video 360 at Google Marketing Live. Sign up to watch the live streamed keynote on July 10, 9:00 a.m. PT / 12:00 p.m. ET.
Posted by Brad Bender, Vice President of Display and Video Advertising
Earlier this week we announced Google Marketing Platform, which brings together DoubleClick Digital Marketing and the Google Analytics 360 Suite into a single solution to plan, buy, measure and optimize customer experiences across channels and devices. But we all know having great technology is only part of the solution. You also need people with the expertise and knowledge to fully take advantage of everything the technology enables. It’s not unlike relying on Sherpas to help guide you from basecamp to the summit. You may be able to make the ascent on your own, but engaging a team of experts with a track record of success greatly improves your chances of making the summit. That’s why we’re excited to announce Google Marketing Platform Partners, a new program designed to ensure you have access to all the resources you need to get the most value from Google Marketing Platform.
A robust ecosystem of skilled practitioners and companies
More than just a replacement for the existing programs, Google Analytics Certified Partners and the DoubleClick Certified Marketing Partners, the new program is designed to provide a robust ecosystem of resources, no matter your needs. The foundation of the program is scaled training and capability-building across all the Google Marketing Platform products. Whether you’re looking to build skills in-house or partner with a service provider, the program helps ensure the needed skills and resources are readily available. With more than 500 companies in the program at launch, including leading interactive agencies, system integrators, and top technology, data and media companies, you’ll be able to find a partner to support multiple facets of your business.
Three unique designations
From skill-building to broader, strategic partnerships and technology reselling, the program is designed to deliver the range and quality of expertise you expect:
Certified Individuals: To help increase the talent pool available supporting the Google Marketing Platform, individuals will be able to access a growing library of self-study materials and complete individual product certifications. Successful completion signals an individual’s expertise with specific Google Marketing Platform products.
Certified Companies: Certified Companies provide consulting, training, implementation, operations and technical support services for Google Marketing Platform. These companies not only have individuals certified in one or more products, but they have a high level of knowledge, practical and industry experience, as well as stellar customer references. These strict requirements ensure they have both the expertise and a proven ability to deliver results.
Sales Partners: Sales Partners are Google Marketing Platform experts, just like Certified Companies, but partner more closely with Google in providing consulting and support services, in addition to selling the technology on our behalf.
Get started today
Whether you’re looking to add talent to your team, up-level your current talent, or complement your team with a partner company, Platform Partners offers a trusted source to help close the gaps. And we’ll continue to build out additional skill-building resources, refine our certifications and add new partners covering more countries and languages. To get started on taking your marketing to even greater heights, browse our current Partners to find a partner equipped to help you get the most from your investment in Google Marketing Platform.
Posted by Chip Hall, Managing Director, Media Platforms
Running a WordPress website or a blog is exciting. The thrill of being able to share your content with your audience at ease is the driving factor in why WordPress powers over 30% of all the websites. A people’s platform, WordPress is a popular Content Management System (CMS) for new and experienced users alike.
WordPress however, does offer its fair share of issues that trouble its users. Some of these issues are generic and can be addressed with small amendments. Other complications with the system demand a technical learning curve to solve. This article highlights the common issues and how to solve them.
Issues with themes and plugins
Themes and plugins are essentially the structures that support WordPress’ framework. Users often have to deal with issues related to them.
- Theme installation failed
- Missing stylesheet
- Sample data import errors
- HomePage not similar to the demo etc.
The root cause of such theme related issues could be that something is missing in the zip folder or you could have simply missed uploading the root theme folder.
For sample data import errors, you can try any of these solutions:
- Once you have activated the theme, make a check and ensure that your theme includes custom post types and taxonomies
- If you fail to import media, you can open the sample data in a text editor and try and locate one of those files and test the link in your browser
- Alternatively, you can get in touch with the theme developer and share your issues if you are unable to address them successfully.
Regularly updating and ensuring that you download plugins from reliable sources can reduce risk. However, some errors still creep in which can be dealt with in the following manner.
