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Balancing paid and organic search strategies for optimum success

December 7, 2022 No Comments

Balancing paid and organic search strategies for optimum success

30-second summary:

  • Even though it is evident that SEO and PPC are great tools, these two disciplines work in silos
  • In fact, these teams and channels mostly work on their own in silos and are often handled separately
  • Accenture Song’s SEO Manager, Michael McManus discusses how businesses can combine paid and organic SEO to function as one value-add unit

SEO and PPC are a must-have in your arsenal when planning your marketing strategy. Depending on what they are looking to do, most companies tend to choose one over the other, if they are looking to increase their rankings and get traffic from organic search, then they will go with SEO,  whereas PPC focuses on getting instant “paid for” traffic from such areas as search, social, and display.

Both SEO and PPC are great tools to boost your site/brand’s authority as well as help generate more traffic and sales for your business. But these two teams/channels tend to work on their own in silos and are often handled separately.

Now while both of these options can and do work well on their own, having both teams work together can be a powerful strategy for any business. Instead of working apart and potentially fighting for budget, time, resources, and rankings. By bringing both departments together so that they can collaborate and work as one, they will benefit from different insights and learnings that they would otherwise not get on their own. These insights will allow them to produce amazing results in both campaigns.

These two marketing channels aren’t meant to operate independently, yet that is the case almost every single time. But instead of looking at both channels as separate entities and you bring them together, you’ll see that they can help you achieve better results across the board than having them work on their own.

The data and insights that you can get from PPC campaigns are extremely insightful and powerful. When you take that data and combine it with your SEO strategies, it will give you the insights that you can use to create content that will make a big difference to your organic search traffic.

Balancing organic and paid search strategies for optimum success is a key challenge and lots of businesses need to catch up as they are typically only using one of these strategies.

How SEO and PPC can work together to boost your business

Along with large amounts of keyword and conversion insights that SEO can use by working with PPC, another huge benefit that companies can achieve when they bring both SEO and PPC together is the potential to consume a large portion of the SERPs, where they can showcase ads at the top of the page while owning the organic listings below.

This is something that shouldn’t be overlooked as it gives you more chances to capture the user, who might be looking for your brand or something that your brand has to offer. For example, let’s say you are running PPC and SEO campaigns separately and a user does a search and your ad appears, but they skip over it and go right to the organic listings but you are not showing up for that particular search, you are potentially missing out on capturing that user.

So now if you are using both PPC and SEO together and you use your PPC data to gather insights as to what the users were and are searching for, where your ads are showing, but not your organic listings. You can then take that data and start to create great content for those terms and optimize your site for that phase of the user’s journey. Now you can potentially have your site’s PPC ads showing at the top of the page as well as your site showing up below those ads in the organic results. This means that if a searcher were to skip over your ad and go directly to the organic results, your site will also be listed there winning you greater brand discovery.

Bringing both PPC and SEO together and working side by side, and taking over the SERPs for a given keyword will not only allow you with getting more exposure than what you would get if you only used SEO or PPC, but you now also increase the visibility of your site and the chances that a user will click over to your site.

Another added benefit from combining both SEO and PPC and taking over the SERPS is that users, searchers, and potential customers are more likely to see value and trust in a brand that is well represented across the SERPs.

If you were able to help guide and encourage users to click through to your site, wouldn’t that be an effort worth the implementation?

Getting SEO and PPC to work for you

Well, you might be asking yourself “ok great now I know that I need to have both SEO and PPC work as one, how do I go about this?”

Here are some practical tips to have both SEO and PPC work together.

Keywords

Keywords are important to both SEO and PPC as each one is reliant on them to help with creating the proper content for each strategy. They are both going to want to target the proper and relevant keywords in order to show up in the SERPs when a user is searching for information, shopping, looking for a brand, etc.

Using the keyword data and insights from your PPC campaigns and providing that information to your SEO team, will allow them to then create content that a user is searching for and thus be able to be in front of the customer throughout their journey.

Creating ads

Paid social media ads as well as retargeting ads are a great way for you to get your content shared across different platforms that will help with getting backlinks that will help your site’s content rank organically. While this is happening, you can create retargeting ads that will help to capture users’ attention once they have left your site.

PPC data

As we mentioned earlier, PPC campaign data has a plethora of information that you can use to help create highly targeted content to help get your site’s pages to rank organically. From your PPC campaigns, you’ll be able to see things like keyword search data, impressions, CTR, and so much more.

