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How to Build a Blog that Has Lasting Impact Upon Its Readers

The post How to Build a Blog that Has Lasting Impact Upon Its Readers appeared first on ProBlogger.

How to Build a Blog that Has Lasting Impact Upon Its Readers

Photo by Kristian Angelo on Unsplash

If you want to have a blog that makes a difference in the lives of those who read it, I would highly recommend getting clarity around these three simple (yet powerful) questions:

  • Who are your readers?
  • What do they need?
  • How will they change as a result of reading your blog?

Previously I wrote very briefly about these questions and suggested that they might be a great way to come up with a purpose statement for a blog.

Since that time I’ve had conversations with four ProBlogger readers who took these questions and applied them to their own blogs – and in doing so saw marked improvements in their blogging.

So today I want to emphasise them again.

Let’s tackle the first two together and then look at the third.

Who Are Your Readers? And What Do They Need?

Understanding who reads your blog (or at least who you want to read your blog) and what their needs are is so important because it will inform:

  • what kind of content you should create (topics, style of writing etc)
  • how to attract readers to your blog
  • how you can engage with your readers and build community on your blog
  • how you monetise your blog (if this is a goal for you)

Understanding your reader also informs things like design, what social media networks you should be engaging in, what subscription methods you should use, how frequently you should publish, and much more.

I’ve previously published an exercise in building a reader profile or persona to help you get clarity around this. And if you’re a ProBlogger Member (it’s FREE to join) I’ve got a worksheet that steps you through the process of how to create a reader avatar for your blog.

Ultimately – knowing who is reading enables you to take a big step towards producing a useful blog.

Without this clarity you’ll be stumbling around in the dark!

How will your reader change as a result of reading your blog?

Over the years I’d focused very heavily upon understanding readers needs, but it has only been the last year that I’ve taken things to the next step and doing thinking about how to ‘change‘ readers.

Knowing who is reading is one thing, but if you want to build a blog that is epic, your blog needs to leave an impact upon people.

I recently spoke about this idea at a conference and shared the following slide. While I didn’t spend a heap of time unpacking the idea, this was the most tweeted quote of the talk I gave.

How to Build a Blog that Has Lasting Impact Upon Its Readers

Photo by Kate Davies on Unsplash

Blogs that change people are blogs that those people will keep returning to.

Blogs that change people are blogs that build trust and relationship with their readership.

Blogs that change people are blogs that their readers share with their networks.

I’ve always know this – it’s not really rocket science – but for some reason I never actually identified the change I wanted to bring to my readers!

As a result, some of my blog posts hit the mark with readers – but many did not.

Why leave it to chance as to what change we want to bring to our readers? Why not define where they are and where we want to take them?

Name the Change and Then Break It Down

Let’s take a look at my main blog, Digital Photography School, as an example.

My answers to the above three questions are not really that complicated:

  • My readers are camera-owners
  • My readers are not using their cameras to their full potential
  • My readers will gain creative control over their cameras as a result of reading dPS

Creative control

I know if dPS can give camera owners creative control over their cameras,  they will start taking images that help create amazing memories for their families, start capturing magical moments in the trips they take, and that they’ll start creating art and ways to express themselves creatively.

These are tangible benefits and outcomes of reading our site and enhance the lives of our readers.

So once we’ve defined the change we want to bring to readers, then we can begin to make more informed decisions about the content we create by simply breaking that down.

What does having creative control over a camera look like? There are many parts of bringing about that change. Some would include:

Creative control broken down

Obviously this is just a few of the things a camera owner needs to grasp, but you can see here that we’ve already identified a number of topics to explore that help to bring about the overarching goal of the site.

By doing this exercise, we end up with a content and community strategy that is much more intentional that simply sitting at the keyboard each day and asking what we feel like writing about.

By being intentional, we’re creating content that moves people through a process and takes them to an outcome that changes their life in some tangible way.

So What Change do You Want to Bring?

My challenge today is to answer the three questions above, and then to begin to break down the change that you’re wanting to bring.

