Why Brands Can’t Afford to Ignore Similar & Lookalike Audiences

Modern digital marketing campaigns make extensive use of retargeting, showing paid ads to users who have already interacted with a brand’s website, paid ads, or social media content. When implemented correctly, these types of campaigns have far stronger metrics than their non-retargeted counterparts, making them attractive to business and marketers alike.

While retargeted campaigns are well worth the investment, there are drawbacks to retargeting. For one, it takes time and money to develop retargeting audiences. For another, these audiences are limited to users who’ve already interacted with your brand. If you’re looking for new prospects, you won’t find them in your retargeting audience.

While some digital marketers will use the terms “similar audience” and “lookalike audience” interchangeably, it’s important to note that these are two separate tools.

Similar audience is a feature on Google Ads. This feature is based on remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs), i.e., users you are retargeting because they’ve interacted with your website. When you use RLSAs in a paid search campaign, Google will analyze the search behavior of your RLSA audience. It will then give you the option of expanding your campaign to target a similar audience. This is a group of users whose search behavior closely mirrors your RLSA audience.

But what if there was a simple, low-cost way to double or triple the size of this audience? And what if you could target new users in the process? That’s where similar audiences (on Google Ads) and lookalike audiences (on Facebook) can make a huge difference in your digital marketing strategy.

Lookalike audience is a feature used for Facebook ads, which works similarly to Google’s similar audiences feature. However, Facebook isn’t using search behavior to build this audience. Instead, it bases your lookalike audience on features like user interests and demographic data. Facebook also allows gives you control over the size of your lookalike audience. Smaller audiences will mirror your original audience more closely, while larger audiences reach more users.

In both cases, there are limitations to these tools. Both features require a large enough sample size to create a mirror audience. Google will only give the option of a similar audience if your original RLSA has “at least 1,000 cookies with enough similarity in search behavior.” Facebook requires at least 100 users in your source audience, but it recommends using a source audience of at least 1,000 users.

These concerns aside, the question for marketers is simple: Do similar and lookalike audiences work?

Why You Should Invest in Similar and Lookalike Audiences

If digital marketers have learned one thing over the past decade, it’s that Google and Facebook know what they’re doing. So it should come as no surprise that brands who’ve adopted similar and lookalike audiences have seen impressive results.

In simple terms, these features allow you to target a larger base of potential customers while retaining the positive metrics of retargeted marketing. In numerous case studies, mirrored audiences on Google and Facebook have had similar engagement and conversion metrics to the audiences on which they were based. In terms of purchasing behavior, it’s almost like cloning your most promising leads.

Even better, mirrored audiences can significantly reduce the cost of acquiring new customers. While there is an investment of time and money to develop your initial retargeting audience, it costs much less to mirror that audience via Google or Facebook. Not only are you practically cloning your best leads, but the cloning process also costs pennies on the dollar when compared to traditional lead acquisition.

Ultimately, similar and lookalike audiences are a near-foolproof way to get more value out of your current retargeting data and increase the overall efficiency of your digital spend. However, there’s one important catch. For these features to work, you need to be targeting the right people in the first place. That means investing the time and money it takes to build high-quality source data for your brand.


How Search Algorithms Work

search algorithm picturePop to the top, it’s what we all want for our websites. We know what we want, but do we understand it and know how to get there? Let’s start with what a search algorithm is, then how it works.

 

What is a Search Algorithm?
A search algorithm is not a formula, it is a combination and series of multiple processes and sets of rules used to solve [search] for specific information. These processes and rules are based on step-by-step procedures used to find the desired data among the plethora of the internet data collections.

 

When diving into the seemingly bottomless pools of internet data the rate at which the requested information is processed and ultimately received depends upon the depth and complexity of the algorithm parameters. Multiple algorithms can co-exist and affect each other.

 

How Do They Do It?
With so many ways to search the web for information, we will discuss how Google uses search algorithms to find what you’re looking for!

 

First, as a search engine Google provides users with relevant information based on their search. The search engine ranking or SERP is made up of a combination of algorithms. These algorithms analyze what the searcher’s intent was and to return results to fulfill that objective. Google is constantly refining and adjusting their algorithms to assess searches and the results in finer detail. The goal is to make the SERP more accurate so it works better for you.