- Some plugin updates go along with the latest update of your WordPress version. Make sure you don’t miss them.
- Plugins can be complex to set up and require careful configuration. Make sure that you are meticulous with the plugin documentation and follow instructions.
- Always upload your plugins to the right folder: wp-content/plugins
- If everything else fails, get in touch with the Plugin developer to seek your answers.
Lost WordPress admin password
Losing your WordPress site’s login password can cause real issues.
If you can successfully retrieve it through the emailed link request – you are one of the lucky ones. A lot of WordPress admins never receive these emails in their inbox.
You can try resetting the email and password through the phpMyAdmin option. To do so, you will have to login to your cpanel, locate the phpMyAdmin and select the database option of your WordPress website.
- Click on the wp_users table to enter a new username and password
- Move to ‘Functions’ and click the MD5 option as it highly recommended
- Save the changes and you will be able to access your site’s admin dashboard.
Another way around this is to edit your theme’s functions.php file. Make the following additions and save the file to upload it. You can login to the dashboard and remove the code from the file after yet another upload.
A hacked WordPress site
A hacked WordPress website is unfortunately a common issue. It can only be dealt with by the implementation of a robust website monitoring security system and with a WordPress security plugin in place. You can also try hiding your site’s login page or integrate 2-factor authentication to make sure that you have ample time to act before your website is attacked.
The white screen of death
The most common WordPress error is the ‘white screen of death’. To make sure that things get back to the normal, you can try checking if your existing theme or the installed plugins are facing some compatibility issues. This method however could result in a lengthy process and requires you to deactivate all the plugins and reactivate them one by one to figure out the one that has been causing the trouble.
If you have been locked out of your dashboard, you can go the FTP way.
The other way of fixing your site’s white screen of death error is by increasing the PHP memory limit via FTP where you will be prompted to edit your wp-config.php. All you need to do is add the following code snippet at the bottom of the wp-config.php file
define( ‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’ );
Dealing with spam
Spam is a recurrent issue faced by many new WordPress site owners.
The only way to deal with spam is by downloading and installing anti-spam plugins such as the Akismet plugin. You should also make sure that you cut out user-generated spam on your site’s group or forums to keep the situation under control. Eliminating spam is generally a great way to speed up your WordPress site.
One of the most irritating WordPress errors is where the site posts return a 404 Error when your website is unable to locate a page that you are trying to access. To fix WordPress posts returning 404 error, you can generate a new .htaccess file by navigating to Settings > Permalinks. Just remember to click on save changes.
Error establishing a database connection
If your website has been hacked or if there is an issue with your site’s web host provider, your website might run a message mentioning an error establishing a database connection.
To fix the issue, you can check your wp-config.php file to see if any of the information such as the username, database name, password, and host are all correct and not missing.
If the error continues, you can try repairing the error by adding the following line to initiate the repair of the database. Just be sure that this code is removed from the wp-config file to avoid public access.
define (‘WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’, true);.”
However, if everything is intact and the error prevails, you can seek assistance from your host provider regarding the error as it might be taking place due to issues at their end.
There are unfortunately another hundred WordPress errors that demand a space in this article, but we have captured the most common ones that can be dealt with easy tweaks. These errors occur to make sure that all your website elements are in their right places before it’s too late to make a change and your website might go missing, entirely.
Pawan Sahu is a digital marketer and passionate blogger at MarkupTrend.
Whether you work in an agency or in-house, SEO success has a lot to do with influencing other functions, for example, web development, site merchandising, content marketing, PR, etc. As SEO professionals, we do have our own secret sauce to cook with: meta tags.
Although meta tags are only used for search engines, they are still an essential part of Google’s core algorithm and must not be ignored. We will go through the most common meta tags and highlight their usefulness so you can easily check if you’re spending enough time where it counts.
Meta tags defined
Meta tags, or HTML elements, are codes of text that help search engines and website visitors better understand the content found on a website page. Meta tags are not the actual content that is featured on the page.
