Monday, November 20, 2017

How Close Are We to Search Engine Marketing Running Itself?

How Close Are We to Search Engine Marketing Running Itself? was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

We are well on our way with the fourth Industrial Revolution, and the internet is alive … almost.

artificial intelligence

All around the web are speculations regarding artificial intelligence (AI) and the future of our civilization. The idea that computers will take over the majority of jobs in the workplace today has become well accepted. Some careers will be destroyed, although many more will be born as a result.

From the great benefits to the potential risks to our species, some of our modern day economic titans have expressed their hopes and concerns. A few examples …

Warren Buffett stated that he believes AI will kill jobs but is ultimately good for society.

Elon Musk is attempting to morph nature and technology with his new idea for Neuralink, a company he is launching to merge man and machine.

And Mark Cuban thinks that the world’s first trillionaire will be as a result of AI.

So what? How does this affect your day to day, or even your future?

What if I said that this future applies to PPC search engine marketing? We’re talking about the wave of SEM automation and the not-far-off day when search engine marketing runs itself.

PPC’s History

To understand the trajectory of SEM automation, let’s take a brief look at PPC history. Goto.com successfully pioneered the pay-for-placement search marketing business model, which at the time was strictly based on pay-per-click.

The more a company was willing to spend per click, the higher its ad would appear in the sponsored ads section of the search engine results page. So the companies with more money to invest were able to gain an advantage.

Goto.com Search Results in 2001

Goto.com search engine results page screenshot in 2001.

Google home page in 2001

Google.com home page screenshot in 2001.

Then Google launched AdWords and improved the previous business model.

They incorporated good user experience into the judgment of placements on the search results pages and rewarded advertisers with lower CPCs and better positions. Advertisers with better quality ads and bigger budgets had an advantage.

Over the years, more improvements were introduced, giving advertisers more control over how their ads were displayed, allowing for a more targeted approach, resulting in a lower CPA for them and more targeted ads for their customers.

With more advertisers adding product after product to their advertising portfolios, managing thousands of campaigns, ad groups, keywords and bids became a real challenge for both agencies and business owners.

Smart Automation Ramps Up in SEM

With all of the bidding options offered by Google, it was a difficult managing all of them efficiently.

So bid management tools were developed. As the industry grew, there were constant new opportunities to improve an advertiser’s efficiency with their Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

Since the opportunities were too many, machine learning bots were introduced to monitor, learn and run much of the bidding off of history, device, time of day, location, etc. We use the power of PPC automation tools to automate some of the common tedious and time-consuming tasks associated with data gathering and CPA optimization. Paid search campaigns are efficiently and automatically 48 times each day — far more than a human alone can adjust.

Every day, the bots monitor and gather more information, allowing them to make better decisions. Each time a user conducts a search, it is a new opportunity for the bots to learn to become more efficient in maximizing profits and decreasing an advertiser’s wasted spend.

robot

Each account becomes a custom bidding portfolio, assuming it has been set up correctly. Over time and with data, the bots learn, increasing either click-through percentage or increasing conversions while lowering CPAs/CPLs, depending on the client’s needs.

In time, the automation portion of web marketing increases alongside AI, providing an effective, streamlined marketing experience, while providing a better user experience, which results in more profits for the search engines.

We see news about machine learning technologies in the online advertising space every day, and platforms are being built and leveraged in this space more and more.

Today’s Machine Learning Advances

So who is the real winner when every business gets to take advantage of machine learning? Everyone involved! Why?

Advertisers win because the bots optimize for their specific website and its audience, factoring in all traceable micro-moments in the process. There will always be competition for traffic and conversions, but since each site is slightly different, this allows for the bots to optimize for that specific site and its audience.

If a site is winning conversions at a certain time of day with a certain set of keywords, the competitors can also win, either with a slightly different set of keywords or slightly different times of day. Where two advertisers go head to head on a specific set of keywords at a specific time of day, account structure usually wins, as better structured accounts usually have a higher Quality Score.

Search engines win because a better user experience means more clicks which results in more exposure and more revenue.

What’s Next for PPC?

Why isn’t all of this automated yet? Ideally, I believe we need to be living in a digital world where a non-tech-savvy small business owner has access to an SEO-optimized website generated by a smart bot.

The only work for the business owner is to fill a questionnaire with business and industry information, a way to guide the bot in the right direction.

Data and analysis of it by artificial intelligence should allow for an effective site to build itself, customizing and building for user experience.

Once the site is built and ready, the social media bots can begin the buzz to introduce the brand to the public.