 

How it works has no quick, easy answer. To better understand how search algorithms work we have broken in down into 5 parts.

 

Part 1: Analysis
Analyzing what you want, through the use of words, a search engine deciphers what you want, including misspellings, and this is done through indexing. Factors that contribute to faster or slower return may include domain and page authority (relevance to your search), content schedule (frequency of content publishing), and the popularity of the website.

 

Part 2: Search Matching
Next is webpage matching. Similar to Part 1: Analysis, search matching analyzes how often your search criteria appears on the web page, in content, or in other relevant places like images..

 

Part 3: Page Ranking
When you begin a search, have you ever thought about quantity of web pages with the potential relevant information you want? Thousands? Millions? No? Me either – you want the right information, quick, and now, right?

 

Google uses Googlebot with the support of crawling and indexing for a more robust search. Googlebot, a search software, collects and adds information to its seemingly endless index through the crawlers that continually move from website to website to feed it’s appetite for information.

 

Part 4: Context
Your information matters. Search algorithms count on your personal information such as previous search history, settings, and even location. This information is used to deliver relevant content to you for your specific area or location.

 

Think about the search term “football.” If your location is in London, you are more likely to retrieve soccer related content. As compared to the same search performed in Atlanta, which would most surely show NFL related content in general and Atlanta Falcons related content specifically..

 

Part 5: Results
This is where the rubber meets the road. Before you see your results, the information is calculated and sorted by relevance. Now is when a website’s SEO comes into play. Simply put, when the keywords entered your search engine match the keywords on a website, it’s a hit!

 

Algorithms work with a specific purpose in mind. In the case of a search engine, it is to produce the results the user wants. For example, the Panda algorithm was designed to examine content. While the Penguin algorithm evaluates links. While each algorithm is separate, they work together to influence rankings.

 

Remember, algorithms count on content, URLs, external and internal links, and images just to name a few factors. Take time to review your online presence and reach more users by optimizing your website through your content with keywords, meta tags, etc.

 

3 Easy Ways to Create Google Friendly Content

google friendly content

Its no secret that getting your content to rank  higher on Google Search leads to more views and converts more readers into customers. Improving your rankings can be a challenge, but in this case knowledge is power.

 

Learn to “speak Google’s language” by making your content more engaging, improving your Google score, and avoiding common SEO mistakes.  You’ll be on your way to higher rankings and improved organic search traffic when you’re designing your content to be Google friendly.

 

1. Make Your Content More Engaging

Engaging your reader in content that stands out is the first step to more sales, shares, and backlinks. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make content more engaging:

 

Make a Good First Impression
When a reader lands on your page, the first few seconds are crucial. In fact, for a delay of a single second, the bounce rate increases 56%. If you have high quality content and your page fails to load, no one sees it. Also watch out for ads that fill the above-the-fold space on your page; immediately seeing ads can turn readers off before they even see a word of your content.

 

Take Care in Presentation

The way your content looks affects how the reader engages. Use high quality typography with font types, sizes, and colors that are easy to read. You can also improve the readability of your content by incorporating whitespace.

 

Use a Hook

Engaging the reader in the title and introduction makes it harder for them to stop reading, leads to longer time on the page, and makes it more likely that their time on the page will end with a call of action.

 

Make it Visually Appealing

Use visual aids including images, illustrations, screenshots, infographics, maps, and charts to instantly make your content more visually engaging.

 

Add Credibility

Referring to research and developments in your industry lends credibility to your page, which makes it more appealing to readers (and to Google).

 

Provide Solutions

“How To” posts are incredibly popular because people like finding solutions to problems. Creating content that provides answers for your target audience makes it instantly more engaging. Add videos, screenshots, and illustrations for even more appeal.

 

Use the Right Tone

Maintain a positive tone in your words and be genuinely interested in your target audience. Make content easy to read and encourage dialogue by giving opportunity for the reader to speak about their likes and dislikes.

