All posts tagged Google
We’ve known for some time that mobile search is a crucial part of strengthening any web presence, but with the introduction of Google Now businesses will see their mobile search efforts interjected in even more exciting (and beneficial) ways than ever before.
It’s no surprise that Google is refining its data intelligence on yet another level; Google Now (using “Google cards”) shows web page suggestions based on the user’s previous searches.
This feature will no doubt take its queues from traditional search queries, but will also be enhanced by mobile search considerations such as time and location.
Geo-Targeting on the Go
In addition to page suggestions, Google Now offers a concierge-like service that delivers local traffic, hotels, restaurants and shopping tailored to your exact location.
So if you leave New York City and arrive in Austin, you will have real-time data at your fingertips including reviews, events, transit, and tourist information.
This presents a huge opportunity for businesses targeting local customers, whether residents or visitors.
With Google Now, businesses should be thinking about how they want to appear on mobile search with regards to reviews, directions, business information, and accessibility (phone number, email address, instant chat).
In order for businesses to take advantage of Google Now, which is already available on Android and iOS devices, a strategic approach is needed for effective mobile search marketing.
As this service develops more features in the future, businesses will need to have a firm grasp on users’ search intent in order to get the clicks they want and the conversions they need to survive in an increasingly on-the-go environment.
Google Vs. Online Spam Reviews
We’ve seen Google attack spammy content on web pages for more than a year, and now it’s taking on the same agenda with its online reviews. Its new and improved spam detection algorithms will filter through the “garbage” to give users the reviews that are, in Google’s words, “honest, useful and written by real people.”
What does this mean for negative reviews? According to Google’s review update page, they won’t be taking down the “undesirables” but they do warn users not to work with companies claiming they have a relationship with Google to eliminate bad reviews. Instead, the search engine giant encourages businesses to address the concerns and comments of its customers.
Links Out, Legitimacy In
In addition to sorting through spam reviews (yes, the new algorithms will be able to spot a fake review), Google is removing all reviews that contain links. This is to eliminate redirects to other sites or possible malware, further protecting the user.
With the new online review update, Google hopes to increase the amount of legitimate recommendations coming from people who have really experienced the products or services of a business. Therefore, they also will not tolerate posts made on behalf of others. Finally, users are asked to report reviews in question by clicking the grey flag icon next to the review and submitting their information.
Have you already seen a difference in your online reviews following this update? If so, how is this change affecting your current online presence?
What is Quality Score?In order to determine how relevant your ads, keywords and landing pages are to a person who will see your ads, Google assigns a quality score to each keyword (1 being lowest, 10 being highest). In other words, your quality score reflects how good of a user experience your keyword provides. The more relevant your ad, the higher your quality score. The higher your quality score, the better positioning your ad receives and the less you pay for CPC.
You can see why improving your quality score is important to getting more of your ads in front of customers and – even better – getting them to buy your products or services.
How to Improve Google AdWords Quality ScoreImproving your quality score isn’t rocket science, but it does require some commitment of your time. Luckily, we’ve assembled a few tips to help you get in there and make the most of it.
- Check your Adwords quality scores. It’s easier to know where you need to go if you understand where you are starting, and you can do so by logging in to your Google AdWords account and reviewing the quality scores for each keyword.
- Analyze and organize your groups. The more organized your AdWords groups, the better your overall score. If you find that one keyword doesn’t match the rest in the group, create a new group for that specific keyword. Likewise, if you have misspelled keywords mixed in with correctly spelled keywords, then make a separate group for the misspelled words. By differentiating, you can improve the quality scores for both groups.
- Create original ad copy for each group. No copycats allowed. Be sure each group has its own, dedicated ad copy. This ensures that the number of keywords per ad group is low, giving you a higher overall quality score.
- Insert keywords into your ad copy. Quality score can be significantly improved by placing the keywords from each group within the corresponding ad copy.
- Designate a landing page for each group. There doesn’t need to be a separate landing page for every group, but every group should have its own landing page. That being said, try not to assign too many groups to a landing page. Make sure the keywords from the corresponding groups are on the landing page itself, but with no more than 5-10 keywords per page.
- Always be testing. In order to understand which ads are converting the best, write two ads for each group so you can compare them. Check the insights on AdWords to see how each is performing, so that you can use the one that boosts quality score the most.