The purpose of meta tags is instead to describe the content. Therefore, these HTML elements are found in the <head> section of the HTML page, not within the <body> section. Since meta tags need to be written in the HTML code, you may or may not be the one implementing the tags, but knowing what’s most essential will set you up for success.
Why is it still important?
We know that SEO is evolving and the importance of keywords has changed, but let’s keep in mind the impact of the actual query that is being searched for. A search query is formulated in words, and search engine users are essentially scanning the SERPs for the words they entered into the search bar.
Search engines understand that their users are expecting to see results containing the exact words they entered. Let’s say I’m thinking of starting a business and run a search for the query “how to come up with a business name.” As I scan through the SERPs, my eye is looking for pages that contain the words “come up with business name.” While search engines may indulge in semantic search and latent semantic indexing, serving up results that contain the exact words of the search query will remain a strong asset.
Must have meta tags
Title tags and meta descriptions are the bread and butter of SEO. These are essential HTML elements that are needed for a page to rank well organically. As a refresher, let’s look more closely at them and why they are on the list of must haves.
A title tag is an HTML element that describes the topic of a page. It is displayed at the top of the browser in the title bar and in the listing titles of a search engine results page. The presence of a search friendly term in the title tag is still a strong relevancy signal for search engines. Also, search engines will bold keywords from the user’s search in the title. This helps attract a higher click-through rate because internet users scan search results looking for their search term. If they don’t see it, then they are less likely to click on the listing, therefore, reducing CTRs.
Title tags must be relevant to the content on the page. The main keyword should be the first word in the page title, and the closer to the start of the title tag a keyword is, the more helpful it will be for ranking purposes.
A meta description is an HTML meta tag that provides a brief description of the page. Although it is not visible to users on the site, search engines often use meta descriptions as the brief snippet of text underneath a title tag in the search engine results. Well-written meta description tags, while not important to search engine rankings, are extremely important in promoting user click-through from search engine result pages.
Meta descriptions should be written using compelling copy. Since the meta description serves as advertising copy in search results, this is your chance to draw searchers in. Describe the page clearly and use a friendly marketing voice to create an appealing description that will attract a higher click-through rate.
Alt text for images
Alt text is an attribute added to an image tag in HTML to help search engines understand what an image is about. Although search engines cannot see the images we post on our websites, they can read what is featured in the alt attribute. While most searches are not image related, there is still a strong opportunity to acquire organic search engine visitors and boost brand recognition through impressions earned for images.
Alt text should be written clearly and contain text that describes the image. If your image is of an object, consider using adjectives like the color or the size of the object to provide more details on what exactly the image is displaying. Moreover, alt text is not for search engines only: they represent a necessary element to meet basic accessibility standards. Alt text provides a clear text alternative of the image for screen reader users.
No follow tags
Google defines “nofollow” as a way for webmasters to tell search engines not to follow links on a specific page. The rel=”nofollow” attribute can be quite beneficial in ensuring that PageRank is not being transferred across links found on your site. Nofollow tags are essential if you are participating in any kind of paid sponsorship with the intent of earning links.
No index tags
The “noindex” tag is used to notify search engine crawlers not to include a particular page in it’s search results. These tags are essential if there is content on your website that you would like to keep out of the search results. Noindex tags can be implemented either as a meta tag or as an HTTP response header.
Nice to have meta tags
In a highly competitive organic search landscape, “nice to have” meta tags, while not as essential as those listed above, should not be overlooked.
The canonical link element is used when a page’s content is available through multiple URLs, creating duplicate URLs. In order to consolidate the duplicate entries and help the search engine select the best URL, we recommend using a canonical link to indicate which the indexable URL should be.
Simply identify a single preferred URL (generally the simplest one), and add the rel=”canonical” link element, using that preferred URL, to every variant of the page. When Google crawls the site, it will consolidate duplicates within it’s index to the preferred URL.
