Tag Archive | "Google"

How improved Google ratings impact conversions

When performing a search on Google these days you will often find it contains a local result. In most cases that means results in a map powered by Google My Business results.

In fact, during quarterly earnings call Google’s CEO said,

“I wouldn’t underestimate the focus we have on local. Just to give you a sense, local mobile searches are growing faster than just mobile searches overall, and have increased by almost 50% in the last year.”

When a statement like this is made it indicates two things to me:

1. Consumers are expecting more and more local results

2. Google My Business is really important to capture traffic.

With this trend clearly in sight, I wanted to dig into some data to look into a key factor in consumers decision making, ratings, and reviews. I was curious as to how much having a strong rating impacts consumes selecting a business. We already know ratings and reviews are important from numerous studies in the industry.

For example, Brightlocal found that 57% of consumers will only buy from businesses with a four-plus star rating. So I took a look at some data that included over 10 million Google My Business data points to try to understand the impact of increasing a business rating had on their conversion rates. I think what I found will seem very obvious, but certainly, validate the importance of good reviews.

Ratings really matter for non-branded searches

I thought I might start with something that is the most logical. When a consumer isn’t familiar with your brand and performs a generic, aka non-branded, search they are influenced greatly by a business’s rating. In the data set that I used businesses were found via non-branded searches 70% of the time vs. 30% of the time via a branded search. Meaning >2X the traffic is coming from consumers who aren’t yet sure what business they are going to choose.

Once they see the results, consumers took action on business that had a higher rating regardless of the type of search as ratings improved (duh), but they were more impacted by businesses with higher ratings when they performed a non-branded search. Conversion rates for consumers who took action (phone call, click, or got directions) on a Google My Business result were 68% higher vs. 63% higher for non-branded searches for companies with a <=2 rating vs. a 5 rating. Each star rating improvement directly leads to an increased conversion rate.

star ratings and non branded search

Source: Google My Business Insights

In our data set we had 70% of businesses with a rating between 2 & 4, with just 17% of businesses >4. For that 17 % of businesses who have received the highest reviews, they are receiving almost 30 more actions per 1,000 impressions than business with a <=2 rating. Think about how much this adds up over time? It’s massive.

While the fact that having a higher rating directly relates to having a higher conversion rate might seem obvious, I thought I’d add a data point that wasn’t as obvious, but potentially just as valuable. Our data shows that as your rating goes up consumers are more likely to click “get directions” vs. calling. While this doesn’t necessarily directly equal higher conversions, to me it indicates that consumers are more comfortable to trust the listing and head directly there vs. calling to get a sense of comfort prior to making any decisions. Also, they might call to validate the listing since the rating is so low. This introduces a potential barrier to conversion, maybe that call isn’t answered, or is requiring a customer service call since the rating is so low.

action types by rating

Source: Google My Business Insights

The simple takeaway from this data is that ratings drive action and business. The action to be taken is twofold;

  • Google My Business is important. Ensuring that your name, address, phone number, website, hours, etc… are accurate and well aligned across the web. Often using a location data management platform can help improve quality and results.
  • Soliciting and responding to ratings and reviews will help your business improve your ability to convert consumers. There are also software packages available to help improve ratings and reviews for your business. You don’t necessarily need one of these platforms, but similar to location data management they can help scale your marketing prowess.

We know from Google’s data and CEO that location is important. Hopefully, these data points can provide some additional firepower for your business to take these listing seriously. Improving your listings in Google My Business and other location data providers will have a positive impact on your business.

Jason Tabeling is EVP, Product at Brandmuscle. He can be found on Twitter @jtabeling.

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Google Ads announce more changes to match types – Challenges and opportunities

Google Ads has recently announced that it now allows ads to be served for queries that it understands to share the same meaning on broad modified and phrase match keywords.

For bigger advertisers, this is probably not a huge concern, as they are not limited by budget. Being visible for a wider range of search terms without having to add thousands of keyword variations can only be a good thing.

But what about those with limited budgets, and those in niche industries that need to target very specific keywords?

While there will undoubtedly be challenges to overcome in light of these changes, there are also likely to be opportunities.