  • Who are your readers?
  • What do they need?
  • How will they change as a result of reading your blog?


If you’re serious about building an audience for your blog and want to supercharge your traffic ProBlogger’s Find Readers Course will give you the roadmap and guide you through 6 clear steps to find readers.

This article was first published on June 20, 2014 and updated June 30, 2022.

The post How to Build a Blog that Has Lasting Impact Upon Its Readers appeared first on ProBlogger.

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Discover a New Way to Protect Yourself from Data-Loss Nightmares

The post Discover a New Way to Protect Yourself from Data-Loss Nightmares appeared first on ProBlogger.

Discover a New Way to Protect Yourself from Data-Loss Nightmares

Photo by Cookie the Pom on Unsplash

How do you backup your computer/s?

This past month I’ve changed my approach and I wish I’d done it earlier. In this article I’ll tell you why I’ve switched.

For many years I’ve used hard drives onsite at my house and have then backed up those drives to others offsite at a family member’s house. The problems with this are numerous.

Maybe you can relate.

Discover a New Way to Protect Yourself from Data-Loss Nightmares

Photo by Lorenzo Herrera on Unsplash

So Much Data

Firstly – the size of our backups keeps growing as we take more photos, videos and create more docs. While some of these can backup to the cloud you can end up with bits of backups everywhere (iCloud, google drive, dropbox…. you get the picture).

I decided a few years ago to let iCloud backup all our phones photos, videos and other data – but prefer to have all computer’s data somewhere else (because iCloud gets expensive) and they have a 2TB limit per account!). To have it all in the one place means I have to keep getting bigger hard drives every few years. And it’s not just one drive – I like to have a backup of the backup!

Back in the day I was able to back everything up onto a drive of 500GB… those days are long gone. This is partly because digital camera sensors keep getting bigger (and so their files take more space) and we’re also creating bigger files because our kids are using more and more multi-media at school and for fun.

Of course we now also have five of us (2 parents, 3 children in our household) creating stuff to take up space! Our house has six active computers (soon to be seven when our youngest starts high school) and our eldest is now making short films as part of his study. All up we’ve got something like 16TB of files on our computers!

Hard Drives Fail

Another issue with hard drives is that every few years I find one of them will fail. As a result I’m not just buying new ones because they’re not big enough – but to replace the corrupted ones. So it’s all become something of a mess. I’m not overly technical so setting up a backup system was taking time and I was juggling hard drives to make sure they were big enough and then trying to manage backing up the backups and taking them over to my family’s house…. arrrrgggh!

For a few years now I’ve been waking up in the night – wondering if all our photos would be ok if we had a fire and stressed that a crucial drive would break.

The anxiety was real!

Discover a New Way to Protect Yourself from Data-Loss Nightmares

Photo by Vincent Botta on Unsplash

Cloud Solution

I’ve wondered for a while whether a backup to the cloud might be a solution and started looking at the options. This week I bit the bullet and decided to back up one of the computers to the cloud – to see how long it would take and how hard it was.

I chose Backblaze as the service to test. Every review I read said they were simple to use, had a free trial and best of all were cheap (just $7 a month with unlimited data)! Sounds good to me!

You can check out what they offer here:

Disclaimer: that is an affiliate link meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my link, at no cost to you – but I’m a paying customer already. The commission is just 70cents if you sign up so I’m not expecting to get rich from this.

Let me tell you how I found the process.

It was SOOOO easy!

Backup Process

You literally install an app to your computer, give the app permission to access your files and before you know it it is already at work backing up your files. You can tell it not to back up certain parts of your computer if you like but as I mentioned above there is no limit to how much you can back up – $7 per computer even if that device has a TONNE of stuff on it.

The backup upload was actually pretty quick. This will vary depending on internet speed but ours isn’t super fast and my 1st computer (1.5TB) uploaded in 24 hours. It self throttles if you’re using your computer for other things and I didn’t really notice anything slowing down. Since then I’ve noticed it updates continuously as needed.

