Portent http://www.ru10.icu Digital Marketing Agency - Seattle, WA Fri, 18 Sep 2020 16:29:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 http://www.ru10.icu/images/2018/11/favicon.png Portent http://www.ru10.icu 32 32 What Are Google Discovery Ads, and Do They Work? http://www.ru10.icu/blog/ppc/what-are-google-discovery-ads-and-do-they-work.htm http://www.ru10.icu/blog/ppc/what-are-google-discovery-ads-and-do-they-work.htm#respond Thu, 17 Sep 2020 14:00:09 +0000 http://www.ru10.icu/?p=53938 Paid SEM advertisers have often resorted to Google’s Display Network for awareness campaigns designed to grow the top of the funnel. The problem many advertisers run into when doing this is that the quality of traffic can be questionable at best and dismal at worst. Some of this is to be expected when expanding advertising […]

The post What Are Google Discovery Ads, and Do They Work? appeared first on Portent.

]]>
<noscript id="ekskw"></noscript>
<center id="ekskw"></center>
<optgroup id="ekskw"></optgroup>
<noscript id="ekskw"></noscript>
<optgroup id="ekskw"><small id="ekskw"></small></optgroup>

Paid SEM advertisers have often resorted to Google’s Display Network for awareness campaigns designed to grow the top of the funnel. The problem many advertisers run into when doing this is that the quality of traffic can be questionable at best and dismal at worst. Some of this is to be expected when expanding advertising outside of search; you’re less likely to show an ad to someone lower down the funnel with less reliable intent signals than a search query. Your site usage metrics aren’t going to be as good as they are in your paid search campaigns. However, it can be deflating to an advertiser to browse through their display placement report and see a majority of the domains and mobile apps showing up to be irrelevant and spammy-looking.

Realizing this, Google sought a solution that would allow advertisers to use more robust, visually appealing display ad units and keep them on properties that were more likely to attract a higher-quality, or at least more reliable, user. In doing so, Google created campaigns for a new ad unit they called Discovery ads. These ad units were designed to fit a mobile-friendly environment and appear only on three apps owned by Google: Gmail, YouTube, and the Google app.

""
Image courtesy of Google

How Discovery Ads Work

Discovery ads work similar to responsive display ads in that you, as the advertiser, provide Google with a series of images (including your company logo), headlines, and description lines that Google then automatically rotates through to find the best-performing combinations. The difference with Discovery ads is that these ad units are designed specifically for three Google-owned mobile apps and tailored to be aesthetically congruent with them. For example, Google has more stringent image guidelines for Discovery ads meant to encourage a higher-quality standard of lifestyle and product images.

Once an ad unit is created, you can target it to your specified audiences. These audiences can be as broad and as simple as an interest target or an in-market segment Google provides for you. They can also be more complex or specific such as a remarketing list or a custom intent audience. You then finalize your other settings as you would any other campaign (location, ad schedule, etc.) and select an automated bidding strategy to use. Discovery campaigns allow you to use a pay-per-conversion model if your account has the required conversion data, which is another way to help ensure you don’t overspend on these ads in the long term.

Results You Can Expect

With every instance a Discovery campaign runs, results will be unique to any given account. However, there are three things we’ve learned to expect:

  1. While Google does not explicitly divulge metrics by app, you can assume an overwhelming majority of impressions and clicks from these ads will come from the Gmail app.In this sample, out of 210,054 users who visited the site from a Discovery ad, 208,859 came from GMail, compared to 1,260 came from YouTube.
  2. Once a user clicks through these ads, on-site usage metrics are typically comparable or better-than-average versus other incoming traffic from display channels.In this sample data set, users who clicked through Discovery ads visited 1.22 pages per session, which was the median pages/session for all display campaigns.
  3. Using a remarketing list as your audience will typically give you the best chance at producing (relatively) high conversion metrics.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to grow the top of the funnel through display advertising and have been discouraged from previous efforts using standard display ad units or tactics, give Google Discovery ads a try. They’re not going to magically solve all of your outbound marketing needs, but they’ve proven to us they can be an effective high-funnel tactic that helps drive your desired KPI results beyond just going after more cheap traffic.

久久爱

The post What Are Google Discovery Ads, and Do They Work? appeared first on Portent.

]]>
http://www.ru10.icu/blog/ppc/what-are-google-discovery-ads-and-do-they-work.htm/feed 0
How to Set and Maintain Meaningful Marketing Goals http://www.ru10.icu/blog/internet-marketing/how-to-set-and-maintain-meaningful-marketing-goals.htm http://www.ru10.icu/blog/internet-marketing/how-to-set-and-maintain-meaningful-marketing-goals.htm#respond Tue, 15 Sep 2020 14:02:54 +0000 http://www.ru10.icu/?p=53918 If you’re signing on with an agency, you’re hopefully entering the engagement with some kind of goal already in mind. More traffic, more revenue, and lower cost are common places where our discovery calls begin. That’s not a bad start. But setting a meaningful goal or set of goals for an engagement is essential for […]

The post How to Set and Maintain Meaningful Marketing Goals appeared first on Portent.

]]>

If you’re signing on with an agency, you’re hopefully entering the engagement with some kind of goal already in mind.

More traffic, more revenue, and lower cost are common places where our discovery calls begin. That’s not a bad start. But setting a meaningful goal or set of goals for an engagement is essential for both the agency being contracted and the brand hiring the agency.

When goal-setting goes right, both parties have a north star to point to as they work to set and meet expectations. When that central point of focus is absent or misaligned, you can bet that one side of the relationship will be left unfulfilled.

Both the agency and the brand must commit to meaningful goal setting for their work together. This should happen before any work begins and should be continuously refined over the entire course of a brand-agency engagement.

Here’s how to get it right.

Identify the Most Important Outcome

Marketing outcomes typically fall into three buckets:

  • Volume-based (like site visitors or revenue changes)
  • Efficiency-based (like conversation rate or cost per acquisition changes)
  • Functionality-based (think site migrations or usability-focused work)

Identify the single most important outcome as it relates to your engagement. The desired outcome must be relevant, realistic, and measurable. Missing any one of those pieces will strain both the work and the relationship.

The desired outcome identified must be relevant to the work scoped; alignment there is crucial. Can the work scoped actually drive the desired outcome? If the answer is ‘no,’ adjust the work scoped or your desired outcome.

When performance, budget, and turnaround time expectations don’t align, realistic outcomes slip away. It’s on both the brand and the agency to meet in the middle to align on what’s realistic. Agencies: if what you’re signing up for isn’t realistic, don’t take on the work. Stepping away or rescoping will save you a ton of time and energy.

After identifying a relevant and realistic outcome, ensure that you can measure progress accurately. Measurement difficulty varies based on the work. It can be as simple as following a linear timetable, or it can be as intricate as building proper attribution for online and offline consumers across a variety of marketing channels and devices. Either way, make sure there is a proper plan to collect and interpret data.

Creating relevant, realistic, and measurable projections will start to mold a solid top-level outcome, but setting a relative performance component clarifies the goal further. Couple your desired result with a relative parameter like:

  • Period over period time comparisons (YoY, QoQ, MoM)
  • Static checkpoints
  • Industry benchmarks

When the desired outcome is paired with a relative parameter, you’ve got a clear endpoint to carry the working relationship forward.

Identifying a core outcome isn’t a major feat to write home about, but we often see marketers on both the brand and agency side set and agree to irrelevant, unachievable, and unmeasurable goals. Those missteps end in relationship and engagement turmoil.

