Back to Top

Bing Hotel Ads moving out of beta to general release with Koddi

The release opens up another paid channel for hotel marketing.

The post Bing Hotel Ads moving out of beta to general release with Koddi appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 day ago from

Local search industry optimistic about 2018 — but less likely to hire

Columnist Jamie Pitman shares insights about the state of the local search industry from BrightLocal’s Local Search Industry Survey.

The post Local search industry optimistic about 2018 — but less likely to hire appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 day ago from

An Argument for Automatic Placements on Google Display

While click fraud may be a real thing, avoiding aspects of the Google Display Network isn’t an easy fix. Great display strategy starts with great data.


Reblogged 1 day ago from

4 Ways to Connect Your Paid Search & Shopping Campaign Efforts

Paid Search and Shopping campaigns in Google Adwords are sometimes looked at as separate entities and in other circumstances users don’t even realize the difference in targeting tactics between the two.


Reblogged 1 day ago from

Google dropping Merchant Center feed integrations with BigCommerce, Magento, PrestaShop

Google’s direct upload support to end March 20, 2018.

The post Google dropping Merchant Center feed integrations with BigCommerce, Magento, PrestaShop appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 day ago from

Side by side: Comparing two performance marketing tools/agencies

Columnist Andreas Reiffen shares his method for testing two different AdWords tools/agencies — a process which could also be applied to test different campaign strategies.

The post Side by side: Comparing two performance marketing tools/agencies appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 day ago from

Why Search Agencies Should Embrace the Adjacency of Email Marketing

Posted by davidmihm

As someone who’s spent virtually his entire career in local search, I’m by no means an early proponent of email. But in my interactions at marketing conferences, studies of industry research, and social media conversations, I get the feeling that many of my peers are even further down the adoption curve than I’ve been.

With this post, I encourage you to take a hard look at email marketing for yourselves, or an even harder look if you’ve already done so. If you’ve focused exclusively on offering SEO and SEM services to clients in the past, I hope I’ll convince you that email should be a natural and profitable complement to those offerings.

And if you’re a local business reading this post, I hope many of these points convince you to take a look at email marketing yourselves!

Making the case for email

High ROI

With a return on investment (ROI) of 44:1, marketers consistently rate email as the top-performing channel. According to Campaign Monitor, that ROI has actually increased since 2015, and it’s particularly true for B2B companies. Despite the supposed unpopularity of email among millennials, it remains far and away the most-preferred channel by which to receive communication from a business.

Just plain cheap

The fact that email’s so cheap helps the denominator of that 44:1 stat a bunch. Mailchimp is free up to 2,000 subscribers, as are MailerLite and SendinBlue, and many other providers offer plans under $10/month depending on your number of subscribers.

It’s also cheap in terms of time cost. Unlike social media where daily or even hourly presence performs best, email allows you to duck in and duck out as you have time.

As far as the numerator, average open rates far exceed social media reach on most platforms. And even if they don’t open, ⅓ of people report purchasing based on an email they received from a brand (!). Search provides better purchase intent, but the top-of-mind awareness and referral potential from email is unmatched.

Makes other channels more effective

Gathering customer email addresses is essential for other critical forms of local business marketing already — you need an email address to ask for a review, build lookalike audiences, and make customer intelligence solutions like FullContact most effective.

Actually offering something of value, whether that’s a discount code, loyalty program, whitepaper, or newsletter subscription, increases the odds of earning that email address for all of those purposes.

Last best option?

Frankly, the number of organic digital channels available to small businesses is shrinking. Facebook’s latest announcement signals a tough road ahead there for businesses without the budget to Boost posts, and Google’s expansion of its Local Service Ad program to verticals and locales across the United States in the next couple of years seems inevitable to me. Now is the time to start building an email program as these monetization pressures intensify.

Why agencies should offer email

Your customers know it works.

Local businesses might be more aware of email’s potency than some of the agencies that are serving them. Email consistently rates among the top three marketing channels in industry surveys by the Local Search Association, StreetFight, Clutch, and more.

At the very least, email requires barely any client education. Unlike the black box of SEO or the complexity of PPC, by and large, small businesses inherently understand email marketing. They know they should be sending emails to their customers, but many of them just aren’t yet doing it, or are doing it poorly.

It’s a concrete deliverable.

Unlike so much of the behind-the-scenes work that leads to success in SEO, clients can actually see an email campaign delivered to their inbox, as well as the results of that campaign: every major Email Service Provider tracks opens and clicks by default.

It leverages existing offerings.

I already mentioned some of the ways that email marketing complements other channels above. But it can tie in even more closely to an agency’s existing content offering: many of you are already developing full content calendars, or at the very least social content.

<pitch>(For those clients whom you’re helping with social media, their newsletter can be built using Tidings with no additional effort on your part.)</pitch>

Building email into your client content strategy can help their content reach a deeper audience, and possibly even a different audience.