Meanwhile, based on industry information gathered about the business and its competitors, an effectively built SEM account emerges, applying years of learnings and best practices to begin and improve performance, to hit and exceed the client’s goals.

The bots will do it all, with the small business owner having zero knowledge of how the industry works. All he or she knows is that it works well and provides a positive return on investment, which is enough reason to increase budgets and ultimately profits.

robotic hand

The best part is that digital marketing applies to just about all industries, growing businesses time and again, industry after industry. So when will SEM run itself? In many ways, the transitioning is happening now.

And what does a business need to do to take advantage of the advantages provided when robots fine tune and manage SEM?

Although on our way, I think it will still be a long time before the industry is efficiently automated. Until then, the business opportunities need to be captured through a competent search marketing agency which utilizes nearly two decades of experience in building and scaling performance-driven client campaigns through experience and data.

Success is assessed through efficient client account growth, achieved in time through intelligence and effort. After twenty-plus years helping shape this industry, we have built the talent and environment to start your efficient paid digital campaigns, or if you already have one, scale it to the next level.

Are you ready to increase your digital profits? Contact us today.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Facebook Domain Verification: Edit Link Previews

Back in September, I provided three tips on how you could continue to edit link previews when creating a Facebook post. This functionality had otherwise been taken away in an effort to combat fake news.

One of the methods I shared with you was claiming link ownership…

Facebook Link Ownership

At the time, I was frustrated that I didn’t have the ability to claim link ownership. Later I’d find that the path to claim link ownership simply moved.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can once again edit your link previews by using Facebook domain verification.

Editing Link Previews: The Problem

Quick refresher…

Up until late this past summer, Facebook page publishers could edit link thumbnails, titles, and descriptions. But the ability to make those edits were then taken away.

Facebook Link Preview - Publisher

Facebook made this change to prevent bad actors from changing the image thumbnail, title, or description to mislead the reader. Some were taking posts from reputable websites and altering the information to make people think the articles said something they didn’t.

Facebook’s motivation to pull this back was understandable. But what about reputable publishers that simply wanted to make slight adjustments? Maybe the thumbnail image was the wrong dimensions. Maybe there was a typo in the description. Or the description was too long.

Most importantly, what if the publisher owned the content in question?

Domain Verification

Facebook created Domain Verification to allow content owners to overwrite post metadata when publishing content on Facebook.

Within Business Manager under People and Assets, you should now see “Domains” on the left side…

Facebook Domain Verification

Click the button to Add New Domains…

Facebook Domain Verification

Enter your domain, and click the button to “Add Domain.”

Facebook Domain Verification

To verify your domain, you’ll need to either add a DNS TXT record or upload an HTML file. If you don’t manage your website, that may sound like Greek. I honestly don’t truly understand it myself. But Facebook provides the specific steps that should help.

For DNS verification…

Facebook Domain Verification

The instructions are above. You’ll want to paste the TXT record that Facebook provides (yours will be different) in your DNS configuration. Then come back to that screen in Business Manager and click the “Verify” button.

You could also use the HTML upload route.

Facebook Domain Verification

In this case, click the link to download the HTML file that Facebook provides. Then upload that file to the root directory of your website prior to clicking “Verify.”

In my case, this process took only a matter of minutes. I sent the DNS TXT info to my tech person who was able to add that record easily without questions asked. I then verified and was good to go.

Assign Pages

You can assign related pages that have been added to your Business Manager to a verified domain so that they, too, can have editing privileges.

Click the “Assign Pages” button within Domain Verification and select the page that you want to be added.

Facebook Domain Verification

If the page isn’t listed, it first needs to be added to your Business Manager. You’ll do that by selecting “Pages” under People and Assets in your Business Manager and clicking to add a page.

Facebook Domain Verification

Edit Link Previews

Once your domain is verified and the associated page is connected, you can freely edit link previews!

Facebook Domain Verification

You can edit link thumbnail, title, and description. While the thumbnail will look funny while creating the post, it publishes properly…

Facebook Domain Verification

Your Turn

Have you been struggling to edit link preview details? Does this help?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook Domain Verification: Edit Link Previews appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Make Content Your #1 SEO Strategy Initiative in 2018

Make Content Your #1 SEO Strategy Initiative in 2018 was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

I’ve been in digital marketing for 10 years. It’ll be 10 years ago this January that I first walked through the doors at Bruce Clay, Inc.

