Digital Marketing & Production

Team Mindshare

Core and More Technologies was on the ground in San Francisco for what turned out to be a very worthwhile event. Among the guests were the likes of Google, Yahoo, Brafton, LinkRisk, and many other great companies.

I have to say that one of the most interesting conversations that we had was with Joanne Locascio, Sr. User Researched at Yahoo. Joanne enlightened us to what Yahoo Gemini is really all about. In a nutshell, Gemini introduces the ability to leverage contextual advertising directly through search results. That is significant, as this is something that cannot currently be done via the Google AdWords platform.

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Any good SEO provider will include in their project process a recommendation stage, whereby they identify certain pages to optimize for certain keywords. Of course, with the various algorithm updates over the past several years it is now almost pointless to attempt to optimize one page on a site for a theme unrelated to the rest of the site. For example, if I establish a 95% optimize rate on a page for the term ‘tires’ on a website that sells televisions, I will have an uphill battle getting that page to rank against sites whose prevalent themes relate to tires.  That improvement to the science of ranking relevance was part of what the Panda algorithm was all about.

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Google. That is a word that brings a lot of joy and some pain to many users. SEO, otherwise known as search engine optimization, has been a hot topic for years. With over 70% month over month market share, one could speculate that Google has cornered the market on SEO and the strategies companies use to gain your attention.

Simply put, when you are searching for something you want to get the best results, right?  In the past, some marketing companies employed black hat SEO tactics designed to “trick” search engines into thinking they had the most relevant website.  Keyword density and backlinks (though link farms) were given high priority, and people were able to quickly, and unjustly climb the page ranking ladder.  Google’s core product is a relevance engine.  If the results become or are even perceived as being inaccurate, they will inevitably lose market share.

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“SoLoMo” isn’t a new term in the marketing industry, but it’s one still too often left out of discussions at meetings and in marketing plans.  An acronym for “social, local, mobile,” SoLoMo was incepted because of the rise of importance of its three components – social media, local optimization and mobile marketing.  Why?  As the marketing landscape evolves, these three pillars came to be inseparable from one another and critical to the success of any online marketing endeavor.

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What Happened?

As of mid-afternoon on September 23, 2013 (at least in the U.S.), all organic search referral data coming through Google is no longer available.  The ‘keyword’ field, where this data was previously available in the Google Analytics dashboard, will now be populated with the value “(not provided)”.

All search through Google is now encrypted.  You will notice that when you go to google.com, the URL is now prepended with ‘https://”.

The origin of this change dates back about two years ago.  It was around this time that the “(not provided)” value began showing up in referral data.  To be precise, it was in October of 2011 that Google began encrypting all searches for anyone logged in to Google. This was done to address evolving privacy concerns. Now, this change is being applied to all searches. In speaking with some of our partner marketing automation providers recently, this change has caused major headaches for them in terms of product accuracy.  And that slope just became much steeper.

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This month, we saw another great example of display advertising value.  In a one week span, one of our customers enjoyed nearly half a million impressions, over 3,000 clicks, and 50 conversions.  All at an average of .40 per click!  Conversely, their search campaign for the same product cost 7x per click and generated only half the conversions, and only 10% the number of impressions.

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If you have not seen this already – you need to take a look. Google has recently streamlined the approach to ‘remarketing’ within the AdWords platform.

Remarketing enables advertisers to refine their message to users who have previously visited their site via existing campaigns. You can build ‘lists’ based upon activities taken (or not taken for that matter) and then act intelligently upon that knowledge through additional campaigns. For example, if you sell printers and have a campaign promoting a specific model, you can create a list comprised entirely of those who have executed a purchase through that campaign. The next time someone included within that list is exposed to one of your ads via the Google Display Network, that ad can be designed to promote the ink cartridges for the printer that they recently purchased. Conversely, you can create a list of those who DID NOT complete a purchase — and design ads to encourage them back to the site to make the sale. This might include incenvites that were not available at the time they were originally exposed to the ad. In terms of targeting, these ads can be limited only to those within that list.

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Within the last several weeks, Google announced the release of ‘Auction Insights’ through its industry leading AdWords advertising platform.  This latest innovation from Google enables us to see who we are competing against on a per auction basis at the keyword level.  The additional transparency into the ad auction enables us to gain insight

This type of information has been sought after since the introduction of internet marketing.  Some savvy marketers have been able to gather some level of insight though a tedious manual process of data gathering and analysis or through third-party software tools.  In either case, the results were never very accurate, and the accompanying statistics were minimal.

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core and more technologies chrome OS As most of us already know, the Google Panda update brought with it significant changes to the way that the Google ranking algorithm evaluates website relevance.  We have referred to this update with our clients as Google “CUTIE”, that is “Cleaning Up The Internet for Everyone”.  While Google is understandably very close to the vest about the details of any such updates, they do emphasize one theme consistently; add value to the internet, and your site will do well.  Check out Google’s “Quality guidelines – basic principles” for more information. 
So what is Google Penguin?

Penguin, released on the 24th of April, is an update to the Google algorithm released with the intention of penalizing sites for over-optimization.  This is otherwise known as webspamming. (The “web” is inserted here to differentiate from “email” spamming).

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