Challenges

1. Spend may increase

An increase in impressions is likely to equate to more clicks, which is fine if these clicks go on to convert. But with Google determining how relevant a search term is to the keywords in your campaigns, just how much could spend skyrocket if left unchecked?

Neil Andrew from AdTech startup PPC Protect, says:

“These changes are definitely going to result in a massive increase in irrelevant and even invalid traffic on Google Ads accounts that aren’t actively managed/monitored. Our internal analysis on this shows up to 20% increases in budget usage from the change in broad/phrase match keywords, the vast majority of which isn’t relevant to a conversion action. As a SaaS platform provider, we are in a unique position to analyse this.

We have over 35,000 Google Ads accounts connected to our system currently, and we have had a number of users notice an uptick in both wasted spend and irrelevant traffic. We’ve also seen a large share of this traffic be invalid – mostly from bot activity and competitor clicking activity. It seems like narrow niche targeting is getting tougher to achieve by the day.”

2. Impressions may be wasted on irrelevant search terms

If you’re using a target impression share bid strategy, now might be the time to review it as this might impact impression share metrics.

Impressions may now include ads triggered by keywords that Google determines to have the same meaning (unless they are added as negatives). Just how much impression share is Google going to give to variants, rather than the keywords actually in the campaign?

3. Irrelevant terms/keywords would need to be revisited and reviewed

Ads showing for irrelevant terms/keywords that are already in the account that were tested earlier and paused due to poor performance are a major bugbear of mine.

I’ve noticed keywords that have been tested previously, and paused, can still be shown as a close match. So if you have keywords that you’ve paused because they historically haven’t worked well, you’ll now need to check if Google is still serving ads for the keyword and exclude it.

This means you’ll end up with keywords that state both added and excluded.

4. More time will need to be spent on analyzing search term reports and building negative keyword lists

Yes, analyzing search term reports is absolutely something that all PPC managers should be doing on a regular basis. However, having to check search term reports daily to exclude the keywords an advertiser doesn’t want to serve ads for is going to be time-consuming, especially on large accounts, taking time away from managing and optimizing other aspects of a campaign.

Sam Kessenich, Chief Digital Officer, RyTech, is already noticing impressions ramp up.

“Regarding the most recent changes to keyword targeting, without a doubt, these changes will increase impressions and clicks across almost every campaign. We’re noticing an increase across all search campaigns due to this change, and are being forced to do daily or weekly negative keyword additions when keywords don’t match goals. Proper negative keyword research and search term monitoring is the most effective strategy we can do before accounts launch and as accounts are running.”

5. Building ad groups with single keywords just got a lot more difficult

A great way to have control over a campaign at a very granular level is to build single keyword ad groups (SKAG). This strategy allows for highly focused ad copy and landing pages, and as a result, quality scores for this type of campaign are high.

Carolina Jaramillo, Paid Media Manager at POLARIS explains why this strategy will no longer be as effective.

“I’m a big fan of creating SKAG structured campaigns, and this new change might make it more difficult to protect the single keyword ad group structure. Consequently, due to this new change, how will we be able to optimise ad copy for a single keyword when this keyword is liable to match a wide range of different queries? Although I am interested to see how Google will look for opportunities to expand our reach to serve ads for relevant queries as they say in their update, and as they state 15% of searches we see every day are new, we will have to wait and see how this change will affect our clients’ Google Ads campaigns.”

So, can any good come of these changes?

Opportunities

1. May reveal new keywords that were not previously targeted which actually convert

Not everyone searches the same. So coming up with a comprehensive keyword list that captures every single potential search term a user might enter to find your products and services is nigh-on impossible. Keyword research can only take you so far.

With this in mind, showing ads for searches that share the same intent may provide a great opportunity to track down some high converting keywords, which may have otherwise been overlooked.

Haley Anhut, PPC Manager at Clean Origin thinks there are benefits of Google showing not only for close variants but also conceptually related keywords.

“I have already seen some very smart close variants triggering existing keywords. Whether these keywords can be left alone, included within an existing ad group or a new ad group created around those keywords for highly targeted ad copy; all offer a great way to expand your campaign reach and performance. The greater the awareness of a consumer’s journey to conversion, and how that journey functions within the search funnel, allows for a highly tactical approach when reaching consumers. With more data at our fingertips, we can enhance campaign optimization strategy and expand reach through relevant searches.”

