Tag Archives: Google

How Industrial SEO Strategies Can Survive Despite Google’s Catastrophic Change


Back when I was a kid, we had 10 search engines. Not one of them was Google! Things were more complicated since we had many requirements, spawning much trial and error. In a way, things were also much simpler back then, since it was generally easier to get good results if you knew what to pay attention to. Search engines didn’t really care much about the content itself. As long as you did your keyword research, and drafted your title and meta-tags accordingly, SEO programs drove targeted traffic with some careful tending.

Then one day Google showed up and changed the search universe. It cared about content, quality content, and actually tested the claims we made via our metatags and such. As a result, the world was forced to stop playing games, and present useful, well organized content to users.  Google was successful since it focused on quick, more accurate results. What a concept! Soon after, most of the search engines got either gobbled up or just died away.

Google recently announced that it is shaking up the universe again by further encrypting organic (non-paid) search string data. Essentially, this means you’ll have no idea what exact search phrase someone used to organically arrive at your website or page. For web marketers and SEO’s, this is a cataclysmic doomsday scenario. Why? Simply since this is arguably the most useful data that Google collects and shares to fuel the success of a long term SEO strategy. This data is the best indicator of visitor’s intent, a key to the search success equation. If we know exactly what they are looking for, we can give it to them.

Is SEO Dead?

So, now what? Is SEO dead? Of course not, but it means we need to change our strategies to succeed. The golden rule of SEO has not changed: the way to win is lots of quality, well organized content. But now, you’ll need to be more strategic in how you present it, and measure its performance.

Conveniently, if you have a PPC program, you can still get this data for pay-to-play performance. While this can give some clues as to search strings for organic, it’s most useful for managing your paid presence on Google. But Google, a company that professes “don’t be evil”, claims it did this to protect the privacy of users. In other words, this has nothing to do with forcing you to pay them. Though keep in mind that the only way Google became a multi-bajillion dollar business is by charging people to advertise. Just sayin’.

Strategies for Success in the New World

Regardless of true intent, here are some specific strategies you can employ to help maintain success:

Custom Manufacturers – services such as machining, molding or fabricating tend to be sourced with location in mind, as well as industry/application. Previously, you would include lots of industry and geo-specific data on your site. Keyword data would indicate what capability and location words people were using. For instance, “CNC Machining New York”, would tell you that the person is looking around NY for machining. This data could be helpful in adjusting your content to improve results long term. Maybe you would showcase more jobs done for New York customers, or use this insight to plan other marketing efforts. The good news here is that geography data is still available, so you can see at least where the searches are originated. For industry and application targeting, you’ll need to develop targeted content. Start by building industry specific pages for each capability, and focus on the services and attributes unique to that industry. For example, if machining aluminum for the aerospace world, make a page just for that – instead of cramming it all into your general “CNC Machining Services” page.  Over time, pay attention to the amount of page views that each page is getting to get to help keep your finger on the pulse.

For OEM manufacturers and distributors that make products with model numbers, this is also a crushing blow. Without knowing what people are searching, you’ve lost the ability to easily see what specific products people are seeking. This data can be used is handy for operations in addition to marketing. Further, you’ve lost the chance to identify variations that people use for product names, or even attribute labels. The best solution here is to make sure that you have an item level detail page for each of your products. You can track this individually to see which products are in demand. When building up your attributes, think about the various ways people will search, for instance try to include “inch”, “inches” and “IN”.

Brand marketing strategies also got kicked in their faces. If you are  looking to see how many people are searching with your name, vs by product or capability, that’s become difficult. My solution for brand tracking is one that can apply to your entire strategy: Remember that Google isn’t the only search engine in the world. You can still pull some valuable data from Bing and Yahoo! to give you insight into keyword searches. This includes all searches, including brand specific ones. Rather than follow suite, I’m sure these engines will use this as a competitive advantage. (Since Google still owns a majority of market share, the others have nothing to lose.)

Do You Feel Scroogled?