 

2. Improve Your Google Content Score

Experts now believe that Google assigns a “content score” to every page on your website. The criteria they use for rating content appears to boil down to these five metrics:

 

  1. Actions – The actions a reader takes on your page, usually a click or conversion, matters to Google. Having a clear call to action at the bottom of your page is probably the single most important thing you can do to improve your content score.
  2. Bounce Rate – Google has been tracking bounce rate, the percentage of visitors to your site that only view one page, for years. To improve your bounce rate, make sure you’re not only giving your readers engaging content, but be sure they have somewhere else to go on your site, instead of straight back to Google, with a strong call to action.
  3. Time Spent on Page – The longer a reader stays on your page, the more valuable Google views your content. The best scenario for Google is when a reader spends a good amount of time on a page and then goes to another page rather than back to Google.
  4. Links – The more people point to your page, the higher Google views it. Building quality links is vitally important, and you can get there with good quality content.
  5. Traffic – A high SEO ranking will bring more organic traffic, but until you have more organic traffic, you won’t have a high SEO ranking. To kickstart the process, engage in content promotion by driving traffic to your site with:
    • Paid social media (Facebook, Instagram)
    • Paid article promotion
    • Email newsletters
    • Influencer promotion (quote someone of influence, get them to retweet the article)
    • Free social media promotion (post it yourself)
    • Manual promotion (reaching out to other website owners, writers)  

 

3. Avoid Simple SEO Mistakes

Rank higher, faster by avoiding seven common mistakes that cause delays in the creation of organic search traffic:

 

  1. Short Content
    Google is looking for long-form, in depth content because there’s a better chance that longer content is more comprehensive and will be able to answer a user’s question. Be sure that your content is long enough to be thorough, well thought out, and concise.
  2. No Design Elements
    Google will favor your website if it’s updated and modern with pages that are thoughtfully designed. Break up content with design elements to keep users on your page longer and Google is more likely to rank the content higher due to dwell time.
  3. Grammatical and Content Errors
    One of the best ways to get your content to the top of the search results is by acquiring links, and your chances of being linked to will be lower if you have spelling and/or content errors on your page. Spell check and proofreading are your best friends here.  
  4. No Content Breaks and Long Paragraphs
    The average web page reader has an incredibly short attention span. Keep them on the page longer by making your content more visually appealing. Use headers, lists, bullets, and images to break up the content and keep paragraphs short. The more interested your reader is, the longer they’ll stick around and the happier Google will be with your content.
  5. No External Links
    Content that cites sources using external links generally appears higher in search results than content without external links. The thinking here is that content with external sources is more researched and therefore more credible.
  6. No Promotion
    Even if you have great content, great SEO rankings don’t happen overnight. Readers need to find your content and give it a boost with comments, social sharing, and links. Give that whole process a nudge with a solid promotion strategy and those rankings will come quicker.
  7. No Meta Optimization
    Leaving your meta title and descriptions on default will result in Google using the header and first two sentences of your content, which is a mistake. Instead, take the time to write unique titles and descriptions, it’s well worth the effort.

 

Making your content more engaging, improving your Google score and avoiding common SEO mistakes will make your content more appealing to Google and improve your organic search traffic.

 

Google AdWords Budget Change: What’s The Potential Impact?

Google Adwords Budget Change

Recently, Google announced an immediate change to average daily budget caps in AdWords and it has many advertisers wondering about the potential impact.

 

In a tweet, Google Adwords announced, “To help you hit your advertising goals, your campaigns can now spend up to twice your average daily budget.”

 

How this change will impact campaigns depends on a number of factors, but it’s important to note that Google also states “over a month-long billing cycle, you won’t be charged more than your daily budget would’ve allowed for over 30.4 days”.

 

This is a key point that bears repeating: any overages above the expected monthly budget that come from this change will not be charged back to the advertiser.

 

While Google has always had the ability to exceed a campaign’s daily budget, this change gives them more flexibility on how to maximize its impact. On days when search traffic is particularly high, your daily spend can double to reach as many customers as possible. The assumption being that this overage will be counteracted on days with slower traffic where spend will come in below the daily budget.

 

How Will This Change Affect My Campaign Budgets?

 

Monthly Campaigns With No Daily Budget Changes: These campaigns will not be charged over the “monthly budget limit” (your daily budget x 30.4 days). If the campaign does exceed the “monthly budget limit”, overdelivery charges will be credited back at the end of the month.

