Google has released an updated video on the AdWords auction and Ad Rank, the scoring system used in each auction that determines the order in which ads appear.
Chief Economist at Google, Hal Varian explains the AdWords auction since Google changes the formula to factor in the use of ad extensions and formats.
Varian’s Ad Rank formula visual now includes “Format Impact”. Varian walks through the factors that go into Ad Rank, how it is calculated and ways advertisers can raise their Ad Rank.
Whenever Google officially communicates information about their various algorithms, for obvious reasons there’s often more going on than meets the eye. I’ll try and share with you my opinion on what you really need to know about Google’s new Quality Score information.
At face value, the new material appeared to be an update of the older stuff, which is Google’s official position relating to how Quality Score results in happy customers, happy advertisers and a happy Google.
However, there was one rather huge change in positioning from previous materials — Google downplayed the importance of Quality Score stating:
Quality Score is a helpful diagnostic tool, not a key performance indicator. […] Your Quality Score is like a warning light in a car’s engine that shows how healthy your ads and keywords are. It’s not meant to be a detailed metric that should be the focus of account management. This just doesn’t add up. We know that Quality Score impacts ad position, impression share and cost-per-click. These metrics, in turn, directly affect the quantity and cost of your conversions. This — combined with the fact that as average Quality Scores have drifted lower over the years, the CPC savings of above-average Quality Score keywords is now worth up to 200% more than it was four years ago – certainly suggests that Quality Score is a key performance indicator.
And don’t take my word for it — in Google’s own 2011 video, “What is AdWords Quality Score and Why Does It Matter?,” Quality Score seemed much more important than a blinking engine light:
Quality Score is important in order for your ads to be successful. However, Quality Score also plays a key role in determining your ad’s position and how much you’ll pay for a click. In general, the more relevant your ad, the higher your Quality Score – and the higher yourQuality Score, the better your position and the less you will have to pay for a click. [...] Being successful with AdWords means getting your products or services in front of the people who are most likely to become your customers, and a high Quality Score can help make that happen.So, the real question to me isn’t whether or not Quality Score is a KPI, but why Google is suddenly reversing course and downplaying Quality Score’s significance.
We know that Quality Score (for both AdWords and Bing Ads) is mostly just a matter of beating the expected click-through rate for a given ad position. Ads that get above average CTRs get higher Quality Scores, and vice versa.
So, Quality Score is graded on a curve. Not everyone can achieve above average Click Through Rate — by definition, half of AdWords advertisers will be below average, and so it’s not possible for everyone to get high Quality Scores.
How Is Quality Score Calculated? One other big change I noticed was around the specific explanation of how Quality Score is calculated. Previously, Google used to say:
Only exact match keyword data on Google Search is used to determine a keyword’s Quality Score. This means clicks happening on phrase or broad match keywords do not factor into QS.However, now Google has added:
Instead of measuring new keywords from scratch, we start with info about related ads and landing pages you already have. If your related keywords, ads and landing pages are in good shape, we’ll probably continue to have a high opinion of them. Always invest in growing your coverage on relevant searches, especially in areas where your ads have the potential to be high quality. So, what does this mean? For starters, it means that they previously omitted key information. My read of this new info is that if your account has above average click-through rates, it will help out new keywords — this is consistent with what I see in the accounts I work on. This implies there are two things that advertisers should be doing:
Google omitted vital information in their old material, and with fair reason. After all, they have to protect their algorithms to prevent people from gaming the system. However, I personally doubt that they’re giving us the whole story this time, and I’d advise that you do your own research and take Google’s new information with a grain of salt.
Just like there are good and bad SEO firms, there are also good and bad SEO clients. When a prospective client comes running to us complaining about their current or former SEO firm, we always make sure to ask the right questions to determine whether it actually was the SEO firm’s fault that the SEO program wasn’t working or if it in fact might have been the client that was the culprit all along. The SEO client tends to think that they can never be the one to blame, since after all they are the ones that are paying for the service. However, there are many moving parts to an SEO campaign and if the SEO client doesn’t understand or isn’t involved as much as they should be, there’s a greater chance that they will claim that the SEO campaign isn’t working and that it’s time to jump ship.
If you want to be a good SEO client, you need to understand these 5 things:
SEO is an ongoing process. What frustrates SEO clients the most about SEO is that it is long term. Once you get started with an SEO campaign you might not see that much of an improvement in search position or website visitors for the first few months and some clients hate the thought of spending money on something that isn’t generating results. What needs to be understood about SEO is that the results will be there, but it’s just going to take some time. An important component of the search algorithm is how trusted a website is, and it takes time to establish your website and earn that trust.