This will allow you to better optimize your site’s content and create content that might be missing, as well as help with creating highly targeted and optimized page titles and descriptions.

Conclusion

It’s no longer about SEO vs PPC anymore, or at least it shouldn’t be after reading this article. Now that you are aware of the potential benefits of combing both your PPC and SEO efforts, it’s time to go out and implement this new strategy.

Armed with all the data that you have at your fingertips from your PPC campaigns, use this new data and insights to help with creating better SEO strategies, that will give you a competitive advantage and help you with reaching your customers at every step of their journey.

It’s time to stop treating SEO and PPC as silos and time to bring them together so that your site can benefit from the added data and insights so that your site can dominate the SERPs.

Remember SEO and PPC are each other’s most powerful tools.


Michael McManus is SEO Manager at Accenture Song. Michael has hands-on expertise in branding strategies, website structure/architecture and development, SEO strategies, and online marketing campaigns. 

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The post Balancing paid and organic search strategies for optimum success appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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How to Get Slack’s Paid Features for Free

November 7, 2022 No Comments

If you can afford it, the app is worth it. But if you can’t, some workarounds will get you similar features without spending a dime.
Feed: All Latest


How upskilling your paid advertising skills will tackle economic downturns

September 29, 2022 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Marketing budgets are often the first to be slashed in a downturn – upskilling your existing team with digital marketing techniques can provide huge efficiencies and minimize the impact of cuts
  • Creating an upskilling program does not need to be expensive or time-consuming if a well-thought-out strategy is adopted and results are constantly measured
  • Nurturing your own in-house talent pool also increases business resilience, improves marketing innovation and creativity, and reduces reliance on third-party operators
  • Choosing the right skills for your team to acquire depends both on your immediate goals and long-term business strategy – done right you can steal a march on your competitors
  • Sarah Gilchriest, Global COO of Circus Street, discusses the key skills brands need to cultivate to stay competitive during an economic downturn

We’re entering what is likely to be a pretty tough global recession. As consumer sentiment worsens, brands will increasingly look at ways they can cut costs to protect their bottom line. Unfortunately, we all know that marketing is usually one of the first budgets to be slashed.

It is seemingly much easier to stop a campaign or give an agency notice than it is to sack a developer or reduce infrastructure costs. However, more often than not, cutting marketing is a false economy that worsens the impact of a downturn by slowing a company’s growth. So, is there a way for brands to instead maximize their digital marketing output while also freezing or reducing costs?

The answer may be found in upskilling.

Training while cutting costs?

Now, your first reaction may be that training programs are expensive luxuries that make little sense if your goal is to cut costs. There are a few things to unpack here –

  1. Size and scope of training matter. You can make an outsized impact by training one or two individuals who then share their knowledge with their wider team. The right strategy (which I’ll discuss further below) can lead to a highly targeted program that gives the most critical skills to those who will be best placed to use them immediately.
  2. Next, there are a lot of freely available supporting resources that can significantly reduce costs and help to embed learning.
  3. Finally, let’s put costs in perspective. The ROI on a well-executed training scheme pays for itself and the initial outlay pales in comparison to most other business functions. Put simply, you get a lot of bang for your buck. 

Why paid advertising skills?

Paid advertising makes a lot of sense to focus on for a number of reasons. Generally, compared to other marketing fields, paid advertising is characterized by the sheer diversity of skills and techniques needed to fully execute a campaign. It is incredibly fast-moving and often requires you to leverage a number of different tech platforms. Consequently, many brands outsource this functionality to a network of agencies and freelancers. Those that don’t usually rely on one or two individual ‘power users’ or worse, skills are haphazardly spread among a range of departments leading to bottlenecks and single points of failure.

As such, digital advertising is usually the prime area where efficiencies, greater innovation, and marketing effectiveness can occur via upskilling. It is where your business can do much more for less. 

Identifying the right skills

Getting the right skill mix is where the rubber meets the road. A mixture of creativity, data analysis, platform knowledge, development techniques, and marketing expertise are all needed. To get started the best approach is to fully understand what capability your team has in-house. The crucial element is to remember that a lot of ability might be hidden because it is not used on a day-to-day basis. You would be surprised at how quickly a business ‘forgets’ about the previous experiences of team members after they have been hired.

Auditing team skills should expand beyond the marketing department

You don’t know what gems are lurking in other areas of your business until you start to look. This is also the perfect opportunity to identify both the potential of your employees to acquire new skills and also their individual aspirations. It is much easier to upskill someone who has a professional and personal investment in learning that particular expertise. The audit itself does not need to be complex – a simple matrix that enables people to categorize their proficiency and outline the areas where they would like to develop will suffice.

