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Tag: 2020

July 2020 Updates to Paid Media Platforms

August 2, 2020 No Comments

In this monthly post, we bring you the latest news and changes from all of the major ad platforms. Google, Bing, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, and more.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


What Google says about nofollow, sponsored, and UGC links in 2020: Does it affect your SEO rankings?

July 26, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • While nofollow links solely dominated the web for 14 years, Google recently announced two new additions: sponsored and UGC links.  
  • Shortly afterward, Google made further amendments to all three links. 
  • This article breaks down where things currently stand.  
  • Joseph Dyson discusses whether the new link attributes impact rankings and concludes with suggestions on how businesses can improve online visibility.  

Whether you’re an SEO newbie or a seasoned pro, we’re sure you’re familiar with the cardinal rule of the game: evolution.  

Stagnancy isn’t a common sight in the digital marketing world 

Google is constantly releasing new updates as it moves toward more seamless and accurate crawling, indexing, and ranking.  

On September 10th 2019, Google set the bar higher than before by adding two new attributes alongside the preexisting “nofollow” attribute, which had been in place for over 14 years.  

Before we get to the new additions, let’s break down the original nofollow attribute as a quick refresher.  

What’s a nofollow link? 

A nofollow link is a hyperlink with a rel=“nofollow” tag.  

What does this mean? To put it as simply as possible, the nofollow tag signals search engines to ignore a link. The destination URL doesn’t get a boost in search engine rankings, as nofollow links don’t pass PageRank (an algorithm that helps Google rank web pages on SERPs).  

When it comes to link building, receiving a nofollow backlink can be a bummer, as your rankings are left in a state of limbo. While web users are redirected to your website, the domain that offers you the link simultaneously informs Google to not send any “link juice” your way.  

However, nofollow links still have hidden perks. They drive traffic (despite leaving rankings untouched), increase brand awareness, and help leads discover and familiarize themselves with your business.  

But wait, why are nofollow links used in the first place?  

Google originally announced the concept of nofollow links in 2005 to fight comment spam. They were quickly embraced by the SEO world and are frequently used to avoid breaking SEO rules set by Google.  

Links that added value to content but couldn’t be vouched for were categorized as nofollow links. In addition, paid links also included the nofollow link attribute. This announcement played a big role in preventing businesses from buying link juice.  

But what changed?  

While nofollow links had been extremely effective thus far, they were an oversimplified solution to a complex problem. Instead of taking subjective intent for including hyperlinks into account, they offered a cleanly demarcated black and white scenario that proved to be a nuisance for many businesses.  

The only two options were nofollow links or dofollow links, the latter being the default for all hyperlinks. 

The introduction of sponsored and UGC links

In 2019, Google announced two major additions to standard nofollow links: sponsored links and UGC links. 

Marketers heaved a major sigh of relief in the announcement’s wake, as they could now use the two new attributes to help Google better understand the link’s intent and use.  

But that wasn’t all. In March 2020, Google made further amendments to its previous announcement.  

Here’s where things currently stand: 

Sponsored links

According to Google’s latest update, the sponsored attribute (rel=“sponsored”) is specifically used for hyperlinks that are promotional in nature.  

Prior to their creation, paid links were categorized as nofollow links, which proved to be extremely misleading. The new sponsored attribute helps Google identify advertising links separately.  

The benefit? Enhanced categorization and less confusion. Link receivers and providers can easily decipher sponsored links from “untrustworthy” nofollow links. 

UGC links

The UGC (user-generated content) attribute was created to help Google determine which links are, as the acronym indicates, generated by users.  

This was a lifesaver (we’re not exaggerating) for webmasters who had been struggling to indicate that specific hyperlinks were not endorsed.  

The UGC attribute is used to link to sections of websites where users generate their own content, e.g. comment sections, forums posts, etc. 

Nofollow links

Google’s latest announcement took the weight off nofollow links—quite literally.  

Previously, the nofollow tag was used for both paid and user-generated links. However, the new categories (“sponsored links” and “UGC links”) made things much simpler by placing paid and user-generated content in different categories.  

The nofollow tag is now solely used for non-trusted links.  

While nofollow links were not used for crawling and indexing before, Google’s 2020 update indicated that they would be used as a “hint” for crawling and indexing. While people quickly began to consider this a win for ranking purposes, the picture wasn’t as rosy as it was made out to be.  

Currently, each of the three links (nollow, sponsored, and UGC) is used as a mere hint, not a direct ranking factor. While they may be crawled, they will not substantially impact rankings. 

Which link attribute should you use?

While adding more options should ideally make things simpler, it can backfire if you’re not sure about proper attribution.  

Here’s how webmasters should use the new attributes: 

1. rel=“sponsored”

Use the sponsored attribute strictly for paid or sponsored links. While affiliate links are also considered sponsored links, Google hasn’t directly made that clear yet. 

2. rel=“ugc” 

Use the UGC attribute for all user-generated content.  

3. rel=“nofollow” 

Use the nofollow attribute if you want to link to a specific page but don’t want to be associated with it for any reason (unreliability, incredibility, untrustworthiness, unfamiliarity). 

The nofollow tag will indicate that you don’t endorse a particular link and would not like to offer them ranking credit.  

How should you boost your rankings? 

While using these tags is a great way to assiduously categorize your content, it’s not a big win for your rankings… or your link building partners.  

Granted, you may notice a slight boost. However, it’ll be negligible at best.  