Relevant, realistic, and measurable is the key to all of it. If you can’t come to an agreement here, the relationship doesn’t stand a chance.

Identify Secondary Metrics

Secondary metrics act as indicators towards your top-level outcome.

Looking higher in the marketing funnel or towards acquisition and behavior results, as primary desired outcomes tend to be conversion-based, is a good place to find secondary metrics. Timelines as milestones serve as good checkpoints for project-based linear work.

These are the trigger points where marketers can see how their smaller wins level up to impact the larger picture. Similar to your core desired outcome, they must be relevant, realistic, and measurable.

Once you’ve set those metrics for success, think about how to build effective dashboards to tell the story.

Set a Timeline

Assign a timeline to your top-level desired outcome. Just like the outcome identified, your timeline needs to be relevant, realistic, and measurable.

The relevance and measurability is pretty straightforward here, but the timeline for the work needs to be realistic. And there must be alignment between the agency and brand on what’s realistic. Budget and turnaround times are the usual culprits that impinge on realistic expectations.

Relationships fail when partners on either end of the engagement aren’t honest about getting the work done on a realistic timeline. For each party to get the most from each other, timelines should be mutually agreed to, not dictated by a singular party.

Get Buy-in From the Top

At this point, the brand-agency partnership should be aligned with a nice, neat, top-level desired outcome, a handful of secondary checkpoints, a clear tracking plan, and a timeline for the outcome to be achieved.

It always works nicely and neatly like that, right?

Getting buy-in from top-level decision-makers is the last step before your work should kick-off. And that buy-in should come from leaders on both the agency and brand side. Priorities will always shift during the course of an engagement. But if true buy-in comes from an executive level, you’ll start your engagement in a better place.

Get sign-off on your desired outcome, timeline, and budget before any work begins.

Once that’s done, it’s time to jump in.

Report and Course-Correct

Once you’re into the engagement, all work should tie back to the primary and secondary desired outcomes and metrics.

Work roadmaps, deliverables, meetings, and reports should all focus on how the work influences the desired outcomes. When priorities shift, course-correct to what builds your outcome most effectively.

Brands and agencies working together can often lose sight of the outcome they set off to reach. Identifying that the work is shifting away from the desired outcome is crucial. When it does, make sure to go back to the top to clarify or set a new course if needed.

Over the course of an engagement, factors always change. Budgets, technology for measurement, timelines, and buy-in constantly push and pull on each other. Through that, those leading the brand and agency engagement have to stay aligned on a clear outcome. When that happens, strong brand-agency engagements can establish meaningful marketing goals, refine strategy into actionable tactics, maintain the agility to course-correct, and set themselves up in the best way to hit desired outcomes.

Up next: How Clients Can Hold Their Agencies Accountable.

The post How to Set and Maintain Meaningful Marketing Goals appeared first on Portent.

]]>
http://www.ru10.icu/blog/internet-marketing/how-to-set-and-maintain-meaningful-marketing-goals.htm/feed 0
Building Great Brand-Agency Relationships http://www.ru10.icu/blog/internet-marketing/building-great-brand-agency-relationships.htm http://www.ru10.icu/blog/internet-marketing/building-great-brand-agency-relationships.htm#respond Tue, 15 Sep 2020 14:00:12 +0000 http://www.ru10.icu/?p=53925 Brand-agency relationships thrive when both parties are ready to push each other towards a mutually agreed-upon outcome. When built well, these relationships can flourish into truly meaningful work that both the brand and the agency are proud of. Easy in principle. Hard to do in practice. If you’ve been on the agency or brand side […]

The post Building Great Brand-Agency Relationships appeared first on Portent.

]]>

Brand-agency relationships thrive when both parties are ready to push each other towards a mutually agreed-upon outcome.

When built well, these relationships can flourish into truly meaningful work that both the brand and the agency are proud of.

Easy in principle. Hard to do in practice.

If you’ve been on the agency or brand side for any notable amount of time, you probably have a story about relationships eroding and unraveling quickly. Objectives get murky or completely lost. The agency can’t follow through or meet the expectations they sold their capabilities on. The client can’t follow through or meet the expectations they agreed to when the work began. Outside factors like current events, competitors, and technology dictate changes that neither party could foresee.

At Portent, when we dissect our strongest client engagements, we find a handful of shared principles that seem to be ever-present. When we look back at relationships that went sour (yes, it happens here too from time to time), we find that those same cornerstones are waning or absent.

Successful brand-agency engagements happen when:

  • Both parties share a mutually agreed-upon desired outcome
  • The client can hold the agency accountable to the work sold
  • The agency can hold the client accountable to the work dependencies

I’ll detail how to approach all three of these principles, so whether you are on the agency or brand side, you’ll be armed with how to set yourself up for success in your next engagement.

Up next: How to Set and Maintain Meaningful Marketing Goals.

The post Building Great Brand-Agency Relationships appeared first on Portent.

]]>
http://www.ru10.icu/blog/internet-marketing/building-great-brand-agency-relationships.htm/feed 0
Study: How Often Google Ignores Our Meta Descriptions http://www.ru10.icu/blog/seo/how-often-google-ignores-our-meta-descriptions.htm http://www.ru10.icu/blog/seo/how-often-google-ignores-our-meta-descriptions.htm#comments Thu, 10 Sep 2020 14:00:38 +0000 http://www.ru10.icu/?p=53878 Since search engines started using meta descriptions in their search result snippets, they’ve always had the challenge of deciding what to display when the meta description won’t work or isn’t relevant. Usually, a search engine will take an excerpt from the page when a meta description tag isn’t viable. To prevent search engines from taking […]

The post Study: How Often Google Ignores Our Meta Descriptions appeared first on Portent.

]]>

Since search engines started using meta descriptions in their search result snippets, they’ve always had the challenge of deciding what to display when the meta description won’t work or isn’t relevant. Usually, a search engine will take an excerpt from the page when a meta description tag isn’t viable. To prevent search engines from taking bizarre excerpts from pages to make a snippet, SEO practitioners have put great attention into making sure meta descriptions are present, unique, and descriptive.

This worked great for a while. An SEO could rely on the search engines to use the meta descriptions we wrote the majority of the time, but that has been changing. In the last few years, Google has been displaying content excerpts in the snippet over meta descriptions more and more. And this is distressing for SEOs because we spend a lot of time making sure our meta descriptions are good!

So a question arises: how often does Google ignore our meta descriptions? How often is Google displaying some other text in their SERP and ignoring our hard work? Recently, Ahrefs published some original research on the topic and found that Google disregards a page’s meta description 63% of the time for pages in the top 10 results.

I thought that figure was pretty high. I believe it, but I don’t want to believe it. So, to corroborate Ahref’s research, I pitched an idea to Matthew Henry, our SEO Fellow and technical wizard: let’s do our own version of this research and see if we get a similar result. If Google is fairly consistent and both Ahrefs and we have a comparable sample of keywords, we should get roughly the same results. Isn’t replicating research the heart of the scientific method?

Methodology

Before we get into the results, we need to talk about where we got our data. We used a list of 30,000 keywords taken from our existing and previous clients with brand terms filtered out. We entered the keywords into STAT Search Analytics and pulled rankings for both desktop and mobile search results. Using STAT’s full HTML SERP export, Matthew scraped the display snippet descriptions from Google’s HTML after laboriously parsing Google’s wonky HTML structure.

