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How to Adjust SEO strategy to Google’s New SERP Ad Layout

Google's recent changes to their search results pages threw paid search marketers for a loop, but what about organic search practitioners? Columnist Dan Bagby discusses the impact on SEO.

Removing the ads from the right rail of Google search results pages was a long time coming (well, a long time for digital). An eye-mapping study from last year showed that people have gone from viewing the SERPs in an “F” pattern to doing a quick vertical scan down the left side, mostly ignoring the ads on the right side. People are also scanning the page faster by taking only eight or nine seconds to click, down from 14 to 15 seconds in the 2005 study.

It only makes sense that Google would eventually react to how searchers are adapting to the line of links they are used to by taking away the right bar. This is also further evidence of Google’s continued gravitation toward being a mobile-first search engine, since the right column of ads was not visible on mobile search.

While I understand why SEO professionals might worry, I don’t think the recent move to showing up to four ads above organic results will have a profound effect on organic search. The extra ad will only be showing on “highly commercial queries,” and there are several keyword types that remain ad-free or only have one or two ads on top, like e-commerce keywords with PLAs and no text ads, or long-tail keyword phrases.

All that said, no one trying to improve organic search traffic could be happy with the addition of extra ads before the 10 blue organic links. While we can’t change the SERP layout, there are a few ways we can react to maintain a solid SEO strategy. Here are a few ways you can adapt to the ever-changing SERPs.

Keyword Research

Keyword research has always been an essential part of any SEO effort. With so much variation in SERP layouts and the potential to have up to four ads before organic results, strategic keyword research is even more important.

When determining which keywords you are going to pursue, search each term to see what kind of search results layout you are going to be competing within. I recommend placing a higher priority on keywords that have fewer ads between the organic results and the top of the page. (Naturally, there is a lot more to good keyword research than seeing how many ads are shown for a given search query, but this can be a tiebreaker between keywords when building an SEO strategy.)

Marketers: You Don't Need To Be On Every Digital Channel

There’s no shortage of blog posts out there that’ll tell you which social media channels you need to be on right now, but the short answer is this: you really need to be on the channels where your audience hangs out - which can mean something sort of complicated.

It could mean that you need to be on every major channel in some way, big or small. It could mean that the content you create for Facebook is vastly different from the content you create for email blasts. It could mean that you are on different channels at different points in the sales cycle or for different kinds of digital campaigns.

Here’s what it doesn’t mean:

   You need to be on every channel equally.
   You only need to be on _____ channel because it’s the only one that matters.
   You need to be on ______ channel because it’s the hot new mobile app.

There isn’t an easy mathematical solution to deciding which channels to create content for. Knowing where your brand and content need to be requires more than just knowing what channels are popular right now. It requires a deep investigation into the kinds of interactions your brand wants, a thorough understanding of who your audience is, along with insights into how and why they make decisions.


Know Your Channels – The 3Ms

One very useful way to evaluate a digital channel is to look at it through the lens of the 3Ms: Is it meaningful to your audience? Is it manageable for your team? And is what happens there measurable for your campaign?

   Meaningful: Is the channel you’ve selected meaningful to your audience? Is the content you’ll create for that channel meaningful? Identify the channel’s strengths and major audience segments, and determine if those align with your brand. If they don’t align, your presence and content there will ring false, both internally and with your target audience.
   Manageable: Are you already juggling too many channels for the amount of staff you have? It’s a bad marketing move to announce your presence on a new channel and then disappear because you don’t have a team to manage it. When evaluating whether or not a channel is appropriate for you, investigate whether you’d need to create entirely new content for it and if you can handle that, or if you already have content that is adaptable to the channel.
   Measurable: Is the value of that channel measurable? This might be the hardest thing to determine. Some channels, like Twitter, have proprietary analytics features. Some you can measure via other reporting platforms. But others might have value that isn’t immediately measurable. Are you willing to forgo measurement to be on the channel? Perhaps. But it takes some consideration to know that.

