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Tag: Common

8 Common Reasons Your Google Ads Are Being Disapproved

December 4, 2019 No Comments

Google is not only tightening up existing policies but also rolling out new policies that affect multiple industries. Here are common reasons for ad disapprovals, steps to fix them, and what to do if your disapproval reason doesn’t fall in the common category.

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3 Common Reasons Why Marketers Don’t Invest in Their Post-Click Experience… & Why That’s a Big Mistake

August 2, 2019 No Comments

It’s important to give CRO time, money, and much-needed love and attention. My goal is to offer some clarity on why you should stop blaming these 3 things on not doing CRO and just do it already. It just makes sense!

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Six most common travel SEO mistakes to get right in 2019

December 15, 2018 No Comments

Here’s a bold statement: “SEO in the travel industry is immensely challenging.”

The sheer number of pages to manage, complexities of properties, flights, accommodation, availability, occupancy, destinations, not to mention the crazy amount of APIs and databases to make a travel site function, can all make life tricky for an SEO, particularly when it comes to the development queue…

tough development queue

Having said that, there are still common mistakes and missed opportunities out there that have the potential to be really impactful and believe it or not, they don’t actually require a huge amount of resource to put right.

So, here’s a list of the six most common travel SEO mistakes to get right for 2019:

  1. Forgetting about index bloat

There are a LOT of facets and filters when it comes to commercial travel category pages, arguably the most of any industry.

Typically with every facet or filter, be it; availability, location, facilities, amenities nearby, occupancy etc. A URL is created with the associated parameters selected by the user.

If not handled correctly, this can produce thousands of indexable pages that have no unique organic value to users.

This is a problem for a number of reasons:

  • It can be confusing for search engines because they can find it tricky to identify the best and most relevant URL to rank and show users depending on their query
  • It can dilute domain level ranking signals drastically
  • It can cause a huge amount of duplicate content issues
  • It can waste crawl budget which for big travel sites is super important

Combined, this can cause big losses in rankings, traffic and subsequently conversion!

How to identify index bloat

Go to Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) and check your ‘Index Coverage’ report or, in the old version, check ‘Index Status’ to see if you can see any spikes or growth in ‘Total Indexed’ pages. If you notice something like the graph below and it’s not expected, then there may be a problem:

index bloat graph

If you find there is a big increase and you can’t explain why, conduct some ‘Site:’ operator searches and spot check areas of your site where this may be commonplace to see what you can find.

Here’s an example of index bloat from the page speed tool ‘Pingdom’. It seems as though every input a user executes produces an indexable URL:

index bloat example

Once you’ve found a problem like this, review the extent of it with a Screaming Frog crawl. This way you can see how many URLs are affected and distinguish between whether they are actually indexable or not.

For example, there may be a few hundred pages that are indexable but have not yet been found and indexed by Google.

How to fix index bloat:

  • Noindex – Use a page level meta ‘noindex’ directive on the culprit pages
  • Where possible redirect – index bloat can happen as a result of mountains of historical 404 pages too, 301 redirect them into the most appropriate page to consolidate
  • Canonicalisation – apply an absolute canonical tag to the culprit pages to indicate that they are duplicate
  • Pagination – where possible use rel=”next” & rel=”prev” markup to show that pages are part of a series
  • URL parameter tool – By far the easiest but arguably the most risky method is using Google’s parameter handling tool to indicate the purpose of the culprit pages, be careful though, this can cause bigger problems if implemented incorrectly

Expert tip

If any of the above are difficult to get implemented in your dev queue and you don’t trust yourself using the parameter handling tool, you can actually noindex web pages & directories in your robots.txt file. You can actually add lines reading:

Noindex: /directory/

Noindex: /page/

This could save you a lot of time and is fully reversible, so less risky if you have control over your robots file. If you’ve never heard of this, don’t worry it is supported and it does work!

  1. Unemotive meta titles

It’s pretty staggering but in the UK, there’s a lot going on in January for travel — it is certainly the biggest spike in the year for many brands, followed by ‘holiday blues’ peaks after summer.