HTML heading tags (H1-H6)
HTML heading tags are a key component of semantic search, as they provide key contextual clues to the search engines and help them better understand both a page’s content and its overall structure. Search engine bots use the order of heading tags (<h1>, <h2>, etc.) to better understand the structure and relevance of a page’s content. Therefore, HTML heading tags should be ordered on the page by their importance (h1 is considered the highest, h6 is the lowest). In the absence of sectioning content tags, the presence of a heading tag will still be interpreted as the beginning of a new content section.
Meta robots attribute
The meta robots attribute is a piece of code used to instruct search engines on how to interact with a web page. Similar to a robots.txt file that informs search engines on how to crawl a web page, the meta robots attribute provides parameters to search engines on whether they should crawl or index a page’s content.
The “only if” meta tags
Only necessary if you want to provide your competitors with a list of the keywords you are targeting. In the earlier days of SEO, the meta keyword tag was an element used to describe the keywords that the web page was focused on. Until 2002, the meta keywords tag was used by some search engines in calculating keyword relevance. It was abandoned because it was too difficult for many website owners to identify appropriate keywords to describe their content, and because unscrupulous marketers stuffed the tag with unrelated keywords in an attempt to attract more organic search traffic. All modern search engines ignore the meta keywords tag.
Social meta tags (open graph and Twitter cards)
Social meta tags are used when you want to control how the content of a page shows up when it is shared on social media sites. Open graph tags are a set of meta tags that can be added to any page of a website, and help define the content of the page, such as the title, description and image via social media.
Such information is expressed via two protocols: Open Graph (for Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest) and Twitter Cards (for…you can easily guess), and is used by the respective social media to present the snippet of the pages that users share. Through Social Meta Tags you can for instance make use of a title, description or image specifically targeted for social media audiences, in order to boost CTR from this channel.
Hreflang attribute (commonly referred to as Hreflang tag)
Only if…you have a global website with multiple countries and languages being featured. Google recommends using hreflang tags to specify language and regional variations of your pages (regardless of where they are hosted: subfolders, subdomains or separate domains).
The objective of having Hreflang tags on your site is to provide Google with the most accurate information on localized pages, so that the search engine can serve the relevant language version in search results. There are two ways you can implement the Hreflang tags: directly in the HTML document or in your sitemap.
As you’ll see, meta tags come in many forms and some are more critical than others. But they truly are easy wins that provide great ROI, simply as they require a low amount of resources and still have a high impact. We hope you’ll use this ultimate guide to meta tags as the foundation of your SEO strategy for continued success.
Johann Godey is SEO director at Vistaprint.
Nobody ever said SEO was easy. It not only requires a myriad of different methods that evolve over time and follow no particular pattern, but is also impacted by ever-changing search engine policies.
Yet SEO is actually quite methodical. While you will need to mix and combine multiple on-page, off-page, local and other factors to come up with an effective SEO strategy, you can’t just start anywhere. You must prioritize tasks — from basic to advanced SEO — to succeed.
If you do not begin by laying a foundation, you will end up spending a lot of time without achieving the results you need to support your bottom line.
Set up and check SEO tools
SEO deals with data, so your first priority should be to make sure your tools to collect and analyze that data are working properly. The most important are:
- Google Search Console. You will not be able to track a site’s performance in Google search without this. It is also useful for keyword analysis, implementing and fixing technical SEO, and analyzing UX factors, for example
- Bing Webmaster Tools. While not as popular as Google, around one quarter of all searches in the US are performed using Bing, and it does have some useful features that enable users to analyze keywords, inbound links, traffic and more
- Google Analytics. Make sure that your Google Analytics account is properly connected to Google Search Console, then set up specific reports and goals to track your website’s performance stats (e.g. traffic, top-performing pages, page views, bounce rate, CTR)
- Yoast SEO for WordPress. Since WordPress is one of the most popular CMS systems on the Web, chances are you will be using the Yoast SEO plugin. Intuitive and user-friendly, it helps with titles, meta descriptions, URLs, keywords, and content quality. More technical like sitemaps and robots.txt is also covered.
