The Latest from Google: June 2017

Top Announcements from the Google Marketing Next Event and Posts on Google My Business

Google is consistently looking for ways to deliver relevant and seamless experiences. This is partly because people expect it. More and more people look to digital to have everything they need at any given moment. At last month’s Google Marketing Next event, Google focused on the need for innovation, staying one step ahead of consumers’ needs and the technology to make it happen. Through data, machine learning, artificial intelligence and automation, Google believes it can truly deliver what people want before they even know it. In partnership with advertisers like you, Google wants to enhance workflows, so that you can better understand consumers and act on these learnings to drive better experiences and in turn higher quality leads.

AMP and Google Search

The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project is expanding. AMP is all about using speed to provide faster experiences, and recently Google introduced two new ways they are utilizing it for advertising. The first one is a new AdWords beta that uses AMP to deliver fast-loading landing pages for search ads. The new AdWords will be available to all advertisers by the end of the year.

The second is through the Google Display Network, increasing the speed of how ads are served. Google says they have found these ads to load up to five seconds faster than regular ads. Not only are searchers seeing a seamless experience, but according to Google, this feature ensures display ads are seen by your intended audience.

In-market audiences for Search

This feature was first launched in 2013 focusing on targeting ready-to-buy consumers through intent signals like search queries and browsing activity. Google currently offers this targeting on their Display Network and YouTube campaigns, but now it’s coming to Search. According to Google, advertisers have begun using in-market audiences and are seeing a 10 percent increase in conversion rates. There are more than a dozen audiences available to choose from, including autos and vehicles, financial services, real estate and apparel. As a result, advertisers will be able to bid more effectively for higher-qualified leads.

Google Attribution

Google Attribution is designed to answer “Is my marketing working?” A question that has proven to be extremely challenging for marketers across the board. With this new tool, Google hopes to measure various interactions across devices and channels and help make that data actionable. Google explains that by integrating with AdWords, Analytics and DoubleClick Search, you are able to have all this data in one place with a complete view of performance. This alone ramps up the speed of optimizations like updating bids and budget allocation across channels.

Another key feature is the ability to switch to data-driven attribution, which uses machine learning to automatically determine how much to attribute to each step in the path to purchase. The machine analyzes conversion patterns so you can accurately see what’s working.

Unique Reach comes to AdWords Display and DoubleClick

Earlier this year, Google launched Unique Reach for YouTube in AdWords, and now they are expanding this feature to Display campaigns in AdWords and DoubleClick for all video and display ads. Unique Reach measures the number of unique users and average impressions-per-user. Google de-dupes these across devices, campaigns, inventory and formats so you can accurately know your reach. As a result, you can identify how to best utilize your budget.

New AdWords integration: Google Optimize and Google Surveys 360

Google takes A/B testing to another level with Optimize. Without any coding, marketers can create landing page versions for any combination of AdWords campaigns, ad groups and keywords. Optimize can automatically identify which pages are performing and get more value from campaigns.

The Surveys 360 tool allows for survey creation and specific audience sampling. Through the integration with AdWords, advertisers can target surveys to consumers in remarketing audiences. Brands can ask specific questions about experiences with their ads and landing pages to understand impact and guide optimizations.

Google My Business adds posts

Google My Business now has the ability to display posts on listings. For multi-location brands, this new addition provides local business yet another way to connect with consumers, share information about their products and services and stand out from the competition. Posts can be created using the Google My Business Android and iOS apps or website.

Google explains the following new ways businesses can engage with consumers through posts:

  • Share daily specials or current promotions that encourage new and existing customers to take advantage of your offers.
  • Promote events and tell customers about upcoming happenings at your location.
  • Showcase your top products and highlight new arrivals.
  • Choose one of the available options to connect with your customers directly from your Google listing: give them a one-click path to make a reservation, sign up for a newsletter, learn more about latest offers, or even buy a specific product from your website.

Related: 5 steps to optimize your brand’s presence for local searches on Google

As we learn more about these announcements and new features, we will continue to be your resource for the latest and what you need to know. In the meantime, reach out if you have any questions. As a Google Premier Partner, we are ready to help you maximize your advertising efforts.