When you know what you have to work with, then it’ll become much easier to define the best way forward. Deciding the best skill mix comes down to first working out how to fulfill your most immediate needs. For example, taking a costly service in-house, plugging a weakness – where a team member’s departure would severely hamper your ability to function, or obvious gaps in ability that prevent you from undertaking certain digital advertising activities.

Build on the compatibility between your employee’s aspirations and your commercial objectives

This is then overlaid by areas where your marketing output can most obviously be improved and your future aspirations in line with your commercial objectives. For example, if in the future you want to more heavily target users on particular social media platforms or ‘exotic’ platforms like IoT devices and digital boards. Perhaps you can see the financial benefits of adopting headless CMS tech and would like to put in place the skills needed to make that transition after the recession. Maybe you want your team to have the insight to tell you whether the Metaverse has any potential for your business.

This may sound complex but once you get started the hierarchy of skills you need more often than not becomes very obvious. Remember, one of upskilling’s great strengths is its flexibility – if your needs change or you feel you have chosen the wrong skills – it’s very easy to change track.

Getting started in a cost-efficient way

How you train your team is very much up to individual preferences – everyone learns in different ways. Speaking to your employees and specialists will enable you to build a tailored teaching structure. It can be a combination of in-house learning, online tutorials, accredited programs, or book learning. You do not have to go all in on a full program straight away. Piloting can remove a lot of the risk. Start small – one team or a handful of individuals from across your company – and continually assess the impact.

A mistake to avoid

A common mistake businesses make is they wait too long to get their team to use their new knowledge. This can hold up the process and damage ROI. The best way to embed new skills is to apply them. Ensure that your team has an opportunity to practice their newfound expertise on real initiatives. Then keep a close eye on your business metrics – including team and customer feedback – to determine the impact. Unlike many other departments, digital marketing can have very clear outputs. This will let you know quite quickly if it is working. From there, you can decide on how to roll out your training scheme. 

Marketing doesn’t end with the marketers

As I’ve mentioned, diversifying the skillset of your team builds resilience and promotes more innovation. The reason is simple, if you only have marketing skills in your marketing department, you are naturally limiting the number of people who can provide useful insights that fuel innovation. You reduce oversight and feedback loops, and your marketing output will suffer from a lack of outside perspectives. 

By making your teams multidisciplinary and cross-functional you can spread useful skills throughout your business. Customer service teams can learn the fundamentals of digital marketing, marketers know how to do the basic dev and data work to enable their day-to-day, and your data teams can think like marketers if they need to.

Preparing for the worst doesn’t mean losing capabilities

If the worst does happen and you do need to make cuts to your team, having key skills shared across your business means that the damage to core functions will be limited.

To finish – I should highlight that much of what I’ve discussed applies equally to business owners as it does to individual freelancers. A downturn can be a daunting prospect if you are a sole trader. Upskilling can be one of the best ways to increase your value to clients now and future-proof your business.

If you have seen business drop off, the time you now have available could be best dedicated to more training. This may sound obvious, but a mistake many people make in their careers is failing to adapt to how demand for skills can quickly change or technology can come along that makes them obsolete. Adding more skill strings to you and your company’s bow is never a bad thing.


Sarah Gilchriest is the Global COO of Circus Street.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

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Balancing between paid and organic search for brand success

September 18, 2022 No Comments

Balancing between paid and organic search for brand success

30-second summary:

  • Relying on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for short-term gains and neglecting organic marketing will prove ineffective
  • Before pumping any money into SEO strategy, a business must ensure that its website is fully optimised for user experience
  • Once in a comfortable position, PPC advertising can be used to amplify brand reach by experimenting with new keywords
  • While short-tail keywords have a higher search volume, long-tail keywords remain vital
  • Search results drastically differ on mobile and desktop and mobile users have less patience, so allocate more PPC advertising budget for mobile

When trying to grow a business, the importance of SEO cannot be understated. If people are unable to find a business, especially as ecommerce continues to grow into an unstoppable force, then attracting customers is an impossible endeavour.

In a bid to fast-track brand awareness, an inexperienced business owner might be tempted to rely on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to get fast results. However, finding the right balance between organic marketing and PPC advertising is crucial for brand success.

I have broken down six ways to find the perfect balance between organic marketing and PPC advertising so that any business owner can build awareness for their brand the right way.