Matthew then wrote a custom scraping script to go through each search result URL and find the first listed meta description tag. The SERP descriptions and the meta description tags were added to an SQL database and checked to see if the text Google displayed was included in the meta description tag. If the SERP snippet text wasn’t included in the meta description text, we counted it as a case of Google ignoring the meta description.

We didn’t render JavaScript, and we didn’t try to bypass clever firewalls. If we couldn’t retrieve a page or a meta description, we didn’t include it in the final data.

Results

Below are our research results, which set out to analyze both desktop and mobile meta description rewrite rates based on the following conditions:

  • First-page ranking
  • Search volume
  • Query length

We also took the opportunity to use this data to evaluate meta description display lengths and rewritten snippet display lengths.

First Page Rewrite Rate

We found the rewrite rate for meta descriptions on the first page to be 71% in mobile search results and 68% on desktop. In other words, we should expect Google to use our meta description tag for the snippet around 30% of the time when we rank on the first page.

This rewrite rate is a little higher than Ahref’s number (63%), and that’s not due to featured snippets being included in these figures; we took them out. This difference between our overall rewrite rates could be explained by us including more keywords that are rewritten more often. There were some dimensions with high variance in the rewrite rate, and we could have selected for those unknowingly.

The rewrite rate isn’t uniform by position, though. Here’s the rewrite rate by position for the first three pages of results.

""
""
The data includes featured snippets in the first position, so that explains the spike there. But do notice the “bump” from positions 4 to 6. Why would Google rewrite meta descriptions in those positions more than others?

I speculate that since positions 1-3 get the most click-through rate, Google might be trying to boost the relevance for 4-6 to get more clicks before users leave the page or search for something else.

The other interesting thing in this data is how the rewrite rate tends to increase with position. I’ve noticed that the results on pages 2 and 3 aren’t the most relevant query, so maybe Google is trying to pull a more relevant excerpt from the page. I think that’s plausible because the results on pages 2 and 3 might not even be targeting my query.

Rewrite Rate by Search Volume

I expected a more uniform rewrite rate over our keyword set when we bucketed them by search volume, but there is a clear trend with mobile having a higher rewrite rate.

""

I’m fairly confident of the relationship between search volume and rewrite rate: the higher the search volume of the keyword, the less likely Google is to rewrite the meta description. It’s not a linear relationship, though; our x-axis is log scale here.

So why do we see this relationship? I think it’s because SEOs tend to focus on writing meta descriptions for head terms more than the long-tail. If you’re ranking on the first page for a keyword with 1 million searches per month, you are likely aware of that and put significant effort into your meta description. You’re probably not hyper-focusing on the 10 searches per month terms, and they probably vary too much to even target with any one description.

What about query length? Would we also see a similar trend for queries with more characters since they tend to be long-tail queries?

Rewrite Rate by Query Length

Just like search volume, long-tail queries tend to have search result snippets that don’t use the page’s meta description.

""

Desktop and mobile results are very similar, with mobile having a slightly higher rate of Google ignoring the meta description. We didn’t have many queries in our data set with more than 45 characters, so we don’t know much past that.

Meta Description by Display Length

As long as we had scraped search results, we thought it would be nice to have recent numbers on meta description display limits. Even though meta description display space is limited by pixel width, targeting an ideal pixel width is difficult with meta descriptions because there is often a gap of unusable space at the end of the first row. This makes character counts easier to work with and communicate.

""

""

There are a few things going on with displayable meta description length. On desktop, displayed characters peak at 156 and then rapidly decline after 165, but also notice the other “bump” that peaks at 142 characters. There’s a similar bump on mobile too. I think that’s due to pages with a date in the snippet shortening the meta description able to be displayed.

In this screenshot, you can see the date snippet Aug 13, 2020 placed at the beginning of the meta description, taking up 12 characters.

The spike at 87 characters is caused by Synonym.com using the same meta description on every page. They must be over-represented in our keywords for them to have such a large effect.

Mobile results show a similar pattern as desktop with the two display limits that depend on the publication date’s presence in the snippet. Luckily, we’ve segmented our data by whether the snippet uses the date to see if the snippet date is causing a difference in meta description display length.

Meta Description Length With Publish Dates

Here, we’ve separated the desktop results where the meta descriptions that have the publishing date rich snippet feature from those that don’t. Side by side, there is a clear difference between the two, with fewer displayable characters when the publish date is in the snippet.

""

""

Without a date present, fully-displayable meta descriptions are going to be between 150 and 160 characters. If you’re feeling lucky, you might get away with 165 characters.

If dates are robbing us of some displayable space, what length should we aim for with pages that have dates listed, like blog posts? This chart suggests 138 to 148 characters is a safe target if we want a fully-displayable meta description on desktop with a date in the snippet.

The difference between search results with snippet dates and without on mobile is a little different than on desktop. If there is a date feature in the snippet, we can get just as many characters to display, but we’re much less likely to.

""

""

Our mobile search results show that we have less room to work with for meta descriptions than on desktop. Displayable characters for snippets without a date rich snippet feature peak at 118, and then rapidly drop off after 121. This means that a safe target character count for mobile results without a date is under around 120. That’s about 25% fewer characters than the non-date target amount for desktop. That’s significantly less room to work with!

Mobile snippets with the publish date featured snippet look a little weird. It appears that the most common snippets are going to display between at most 95 to 105 characters, but there is a smaller possibility Google will show between 112 and 126 characters. Maybe Google is allowing some mobile snippets another line of text when the date is present? Either way, content with a publish date on the page, like blog posts, don’t have a lot of guaranteed display space.

Rewritten Snippet Display Length

So how much space does Google give themselves to write a snippet description? It turns out it’s a little bit more than the space they give us.

""

""

In desktop results without the rich snippet date feature, Google’s descriptions peak at 160 characters and then rapidly decline after 167. With dates, the peak is at 147 and declines quickly after 149. Not a big difference from snippets using a meta description tag, but it would be nice if we had just as much room to write a nice description for our content.

Also, notice the frequency of snippets around 225 characters and 325 characters. Remember back in December 2017, when Google increased the meta description length to 320 characters and then rapidly changed their minds? Looks like the 320 character display limit is still there, but only for snippets Google writes.

""

""

In mobile search results, Google gives itself around 114 to 121 characters to work with for snippets without the date feature, with the peak at 118. When the date is in the snippet, the sweet spot appears to be between 99 and 105, with the peak at 100.

Just like desktop snippets, there are a few extended snippet ranges. Those extended snippets appear to be around 150, 175, 200, 250, and 320 characters long. That’s considerable space to take up for a mobile device.

So What Do We Do With This Information?

I’m somewhat disheartened about how infrequently our meta descriptions are actually displayed in the SERP, and how few characters we’re likely to utilize. But I don’t think that means we should give up on writing good meta descriptions. We just need to be more clever about the process.

With the rewrite rates being lowest on short, high volume keywords, we should continue to be ambitious about which keywords we’re writing for, but we should keep mobile display lengths in mind. I’m still going to recommend writing between 150 and 160 characters for desktop-focused meta descriptions, but I’m going to add the caveat that the first 120 characters should include the kernel of the message for mobile search results. If a client’s qualified traffic is primarily mobile, I’ll treat the extra desktop space as a bonus.

The publish date rich snippet feature means we need to be aware of what content type we’re writing meta descriptions for. If I’m auditing descriptions for blog posts, I’m going to recommend a target of 138 to 148 characters for blog posts and other pages with publish dates. Since the majority of snippets on mobile with dates are cut off after 105 characters, the most important part of the description should be in the first 100.