Here’s the trend of interest over time for the query ‘tenerife holidays’ (a destination famed for its good weather all year round) to show you what I mean:

search trend over time of "tenerife holidays"

January might be a bad time to experiment because of the higher interest but, the rest of the year presents a great opportunity to get creative with your titles.

Why would you?

Simply, keyword heavy titles don’t inspire high click-through rates.

Creative titles entice users into your landing pages, give your brand a personality and increase your click-through rate. This sends strong positive relevancy signals to Google which helps towards highlighting that your website is the best for the initial user query.

Here are a few things you can try with supportive content and commercial landers:

  • Get emotional, people buy holidays on the experiences they anticipate having. Play on that with your titles – how will products/content from this page make the user feel?
  • Where possible use a numbered list to be as descriptive as possible
  • Use strengthening words such as premium, secret, amazing, proven, guaranteed
  • Tie in emotional hooks using words like; fun, adventure, seamless, safe, welcoming, luxury, relaxing
  • Experiment with ‘price from’ and actually quote pricing in the title
  • Switch up your ‘PHP’ generated title tags for property pages and experiment with more descriptive wording and not just PROPERTY NAME | LOCATION | BRAND – but don’t remove any keyword targeting, just improve those titles.

Expert Tip

Write five completely unique title tags for the same page and test each one with a Facebook or PPC ad to see whether they outperform your current iteration in terms of engagement.

  1. Poor merchandising

As previously mentioned, the travel industry experiences peaks and troughs of consumer behavior trend throughout the year which causes the majority intent to switch dramatically across different months in the year.

So, having a deep understanding of what users are actually looking for is really important when merchandising high traffic pages to get the best conversion out of your audience.

In short, gaining an understanding of what works when, is huge.

Here’s some tips to help you make better merchandising decisions:

  • Use last year’s email open rate data – what type of content/product worked?
  • Use Google Search Console to find pages that peaked in organic traffic at different times
  • Involve the social media team to get a better understanding of what your audience is engaging with and why
  • Use Google Trend data to verify your hunches and find clearer answers
  • Use UGC sites such as Quora to find questions users are asking during different months of the year. Use the following site operator and swap out ‘holiday’ for your topic: ‘site:quora.com inurl:holiday’ and then filter by custom date range on your search

Often consumers are exposed to the same offers, destinations and visuals on key landing pages all year round which is such a missed opportunity.

We now live in a world of immediacy and those in the industry know the challenges of users cross-shopping between brands, even those who are brand loyal. This often means that if users can’t find what they are looking for quickly, they will bounce and find a site that serves them the content they are looking for.

For example, there’s an argument for promoting and focusing on media-based content, more so than product, later in the year, to cater to users that are in the ‘consideration’ part of the purchasing funnel.

Expert tip

Use number five in this list to pull even more clues to help inform merchandising

  1. Holding back on the informational market share

I grant you, this is a tall order, travel advice, blogs and guides are a standalone business but, the opportunity for commercial travel sites to compete with the likes of TripAdvisor is massive.

An opportunity estimated from our recent Travel Sector Report at 232,057 monthly clicks from 22,040 keywords and only Thomas Cook is pushing into the top 10.

travel sector graph of number of keywords ranking

Commercial sites that don’t have a huge amount of authority might struggle to rank for informational queries because dedicated travel sites that aren’t directly commercial are usually deemed to provide better/unbiased content for users.

Having said that, you can see clearly from above that it IS possible!

So, here’s what you should do…

…focus on one thing and do it better than anyone else

Sounds pretty straightforward and you’re probably thinking ‘I’ve heard this before’ but, only a handful in the travel industry are actually doing this well.

Often you see the same information from one travel site to the next, average weather, flight times, the location of the country on a map, a little bit of fluff about the history of the destination and then straight into accommodation.

This is fine, it’s useful, but it’s not outstanding.

Let’s take Thomas Cook as an example.

Thomas Cook has built a network of weather pages that provide live forecasts, annual overviews as well as unique insights into when is best to go to different destinations. It even has a tool to shop for holidays by the weather (something very important to Brits) called ‘Where’s Hot When?’