Google’s public search liaison, Danny Sullivan, encapsulated this perfectly: 

Nofollow UGC sponsored links does it affect SEO

While the latest update came much later in 2020, it was already being actively discussed in 2019. Sullivan was quick to dismiss claims that rankings would go through the roof once the new “hint” model was released.  

While all those nofollow links you’ve collected over the years will still help you generate traffic, you’ll ultimately have to turn to other strategies to notice a substantial boost in rankings 

Here are some effective ways you can climb SERPs: 

Maximize outcomes from link building

Link building is easily the most fast-acting and sustainable way to improve rankings. In short, link building involves receiving dofollow backlinks from websites with high domain authority (a score that determines a website’s ranking on SERPs).  

As you build quality backlinks, Google will perceive your website as an authoritative and trustworthy source. In fact, Google uses the quality and quantity of backlinks to rank websites on SERPs. The boost in rankings will help you increase conversions and improve brand identity 

It’s important to note that your backlinks should come from a website with good to high domain authority. The higher, the better; however, 50–60 is a good starting point for small businesses.  

In addition, make sure you receive dofollow backlinks as opposed to nofollow backlinks. As discussed before, the latter will help you generate traffic. However, your rankings will remain in a state of limbo for the most part (refer to Danny Sullivan’s tweet if the blind optimism kicks in!).  

Recommended link building strategies

If you’re new to the realm of link building, we recommend using these strategies: 

  • Leverage the broken link building method 
  • Build strong connections with non-competing businesses to offer and receive links 
  • Incorporate more internal links in your content  
  • Try your hand at guest blogging 
  • List your site in reliable directories 
  • Convert nofollow backlinks into dofollow backlinks by contacting the respective business  

Create a mobile-friendly website 

Google recently announced mobile-first indexing, which means that Googlebot will be using the mobile version of a page for ranking purposes first. While this may come as a surprise to some people, we’re sure most of you are nodding your head “matter-of-factly”.  

The large majority of Americans (a whopping 96%) own a cellphone. If you’ve created a stunning and interactive desktop-friendly website but haven’t been prioritizing mobile-friendliness, you may be inadvertently damaging your rankings.  

Take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to determine your website’s accessibility for mobile phone users.  

If you don’t like what you see, your customers probably won’t either.  

Climb SERPs by creating an eye-catching and seamless mobile-friendly website that helps you generate quality traffic and grow your business.  

When combined with link building, mobile-friendliness can go a long way in helping your business become more visible on search engines and break into the Google three-pack 

Create, update, and optimize your content 

While you may have checked off all the boxes, leaving the content section untouched can take a toll on your business.  

Opting for web design and development isn’t enough. If you don’t create, update, and optimize your content, you’ll fall behind and get engulfed by your competition.  

Create value-added and engaging content to make sure your website actively circulates SERPs.  

And that’s not all

We suggest updating old content on a monthly basis in light of new updates and announcements by Google. As we highlighted before, Google is constantly upping its game. Keep up with ranking factors and algorithm amendments to ensure you’re covering all the bases.  

And, of course, don’t forget to optimize your content.

Get in touch with keyword specialists to master keyword research and incorporation. Use the right mix of short-tail, long-tail, geo-targeting, and LSI keywords to help your business become a frequent sight on the first page of Google for industry-specific and local searches.  

According to research, over five million blog posts are published each day.  

How do you make your content stand out? While keywords help, they’re not the be-all and end-all of optimization. In addition, use title tags, meta description tags, header tags, customized URLs, and canonical tags to master the art of on-page SEO. We don’t need to say much; your rankings will be all the proof you need! 

Conclusion

As the SEO world becomes increasingly competitive each day, claiming your spot simply isn’t enough. You have to go the extra mile to preserve it.  

Whether you’re creating optimized content or leveraging link building, ensure consistency to retain online visibility and SERP rankings.  

Keep at it and you’ll manage to not only achieve but also maintain your target KPIs over time.

Joseph Dyson is a Senior Account Manager at Search Berg with extensive experience in lead generation and digital marketing. He offers link building services and frequently contributes to the Search Berg blog with marketing tips and insights.

The post What Google says about nofollow, sponsored, and UGC links in 2020: Does it affect your SEO rankings? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Get a free annual Extra Crunch membership when you register for Early Stage 2020

July 13, 2020 No Comments

We’re a few days away from kicking off TC Early Stage 2020. Join us on July 21-22 for a two-day online masterclass designed to help early-stage startup founders build their business and keep moving forward.

Bonus: Buy your ticket now and you’ll get a free annual membership to Extra Crunch, our subscription program focused on startups, founders and investors with more than 100 exclusive articles published per month. Read how-tos, weekly investor surveys, IPO analysis and in-depth interviews with experts on fundraising, growth, monetization and other core startup topics.

Here’s what you can expect from TC Early Stage. More than 50 experts across the startup ecosystem will lead interactive workshops focused on essential topics and skills that all pre-seed through Series A founders need to know.

We’re talking everything from effective fundraising, how to scale and marketing tactics that help you stand out from the herd to the nuts-and-bolts of tech stack security, smart hiring and the ins-and-outs of structuring term sheets.

Need an example or two? Here’s a taste.

How to avoid 1,000 landmines: When you’re starting your company, there are thousands of small, avoidable mistakes that can turn success into failure. Learn how to navigate around those and maximize your chance of success with key learnings from Garry Tan, founder and managing partner at Initialized Capital.