I was fresh out of journalism school and studied journalism because I wanted to write truth to the world. By making information publicly available, I thought I could contribute to the greater good. I saw myself educating readers by sharing the stories of the world. Pretty altruistic, right?

I never thought that I was going to work in marketing. Who plans on a career in marketing? What 10 year old says, “I want to be a marketer when I grow up, Mommy!”

Well I’ve learned that marketers play a similar role as journalists but in the private business sector. We’re in the business of communications – crafting messaging and figuring out how to get that message in front of as many people as possible.

We use our storytelling talents and distribution know-how for our companies and our clients. Our job is to get the right story in front of the right audience.

seo is storytelling and distribution

After 10 years in SEO, I’ve learned that SEO wins happen at the intersection of identifying storytelling opportunities and maximizing the visibility of those stories through search.

And yet I think it can be easy for an SEO to forget a critical role they play for clients and for organizations: that of the content evangelist.

SEO’s can fall into a trap of focusing on the technical requirements for making content findable by search engines. And while crawlability and accessibility issues are key SEO responsibilities, big brands today are demonstrating that the competitive advantage lies in the crafting of 10x content and investing in SEO content strategy.

The Job of an SEO

Here’s an infographic you’ve probably seen before. It’s Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors. It does a really good job of hitting on every component of an SEO’s domain.

seo periodic table

Click to visit SearchEngineLand.com where you can download the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors.

It’s neatly divided into on-page and off-page factors. Of course, nothing in real life is ever so neat. There’s always overlap and grey. There are no links without content. But if we accept this diagram at face value, we can still interpret a lot about an SEO’s top priorities.

For instance, look at the on-page factors. You’ll see content and you’ll see technical SEO. We know that Google has said that the two most important ranking signals are content and links. From that we can infer that technical SEO does not provide as big of a competitive advantage.

content and links seo ranking factors

Technical SEO is more like the barrier to entry for ranking. Is your site crawlable, is all the HTML in the right place, are duplicate pages consolidated with canonical and parameters excluded in Search Console. These technical SEO issues are critical to search visibility. Still I’d argue they are the lowest common denominator. You’re rarely going to climb to the first page or the top 3 rankings with clean, crawlable code. Not having these things will hurt you, but they won’t give you a competitive edge.

Remember what Google says – the most important ranking factors are links and content. And if you have to prioritize one of those things, it has to be content because content is what generates links.

Why Content Should Be Your Top SEO Priority

If you’re not convinced yet, here are concrete ways that you can empower your role in SEO by evangelizing content to your company or your clients.

1. Content is in your control.

When it comes to generating links and content, put the cart before the horse. As long as you’re not buying links, you’re going to need link-worthy content on your site that attracts links.

Who links to you is an X factor. It’s not as squarely in your control. What is in your control? Content.

2. Content has trackable metrics.

What gets measured gets done. While bottom line KPIs are traffic and conversions, those results are the outcome of the effort you put in to make your site an authority with a satisfactory user experience.

Leading metrics you can focus on improving are:

  • The number of thin pages that you make thick.
  • The number of new ranking pages you add to the site.
  • The number of pages on the site or pages indexed.

leading metrics for content

What’s awesome about focusing SEO campaigns on content is that you can truly track your progress when you’re focused on creating more great content.

3. Bigger sites make more money.

When your boss asks you “What’s the ROI of this content initiative?” you can say that big sites make more money.

When Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post in 2013, he brought a new growth strategy to the paper. WaPo grew WaPo traffic 28% from 2015 to 2016. The effort resulted in WaPo surpassing York Times traffic in 2015. How did they do it? By adopting a content strategy around producing a high volume of content aimed at long-tail and niche interests.

How can a small website compete with a larger one? Who are the major competitors in your space? How many pages do they have on a topic? More pages are more opportunities to rank. More pages demonstrate depth of expertise, making you more likely to rank on a topic.

Just like a company needs to grow to make a profit, so does a website.

How to Set Content Apart as 10x

At this point, you might agree that an SEO has to prioritize content strategy. You may be thinking to yourself, “OK, I get it. I can make the push for my clients or in my group to add good, quality content to the site to see ranking gains.”

That is certainly a worthy goal. But the truth is that good, quality content isn’t good enough. Today’s bar for Page 1 rankings is 10x content.

The skyscraper technique popularized by Brian Dean is the process of looking at the top result for a query you’re targeting and then outdoing that top-ranking page with your own page. Dean calls this content marketing for link builders. See what ranks the best and then shoot even higher with your own answer to the query. Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is. Of course, smart SEO minds have refined the process.

