Google Local Pack Rank – Text in reviews impacts your rank

Let us say you have some service which is not your main business but still you want to rank for that in the Local Pack. How can you do that?

For example, a martial art gym or a gymnastics facility might want to rank for “Birthday Parties” but Birthday Parties are surely not their main business, so how can they do that?

One way is to encourage your users of that particular secondary service, to write descriptive reviews including the  name of that secondary service in the review, if possible. See the following screenshot for an example.

Text in reviews impacts your Local Rank

I am reasonably sure, that the review mentioning “sons birthday party” is helping “Champions Gymnastics” rank in the local pack for birthday party related search query.

Disclaimer – Champions Gymanstics is not my client. This is just a screnshot to illustrate my point.

Adwords country blocking and wordfence settings in WordPress

Wordfence is a very useful plugin for wordpress. However on most sites I have worked on recently, I have realized that most webadmins just install wordfence with default settings.

However if you are using Google Adwords, then do remember to uncheck the “Block access to the rest of the site (outside the login form)” in the “Country Blocking Options” within the “Blocking” submenu of Wordfence settings.

adwords country blocking policy and wordfence settings in wordpress

 

Wordfence also explain it here.

 

AdWords conversion tracking tag vs importing Google Analytics goals

Two useful resources

Differences Between AdWords Conversion Tags & Google Analytics Goals Import

Above article is a definite read to understand differences between using the AdWords conversion tags & importing Google Analytics goals into Adwords.

However, after reading above Lunametrics article you must read this detailed Google resource at

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2679221?hl=en

Does the new Global Site Tag (gtag.js) change anything mentioned in the above articles? (as in October 2017)

In my opinion, the new gtag.js does not change any of the details mentioned in the articles. It is just a new tracking code but GA and Adwords continue to handle data in the way explained in both above articles.

What do I prefer?

I prefer using both GA and Adwords tags together.

I set up interaction related goals (which are not real business goals but still important like “Viewed more than two pages”) using Google Analytics. I import these goals into Adwords and treat them as “soft-conversions”. These type of soft-conversions can be helpful in various cases, for example in analyzing the value of display clicks and other such cases. Mostly, I do not include these soft conversions in the conversions counted by Adwords, so these would show in “All conversions” column in Adwords but not in the “Conversions” column.

However in most Adwords accounts, I prefer the Adwords tag for counting hard conversions like form fills because if a paid click plays any role in a hard-conversion like generating a lead (form-fill), then I prefer attributing it to Adwords, rather than Organic search or anything else. (I understand that many people may not agree with this approach and neither am I advocating it as a definite best practice.)

I could still set up the hard conversions (like form fills) in Google Analytics too but I wont import them into Adwords. This would allow me to see the same data in a different perspective without messing up data.

As with most things concerning data analysis, there is no definite best method for all accounts, so it is good to understand differences between AdWords conversion tags & importing Google Analytics goals and using them appropriately.

Automation is changing the way Adwords accounts are managed

Matt Lawson currently Managing Director, Ads Marketing at Google has written a very interesting article on account structure.

Many PPC Managers, including me, are what can be called “control freaks” – we like to tweak accounts in the hope of making them as relevant as possible, to squeeze as much performance as possible. This is of course time consuming but so far it has been very rewarding.

However even I am noticing that with automation algorithms becoming smarter, we can now stop tweaking a lot of small controls and start focusing at the big picture.

There is a definite need to give up the old way of managing accounts and start considering automation algorithms as a partner. The automation is still far from perfect but it’s worth a try as an experiment for sure. As we all know, more automation is definitely the way forward.

Analyzing what is happening is even more important when we give away some part of control to the algorithm.

Our role as PPC managers will now be even more focused on the big picture, analysis and making sure that automation is doing what we want it to do.

As of now, at least for some more time, I will continue to keep a mix of management style – some controls and some amount of let-go to the automation algorithms. However I am definitely convinced that it’s time to start thinking the way Matt is advocating in this article on Search Engine Land.

Responsive web design – Make your images meaningful on different devices

Desktop screen sizes are becoming larger and at the same time the consumption of content on mobile devices is growing exponentially.

A user browsing your website on a large desktop screen will certainly appreciate the large high quality images your website might be using but those same images can hamper the mobile user experience.

I already follow some of these tips and hence really liked the solutions presented in this article –

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/big-pictures-small-screens/

This basically means your mobile website will be somewhat different from your desktop website. This would help optimize the user experience on each device. Despite this difference, your website could still be “responsive”. You do not need two completely different code bases.