It’s predictable.

Though you could argue that the Gmail and Apple Mail interface configurations are algorithms of a kind, generally speaking, email marketing is not subject to wild algorithmic changes or inexplicable ranking fluctuations.

And unlike Google’s unrealistic link building axiom that great content will naturally attract inbound links, great content actually does naturally attract more subscribers and more customers as they receive forwarded emails.

You can expand it over time.

Unlike SEO for local businesses, which generally includes relatively easy wins up front and gets progressively harder to deliver the same value over time, email marketing offers numerous opportunities to expand the scope of your engagement with a client.

Beyond fulfilling the emails themselves, there are plenty of other email-related services to offer, including managing and optimizing list sign-up, welcome emails and drip campaigns, A/B testing subject lines and content, and ongoing customer intelligence.

Tactical ingredients for success with email

Use a reputable Email Service Provider.

Running an email marketing program through Gmail or Outlook is an easy way to get your primary address blacklisted. You also won’t have access to open rate or click rate, nor an easy way to automate signups onto specific lists or segments.

Be consistent.

Setting expectations for your subscribers and then following through on those expectations is a particularly important practice for email newsletters, but also holds true for explicitly commercial emails and automated emails.

You should be generally consistent with the day on which you send weekly specials, appointment reminders, or service follow-ups. Consistency helps form a habit among your subscribers.

Consistency also applies to branding. It’s fine to A/B test subject lines and content types over time, but don’t shoot yourself in the foot from a brand perspective by designing every email you send from scratch. Leave that kind of advanced development to big brands with full in-house email teams.

The other reason to be consistent is that designing for email is really, really difficult — a lesson I learned the hard way last year prior to launching Tidings. Complex email clients like Microsoft Outlook use their own markup languages to render emails, and older email clients can’t interpret a lot of modern HTML or CSS declarations.

Choose a mobile-first template.

Make sure your layout renders well on phones, since that’s where more than 2/3 of email gets opened. Two- or three-column layouts that force pinching and zooming on mobile devices are a no-no, and at this point, most subscribers are used to scrolling a bit to see content.

As long as your template reflects your brand accurately, the content of that layout is far more important than its design. Look no further than the simple email layouts chosen by some of the most successful companies in their respective industries, including Amazon, Kayak, and Fast Company.

Pick a layout that’s proven to work on phones and stick with it.

Include an email signup button or form prominently on your website.

It’s become a best practice to include social icons in the header and/or footer of your website. But there’s an obvious icon missing from so many sites!

An email icon should be the first one in the lineup, since it’s the channel where your audience is most likely to see your content.

Also consider using Privy or Mailmunch to embed a signup banner or popover on your website with minimal code.

The specific place of newsletters

Plenty of people way smarter than me are on the newsletter bandwagon (and joined it much earlier than I did). Moz has been sending a popular “Top 10” newsletter for years, Kick Point sends an excellent weekly synopsis, and StreetFight puts out a great daily roundup, just to name a few. As a subscriber, those companies are always top-of-mind for me as thought leaders with their fingers on the pulse of digital marketing.

But newsletters work far beyond the digital marketing industry, too.

Sam Dolnick, the man in charge of the New York Times’ digital initiatives, puts a lot of stock in newsletters as a cornerstone channel, calling them “a lo-fi way to form a deep relationship with readers.”

I love that description. I think of a newsletter as a more personalized social channel. In the ideal world it’s halfway between a 1:1 email and a broadcast on Facebook or Twitter.

Granted, a newsletter may not be right for every local business, and it’s far from the only kind of email marketing you should be doing. But it’s also one of the easiest ways to get started with email marketing, and as Sam Dolnick said, an easy-to-understand way to start building relationships with customers.

For more newsletter best practices, this ancient (1992!) article actually covers print newsletters but almost all of its advice applies equally well to digital versions!

A great option or a strategic imperative?

Facebook’s ongoing reduction in organic visibility, Google’s ongoing evolution of the local SERP, and the shift to voice search will combine to create an existential threat to agencies that serve smaller-budget local businesses over the next 2–3 years.

Agencies simply can’t charge the margin to place paid ads that they can charge for organic work, particularly as Google and Facebook do a better and better job of optimizing low-budget campaigns. More ads, more Knowledge Panels, and more voice searches mean fewer organic winners at Google than ever before (though because overall search volume won’t decline, the winners will win bigger than ever).

Basic SEO blocking-and-tackling such as site architecture, title tags, and citation building will always be important services, but their impact for local businesses has declined over the past decade, due to algorithmic sophistication, increased competition, and decreased organic real estate.

To grow or even maintain your client base, it’ll be critical for you as an agency to offer additional services that are just as effective and scalable as these techniques were a decade ago.