Thomas Cook where's hot when?

The content is relevant, useful, concise, complete, easy to use, contemporary in design and, most importantly, better than anyone else’s.

In short, Thomas Cook is nailing it.

They have focused on weather and haven’t stopped until it’s as best as it can be.

Why did they bother with weather? Well it’s approximately a third of all travel-related informational searches that we found in our keyword set from the Travel Sector Report:

travel sector graph number of searches and ranking

Apply Thomas Cook’s methodology to something that is relevant to your audience, it could be; family attractions, adult only tour guides, Michelin star eateries, international laws families should be concerned about, the list is plentiful!

Find something, nail it.

  1. Ignoring the gold in on-site search

There are some big travel sites out there that don’t have an on-site search function which is a huge missed opportunity. Travel sites are inherently difficult to navigate with such a volume of pages, site search is quite often a great solution for users.

As well as this, it can give marketers some amazing insight into what users are looking for, not just generally in terms of the keywords users might be using but also the queries users are searching on a page by page level.

For example, you could drill down into the differences between queries searched on your homepage vs queries searched on specific landing pages to spot trends in behavior and fix the content gaps from these areas of the site.

You could also use the data to inform merchandising decisions to address number three on this list.

In doing this, users are actually telling you exactly what they are looking for, at what time, whether they are a repeat visitor or a new one and where they’ve come from to visit your site.

If you spend the time, this data is gold!

If you can’t get buy in for this, test the theory with an out of the box search function that plugs straight into your site like searchnode. Try it for six months, you might be surprised at how many users turn to it and you will get some really actionable data out of it.

It’s also super easy to track in Google Analytics and the reports are really straightforward:

1. Go to Admin

google analytics add searchnode search box to your site

2. Click ‘View Settings’

google analytics view settings

3. Switch ‘Site search Tracking’ on

google analytics site search tracking on

4. Strip the letter that appears in your site’s search URL before the search terms e.g. for wordpress this is usually the letter “s”: www.travelsite.co.uk/?s=search-term

5. Click ‘save’, boom you’re done.

Let Google collect data, extract it monthly and dig, dig furiously!

  1. Ignoring custom 404 errors pages

Who doesn’t love a witty 404 page. More and more often you’ll find that when webmasters optimize a 404 error page they make them lighthearted. Here’s a great example from Broadway Travel:

broadway travel 404 error page

There is a reason why webmasters aim for a giggle.

Think about it… when users hit a 404 error page, 100% of the time there’s a problem, which is a big inconvenience when you’re minding your own business and having a browse, so, something to make you laugh goes a long way at keeping you unfrustrated.

Time to name names, and show you some 404 error pages that need some work…

British Airways

british airways 404 page not found

TUI & Firstchoice

TUI and Firstchoice 404 page not found

Expedia

expedia 404 page not found

Momondo

momondo 404 page not found

404 error pages happen over time, it’s totally normal.

It’s also normal to get traffic to your 404 error page. But it’s not just any old traffic, it’s traffic that you’ve worked hard to get hold of.

If, at this point, you’re thinking, ‘my site has recently been audited and internal links to 404 pages have been cleared up’.

Think again!

Users can misspell URLs, ancient external links can point to old pages, the product team can make mistakes, as meticulous as you may be, please don’t discount this one.

Losing quality users because of a bad 404 experience is an SEO’s idea of nails down a chalkboard.

Here are some tips to optimize your 404 pages:

  • Hit them with something witty but don’t be controversial
  • Feature the main site query forms prominently so users can conduct another ‘base’ search
  • Feature a site search option as well – an error page is a perfect opportunity to get users to conduct a site search to give you some insight into what they are looking for (number five on this list)
  • Include curated links to most popular top level pages such as destinations, guides, hotels, deals etc. This will allow users to start from at the top of each section and it will also allow search engines to continue crawling if they hit a 404 page
  • Re-emphasize branding, USPs, value proposition and trust signals to subconsciously remind users of why they’re on your site in the first place

Even if you think your 404 is awesome don’t neglect them when they pop up:

  • Review the 404 page data in Google Analytics behavior flow to find broken links you may not have known about and fix them
  • Keep on top of your 404 pages in Google Search Console and redirect to appropriate pages where necessary

404’s are often the bane of an SEO’s life and you might think about ways to get out of keeping on top of them.