Fully optimize your website first

Before focusing on paid or organic search for brand success, having a fully functional website is imperative. If a prospective customer has a torrid experience using a website, the odds of securing a sale drastically decrease. All the logistics of a website should be thoroughly inspected, such as broken links, load time and the volume of customers which can be hosted at once. It’s also important to avoid over-optimising a website and using too many keywords. Keywords should be implemented subtly so that the untrained eye would never notice, otherwise, they might add negative SEO value.

Rely on PPC whilst waiting for organic SEO improvement

While it would be great to be able to rely mostly or solely on organic marketing to raise brand awareness eventually, doing so when starting out is virtually impossible. Historically, PPC advertising has been encouraged to be used whilst a business is waiting for organic SEO improvement to land. This is not a licence to neglect organic marketing – far from it – as the goal is to improve a business’s SEO value whilst using PPC initially. In the longer term, results from PPC advertising should be used to guide organic marketing efforts.

Experiment with brand-related keywords

Once in a comfortable position, a business can shift its PPC advertising strategy towards experimentation. As and when organic brand-related keywords drop in place, the corresponding PPC advertising budget can be reallocated to test new keywords, thus amplifying the total reach of the brand. When improving SEO value, a business needs to constantly explore and update its targeted keywords for organic SEO improvement. As mentioned, results from PPC advertising should be used to inform organic marketing planning.

Focus on both short-tail and long-tail keywords

A short-tail keyword or ‘head term’ is a search term with one to three words that cover a general topic. Landing on the first search engine results page for short-tail keywords borders on impossible due to the sheer number of results, so even though they typically have a higher search volume, long-tail keywords remain important as users are more likely to be closer to a point-of-purchase when searching them. Searching for “shoe shiner” would be a short-tail keyword, whereas searching for “how to shine my shoes” is a long-tail keyword, as it is three to five words and more focused on a specific subject. Naturally, the short-tail keywords will garner more searches, but ranking well for the long-tail keywords will offer a business a meaningful advantage over competitors in the same market.

Don’t just rely on Google

Most business owners, executives and managers will be inclined to focus all their efforts on Google – and rightfully so as it’s the world’s biggest search engine platform by far. However, it can also be worth testing ads on the likes of Bing to see what returns are achievable elsewhere. If the results are favourable, it might be worth splitting SEO-related efforts across multiple platforms.

Use PPC advertising for mobile, organic marketing for desktop

Search results drastically differ on mobile and desktop. At the risk of stating the obvious, using a search engine on desktop presents the users with more results because the screen is naturally bigger. As the window of opportunity – literally the size of the search window on a smartphone – is much smaller on mobile, using PPC advertising for mobile is critical. Furthermore, mobile users are less likely to make multiple searches using different keywords, than a desktop user with more patience might.

Growing brand awareness requires a streamlined and focused strategy for both organic marketing and PPC advertising. Solely relying on PPC advertising might seem like an easy solution, but slowly working on organic marketing will eventually allow a business to use PPC advertising to amplify brand reach. Business owners might underestimate the importance of SEO, but its importance can’t be underscored in the ever-growing digital marketplace.


Nick Swan is Founder of SEOTesting.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

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Maximizing efficiency for ecommerce paid campaigns

September 9, 2022 No Comments

Maximizing efficiency for ecommerce paid campaigns

30-second summary:

  • SEOs must improve the efficiency of ecommerce shopping ad campaigns to meet consumer expectations of a hassle-free online experience
  • Brands need to invest time, gather experience, and implement various new strategies to maximize their performance as the digital space is growing and evolving at a rapid pace
  • Setting up something like a Google Shopping Campaign may not be an uphill task; however, you need to implement smart strategies to make it more effective
  • The valuable tactics mentioned in this post will help you boost your ecommerce sales and get you started on the right track

We are witnessing a significant increase in digital ad spending across the globe. The pandemic has resulted in consumer behavior changes that have led to a new era of ecommerce. The majority of people around the world have increased their reliance on online shopping and brands have been investing more money and attention in direct-to-consumer activity.

According to a report by Oberlo, digital advertising spend in 2022 grew by 15.6 percent from 2021. The report further states that digital ad growth shows no signs of stopping and the growth is expected to continue for the next few years.

If you are running a business that sells products, you should absolutely embrace ecommerce to drive its growth. However, while neglecting ecommerce is not an option, there are numerous other brands online that could be fierce competition for your products, so it is important for you to enhance your strategy to remain both relevant and visible.