I’m also going to start experimenting with adjusting content that Google is using in their excerpts. One way to view Google’s excerpt snippets is that there are snippet descriptions distributed around the page, and they can be optimized just like a meta description tag. I’m pretty sure Google selects content to use for the snippet in the same way as featured snippets.

Future Research

There are definitely ways to improve our process for this kind of research. One way that sticks out is a keyword list that’s more representative and uniform over dimensions like query length and search volume. There might be a time-efficient way to categorize keywords by vertical. That would be fun to look at.

Naturally, title tags and featured snippets are good choices to analyze too. How many characters do we get for paragraph featured snippets? How often does Google ignore our title tags?

As Matthew Henry can attest, doing this kind of research is hard to perform, but I look forward to others attempting to answer these questions. As Google changes the layout of the SERPs and introduces new features, we’ll need this research to make sure our recommendations and practices are current.

The post Study: How Often Google Ignores Our Meta Descriptions appeared first on Portent.

]]>
http://www.ru10.icu/blog/seo/how-often-google-ignores-our-meta-descriptions.htm/feed 1
How to Pick the Right Bidding Strategy for Your LinkedIn Campaigns http://www.ru10.icu/blog/social-media/how-to-pick-the-right-bidding-strategy-for-your-linkedin-campaigns.htm http://www.ru10.icu/blog/social-media/how-to-pick-the-right-bidding-strategy-for-your-linkedin-campaigns.htm#respond Tue, 08 Sep 2020 14:00:43 +0000 http://www.ru10.icu/?p=53861 LinkedIn bidding can be tricky if you’ve never advertised on the platform before or are not familiar with how Linkedin charges for campaigns. Sometimes the default is to use Automated Bidding, as it claims to deliver more results for your campaign initiative. However, that’s not always the case. In this blog, we will look at […]

The post How to Pick the Right Bidding Strategy for Your LinkedIn Campaigns appeared first on Portent.

]]>

LinkedIn bidding can be tricky if you’ve never advertised on the platform before or are not familiar with how Linkedin charges for campaigns. Sometimes the default is to use Automated Bidding, as it claims to deliver more results for your campaign initiative. However, that’s not always the case. In this blog, we will look at the difference between Automated Bidding and LinkedIn’s cost bidding (manual) options, and which strategies you’ll need to consider making the most out of your campaigns.

This blog will focus on three main bidding strategies; however, LinkedIn provides a good overview of other bidding strategies available on the platform.

How Does LinkedIn Bidding Work?

When your ad enters the bid auction, LinkedIn considers the following factors:

  • Budget (Daily, Total, or Lifetime). How much are you willing to spend to win bids and reach your targeted audience? The budget is based on how much you are ready to bid when selecting Automated Bidding or cost bidding options for your campaigns.
  • Target Audience. What type of users are you trying to reach?
  • Campaign Objective. Your overarching goal. Are you trying to drive awareness, clicks to your website, or lead generation?
  • Ad Content. This is based on Quality Score. How likely will your target audience resonate & engage with your content? This includes your ad messaging and creative (e.g., image, video, carousel).
  • Historical Campaign Performance. How has your campaign performed in the past?

Based on the criteria above, LinkedIn determines who wins the auction against other advertisers bidding similar audiences to you (whether automated or cost bidding). Even if you set your bid higher than other advertisers, LinkedIn sets a second-priced auction. This means if you won the bid auction, you would only pay based on the second-highest bidder. The more auctions you win, the more users will see your ad.

LinkedIn Campaign Bid Types

When you create a LinkedIn campaign, you have an option to select what type of bidding strategy you want to optimize. When you set your bid and optimization goal, this tells the algorithm how you would like your budget spent and what goal to optimize towards to get your desired results. You are being billed for clicks, impressions, or video views, depending on your bidding method. However, not all bid types are available across every campaign objective.

""

Automated Bidding (Uses CPM)

This method uses CPM bidding and will charge you for every 1,000 impressions. In this scenario, the advertiser allows the algorithm to set bids without setting a maximum bid cost limit. Sometimes, depending on the competition, your costs can fluctuate.

Maximum CPC Bidding

This method allows advertisers to control their costs and set bid amounts to the maximum amount they are willing to spend. When selecting this method, this informs the algorithm you want to maximize click volume, and only pay when a user clicks on your ad.

Enhanced CPC Bidding

This method is only available for campaign objectives such as website visits, conversions, lead generation, or engagement. In this bidding strategy, the algorithm will deliver your ads to users who are more likely to convert based on your selected campaign objective.

Note: the only difference between maximum CPC and Enhanced CPC bidding is when choosing campaign objectives such as Website Visits, Conversions, or Lead Generation, it will optimize the objective you set for your campaigns. For example, when you set your campaign objective to Website Visits and set your bids to Enhanced CPC, the algorithm will auto-optimize your bids towards users who are more likely to click on your ad.

CPM Bidding

This method allows advertisers to control their CPM bids per 1,000 impressions, rather than having LinkedIn set your bids for you. This method is great if you want to increase product visibility and/or brand awareness with your marketing campaign.

LinkedIn Bidding Best Practices

This section will focus on tips, tricks, and when you should use each bidding strategy below. However, before we dive in, one of the key aspects of winning bid auctions is making sure that your target audience resonates with your ad creative. With that being said, a best practice is to test at least two to four ad variations (depending on your budget) to increase performance and win more auctions. Regardless of what you set your bids at, LinkedIn’s algorithm will show your highest performing ad to users. This is why it is crucial to test ad variations to avoid missed opportunities.

When to Use An Automated Bidding Strategy

A new campaign launch. If you are launching a new campaign without any historical campaign performance, Automated Bidding allows LinkedIn to bid for you according to your campaign objective and how much budget you are willing to spend based on what you set (daily, total, or lifetime).

To gain more visibility. Automated Bidding will serve ads to as many people as possible based on your forecasted audience size. Choose this method when you are looking to gain more views on your ads. As I mentioned previously, Automated Bidding charges by impressions.

Your budget is spending at least 85% daily. LinkedIn averages daily spend based on a seven-day period. With this calculation, if you’re optimizing towards an Automated Bidding method, this is a great way to determine if your budget is spending at or less than 85%.

""

When to Use A Cost Bidding Strategy

If you are more concerned about spending your full budget or costs, choose manual CPC/CPM bidding to control those costs.

Your audience size is less than 50K. When your campaign forecast reaches less than 50K audience members, focus on CPC or CPM bidding to control cost. When your audience size is small, costs tend to be more expensive, especially if the audience is in high demand. Therefore it is best to set a cap on bids, so your campaign costs don’t increase excessively.

Your daily budget is spending less than 85%. If you’re optimizing towards an automated bid, but your campaign is not delivering 85% of its budget, this means that the bid is not competitive enough. Based on your objective, set your bid to either Maximum CPC, Enhanced CPC, or CPM bidding to control your cost and become more competitive with your bids.

Your CPC or CPM costs are too high. If you’re using an Automated Bidding strategy and find that your costs are too high, manually setting your bids will control your costs and only drive quality traffic based on your limited budget.

To drive quality traffic. If you are more focused on driving higher-quality traffic, setting your manual CPC or CPM bids will help you control costs, and you won’t be charged any amount higher than the bid you set.

LinkedIn’s Recommended Bid

When setting cost bids for your campaigns, LinkedIn shows the recommended bid amount based on your budget and the range of bid amounts that similar advertisers are bidding on for your target audience.

