• The Search Agency Mandate: Differentiate Or Die!
    Search agencies: Do you offer a free consultation? Maybe even a free AdWords audit that normally costs $5,000? Do you have a vertical specific case study? Client success stories? Award-winning agency culture? Does your executive team have over 35 years of combined search experience? Sorry, it's 2015. Your free consultations, audits, case studies, client success stories, company culture & executive experience are no longer enough to truly differentiate your agency. Are those aspects of your agency helpful in closing new business? Absolutely. Are they true differentiators to help you stand out from the sea of other search agencies? Absolutely not.
  • One Question Will Determine If You Have the Right Employee Or Agency
    I'm often baffled by how companies make decisions to hire or fire their employees and their agencies. For example, every agency has experienced the pain of a new CMO joining a client company and firing the agency in a matter of days, seemingly without regard to performance or history. And I'm sure most employees have seen strange firings and promotions that make no sense to anyone but the manager making the odd decisions. I think there is a better method, and it's shockingly simple: asking and answering just one question.
  • Keep Up With Search Intent Using Question-Based Keyword Development
    As developers change the way search engines view and analyze keywords, it's imperative that digital marketers evolve keyword research and content development processes. Typically with keyword research, you try to identify what phrases people enter into search engines when seeking information. Google and Bing are doing a better job of understanding how the content matches up with the searcher's intent and helping them answer the questions of what, how, when, and where. Optimizing for the entire sales cycle with the questions your customers are asking in "natural language" is crucial for capturing all stages of traffic. Question-based keyword development will ...
  • Is Your Jaded Outlook On Mobile Destroying Your Search Campaigns?
    It's still shocking how poor some mobile sites are. Even some legitimate retailers doing north of $10 million in annual revenue seems as if they're in mobile denial. In 2013, Google tried to force AdWords advertisers to step up their mobile game with enhanced CPCs. Advertisers in mobile denial reacted by dramatically lowering the mobile CPCs because "our customers don't use their phones to shop." In 2014, Google began using mobile-friendly labels on its search engine results pages to help users identify mobile-optimized sites before clicking through. Mobile deniers claimed that since the label didn't influence their organic rankings, this ...
  • Am I The Top Online Marketing Writer?
    Friends, I try not to brag too much about the various honors and accolades I receive, but this one was just too big to not discuss: last week, I was awarded the prestigious Top Online Marketing Writer of the Year Award. The organization that awards the prize - The Top Writers Foundation - has a rigorous process to determine the winner, as noted on its Web site: "At Top Writers we evaluate and rank writers in order to identify the best authors. We have created our proprietary methodology for identifying the best writers and ranking them based on their merits ...
  • How To Leverage Changes In The Search Interface
    Every day, the world of search becomes more complex. Google is a constant, while Bing increases share and Yahoo descends. YouTube, Facebook, Yelp, Amazon, TripAdvisor, Google Maps and other platforms each have their own unique results interface, and for specific industries, these might be more important than what takes place on Google. Yet, while Google's dominance is constant, its result page is anything but. We'll look at how to navigate what is changing on Google (rich answers) and how nontraditional platforms are starting to play a role in search.
  • Five Lessons From 272 Columns
    "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." I have no idea what this means, but Winston Churchill said it, so it must be sage - and seems a fitting way to begin the end of my run as a Search Insider.
  • Can Google Close The Trust Gap With Amazon?
    With rumors of a Google Retail Marketplace heating up, there has been much speculation about Google's ability to accurately vet retailers' customer service and shipping practices.
  • No More Keywords -- No More Text Ads, Either?
    A few weeks ago, Google hosted its annual AdWords live stream to announce the latest batch of additions to its ecosystem. In keeping with tradition, the changes came fast and furious. For me, the most significant changes were a slew of new mobile ad units that deemphasize both keywords and ad text. Essentially, the role of the advertiser is to provide a properly formatted feed to Google and set the right bid amounts, and then let Google determine where and when to show your ad.
  • Mobile Ascends The Throne Of Search
    At its recent AdWords LiveStream 2015 event, Google announced that mobile search volume had passed desktop in the U.S., Japan, Canada and seven other undisclosed markets. The company used this as the backdrop for highlighting three features rolled out in the past year: 1) app promotional tools 2) cross-device conversions and 3) store-visit insights. Beyond its specific products, Google made some provocative statements ("the purchase funnel is officially dead") and tied its work on "micro-moments" to new AdWords opportunities. It emphasized three major industries: automotive, finance and travel. The implications are obvious to retailers, especially those in the emphasized industries, ...
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