The free ride is over. Google Product Search, the free product listings that show up on Google SERPs and under the Google Shopping tab in the US, will be replaced by the paid format called Product Listing Ads by Fall of this year. Sameer Samat, Google VP of Product Management, wrote earlier this month: “Today we’re announcing a new initiative to improve our shopping experience over time — so that shoppers (your customers) can easily research purchases, compare different products, their features and prices, and then connect directly with merchants to make their purchase.”
This new format creates unique ads that visually display a product’s image, price, business name, and other pertinent information. This format is for promoting specific products for sale alongside other advertisers’ products. You can include information like a product image, title, price, and your store or business name. These Product Listing ads will appear in both Google search results, as well as Google Shopping whenever someone enters a search query relevant to a particular item.
The perceived benefits (ostensibly to offset the fact they are no longer free) are:
- More leads: According to Google’s data, a sizable percentage of businesses experience significantly higher click-through rates with product listing ads versus standard text ads.
- Better qualified leads: Typically, the more information you feature directly in an ad, the more likely a potential customer is to complete the purchase on your site.
- Easier management: No keywords necessary. Your product listing ads are automatically matched with the most relevant searches using the targets you specify in your Google Merchant Center account.
- Broader reach: depending on search relevancy, your product reach could double since multiple product listing ads, or a combination of those and standard text ads, can be shown at the same time.
Note: According to Google, the ads may appear on their other Search Network sites such as Image Search. Also, Product Listing ads will appear in their own box on search results pages, separated from the standard text ads, but they may appear on the same search results page as these text ads.
Clicks on product listing ads are charged on a CPC (cost-per-click) basis, or the more conversion-centric CPA (cost-per-acquisition) percentage basis. The latter is currently only available for select merchants in the US. Since product listings don’t use keywords, users must use certain relevant attributes in their Google Merchant Center product feed to define product targets. Basically, these are groups of products specified by brand, product type, and other criteria. Once this is determined, bids can be set for product targets.
How to Create a New Product Listings Campaign
- Sign into your AdWords account
- Click the Campaigns tab
- Click the New Campaign button
- Name your campaign
- Select your targeting options
- Enter your budget and CPC or CPA bid
- Under Ad Extensions click “Extend my ads with relevant product details from Google Merchant Center”
- You should see your previously created Merchant Center account listed under extension choices
- Click Save and Continue
- Give your new Ad Group a name and select “Create Products Listing Ad”
- Click Save
The new version of Google Shopping will debut this fall, so merchants have the next few months to transition to this new model. Google is offering a few incentives to encourage merchants to begin using the new ads earlier, including a monthly credit for 10 percent of a merchant’s total product listings if they create an ad by August 15th. Existing Google Product Search users will receive $100 in AdWords credit toward new ads if they complete a form before the same date.
Lastly, for merchants that want to stand out among other sellers, they can participate in the new Google Trusted Stores. This program will provide special badges to merchants that add company information to their profiles, such as ratings for on-time shipping and exemplary customer service.
In our previous post, we discussed the importance of micro conversions in setting and tracking the specific goals of your website. Google Analytics now allows you to experiment with different variations of your content to see how these are affecting both your micro and macro conversions.
Announced earlier this month, Google Analytics’ Content Experiments will now allow you to optimize for the goals you have already set up on your site’s account by delivering actionable data on which page designs, layouts, and content are most effective for driving conversions. It’s a similar tool to Google’s Website Optimizer, only instead of being integrated with AdWords, it’s built into Analytics. As a result, Website Optimizer will be phased out over the summer with the last day of access scheduled for August 1, 2012.
Some early critics of this offering have mentioned the inability to run multivariate testing (testing various combinations of components on a single page) within the tool, but this is actually a totally different type of testing. In theory, Content Experiments would be a more dynamic form of testing than standard A/B or multivariate. By combining a robust new statistical engine with an intuitive layout, it promises:
- A setup wizard providing step-by-step instructions for setting up experiments and quickly launching new tests
- Reuses existing GA tags so that you only need to add one additional tag to the original page
- Provides insight into which content performs best and identifies a “winner” once statistically significant data has been collected
By offering different variations of your site’s content, you’re essentially letting your audience decide how your site should look and function. Google is rolling this out gradually, so it won’t be available for all sites for at least a few more weeks. Once available, it is simple to set up:
- Under the Content section, click Experiments
- Add the URL for the original page, then the variations you’ve uploaded
- You can add up to five full variations of the page you’re testing (or six, according to their rollout video)
- Select which goal you’d like to improve, and what percentage of visitors to include in each page experiment
- Once the code is added to your site, you can review the full experiment and go live
Once live, it tracks how visitors convert and compares the experiments to the original page while in progress. During the testing phase you can also see the likelihood of the variations to outperform the original – giving you quicker, predictive data that you can act on without having to wait for a clear-cut “winner”.