Monthly Campaigns With Budget Changes: These campaigns will continue as they have in the past, with the “monthly budget limit” being reset for the remaining days.

Short Term Campaigns: For campaigns that do not last a month, or are paused mid-month, advertisers will be responsible for over delivery charges at up to 2x the daily budget because the “monthly daily budget” does not apply. Although Google states that this is unlikely to happen, it is possible, so advertisers should take it into consideration when setting the budget.  

 

Takeaways About The AdWords Budget Change:

  1. This new budget structure changes Google’s overspend threshold from 20% above the daily budget to twice the daily budget, or 100%.
  2. The change went into effect immediately on October 4, 2017, with no way to opt out.
  3. This change is an attempt to account for daily fluctuations in traffic, allowing campaigns to be better equipped to handle peaks and lulls. According to Google, “If your ads don’t show up much because of low traffic, then we’ll make up for that by showing them more when traffic’s higher.”  
  4. Advertisers will not be charged overages above the expected monthly budget. “You might see that your advertising costs each day are a little higher or lower than what you set for your daily budget. If you do, don’t worry — over a month-long billing cycle, you won’t be charged more than your daily budget would’ve allowed for over 30.4 days,” explains Google.
  5. When setting up short-term campaigns that do not fall within the “monthly budget limit”, advertisers should be aware that they could potentially pay up to 2x their daily budget for the length of the campaign, although Google says this scenario is highly unlikely.

 

This is a significant change to Google AdWords budgeting, but shouldn’t be cause for panic. Just keep in mind when checking in on current and upcoming campaigns that your daily ad spend will be fluctuating more than ever, but should even out by month’s end.

 

How Important Is HTTPS in SEO Marketing?

HTTPS in SEO MarketingFor the past three years, Google has been pushing webmasters to shift from HTTP to HTTPS. This is part of their attempt to make the web more secure. One of the ways they’ve encouraged this change is by making HTTPS a ranking factor in Google search. But there’s still a lot of uncertainty about how important HTTPS is for SEO marketing.

 

Some recent data suggest that HTTPS plays a big role in modern SEO. For instance, only 1% of the web currently uses HTTPS, but roughly 40% of all first page results on Google are HTTPS pages.

 

That suggests that HTTPS is a huge ranking factor for SEO. But when you dig a little deeper, the picture gets slightly more complicated. In fact, some people maintain that HTTPS is more or less an SEO non-factor. Confused? You won’t be by the end of this post.

 

Understanding HTTP vs. HTTPS

Before diving into the role that HTTPS plays in SEO marketing, here’s a quick guide to what it actually is.

 

HTTP stands for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol.” Historically, HTTP is the way that websites create a connection to transmit data to users. Unfortunately, this connection is unprotected. HTTPS, on the other hand, stands for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure.” Unlike HTTP, it actually protects the website-to-user connection.

 

This is accomplished with SSL certification. On an HTTPS website, an SSL certificate secures the connection between the website and the user, using a security key. This security key authenticates the connection, encrypts transmitted data, and prevents hackers from exploiting this connection.

 

HTTPS protection is particularly valuable on certain websites. On ecommerce sites, an HTTPS connection prevents payment information from being stolen. The same is true of any website where a user is entering sensitive information or engaging in private communication. If you download files from a website, an HTTPS can also prevent hackers from corrupting the files during transmission.

 

While most websites don’t necessarily need this level of protection, it has been Google’s policy since 2014 to encourage HTTPS as the standard protocol for the modern web. To encourage HTTPS adoption, they announced that it would become an SEO ranking factor.

 

The question is how important has HTTPS been to SEO marketing since 2014? And how important is it in 2017 specifically?

The Importance of HTTPS for SEO

Since 2014, a number of SEO marketing experts have had the chance to measure the effect of HTTPS on SEO. Most analyses have found that HTTPS, on its own, has a marginal effect on rankings. This aligns with Google official position, which they gave in 2015, stating that HTTPS acts as a kind of “tie-breaker.” If two sites are equally ranked, but one uses HTTPS and the other doesn’t, the HTTPS site will rank first.