Keyword research is the foundation of all SEO activity. Once you have ensured that your SEO tools do their jobs, figure out which keywords you need to optimize for and which errors you need to fix to avoid penalties. There are three key areas to keep in mind:
- Over-optimization. Keyword stuffing will quickly put you on the wrong side of Google, so you should ensure that keywords are placed naturally (you will notice if over-optimization is an issue). On average, you want to have up to five ‘required’ keywords and keyword phrases per page.
- Long-tail keywords. It’s important not to use one keyword repeatedly, so to optimize for user intent placing long-tail keywords in your content is a must. Use Google Suggest, Google Keyword Planner and Keyword Tool to research the long-tail keywords your customers are searching for.
- Synonyms and LSIs. Another way to show to Google that you cater for your audience is to include multiple variations of keyword synonyms and LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) phrases in your content. As a rule, these are low-competition keywords and you can rank for them pretty easily. Carry out some research using Quora, Reddit and other forums to figure out which keywords your customers use in searches. Tools such as KWFinder, LSIGraph and Answer The Public may also will help.
To improve your site’s rankings in search engines, you must provide clear signals that your pages are better than those of your competitors. In other words, you need to excel at on-page SEO. Here are some key areas to focus on:
- According to Brian Dean’s search engine rankings research, shorter URLs featuring one keyword rank better than longer URLs. Since Google prefers this format, it naturally makes sense to shorten them and place your target keyword in the URL to make it more descriptive.
- Tags and descriptions. Titles, subtitles, alt tags and meta descriptions are important on-page SEO factors. Ensure that:
- They all feature your targeted keyword
- The title does not exceed 70 characters
- h1, h2, and h3 tags are scannable (i.e. allow users to get a post’s meaning without reading it)
- The alt tag allows users to figure out the image’s meaning if it is not displayed on the page
- Meta descriptions are descriptive and feature LSIs for user intent.
- External links. Links to trusted, authoritative websites are indicators that a piece of content is well-researched and well-referenced. Furthermore, they provide additional value to users. Use between five and eight external links in your content pieces.
- Internal links. You should link your pages together to create crawling paths for Google bots and conversion funnels for your users. Place between two and five internal links per content piece.
- Website structure, navigation, and UX factors. According to the three-click rule, users should be able to find any information on a website within three mouse clicks. No matter how much sense this rule makes, it comes down to the fact that any website must be easy to navigate and use, and its structure simple and cohesive.
In this article the author has shared his perspectives on the most important SEO tasks with regard to SEO tools, keyword research, and on-page optimization factors.
These three areas are the foundation of any SEO campaign as will they allow you to efficiently collect and analyze data, optimize the keywords your customers search for (and thus drive targeted traffic), and enhance your website by optimizing URLs, tags, descriptions, structure, navigation and UX.
Other areas to keep in mind are technical SEO (specifically, the factors related to mobile-friendliness and loading speed), content, and off-page optimization. These will be discussed in the next article.
The vast potential to create, interact and educate with augmented reality (AR) is quickly gaining popularity. In the past, AR gained media attention for simply existing, but recently, companies have been applying the strategy to their marketing campaigns and reaping the rewards.
As we move further into the digital world, the benefits of implementing AR are staggering. For instance, AR has an average dwell time of 75 seconds – affording companies an unprecedented chance to appeal to their consumers. Flow Digital, a Newcastle-based digital marketing company, are sharing why 2018 is the takeover of the media channel, and what it means for the future.
The statistics driving AR
In the past 2 years, the AR industry has experienced unprecedented growth. We can largely attribute the early success to the pioneers of AR, Pokémon Go which became the most downloaded app in 2016 with over 750 million to date.
By 2020, the number of AR users is expected to surpass one billion and by 2021, the market for AR, and VR, is estimated to reach $ 215bn. The benefits of implementing AR are reason enough in these statistics – particularly for ecommerce, marketing and automotive brands which are the industries that experience the largest growth with the communication tool.
Ikea Place demonstrated the potential for the natural partnership of AR and retail. Since launching in 2017 – using Apple’s ARKit tech – the Ikea Place has been downloaded two million times. The potential for allowing users to actually see what items look like in their home will significantly boost revenue.