Important things to consider before starting a campaign

Ensure that your website is SEO-friendly (search engine optimized) and has a user-friendly design. A well-structured ecommerce website can help you achieve the kind of results you are looking for.

It is extremely crucial to create an ad that resonates with your potential customers. You should create a detailed customer persona with the following steps.

  • Decide who your target audience is. Are you targeting young men who like outdoor activities? Middle-aged mothers? Adults with aging parents?
  • Once you determine your target audience, you should understand what they are looking for. Analyze their requirements and try to find out their interests. What hobbies or goals might your target audience have? What interferes with their ability to do these things?
  • Turn these obstacles – these pain points – into your guidestones and try to address the problems that they pose.

How to maximize efficiency for your ecommerce paid campaigns

If you are looking to establish sustainable positive brand awareness online and improve your revenues from online sources, it’s critical to fine-tuning your online strategy.

Here is a list of key tactics that you must employ in order to achieve optimum results. While we will be specifically speaking about Google ads, many of these tactics are broadly applicable across any paid advertising service you use.

Optimize the product data feed

  • The data in your Google Product Feed determines your campaign performance, which seriously impacts your ROI. Therefore, optimization is key.
  • Make sure that the title is simple so that your audience can understand everything they need to know about your product just by reading it. Such titles can also help you gain maximum visibility on search engines like Google.
  • Instead of the Google Product Feed, if you prefer using a spreadsheet, make sure that you include all possible information about the product such as color, size, material, the age range of potential customers, and so on.
  • Select the right product categories and subcategories and align them with the appropriate product types. Failing to do this can seriously hurt your sales.
  • A quality Product Feed Management tool helps you track your performance, which is crucial, as you can make the necessary adjustments to your ad campaigns based on your performance.

Fine-tune your campaign by using negative keywords

  • Nothing is perfect in this world, and that includes the Google Shopping system as well.  Even though Google Shopping listings are a boon for marketers, imperfect keyword targeting is a big issue as search results can sometimes display your products with irrelevant search keywords. For instance, if you sell running shoes, but not other running accessories, you don’t want your ads coming up for shoppers who won’t purchase. 
  • If you’re showing up for these keywords that won’t generate buys, your ad campaigns could experience high spending but terrible conversion ratios, low click-through rates, and low ROIs and ROAS.
  • Implementing a negative keywords strategy in your Google Shopping ad campaigns can prevent your ads from showing up when certain search phrases are used. This in turn can boost the campaigns’ ROAS and ROI.
  • Using negative keywords in your ad campaigns can prevent unwanted clicks, thereby helping you save money by improving the click rate of your advertisement.

Highlight your sales, discounts, and special offers

  • Every customer loves a great offer as they are getting an opportunity to save while purchasing something.
  • If you want to move your products quickly, showcasing discounts and special offers is a great way to achieve that. While running special offers and deals, you need to specifically mention that, and if you really want to stand out in the field, you should run ads regarding these offers and deals.

Use Single Product Ad Groups

  • Single Product Ad Groups (SPAGs) enable marketers to set bids for each product individually. An SPAG allows you to pause individual products that aren’t giving you the expected results. SPAGs also give you the option to create negative keywords for specific products.
  • An SPAG allows you to identify your best-selling products and least-selling products, which will help you to group them into performing and non-performing categories accordingly.
  • An SPAG is a very useful tool, as it allows you to make modifications at the product level and create keywords for your product and control the bids at the market level.

Try Google Showcase Ads

  • Google Showcase Ads feature product images and prices directly on the results page. These ads expand when clicked and display a custom description of the product and a catalog of related products. These ads allow you to group together related products and present them together to introduce your brand or business.
  • Google Showcase Ads can improve your sales performance and efficiency of your paid campaigns as they allow you to highlight your products using high-quality digital images. You will be able to see them at the top of the SERP (search engine results page), above the paid search ads.

Create a good post-purchase experience

  • Considering the fierce competition from other brands and competitors online, it is very important to encourage repeat purchases, as they are often much less expensive than converting first-time shoppers.
  • A strong check-out experience and post-purchase considerations will help build strong customer loyalty which will make second and third purchases more likely.
  • Use customer data wisely once it is acquired. This will improve your customer retention rate. You can group your customers based on how much they have purchased and how many times they have purchased. You can then provide exclusive discounts and offers to your loyal customers accordingly.

Important points to remember while creating an ecommerce website

Here are a few key points that you must consider while creating an ecommerce website.

  • Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Many users use mobile devices for online searches, in fact, most online searches are executed on mobile devices. Making your site mobile user-friendly ensures that customers will be able to navigate your site on their mobile devices seamlessly.
  • Different users prefer different payment methods. Therefore, it is important to offer multiple payment options, as customers may cancel the purchase if they don’t find their preferred payment option on your ecommerce website. For instance, you could offer a normal credit card payment option, as well as PayPal or Google Pay.
  • Keep the sales process simple. Even customers who are not computer or mobile-savvy should be able to complete their purchase without trouble. A simple and straightforward experience can give your customers an effortless and seamless experience while purchasing.

Final thoughts

It is important for every brand to put the time in to ensure that they stand out and speak to their audience. Try to identify the ways in which you can keep your audience engaged as it can help in driving greater data capture and increase brand loyalty.

The strategies mentioned in this post can help you improve the efficiency of your ad campaigns, and implementing them correctly will pay off handsomely in the long run.


Andy Beohar is VP of SevenAtoms, a Google and HubSpot certified agency in San Francisco. Andy develops and manages ROI-positive inbound and paid marketing campaigns for B2B & Tech companies. Connect with Andy on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

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The post Maximizing efficiency for ecommerce paid campaigns appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Dominate Paid SERP with 3 Competitive Metrics

August 1, 2022 No Comments

Maintaining visibility in the search engine results pages (SERP) is essential for any advertiser. The SERP is constantly changing with new ads, features, and most importantly, competitors entering all the time, so it’s important to monitor your rankings and adjust your campaigns accordingly.

There are three main competitive metrics that you should be tracking in Google Ads: impression share, impression share lost to budget, and impression share lost to rank.

By understanding and optimizing for these three important search metrics within Google Ads, you can outrank your competitors and reach more customers in paid search results.

When you pair with auction insights, SERP Analysis, and an understanding of search intent, you can easily dominate the SERP and reach more customers in no time.

1) Impression Share

Shorthand: IS, Search Impr. Share

Optimize to: Increase how often your ads show up in the SERP (i.e. 30%, 74%, 95% of the time)

Your impression share is the percentage of impressions that your ad receives in relation to the total number of impressions that could be shown.

This metric can be found under “Auction insights” in your Google Ads account or as an additional column when you modify your view. If you have a low impression share, it means that your ads are not being shown as often as they could be.

There are a number of reasons why this may be the case, but it’s usually because your competitors are outbidding you or their ads are more relevant to the user’s search.

Image 1

Example: In image 1, the first campaign has a 31.75% Search Impression Share for the selected time period.

This means that their ad isn’t showing roughly 68% of the time and they should look at Impression Share Lost to Rank and Impression Share Lost to Budget to see why their ads aren’t showing very often.

Their competitor, on the other hand, might have an impression share of 76% which means they will probably get more traffic and potential customers.

Top Impression Share

Shorthand: Search Top IS, Top IS

“Search top IS” is the impressions you’ve received in the top location, or anywhere above the organic search results, compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.

Absolute Top Impression Share

Shorthand: Search Abs. Top IS, Abs. Top IS

“Search abs. top IS” is the impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location, or the very first ad above the organic search results, divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.

Exact Match Impression Share

Shorthand: Search Exact Match IS, EM IS

Image 2

A percentage is calculated by dividing the number of impressions that your campaign received for searches that exactly matched your keyword by the total estimated number of exact match impressions you were eligible to receive.

2) Impression Share Lost to Budget

Shorthand: IS LTB, Search Lost IS (Budget)

Optimize: Limit how often your ads do not appear in the SERP due to budget (i.e. 30%, 74%, 95% of the time)

The percentage of time your ad didn’t appear because your budget was too low.

You may miss opportunities for impressions. A value of 20% indicates that in 20% of customer searches that matched your keywords, your ad didn’t appear because your budget is too low. 

Image 3

Example: In image 3, the first campaign has a 31.75% Search Impression Share for the selected time period.

When we look at the Search Impression Share Lost to Budget, we can see that they are losing almost half of their Impression Share because of budget.

We can then determine that there is roughly 50% more opportunity to compete for your matching search queries.

You can also calculate how much money you would need to spend to get your IS LTB to 0%.

3) Impression Share Lost to Rank

Shorthand: IS LTR, Search Lost IS (Rank)

Optimize to: Limit how often your ads do not appear in the SERP due to rank (i.e. 30%, 74%, 95% of the time)

Image 4

The percentage of time your ad didn’t appear because of poor ad rank, which is determined by your bid relative to your competitors and by your ad quality.