Hiring your early engineers: The first few employees determine a startup’s trajectory. Learn the dos and don’ts of hiring your early engineers from entrepreneur and investor Ali Partovi. And hear how these hiring decisions can determine not only the type of culture you build for your employees, but also the overall success of your company.

Check out the event agenda here to see all the sessions and the gurus who will show you the way.

Make haste because some sessions are already filled. We’re limiting capacity to keep the workshops smaller so you can get the most out of your experience. Good news: All pass holders will have exclusive video access to all the sessions after the event ends. No FOMO for you.

Buy your Early Stage pass, score a free annual membership to Extra Crunch and dive into a business-building masterclass designed just for you.

If you are already an existing annual or two-year Extra Crunch member and have not yet bought a ticket to Early Stage, you can reach out to extracrunch@techcrunch.com to request a 20% off discount. If you are an annual or two-year member and purchased an Early Stage ticket without the 20% off discount, we’re happy to extend the length of your existing membership by 6 months for free by contacting extracrunch@techcrunch.com.

Alternately, if you are an existing monthly Extra Crunch member, we’re happy to extend the length of your membership by a year for free; however, you won’t be able to claim the 20% off for an event ticket for Early Stage. You will be eligible for the 20% off event tickets for Disrupt and other future TechCrunch events. Please contact extracrunch@techcrunch.com if you are an existing monthly customer and want to take advantage of the membership extension.


Startups – TechCrunch


The Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts of 2020

June 27, 2020 No Comments

Every year, PPC Hero releases the Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts of 2020. The final Top 25 must be voted for and be actively educating their peers on PPC.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Five SEO content types to power and grow your business through 2020

June 18, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The convergence of content and SEO has happened and digital is next.  
  • Brands that produce quality content over quantity using insights to understand intent stand to capture market share from competitors.  
  • Producing search friendly, optimized content out of the gate and aligned with paid media strategy gives marketers the best opportunity to dominate SERP real estate. 
  • In B2B combined search averages 76% of traffic. 
  • Content also provides value beyond SEO and across whole organizations from branding and awareness through to sales, customer service, and product marketing.
  • Jim Yu shares the top five content types that also serve SEO value.

The convergence of SEO and content has happened. Today, we’re experiencing the convergence of content with all things digital. That was evolution enough—then a pandemic swept through to really shake things up, accelerating digital transforming digital nearly overnight. 

As businesses look to reopening, people are hungrier than ever for content. Media consumption is spiking as so many scour their laptops, phones, and tablets for information about which businesses are open, what products and services they can access nearby, and how businesses are adjusting to the “new normal”. 

In the coming months, businesses are going to be challenged to adapt their SEO and content strategies to meet the constantly shifting needs of consumers. Now you have not only seasonal trends and personalization to contend with but different stages of business recovery and access across verticals and regions, too. 

Look to SEO now for real-time customer insights

We have never before experienced a global, all-encompassing, and near-universal experience such as this. Nearly every customer has been affected in some way. Customer journey maps must be updated but moreover, it is critical now that you are set up to monitor and analyze customer data in as near to real-time as possible.  

You can expect the rest of 2020 to bring dramatic shifts and swings in consumer behavior, and SEO insights are about as close to real-time voice-of-customer as you can get. 

Search data is rich in customer needs and intent. Now more than ever, consumers are turning to search engines for their every need. The insights gleaned from search trends and queries, local search analytics, and on-site activity will help inform the decisions your business must make going forward. Aligning SEO and PPC strategy is becoming more critical. According to BrightEdge research in B2B combined search averages 76% of traffic. 

 If you didn’t have a structured method of communicating search insights to department heads and the C-level before, now is the time. Start with the questions your organization needs answered and work backward from there: 

  • Are consumers remaining loyal to their usual/familiar brands, or is it a mix of usual and new brands (perhaps out of necessity and due to availability)? 
  • Where are your customers spending their time online right now? 
  • What are customers saying about your brand in social media, on review sites, and elsewhere on the web—and are you in a position to engage and respond in real-time? 
  • How have your customers’ needs changed due to COVID-19? 
  • Are you seeing any surprising or unexpected behavioral changes in how people discover and consume your content?  
  • Are consumers using your products or services (or others similar to yours) in new or different ways? 

These insights will help guide not only your marketing strategy but how the entire organization rebuilds and find opportunities for growth in the coming months.  

Five content types to power your content strategy now and in future

Get ready to move fast on opportunities for prime search visibility and share of voice, as there’s a distinct advantage to being the first-mover. Choose your content types wisely to ensure you’re presenting information to customers in the best format for their needs, devices, and intent, and experience. 

Make sure these five types of search-friendly content are part of your arsenal: 

1. Written word 

Text-based web content still drives the vast majority of search results. It can be made more interesting and engaging with the inclusion of other content types (which we’ll talk about in a minute), but a well-written article or webpage is still one of the most powerful tools in your content arsenal.  

This is what Google calls “Main Content” in its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines—“any part of the page that directly helps the page achieve its purpose”. It can be text, imagery, video, or even user-generated content, and includes the page title. The written word is often complemented by multimedia elements but usually serves as the basis on which the content piece is built. 

Writing is a great way to establish thought leadership, to guide users through step-by-step processes, to share opinions and perspectives and expertise. Landing pages, glossaries, listicles, feature stories, media releases—there are countless ways to tell your company’s stories and share messages in writing.  