2. Will save time creating granular ad groups

As Google is capable of understanding when search terms mean the same thing, and will serve ads as a result, you no longer need to worry about including the keywords within that ad group in the ad copy. While it’s not yet clear how showing ads for close match and intent-based variations of your keywords will impact metrics like ad relevancy, this catch-all approach could save time when it comes to creating granular ad groups containing just a couple of keywords for every campaign.

Coupled with a feature like keyword insertion, this could be a powerful way of increasing reach on low impression campaigns while making the ads more relevant to the user’s search term with minimal effort.

3. Top tips and advice from PPC managers

Rather than panic, you should be proactive in preparing for this change and keep a very close eye on your accounts as it begins to roll out.

“Broad and phrase match CPCs are increasing because there are more campaigns competing for the same keywords now. A good tactic is to allocate a portion of the daily budget to the new phrase match and broad match parameters and see which keywords are resulting in low CPCs and high CTRs. Those keywords can then be optimized into ‘exact matches.’ Overall, this change makes keyword research much more important now because a higher value will lie in ‘exact match’ keywords.”

Haris Karim, Lead Digital Strategist at MAB.

“To avoid the negative effects of unwanted reach, skew towards more specific match types like exact match, although exact match already allows same-meaning close variant targeting so that is not as specific as it once was, too. In addition to this, make sure you are using a robust negative keyword strategy to avoid showing for unwanted queries. Lastly, review your search term reports regularly to ensure your impressions are relevant to your ad group keywords, ads, and landing pages.”

Timothy Johnson, SMB Solutions and PPC Lead at Portent Digital Agency.

“I would say that if you still have some ad groups built around different match types, you should consolidate those ad groups into one. For instance, if you have an ad group dedicated to exact match keywords, and another ad group dedicated to phrase match, the phrase match keywords (which now are showing for more phrases) will cannibalize all of that exact-match traffic unless the exact-match keywords have higher bids and ad rank.”

Adam Gingery, Digital Strategy and Paid Search Manager at Majux Marketing.

“I feel like Google is trying to make our lives easier with this latest change, but it’s actually just making them harder. Yes, there will be opportunities for the big spenders to get more exposure from the lower volume terms that they may not have thought of or come across yet, but for the smaller players that need to spend their limited budget very wisely, it means more time needs to be spent constantly monitoring search term reports and adding more and more negatives. So my tip for those smaller advertisers would be to focus on negative keywords. Regularly check search term reports and add negative phrases straight from there, but also take the single terms within the longer phrases that are wrong, and add those as broad match negatives to stop Google showing ads for another phrase containing that term, if it will always be wrong.”

Ashleigh Davison, Head of Biddable Media, Browser Media.

“The obvious suggestion here to minimize impact is to focus on negative keywords, especially if you can do this preemptively before they start costing you money. So instead of just thinking of all the most obvious negatives that a business would want to avoid, you will now need to start thinking about close variations of your products or services that you may want to add.”

Ryan Scollon, PPC freelance consultant.

What do you think the impact will be? We’d love to know your thoughts.

Victoria is Account Director at Browser Media. She can be found on Twitter @VikingWagon.

The post Google Ads announce more changes to match types – Challenges and opportunities appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Google selects canonical URLs based on your site and user preference

If a different URL is chosen, it doesn’t negatively affect your site.



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Labor Day – 2019 Logos From Google, Yahoo & Bing

Today is Labor Day in the United States and now for the fourth year in a row, Google has a Labor Day logo. Google use to not do Labor Day logos but now has consistently done them for the past four years. Yahoo and Bing also have special logos or designs up for the day.


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Google Algorithm Update, Penalizing Domain Leasing, Bing Integrates With Google & Much More

I did this video outside a hotel in St. Louis right by a highway, so I apologize for the quality – I also exported it lower resolution so I can upload it on my slow internet speed. Google seems to be doing a search ranking algorithm update…


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Google now showing competitor ads on local business profiles

The unit is from Local Campaigns and businesses cannot pay to remove them.