Original Article Source:  Marketers: You Don’t Need To Be On Every Digital Channel

Internet Strategies Report Launched With Jay Abraham
(image)One of the major developments in my business this year has been to co-author the Exponential Internet Strategies Report with US Marketing Marketing Wiz Jay Abraham.
There’s a tonne of “how to” guides around about internet marketing but most of it is aimed at the “make-money-in-your-dressing-gown”, information marketing crowd. I’m not knocking it – selling information online is a great business model in many ways.
But what if you operate an “offline” product or service business, and you want to learn how to…
  1. Generate more qualified sales leads and enquiries using the Internet
  2. Leverage the results of your current website
  3. Continuously improve your marketing ROI.
Many “information-marketing” principles don’t necessarily apply. That’s because you actually have to DO something such as set an appointment or ship a physical product to your customer. And many “offline” businesses are not particularly web-savvy – they want to use the internet as a sales or lead generation tool, without wanting to make the web their core business.
The Exponential Internet Strategies Report addresses these issues – providing business owners and managers with a thorough strategic overview of how to use the web as part of the marketing mix, plus dozens of highly successful tactics for leveraging the Internet to create real business results.
I’ll keep you posted about results as they come in.
Internet Lead Generation Guy

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5 Strategies to Empower Your Digital Marketing Campaign

Though direct mail is bound to reach 70-80% of potential borrowers and ensure up to 28% better results, digital marketing may be the way to go considering how lead generation costs can be quite high in many sectors. If you want to effectively pinpoint your target and add shopper convenience, here are five digital tactics … Continue reading 5 Strategies to Empower Your Digital Marketing Campaign (image)

Followup on Close Connexion
(image)A couple of weeks ago I blogged about Close Connexion, a new singles concept that has been recently launched in Brisbane. I worked with the founder Danielle Rodgers on her online marketing strategy.
Anyway, the opening event was on 22nd June at Brisbane’s Platform Bar and I was one of the punters! Even though I was involved in the marketing side of the project, it was great to also experience the format as a “customer”.
Unlike any other singles event formats, Close Connexion evenings are based around a table game developed by Danielle called The Meet Market™.
The game is very clever – after 3 minutes of explanation, people who have never met each other before can start interacting via the game. This avoids the “uncomfortable silences” that we all fear when meeting new people – especially in a dating setting.
Danielle has also developed a cool viral marketing tool – packs of 20 “Frequent Flirter Calling Cards” – you use them to exchange contact details with that intriguing person across the room.
From a purely marketing angle, every time someone uses one of the cards, the Close Connexion name also gets a bit of exposure.
I had a fantastic time at the inaugural event and met a number of great people. If you’re on the lookout for a singles event in Brisbane, give Close Connexion a try. The next event is on Thursday 27 July so get in quick.

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6 Tips for Stirring your Online Community
‘Community Building’ – or engaging people who have a common interest in a brand or idea – is on everyone’s mind these days. The Next Web recently devoted a panel discussion to this topic at its annual conference in New York City. There I joined representatives from Tumblr and startup accelerator AngelPad in a fascinating conversation about building community through trust and authenticity.

Here are six tips that can help brands stir passion and deepen connections inalmost any community:
1. Address a need

In order to build a vibrant community, address a real need and provide true value. Ask yourself: Am I providing a benefit to my customers? Am I helping them accomplish their goals, or addressing concerns they have?

At Fiverr, for example, our community initially grew through sellers of digital creative services wanting to learn from each other. At the same time, many felt professionally isolated as freelancers and missed the personal connections. Today, through the Fiverr Forum, blog, community events, meetups and other grassroots activities, we work to connect freelancers across the globe and help them consult with each other, collaborate, and make new friends. 

2. Use the community for the community

Brands rely on their communities to fuel their own growth. After hosting a few community events, we began getting requests from community members in different locations to hold their own, independent events. This year, our community will host more than 50 self-organized events around the world.

Passionate users like these are also the best brand ambassadors. Our Fiverr Ambassadors — successful sellers on the platform — help us monitor our forums and help newcomers build their businesses on Fiverr. When you want to scale community building efforts, expanding your team is one way to do so. But try utilizing your community to effectively scale, especially as an alternative to scaling up your team. No one can represent you better than an empowered customer.

3. You can’t replace face-to-face

As Thomas Korte of AngelPad mentioned during our panel, meeting someone in person, even for a few minutes, makes a world of difference.

For most brands, community-building is exclusively virtual. Online venues become places for people to communicate, share success stories and case studies, and create virtual friendships. But consider adding in-person community events where human touch can amplify the collaboration experience. Danielle Strle of Tumblr shared similar advice. 

In Tumblr’s case, in-person meetups were originally initiated by independent community members. Tumblr followed its community’s lead and began to host events as well.

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