 

However, some SEO marketing studies have found that HTTPS gives a small boost to all websites, not just cases where Google needs a tie-breaker. The teams running these studies have seen cases where lower-ranked websites were able to leapfrog closely-ranked competitors thanks to an HTTPS connection.

 

Part of the reason for this might be the other ranking factors that HTTPS is tied to. HTTPS causes pages to load faster. Page speed is a well-known ranking factor. Users are also more likely to trust HTTPS pages, so these pages might have better user engagement signal.

 

So how is it that 40% of all first-page results use HTTPS, when only 1% of the entire web has adopted this protocol? The simple answer is that 1% happens to include most the web’s biggest and most trafficked websites: major brands, news sources, social networks, etc. These sites need to be secure, so they were some of HTTPS’s first adopters. At the same time, these sites already have a huge edge in SEO marketing. So even if it seems like HTTPS is giving them a huge boost in the rankings, they’re mostly ranking well because they’re doing everything else right.

 

Google Minimizes Role of Exact Match Keywords in PPC

pay per click marketing qiigoOver the past few years, Google’s ability to understand language has grown leaps and bounds, leading to big changes for organic search and SEO. Now, those changes are starting to show up in Google AdWords, reshaping the way PPC marketing campaigns are conducted.

This spring, Google has announced that exact match keywords will play a minimized role in Google AdWords. The change widens the net of keywords that can capture PPC traffic and could fundamentally change the way PPC marketing professionals approach the AdWords platform.

We outline the changes below that Google has made and how they will impact future PPC marketing efforts.

Change Ignores Function Words & Word Order

Google already treats plurals, variant spellings, and misspelled keywords as “exact matches” for AdWords campaigns. But with this most recent update, there are two new changes Google is making to Exact Match campaigns.

The first change is that Google is now ignoring most function words for Exact Matches. Function words are linking words that include conjunctions (“and” or “but”), prepositions (“then” or “about”), pronouns (“her” or “they”), quantifiers (“few” or “all”), and modals (“could” and “should”). In most cases, Google now ignores these words entirely, removing them from queries when matching them to PPC campaigns. So, a search of “vacation in Barbados” will be considered an exact match for “vacation Barbados.”

The second change is that Google will also be ignoring word order on most queries. If, for instance, a user searches for “mens shoes red,” Google will that search as a match for “red mens shoes.”

It’s important to note that there will be exceptions. If Google’s algorithm detects that a function word is essential to the meaning of a query, or if it detects that word order matters, it will still make sure to match those keywords accurately.

What This Means for PPC Marketing

This change comes with a number of implications for PPC marketing teams. Google’s new “wide net” approach to exact match keywords means that PPC marketers now need to take extra steps if they want closer control over the keywords their ads are matched to.

By using negative keywords, you can eliminate variant keywords that you don’t want to trigger your ads. When crafting new PPC campaigns, marketers will need to take the added step of analyzing their chosen keywords to see if they could be matched with unwanted keywords. Any variants you don’t want should be added to the negatives for your campaign.

It’s also important for marketers to take periodic looks at their Search Query Reports. You’ll want to check over the keywords that are triggering your ads and look for keyword variants that you want excluded from your campaign going forward.

Generate clicks and conversions on your next AdWords campaign with help from the PPC marketing experts at Qiigo. Call (888) 673-1212 today to discover your road map to PPC success.

How to Use UTM Codes in Your Digital Marketing Campaigns

how to use utm codesAny successful digital marketing campaign is powered by data. But data-driven campaigns are only possible when you collect that data properly. One essential tool used by digital marketers for data collection and segmentation is UTM codes. UTM codes help you build unique URLs for different marketing campaigns, making it possible to properly segment campaign traffic in platforms like Google Analytics.

Below, we outline how you can quickly and simply set up and use UTM codes within Google Analytics for your digital marketing campaigns.

UTM Codes: The Basics

A UTM code (short for Urchin Tracking Module) is a piece of code that is attached to a page’s URL. This code makes it easy for analytics programs to track where users are visiting your website’s pages from. By creating a new, unique UTM code for each campaign that you wish to track, you can easily isolate data to compare one campaign against another.

UTM codes are composed of five different elements, also referred to as parameters. Three of these parameters are required for all UTM codes. Two are only used in certain cases.