""

If you set your bids lower than LinkedIn’s recommendation, your campaigns may underdeliver. This means that LinkedIn will show your ad to only a few members, as other advertisers will almost always outbid you. Additionally, a lower bid will mean that you will not receive enough results and data to optimize your bidding accordingly. I always suggest bidding a dollar more than the recommended bid.

In Other Words

Like advertising on any other platform, you want to choose a LinkedIn bidding method that you believe will drive better performance for your campaigns. The key to success is making sure that your bids are competitive based on the budget you set. In doing this, check your campaigns on a daily/weekly basis as costs tend to fluctuate based on the bids being placed in the auctions. Lastly, to make yourself competitive in the bid amount you set for your campaigns, remember to test ad variations, targeting the right audience, selecting the right campaign objective, and setting enough budget for your campaigns to run efficiently.

The post How to Pick the Right Bidding Strategy for Your LinkedIn Campaigns appeared first on Portent.

]]>
http://www.ru10.icu/blog/social-media/how-to-pick-the-right-bidding-strategy-for-your-linkedin-campaigns.htm/feed 0
How to Write Meta Descriptions and Why They Matter http://www.ru10.icu/blog/seo/how-to-write-meta-descriptions-and-why-they-matter.htm http://www.ru10.icu/blog/seo/how-to-write-meta-descriptions-and-why-they-matter.htm#respond Thu, 03 Sep 2020 14:00:36 +0000 http://www.ru10.icu/?p=53828 Once an author finishes a novel, the book is done, right? Wrong. Even though the bulk of the copy is complete, there are still a few additional touches before the book is finalized. In a previous post, we talked about how a title tag is similar to the cover of a book, and how it […]

The post How to Write Meta Descriptions and Why They Matter appeared first on Portent.

]]>

Once an author finishes a novel, the book is done, right? Wrong. Even though the bulk of the copy is complete, there are still a few additional touches before the book is finalized. In a previous post, we talked about how a title tag is similar to the cover of a book, and how it is essential for catching the user’s eye. But that is not the only variable that helps a reader choose one book over another. There is usually a block of copy on the back or inside cover that provides a short description of what’s inside. In book terms, it is called a blurb. But on the web, it’s called a meta description.

What is a Meta Description?

A meta description is a hidden bit of code that briefly summarizes the contents of a webpage. It doesn’t appear on a page itself, but shows up in front of users in the search results, underneath the title tag.

""

On a website, you can locate a page’s meta description by right-clicking and selecting “inspect” to view the meta description in HTML format.

""

Besides the brief appearance in the search results, if the meta description doesn’t show up anywhere else on the website’s page, what makes a meta description important?

Why Do Meta Descriptions Matter?

There has been a bit of controversy over whether meta descriptions do or do not affect SEO rankings. The short answer is, although title tags pull a heavyweight when it comes to ranking in Google SERPs, meta tags do not. It’s true; meta tags don’t matter to Google. However, meta tags do matter to people. Meta descriptions play a crucial role in CTR, which can help page ranking in the long run.

The title tag may make the first impression on a user, but the meta tag helps users decide which result to pursue between hundreds of similar pages. Meta descriptions tell users what a page is about, and provide a sneak peek of the content, value, and user experience.
Crafting a quality meta tag can give your visitors an accurate understanding of what to expect before visiting your page so they can choose the option that will best meet their needs.

Even if your page’s content is perfect, no one will decide to explore it if your meta tag deters them. A meta tag is a direct reflection of the customer service they will receive on your webpage. If it comes across as rude, unnatural, or unhelpful, chances are that they will assume your website will match, and choose a different option.

Meta Description Best Practices

When it comes to writing a meta description, several rules of thumb have been shown to successfully impact CTR. But at the end of the day, it is about doing what makes sense for your business, brand, goals, and users. The following best practices and examples can help you craft the best meta description for your page. The only end-all-be-all rule is the character length.

Character Length

The ideal length for a meta description is between 150-160 characters. It should be descriptive enough to highlight the main points within this character limit. The best way to check that your meta description fits within that character limit is with a SERP preview tool. This way, you can preview exactly how your meta tag will look in search results. Of course, you can go over the allotted characters, but once you hit 160, the text will be cut off and replaced with ellipses.

The two examples that follow are both results for “Portent” as a query, and both offer a definition. The only main difference between the two is that you can get the complete summary for Wiktionary, but not Wikipedia.

""

Although you could argue that the ellipses may make people want to read more, it will often deter people from investigating and lead them directly into a competitor’s site.

Write for People, Not Google

Now that we know Google doesn’t care about our meta descriptions, we can throw the keyword-stuffed-robotic copy and SEO rules out the window and focus on the important thing: the user.

When it comes to meta descriptions, it is essential to offer a complete and descriptive summary at first glance and welcome users into your site. It is also a chance to connect with the user on an individual level. Since the meta description is geared toward the user, don’t be afraid to make it conversational. Find ways to incorporate your brand’s personality and voice within the meta description. Here is a great example of how WIRED informs and intrigues users with their witty sense of humor within their meta description.

Make Your Meta Description Unique to Every Page

On a website, no two pages are identical, so it is important to make sure none of your meta descriptions are identical. It is best to avoid duplicate meta descriptions and write unique ones for each page to determine which page to visit.

The following image shows two of the meta descriptions for the query “Portent Seattle,” one is for the “contact” page and one for our “services” page.

The contact page description reads: "Our digital marketing experts are ready and waiting to answer any and all ponderous-complex-strange questions you may want to hurl at them." The services page description reads: "Portent delivers integrated digital marketing strategies across PPC, SEO, Content & Social channels. We consider the whole marketing stack in our approach."

Although the results are both for the same website, portent.com, the meta descriptions show you that clicking on one will lead you to a “contact us” page, where the other will educate you on the services we provide.

Ensuring each meta description is unique for each page within a site will limit the bounce rate on a page from users being misled by the meta description. Most people will hit the back button before attempting to dig around on a site to find the information they were looking for.

Make It Promotional

We now know that the meta description is valuable to the user, that it must reflect the content of a page, and be eye-catching without being spammy, all while staying at 160 characters or less. While some brands use this area to describe the content of a page, others see the meta description as real estate for promotional use. Here are a few ways to promote your content within your meta description.

Advertise

Use this space to highlight free quotes, special offers, or current promotions. Starbucks highlights the BOGO deal and provides the hours the deal is available so that all of the necessary information is in one place. Starbucks probably values a high rank and CTR, but they don’t necessarily need people to explore their website. They know that the most significant conversion is getting people in the door directly from a search.

""

Build Brand Awareness

Another way to use this space is to build and maintain brand awareness. Allstate uses its slogan in their meta description to connect with the user. Since the title tag explains the bulk of what the page will offer, Allstate uses their meta description to sound friendly, inviting, protected, and familiar.

Allstate's meta description features their slogan "You're In Good Hands With Allstate."

Demonstrate Credibility

As you know, each brand has multiple competitors that offer similar products or services, and it can be challenging to differentiate from them in the SERPs. Geico uses its meta description to build credibility and trust.

GEICO's meta description includes the statement "GEICO has been trusted since 1936."

Generate Leads

CTR is a key motive for writing a great meta description, but like Starbucks, many brands are more interested in gaining conversions than page visitors. Best Plumbing provides contact information directly in their meta tag so users can contact them without visiting the site. Oh, and they also use the promotion and credibility tactic.