So what is the process for creating 10x content? For a succinct answer we turn to Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday “Why ‘Good, Unique Content’ Needs to Die (And What Should Replace It).”

Research the pages that are ranking. Do that using Google to see the top-ranked pages and using BuzzSumo to see the most shared content on a topic.

Then ask these questions as you’re taking it all in:

  • What are the questions that are asked and answered in these pages?
  • How thorough is the information? What’s missing? HubSpot shared word-count analysis of its blog posts compared to organic traffic and found that a word count of 2500 words gets the most traffic. So you definitely want content to be thorough and comprehensive.
  • What’s the format and delivery mechanism of these pages? You might also call this the user experience. Is it visual? Is it video? Is it rendered well for the device? Is the info I’m looking for on the page or do you have to click to another page? Is it easy to find an answer?
  • What are the sources of the information and is it credible?
  • What’s the quality of the writing?

When you collect all these answers and identify what search engines are rewarding, what people are sharing, now you know what you at least have to do to compete – and then figure out how to better it.

My 3 Best Tips for Capturing Content Magic

Here’s the sucky thing. Generating 10x content requires sweat and grind. But there are some likely sources of 10x content magic that you can mine.

Data-driven content: This is the Pricenomics model. Pricenomics is a content agency that turns company data into content and then tracks the distribution and performance of the content.

If you read the Pricenomics blog, they’re always posting this in action. It’s a really fun blog, if you can check it out. Here’s an example:

A client of theirs is Venngage, an infographics company. Using the Pricenomics content marketing model, they sifted through the data of all Venngage clients to come up with the most popular font types in America. What data can you bring light to that will make people think, “Huh, I’ve always wondered” or “Hey, I never would have thought.”

There’s story in data and people just eat that stuff up.

Expert voice content: This is just journalism 101. You go to the expert source and you name your sources.

Honestly if you can find a good expert, maybe someone on your staff or maybe the biggest name in your industry, and they agree to an interview, this is one of the fastest ways to 10x your content.

You get that credibility factor. You get the network effect of the expert and their followers sharing and reading.

What you want to steer clear of here is the trap of the expert round-up. I think we’ve all seen that. And those aren’t all bad, but they are kind of cheap.

We’re not going for cheap. What you’re looking for in talking to your expert is to bring your page to the next level by bringing something to the forefront that the normal person misses, but that will create that light-bulb moment in those reading it for the first time.

Start your practice of nurturing relationships with experts with this Bruce Clay guide.

Voice of customer content: Writers start by thinking about their audience. You get into the target audience’s head, what they want, what they need, what they know, what they don’t know they need. And then they write to solve a problem in that audience – or persona’s – life.

In marketing we’re matching the pain point with our solution. And what’s really going to resonate with the target audience is hearing or reading the thoughts that are actually going on in their head, or close to it.

There are many possible ways to gather the information used to synthesize VOC: focus groups, individual interviews, contextual inquiries (like on-site surveys). But you’re basically using structured in-depth interviews, focusing on the customers’ experiences with current products or services. Needs statements are then extracted, organized into useful categories, and then prioritized and used by the business all the way from product development to marketing.

voice of customer data sources

I learned about the methodology around Voice of Customer data from Copy Hackers. User generated content, product reviews and testimonials are essentially forms of Voice of Customer content.

And maybe this is where the altruist in me comes out because when we turn our focus on SEO content, we’re doing something special. We’re not trying to find a loophole to exploit or win on a technicality. We’re sharing stories that will enrich their experience. We’re teaching people about solutions that will make their life better. And we’re making connections between people like us.

SEO has to encompass those 30-or-so factors on the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors. But the technical, forensic SEO is not the bar you’re holding your work up to. That’s the minimum viable SEO. That’s the ticket to entry.

If you’re actually trying to reach the top, you’re going to prioritize content as the top SEO issue for you to solve.

If you like this post, please share it with your friends or colleagues. For more like this, be sure to subscribe to our blog.


This post is based on my presentation “Thin Content Is THE Top SEO Issue” which I shared at Pubcon Las Vegas last week. Check out the full deck below.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

New Feature: Facebook Creative Split Testing

Creative split testing of Facebook ads just became a whole lot easier with the update of Facebook’s built-in split testing feature.

Don’t confuse this update with the dynamic creative feature (which is also amazing). Facebook creative split testing is a great way to run tests to determine your best performing ad without audience overlap.

Let’s take a closer look…

Facebook Split Testing

I first told you about Facebook’s built-in split testing feature nearly a year ago.