If your website is using popular platforms like WordPress you can use simple plugins for detecting whether the device is a mobile and then customize content as per the device. Media Queries (CSS technique) can also help in this but using media queries may not be efficient for “hiding” large images.

This post is not about the techniques to use but to emphasize that it is important to give your users an excellent experience.

You should definitely take the time to plan how your images are being served on different devices.

The future of marketing – Relevant, Personalized and Assistive. (All 3 are important)

Marketing should be about bringing the right buyers to the right products.

Bombarding ads in name of marketing is something I have always been against.

mobile advertising ppc management

Consumers always have a choice” and mobile has strengthened this statement even more because now information is so readily available.

As Sridhar Ramaswamy, SVP Ads & Commerce at Google himself says in this article :

The expectations for relevant, personalized, and assistive experiences will continue to skyrocket.

I am also of the firm opinion that marketing is going to play a more and more assistive role in future.

Most current websites (especially those of small businesses, local businesses) are just not ready for this change. They are still quite static almost like a brochure or booklet. Even many large companies do not have websites which are really driven by this assistive role.

The advertising also needs to change.

I have always tried to be granular in my approach, trying to align as much as possible with user intent, as much as we can understand it from just the search query. I have also run ads to test “user intent” in cases where the search term does not clarify the intent on its own.

I strongly believe that advertising and marketing must understand user need, and the messaging, as well as the medium of delivering the message, must be relevant to user need.

This is not new but still it is an often ignored situation because there are costs of going “granular”, in trying to understand and align with user intent.

However, now, it is time that marketers must align with user intent and user needs more than ever.

I agree with Sridhar that

We’re heading toward an age of assistance where, for marketers, friction will mean failure, and mass messages will increasingly mean “move on.”

Do read the full article written by Sridhar at this link.

You can also join the Google Marketing Next event livestream on May 23, 2017, at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET.  I am sure it will be interesting. I will be joining for sure.

 

Value track parameters can be very useful with third party tracking tools like Hotjar

Auto tagging works well to communicate data between Google AdWords and Google Analytics, when both are linked together.

However if you are using third party analytics or tracking solutions like HotJar, then value track parameters can be very useful. ( You should not use UTM parameters along with auto tagging.)

For example, a useful tracking template for a search campaigns could be

{lpurl}&kwd={keyword}&mt={matchtype}&nw={network}&dev={device}&crid={creative}

which would tell you the keyword responsible for the click, the match type , the network (search, search partner or display), the device and the creative id (the ad which send the traffic to you).

Suppose you are watching a visitor’s video recording in HotJar to understand customer behavior on your website. Now without value track parameters, it’s difficult to guess what might be the intent of the visitor.

However if you have value track parameters set up, then you know the keyword that bought the person to your site, the creative id, the network and other information as relevant. All of this is useful information which can help you analyze better.

Similarly for display campaigns, the following tracking template could be useful as a campaign level tracking template :

{lpurl}?placement={placement}&network={network}&dev={device}&adgrpid={adgroupid}&targetid={targetid}&creative={creative}

Your usage might require more customization.

Do check the list of Adwords value track parameters available at – https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/6305348?hl=en

The AdWords interface keeps changing but currently you can set value track parameters at campaign level by accessing the Settings > All Settings tab at campaign level. Look under Advanced Settings > Campaign URL options (advanced) > Tracking Template.

Most websites including WordPress websites usually work perfectly with value track parameters. However you should be especially careful if you are using some third party website ( like may be a ticket booking site) as your landing page in some ads. There is a rare chance that these sites may not work correctly with value track parameters.

So, when you enter the tracking template, always use the “Test” button (given in the AdWords interface) to make sure the landing page is still accessible with your value track parameters. It takes only a few seconds but you will be sure that your tracking and ads are working correctly.

I hope value track parameters will be useful to you.

Google Search Console reliability

Google Search Console is a valuable free tool for SEO.

The data provided by Google Search Console is definitely useful for understanding your SEO position and making relevant decisions about the next steps to improve SEO.

However the limitations of Google Search Console data and its reliability should be carefully understood before making any decisions based on that data.

This article on MOZ is very useful in understanding Google Search Console data reliability.

You should also read the following comments in the above article :

sub001’s comment
https://moz.com/blog/google-search-console-webmaster-tools-reliability#comment-417822

David Butler’s comment
https://moz.com/blog/google-search-console-webmaster-tools-reliability#comment-417678
and Russ’s reply
https://moz.com/blog/google-search-console-webmaster-tools-reliability#comment-417710