In terms of getting files if you need them – there are a few ways you can do it. Login to Backblaze and you’ll see all your files and folders – just as they appear on your hard drive. If there’s just a single file you need you can download it or if you want more than that you can download small to medium sized folders as a zip file. If you need it all there’s options to get them to send you everything as a hard drive (worst case scenario).

I’m not going to back up all of our computers to Backblaze ($7 per computer is reasonable but it will add up). My thinking is that I’ll back up my two computers to it – they’ve got a lot of data and contain important stuff (all our family photos and my work stuff). I will most likely keep backing up my wife and younger kids’ computers to local hard drives but will most likely backup my eldest’s to Backblaze as he has a lot of data on his computer too.

In time I may bring everything into the cloud as hard drives fail – we’ll see!

Discover a New Way to Protect Yourself from Data-Loss Nightmares

Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash

Try it Yourself

If you’re losing sleep worrying about your files (or you know you should be backing up but aren’t) check out Backblaze.

They have a 15 day free trial to give it a go.


Darren Rowse

PS: for the last few weeks I’ve not had one night where I’ve woken up worried about my files!

The post Discover a New Way to Protect Yourself from Data-Loss Nightmares appeared first on ProBlogger.

Reblogged 21 minutes ago from

Processes, visibility and optimization: The keys to digital marketing transformation

As digital marketers face a rapidly growing market and higher competition, the structure and effectiveness of paid advertising campaigns become more complex. Optimization, visibility and improving processes matter now more than ever.

But, it can be easy to lose visibility over what needs to be done and how those campaigns perform. This can lead to subpar results and a lack of understanding of how to improve your next campaigns. 

In this informative SMX Advanced session, Nadiia Sharipova from Wrike, now part of Citrix, addresses three keys to digital marketing transformation:

  1. Why optimization and visibility matter
  2. How to reduce your competition in key areas
  3. Critical processes that help improve CRO

Join the session to learn better visibility and workflow for your search engine initiatives, how companies like Hootsuite optimized their workflows to reduce complexity and the essential tools and strategies you need to do your best work. 

After watching the presentation, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify pitfalls negatively impacting your search campaigns 
  • Discover solutions for establishing better visibility over assets and results 
  • Streamline SEM/PPC campaign workflows and optimize collaboration

The post Processes, visibility and optimization: The keys to digital marketing transformation appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Reblogged 3 hours ago from

Webinar: Work smarter, not harder, to give customers what they want

Personalizing your marketing campaigns for one customer is easy, but how about one hundred or thousands of customers across multiple marketing channels?

Work smarter, not harder, by using artificial intelligence (AI) as part of your martech stack and giving your customers the unique experiences they crave.

Register today for “Use Data to Create Next-Level Customer Experiences at Scale,” presented by MoEngage.

The post Webinar: Work smarter, not harder, to give customers what they want appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Reblogged 8 hours ago from

5 ways to get PPC and SEO working together

Causes of friction between SEO and PPC often occur because we tend to use different sources of truth for each channel and build silos of communication between teams.

The main core areas of friction? Usually:

  • Reporting 
  • Landing pages
  • Budget

Here are five ways you can get your PPC and SEO campaigns working together.

Tip 1: Collaborate on first-party data readiness

All digital marketing campaigns need to account for first-party data.

Understanding whether your brand is compliant requires input from both your SEO and PPC teams. 

If you rely heavily on remarketing campaigns (either because you’re in an expensive industry or the customer journey naturally takes multiple steps), you may find yourself increasingly reliant on native audiences.

While some of these audiences can be powerful, most of them underperform against audiences based on brand-tracked activity. 

Analytics audience segments can be a powerful way around fluctuating quality.

These audience segments still require consent and the new global site tag. Make sure your tag is updated to GA4. 

As you set up cookie consent, it’s important that the module follows cumulative layout shift (CLS) rules. As a general rule, modules on the bottom of the page tend to do better as they don’t distract from the user’s purchasing journey, and carry less CLS risk. 

Make sure that first-party data collected is protected (either hashed and synced through tools, or immediately deleted once it’s been uploaded into ad accounts).