To use the split testing feature, you’ll need to use one of the following objectives:

  • Reach
  • Traffic
  • App Installs
  • Video Views
  • Lead Generation
  • Conversions
  • Catalog Sales

While setting up a campaign, you’ll notice a checkbox for “Create Split Test” under the objective.

Facebook Split Testing

At the ad set level, you would then select the variable you want to test…

Facebook Split Testing

Until now, you could split test delivery optimization (Conversions vs. Link Clicks, for example), Audience (Website Custom Audience vs. Page Connections, for example), and then later, placement.

Facebook Ad Split Testing

One of the primary benefits of Facebook’s built-in split testing tool is the lack of audience overlap. Facebook will randomly determine who is tested against each variation. No exclusions necessary.

Prior Creative Split Testing Options

While Facebook’s built-in split testing tool is great, it didn’t previously address creative. So, if you wanted to split test creative, it was difficult to make it a true A/B test without overlap.

In the past, you would have done one of two things:

1. Create two or more separate ads within the same ad set. By doing this, Facebook optimizes to provide the most impressions to the highest performing ad. The same audience will be served ads from the same pool of creative, but some will see only one variation while other users may see multiple.

2. Create multiple ad sets with a single ad variation within each. As long as you were careful with necessary exclusions, you could prevent overlap, but it takes more time.

Additionally, it’s a bad test by comparing results from two potentially very different audiences as opposed to randomly selecting people from the same audience. Are the better results due to the creative or the audience you are targeting? It wasn’t always clear.

How to Use Creative Split Testing

Thankfully, Facebook addresses these concerns with the new creative split testing feature.

Now, when selecting the variable you want to test, you’ll see the option of Creative.

Facebook Split Testing

Set up your audience and placements as you normally would.

Your split test will need to run for between three and 14 days. This is required so that Facebook can get the sample size necessary to determine a winner.

Facebook Split Testing

However, there is an option to end the split test early once a winner has been found…

Facebook Split Testing

On the right side of the ad set, Facebook shows you how your split test is being organized.

Facebook Split Testing

Even though you’re putting in the work of creating a single ad set, Facebook is generating an ad set for each ad. Each ad set will have identical settings for audience, placement, and delivery.

REMINDER: While the audience is the same, there will be no overlap. Each user will only see one creative variation, and users are selected randomly.

You can create up to five ad variations. On the left, you’ll see Ad A through E (if applicable).

Facebook Split Testing

Create your ads as you normally would with image, link, headline, text, link description, CTA button, and more. When you click the “Test Another Ad” button, Facebook will copy the prior ad for easy editing.

Your Turn

This is a great new option for advertisers to help uncover the highest performing creative. By using this feature and (separately) the dynamic creative feature, advertisers are much better equipped to serve high performing creative.

Have you tried out the creative split testing feature? What do you think?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post New Feature: Facebook Creative Split Testing appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Friday, November 10, 2017

How to Optimize for Voice Search – Content Marketing & Technical SEO Tips

How to Optimize for Voice Search – Content Marketing & Technical SEO Tips was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

In 2016, Google reported that 20% of the queries it gets today are voice searches. (Source: SearchEngineLand)

Around the same time, Mary Meeker shared a prediction that by 2020, 50% of searches will be voice or visually based. (Source: Recode)

If you’re not familiar with visual search (and I wasn’t in this context), it’s search and retrieval instigated by the searcher “showing” a device or product like the one they’d like to buy (or if not buy, then get more information about). Here’s an example: shop for dog food by showing your device the near-empty bag of dog food in your pantry, and then buy it from Amazon or another online retailer. Go ahead and look into the Amazon Echo Look for a visual-search-type device that’s almost to market.

If we as marketers understand that text-based search is trending-down-to-obsolete over the next two years, and that our customers will be searching with their voices and images, what do we do to evolve our marketing strategies?

Director of Account Strategy at Marketing Refresh, Katy Katz, and VP of Industry Insights at Yext, Duane Forrester, shared their plans of attack for exactly that with the rapt audience at Pubcon Las Vegas this week.

This post covers (jump to section with links):

Eye-Opening Stats and Findings about How Well Voice Search Serves Consumers

What are people trying to do with voice commands today? Katy shares the findings of SEER Interactive’s 2017 study about the kinds of actions people use voice search for:

User actions by voice search study data from SEER

Look at those top voice-activated actions! They’re pretty personal. Your customers expect personalization. They’re expecting you to know who they are and what’s important to them. They want you to personalize their experience.