How can you make your written content stronger and maximize its SEO value?  

  • Understand what Google is looking for: “…unique and original content created by highly skilled and talented artists or content creators. Such artistic content requires a high degree of skill/talent, time, and effort.” 
  • Avoid writing mistakes that Google says detracts from the quality of a piece: grammar and punctuation errors, paraphrasing another piece of content but introducing inaccuracies, lack of adherence to E-A-T principles, poor quality writing, meaningless statements, failing to cite sources, sharing mostly commonly known information, text broken up by large ads that disrupt the user experience. 

2. Visual content types: Photos, infographics, and illustrations

Images can feature prominently in search results, depending on the query, and can really enhance the quality of a piece of written content. They can help tell the story, illustrate specific points, help a reader envision a complex idea, and more. 

We know that image alt text helps Google understand an image’s relevance to the rest of the page content (and to the query, as a result). But it serves an even more important function: improving the accessibility of your content. By now, descriptive alt texts should be best practice for all content teams. 

What else do we know about Google’s evaluation of image content? 

  • Images can be considered “Main Content” by Google. In section 4.2, Google states that quality evaluators are to look for “a satisfying amount of main content’ and list multiple product images as one example of achieving this. 
  • Evaluators are to consider the “skill/talent, time, and effort” it appears to have taken to create images. 
  • Shocking images that don’t match the main content, sexually suggestive or grotesque images, deceptive images that imply a celebrity endorsement where is none for example, and images that don’t fit the screen on mobile are all examples of image content that detract from the user experience and therefore their SEO value.  

Google says that a picture truly is worth a thousand words, in some cases. Using the example of a trestle bridge, the guidelines state that “a picture may be more helpful than a text description due to the unique design of the bridge.” Keep this in mind as you create written content—if you’re writing at length to explain something, could an image help? 

3. Video content types

More than 500 hours of video are being uploaded to YouTube per minute and users still can’t get enough, devouring over a billion hours of YouTube content per day. If video isn’t yet a part of your content mix, this is the time to figure out how you’re going to make it so. 

Videos can also count as the main content, and they’re great for augmenting written text. Explainers, how-to guides, product or service demos, behind-the-scenes looks, expert interviews, and more are all great material for a high-quality video. 

And what is Google looking for when it comes to video? Increase its SEO value by keeping in mind that: 

  • Google considers “a satisfying or comprehensive amount of very high-quality main content” and “High E-A-T for the purpose of the page” indicators of quality in video content. 
  • Other characteristics of a good quality video include that it is well-produced, subject matter expertise, uniqueness and originality. 
  • Things that detract from your video’s SEO value include a subject matter with no clear expertise on the topic, publishing on a network with little oversight, or an attempt to deceive audiences in some way. 

Note that Google specifically instructs raters that they “must consider the reputation and E-A-T of both the website and the creators of the MC in order to assign a Page Quality rating”. Protect the reputation of your creators and your site by ensuring that these best practices are employed in every video you publish. 

4. Audio content types

The explosion in popularity of voice search and content formats such as podcasts and internet radio has made audio content a key component in the marketing mix. in optimizing audio content for voice search, you want to make sure you’re using structured data, concise headlines, and descriptions that help people understand what the content is about. Google’s main concerns about voice search as far as search quality goes have to do with mobile-friendliness. When a person uses their mobile phone for a voice query, for example, it’s not a good user experience if the page they are delivered to isn’t optimized for mobile.  

For audio content such as podcasts, the content you create around the episode is key. In fact, you should be considering SEO implications even as you choose your topics and structure your shows, to ensure you’re talking about things people are actually looking to hear about. Optimize your podcast title and description in the same way you do other web content, around a focused keyword. Write a blog post that helps people understand what the episode is about and share a transcript, if possible. 

5. Interactive content types

Webinars, virtual events, online courses, and other similar interactive content, when put together well, offer great value for participants and therefore can be considered quality content by Google. We’re about to see an explosion in their popularity, given the potential long-term implications of the coronavirus pandemic, too. 

You can improve the SEO strength of your interactive content and virtual events by creating and optimizing supportive content for each channel in which you’ll promote the event. Create graphics to promote the speakers. Shoot a quick explainer video that tells people what they’ll learn or experience if they participate.  

And don’t just hold the event and forget it about it—share the recording, write a wrap-up blog post, create an infographic with the top takeaways, create an ebook, and more. Ask participants to share their best photos and feedback and share them on a dedicated page on your site. 

The best content isn’t just optimized for search—it starts with search

Optimizing for search isn’t an activity you tack onto the end of the writing process or something you do to an image before publishing. How and where your audience will discover and engage with your different types of content needs to be a key consideration from the very earliest planning stages of your content strategy. 

Redesigning the website? Ask how SEO needs to be involved. Writing content? Consider how it can be optimized to fit the SEO strategy. Launching a new product? Involve SEO sooner in the planning. SEO needs to be ingrained throughout every aspect of the business right now, from the very initial planning stages of any project or initiative.  

As you become more intentional in strategic content planning, your data will show you which content formats work best at each stage of your unique funnel. Work on developing these measurement and attribution systems, if you do not already have them in place. They will drive your content creation, optimization, and amplification strategy across all channels throughout your COVID-19 recovery and beyond. 