Similarly, AR provides companies with the opportunity to target impulse shoppers. If you can showcase how their life can vastly improve with this cactus plant on their new coffee table (no doubt that it will), you can catch them before they even realised the need for such a product.
Estée Lauder recently rolled out AR into their marketing campaign – adopting the ‘try before you buy’ method. Users could ‘try’ various makeup products using their Facebook messenger chatbot, with the company experiencing a rise in social media engagement.
However, it’s important to note the limitations in an AR world for both ecommerce and marketing. While we can certainly appeal to more consumers and provide the ‘wow factor’ so many prospects look for, we must take into account the lack of adverts. Marketing ads and header bidding do not have a place in augmented reality, so companies will have to get creative.
Take the example of Pepsi, turning the average bus shelter into a fake window. Relying on a camera to capture people and vehicles in the street, they showcased images of crashing comets, a rogue cheetah and a man flying away while holding onto balloons. While it may not have been your ‘typical’ advertisement for the drink, the ad certainly proved engaging.
Future of video content
Video content has certainly seen a boom – particularly because of an increasing number of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram users. Today, there are more than 22m daily views on Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube, with the number continuing to grow.
360-degree views are universally appealing, enabling users to go behind-the-scenes with the brand. If there’s anything we can guarantee, it’s that consumers love a nosy. Typically, videos afford companies 2.5 seconds to catch the attention of their prospects. However, AR provides brands with an average of 75 seconds dwell time, offering a staggering amount of time to share relevant content.
We have touched on implementing AR above, and the reasons for doing so are almost endless. Essentially, you are bringing your products and services to life. A static digital advert becomes an interactive catalogue or brochure. In doing so, you are improving the experience of communicating with your brand, leaving more information at their disposal and helping them to make informed decisions. In return, you should see a substantial lift in consumers trusting your company, word-of-mouth sales and potentially ROI.
Social media will only benefit from AR. It’s likely that consumers will share their interactions with your brand on their social platforms – particularly with a specific hashtag – and thus build your following. There is also the opportunity for partnerships with social media platforms. For example, Fanta partnered with Snapchat for their Halloween campaign, offering users a unique Snapchat filter if they scan their limited edition cans.
In simple terms, using AR helps to build transparency. All successful relationships start with trust, and you can even take your customer behind-the-scenes with this communication channel. Share how the product was made, guide them through the delivery process and we can guarantee you will see an increase in interaction.
Partnership of AR and PR
There is a natural partnership between AR and the PR industry, for which we could see an increase in the use of the marketing channel for events. Something as small as including a QR code to your event invite – producing a unique illustration or even animated brand logo – creates a layer of interest. Similarly, product launches can experience the benefit. If you can take your audience into the augmented world, highlighting the key features of your product, you will likely see results. Perhaps, rather than share the product in detail, you could leave a trail of breadcrumbs. Each time a QR code is scanned, more is revealed about the product.
AR transforming other industries
Ecommerce and marketing are industries experiencing a boom due to AR, but the medical sector is also seeing the technological advancements. Go Surgery, the brainchild behind Touch Surgery, offers step-by-step guides to performing surgical procedures, as if in real time. The procedure is holographically projected onto a screen. Likewise, the Microsoft HoloLens AR glasses have been used to aid in reconstructive surgery.
One industry in particular which should reap the benefits from the rise of video content is hospitality. For example, guests can explore the rooms before booking and companies can even go so far as to allow guests to review the room when using the app. Likewise, restaurants can share the experience of dining with the through AR.
Companies, such as WayRay, are offering Navion, a system that directs you while you drive. Basically, it’s like Google Maps on the road, but you don’t have to keep looking at the Sat Nav. Navion shows exactly where you want to go, continually adjusting to anything in front of the car.
Ultimately, AR spells the dawn of a different age. Those companies that embrace and adapt will certainly see the rewards, especially when labelled pioneers of the channel.
We’ve previously covered HTML meta tags and meta tags and in some depth, but as with most things in SEO, it’s an ever-changing landscape and the accepted usage and definitions of tags is often changing.