Consumers ask questions in a personal way. Artificial intelligence (AI) is now smart enough to answer these questions. Katy’s 5-year-old used Alexa and said, “Alexa, play Darth Vader.” Smart Alexa played the Imperial March.

We can type 40 WPM, but we can speak 150–160 WPM! With voice search, people will articulate their queries more specifically and precisely.

In SEO and content marketing, voice search is making a big impact on strategy in these areas: keyword research, content strategy, and technical implementation. (That’s all. Just like, everything.)

Technical Considerations for SEOs and Content Marketers Optimizing for Voice Search

First, understand the anatomy of a voice query. These are the key features:

  • The 5 Ws: Voice-triggered searches are usually looking for a result that answers a who, what, where, when, why or how question.
  • Conversational: Voice searches are typically conversational (that is, use natural language).
  • Long-tail: Voice searches are long-tail queries by their conversational nature.
  • Mobile: Voice searches are done primarily on mobile devices.
  • Clear intent: Voice searches are performed with a very clear and specific intent in mind.

Here’s an example voice search query where we can see how a digital marketer’s work to identify keywords, implement structured data markup, and gain positive reviews come into play when Google is determining result relevancy:

anatomy of a spoken query

To establish a solid foundation for voice search SEO:

  1. Define your goals. You know the drill. Make sure they’re specific and measureable. Help you focus on what to focus on. She probably spends 80% of her time helping clients identify the goals that will give the highest ROI.
  2. ID your audience. Take the time to get to know your audience in audience interviews. You’ll learn about their pain points and goals and the questions they want to answer. There’s nothing else like talking to your customers.
  3. Achieve language-market fit. This term isn’t used a lot but it’s a big deal when it comes to search. It’s qualitative research into the exact words and phrasing that your buyers use to describe your product, service or category. Talk like your customers!
  4. Katy Katz speaking at Pubcon

    Katy Katz speaking at Pubcon Las Vegas

    Map the buyer’s journey. Your customers are working through questions at each phase. If there are gaps in your content you’re missing out on opportunities.

With your foundation in place, optimize for these technical considerations for voice search:

Long-tail keywords. Here are keyword research tools for long-tail:

  • Keyword.io
  • Answer the Public
  • Buzzsumo Question Analyzer
  • SEMRush
  • KWFinder
  • Quora
  • Google autocomplete

Snag those snippets. Design your content to optimize for featured snippets. Google Home and Siri are pulling quick answers for this. Short in nature. Simple, concise. Answers the questions in a way that provides utility for the user. The amount of snippets doubled this year. A snippetable post is short and digestible, fact-based logic; if Google already owns the Knowledge Graph, don’t even try to answer it.

Schema markup. Tell the search engines and AI what information is about. Making sure your house in order with different schema types is imperative for voice search.

Brand optimization. Manage your brand across the web. Off-site SEO and PR is everywhere. Local SEO, social media, off-site SEO, reviews are all influencing your consumers throughout their journey. It takes 6-8 touches for a prospect to convert to a sale. For local SEO, check out Moz Local, Yext, Reach Local, GMB. For reviews, check out Get Five Stars, Review Trackers, Yotpo, Reputation Loop — help you with automated tools to grow your reviews and show yourself as a trustworthy provider.

In sum, your buyers have questions each step of the way. There is no part of the journey that is more important than any other. Own the conversation. Own your brand.

User Behavior and New Technology That Is Shifting SEO

Duane Forrester speaking at Pubcon

Duane Forrester speaking at Pubcon

The media we consume is shifting from the silver screen to our digital devices. With that, influence is shifting and celebrities are losing ground. Today, 6 in 10 YouTube subscribers would follow advice on what to buy from their favorite creator over their favorite TV or movie personality.

And there’s the consumer dependence and preference for their mobile device. Technology companies are investing across the board in assistants and AI. Duane asked the audience, “Who believes in the mobile-first Google index?” Well not only should you believe in it, Duane says that it is certainly live now and in use. He expressed that there’s one index and it’s filtered for mobile. He challenged marketers with the question, “Why would the search engine trust your site for the desktop user when you haven’t invested in the mobile user?”

Another area where user behavior is opening new avenues for marketing is local search. Location search is exploding. Note, however, that the growth in “near me” searches is flattening as it becomes assumed.