Jim Yu is the founder and CEO of leading enterprise SEO and content performance platform BrightEdge. He can be found on Twitter @jimyu.

The post Five SEO content types to power and grow your business through 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


ClickZ AI Summit 2020: Where industry experts bridge the knowledge gap

June 15, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Knowledge gap stands as the biggest challenge for AI technology adoption and implementation
  • Our AI Summit 2020 is a cost-free event that aims to equip marketers with the much needed knowledge to adopt AI, realize AI’s true power, and know how to create strategies that can create huge competitive advantages.
  • Brian Solis, IBM Watson Advertising, Adobe and Esri are our headline speakers
  • More details on why marketers can’t afford to miss this golden opportunity

Artificial intelligence (AI) has long been looked at as an “industry game-changer” but has merely become jargon than actual hands-on technology.

While it continues to grow rapidly – the AI market is expected to grow from $ 28.42 billion in 2019 to $ 40.74 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 43.39% — we observed that the knowledge gap stands as one of the biggest challenges for AI technology adoption and implementation, and our AI Summit 2020 aims to help businesses address exactly that continuum.

For a better idea, these quick facts perfectly display the AI-related challenges faced:

  • According to Gartner, only one in 25 CIOs reported applying AI in their business verticals
  • Retailers that implemented machine learning for personalization gained 2X as compared to retailers who did not
  • According to a McKinsey, only 8% of respondents across industries said their AI-relevant data are accessible by systems across the organization
  • Only 3% of an organization’s data meet the quality standards needed for analytics

About the ClickZ AI Summit 2020

Our AI Virtual Summit on June 25, is a half-day event that aims to equip marketers with the much-needed knowledge to adopt and realize AI’s true power and know how to create strategies that can create huge competitive advantages.

AI is the next dream boat that marketers need to be on in order to stay ahead of the curve. Why?

  1. Better customer experiences
  2. Lower CPAs
  3. More profitable and customer-focused business 

Our event headliners help you become AI confident and AI ready

Leading experts along with cutting edge AI technology providers will enable you to discover the realistic power of AI, what you should be doing/using right now, and explore what’s next.

Confirmed speakers:

Brian Solis

AI speaker: Brian Solis

Brian Solis is a world-renowned digital anthropologist and futurist. He is also an award-winning author and global keynote speaker. 

Brian’s research, advisory and presentations humanize the relationship between disruptive innovation and its impact on institutions, markets and societies. 

He not only helps audiences understand what’s happening and why, he visualizes future trends and inspires people to take leading roles in defining the future they want to see.

Brian serves as Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. His work focuses on thought leadership and research that explores digital transformation, innovation and disruption, CX, commerce, and the cognitive enterprise.

Dave Neway

AI Speaker: Dave Neway

Dave Neway is the head of product marketing at IBM Watson Advertising (formerly The Weather Company’s ad sales business). 

Watson Advertising offers marketers and agencies a suite of media, data, and AI technology solutions to help improve decision-making and reduce costs across key facets of the marketing lifecycle – from media planning through measurement.

In this role, Neway is responsible for ideating the go-to-market strategy for all Watson Advertising offerings. He works closely with the offering management team and key stakeholders to position, price, and present Watson Advertising’s products across media, data and technology categories to the marketplace. 

Previously, Neway was director of sales strategy, where he created, developed, and executed plans to drive business across consumer packaged goods, pharmaceuticals, and financial services.

Tim Waddell

AI Speaker: Tim Waddell

Tim Waddell is Director of Product Marketing for Adobe Experience Platform. 

He has been with Adobe since 2009 working on a variety of projects, but always with a passion for audience activation built on rich customer profiles. Tim brings significant experience in the online and traditional marketing disciplines from both the customer and agency perspectives. 

Prior to Adobe, Tim built and managed the Bing marketing analytics team at Microsoft. He also managed MSN’s commerce team, driving the demand generation program and developed packaging solutions for partners. His online experience began with the launch of Travelocity, managing the advertising and sales efforts.

Robert Yocum

Robert Yocum is Marketing Technologist at Esri, an international supplier of geographic information system software, web GIS and geodatabase management applications.

Robert functions across the Marketing Technology suite to integrate and use tools to advance the capabilities and maturation of the overall Marketing Department. He works with Change Enablement, Data and Analytics, IT, and marketing groups across the enterprise to create, prioritize, and implement new capabilities to advance digital marketing best practices.

To book your seat for the AI Virtual Summit on June 25, sign up free of charge here.

The post ClickZ AI Summit 2020: Where industry experts bridge the knowledge gap appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Hottest user-centric video advertising trends of 2020: CTV, vertical, and social formats

June 13, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Since the lockdown online video content has been steadily replacing traditional television as people spend more time streaming shows and playing video games.
  • Advertisers are redistributing their ad budgets making stakes on CTV/ OTT and social media.
  • 64% of advertisers terminated their ad campaigns while 24% used this period as an opportunity to launch something new.
  • In-stream, shoppable, vertical, and short video formats are gaining momentum as social media traffic volumes are peaking.
  • CEO of SmartyAds, Ivan Guzenko shares his thoughts on video advertising trends as he highlights the hottest video ad formats and resolutions.

Digital video advertising trends are booming when six out of 10 people prefer watching videos online instead of watching TV, it is safe to say that online video content has replaced traditional television. More than 78% of people watch digital videos every week and 55% watch them every day. The penetration of over-the-top video streaming in the U.S. reached 57,3% of the population in 2019, and by the end of 2022, it will rise to 58,2%.