When running a website, being able to figure out where your traffic is coming from and what it’s doing once it reaches your site is critical. Because of this glaring necessity, Google Analytics is arguably one of the best things that’s ever happened to webmasters, but it can also be an information overload to the uninitiated. Even those who have been using the tool for a long time often discover a new feature or a new way to take advantage of an existing one.
If you’re going to start using any version of web analytics, be it paid or free, learning the lingo is a good foundation to build upon. Once you learn some of the basics, the intuitiveness of many of these platforms, especially Google Analytics, will allow you to track and influence your site’s traffic and significantly increase its value.
Understanding some common terms in analytics is essential. For instance, “bounce rate” is a term that is thrown around frequently. The bounce rate is simply the ratio of people who visit your site and leave after seeing one page compared to the total number of visitors. “Unique visitors” is another term that is used often. This is a term that simply refers to individuals who come to your site for the first time. Also, learn your acronyms! Terms like CPA (cost per action), CPC (cost per click), and CTR (click through rate) are some of the most commonly referred to, and most important metrics within web analytics.
Identify Where Revenue Comes From
One of the nice things about using web analytics is that you can actually see exactly where your revenue is coming from by identifying which traffic sources produce the most sales or conversions. For instance, if people that get to your site from the search engines convert at a much higher rate than those who get there from advertising, you’ll know which visitors you want more of on your site. Additionally, you can create custom channels to segment the data even further. Find out which traffic sources are being used by people who have already been to your site, and which are being used by first time visitors.
Broaden Your View
Try to use a holistic approach to examining your website traffic. These means focusing on several key parameters in order to get a comprehensive idea of what is happening. Most people who use analytics focus on just one piece of data, like the overall number of visitors, or the keyword that is sending the most traffic, or with the highest conversion rate. These can only give you a skewed view of what’s happening. It’s just as important to focus on time on site and many other factors that aren’t always immediately obvious.
Use Calculated Metrics
When examining the traffic from your website, you need to use calculated metrics as much as possible. For example, using the ROI or return on investment metric will help you see exactly what you are getting out of the dollars that you’re investing in your site.
Another attractive feature of using analytics software is that it allows you to convert the data into graph mode. When you see things on a graph, they are much easier to visualize, especially historically. This allows you to figure out where trends are occurring and what is really happening on your site. Since numbers can only go so far to give you an idea of what is going on, using graph mode is the best way to get a bird’s eye view of what’s really happening on your site – the image at the top of the post being a great example of this.
In our ongoing effort to provide the highest standard of web analytics consulting, we’re introducing our new ongoing Google Analytics series today. We plan to cover both general strategies as well as more granular tactics that both web analytics novices and experts can glean helpful information from. To begin, we answer a simple question: what are the benefits of using web analytics?
Analytics is the difference between a good website and a great website. Without knowing where your traffic comes from or when and why it leaves, your website will not be able to become the successful website you want it to be. Google Analytics fulfills this essential need by creating a web analytics solution that can be used by both website owners and marketers to better understand their users’ experiences, optimize site content, and track marketing performance. In essence, Google Analytics is a lot like a football team’s video analysis personnel who monitor every play for exactly why it failed or succeeded. It’s not glamorous and it doesn’t come with a lot of thanks, but without it, any team is hard pressed to win.
Google Analytics is user friendly and intuitive to use, meaning anyone with a website can set up Google Analytics relatively easily and start tracking the traffic to their website in a short amount of time. The data is reliable, and for a free service, quite robust. Website owners can establish goals, track conversions, determine which keywords are driving people to their site, and with newer versions of Analytics, even determine what percentage of clicks certain buttons on a page drive. Once Google Analytics is installed it starts collecting all of this data and more about the website in order to help website owners make informed decisions that can help their websites succeed.
Regardless of your objectives for your website, it’s important that some sort of analytics tracking is established to monitor how your website is performing. Without analytics a website owners’ ability to grow their website into a successful, thriving business or community is almost impossible. Google Analytics is the best choice for any website owner looking to improve their website and have a myriad of tools at their disposal for little to no cost.
Keep coming back for more information about best practices for using Google Analytics, as we plan to cover many of its important aspects and how it can help your business in the posts to come.