Collaborate with your SEO team’s content campaigns to ensure there are engaging hooks to create consensual conversations.  

A final note about analytics

One big drawback in the current roll-out of GA4 and conversion modeling is that advertisers need to choose between using analytics as their source of truth versus harnessing the power of enhanced conversions.

Enhanced conversions require using native Google conversion tracking. While enhanced conversion tracking will give you a better idea of what paid campaigns are doing, the numbers will always be off from what your SEO team reports.

In the interest of trust and data continuity, it may make sense to take the “hit” on PPC-reported numbers so long as the overall metrics point to positive ROAS.

Going with enhanced conversions means being ok that reports will be different and all parties need to be ok with that. 

Tip 2: Acknowledge and adapt based on domain structure choices

There are three ways to set up brand URLs:

  • One domain for everything (including international).
  • Subdomains for various initiatives.
  • Vanity domains and country domains.

Regardless of what path you take, PPC-specific pages need to be noindex/nofollow and allow for the adbot to access them so they can contribute to quality score. 

It’s rare that non-ecommerce brands will be served better by keeping everything on the same domain. That’s because there are strategic elements of a well SEO’d site that can run counter to PPC:

  • SEO doesn’t want duplicate content, and PPC benefits from testing templates.
  • SEO benefits from a robust navigation bar, while PPC does better with limited choices for user action.
  • SEO might need to redirect a page, which will cause the ad to get disapproved (three strikes in a 90-day period causes the ad account to get suspended).

These pitfalls are easily mitigated by having subdomains that can still benefit the main domain, without forcing creative or technical compromises between the SEO and PPC teams.

Additionally, a subdomain will allow you to keep the same analytics property and branding continuity.

If you are forced to use the same landing page for PPC and organic traffic, make sure that any redirects are communicated at least three to five days before it will happen. This will give the PPC team time to adjust the creative so you’re not wasting money sending traffic to a broken page until Google disapproves the ad. 

Conveying inventory is also really important for both PPC and SEO.

If your product is constantly out of stock, it will eventually get penalized by the search engines. Make sure all campaigns are made aware of inventory issues so they can exclude products from paid campaigns, as well as apply the out-of-stock schema to the organic page.   

Tip 3: Bring transactional intent & CRO to all pages

SEO often gets unfairly pigeonholed as the “research” channel, while PPC is often accountable exclusively for transactions.

While there are some valid reasons to think about traffic in that way, there are lessons in building trust and enabling transactions each can learn from the other. 

For example, while it’s true that PPC pages lean towards less content, there still needs to be options to understand the product/service. This content (written or in video format) should be below the fold, keeping the path to conversion clear.

On a similar note, SEO requires rich and authoritative content to rank well. Yet if the path to conversion is buried (or not there at all), the traffic will be all fluff. 

On first pass, you’d think this was a well-crafted page on the organic site. Yet this was actually a special PPC version of the page. 

Ironically, the SEO version of the page has clearer paths to conversion. If you’re going to take the time to make a PPC page, make sure it honors the rules of PPC. 

This page gives the user enough context to know what they’re getting into as well as clear paths to conversion.

If the user wants more info, they can get it, but aren’t overwhelmed. They are also given the option to fill out a multi-step form that builds engagement with the brand.

The organic site is just as clean and easy to navigate as the paid variant. The CTAs are easy to identify and the path to conversion remains uninterrupted. 

Tip 4: Use search query reports to inform campaigns

One of the best ways to get PPC and SEO working together is data sharing on search queries.

You’re already paying for the search data from the search terms report. Sharing that data, along with what’s converting and what’s not will help content teams know where to invest. 

Yet an easily missed opportunity is sharing the search terms from in-site search and search console.

Understanding what existing customers want and how they think will help prioritize keyword variants. 

Both channels should be sharing search term data so brands are able to get insights on the viability of content and auction prices. 

Set up automatic report sharing on at least a quarterly basis so all digital channels are talking to each other. 

Tip 5: Build in time to talk to each other 

This may seem like a silly and trite suggestion, but the amount of good that can come from getting face time with your counterpart is immeasurable.