Sadly there aren’t any short cuts….

…Bonus SEO mistake

Creating a global 301 redirect rule for every 404 page and direct them to your homepage.

This is surprisingly common but is poor SEO practice for a number of reasons, firstly you won’t be able to identify where users are having issues on your site when 404 pages pop up.

You may also be redirecting a page that could have originally had content on it that was totally irrelevant to your homepage. It’s likely in this situation that Google will actually override your redirect and classify it as a soft 404, not to mention the links that may have originally pointed to your 404’s.

Save your users, build a 404 page!

Final thoughts

No site is perfect, and although it might appear as though we’re pointing fingers, we want you to be able to overcome any challenges that come with SEO implementation — there’s always a bigger priority but keep your mind open and don’t neglect the small stuff to stay ahead of the game.

The post Six most common travel SEO mistakes to get right in 2019 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Most Common Mistakes of Automated Bidding

November 3, 2018 No Comments

By avoiding these mistakes, you’re more likely to succeed when testing new bidding strategies through Google Ads (formerly AdWords).

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7 common SEO mistakes most WordPress bloggers make

October 16, 2018 No Comments

WordPress initially started out as a ‘blog-only’ platform and now that it has extended as a full-fledged Content Management System, it remains a popular blogging platform. WordPress.com blogs have over 409 million monthly viewers who looked at 22.4 billion pages per month this past year.

This standalone fact is enough to justify the popularity of WordPress as people’s favorite blogging platform.  

WordPress does provide a lot of helpful features for blogging enthusiasts who are looking to start their own blogging website. However, inexperienced bloggers do commit some mistakes in spite of all the online help available. In this blog post, we will review the most common SEO WordPress mistakes that bloggers commit out of either ignorance or sheer carelessness. Regardless of the reason, these mistakes affect the search engine ranking of their blogs and even their online reputation. 

So, let’s explore seven of the most common SEO mistakes made by WordPress bloggers. 

1. Not using the right SEO optimized blogging theme 

If you are new to blogging, you might have missed out on the information that WordPress offers SEO optimized themes for your blogs which are highly helpful when it comes to the quest of online rankings. If you are not using an SEO optimized blogging theme, you are obviously a step behind than the others who are relying on them. There are a lot of SEO optimized blogging themes for WordPress that you could choose from such as DiviMagPlusJevelin etc.  

2. Missing on an SEO optimized contact form 

Even if your WordPress blog is in its initial phase, it needs to provide a point of contact to its followers, even if they are less in the count than expected. A contact form serves the purpose just right. Your contact form is a conversion driver and optimizing it for the right SEO keywords will help your visitors easily find your blog, hence amplifying the traffic. 

3. Not buying a domain 

Are you running your free blog using WordPress with the default blog address you were allotted with? If the answer is ‘Yes’, you might not be pleased with what we are about to tell you. A blog or even a website runs well only when it runs as per the need of its target audience. A proper domain name provides an identity to your blog and prepares a path for the visitors to lay their expectations. Not buying a domain can damage the traffic expectations of your blog and kill its overall Search engine ranking. 

4. Not optimizing blog images 

A great blog comes to being only when its relevant content is paired with original and high-quality images. However, a lot of WordPress blog and website owners forget to tap the optimization of these images. It is very important to optimize the images you use in your WordPress blog. It helps your site load faster and even enhances your Google PageSpeed score. 

To optimize your blog images, you can seek help from WordPress image optimization plugins such as Smush ItEWWW Image Optimizer, and TinyPNG. These plugins will help you compress your images without affecting their resolution and also take care of their SEO optimization. 