Just like Bill Gates once predicted oblivion to companies that ignored the Internet space, in 2020, something similar can be said about video marketing. In my last article, I mentioned how brands can apply video marketing strategies. Now, it’s time to discuss video advertising trends and explore new formats so that your brand can grasp new opportunities and establish a stronger connection with customers.

OTT and CTV ads

In this time of the coronavirus, TV experiences a dramatic surge in viewing TV video content consumption has climbed 60% higher on all devices for streaming Smart TVs, and mobiles including. The most significant rise was noticed in categories like entertainment, news, and children’s content. Video advertising trends 2020 statsA record number of visitors on Steam was detected in May.

The platform gathered the largest number of visitors over the past 16 years: 21,998 players per 24 hours. 

Thus, even though now many advertisers are forced to close their brick-and-mortar stores and postpone their ad budgets, more than a quarter of them plan to launch new campaigns as traffic across CTV medium peaks.  

Video advertising trends 2020 comparative stats

April’s data, meanwhile, confirms the growing demand regarding CTV and OTT viewership that outstretches across all dayparts. As seen from the chart below, TV viewership has seen a giant climb across popular channels. 

Video advertising trends 2020 comparative stats in April

Connected TV makes it easy for people to consume video content, how they like, and where they want, via Internet-connected gadgets. Thus, even after COVID-19 comes to an end, such TV consumption will only grow in comparison to a much less flexible linear experience. Currently, brands are massively redistributing their spending into CTV and OTT programmatic environments.

Those brands that embrace CTV and OTT programmatic platforms will be doubling their profits in the future, because only these technologies, so far, make TV ad campaign planning, attribution, and management as transparent as on the web. While planning an ad campaign on CTV pay attention to ad slots available at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of streamed content. These ads are called pre-rolls, mid-rolls, and post-rolls, and they last for 15 to 30 seconds. In the same way, you can make use of in-stream ads that appear in the video content.

In-stream ads

So, familiar YouTube in-stream ads are still leading video advertising industry trends and aren’t going anywhere in the near future. After entering the mobile medium, they gained a new definition. These ads are built directly into the video stream, or on-demand videos, and they last for five to 15 seconds after initiation. In-stream ads usually perform very well and result in completion rates that reach 70% on Facebook.

Today, any brand can create short mid-rolls that are optimized for a particular purpose: raising brand awareness, engaging users, generating installs, views, etc. Within the March-May period, in-stream units that smoothly transition in the live-stream grew in demand for at least eight to 13% according to customer data gathered by SmartyAds DSP. 

Video advertising trends 2020 - YouTube advertising

Personalized and shoppable videos

In 2020, about 71% of consumers prefer to receive personalized messages, which is why data-driven technologies are strategically important for every marketer. Platforms, like Facebook and YouTube, have already learned how to manipulate detailed video usage statistics to personalize ads. Additionally, last year, YouTube launched theTrueView for Reach” option for short commercials, which analyzes the search queries to predict the relevance of advertising.

Instagram, meanwhile, has introduced a shop button, which redirects a customer to the landing directly from the promotional video (shoppable video). Tiktok is currently testing the same feature. Over 49% of advertisers plan to extend their video strategies by investing in smart, shoppable ads in the future since after the COVID-19 period people will be more inclined to online purchasing.

Video advertising trends 2020 - Gif formats shoppable ads

If you religiously keep up with 2020 video advertising trends, employ shoppable and personalized experiences in your video advertising strategy and forget about wasting money on irrelevant impressions. In order to personalize your ads, use the YouTube TrueView tool for short commercials, or choose programmatic advertising personalization. Programmatic technology determines the relevance of an impression based on arrays of collected user data sets that will fit not only video personalization, but also display, native, push, CTV, and other types of campaigns.

Social media video trends

The competition among brands that are trying to win an audience’s attention is difficult like never before. 81% of businesses regularly incorporate video advertising into their promotion strategies (with a 63% increase year-after-year). The freshest trends show that 45% of people spend time on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) more often so the trend is not random. At the same time, it’s no longer enough to reach existing and potential customers. The main objective now is involvement in brand experience by presenting information to the audience in the most convenient format and resolution. In the era of mobile-first experience, vertical videos, short formats, and stories are the best way to do so.

1. Vertical video format

Video advertising and social media trends reflect the most drastic changes in the mobile experience. That’s why such platforms like Instagram prefer to lead the trend and base their strategies on vertical videos. Stats claim that 40% of the top 1,000 most popular Instagram videos are generated by brands. Vertical video trends imply that videos need to be optimized according to the most convenient way of watching vertical or horizontal (depending on the situation).

Video advertising trends 2020 - Vertical videos

  • According to the stats, 94% of people usually hold their mobile phones in a vertical position.
  • 82% of people find it annoying watching a video that’s not optimized for the orientation they choose.
  • Ads that are watched vertically, on average, have 90% higher completion rates than those watched horizontally.
  • 40% of people who film videos with their own phones and produce user-generated content still prefer to keep their phones vertically and 60% horizontally.

So what should be considered before you fit videos to user experience? First of all, remember that most vertical videos can be found on social media and entertainment. Keep your audience in mind when optimizing the watching experience, and remember that, ideally, they should be pretty short approximately 15 seconds.