Whether it’s a 10-15 minute connect at the beginning of the week or a monthly collaboration session, taking the time to connect on the innovations and challenges in each domain will ensure the other can be prepared to mitigate or enhance.

If you’re an agency and your counterpart works for another agency, ask for joint meetings with the client or separately.

Showing your commitment to the brand’s success and collaborative attitude will go miles for client retention and ensure your great work isn’t accidentally countered. 

PPC and SEO don’t need to be at odds

Overcome the friction through collaboration and owning where one can mitigate weaknesses and amplify profit. 

The post 5 ways to get PPC and SEO working together appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Reblogged 13 hours ago from

How to empower your SEO and digital marketing strategy with data

After your technical, content and outreach strategies are in place, you should be well on your way to digital marketing success. 

At this stage, you should have optimized your website for a strong page experience, created lots of entity-driven content, and gained inbound links providing you with rankings and traffic.

Now, you’ll need to empower your team with the right data to help you continue to grow and shape your digital marketing strategy.

Setting up your dashboards

Fortunately, a myriad of tools can help organize the data you need to keep your traffic growing.

Here are some data points you can look at:

  • Overall KPIs: Are your site’s sessions, impressions, clicks and conversions trending up or down?
  • Keywords ranking: How many keywords are ranking in the top 1-3, 4-10, 11-20, or in the top 100 of Google? What keywords are gaining or losing traction? What is the estimated traffic cost of these keywords? What keywords are seeing the most volume and conversions?
  • Pages trending up/down: What pages have a high volume of traffic? What pages are losing traffic? These pages can be optimized and expanded to add more optimized content and internal links.
  • Striking distance keywords: What keywords are in the top 20? Once you identify these, consider adding internal and external links to those pages and perform on-page SEO to push those keywords higher in the SERPs.
  • Content optimizations: What content can you add to pages trending up or down? Type the target keyword for the page, and use questions from Google’s People Also Ask box to enhance your content.
  • Audience demographics: Google Analytics includes a plethora of audience reports, including age, gender, interests, geographical targeting, devices and more. Use this data to build your persona profiles and target keywords for each persona and buying stage.
  • Attribution: This reflects the buyer’s journey. Understanding where consumers come from, what pages they visit, and where they go after leaving your site can help you improve the user experience.

Optimization experiments

It’s important to look at your data and develop actionable plans based on your findings.

Some ways to use your data:

  • Optimize articles trending down by doing better on-page SEO or adding more semantically related content.
  • Build internal and external links to pages and/or keywords that are trending up or down.
  • Write more content for a specific target persona and buying stage.
  • Focus your efforts on channels and partnerships that are yielding traffic and referrals.

Every time you update a page, create new content or add links, you should create an annotation to determine if the changes made resulted in positive growth.   

If you continue producing content and building links without checking your analytics and data, you may waste valuable time and resources.

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Conversion rate optimization (CRO)

Now you have all this wonderful traffic coming to you, how do you improve your conversion rate and turn more visitors into customers?

The ideal way is to do A/B testing and conversion rate optimization. 

You’ll need to set up software that will give users two variants of your site. You can then track to see which cohort had better conversions.

Various tools will help you conduct this research:

  • FigPii
  • Hotjar
  • VWO

Ensure you continuously run tests and update your landing pages and articles. If users have a good experience on your site, this will have a positive impact on your SEO.

Just when you feel you have a grasp on your strategy, Google releases an algorithm update that creates upheaval in your traffic and rankings.

Monitoring trends will help you stay compliant and within Google’s best practice guidelines.