5. Choosing the wrong keyword 

Your blog’s reachability depends entirely on the Keyword chosen by you for its Search Engine Optimization. Keyword Research might be a very extensive concept but it can do wonders for your blog’s SEO if done in the right manner. 

You have to work on an SEO Keyword strategy for your blog in a manner that you are using  Keywords that define the subject of your content, are low in competition yet are commonly used by visitors for finding the information they are looking for. Finding Keywords that fit the bill for all these requirements can be quite a task and might overwhelm certain users. As demanding they might be, they require your focus or the attention if you are looking to rank your blog well.  

6. Not focusing on loading speed 

Your online blog’s loading time will highly affect the traffic on it and also the site abandonment ratio that follows if your blog takes a lot of time to load for its visitors. A loading time above 2-3 seconds can lead to a lot of visitors abandoning your blog.

If you really are serious about your blog’s loading speed, you must get a Caching plugin for your blogs such as W3 Total CacheWP Fastest Cache or WP Super Cache. These plugins are easy to use and they make your WordPress blog speedy as well. You must also not refrain from investing in a reliable web hosting service because they tackle your blogging website’s server side issues and have their fair share towards your blog’s overall performance and speed.  

7. Not focusing on content and readability 

Probably one of the most important aspects of your blog is the content that you push through it. It needs to be of a top-notch quality when you are looking to commit no SEO mistakes in and around it. Make sure the following things about your blog’s your content: 

  • Create original content that is relevant as per the audience. 
  • Make sure that this content is readable and provides a ‘takeaway’ for the target audience. 
  • Blogging consistently will help you have a stable traffic on your blog. Use plugins like the Editorial Calendar to blog regularly. 

Conclusion

A lot of experienced blog owners do commit technical and onsite SEO errors and then look for SEO agencies and content marketers to take care of their blog’s SEO. However, the most common mistakes can be easily avoided by creating a checklist of the must-haves. 

Analyze your WordPress blog today and see if you are committing any of the mistakes mentioned above. Hopefully, you’ll be able to tackle them and remove them from your blog at the earliest. Once you have a solid SEO content strategy and a perfect plan of action for your blog’s SEO, you will definitely be able to refine and improve the overall SEO performance of your WordPress blog.

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Most common, yet troubling WordPress errors and their solutions

June 30, 2018 No Comments

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 issues:

  • 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.

Plugin issues:

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.

wp_set_password(‘DesiredNewPassword’,1);

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.

Error 404

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.

Conclusion

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Google injects Hire with AI to speed up common tasks

June 19, 2018 No Comments

Since Google Hire launched last year it has been trying to make it easier for hiring managers to manage the data and tasks associated with the hiring process, while maybe tweaking LinkedIn while they’re at it. Today the company announced some AI-infused enhancements that they say will help save time and energy spent on manual processes.

“By incorporating Google AI, Hire now reduces repetitive, time-consuming tasks, like scheduling interviews into one-click interactions. This means hiring teams can spend less time with logistics and more time connecting with people,” Google’s Berit Hoffmann, Hire product manager wrote in a blog post announcing the new features.

The first piece involves making it easier and faster to schedule interviews with candidates. This is a multi-step activity that involves scheduling appropriate interviewers, choosing a time and date that works for all parties involved in the interview and scheduling a room in which to conduct the interview. Organizing these kind of logistics tend to eat up a lot of time.

“To streamline this process, Hire now uses AI to automatically suggest interviewers and ideal time slots, reducing interview scheduling to a few clicks,” Hoffmann wrote.

Photo: Google

Another common hiring chore is finding keywords in a resume. Hire’s AI now finds these words for a recruiter automatically by analysing terms in a job description or search query and highlighting relevant words including synonyms and acronyms in a resume to save time spent manually searching for them.

Photo: Google

Finally, another standard part of the hiring process is making phone calls, lots of phone calls. To make this easier, the latest version of Google Hire has a new click-to-call function. Simply click the phone number and it dials automatically and registers the call in call a log for easy recall or auditing.

While Microsoft has LinkedIn and Office 365, Google has G Suite and Google Hire. The strategy behind Hire is to allow hiring personnel to work in the G Suite tools they are immersed in every day and incorporate Hire functionality within those tools.