Want some more eye-opening stats? Duane shared these ones on local search and map behavior:

  • 76% of people who use location search visit a business within one day.
  • 28% of location searches result in a purchase.
  • Digital maps reduce travel time by 12% on average.
  • Digital maps save people more than 21 million hours per year.
  • 63% of digital map users take advantage of them to plan safe routes.
  • Digital maps have supported more than $1 trillion in sales for businesses.
  • Geospatial services help companies raise revenue and diminish costs by more than 5%.

Hundreds of attributes contribute to local visibility:

local search attributes chart by Yext

Anyone hear about RankBrain lately? No one? That’s because it’s too busy out there learning.

Voice search is an important inflection point for us in the marketing community. Where we saw mobile coming, voice search is now here because all the tech that makes it possible developed independently.

There are 180 companies in China developing voice search speakers. Duane predicts that in a year, North America will be inundated with cheap, accurate voice search systems. The current players will carve out the higher end and the newer players will carve out the lower end that is able to perform nearly as completely.

Voice search is going to take off because people are lazy. Now we can just talk and get what we want. The next stage is visual search (image-based search) where the Alexa or Home device will show the searcher what they are trying to buy to confirm that’s what they are looking for.

Voice search tech is being embedded into home products like refrigerators and coffee makers. Your refrigerator will ping your phone when you’re at the store and tell you that you’re out of milk.

Tactics to Compete in Voice Search

Google’s not going to tell SEOs via Search Console which organic queries were performed with text search and which were voice search. Look into your site’s organic keyword data and find the queries that brought one visitor, maybe with the stop words removed, and then bundle those up and consider them your voice search terms.

Make sure your site is clean and accessible. Mobile-friendly matters and consumer behavior is happening on mobile devices. PWAs are the future – one code base for all UX and devices. Your developers are going to love having only one code base to manage, but it’ll be a few years for the technology to allow for this.

Secure your site, move to HTTPS. Check out the Wired.com articles where they detailed their move to secure. It was hard.

Today’s consumers want to attach to businesses that reflect their values. That doesn’t equate to donating to a cause, it’s more like getting your whole company to do a 5K in support of that cause and documenting the whole thing. Really invest in developing your brand in terms of its support of relevant and interested communities. Brand loyalty dropped a while ago and now businesses have to demonstrate their mission in their actions.

Skills Required of the Digital Marketer of the Future

This is your future: the digital knowledge manager. It’s a senior-level, cross-functional position. The digital knowledge manager requires a deep, varied career that has spanned many of the traditional core digital marketing competencies.

The digital knowledge manager needs to be able to speak the language of everyone. They will be adept at persuasion and convincing different groups to take on specific tasks. They are an investigator, negotiator, communicator, thinker, and builder.

As always in digital marketing, the future is now.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Facebook Ads Dynamic Language Optimization

If your brand has an international audience, one challenge can be serving ads in the user’s primary language. That challenge is significantly reduced with the launch of Dynamic Language Optimization.

Let’s take a closer look at what Dynamic Language Optimization is and how you might use it…

What is Dynamic Language Optimization?

Until now, advertising to a universal audience meant one of two things: 1) Lots of manual work or 2) Ignore it and focus on a single language.

To account for multiple languages, you’d need to create multiple ad sets — one for each language…

Facebook Ads Dynamic Language Optimization

You’d then create a separate ad for each ad set. You’d go through the typical process of providing a link, thumbnail image, headline, text, link description, and call-to-action button for each ad.

But with Dynamic Language Optimization, you could theoretically use one ad set and one ad with up to six language variations. Facebook then automatically optimizes to show the right language variation of the ad to the right people.

There are two primary examples of when this would come in handy:

  1. Advertising to a single country that is dominated by two or more languages
  2. Advertising to multiple countries at a time

Dynamic Language Optimization Restrictions

Before we get to setting this up, there are a few restrictions that you should be aware of associated with Dynamic Language Optimization.

1. Objectives: You must use Traffic, Mobile App Installs, or Conversions objectives — at least for now.

2. Placements: Only Facebook News Feed (desktop and mobile), Instagram, and Audience Network are currently eligible.

3. Variations: Up to six total languages (the default language plus five variations) can be submitted.

4. Images: Only one image applied to all variations. Text in the image will not be translated.

5. Bulk Editing and Bulk Duplication: These aren’t supported when using Dynamic Language Optimization.

How to Set Up Dynamic Language Optimization

While creating your ad using one of the supported objectives, first build it using the default language. Know that if you reach someone whose primary language isn’t one of the variations you create, the default language is the version they’ll see.