Content is necessary. If you want to be successful with SEO today it’s about much more than optimizing existing site pages. The key to SEO is to create optimized content on an ongoing basis, specifically informational content that will help target audience members with their decision making. Each additional page of content in the form of a blog post, video, white paper, etc. is an additional page that can rank in the search engines for related keyword terms. Content is also what generates natural inbound links that point back to your site when the content gets shared and referenced.
Social media is necessary. Social media marketing shouldn’t be operated in a silo. Social media activity is tied to an SEO campaign because the search engines consider social signals as a part of the search algorithm. The majority of businesses still aren’t nearly as active in social media as they should be. The SEO clients that understand the importance of social media and spend time each day sharing content and interacting with target audience members will reap the benefits of doing so.
Quality is more important than quantity. The number of SEO clients that still ask questions like “How many links can you get me?” and “How many blog posts do I need to write to improve my ranking?” is shocking. SEO doesn’t work like that, at least it doesn’t anymore. Quality trumps quantity every time. 10 quality links built over a period of a few months is better than 500 links that have little value. In fact, there’s a good chance that those 500 links could come back to haunt you given the recent Penguin algorithm updates.
Target audience members are the top priority. Yes, SEO is all about the search engines. However, what the search engines want the most today is for website owners to provide their target audience members and website visitors with a good experience.
- See more at: http://www.brickmarketing.com/blog/best-seo-clients.htm?utm_source=6%2F10%2F14+-+12%3A00+PM+%28BM+Standard+Subject%29&utm_campaign=6%2F10%2F14+-+12%
As an SEO campaign moves along, it’s important to monitor the success of the campaign. It’s true that SEO is a long term strategy and that success won’t come over night, but as the campaign progresses you should be able to see small (but significant) gains along the way.
One item that should be monitored is the entrance keywords from organic search. This refers to the keyword that someone types in to a search engine, and then sees your page of content and clicks on it. An Analytics tool, like Google Analytics, allows you to pull this data for any time period that you choose.
There are essentially two types of entrance keywords. The first type of keyword is a “branded” keyword. This refers to a keyword that includes in some way or another the company name, such as “Company X”, “Company X services”, “Company X contact” and lots of other variations. A keyword could also be considered to be a branded keyword if it includes the name of anyone that works at the company or the brand name of the product that the company distributes. The second type of keyword is a “non branded” keyword. This type of keyword has no mention of the company name, product name, employee name, etc. It is simply a term that describes what the site has to offer. For example “running sneakers” is a non branded keyword since there is no company or brand affiliation.
The goal of an SEO campaign is to deliver traffic to a website from the search engines, and primarily from people that are searching using non branded keywords, people that have never heard of the company or product names before. If SEO primarily focuses on non branded keywords, what is an OK percentage of branded keywords?
There really isn’t a correct answer to this question, mostly because there is nothing wrong with branded keywords. This is something that clients often don’t quite understand. They see that a large percentage of their entrance keywords are branded and think that it means that the SEO campaign isn’t working. However, this type of comparison shouldn’t be used. A high percentage of branded entrance keywords doesn’t mean that SEO isn’t working. It means that all of your marketing efforts, both online and offline (and including SEO) ARE working. It means that you have a strong brand. People remember it and type it directly into the search box. If your site is well optimized and you have verified profiles on other sites, you will control the message that is seen.
Instead of comparing the percentage of branded keywords to the percentage of non branded keywords to determine the success of an SEO campaign, a better indicator of SEO success is to compare the number of non branded keywords to the number of non branded keywords before the campaign launched each month. Forget about percentages. Of course, the trend should move upwards but there may be occasional dips during some months, which is normal. The bottom line is that branded entrance keywords are never a bad thing. Having a lot of them just means that your brand is strong.
Link building has never been so challenging and contradicting as it is today.
– You need backlinks to make your site rank.
– You fear of wrong backlinks that put your site at risk of Google's penalty.
To keep your link-building effective yet penalty safe, you need to instantly identify and neutralise any harmful links in your profile.
That is why today, to help you make sense of what's truly harmful for your site, we'll show you the 7 deadly link-building mistakes that may be poisoning your site now
Find and neutralise harmful links before they ruin your ranks!
1: Backlinks from pages with excessive (over 1,000) outgoing links
When a backlink page links out to hundreds and thousands of other pages, its value drops drastically. And more to that, massive outgoing links can be a sign of low-quality spammy blog or directory. These backlinks are suspicious and need a closer inspection.
2: Links coming from pages with the same IP (same C-class)
Many backlinks coming from sites with identical IP addresses may show that some of your links are attained via link networks — which is a red flag for search engines. Inspect you backlinks for IP addresses.