Best Plumbing's meta description reads: "Trusted since 1968. Call Best Plumbing (206) 633-1700 for 24/7 service. Serving the greater Seattle Area. Get a free estimate!"

Communicate Key Messages

Nordstrom could have gone with any of the above approaches for their meta description usage. They could offer their store location, contact information, or credibility statement. However, Nordstrom knows what is important to their customers, and uses their meta description to answer frequently asked questions in the retail world that often take some digging to find. Nordstrom states their free shipping and returns policy upfront in their meta description to appeal to both new and long-term customers.

""

Final Thoughts

Similar to picking your next book to read, it can be hard to choose which website will give you the information, value, and experience you set out to find. That’s where meta descriptions come in. And while there is no perfect way to write a meta description, and it can vary depending on each business, these examples and best practices can inspire you to craft meta descriptions that will increase traffic and convert users.

Key Takeaways:

  • Be descriptive
  • Use your meta description to promote your content
  • Make the most out of your allotted characters
  • Write for people, not Google

The post How to Write Meta Descriptions and Why They Matter appeared first on Portent.

]]>
http://www.ru10.icu/blog/seo/how-to-write-meta-descriptions-and-why-they-matter.htm/feed 0
How to Configure Goals in Google Analytics http://www.ru10.icu/blog/analytics/how-to-configure-goals-in-google-analytics.htm http://www.ru10.icu/blog/analytics/how-to-configure-goals-in-google-analytics.htm#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2020 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.ru10.icu/?p=53812 Configuring goals in Google Analytics is the easiest way to get the most out of your reports, due to the automatic integration of conversion metrics throughout the rest of the platform. Once you’ve configured goals, you enable most of the reports under “Goals” and gain visibility into attribution under the “Multi-Channel Funnels” reports. You’re also […]

The post How to Configure Goals in Google Analytics appeared first on Portent.

]]>

Configuring goals in Google Analytics is the easiest way to get the most out of your reports, due to the automatic integration of conversion metrics throughout the rest of the platform. Once you’ve configured goals, you enable most of the reports under “Goals” and gain visibility into attribution under the “Multi-Channel Funnels” reports. You’re also able to quickly modify most session-level reports to drill down into their effectiveness by each individual goal.

There’s a limit of 20 goals per view, regardless of whether you’re using the free version or GA360. Considering this goal limit and its integration across reports, you’ll want to be deliberate with what you count as a goal.

When to Track On-Site Actions as Events Versus Goals in GA

Typically, it’s most useful to track indicative actions as events (ex. downloading a PDF) and your primary conversions (ex. submitting a contact form) as goals.

Events don’t always need to be related to a conversion action on your site, but they would be most helpful if they answer questions or identify commonalities towards certain objectives. For example, tracking which of your brand’s videos your users are viewing as events might allow you to identify a video that’s watched significantly more often by users who convert.

However, an action should be configured as a goal if any of these are true:

  • It’s the final action on the site (ex. purchase, form submission, phone call, etc.).
  • It’d be helpful to be able to view its conversion rate easily.
  • It’d be useful to easily view its conversions spliced by another dimension, such as source, device type, or city.

Another way to decide whether to create a goal for an action is to differentiate between micro and macro conversions. A micro conversion can be a smaller action that’s typically taken on the path to your final converting action—something like adding a product to a cart. A macro conversion is the primary objective of your site—making a final purchase, in this example. And here’s a good post If you’re interested in learning more about how to track the impact of micro conversions.

Configuring and Testing Goals in GA

Goals are unique by session, which means that one goal is counted per session regardless of how many times a user completes that action in that session. Keeping that in mind, you may want to set up certain actions as events to be able to view the total count versus just the unique counts that will be reported as goals.

There are three main types of goal configurations available in GA, each with their own uses and benefits.

1. Engagement-Based Goals

These goals count sessions that reach a specific threshold of on-site behavior in terms of duration or pages per session, which you have the liberty to determine.

These might be best used on very content-focused sites, such as informational sites that may not have a transactional or other final converting objective.

2. Destination Goals

A goal is counted when a user views a specific landing page. The destination page can be tracked as one of the following:

  • Equals to
  • Begins with
  • Regular expression

Destination goals are best used when:

  • There’s a confirmation that cannot be reached without a converting action that immediately precedes it. For example, it would not be ideal to set a regex that matches the Thank You page that appears immediately after a purchase and a confirmation page sent via email. In this case, a view of the confirmation page will falsely trigger a conversion as well.
  • The destination URL does not ever change.
  • Viewing steps through a goal funnel would be useful. Goal funnel visualizations are only available for destination goals and not event goals.

3. Event Goals

Goals are counted when an event is completed that matches the criteria set for event category, action, label, and/or values. Each of these conditions can be set with the same matching options as a destination goal. At least one of these conditions must be set for the goal to be tracked.

Goal detail criteria can be set to "equals to," "begins with," or "regular expression."

Event goals are most useful when:

  • Changes are common on the site. For example, changes to URLs (including the destination URL) or even on-site changes such as tweaks to element classes or form IDs.
  • There might be multiple criteria outside of a confirmation page. A user might reach the same Thank You page following any purchase completion, but you may want to count different product purchase types as separate events.

After deciding on the type and configuring your goal, test out your goal by selecting “Verify this Goal” at the bottom of your “Goal Details” page. This check will return an estimated conversion rate based on activity over the last seven days.

""

Note: the event or destination page must have been set up before testing your goal for this to return a conversion rate.

Setting Up a Google Analytics Goal Funnel

Flows through a session to the final converting action is most easily viewed through your Funnel Visualization or Goal Flow reports, both of which are configured only for destination goals.
The following funnel is an example of what’s available in the “Funnel Visualization” report under Conversions > Goals.

This goal funnel visualization example illustrates how many users moved from entering their personal information to payment information, then to shipping, then to final purchase.

Note: this funnel only tracks the flow for users within the same session, and is therefore not as useful or accurate for viewing behavior through a flow for transactions that might occur over multiple days or sessions.

These visualizations are enabled and configured through the optional “Funnel” feature under your goal settings.

""

""

This feature allows you to set each step that will return the step name, total starting count, end count, and step conversion rates. Each step can be specified by a page path, which is automatically set to match the criteria used for your destination page. For instance, if your destination page is set to match by regex, so will your goal funnel pages.

The Wrap Up

Configuring goals in GA makes it really easy for you to measure the effectiveness of different marketing efforts and features on your site across the entire platform. It’s a crucial feature to take advantage of when you have solid objectives that you’re continually optimizing towards on your site.

Regardless of the types of goals you set or how you configure your funnels, I make it a best practice to set a reminder to check my goal metrics within 24 hours of publishing any changes. Pull your unique pageview or unique event count and compare that against your goals and steps within the funnel before using this data as your source of truth.

The post How to Configure Goals in Google Analytics appeared first on Portent.

]]>
http://www.ru10.icu/blog/analytics/how-to-configure-goals-in-google-analytics.htm/feed 2
Building Successful PPC: The Best Google Ad Extensions to Implement http://www.ru10.icu/blog/ppc/building-successful-ppc-implementing-ad-extensions.htm http://www.ru10.icu/blog/ppc/building-successful-ppc-implementing-ad-extensions.htm#respond Thu, 27 Aug 2020 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.ru10.icu/?p=31981 Updated 8/27/20 to include new information and insights. Google Ads offers several types of ad extensions that can be used to provide useful information to customers. This includes phone numbers, directions, additional products/services, and more. Ad Extensions are simple to set up and do not cost anything extra. Expect a click-through rate boost when using […]

The post Building Successful PPC: The Best Google Ad Extensions to Implement appeared first on Portent.

