Tag Archive for: boost SEO

Google AdWords Changes : truth and myth

On February 18th, 2016, Google AdWords changes took the digital marketing industry by surprise. The removal of right side ads on desktop results page created panic and much heated debate. While discussions are still going strong on the topic, most agree a month later that Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Armageddon will have to wait. Again.

What the Google AdWords changes mean for advertisers

The major change Google implemented on the search results was removing the ads from the right side, and balancing the deletion by adding a 4th paid position on the top of the page. The intent, in the interest of fairness, is mostly geared towards products and services, and high-commercial value search keywords (as in, competitive markets).
If you search for something generic that doesn’t necessarily involve commerce, the result page is still mostly free of ads.

For example, on the query “cashmere”, one ad comes up (LL Bean… but they probably bid on every type of wool, fabric or garment). The query “origins of cashmere” yields purely organic results.

But the result page on query “cashmere sweater” displays both ads and product listing ads.Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 12.15.28 PM

What do Google AdWords changes mean for advertisers is still left to guessing, although a month of data (as per WordStream) puts some speculation to rest.

CTRs (Click-thru rates) are up, CPCs (cost per click) are steady, impressions are down.
Companies that bid for brand, niche markets, displays and video-oriented content and mobile advertisers are not affected by this little revolution (mobile results were already on 4 ad slots).

What about those advertisers that got killed, you may wonder? It turns out the right hand side of the search results page was not very profitable. The bottom of the page may still display up to 3 AdWords slots, up for grabs. While the RHS (right hand side) advertisers feel they lose visibility, and companies positioned 5-11 are not happy to move below the fold, the users feel they get more relevant results with fewer commercial distractions.

Consequences of Google AdWords changes to SEO

The first wave of panic upon learning of the change was close to a tsunami in the SEO world.

The first call of action is to gather the troops to work harder on optimization (and maybe find better tools). Since most desktop screens display only above the fold, scrolling is required to find the first organic result.
To top it off, the bottom position moves to the second page (but it’s on top there, so that’s a positive…).

But did Google AdWords changes really make SEO the biggest loser?
“[…] organic has been losing ground to new ad formats and other SERP changes every year”. Here is exactly why SEO professionals recover from the news better than advertisers. So many changes over the years have forced them to adapt and shift their working methods, not their strategies. They have to be more precise, they have to analyze performance with more scrutiny so that keyword and that meta description will bump them back up.

In fact, one may be allowed to think that organic search could benefit from a less cluttered page, where the user can find a more direct access to what they queried for.

The query “origin of cashmere” yields purely organic results

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 12.14.57 PM

So, as users, if information and knowledge are what we’re looking for, we still get them with minimal distraction. And if we are in the business of selling cashmere sweaters, we should run those reports and make sure our content includes “origins of cashmere” or “cashmere origin” (70 queries per month), or buy the top ad slot for a few cents.

It can be argued that Google AdWords changes were mostly implemented to boost ad revenue and that users, small businesses and SEO professionals were collateral damage. As a company Google needs to make profit. As a search engine, it needs to cater to the user. It’s a fine balance. Ultimately, time will tell what, if anything, is affected by the move. So far, the sense of doom has faded, and business has resumed as usual.

How to boost SEO with Google Adwords?

The question whether one can boost SEO with Google Adwords has been asked many times and is much debated. Most digital marketers tend to keep them separate in the campaign strategies, yet the goals are the same: traffic and conversion.

The main objective of SEO is to increase an online business’ visibility and place well on the search results (ideally, on the first page). A lot of SEO professionals point out that Google Adwords performance doesn’t matter in ranking. While that may be true, the data provided by analyzing paid campaigns offer valuable insights on what and what doesn’t work (keywords, copy and visuals, segments, impressions,…). Drawing conclusions from those reports can greatly help refine (or redefine) the SEO tactics.

While paying puts a site on top of a search page, SEO aims at putting it in the #1 position organically. Ultimately, what incites visitors to click the ad (and down the road, convert) is a clue SEO pros can pick up and use to benefit natural ranking.

Use keyword Data to boost SEO with Google Adwords

Keywords search volume1

Google Adwords has a lot to say about keywords. As it happens, keywords are the focal point of the SEO world.
Even before you have to spend budget on a campaign, Google Adwords gives you the opportunity to refine your target and improve your results with the keyword planner. That’s close enough to SEO principles. It can even be used to complement the use of other keyword tools you may use.
Keywords and groups of keywords also tell you how to target an audience more precisely. “SEO” for example, is popular but so broad it doesn’t tell you what the user was searching (or hoping to find). “SEO Tips”, on the other hand, puts you on the map with an answer to a specific query, if SEO tips are what you provide.
The number of impressions (how often your ad is shown) is another goldmine of information that can boost your SEO. Any ad that generated a high number of displays can potentially tell you what specific query term is responsible and how to transform it into a keyword in your content, especially if the Google Adwords display generated a lot of clicks (and conversions). In case the conversions were low compared to the number of impressions, you learned that something is not working. The search did not result in an action because your content did not provide a solution. You can then get your SEO toolbox out and fix it.

Measure your Adwords campaigns performances

It is never said enough, analytics are the most powerful tools to continually improve. As an online business, chances are you work on SEO but also run Adwords campaigns, at least until the efforts you put into Search Engine Optimization pay off.

If you spend some time studying the connection between click-through-rates and keywords (in fact, search term that can become your weapon keyword), examine the conversion values and understand what terms landed a visitor on a page, you will discover how you can boost SEO with Google Adwords.
For any campaign that performs well, don’t neglect to observe the connection between visual and content. Headlines, copy and layout may be indicators of what makes a browser click. Those deductions can easily be implemented in your SEO.

Boost SEO by running a Google Adwords campaign

Your everyday concern in SEO is to choose the right keywords (among many other aspects), those that not only get traffic to your website, but also convert. You cannot rely on what you think they may be. Naturally, you have SEO tools to help measure the strength of a keyword or a group.

But getting the validation from the audience itself is not only saving you time, it is ultimately saving you money.

Rather than spend months testing content and decoding response (or lack thereof), constantly checking if you moved up a rank and adjusting if you didn’t, set aside an SEO Adwords budget. It sounds counterintuitive, but it makes perfect sense, especially if you feel that certain themes may work for you, but aren’t quite perfect yet.

For a short period of time, you can run Google Adwords with your actual keywords (not search terms over which you have no control) and analyze the results. Within a few days, you are able to determine if it’s worth keeping with an SEO course of action or not. If, for example, you are in the business of selling red cashmere sweaters, “cashmere sweaters” in all your content takes you nowhere. “Red sweaters”, or “red cashmere sweaters”, however, will definitely target an audience searching for that product. You can try different combinations for weeks, or effortlessly run an ad that will validate your focus, and provide customers specifics at the same time.
There is a myriad ways you can boost SEO with Google Adwords, contrary to popular belief. While this is not the best (and not always the most cost effective) way to approach organic SEO, leveraging the data and metrics provided by ads is a tool worth adding to your SEO belt.