Some trends you can look out for:  

  • Focus on voice and question-based queries. As smart devices advance, such as watches, glasses, and wearables, interactions with the search engine may increasingly occur via voice. You should always be using questions as keywords and optimizing for voice search.
  • Emphasis on quality over quantity. Based on crawl prioritization. Produce fewer pieces of content, but ensure those pieces provide the best possible user experience. Promote your articles to build links as often as you publish so that your link growth velocity is congruent with your content publishing ratio.
  • Optimize for entities, not keywords. As Google’s understanding of natural language processing improves and their machine-learning algorithms become increasingly sophisticated, they can understand pages for meaning, not just keywords. The days of optimizing pages for a single query are over. Instead, we are seeing an emphasis on building pages around topics and including variants of the topic.  
  • Emphasis on user engagement signals, especially speed. Google introduced Core Web Vitals to break down the elements of site load speed, from “How Quickly a Page Loads” to “How quickly do users see the first thing on the page”? How Quickly is the page interactive? How quickly is the page fully functional?
  • Indexing and crawling prioritization. The number of pages indexed grows exponentially and Google is moving away from indexing everything, to indexing quality content. They are prioritizing crawls to pages that are trusted and authoritative.
  • Link building. Following their overall shift towards authority, it’ll become increasingly important to receive mentions from media and trusted sources. If your friends all say you’re the best chef, everyone knows this can be biased. However, if people that don’t know you say you’re the best chef, this has more weight and value. Focus especially on gaining authoritative links that your competitors don’t already have. 

Tracking your site’s metrics, KPIs and trends in search will help you continuously revamp and update your SEO strategy.

It’s the only way to stay relevant and current.

Make sure you build dashboards that allow you to check the performance of your campaigns and react quickly to changes in your site’s performance.

The post How to empower your SEO and digital marketing strategy with data appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Reblogged 13 hours ago from

Retail Search is the New PPC

“Amazon Ads, why?”. It all started for me back in 2018 when I interviewed some of the world’s leading PPC experts and surveyed award-winning paid search agencies. They were all doing Google Shopping campaigns but what about Amazon Ads? Very few of them invested there.  Since then, Amazon Ads has caught up on both Meta […]

The post Retail Search is the New PPC first appeared on PPC Hero.


Reblogged 17 hours ago from

No, RadioShack's Twitter wasn't hacked. It sells cryptocurrency now.

RadioShack store

“If you find a squirter marry her.”

That’s the tweet currently taking over Twitter, with shocked reactions in the replies and quotes tweets asking, “What in the world is going on?”

The tweet wasn’t accidentally sent by a politician or a hacked company’s account.

RadioShack "Squirter" Tweet

RadioShack’s “squirter” tweet went viral on Wednesday.
Credit: Mashable Screenshot

It was tweeted by RadioShack… on purpose

But why would RadioShack tweet such a thing? It’s simple: RadioShack is a cryptocurrency company now. 

Radio Shack Swap

A screenshot of the RadioShack Swap homepage.
Credit: Mashable Screenshot

That’s right. RadioShack has pivoted to the blockchain and launched its own crypto exchange called Radio Shack Swap. The company even has its own token called $RADIO, currently trading at around a penny. (The crypto crash seems to have knocked it down by two-thirds of its pre-crash value.)

If you visit RadioShack’s website right now, you’ll see that it still does sell some electronic odds-and-ends. But, front and center on the main page is the RadioShack cryptocurrency platform.

RadioShack homepage

RadioShack’s main website is focused on promoting its cryptocurrency platform right now.
Credit: Mashable Screenshot

In order to appeal to the libertarian-leaning crypto “degens,” (crypto slang for “degenerates,” which some crypto advocates refer to themselves as) the 100-year-old electronics store has also pivoted to posting “edgy” content on Twitter. And while the since-deleted “squirter” tweet may be its biggest attention-grabbing success so far, it’s not the first time the account’s gone viral due to the shock value of seeing your dad’s go-to outlet for old ham radio spare parts slum it up online with some tweet-then-delete edgelord humor.

“who else high af rn” tweeted the @RadioShack account on June 16.

“Taking the second half of an edible after feeling nothing from the first half is always a bad idea. This chocolate bar got me out here fighting for my life,” it posted on June 28.

RadioShack "This Guy Fucks" Tweet

Edgelord RadioShack.
Credit: Mashable Screenshot

“This guy fucks,” @RadioShack replied to a user who posted a photo of their old RadioShack “Battery Club” card.

“congrats on the landing of your new giant metal cock elon” the account sent as a reply to Elon Musk on June 17.