It’s worth mentioning that if you’re in this realm of SEO optimization, you should also be getting the low-down and implementing structured data to ensure crawlers get the best experience possible.
HTML meta tags vs meta tags: what’s the deal?
Firstly, it’s time to clear up some of the confusion around HTML meta tags and meta tags. The difference between the two tag types is largely arbitrary, with the syntax for an HTML meta tag meaning it’ll contain the word meta within it, whereas a tag defined as a meta tag doesn’t necessarily have to.
The decision for which do or don’t are defined by W3C and are open to change over time, however, what’s important for us to remember is that they both serve the same purpose, that is which is that they are used to provide search engines with information about a web page
Sidenote: Some people include header tags as meta tags, but as they describe one element of a page, not the contents of a page as a whole, we’ve decided to leave them out. However, it goes without saying that ensuring you’re optimizing your header tags will help search engines, and more importantly users, understand what your content is about.
With that cleared up, we can get down to business and take a look at a selection of both HTML and meta tags that we think are useful when performing SEO.
So to start off on the wrong foot, the Hreflang tag isn’t technically a tag. It is an attribute, but it is an important attribute that can help tell Google which language you’re content is using on a webpage.
If you have a site which uses multiple translations, or that serves different territories, you should definitely use Hreflang to ensure that the correct language version is being served in the correct versions of Google. This can help search engines rank your content better, and more importantly ensures users in different territories get the right experience.
An example code snippet for targeting a webpage at English language users in the UK:
<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com” hreflang=”en-gb” />
Another very important one is the canonical tag. Set it up incorrectly and you risk losing visibility in the SERPs and causing real issues for your site. Used correctly, however, it’s a great way of telling search engines that a webpage URL is the defacto version. It’s the best way to avoid duplicate content issues on your site, caused by search engines crawling multiple URLs that contain the same or close to identical content on them.
In general, if a search engine finds multiple URLs with identical content, it’ll have a harder job determining which is the original and which is the duplicate. This can lead to lower rankings for both, or worse, an important page won’t rank.
An example code snippet for canonical tag use:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.example.com” />
Content type tag
The content type tag is used for defining a pages content type and the character set it uses. Using this helps your browser understand and decode a page, and is therefore important.
An example code snippet for content type tag use:
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=utf-8″ />
Probably one of the more recognizable and used tags for anyone carrying out SEO work. The title tag is used to specify what the web page is about. They’re displayed in your browser tab to give users a steer, and more importantly are used by search engines to generate the results we see in the SERPs.
From an SEO perspective, optimizing your title tag to contain topics/keywords information about the contents on the page can help to improve your rankings for those topics/keywords. Currently you can expect Google to display between 50-60 characters of your title before it’s truncated, so keep an eye on length when writing these.
An example code snippet for the title tag, which sits within the head tag at the top of your webpage:
<title>Example.com | The best examples on the web</title>
Meta description tag
Similar to the title tag, the meta description tag is well known and provides you with an opportunity to tell search engines and users in the SERPs what your webpage content is about. While not a direct ranking factor, you should optimize your meta description to provide a compelling succinct account of your web pages content.
If Google doesn’t think you’ve done a good enough job, they may choose to replace your meta description tag with their own interpretation, often using content from the opening few paragraphs of your site.
An example code snippet for meta description tag:
<meta name=”description” content=”This is a meta description”>
The viewport tag is a useful tag for helping browsers understand and control the dimensions of your web page.
In the past, there was no need for this tag as everyone viewed webpages on desktop on similar sized displays, but with the rise and rise of mobile and tablet usage, many of which have different dimensions, it’s now more important to ensure that you’re telling the browser this information.