3: Too many links with exact match anchor text
Standard practice used to be: you'd aim for about a 30% to 50% match. Now those numbers dropped drastically. So, look through your backlink anchor text and take action if exact match anchors exceed 10%!
4: Overoptimised anchor text and lack of anchors diversity
Just as with exact match anchor text, Google frowns at backlink profiles with too many optimized link anchors. Make sure your backlinks have a variety of natural anchor texts (junk anchors, branded phrases, naked URLs, etc.) and review site's links for overoptimized anchors.
5: Sitewide backlinks
A high number of blog-roll, header, footer or sidebar links can trigger Google's "overoptimization" wrath, so keeping them to a minimum would be a rather reasonable thing to do. The fewer sitewide backlinks — the better, so mark them all in your backlink profile for revision and possible removal.
6: Backlinks from pages not indexed in Google
When a web page is not indexed in the search engines, it's possible it was banned for violating search engine's rules. Logically, having links from de-indexed pages is a red flag too. Stay away from banned pages and domains.
7: Backlinks from pages that look suspicious and weak
Beware of the pages that offer quick and easy link opportunities, without even looking at your site's content and moderating submissions. These backlink pages may contain in title/body such words as "forum," "link directory," "article directory," "links," "submit url," etc. On the whole, be cautious about pages with very low PageRank (zero or n/a) and backlink domains with short history.
Website & Business owners have become fearful of link building due to Google's new algorithm updates. While understandable, what people need to comprehend is that links still play an important role in how a website is viewed by the search engines. Yes, it’s true that links can now harm a website for SEO purposes, but there are still good links too and links can also get a website to be viewed favourably. The key is to understand the difference between what constitutes as a bad link for SEO and a good link for SEO. There’s no doubt that the link building rules have changed after Penguin algorithm update, but that doesn’t mean that link building should be cut out of the campaign entirely.
Link building is still worthwhile as long as you follow these rules:
Before the search algorithms became the complex monsters that they are today, any link (within reason) was considered to be worth attaining for SEO purposes. The mantra was, the more links- the better. Today, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. As the search engines became more sophisticated they are now able to determine whether the context of one site relates at all to the context of another. If not, it’s a suspicious and sceptical link. For SEO today, the key is to spend time seeking out websites that are relevant to what you have to offer and looking for a link opportunity on those sites. In addition to being relevant to please the search engines, it also improves the chances that visitors to that site will be interested in what you have to offer and are more likely to click over and visit your site. The purpose of a website is to generate visitors and conversions after all. A link is acceptable in the eyes of the search engines if its primary purpose is to drive traffic to the site and not just to gain one more link for SEO.
Use the nofollow tag:
Depending on the nature of the link that you will get from a website, it might make sense to add the nofollow tag. This tag should definitely be used if the link is a paid link (advertising) and if it appears multiple times throughout the site. The nofollow tag essentially tells the search spider not to follow that link or consider it as part of the link portfolio that works to attain search engine trust. While it might not be the best type of link for SEO, what it tells the search engines is that the link is there for traffic generation only. The search spiders still see it, and a well rounded link portfolio of both followed and no followed links is desirable.
Minimal anchor text linking:
Once a staple in your SEO tool belt, anchor text linking was a primary target of the Google Penguin update because website owners were abusing it and it was ruining the overall experience of the web. The average web user doesn’t want to see a page of content full of linked keywords. Keyword anchor text linking should be avoided. The only type of anchor text linking that is still acceptable is the linking of branded terms, like the company name or the product or service that is sold. It’s a much more natural way to link.
If you are just getting started with a B2B SEO campaign or have added additional pages to your site that need to be optimized, it’s necessary to conduct keyword research. Using the Google Keyword Planner tool, you can type in the keywords that you would like to target and it will provide you with a list of additional related keywords and their corresponding average monthly search information (determined based on the location criteria that you set) and the level of competition (High, Medium, Low).
When we are conducting keyword research on behalf of a client and present our findings, we find that some B2B SEO clients become overly consumed with the monthly search numbers and want to only target the keywords that have the highest search volume. They think that by targeting a keyword that has a high search volume it means that their site will generate a high number of visitors. Unfortunately (like everything in SEO), it’s not that easy. A high search volume also correlates with a high level of competition since every other website owner in your niche is thinking the same thing.
At the start of an SEO campaign or if you are optimizing brand new pages, it’s best to stay away from targeting the high search volume and high competition keywords. At this point in the process, it’s advisable to instead target the mid range keywords, or keywords that fall somewhere in the middle. They still have a healthy search volume but aren’t as competitive as the keywords that have the highest search volume. Mid range keywords often include long tail keywords that are used by searchers that are looking for something specific, which actually improves conversion rate. Targeting mid range keywords also means that there is a better chance that your site will begin to rank more quickly for the keywords that you target.