RadioShack’s move from your grandpa’s electronic retailer to its current incarnation as a cryptocurrency pumper occurred after the company was bought out by Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV) in 2020. This was after a tumultuous period for the company, during which it closed a slew of stores and filed for bankruptcy. When REV purchased the company, RadioShack had just 400 physical retail locations, down from its peak of 7,300.

REV is owned by Tai Lopez, who YouTubers know as the internet marketing guy that has long filled the platform with pre-roll video ads promoting “get rich quick” schemes. Perhaps his most well known YouTube video advertisement is “Here in My Garage,” which features Lopez showing off his Lamborghini. It currently has more than 71 million video views.

This isn’t Lopez’s first endeavor in the crypto space. He launched his own line of NFTs earlier this year, which was quickly labeled a scam by critics who claimed that Lopez “siphons out the funds” as soon as a user would mint an NFT. 

If REV is successful in its crypto vision for a relaunched RadioShack, perhaps we’ll see other companies make the pivot, too. Over the years, Lopez’s REV has acquired a number of legacy brands, which include Modell’s Sporting Goods, Dressbarn, Linens ‘n Things, and Pier1.

Wicker Basket Coin, anyone?

Reblogged 18 hours ago from

What are Identical Keywords and why they matter for Google Ads

While Google’s newest campaign type, Performance Max (PMax), is devoid of keyword data,  some new information may help advertisers better steer their efforts with the product.

PMax campaigns are unique to all other campaign types as no keywords are required and no keyword data is delivered to advertisers. The closest existing campaign type is the fully automated shopping-only product, “Smart Shopping” which will be shuttered in July.

The big difference between the two is that Performance Max campaigns can run without a product feed and can also include local ad elements. 

Those PMax campaigns without a feed or local inputs can gain inventory on Google search by simply inputting a website or pages into the campaign. Due to the fully automated nature of the campaign, Google will then choose keywords to show on Google Search as well as other placements on Gmail/YouTube/Display/Discover

Many advertisers rightfully want to know what this means for their existing search campaigns, many of which have had keywords painstakingly pruned for optimal performance.

Google has stated multiple times that Performance Max campaigns on Google Search will not take traffic away from existing eligible keywords that are “identical” to a user’s query.

If you have a keyword in your campaign in any format (broad, phrase or exact match) that identically matches the user’s query and is eligible (has a high enough quality score/bid/budget/AdRank to show) then the existing campaign will trump Performance Max campaigns.

However, many advertisers aren’t buying it.

Google: PMax won’t cannibalize existing campaigns

At a recent Friends of Search event, Rodney Ip, Global Product Lead, Google Ads, Google, stated that “when you see brand traffic in PMax it’s not cannibalization, it’s likely that your standard brand campaign is capped or maxed out and PMax is stepping in to deliver more brand traffic.” according to Mike Ryan of Smarter Ecommerce:

The responses to that statement painted a much different picture.

Most of the advertisers strongly disagreed with the statement and a healthy dialog ensued. A comment from Collin Slattery brought up competing data points to Ip’s statement.

This should not be the case if users have the corresponding “identical keyword” in a search campaign, according to Google Ads Product Liaison Ginny Marvin:

What exactly are ‘identically matching’ terms?

So what is an “identical keyword”? Marvin gave a surprising answer: 

“Identical means the keyword is the exact same or spell-corrected. When there is not an exact match to the user query, prioritization is based on Ad Rank to determine which campaign is predicted to deliver the most relevant ad & best ROI.”

Recapping, an identical keyword is now defined as:

  1. Independent of match type (broad/phrase/exact).
  2. Is a term where the search query is the “exact-same” as keyword existing within an advertiser’s campaign.
  3. Spell-corrected keywords/search terms.

In order to keep the wide reach of a Performance Max campaign from cannibalizing other campaigns, one simply needs to ensure that they have the desired “identical keyword” in their campaigns (in and match type) as long as it is eligible to serve.

Does this fundamentally go against Google’s best practices?

