February has come to an end and that means it’s time to dive back into the world of digital marketing updates. For me, it’s a habitual practice but for those of you new to the game, I’ve started finding articles or blogs published each month and then writing my take on them. The goal of these now monthly blogs is to highlight what’s new, changing, or going away in the digital marketing sphere and then create a conversation about the topics whether I see eye to eye with the author or not. This month there are five blogs in the lineup from some well-known platforms, so let’s jump right in.
In this PPC-centric article written by Moz’s Tanuja Mahdavi, you take a closer look at what exactly Google’s ad auction is, how specific elements are calculated (or at least close to the unrevealed calculation), and how it all affects your position for appearing in search engine result pages, if at all. Mahdavi does a great job of explaining the connection between AdRank, CPC, and Quality Score, as well as how their relationship provides more depth to the auction process. Typically marketers believe that if you set a higher maximum CPC that your ad will land in the top position of SERPs, however, that’s simply (and thankfully) not the case. Otherwise, unless you or your client have an outrageously high budget depending on the average CPC of your industry, you’ll get beat out by the wealthier competition every time, which in my opinion, is not true competition. Instead, you can focus on improving the aforementioned aspects to increase your chances of winning a better position.
Unless you live under a rock, chances are you’ve heard of the overpriced gift basket service called Edible Arrangements. I am personally a huge fan of both fruit and marketing so when I saw this article by Danny Goodwin from Search Engine Land regarding Edible Arrangements attempting to file suit against Google, I had to check it out. Essentially what happened is Edible IP filed a federal lawsuit against Google in 2018 claiming that selling their intellectual property (i.e. brand name) as a keyword to competitors is theft. The Supreme Court of Georgia clearly ruled siding with Google because the use of trademark, in this case, is not leading consumers to believe that competitors are impersonating their brand. While bidding is not illegal, you can get flagged for infringement if you use a competitors’ name in the headline of your ads. Google will encourage you to use the keywords you bid on in the ads for an improved CTR, but don’t be tricked – if you do, you could get your ad taken down and accrue other penalties.
Staying on the Search Engine Land track, international SEO is something interesting to explore. Corey Patterson’s recent article on avoiding SEO mistakes on an international basis drives home three main ideas to focus on in your international strategy based on a panel of marketing experts: create new targeted personas, optimize the international UX, and utilize Google PageSpeed Insights to ensure the site runs smoothly and quickly. I agree with these points but feel we could dig deeper. One nightmare that companies frequently face is optimizing through language barriers, so my recommendation would be to invest in translators native to your new target market who understand the hidden cultural nuances of their home country as well as differences in demographics.
All digital marketers understand the importance of a solid meta description and the guidelines you have to follow. From character limits to keyword inclusion, finding the right words to convey what you need searchers to know in a concise way isn’t always easy. Gabka Koscove from Semrush begins this blog by encouraging readers to capitalize on quality (content) over quantity (character length) when writing meta descriptions. At first, I was on the hard defense of prioritizing quantity simply because I like for my search results to be straight to the point, useful, and clean. Anything past 160 characters just looks excessive. But I definitely see what they mean. Showing expertise may be more important than sticking to visual length, however, I stand by the 160 rule. There are some other good tips mentioned as well: don’t duplicate the metas, incorporate keywords, be honest about what the page is about, and get creative with your writing, but my favorite would have to be utilizing structured data. They report that 57% of companies fail to use this practice so “don’t be lazy” and set it up ASAP.
Now we will wrap up February’s Digital Round-Up with a WordStream discussion on customer insights, their importance, and how to collect and use them (basically how to determine your target market). Customer insights are defined in this blog as “interpretations and patterns of all the qualitative and quantitative data you collect on your customers across all of your touchpoints.” Using these insights can help to improve marketing efforts such as developing consumer personas. So where do you get these metrics? The author lists 10 sources: online reviews, competitor reviews, website data, competitor website data, purchase activity, surveys, interviews, case studies, partnerships, and social media. Each source then has several ways to apply the insights. My favorite of the 10 listed is website data, due to the intricate tracking capabilities from Google Analytics. From recording geographic and demographic data to racking goals and conversion paths, you can tell you so much about consumer behavior and exactly who you need to be targeting.
And so concludes today’s blog. After perusing the internet looking for updates in digital marketing, I was pleasantly surprised with the turnout. Sometimes the content on the world wide web can get repetitive or persistently unhelpful but I found these particularly useful. Stay tuned for March’s edition of Digital Round-Up and until then, happy searching!