If you see 20% for this search metric, then in 20% of customer searches that matched your keywords, your ad didn’t appear because of rank.

Example: In image 4, we can see that the first campaign is losing roughly 22% to rank. That means that 22% of the time their competitors are either bidding more aggressively or have more relevant ads.

Auction Insights

Image 5

Auction insights is a competitive tool that can be found under the “Reports” tab in your Google Ads account. It shows you how often your ad appears in relation to your competitors.

This information can help you adjust your bids, improve your ad rank, and even increase your return on ad spend.

Or even see why your cost shot up!

While the search metrics displayed under columns can show you a relative percentage of various KPIs, the auction insights tool will show you exactly who is bidding against you.

Use the time series chart for an easy-to-share and effective visual for clients.

Quick Formulas

IS = Impressions/ Total number of eligible impressions

Top IS = Impressions on top/eligible impressions on top

Abs Top IS = Impressions on absolute top/eligible impressions on top

What is SERP?

SERP stands for search engine results page. A SERP is the web page that a search engine returns with the results of a query.

A SERP feature is any element on a SERP that is not an organic result. Examples of SERP features are ads, local pack listings, image carousels, and featured snippets.

In order to dominate the SERP, you need to have a strong presence in both paid and organic results. Use the three competitive metrics above to outrank your competitors in paid search.

What is SERP analysis?

SERP analysis is the act of analyzing the results of a given SERP in order to better understand how users interact with the search engine results page.

You can check for competition, monetization potential, and most importantly: search intent.

Image 6

In image 6, we can see that the search query “mattress” has quite a few competitors for the same keyword.

Using one of my favorite SEO tools, Ahrefs, we can see that the keyword “mattress” has an average of 325k searches per month and an average 233k clicks with an average cost per click at $ 8.

When I click on the Casper Mattress ad, we can see that the products range from $ 1,300-$ 2,900.

With this quick SERP analysis you can determine that:

  • “Mattress” is a competitive keyword
  • “Mattress” is in demand
  • “Mattress” can be very profitable
Image 7

Search Intent

When paired with a SERP analysis, understanding search intent can help you understand what people and potential customers are looking for when they type in your keyword.

When scrolling through the SERP for this keyword, you can see common themes in the results.

Image 8

For example, we can see a few relevant themes with this keyword that shows what customers may be looking for:

  • Best
  • 2022
  • Online
  • Warehouse/Wholesale
  • Queen

From this list, we can then adjust ad copy and keyword set for relevancy.

Additionally, you can further implement your understanding of search intent by speculating that the keyword “mattress” would not be able to compete on the SERP for relevancy (or rank) with products such as:

  • waterbeds
  • bed frames
  • bed sheets
  • mattress pads

Of course, there is far more nuance for certain products, but if you combine search intent with competitive metrics, you can easily dominate the SERP.

Final Thoughts

SERP analysis is critical for understanding how to dominate the SERP. By using competitive metrics and search intent, you can create a campaign that will outrank your competitors and maintain a strong presence on the SERP.

This way, you can ensure that your product is seen by potential customers and can generate revenue for you or your clients.

The post Dominate Paid SERP with 3 Competitive Metrics first appeared on PPC Hero.

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The Ultimate Guide to Paid Marketing for B2B

June 12, 2022 No Comments

Paid social and pay-per-click advertising can be challenging, but it effectively promotes a business. This article will help you implement B2B marketing campaign strategies. The post The Ultimate Guide to Paid Marketing for B2B first appeared on PPC Hero.

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Five Lead Magnets that Complement Paid Traffic

April 12, 2022 No Comments

Do you want to generate leads from your ad? Do you want to create a lead magnet that complements your funnel? Here are a few ideas for you…

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Three Tips to Combine Paid and Organic Search Marketing Strategy

March 31, 2022 No Comments

Not sure how to align PPC and SEO? These tips will help you master the SERP, align both channels, and maximize your holistic search strategy.

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How you can embrace paid search automation to maximize outcomes

February 3, 2022 No Comments

How you can embrace paid search automation to maximize outcomes

30-second summary:

  • Automation is a hot topic within digital marketing, and Google has more options than ever before for search practitioners to utilize
  • However, there’s still a level of discomfort with handing the keys to the kingdom over
  • As a long-time skeptic myself, I make the argument for automating core components of search campaigns and share the areas where marketers should instead focus their energy and attention for success in 2022

“Automation” it’s a word of constant focus for search marketers these days – and rightfully so. There are more components to search than ever before, and automation is a critical tool that enables us to optimize campaigns at scale and frees us to focus on what can’t be automated.