For years now, paid search advertisers have moved away from a massive number of iterations of search queries as matching has gotten looser (and smarter) in Google Ads.

Close variants and smarter machine learning has allowed advertisers to have greater success using fewer keywords (in most cases). 

With the need to now have an “identical keyword” in a campaign, the astute question arose: Do these recommendations of ensuring all identical keywords are in an account go against what Google has been preaching for years now?

In order to keep PMax from stealing traffic from other campaigns, said campaigns should now protect their reach by building out in-depth lists of all possible identical keywords.

For example, an eligible phrase match search query in a search campaign like “Nike Sneakers” that would normally match to “buy nike sneakers” may now lose that traffic to a Performance Max campaign as the keyword is not “identical” to the query.

In order to be protected from PMax stealing that traffic, Nike would need to include the term “buy nike sneakers” in their campaigns in order to have an identical keyword.

What this means for you

We know that an exact match keyword doesn’t match to a query exactly.

We now know that an ”identical keyword” is a “match-type less” keyword that must exactly match the user query or be a keyword that shows a misspelling.

Honestly, this is quite confusing to explain to clients or other departments. But it is quite necessary if running PMax campaigns. 

If you are testing out PMax campaigns, in order to protect your other campaigns, you may now find yourself circa 2010 working on adding as many possible iterations and variations to build out “identical keywords” in your search accounts.

With PMax not providing any keyword data to advertisers, this effort may be a painstaking – but fruitful. 

If you have a good Google Ads rep, they may be able to put negative keywords into a Performance Max campaign for you to help guide the system in a different format.

However, this feature isn’t built into campaigns for advertisers. You need a special exception.

The post What are Identical Keywords and why they matter for Google Ads appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google Maps adds new store location feature, Locator Plus, Reserve with Google integration, new analytics and more

The Google Maps Platform has added a bunch of new features for businesses to add deeper integration with its Google Maps Platform APIs to help those businesses streamline some of their integrations with Google Maps. These include the ability to embed Reserve with Google on your site, a new embed a store location tool, a Locator Plus feature, store locator analytics and more.

Reserve With Google Embed Feature

We have seen Reserve with Google feature in Google Search and Google Maps for a while now. Now, Google is allowing businesses to use the Reserve with Google feature on their own sites or portals.

Google added new APIs to allow you to embed the Reserve with Google on your site and your own maps. Google said this allows for “end-to-end appointment booking flow, and connects users to a variety of services.” It allows your customers who are using your store locator an option for bookings, right within the locator, which creates an easier booking process.

Here is how it works:

Store Locator Embed Feature

Google also has rolled out a way to manage and publish your store locator using the Google Maps platform. Google said this will allow you to “quickly update and roll out your store locator” on your site. In the Locator Plus solution, you can capture the location of every single store you want to show users – all within one map, Google explained. This can now be done with a simple copy and paste of some embed code and very little API development coding.

Google Locator Plus

Similar to the store locator feature, the new Locator Plus feature allows businesses to easily import business details from your Google Business Profile. This will allow the business details your already have in your Google Business Profile to be reflected in the store locator on your website. The details include include hours, contact information, photos, service options, and more.

Google Store Locator Analytics

With all these announcements, Google also is rolling out a new Google store locator analytics dashboard. This analytics dashboard should help you better understand the impact of your implementation and generate insights from your data. It shows you how well your site visitors are engaging with your store locator, Google said.

The dashboard helps you measure your performance week over week, including number of views, number of interactions with Google Search and Google Place Details, and overall engagement rate. The dashboard uses anonymized data to provide important benchmarks on how a developer’s implementation compares against other developers using the same solution.

Why we care. All these tools can be useful for large and small businesses to manage their local presence not just on Google but also on their own site. Plus, searchers are accustomed to Google and may find these embed features familiar and be more likely to use them.

At the same time, this is putting more and more of your data in Google, making you more reliant on Google for management and hosting of this features and data. So keep that in mind before implementing these on your site.

The post Google Maps adds new store location feature, Locator Plus, Reserve with Google integration, new analytics and more appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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