]]>

Updated 8/27/20 to include new information and insights.

Google Ads offers several types of ad extensions that can be used to provide useful information to customers. This includes phone numbers, directions, additional products/services, and more.

Ad Extensions are simple to set up and do not cost anything extra. Expect a click-through rate boost when using these too. The differentiation of having them helps your ads stand out from your competitors’ and tends to entice more clicks.

In this post, we’ll explore a few of the highest performing and most popular ad extensions, their features, and how to implement them into your campaigns.

Sitelink Extensions

Sitelink extensions allow advertisers to display a short list of links to internal pages of their website that customers might find useful directly in the ad. They are a great way to provide additional value to your advertising efforts.

Sitelink extension example

The extra links make the ad bigger, allowing you to take up more real estate in the SERP, which in turn provides more brand exposure to your customers. Sitelinks also provide customers with additional options to get what they need from your site with fewer clicks and less work on their end.

Adding sitelinks is quick and simple. First, select a campaign, click the Ad Extensions tab and select Sitelink Extensions from the View drop-down menu.

Where to find sitelinks

You can create new sitelinks by clicking the +New Sitelink button. You’ll need to set up a link headline and a destination URL.

Create anywhere from two to six for each campaign; it’s a good rule of thumb to stick with an even number to ensure they format neatly.

Call Extensions

Call extensions are a great resource if your business relies on phone calls for leads. Google Ads doesn’t allow you to include phone numbers directly in ad descriptions or headlines. Thankfully, call extensions give you something better by adding an embedded, click-to-call phone number as an extension. You can also optimize call extensions by scheduling the time of the day you want to run them (i.e., only setting them to work during your business hours).

Set up is simple. First, select Call Extensions from the View drop-down menu. Then enter your business phone number and you’re done!

""

There is one more key feature within call extensions that we recommend setting up: Google forwarding phone numbers. This is a unique forwarding number provided by Google that allows you to track the phone calls that come from Google Ads.

Setting up call extensions

The additional tracking is powerful information. The downside is that Google can tell when customers call those numbers, which means they can charge you per call (same as the cost of a click). But in our opinion, it’s worth the small investment.

Location Extensions

Location extensions allow you to list your business’s address in your ads. There are a couple of different ways you can get your address to show. If you have a Google My Business account, you can link that up so your ads will pull information directly from there. If you don’t have an account, you can manually add new addresses.

To add locations, select Locations from the View drop-down menu. If you have Google My Business, you should link your account to the campaign by clicking Addresses and selecting the correct account.

""

If you don’t have Google My Business (we highly recommend you do if you’re a business with a physical location), you can select Manually Entered Addresses and +New extension. From here, you can enter your business information and apply it to all the campaigns.

Setting up location extensions

If entered correctly, the address should appear as it does below:

Location extension example

Callout Extensions

The final extension I want to cover is callout extensions. Callouts are a way to promote unique offers or additional benefits of your product or business.

Callouts can cover a wide variety of offers, whether it be an evergreen selling point (i.e., “Quality Service”) or a monetary offer (i.e., “Free Shipping”). Callouts are the easiest way to quickly and clearly show more value in your ad while also taking up more real estate on the SERP.

Adding callouts is an easy process. First, select a campaign, click the Ad Extensions tab and select Callout Extensions from the View drop-down menu.
You can then add callouts to either the account or a specific campaign. You can add as many as you want, but each callout needs to be 25 characters or less.

""

Final Thoughts

Ad extensions are a low effort, high payoff addition to any account that can add a ton of value to your consumers. Whether you want to get them to chat on the phone, go to a physical store, or just see that you offer free shipping, ad extensions can get that done for you.

The four that I mentioned here are easy to implement and are relevant to a majority of businesses, but there are other, less-used and more advanced ad extensions within Google Ads too. To learn more, a great resource is Google Ads Help Center.

Check out the rest of the six-part series:

PRIMER: What is PPC – Pay Per Click Marketing Explained
PART 1: Structuring Your Google Ads Account
PART 2: Understanding Campaign Settings
PART 3: Researching Keywords
PART 4: Writing Engaging Ads
PART 5: The Best Google Ads Extensions to Implement (you are here)
PART 6: Tracking Success

The post Building Successful PPC: The Best Google Ad Extensions to Implement appeared first on Portent.

]]>
http://www.ru10.icu/blog/ppc/building-successful-ppc-implementing-ad-extensions.htm/feed 0
An Introductory Guide to Internal Linking http://www.ru10.icu/blog/seo/intro-to-internal-linking.htm http://www.ru10.icu/blog/seo/intro-to-internal-linking.htm#respond Tue, 25 Aug 2020 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.ru10.icu/?p=53777 Internal links are links that point from one page on your domain to another. They come in all shapes and sizes, but the two most common types of internal links are navigational (your menu, for example) and contextual (links within the content of your website). Sounds simple, right? Go through your site, hyperlink a few […]

The post An Introductory Guide to Internal Linking appeared first on Portent.

]]>

Internal links are links that point from one page on your domain to another. They come in all shapes and sizes, but the two most common types of internal links are navigational (your menu, for example) and contextual (links within the content of your website).

Sounds simple, right? Go through your site, hyperlink a few keywords, and boom, you’re done. If only. Like literally everything else in the world, there’s more to it than that, and it begins with understanding what internal links do.

Internal Links Establish a Website’s Hierarchy and Navigation

These typically include links in the header, menu, and footer of your website, and they are more than “just a way” people navigate throughout your site. Internal links help define the path users take throughout your website and how your pieces of content are connected. The best example is an e-commerce website. The homepage links to individual categories, which contain subcategories, which link to specific items. The goal here is to make the content easily accessible to search engines through deliberate navigation.

""
Illustration of a link pyramid from Moz

Internal Links Help Search Engines Crawl a Site

Many tend to think of Google’s gateway to your site as the sitemap. It basically tells Google, “Hey, crawl these pages!” However, in most cases, new content on your site is not being added to the sitemap regularly, especially if you update your content frequently. So how does Google find this new content? Through internal links. Not only will your internal links help Google find the page the next time it crawls your site, but by being strategic and calculated with your internal linking, you can improve the chance of the new page ranking for targeted terms through the distribution of PageRank.

Infographic of how Google navigates the internet

Internal Links Distribute Authority

One of the biggest benefits of internal linking is the distribution of page authority throughout the rest of your site. When defining an internal linking strategy, one of the goals is to funnel authority from pages with a lot of it (i.e., pages with a lot of backlinks) to pages with a little less authority (i.e., the page you’re linking to).

A well-optimized website has lots of pages with external backlinks. These boost the domain authority of your site and help all pages to rank better. But PageRank is a renewable resource. Once a web page effectively uses PageRank for itself it can pass some of that authority along. If you’ve created a page that’s successfully garnered lots of external links, it absolutely makes sense to pass some of that hard-earned PageRank to other SEO targets.

When this authority is distributed via tactical internal linking, it can lead to improved rankings for terms related to the pages to which you’re linking.

To sum up, internal linking is a strategic and necessary aspect of SEO that helps define the architecture of your website and helps spread authority throughout your site. The former is essential for assisting Google and users alike to understand the content of your site. The latter helps establish its relevance.

The Dangers of Internal Linking

So we’ve established that internal linking is great for your SEO. It provides clear direction for the user, helps Google find the pages on your site, and distributes authority throughout your site. But, like all things related to SEO, there are some dangers when misused.