Correct implementation of the viewport tag will ensure that users experience your site in the correct way, and if there are
An example code snippet for the viewport meta tag:
<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″>
Robots meta tags
There’s a large number of robot meta tags you can use, all of which will help search engine crawlers do their job of crawling and indexing web pages across the internet. Not all search engines will follow all commands, but below are a few examples of robot meta tags and what they ask the crawlers to do:
|Nofollow||Tells crawlers not to follow any of the links listed on that page, and also not to pass any equity to linked page|
|Noindex||Tells crawlers not to index that page|
|Noimageindex||Tells crawlers not to index images from that page|
|Noarchive||Tells crawlers not to include a cached version|
An example code snippet for the robot meta tag:
<meta name=”robot” content=”noindex, nofollow”>
Open graph (OG) meta tags for social
Finally, we have the OG meta tags for social. While less a direct focus for SEO, ensuring you have correctly implemented OG meta tags for social can help ensure your content looks great when it’s shared, can help to improve engagement with posts and ultimately increase traffic.
<meta property=”og:title” content=”Article about tags”/>
<meta property=”og:image” content=”https://example.com/img/facebooklogo.png”/>
<meta property=”og:site_name” content=”SEO blog”/>
<meta property=”og:description” content=”This article will talk about tags”/>
Needless to say, there are a range of other tags you can use on your website, and this list isn’t exhaustive, but hopefully gives you a steer on some of the more important and useful tags you can use on your website to make it the experience better for both search engines and crawlers.
Joshua is an SEO specialist and strategist at atom42
To create the seamless and responsive mobile site that consumers expect, you need the right tools, like Google Optimize. Optimize makes it easy to test different elements of your site to find the winning combination for the best mobile site possible. Now it’s even easier with our new responsive visual editor – and be sure to read on and learn how two of our clients found mobile success with Optimize 360, our enterprise version.
New! Preview your mobile site on any screen size
While almost everyone has a mobile device, there are so many variations and screen sizes that it’s hard to take a one-size-fits-all approach to optimizing your mobile site. Now, once you’ve created your test page, you can use the new responsive editor to immediately preview what it looks like on any screen size. Or, if you want to see how it appears on a specific device, like a Nexus 7 or iPad, we’ve added more devices that you can select to preview. Learn more about the visual editor here.
Turn ideas to tests quickly
The responsive visual editor in Optimize is just one solution to help marketers succeed on mobile. Our enterprise version, Optimize 360, makes it easy to make improvements to mobile sites efficiently and rapidly.
Dutch airline carrier Transavia Airlines turned to Optimize 360 to try out different ideas on its mobile site. In fact, the team runs about 10 A/B tests each month on the site, all without having to spend significant time or effort. And the best part? Time spent on analyzing the success of site tests has fallen by 50%. This allows Transavia to focus more on testing to improve its mobile site. Learn more in the full case study.
The path to mobile excellence starts with the customer journey
Need some help determining what should test on your mobile site? Google Analytics 360 is a great place to start. You’ll be able to analyze any customer interaction, from search to checkout, to figure out which points of your purchase process need help. Then, once you’ve determined where your site needs work, using Optimize 360 to take action is simple, since it’s natively integrated with Analytics 360.
This is exactly how fashion retailer Mango used Analytics 360 and Optimize 360 to tackle its mobile site: After discovering that mobile visits to its online store had skyrocketed 50% year over year, Mango decided to dig a little deeper. In Analytics 360 Mango discovered that while many consumers browsed product listing pages, few were taking the next step to add products to their shopping cart. To reduce steps to checkout, Mango used Optimize 360 to include an “Add” button to product listing pages. This increased the number of users adding products to their carts by 49%. Find out more in the full case study.
Ready to optimize your own mobile site?
Start testing new mobile experiences with the responsive visual editor in Optimize. This update is one that can help marketers do more on mobile — because whether it’s changing a button or fine-tuning a homepage with quick A/B tests, we’ve learned that small tweaks can make a big impact.
And, if you haven’t already, sign up for a free Optimize account and give it a try.
1 Google / Purchased: “How Brand Experiences Inspire Consumer Action” April 2017. US Smartphone Owners 18+ = 2010, Brand Experiences = 17,726.
Posted by Tiffany Siu, Product Marketing Manager, Google Optimize