[Guide]: 3 Ways to Boost your Online Advertising with Geo-fencing

From the Digital Marketing Playbook series: A roadmap to help brands reach their target audiences anytime, anywhere.

Let’s face it, we’re addicted to our phones. By the end of 2016, 81 percent of people in the United States over the age of 13 owned a smartphone. And, users spend more than three hours every day on their phones on non-voice activities. Our phones are the first thing we think of when we wake up in the morning and they’re by our side until we go to sleep at night. 

So what does all of this smartphone dependence mean for advertisers? The short answer: A lot. Smartphones are more than a vehicle to serve ads, they’re also a helpful tool for advertisers to identify and build target audiences.

Geo-fencing is a supercharged targeting tactic that leverages the power of our phones to help brands deliver relevant digital ads to local consumers anytime, anywhere on the one device that’s always by their side.

Download our latest Digital Marketing Playbook to learn about:

  • The important role smartphones play in our daily lives
  • The benefits of using Geo-fencing to reach consumers on their smartphones
  • Three Geo-fencing tactics to help your brand reach local consumers

Three ways to boost your online advertising with Geo-fencing

Rank ‘em: How Financial Brands Stack Up in Search Engine Results

Wealth management firms operate in a highly competitive space that requires them to vie for the attention of an increasingly digital-first consumer base. Continue reading “Rank ‘em: How Financial Brands Stack Up in Search Engine Results”

Do Keywords Still Matter For SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) sure has come a long way since the days of keyword stuffing, DMOZ  and PageRank when the presence and prominence of keywords within a webpage’s content could have a significant impact on its ranking in search results.

Keywords and content are still inherent parts of SEO. But, as search engines get better at understanding what searchers really want, do keywords as we’ve always known them still matter? And, are keywords still the most important part of an SEO strategy?

What if we’re in the age where keywords aren’t as important? How can we continue to use keywords to make sure we’re serving our potential site visitors’ needs?

Understanding intent = The “key” to keyword success

Ask any SEO pro what the most important factor is when choosing or optimizing keywords and they’ll probably tell you it has to do with “intent.” For example, if you’re performing a search for “shoes,” how does Google understand the intent behind that search. Are you looking for:

  • Information about running shoes?
  • Sites that sell shoes you can buy?
  • The history of shoes?
  • Different types of shoes?

Searcher intent is at the heart of every great keyword strategy. If you’re trying to rank for a keyword that doesn’t match your page’s content, you’re probably not going to rank very well.

Google has made several key changes to their search algorithm aimed at providing searchers with results that best match their intent (particularly the Hummingbird update in 2013). As Google compiles more and more data about keywords and uses that to inform search results, the websites that get rewarded with high rankings will be the ones that are able to answer and provide definitive topical answers that match the intent of users’ queries.

How to make sure your keywords still matter

To make sure your keywords still matter, you have to nail down your prospective searchers’ intent. Using our “shoes” example from above, the types of searches you can filter your potential keyword targets into will fit into one of these categories:

  • Navigational – probably a branded search term. Someone looking to get somewhere specific. Example search query: “Where can I get Nike skateboarding shoes”
  • Informational – very likely a “fat head” search term. Someone looking for information about a particular person, place or thing. The searcher is probably closer to the outside of the conversion funnel. Example search query: “Types of Nike Skateboarding shoes”
  • Transactional – searchers who know what they want. In general, they are ready to buy and are likely performing a long-tail keyword search. Example search query: “Nike Stefan Janoski Max Size 10.5 Blue”

Keywords still matter but make them topical

Don’t get hung up on choosing a thousand variations of the same keyword. As Google gets better and better at understanding searcher intent, the importance of keywords will get diluted. Instead, try to focus your keyword strategy around content topics.

Try to answer questions for your searcher that might lead them to discover your website at every stage of their path to purchase. Using specific landing pages, position your site as the answer to the navigational query, the informational query and the transactional query. That way, you’ll be able to leverage your site’s authority as the answer to a searcher’s every need.

Need help with your optimizing your site for better search engine rankings? Contact Mindstream Media Group to get in touch with one of our SEO professionals.