The five parameters are:

  • Campaign Name – utm_campaign: This is the name of your campaign. (i.e. “summersale”)
  • Campaign Source – utm_source: This is where you are running your campaign (i.e. “facebook”)
  • Campaign Medium – utm_medium: This is the type of link used to direct traffic to your site (i.e. “bannerad”)
  • Campaign Term – utm_term (optional parameter): If you are running a PPC campaign, this is the keyword term used.
  • Campaign Content – utm_content (optional parameter): If you are running multiple campaigns with the same name, source, and medium, you can add an extra keywords with this parameter to differentiate them.

Setting Up UTM Codes

Getting a UTM code set up for your campaign is simple, thanks to Google’s URL Builders and other similar tools. With Google’s URL builders (available for web and email ads, as well as mobile-app ads), you simply enter your website’s URL and each of the parameters you are using. Google’s tool will automatically generate a unique URL with the proper UTM parameters for your campaign. You will want to create a unique UTM code for every campaign that you are tracking in Google Analytics. This way, you can isolate each campaign individually.

One important point: make sure you use the same spelling for shared parameters. For instance, if you are running multiple campaigns for your summer sale, make sure to use “summersale” for the Campaign Name of each campaign. If you are running multiple campaigns on Facebook, you will want to spell “facebook” that same way every time in the Campaign Source parameter. Note that UTM parameters are case-sensitive, so capital letters matter.

UTM Codes & Google Analytics

When you’re in Google Analytics, you can easily track and compare different campaigns based on their UTM parameters. Simply go into Traffic Sources > Sources > Campaigns to see an overview of all campaigns listed by the Campaign Name parameter. In other areas, like the Explorer, Ecommerce, and AdSense sections, you’ll be able to drill down by additional parameters, like Campaign Source and Campaign Medium.

UTM codes make it easy to track and compare how social media campaigns perform on Facebook vs. Twitter, whether you’re seeing more clicks from banner ads vs. sidebar ads, or how different ads perform within the same campaign. This way, you can go ultra-granular when fine-tuning your digital marketing efforts, helping you build smarter campaigns and optimize results.

Get more out of digital marketing by choosing the digital specialists at Qiigo. Call (888) 673-1212 today to learn how you can unlock your brand’s digital potential.

Google Tests Low-Feature Version of Local Box

In what may be an attempt to improve SERP performance on phones with weaker hardware or poor connectivity, Google has begun to test a new, low-feature version of the local box on mobile devices.

The local box, as it is termed by local search marketers, is a box that contains information about top-ranked businesses in local Google search results. On desktop searches, it appears on the right-hand side. On mobile searches, it appears above the rest of the search results.

Usually, the local box is composed of three bands. The upper band includes an image of the business (usually taken from the business’s Google My Business page) and a Google Maps snapshot showing the business’s location. The second band, which is blue, includes the business’s name, the business’s category, the business’s rating on Google Reviews, and a star icon that allows users to save the business as a favorite. Finally, the lower band includes icons to call the business, search for directions through Google Maps, or visit the business’s website, as well as info about the business’s address and hours.

local box redesign

In the new test, the box has been redesigned, with a stripped-down, less aesthetically-driven look. The upper band is gone completely, with no image of the business and no Google Maps snapshot. Meanwhile, the middle and bottom bands remain. All of the business information is still there, but in a denser, less-colorful format with fewer icons. The only other feature missing is the star that allows users to save businesses.

Why is Google testing this new, stripped-down local box? Local search marketers believe it is a way to improve load speed. Some are suggesting that Google is detecting the connection quality of each user’s device and then using the new, low-feature box on devices with slow load times. This way, users who might otherwise grow frustrated and give up before their search properly loads will be able to see their search results faster.

Improve your local search results on Google and other major search engines by working with the digital marketing team at Qiigo. Call (888) 673-1212 today to learn how our digital marketing strategies can help you conquer Google’s local results.

Google Running Closed Test on “Expanded Text Ads”

Do you often find yourself frustrated with the low character count allowed by Google AdWords? That might change soon, as Google is currently beta testing a new layout for text ads that search engine marketers are raving about. The new layout – termed “Expanded Text Ads” – allows text-based ads with longer headlines and greater display URL flexibility.