It’s not unlike CRM tools that integrate with Outlook or GMail because that’s where sales people spend a good deal of their time anyway. The idea is to reduce the time spent switching between tools and make the process a more integrated experience.

While none of these features individually will necessarily wow you, they are making use of Google AI to simplify common tasks to reduce some of the tedium associated with every-day hiring tasks.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


6 common international SEO fails and how to avoid them

March 17, 2018 No Comments

If you already run an international website or have international expansion on your road map, there are several common SEO issues which can hold back your success.

In this article we’ll look at six international SEO mistakes that you could be making, to help you look out for and avoid them on your site.

Domains

One mistake we see with people taking their first step into an international market is not considering the current domain they have.

If you have a .co.uk domain name, for example, you will need to consider getting a new domain for each market you go into, as a .co.uk won’t perform as well in international search engines as it is a UK-focused ccTLD.

IP serving

This is something which, from a development point of view, sounds like the perfect fix. Automatically redirecting people to the correct international version of your website based on their IP address, and so location, does sound really useful.

In its truest form, IP serving cannot be overwritten and a user in a specific country will always be redirected to the site for that country. There are, however, a number of reasons why this isn’t always the right approach to take.

Firstly, you can’t assume that all users in a particular location are from that country. If your IP serving can’t be overwritten by a user, this will mean that anyone in a particular country will be forced to use the site in that language/currency, which doesn’t then take into consideration someone who is travelling or not native to the country in question. This isn’t a great user experience.

The second issue of IP serving is that it will affect your SEO, as search engines aren’t able to crawl your site from every country you may cover. As a result, you will find that your international sites won’t perform as well in the search engines as you would expect.

On many occasions I’ve seen websites with IP serving being used which have real issues in their visibility, with the wrong website appearing in the search results. Google in particular, has real issues with this and I’ve seen local and US sites swapping in the search results on a weekly basis.

I’ve also seen brands who use IP serving, having to buy local language ads in a market to make up for the fact that their local language site doesn’t show up in the search results.

Below is an example of the US Calvin Klein website showing as the top search result for a brand search in Sweden. This is because they use IP serving, and Google is following this to the US site only.

Assuming English is OK

Another big issue for people taking the first steps into an international market is assuming English is OK for certain markets. Common assumptions in this area include assuming that English is OK for the Scandinavian countries, because they all speak English right?

Depending on what the purpose of your website is, this approach might not work. For example, B2B brands looking to encourage people to make a large financial commitment, or high-end retailers, might want to avoid doing this. Generally, the more people are spending the more they will want to see content in their own language, they are investing in you, so you should invest in them.

The other issue with this assumption is that the users in your international markets are more likely to be searching in their local language and not in English, so even if they are comfortable purchasing from you in English, they might not find your site as they will be searching for your products or services in their local language.

Automatic translation

Moving on from using English, some people think the easiest way to implement translation on a website is to use some form of automated translation tool. This is not recommended.

Firstly, these translations, while often dictionary perfect, don’t necessarily reflect how people in any given market speak, they may also miss the nuances of search behavior which could result in you losing out on using words on your website which potential customers are using.

For example, the dictionary correct German word for tickets (such as attraction tickets) is ‘Karten’ but we find there is often more search volume around this topic using the English word ‘Ticket’ in the German market.

Another note on Google Translate as a plugin on your site; although the Google translate tool is super useful it doesn’t change anything on your website which Google the search engine will see.

This means that the translated content it creates in every possible language, isn’t indexed in Google’s results and so does not help you to become findable in the search results when someone searches for you in Brazilian Portuguese, for example.

Getting the language wrong

This is the worst-case scenario, and thankfully something I’ve only seen a handful of times to it’s worst extent. This is the process of completely missing the language you should be using.

A few years back I was reviewing a website which was looking to promote its business into Hong Kong. The website was well put together, and all their SEO was in place and working well. The images were showing local people and the content was all in Chinese.