While I am generally not a fan of negative campaigns, I can’t help but feel like we all got a little Scroogled in this deal, especially when it seems that Google is the only one that truly stands to benefit. We’re all used to dancing with Google since it started throwing curve balls at us many years ago. (I know, bad mix of two clichés there.) But if you focus on what’s important – quality content above all – and reorganize into narrower silos for tracking, you can measure behavior, make adjustments accordingly and win in the long run.

(c)2013, by Phil Paranicas


Google is Evolving Paid Search

A summary of Google’s newer features aimed at improving paid search presented by Mark Martel, Head of Search Ads Marketing at Google, SMX East 2012, New York City

Google sees 100 billion queries every month – that’s over a trillion a year. As such, Google continues to engineer solutions aimed at providing better results for those searches. As with all things Google, the goal is a quality experience for the end user based on intent, and delivering relevant information quickly. Of course, improved ROI for advertisers is a major goal too. After all, they are the ones writing the checks. Here’s a summary of the features:


These links are displayed within your paid ads to help visitors dive deeper into your website. One of the keys to PPC success is to drive traffic to a relevant page that matches the user’s intent. But in this scenario, marketers decide where the user lands. With site links, more control is given to the visitor. Think about it – aren’t they really the best person to decide what they want? Up to six destination URLs may be added.

Seller Ratings Extensions

In line with their insatiable quest for quality results, seller ratings extensions help people identify how the public perceives merchants on Google. Presented as stars, Google uses multiple databases from around the web to pull the reviews. Adding these can give a 5-10% lift in click through rates. So, if you have good ratings, don’t be shy about integrating and sharing them!

Automated Rules

In the past, these functions were only available through third-party bid management solutions. Now, you can automate changes to certain aspects of your account based on attributes you select. Here are a few examples:

  • Change daily budget on peak shopping days
  • Modify Max CPC bids based on click-through-rate (CTR) or conversion rates
  • Enable ad text that directs users to specific landing pages at a particular time of day or the week

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

Not to be confused with Ad Retargeting, this feature improves the relevance of search ads by allowing you to adjust keywords, ads, bids or landing pages based on pages visited on a website. Note that ad selection is not based on previous searches. For this feature to kick in, the search must match the keywords, and cookies must be enabled. One case study showed an impressive 315% increase in conversion rate; and a boost return on advertising spend (ROAS) by 250%

Search Funnels

As you could guess, these illustrate  the entire search path up to conversion, including ad clicks and impressions. These help you identify which phrases are working, and which need more love and attention. In theory, it’s pretty simple. In practice, it’s very effective. “Set it and forget it” programs don’t hold up over time. This function gives you a visual representation to focus your tweaking efforts and improve performance.

Dynamic Search Ads

This is way cool. Google will generate ads on the fly with a headline based on the query and matching content on your website. How does it know? Duh, it’s Google! It uses organic search algorithms to crawl and identify the appropriate content, then generates the highly targeted dynamic ad.

Product Listing Ads

These are AdWords ads that include product attributes such as image, price, merchant, etc. Again, the goal here is relevance. This function does require you to be up and running on Google Merchant.

Shared Budgets

Simply put, this allows you to share a daily budget over multiple campaigns. This function is designed to better allocate your budget, and improve your performance over time; both with minimized effort.

In Summary

Above is just a sampling of the groovy features that were highlighted. Additional ones included:

Segments – split your data for easier comparison

Google Trusted Stores – a seal of approval that helps attract new customers, but requires integration with your internal customer service and shipping history databases

AdWords Labels – label certain aspects of your program to make it easier to find info and generate reports

AdWords Scripts – make changes to your program via JavaScript

Campaign Simulator – if you change your budget, what will it mean? This function does the modeling for you based on the campaign attributes you adjust.

Google Tag Manager – designed to save time, this allows you to put a single code snippet on your pages to manage monitoring for multiple platforms for analytics, conversion, remarketing, etc. Oh, yes, Google is playing nice – it is compatible with other service providers

At a time where advertisers and agencies are looking to improve campaigns and returns, it’s great to see that Google continues to innovate. You can learn more about these features, and others at Google’s blog http://adwords.blogspot.com/.

In the meantime, I’d like to know what you’re thinking: which features appeal to you most? Why?

Image courtesy of jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Phil Paranicas

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