2. Short, yet memorable 15-second-long videos

World video advertising trends tipped marketers off that people prefer brands that appreciate their time. Thus, video content should be crafted so that it easily grabs attention and lingers in the memory, despite the fact that the ad unit duration barely reaches 15 seconds. Sounds like mission impossible, but that’s what the market demands now 73% of video advertising commercials never exceed the two-minute ‘boredom bar.’

Last year, brands started to actively transform their long videos into bumper ads a six-second long video format that drives an enormous lift in memorability. For potential customers, six-second video views are perfect. From the customer’s standpoint, such ads help to stay away from excessive details, yet it is enough to resurface the brand in the memory when a purchase is being planned.

 Short videos can work wonders for both brand-awareness and performance ad campaigns alike. These ad units are much less annoying than other video types, but they’re also cost-effective tools that drive upper-funnel and bottom-funnel goals for companies with humble ad budgets. At the same time, your ads don’t always have to be 6-seconds long – create and test 6/15/30 second-long videos, include a call-to-action and recognizable brand elements to see how your audience reacts. The shortest version can be set prior to a 30-second ad that runs at the smaller section of the screen and so forth.

3. Stories

Ad formats, such as stories, have also been popular on social media (for a long time). If Instagram stories involuntarily pop into your mind, remember that now it is also used by Facebook and Snapchat, and even LinkedIn is currently testing the waters.

Clearly, video narratives are gaining momentum. Create a story about your brand and pack it into stories format: intrigue first, give clues, and finally, craft a catchy ending. Finally, encourage your audience to create custom content – now they have the opportunity to easily do so on their phones. Good stories and user-generated content will always leave a pleasant aftertaste and increase interest in your brand. During the pandemic, you can also ask your customers to participate in a challenge by using interactive stickers or solicit feedback and opinion surveys.

In closing

In 2020, using the latest trends in video advertising is a sure way to break through informational noise and win the hearts of your potential customers. User-generated content, vertical videos on social media, stories, and short creatives video marketing is steadily growing user-centric.

Brands need to understand that this is a new challenge. Instead of force-feeding your audience with irritating and irrelevant commercials, choose the right format and resolution. Finally, give preference to data-driven personalization to amplify the effect of your message to let it reach the right audience at the right time.

Ivan Guzenko is CEO of SmartyAds. He can be found on Twitter @ivanguzenko.

The post Hottest user-centric video advertising trends of 2020: CTV, vertical, and social formats appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Seven tips for full funnel SEO in 2020

June 2, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Improving their organic search presence is the top inbound marketing priority for 61% of marketers.
  • It’s imperative that today’s marketers leverage paid search at every stage to create more sophisticated strategies because greater sophistication means less wasted budget and higher quality conversions. 
  • Erica Magnotto gives a crisp breakdown and categorization of how to make your sales and marketing funnel work through SEO.

Improving their organic search presence is the top inbound marketing priority for 61% of marketers. But many are unaware their tried-and-true search engine optimization tactics have lost their potency thanks to today’s more fluid marketing funnel.

Every marketer knows the marketing funnel: The famous upside-down triangle used to visualize the customer journey from “awareness” at the top to “action” at the bottom. Paid search is typically considered a lower-funnel tactic used to nudge customers toward a conversion. But in today’s digitally-dominated landscape, paid search plays a more integrated role. 

It’s imperative that today’s marketers leverage paid search at every stage to create more sophisticated strategies because greater sophistication means less wasted budget and higher quality conversions. Here are seven tips to plug in paid search throughout your customer relationships in 2020.

Phase one: Awareness

If you’re currently investing in awareness channels, you’re likely using a combination of programmatic display, video, social and influencers to connect with your audiencesBut don’t overlook paid search, which is also effective at driving new users to the website through competitor and educational campaigns.  

1. Competitor campaigns 

If a customer is looking for your direct competitor, it’s likely they’re in need of your services as well, so bidding on competitor terms is a great way to capture your competitor’s customers. Keep in mind though these keywords are usually expensive and receive lower quality scoresthey can help inform customers of their options within your industry. 

2. Brand education 

Customers looking to educate themselves on a particular product or service are likely to go to Google firstUse this knee-jerk reaction to send web traffic in your direction by adding specific content on your website that answer their questions. Blogs, white papers, FAQ pages, and industry updates are valuable forms of customer education that can develop brand awareness and promote trust with your audience. Even better, you can combine branding and lead generation by gating some of this content to collect user information that can later be repurposed for email marketing, retargeting, lookalike audiences and more. 

Phase two: Interest

After a user visits the website and gains familiarity with your brand keep your brand top of mind through retargeting list search ads and audience bidding.  

3. Retargeting List Search Ads (RLSAs)

RLSAs can help drive repeat visits to your website by directly targeting and bidding on those previous website visitors. These campaigns typically use tailored messaging, such as a discount, countdown or reminder to complete an action on your website, to create urgency. RLSAs can also be used with the brand and non-branded terms to entice user action in the decision phase of the funnel. 

4. Audience bidding

Marketers should consider applying in-market audiences to campaigns on observation mode to develop a clearer image of how each audience segment performs. Segments that perform or convert at a high level indicate interest from that grouping of potential customers and, therefore, are worth a higher investment through the use of bid modifiers. Bid up on these audiences to garner a stronger return. 

Phase Three: Decision

Invest in your brand terms to protect yourself from competitor interference once potential customers have made the conscious decision to engage with your brand. You can also implement extensions to impart more influence during the decision stage and garner increased user engagement. 