The issue was that the content was all in Simplified Chinese. Simplified Chinese is used in mainland China. For Hong Kong, the target market of this website, the language should have been Traditional Chinese.

Smaller less dramatic examples of this are forgetting that sometimes users are separated by a common language. Everyone knows the trite “differences” between English for the US and the UK (use of S or Z in some words and whether or not there is a U present in other words).

There are other differences which you need to be aware of depending on the products you are selling.  For example, Egg Plants vs Aubergines and Football vs Soccer.

Hreflang tags

This is one of the biggest areas where people experience problems with their international website strategy. In fact, John Mueller from Google said in February that Hreflang tags are hard!

I’ve seen some humorous attempts at getting the tags right in my time, including people making up countries (Arabia for example) or trying to target an English language .eu domain to every country in Europe with something like 23 individual tags!

There are number of things to watch out for with these tags, mainly around making sure you format the code correctly, don’t make up language and country combinations and that you aren’t linking through to pages which are different from those in your canonical tag, or broken pages!

These are just some of the biggest fails I’ve seen over the years, but hopefully enough to give you a clue as to what you should be avoiding with your website.

Like all SEO, when going international it’s important to make sure that things are right from day one but to keep an eye on things to make sure no issues creep in over time. Your international websites can help your brand grow and get more business, but only if they are set up correctly and nurtured.

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Common Problems (and Solutions) With URL Tagging and Tracking

February 26, 2018 No Comments

Resolving issues for URL tagging in 3rd party PPC campaigns is simple if you know what to look for. The problem is most likely one of three things.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Common PPC keyword mistakes (Understanding broad match vs. phrase match vs. exact match)

September 20, 2017 No Comments

Google AdWords offers three major keyword match types – broad match, phrase match, and exact match.

It’s safe to say that if not you don’t know how to use each correctly, you could be wasting your PPC budget.

Choosing the right keyword match types can help you target your ads better so you get higher-quality traffic to your site. Match types are simple to understand, so it’s important to take time to learn about them before you do anything else with your PPC campaigns.

What are match types for PPC advertising?

The first question is easy: What does match type mean? In short, the match type you choose for each keyword specifies which searches Google can show your ad. Your match type determines whether a wide audience will see your ads or whether your ads will only show for a few highly targeted searchers.

Your first step is to create a keyword to track by navigating to the “keywords” tab and clicking the red “+Keywords” button, as shown below:

After clicking the red button you will be taken to a page where you can add multiple keywords, as shown below:

Once you save that keyword, you can select the keyword to change the match type. Consider the specific differences below:

Broad match

Of all the keyword match types, broad match casts the widest net. When you choose broad match for a keyword Google will show your ad to people who type in all kinds of variations of your keyword, as well as the keyword itself.

For example, let’s say your keyword is ceramic pots. If you set this keyword to broad match, your ad won’t just show up for people who type ceramic pots into the search bar. Google will also show it to people looking for blue ceramic pots, ceramic cooking pots, and cooking pot ceramic. Your ad can even show up when people type in synonyms of your keyword, like pottery cookware.

Simply click in the keyword to change the match type:

Broad match is the default match type for keywords, so if you haven’t adjusted your keywords’ match type, they’re currently set to broad match. You don’t need to use any special symbols to set a keyword to broad match, although you do need to use symbols for other match types – more on that in a minute.

It’s a good idea to use broad match keywords when you want to reach the widest audience possible. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, though, this strength could become a weakness. The impressions you get from broad match keywords aren’t very targeted, and that could mean you’re paying for clicks from people who weren’t interested in your offer to begin with.

Modified broad match

You can get around some of the downsides of broad match keywords by using a modified broad match type instead. This lets you specify which words must be in a search query for your ad to show.

If you do this, your keyword still falls under the broad match umbrella, but you have a little more control over who sees your ads. Modified broad match is a powerful tool for keeping your keywords flexible while cutting down on irrelevant traffic.

To modify a broad match keyword, place a + sign directly in front of any word that must be in a query for your ad to display. For instance, to re-use our example above, you could modify your keyword by changing it to +ceramic pots.