Once you have started to gain some traction by targeting mid range keywords, you can then start to incorporate some of the more competitive keywords into the mix. SEO success is largely based on the trust of a website, which takes time to achieve. The search engines don’t want to rank web pages within a website that just started out and could potentially be a fly by night site that only exists for a short period of time. The search engines want to rank pages of a website that is established, has generated quality inbound links, and publishes quality content on a regular basis. It takes time for a website to gain that momentum and “move up the ladder” so to say which is why it’s important to target long tail keywords that will be an easier “win” with the search engines, at least initially. Over time, a competitive keyword is much more realistic to target, it just requires lots of work in order to get to that point.
This can be frustrating to many website owners, but it’s all part of why SEO is such a long term process. If you aren’t involved in SEO for the long haul, success is going to be minimal.
Before the big social media sites really took off, social bookmarking sites were a great way for users to collect and share content. Some social bookmarking sites, like Reddit and StumbleUpon, still get thousands of users a day and could be great source of traffic for your website provided you categorize your content correctly. But there are dozens, if not hundreds, of old social bookmarking sites that have fallen by the wayside in recent years. These sites might still allow you to post content but don’t provide any real value to your website other than a quick and easy link.
Who knows—in a few years we might not even really be able to call in “link building” because to build something means to actively create it. And if you are actively creating something how can it be natural? From what I’ve seen from Google in the last year or so they really want sites to earn those inbound links with great content, an active social media presence, and more organic online activity.
Google’s Webmaster Tools Guidelines explicitly say “Links with optimised anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites” are no considered unnatural. This means site owners can no longer use keywords as anchor text in their online press releases and should only use branded anchor text or direct links in the press release itself. Should your news story get picked up by a journalist the links can be followed, because they are earned, not placed.
Google is really pushing for link building to become more about link earning. The new attitude centers around the diea that if you wrote a guest blog post then you put the link in there, meaning it’s not an editorial “up vote;” it was a pre-planned link. In the Webmaster Guidelines Google’s John Mueller states;
Generally speaking, if you’re submitting articles for your website, or your clients’ websites and you’re including links to those websites there, then that’s probably something I’d nofollow because those aren’t essentially natural links from that website.
Should you get quoted or referenced in a post on another site (one that you did not write yourself) then that link can be followed since it is a naturally earned link.
B2Bs have always had a much trickier relationship with social media than B2Cs have. B2Cs typically have a much larger target audience than B2Bs, which tend to operate on a niche scale. The broad target audience is much better suited for the major social media outlets, which also appeal to the masses.
B2Cs can utilize social media to promote sales, share coupons, and publish discounts intended for social media followers only and this is the primary reason why people follow B2C brands in social media- to be in the know regarding deals and to save some money. B2Bs don’t have the luxury of reeling people in to their page with the allure of a page full of discounts and promotions, since many B2Bs just don’t operate that way. A B2B service or product, in many cases, has a perceived value that can be ruined if there are always coupons or promotions. B2B customers might wonder “really, how good is this product?” if it’s always discounted.
So, B2Bs need to utilize social media in a different way. Social followers are a combination of current customers and potential customers, much more so than with a B2C brand. Most followers of a B2C brand already are customers, and the social media page just serves to keep them interested and engaged and to encourage repeat business. B2B social media is used as more of a lead generation tool. B2B social media followers are visiting a social media page, and following a B2B social media page because they are looking for information. There’s a good chance that they are very early in the buying process. If a B2B is utilizing social media properly it means that they are sharing lots of useful, informational content in the form of blog posts, white papers, videos, webinars, etc. Each of these pieces of content are giving social media followers the information that they need about your industry and your business while they are still in the decision process. A social media connection on a B2B social media page doesn’t necessarily equal a sale, and even if it does equal a sale, it’s likely that it won’t come immediately.
This is a concept that can confuse B2B website owners, who are already confused enough by how to best use social media. They wonder why they are getting a handful of new followers every month, but that they haven’t seen any increase in leads or sales. These website owners need to understand the typical sales cycle of their product. It could be more than a year before a business is ready to commit. If you are slowly growing your social media count, that’s an important step in the process, but it’s really only one of the first steps in the process. Think about a new social media follower as an initial “meeting” between your business and the individual. If you meet a prospect any other way, at an industry event or a trade show for example, you might give them your business card. Do you think they will call you the next day and buy from you? Most likely not. They will keep the information handy for when they might need it. This is the same concept with a B2B social media follower, they are following you to learn more about what you have to offer so that they have the knowledge for when they are ready to buy.