Daily Search Forum Recap: November 24, 2017

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

Other Great Search Forum Threads:

Source: SEroundTable

2-step methodology for dealing with PPC performance downturns

The most important thing I’ve learned from my 15 years of PPC experience is that sooner or later, account performance will take a downturn. When that day comes, we must be prepared to deal with the consequences of performance not meeting expectations. These consequences could range from stakeholders losing trust in your abilities to receiving ultimatums to “fix performance or else,” and worst-case scenario, someone else being brought in to take over the paid search program you’ve spent so much time and energy building.

Performance downturns can be very stressful and put you on the defensive. However, having a solid methodology for responding when performance is bad can help instill confidence that you have what it takes to turn a negative performance situation into a positive one.

This article discusses a two-step methodology for confronting underperformance in a way that helps you garner trust with your stakeholders and instill confidence in your ability to manage PPC accounts through the tough times.

Step #1: Diagnosing the problem

Clients and stakeholders need to have confidence in those managing their paid search program. When performance takes a downturn, they depend on their account manager to tell them what the problem is. If an account manager cannot demonstrate they understand what the problem is, then why would the client/stakeholder have any confidence that the account manager can solve their performance issues?

How do we go about diagnosing the root cause of a problem? Diagnosing a problem requires diligent research to pinpoint:

  • when a problem first began to occur.
  • what key metrics are lagging and thus leading to the performance downturn.

Putting the methodology into practice

I’m currently dealing with an account performance issue that is causing this month’s performance to lag in terms of lead volume. I ultimately identified the issue as a drop-off in brand keyword traffic. How did I discover that brand traffic was the source of this issue? I did it by analyzing the following key metrics:

  • CPCs: Accountwide cost per click spiked dramatically from October to November. This was my first indication that a traffic pattern shift occurred.
  • Conversion volume: AdWords pixel conversions were down significantly month over month.
  • CTR: Click-through rate also dropped significantly.

The sudden drop-off in conversion volume and CTR, along with a spike in CPCs, led me directly to consider recent brand traffic performance. Typically, this account I manage has very steady traffic patterns with steady CPCs and conversion volume. As I dove further into brand campaign performance, I saw that branded impressions and clicks dropped dramatically, which caused CPCs to spike and volume to drop. Because of the brand traffic performance drop-off, cost per conversion increased dramatically due to the account’s over-dependence on non-branded traffic.

Further digging into the account, I discovered that branded traffic dropped suddenly at the end of October. This information allowed me to focus on specific changes made to the account during that period. I ultimately discovered several high-traffic branded keywords were paused in error as part of an overall optimization. These keywords were unpaused and bids readjusted. Traffic and conversion volume is now recovering.

As you can see from the example above, it took quite a bit of research to arrive at the problem’s root cause. Once a problem has been identified, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Step 2: Communicate what the performance problem is and recommend solutions

Throughout the course of my career, I’ve seen a lack of understanding and communication be the downfall of many business relationships. I’ve witnessed PPC account managers fundamentally not understand the performance problems they’re facing, ignore the fact that a problem even exists and fail to address problems head-on with their stakeholders. Allowing any of these things to happen quickly erodes trust.

To maintain your credibility as a PPC expert, it’s imperative that you do the following when there’s an underperformance issue:

  • Own the fact that an underperformance issue is occurring. Denying or minimizing an issue will make your stakeholders angry. Owning the issue helps convey that you understand how urgent the problem is.
  • Communicate the issue verbally, in written form and through visual means to demonstrate that you’ve made the effort to be fully transparent and that you’re willing to educate your stakeholders as to what the problem is.
  • Explain in full detail your recommendations for fixing all underperformance issues you’ve identified. Never leave stakeholders with just the problem. They depend on and expect their account manager to offer solutions that will lead to improved performance. Our stakeholders view us in a similar regard to doctors when their accounts aren’t healthy. How would you feel if a doctor diagnosed you with an ailment but didn’t recommend any course of treatment? This is how clients feel when they’ve been informed of an underperformance problem but not offered any guidance regarding how to get their account back on track.

Clear communication and context helps remove fear. Oftentimes, stakeholders become emotional and lash out because they feel their account manager doesn’t grasp the gravity and urgency of a situation. It’s our job as account managers to take the lead in eliminating fear of the unknown by providing as much background information and context as possible regarding an underperformance problem’s root cause, and propose sufficient courses of action for remedying the situation.

Final thoughts

No matter how hard we try, we’ll never be able to avoid the inevitable performance downturn. However, what we can do is be prepared for how we’ll respond when this time arrives. Fully understanding root causes of performance issues, developing the appropriate solution and decisively communicating all of this to our stakeholders is crucial to successfully surviving performance downturns.