Increased Headlines & Display URLs

google tests expanded text ads

For search engine marketers, the most exciting aspect of the new format is the new character count placed on headlines. This was made possible when Google got rid of right-column ads, shifting all ad content to the much wider mainline of SERPs.

Because of this change, Google currently allows longer headlines, but only under certain display conditions. The problem is that Google creates longer headlines for you, which it does by adding the first line of your ad’s main copy to the headline.

There are a few problems with this system. First, Google does not create a longer headline if you have not entered a punctuation mark that separates the two sections. Second, it reduces the amount of ad copy in your ad. Third, it places limits on the kind of headlines and copy you can write.

Google’s new tested format fixes all of these issues. Headline length is extended to 70 characters, and search engine marketers have control over what goes into all of those characters. Even better, Google doesn’t need to steal part of your ad’s main copy to create the headline, so all parts of your ad display in full. In fact, ad copy is now a single, longer field instead of two short fields, opening up new possibilities for the kinds of copy search engine marketers can write.

These is also a little bit of added flexibility for your display URLs. Search engine marketers can now enter a second path or directory to their ads. So a display URL that previously ended with “/HDTVs” can now end “/HDTVs/Megasale”. This gives search engine marketers a little bit of extra room to entice potential leads.

Google Mum on Possible Rollout

While search engine marketers are eager to try out the new format, it may be a while before most of them can do so. Google’s test is in closed beta, with a limited number of participants. Right now, Google is not giving any information about when new participants might be allowed to join the test, or what a timeline might look like for a full rollout of the new ad format.

Unlock the latest in search marketing for your business by partnering with the search engine marketers at Qiigo. Call us today at (888) 673-1212 to find out how our team can boost your online presence.

Yahoo for Sale – Verizon Among Bidders

yahoo sale

Yahoo – the much scrutinized internet search and media company – was put up for sale earlier this spring, and the first round of bids are now in for consideration. With an internet mainstay’s future in the balance, the sale has been of interest to everyone from casual observers to financial page readers to search marketing experts.

While Yahoo is facing financial turmoil and is often viewed as a poor cousin to the internet’s twin giants of Google and Facebook, it remains the third-most visited desktop domain on the web. This makes Yahoo enticing to any company bold enough to think it can pull-off a turn-around.

Here’s everything you need to know about the current state of the sale and what it could mean for the web and search marketing in general.

Company Caught in Financial Meltdown

When Yahoo’s sale was announced earlier this year, the company released financial information that gave the public an inside look at the financial state of the company. The results were not pretty. Despite a three-year turnaround effort helmed by CEO Marissa Mayer, the company failed to anticipate the rise of mobile devices. Consequently, the company is projecting a 20% loss on earnings in 2016 compared to 2015.

The company’s finances are believed to have sparked the sale, as Yahoo investors became increasingly vocal about the company’s sinking revenue figures. This has led to chatter among business insiders and search marketing professionals about Mayer’s future and the direction new ownership will take for Yahoo’s search and media interests.

Verizon & Investment Firms Lead Bidders

Yahoo’s first wave of bids saw proposals from 10 different companies, with bids ranging between $4 billion and $8 billion. The majority of these bids are from investment firms and private equity companies, including TPG, YP Holdings, and a partnered bid by Bain Capital and Vista Equity Partners.

The outlier among the bidders is Verizon. The media conglomerate already owns one former internet giant in its subsidiary, AOL. Now, the company is believed to be gunning hard for Yahoo, which could give Verizon a stronger foothold in online media.

Search marketing experts expect that any bidder that attempts to resurrect Yahoo will bring wholesale changes to several aspects of the company’s business. One of these will be mobile, where Yahoo has struggled. As successful turnaround would mean increased focus on Yahoo among search marketing efforts.

Where’s Google in All of This?

With Yahoo still claiming a substantial stake of desktop traffic, many expected the company’s leading rival, Google, to consider a bid. Reports in early April indicated that Alphabet, Google’s parent company, was weighing the pros and cons of entering a bid. Ultimately, the company declined to do so.

Most business and search marketing experts believe that Google could be subject to severe regulatory backlash were such a sale to go through and that Google likely considers itself well-positioned enough without subsuming Yahoo.

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