This tells Google not to show your ad unless “ceramic” is somewhere in the query. For instance, your ad could show up for ceramic bakeware and stockpot ceramic, but not for pottery cookware.

You can also insert a “+” before more than one word in your keyword. If you wanted your ad to show only for queries that included both the words “ceramic” and “pots,” you could modify your keyword to +ceramic +pots.

Phrase match

Phrase match lets you specify an exact phrase that must be in a searcher’s query for your ad to appear. It lets you hone in on your intended audience more than the broad match type, but isn’t as restrictive as exact match.

To set a keyword to phrase match, put quotation marks around it. This lets Google know to only show your ad to people who used your exact keyword (or close variations of it) somewhere in their query. If your phrase match keyword is “ceramic pots”, your ad can show up for the searches “heavy-duty ceramic pots” and “ceramic pot with lid” but not “ceramic cooking pots.”

Exact match

When you use an exact match keyword, your ad will show up for people who type in that exact keyword (or close variations of it) and nothing else. This match type will limit your impressions the most, so use it with caution. The impressions you do get, however, will be highly targeted, so they’ll be more valuable than the impressions you’d get from a broad match keyword.

Set a keyword to exact match by putting it in square brackets – for example, [ceramic pots]. Only people who type ceramic pots or close variations of it into the search bar will see your ad. There’s no way to turn off close variation matching in Google, so your ad will still show for people who search for ceramic pot or another very similar term.

Negative match

Negative match isn’t a keyword match type in the same way as the ones above. Rather, it lets you specify words you don’t want your ad to show for. If you know your ad won’t be relevant if a certain word is in a search query, set that word as a negative match. Google won’t show your ads to any of those searchers.

For instance, if ceramic pot is your keyword and you’re selling cooking pots, you might want to set “vase” as a negative match. Otherwise, people looking for ceramic vases might stumble upon your site and then leave right away, which only wastes your advertising dollars.

Set a word as a negative keyword by including a “-” in front of it, like this: -vase. Below shows you how to navigate to the negative keyword tab. You simply click the red button once again, and here you have a choice if you want these negative keywords to be for one campaign or your entire ad group, as you can see below:

What counts as a close variation?

We’ve mentioned a couple of times that Google automatically lumps very similar terms in with your keyword. At this point, you might be wondering what a close variation actually is. According to Google’s page on keyword matching options, close variations include all of the following:

  • Common misspellings
  • Singular versions of plural words, and vice versa
  • Acronyms
  • Abbreviations
  • Stemmings, or words that all have the same root – e.g. cook, cooking, and cooked
  • Accents

How can you make sure you’re choosing the right match type?

Now that you know what all the match types do, how should you plan your keyword strategy? Google recommends starting out with broad match keywords and then narrowing them down as appropriate. Keep an eye on your search terms report, which tells you which queries people typed in to see your ad.

If you notice that your ad is showing up for a lot of unrelated or irrelevant queries, try adding negative keywords to weed some of them out, or use more restrictive match types for your keywords.

You can find your search terms report using a variety of tools. AgencyAnalytics is one such tool that allows you to also click the keywords tab (shown below) for all of your keyword data to help create a full picture:

It’s also a good idea to vary your keyword match types. Don’t use all broad match keywords, or your ad will display for too many people who aren’t interested. Likewise, if you only use exact match, your ads might not show up often enough to get you good results.

Mix it up based on what makes sense for each keyword, and aim for a good balance between reaching a wide audience and showing your ads to the right people.

The takeaway

You can choose great PPC keywords, but if you don’t deploy them well, they won’t get you the results you want. Choosing your keyword match types is an important way to determine which searchers see your ads, and this ultimately impacts your sales.

Monitor your search terms report to see how your match types are performing, and adjust them as needed, and you just might notice a big difference in your traffic and sales.

What’s your strategy for using keyword match types? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!


Amanda DiSilvestro is a freelance digital marketing writer and editor living in San Diego, CA. You can connect with Amanda on 
Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her writing services at amandadisilvestro.com.

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