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Google Search Console API drops more app features

If you are using the Google Search Console API, please make sure to update your tools for these changes.



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Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Content Indexing Bug, GoogleBot Chrome 76, Favicons, Link Penalties & More

This week I tried to zoom in on sections of the video as I was talking, so you can see the screen better – hope you like it and make sure to subscribe…


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Over half of searches on Google yield zero clicks

New data published by SparkToro’s, Rand Fishkin reveals that the troubling trend of “zero-click” searches on Google is growing.

Next steps for search marketers

Zero-click searches result in users remaining on a Google-owned property such as Google.com, Google Images, Google Maps, and YouTube rather than moving on to a third-party website from an organic search result.

Mr. Fishkin first wrote about this phenomenon last October, highlighting how millions of queries are answered directly on the search results pages using content that Google scrapes from other people’s websites.

Zero-click searches outpace organic-click searches for the first time ever

The zero-click data, reported by data intelligence platform Jumpshot, reveals that zero-click searches comprised just under 55% of all searches on Google in June 2019. This is the first time zero-click searches have exceeded organic clicks since Google’s launch 20 years ago.


Source: SparkToro

Fishkin makes an important distinction between zero-click searches which already cannibalize organic traffic to external websites versus Google sending traffic to their own properties – essentially, Google is doing both.

Fishkin notes that about six percent of queries and 12% of clicks are being funneled to Google-owned properties such as YouTube, Map’s, and Google’s own blog.

Google dominates mobile searches

The Jumpshot data referenced above only includes browser-based searches, but mobile search using Google properties is ubiquitous.

When factoring in mobile apps, Google’s total market share is a staggering 97% (including mobile and desktop searches). This number includes searches from the Google Maps, Google Search, and YouTube apps which are installed on everyone’s phone.


Source: SparkToro

The Jumpshot data reveals a clear connection with the diminishing number of organic clicks to the increasing number of zero-click searches. That is, as the percentage of zero-click searches increases, the percentage of organic clicks from search queries goes down.

Case in point

  • In Q1 2016, 54% of Google searches resulted in organic clicks. That dropped to 46% by Q2 2019.
  • In Q1 2016, 44% of Google searches resulted in zero clicks. That rose to 49.8% in Q2 2019.
  • Searches resulting in paid ad clicks have also fared better, rising from 2.1% in Q1 2016 to 4.1% in Q2 2019.

Fishkin points out that the rise in paid ad clicks is primarily due to Google’s mobile ad and instant answer strategies – with mobile paid ad clicks rising from 3.4% in January 2016 to 11.4% in June 2019.

The zero-click trend is likely being heightened by search behavior on mobile versus desktop devices. For example, users are less likely to click through to a website on their mobile device – a factor Google is capitalizing on with the rollout of ever-larger paid search ads and their “People also ask” feature which lists a series of questions and answers pulled from external websites.


Example of Google’s “People also ask” results on Google using scraped content

Search clicks on desktop devices paint a steadier picture versus mobile devices, with organic clicks comprising 66% of searches in 2019 versus 68% in 2016.

Zero-click searches on desktops rose during this time, but only slightly, comprising 34% of searches in 2016 versus 32% in 2019.

Next steps for search marketers

Marketers should continue to optimize their websites for search engines as per usual, but the key takeaway from this new data is to diversify.

The continued ubiquity of mobile devices, voice search and voice assistants, and the ever-increasing trend of platform-centered browsing and searching (for example, walled gardens like Facebook and Amazon) are creating a dilemma for content creators and business owners – that is, how do we get people to leave these walled gardens and visit our websites?

The answer to this question is different for every business, but a good first step is to diversify where you place your ads and publish your content.

Have a solid social media marketing strategy that’s tied to a robust content strategy which includes a variety of content types. For example, video, blog posts, social posts, whitepapers, webinars) and promote this content widely and often.

The rise of zero-click searches is likely going to continue and I highly recommend you read Fishkin’s entire post about this trend. His insights are data-driven and always illuminating.

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Google doesn’t pass PageRank on nofollow links. Here’s why you still see them in GSC

Nofollow links will be included in your Link Report.



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