Google has released automated solutions to nearly every aspect of account management, but how do we know when it makes sense to hand over control and where we should maintain a strong level of influence? I see 2022 as a year for search practitioners to reimagine and rework their approach to search engine marketing (SEM) with Google, striking a new balance between automated solutions and customer-focused, business-driven oversight.

Handing over the keys (or at least some of them) in a reimagined relationship

Google Ads has become a one-stop-shop for marketers looking to engage customers across platforms up and down the funnel. It’s not just about search and shopping anymore – practitioners can also buy Discovery Ads, YouTube, Local Ads, etc.

With a more holistic Google Ads, an interesting dynamic emerges with what I call “a tale of two Googles.” On one side, there’s Google’s highly sophisticated suite of flexible, powerful technology tools that are built for advanced users – people and brands who obsess over the next level and the ability to capture it. But now, there is a second side of Google Ads that’s geared toward the masses, with superb out-of-the-box automated solutions.

As a marketer, it’s time to reimagine your approach and embrace these solutions that have been historically shunned by expert search practitioners. And you should do it with pride and intention – let go and let Google automate your campaigns. Then you can focus on core marketing tactics and engaging your customers more effectively. Let Google maximize keywords, placements, bids, and budget levels toward your goals, and make sure that once a user lands on your site, you’re ready to deliver the best experience for them.

A reworked approach to search management

Making the decision to automate is one thing but actually leaving the machine to do its job is another entirely. How do you trust Google automation and its work? Over-engineering and tinkering may actually be detrimental to some programs and instances. Choose tweaks and changes wisely! For years, we overengineered our campaigns, obsessed over keyword funneling in single-keyword ad groups, and took pains to ensure our campaign structure was dialed into the nines.

In 2022, there needs to be a little less control and a little more letting go. For those in the “old guard,” this translates to a trust fall. Google is quite good at understanding intent and matching that intent with the right answer at the right moment. Too much tinkering and intervention is a recipe for disaster and sets the machine up to fail before it can even get started.

With automation in place, where do we focus our energy?

Fear not – there is an abundance of important work to be done, even with core components of a search program automated. Search automation gets elevated by extreme focus on customer experience. You need to figure out how to use technology and data in a privacy-safe way to become more helpful and meaningful as a brand. You need to know your customers so you can speak to them personally throughout their journey. In travel, for example, there are many known preferences, such as window or aisle seat, meal choice, favorite hotel pillow type, etc. Your customers expect you to know these things, and you don’t want to restart the conversation with them every time they open a new browser.

Get closer to understanding your data

Focusing on data science and analytics is a critical piece of search success in 2022. There’s so much data available to analyze, and it’s critical to cut through the clutter by defining your customer-centric business goals, aligning metrics, and reporting appropriately. There’s also a new responsibility for search traffic to help replace data lost from third-party cookie deprecation. Better models will be essential to enable the use of search traffic as a catalyst for scientific remarketing.

Master your customer engagement and first-party data strategy

Privacy is a key focal area as well. Search practitioners need to have conversations about how to scale known customer engagement and how to use advertising technology in a compliant way that supports the business by driving customer experience and performance. You need to evaluate your first-party data strategy and look for ways to layer that data into the search experience, whether it’s through messaging, bidding, or other avenues. Google knows a lot about users, but there is information unique to the business that you can use to elevate automation.

Refine your site and landing page experience

Ownership of landing page experience and site content optimization also lie entirely with brands as important components of successful search programs. Search has become a visual battleground – just close your eyes and imagine a Google results page. Five years ago, you would have pictured ten blue links on a screen, and now to think of that feels archaic! Today, you probably imagined a mix of images, shopping listings, maps, videos, and more. As a practitioner, that means your content needs to be optimized to deliver the right information to customers, regardless of the landscape for their unique query. Then, when the user lands on your site, you need to be ready to deliver the information they need to take the next step in their journey.

Conclusion

For years, we needed to re-engineer the game inside of Google Ads because we didn’t have another choice. Now, instead of getting ahead that way, marketers that excessively tinker will fall behind and lose ground on the components that need the utmost attention – analytics, first-party strategy, and customer experience. It’s time for all of us to reimagine and rework our focus as practitioners toward those new realities.


Matt Mierzejewski is SVP of Performance Marketing Lab and Search at Merkle Inc.

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The post How you can embrace paid search automation to maximize outcomes appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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