It’s easy to be liked and respected when everything is going well. The real test comes when things are not going according to plan. Going through the fire of underperformance and successfully coming out on the right side of it will help build your credibility and your stakeholders’ trust in you.

The post 2-step methodology for dealing with PPC performance downturns appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Source: SEland

Search Buzz Video Recap: Featured Snippets, Link Building & My Google World Is Upside Down

This is the special Thanksgiving SEO video recap where I talk about the changes to the Google featured snippets. I also discuss the parameter handling tool in Search Console and how you need to think about that when you migrate to HTTPS. Google said your URL structure does not need to follow your content structure. Google said IP addresses can rank fine in Google. Google said websites can and do rank without link building. Google said internal anchor text is important. Google launched the Trust Project to help fight fake news. Google updated the text for the search results snippets it canât gain access to. Google launched a new Google Flight search. Google AdWords updated to version 12.2. Google local pack adds some knowledge panel data. Finally, my Google world has turned upside down with Matt Cutts complaining about Google and Danny Sullivan being the spokesperson defending Google. That was this past week in search at the Search Engine Roundtable.

Make sure to subscribe to our video feed or subscribe directly on iTunes to be notified of these updates and download the video in the background. Here is the YouTube version of the feed:

For the original iTunes version, click here.

Search Topics of Discussion:

Please do subscribe via iTunes or on your favorite RSS reader. Don’t forget to comment below with the right answer and good luck!

This post was scheduled to go live today but was written earlier – I am currently offline today.

Source: SEroundTable

Google: Anchor Text For Internal Links Do Matter

Some asked Google’s John Mueller if the anchor text you use for your internal links matter for Google. Of course, John Mueller responding suggesting it does. He said “Most links do provide a bit of additional context through their anchor text. At least they should, right?”

The reason I am highlighting this post on Twitter is not because Google is saying anchor text matters for internal links but rather someone would think the anchor text does not matter for those links.

I mean, it makes you wonder where people have been living?

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable

Google Local Pack Tests Showing Knowledge Panel Tabs

Google seems to be testing merging the local pack with knowledge panel data into tabs across the top of the local pack. Sergey Alakov caught this test, although I cannot current replicate it, here is what he shared.

When some local panels come up that are company specific enough, Google might show additional tabs at the top to let searchers toggle between the local listings with locations, Google Posts and about the business.

Here is a screen shot for a search related to Honda:

click for full size

This is an interesting move but it does make sense. I do wonder how many searchers actually will click on those tabs:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable

Google: Most Websites Rank Without Any Link Building

Did you know that most websites listed and ranking on Google rank without building a single backlink? John Mueller of Google said on Twitter that “most” websites rank without building a single backlink.

Well, it depends on how you define “build backlinks.” If you define it as building great content people want to link to, then no. But if you define it as actively asking people to link to your web site, then yes. Most websites probably never have asked anyone to link to them and they do rank in Google.

Of course, most websites my readers work on have done link building to try to help the website rank even higher.

Here are the tweets:

So yes, you can build a site, like this one, and rank just fine without asking or actively link building.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable

Google My Business Web Search Dashboard Now Ask You To Create Ads

Sergey Alakov spotted that the Google My Business web search dashboard that launched a couple months ago, now is asking businesses to create ads using AdWords Express.

Here is a screen shot with the new “create ad” option in this dashboard:

click for full size

When you click on it, it takes you into the Google AdWords Express local ad system.

This change should come as no surprise to most of you.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable

Thanksgiving 2017 Google Logo, Bing Theme & More

Google Thanksgiving 2017 Doodle

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Today is the day I work on my year end recap for this site, so I won’t be posting much today in terms of SEO banter. Instead, enjoy the day off, the family and the turkey – heck, even if you are not in America. Who doesn’t love turkey?

Google, Bing, and even Sogou have special Thanksgiving day logos and themes. Google has a turkey is an interesting one. Google wrote on their Doodle page that “though the pardoning of turkeys has been a presidential privilege since 1989, the Turkey in this Doodle has decided to pardon itself.” Interesting, don’t ya think?

Here is the Bing theme which is the turkey tail fungus – Trametes versicolor, is fairly common around the world. And though itâs used in folk medicine teas and tinctures, itâs not something youâll want to sauté up and serve alongside the sweet potatoes and cranberries today. Recent research indicates that a compound found in turkey tail fungus may help treat patients with various cancers. Way to go, turkey tail fungus!

Sogou, the Chinese search engine, also has a Thanksgiving logo:

Here is our theme here:

click for full size

Here are the logos but for the past years Thanksgiving Day logos see 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004 logos.

Forum discussion at Google+.

Source: SEroundTable

Daily Search Forum Recap: November 22, 2017

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

Other Great Search Forum Threads:

Source: SEroundTable