5. Bid on brand terms 

Brand terms serve two purposes in SEO: visibility and defence. First, it’s important to remain relevant to the SERPs by being represented in organic and paid results. Second, while you have the flexibility to bid on competitor terms, the competition can bid on your terms as wellBy creating a dedicated brand strategy for search, you can help cut down on competitors showing up in place of you.

6. Use extensions 

Extensions such as site links, callouts and structured snippets place more ads on SERPs, giving your ads more opportunity to influence in the decision of customersMarketers should use as many relevant extensions as possible to improve click-through-rates (CTRs) and higher quality scores. 

Phase four: Action

Search engines can optimize toward conversion action through automated bidding after users take action on your website through a paid ad. 

7. Automated bidding

Conversion or action data that are stored in Google or Microsoft Ads is repurposed to support automated bidding like Target Cost Per Action (CPA), Maximize Conversions or Target Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). These features support a variety of conversion goals through Google’s AI automation. Creating accurate conversions in your account is essential during the final step of the funnel.

Paid search is a foundational channel for driving lead generation initiatives, as it has vast capabilities. Search plays an integral role in every stage of the marketing funnel – not just at the top. Consider connecting with your in-house team or agency partners to revamp your paid search strategy for 2020 to ensure you are leveraging search across the funnel, and, ultimately, boosting the channels’ benefit to your bottom line.  

Erica Magnotto is Senior Search Engine Marketing Manager at R2i. 

The post Seven tips for full funnel SEO in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


May 2020 Updates to Paid Media Platforms

May 31, 2020 No Comments

In this monthly post, we bring you the latest news and changes from all of the major ad platforms. Google, Bing, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, and more.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


PageRank 2020

May 27, 2020 No Comments

If you have been working as an SEO for any amount of time, or have been responsible for marketing a website, it’s possible that you have heard of PageRank, which was developed by the Founders of Google in the earliest days of the Search Engine. There is some new news concerning PageRank that I wanted to share when I learned about it this morning.

You may have heard a little about the history of the PageRank algorithm, and that Google had stopped using at least the original version of PageRank back in 2006. Or that they started using a version of PageRank (still referred to as PageRank) after that time. It’s possible that they started using a different version of PageRank at that time. There have been at least two others developed by Google that were available in 2006.

The original patent behind PageRank was originally assigned to Stanford University, where Lawrence Page and Sergey Brin were both students who started working on a search engine, as a diversion while their Ph.D. Supervisor went on Sabbatical to Japan for a year.

A provisional Patent from Lawrence Page was the first official document that described how the search engine worked using the PageRank algorithm. I found a copy of the provisional patent behind PageRank on the USPTO website which I blogged about in 2011. That provisional patent was Improved Text Searching in Hypertext Systems (pdf – 1.7mb). In that version of the patent, Page referred to PageRank as “An Approximating to ‘Importance’” In other words, PageRank is an “approximation of how well-cited or important” matching documents for a query might be.

Google filed a patent updating PageRank October 12, 2006 for the first time (it was updated since at least once.) Another version of PageRank was written about by researchers at Google that resulted in a version that was considered more efficient in the paper Efficient Computation of PageRank. Other papers have been written about PageRank as well.

The original patent behind PageRank assigned to Stanford University and which was exclusively licensed to Google has likely expired in 2018. Which has meant that Search Engines other than Google could use PageRank. Chances are that the PageRank described in the early patents from Stanford, and even the later patents and papers from Google has changed as it was used to rank pages on the Web.

I took a look at the Google Research Publications from 2020 this morning, and came across a paper titled Scaling PageRank to 100 Billion Pages while the author was an employee at Yahoo. He is at Google now, and his name is Stergios Stergiou.

He tells us in his LinkedIn profile that he has:

Architected and implemented many massively distributed systems, including:

  • A Word2Vec algorithm that learns from a 1 trillion words corpus in 2 hours per epoch
  • A PageRank algorithm that executes 35″ iterations on a 3 trillion edges web graph
  • A Set Cover algorithm capable of processing 1 trillion elements in 20 billion sets
  • A Connected Components algorithm able to process a 5.9 trillion edge graph in 3808

That list item about PageRank matches up with the paper that he authored while at Yahoo!, and he may have experimented with that while at Yahoo, which his profile says that he left in October of 2017. He now works as a Software Engineer at Google.

We have no knowledge of whether or not he has worked on PageRank after joining Google, after leaving Yahoo, but it was interesting seeing the paper in the Google Research publications section.

It is possible that it wouldn’t be there if he hadn’t joined Google, and we may never learn if the approaches behind PageRank described in that paper have been put into place at Google.

We also don’t know if the PageRank that he was writing about in that paper was like the one in use at Google when it was written.

However the paper is included in papers to be presented at WWW ’20, April 20–24, 2020, Taipei, Taiwan. According to the conference Website, it will still be held but will be online only.

I am not going to make any assumptions about the use of the processes described in the paper. The crawl data listed in it is cited as being from 2016, and some newer information in the footnotes of the paper are from 2020, such as a page on the Google site, about how Crawling and Indexing work at Google.

We have been told by Google Spokespeople that Google still uses PageRank. We don’t know if that version of PageRank is like the Scaling PageRank to 100 Billion Pages Version that will be presented in 2-3 weeks at the online WWW conference.


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