Can You Have Too Many Internal Links? Yes!

The most significant danger associated with internal linking is cannibalizing authority, or diluting the PageRank. Like all things SEO, you need to approach your strategy logically and organically. If you overuse internal linking tactics to the point where every page is littered with links to all other pages on your site (regardless of relevance), you run the risk of cannibalizing ranking authority from your relevant higher-level pages. Not every page should be a high-value landing page. You need to use the traffic and ranking data available to drive your strategy.

Over-Optimization

“Over-optimization” is incredibly easy to do if you dive into the internal linking process without a strategy behind it. Essentially, over-optimization means both keyword stuffing your anchor text in a way that feels unnatural and spammy, and linking so egregiously that their value diminishes.

Thankfully, all of these can be avoided if you just go into internal linking with a user’s mindset. What do they want? What information is most valuable to them? By keeping this at the forefront, you’ll naturally make Google happy and confer the many SEO benefits of internal linking throughout your site.

Internal Linking Best Practices

You don’t need to overthink internal linking. A well-planned website and navigation will typically lead to a fairly well-optimized site architecture, and employing some common sense can put you in a fairly good position to start. That being said, if you’re diving into a new internal linking strategy, there are some best practices you should follow.

Use Anchor Text Strategically

Anchor text can be tricky. Using too many “exact match” anchors can look unnatural and spammy (this is also true of backlinks). At the same time, not enough means you’re just leaving authority on the table. The trick is to use them organically and ensure that the reader understands what they’re getting when they click on the link.

This screenshot from a Portent blog post shows a link to a blog that uses the anchor text as the last part of a sentence, "human analysis of SERPS."

As you can see in the image above, the anchor text is used organically in the sentence to create a relevant internal link back to our blog post on analyzing SERPs for content creation.

An example of bad anchor text? “Learn more.” “Click here.” Or linking to a page on the decline and fall of the Roman Empire using the anchor text “this post.”

Ensure the Content You’re Linking to Is Relevant

If you’re visiting a website browsing sneakers to buy, and you click on a link that says “new men’s sneakers” and you’re taken to a page on women’s casual walking shoes…well, you get the point. This also extends to the relevance of the pages themselves.

Link Deep. Deeeeeeeeeeeep

Orphaned pages suck. If users can’t find the content, neither can Google. Blog posts, resources, and one-off pages that might not have found their way into the main navigation are great for internal linking (provided they’re relevant, of course).

Link Location Matters

Where you place links on the page is important. This is due in part to the “reasonable surfer model,” a Google patent that was filed in 2004 but granted in 2010 and states:

A system generates a model based on feature data relating to different features of a link from a linking document to a linked document and user behavior data relating to navigational actions associated with the link. The system also assigns a rank to a document based on the model.

Bill Slawski of SEO by the Sea has a number of great pieces written on the subject of the reasonable surfer model to help make sense of this, but the main takeaway is “the reasonable surfer model reflects the probability that someone will click on links, based upon the features related to them.” This effectively takes the randomness out of the equation, and considers elements such as “the color, the size, and the styles of fonts, the anchor text used in the links, and a number of other factors,” including link placement.

Reasonable Surfer GIF from Moz

To recap: relevant, organic links in your content? Great! Dozens of links in your footer to pages linked to nowhere else? Bad! A link to my short film that totally just dropped on Vimeo? I mean, I won’t say no…

Final Thoughts

Formulating an internal linking strategy is not a complicated process, though it does involve sifting through a lot of data and approaching things strategically. The one piece of advice I would give is this: just use common sense. Gone are the days of stuffing as many keywords as you can into your content and links. Focus on the user, and you’ll be just fine.

The post An Introductory Guide to Internal Linking appeared first on Portent.

]]>
http://www.ru10.icu/blog/seo/intro-to-internal-linking.htm/feed 0
CCPA, GDPR, and The Real Online Privacy Problem http://www.ru10.icu/blog/analytics/the-real-online-privacy-problem.htm http://www.ru10.icu/blog/analytics/the-real-online-privacy-problem.htm#respond Thu, 20 Aug 2020 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.ru10.icu/?p=53766 Several states are considering online privacy legislation with attractive optics for consumers. Using catchphrases like “right to be forgotten,” these bills garner public support easily. But the harsh reality is: Legislation like CCPA & GDPR passes the privacy buck downstream to individual businesses instead of addressing the real privacy concessions most consumers are making in […]

The post CCPA, GDPR, and The Real Online Privacy Problem appeared first on Portent.

]]>

Several states are considering online privacy legislation with attractive optics for consumers. Using catchphrases like “right to be forgotten,” these bills garner public support easily.

But the harsh reality is: Legislation like CCPA & GDPR passes the privacy buck downstream to individual businesses instead of addressing the real privacy concessions most consumers are making in signing their cell phone and ISP contracts before they ever reach an app or a web browser.

How CCPA and GDPR Create Inconsistencies in Online Privacy

These laws may seem airtight on paper. But in practice, they present significant holes and inconsistencies in privacy protection.

1. Consumers Get Little to No Privacy Benefit, Even When Companies Comply

Individual businesses, even larger enterprises, don’t have the resources to comply with these privacy laws in a timely manner, let alone with consistency for the end-users. As a result, consumers don’t always know what they’re automatically opted-in to or how to opt-out and be sure they’re truly opted-out.

2. Compliance Can Be Challenged… If You Can Afford It

Some companies don’t comply and dare the authorities to crack down on them and drag things out in court; others comply and are punished with lost data.

In the wake of GDPR, huge enterprises like British Airways and Sky News weren’t complying with the letter of the law, almost daring the EU to slap their wrist and take the lawsuit hit rather than potentially lose any data.

On the other hand, smaller businesses that can’t afford to fight the compliance issues in court are complying in full and losing large amounts of customer data as a result.

3. Compliance is Expensive, and Resources are Hard to Come By

Since the language of these laws is vague and wide-sweeping, complying can be a chore for smaller organizations without dedicated compliance officers and legal teams.

What can your brand do about it? Well, you have no choice but to comply, but we’ve created some resources for that!

We’ve written some blog posts for companies seeking to comply that provide cookie banner solutions and compare the key differences between GDPR and CCPA.

Why the Legislation Doesn’t Matter

Consumers have already signed away their rights. While companies don’t have much choice but to comply with the misguided laws, consumers should be wise to the holes in it and seek true online privacy protections.

The fine print in cell phone and ISP contracts gives large telecom companies carte blanche to sell or share customer data as they want with little or no consequences.

Last year, the Washington Post did an exposé on “forced arbitration” and how it renders a lot of privacy laws impotent in court. In it, they mentioned how companies like Verizon are able to avoid class-action lawsuits by nesting arbitration clauses in their terms and conditions. You know, the ones you sign when you buy a new device or agree to a new service contract.

In Other Words

Federal and state governments like the warm, fuzzy feelings that internet privacy legislation gives to their voting constituents. It appears that they’re doing something helpful to protect the public. But these laws are intentionally misguided, and they protect a handful of telecom companies from any culpability they have in violating their customers’ privacy.

Unless and until internet service contracts are at the center of the online privacy law discussion, there won’t be any true privacy protections for internet users.

The post CCPA, GDPR, and The Real Online Privacy Problem appeared first on Portent.

]]>
http://www.ru10.icu/blog/analytics/the-real-online-privacy-problem.htm/feed 0