As a concrete, high-margin, high-ROI deliverable, email should be a centerpiece of those additional services. And if it just doesn’t feel like something you’re ready to take on right now, Tidings is happy to handle your referrals :D!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Reblogged 1 day ago from

Will AMP improve your rankings? How to set up an AMP test

Wondering if AMP is worth the investment? Columnist Stephanie LeVonne walks through how to set up a test to determine what kind of boost, if any, you can expect from implementing AMP across your mobile site.

The post Will AMP improve your rankings? How to set up an AMP test appeared first on…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 day ago from

The New Wave of Media Consumption: How Group Nine Media Stays on Top

It’s no secret that today’s media environment has been challenging for publishers, as audience attention (and the resulting ad dollars) grows ever more elusive.

Consumer attention and media consumption has shifted dramatically from radio, newspapers and television to mobile and social media platforms. People want access to news and information wherever they are and audiences want to directly engage with content.

Media companies are struggling to adapt to the way that people get their hands on everything from hard hitting news to feel good stories.

However, for some companies, this constant evolution presents more of an opportunity than a hurdle—and nobody is better at staying ahead of the curve than Group Nine Media.

Group Nine Media is the parent company of four powerful brands you’ve frequently seen in your social media feeds: NowThis (the no. 1 most watched U.S. video news creator on social), The Dodo (the no. 1 animal brand on social), Thrillist (the most trusted digital brand in food, drink, travel, and entertainment) and Seeker (the digital leader in science and curiosity).

Known for its high-quality, timely, and engaging video content—not to mention killer social media strategy—Group Nine isn’t intimidated by the growing challenge of standing out in the crowded and ever-changing landscape—in fact, the company is excited by it.

“There is a ton of video content currently in users’ Facebook feeds, so the name of the game is to get people to stop scrolling and watch our videos,” shares Shelby Levinson, Supervising Producer for Publishing and Strategy at NowThis.

So much of Group Nine’s success is driven by its distributed content strategy on social media platforms. Within the company, there are obviously a lot of roles that fall within the video and social media management realm—including platform managers who are tasked with intimately understanding the ins and outs of their designated social media platforms.

However, just because Group Nine’s brands live and breathe on social doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other roles and departments that contribute to its mission.

“Our written editorial team actually works hand-in-hand with our social video team,” explains Matt Morales, Producer and Editor with Seeker. “Both teams attend the same pitch meeting and work together to make sure that they are creating complementary content that shares our editorial tone and vision. So, when you’re on Seeker’s website, you can not only read a great article on, say, the latest advancements in artificial intelligence, but you can also watch a video related to that content.”

Indeed, Group Nine places a great deal of emphasis on cross-functional collaboration in order to produce its standout content.

“In my day-to-day on the social team, I’m consistently working with other teams including video, written, business and operations, and analytics,” explains Nicole Hendrickson, Senior Social Media Manager for The Dodo.

Group Nine’s teams also work together to incorporate data driven insights into their editorial and social publishing strategies to make each piece of content as impactful as possible.

“We’re a social-first publisher, so every single piece of content we create is specifically tailored for the platform it’s being published to,” Hendrickson adds.

It’s no secret that Group Nine is forging a new path in the media landscape. But, don’t let that intimidate you—when it comes to hiring, Group Nine looks for people who are willing to learn and evolve, rather than people who have already mastered a specific skill set.

“It’s important to look for candidates who are open to trying new things and willing to dive right into the brand,” says Julie Cerick, Director of Operations at Thrillist.

That flexibility and willingness to experiment carries a lot of weight at Group Nine, particularly since the company is ready and willing to invest in helping people shake some of those standard beliefs and gain a better understanding of their innovative approach to media.

“When we bring in new employees, a big part of that training is getting out of the old habits and learning how to entice people to watch a video and keep watching,” adds Levinson.

With this forward thinking attitude, tackling new challenges, and plenty of driven, passionate employees on its constantly growing team, Group Nine has a lot of enthusiasm for the future—which is the very thing that keeps team members excited to head into the office day in and day out. The company is centered on core values: “care deeply,” “be brave,” “go first,” do good,” “stay close,” and “win together.” They recently hired their first Chief People Officer, Stacy Green who has a proven record of building the kinds of environments that allow employees to thrive.

“It’s the idea that anything could change at any moment, which is so exciting because it affords me new opportunities to learn,” concludes Cerick, “I love being kept on my toes and having to adapt to how the world consumes content. It’s changed so much in five years; imagine where we’ll be in the next five…”

Group Nine Media is hiring. Explore all the great open positions.

The post The New Wave of Media Consumption: How Group Nine Media Stays on Top appeared first on Mediabistro.

Reblogged 1 day ago from

How companies are using chatbots for marketing: Use cases and inspiration

In Part 1 of a series, columnist Daniel Faggella shares two use cases of companies that are using chatbots to improve their marketing and sales, explaining what you can learn from them.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 day ago from