If you have this feature, you’ll see a button for multiple languages…

Facebook Ads Dynamic Language Optimization

As mentioned earlier, this feature only supports certain placements…

Facebook Ads Dynamic Language Optimization

You could manually remove the placements that aren’t supported, but it’s easier to simply click the button to remove the additional placements.

Now the button to “Create in Different Language” will no longer be grayed out. Click it!

Facebook Ads Dynamic Language Optimization

You can now submit the following information in up to five different languages:

  • Website URL
  • Headline
  • Text
  • News Feed Link Description

Facebook Ads Dynamic Language Optimization

If you publish multiple versions of your articles based on language, you can submit a different URL for each language. Otherwise, use the same URL for each.

At the moment, this feature appears to be a bit buggy for me when I try to submit five variations in addition to the default language. The preview no longer works and I get an error that I’ve submitted too many links. Something to watch if you’re having issues.

How to View Results

So now the question becomes, “How did my ads perform by language?” You can sort this out within the ad reports.

Facebook says to choose “By Asset Type” under “Breakdown” when viewing the ads. It’s possible that I simply don’t have this yet because I haven’t used the feature. But it’s also possible that this actually falls under Dynamic Creative Assets.

Either way, it will look something like this…

Facebook Ads Dynamic Language Optimization

What should you do with these results? Well, you can learn how well you’re connecting with your audience depending on the language.

Your Turn

Do you have Dynamic Language Optimization? Do you have a need for it?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook Ads Dynamic Language Optimization appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Facebook Messenger Customer Chat Plugin: Closed Beta

I’ve received countless questions during the past week about the nifty little Messenger widget that hovers on the right side of my website. That’s the Facebook Messenger Customer Chat Plugin, and I am lucky enough to be part of the closed beta.

What is the Facebook Messenger Customer Chat Plugin?

The Facebook Messenger Customer Chat Plugin allows publishers to provide an easily accessible entry point into a Messenger conversation while on their website.

Since more than 1 Billion people use Messenger every month, the conversation a customer has within your website then goes with them via the Messenger app.

You may recall that I previously used a Page plugin widget on the right-hand side of my blog posts that allowed people to send me messages into Messenger…

Facebook Messenger Customer Support Plugin

You can create and customize that plugin to focus on messaging, as I did. It was a good plugin, but it only appeared within certain pixels of the screen on desktop. From mobile,it appeared at the very bottom of the page (no one saw it).

But the Facebook Messenger Customer Chat Plugin provides a persistent chat experience that floats along the bottom right of the screen. First, on desktop…

Facebook Messenger Customer Support Plugin

And here it is on mobile…

Facebook Messenger Customer Support Plugin

Compare this experience to the typical customer support messaging service on a website. You view a product and ask a question. You may be emailed history of that conversation, but otherwise you’ll need to go back to the website to continue the conversation.

With this plugin, you don’t need to return to the website. Simply open your Messenger app (most people have it now), and resume the conversation — the history will be there.

How I’m Using It

Once someone clicks on the Messenger icon, it starts a conversation within Messenger. What happens next is up to the publisher. Personally, I send it straight into the start of my Messenger bot (my bot is a topic for another day).

So, when you click on that Messenger icon on my site, it sends you into the start of a bot conversation…

Facebook Messenger Customer Support Plugin

I then give you three choices:

  • Learn more about ads (Quick Video Tutorials)
  • Ask me a question (no more bot)
  • See the main menu

Facebook Messenger Customer Support Plugin

I realize bots can be a frustrating experience for some. I wanted to be sure there was an option to stop the bot experience and chat with an actual person.

As a result of using this plugin, Messenger submissions have skyrocketed on my website during the past week. And now that I’ve written this post, I can imagine activity will increase that much more.

As mentioned earlier, there are many more details to how I use this plugin on my website since it’s connected to my bot. I use ChatFuel (nope, it’s not an affiliate link), and I’ll get into all of the specifics on bots in the near future.

How to Get the Plugin

Facebook has several beta partners testing out this plugin, including AdoreMe, Air France, Argos, Aviva (Eurofil), Bodeaz, Elves, Goibibo, Keto Mojo, KLM, Mermaid Pillow, Spoqa, Total Activation, Volaris and Zalando. I was lucky enough to get in on the closed beta, and you can apply for it, too.

Fill out this application, and you’ll be notified once it becomes available.

Your Turn

Feel free to test out my Facebook Messenger Customer Support Chat Plugin on this website. What do you think?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook Messenger Customer Chat Plugin: Closed Beta appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.