Connect with us

GOOGLE

Zero-Click Searches: How to Get Back Your Lost Google Traffic

Published

on

More than 50% of Google searches end without an organic click – and that’s a huge threat to our websites.

These zero-click searches are resulting in growing losses in both revenue and leads, making Google everyone’s competitor.

On February 26, I moderated a sponsored Search Engine Journal webinar presented Andreas Dzumla, CEO and Co-founder at Longtail UX.

Dzumla showed simple, proactive steps that marketers can take today to recover traffic lost to zero-click searches.

Here’s a recap of the webinar presentation.

The Rise of Zero-Click Searches

The rise of zero-click searches is an issue of growing importance to members of the SEO and SEM community.

There was a time when all a search engine result page (SERP) pointed to 10 blue links with a few ads in between.

Nowadays, the SERPs are filled with other features that don’t lead to websites.

In November 2019, Rand Fishkin highlighted the challenge that SEO pros are facing:

“The largest source of traffic on the web — free and paid — is becoming a walled garden, intent on keeping people on its own properties.”

This is happening to SERPs for various industries and verticals, including:

  • Hotels

  • Finance: According to WordStream, the CTR of a #1 SERP result falls by 39% when a featured snippet is present.

  • Automotive

A similar scenario is happening on the PPC side.

On top of all the challenges in the landscape (including increasing competition and complexity, limited control with automation, and tech limitations and content creation for landing pages), paid search is likewise becoming a walled garden because of the “Amazonification” of the SERPs.

For instance, Google Shopping is attempting to provide a better experience for users.

Instead of having a number of links where users click through in order to go see different products here, now Google Shopping provides many more products in one click.

While good for user experience, this also leads to some issues from an advertiser’s perspective.

There is more pogo-sticking and more competition on prices.

Plus, having all transactions done within Google means you’re paying for traffic but users never actually land on your website.

You’ll be unable to:

  • Promote brand experience.
  • Do list building and retargeting.
  • Do cross-selling.
  • Have a good margin.

Google is threatening to turn ecommerce websites into mere suppliers, by forcing us to compete on price alone (and even starts handling the checkout).

A Silent Threat: Google’s Competition with Websites & the ‘Amazonification’ of Search

Google’s competition with websites and the “Amazonification” of search is a silent threat for marketers. Here’s why.

SEOs Have Been Looking at the Wrong Metrics

It’s because SEO pros  have been looking at the wrong metrics:

  • Rankings
  • Visibility

BERT will only make things worse for marketers.

The effect of this algorithm to SEO came under the radar as most SEO tracking tools aren’t that good in the long-tail.

BERT will actually mean:

  • More featured snippets and better answer boxes.
  • Less CTR to websites.
  • Profit for Google.

PPC Pros Have Gotten Used to Spending More for Less

PPC pros have gotten used to spending more for less due to:

  • Increasing competition.
  • Dependence of product detail pages (PDPs).

The Blame Game

Instead of blaming Google, we need to be reminded of the following truths:

  • Google’s customers in SEO are not websites and digital marketers – but the searcher. In PPC, the serve digital marketers and the searcher.
  • Google tests SERP features algorithmically – so the numbers tell them they are right.
  • Google provides automated content and covers the long-tail because you don’t do it.

But when you think about it, Google isn’t entirely faultless.

  • Google’s own Analytics doesn’t tell you which keywords provide 97% of SEO traffic and revenue (“not provided”) – forcing search marketers to rely on visibility and rankings from third-party tools.
  • Google Search Console shows Impressions and Clicks only for top 1,000 KWs – and it’s not linked to Conversions and Revenue.
  • A Groupon study found that Google attributes up to 60% of organic traffic as “Direct”.

Solving the SEO Problem

Despite the challenges, there are solutions to get back your lost traffic from zero-click searches.

Rand Fishkin provided some solutions over at SparkToro, including (but not limited to):

  • Institutional action.
  • Strategic keyword selection: Done manually, this can be expensive, time-consuming and deliver an uncertain outcome.

But there is a better way to approach this: by having automation that will:

  • Target long-tail keywords at scale.
  • Know when you provide better content than Google.
  • Make informed decisions based on data.

1. Keyword Research with First-Party Data

First-party data beats third-party data any day of the week.

For companies that run Google Ads, this would be available in the Search Terms report.

However, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Keyword Planner and other tools are great if you don’t have first-party data.

2. Look at Brand vs. Non-Brand SEO

How much revenue your website made on non-brand SEO is something you can’t look up in any tool or in Search Console or Google Ads, but it’s an important area to help you plan on your strategy.

3. Keyword-Level ROI Insights for SEO & Test Keywords at Scale

Having a long-tail keyword strategy is crucial in order to compete with Google.

Creating better long-tail content and providing better UX than Google can reward you with better search visibility.

All these are now possible with platforms such as Longtail UX.

What You Can Do

In a Google world where half your on-SERP visibility is at risk, if you can “fail” cheap, you can keep winning.

To do this, start automating:

  • Page creation.
  • Custom user experience.
  • Contextual interlinking.
  • Measure SEO ROI at the keyword-level.

Solving the PPC Problem

Everyone else thinks that focusing on product detail pages (PDPs) in paid search is the key.

But there’s an alternative. Using automation, you can:

  • Let each keyword create their own matching landing page.
  • Let the landing pages create their own campaign structure.

These may result in better conversions and ROAS, among others.

Q&A

Here are just some of the attendee questions answered by Andreas Dzumla.

Q: When it comes to reporting, you mentioned that SEO’s should shift away from Rank and Visibility. What should be the metric(s) for reporting moving forward. Aside, from analytic tools like GA/Abode Analytics to measure those ordinary website metrics.

Andreas Dzumla (AD): Revenue and conversions, using Landing Page reports.

You can see your last 12 months – plus the opportunity for growth by implementing Longtail UX – by running the Scorecard at https://scorecard.longtailux.com/.

Q: Does the solution integrate with Shopify Plus and BigCommerce?

AD: Yes, Longtail UX works with Shopify Plus and BigCommerce.

Q: Automation is great for some tasks, but Google might penalize you if you don’t use it as they want you to – mostly around smart bidding. This is not a great fit for all campaigns. Low volume/high value conversions are best controlled manually IMO.

AD: We run hundreds of thousands of long-tail landing pages. No SKAG (single keyword ad group) run to those pages has ever gotten a penalty.

Q: What’s the critical mass needed for the long tail to be effective? I have a client site with only 100 pages.

AD: Automated – 1,000 pages.

Q: Does this affect professional services (veterinarian) like it does if you’re selling products?

AD: Yes, in fact lead generation websites often do better with Longtail UX because Google doesn’t put as many on-SERP distractions on non-product related searches.

Q: What is the approach to identify and reduce click fraud?

AD: We don’t deal with much of this, but it would be tough to get click fraud on a Longtail UX landing page.

We only run SKAGs at them, and they’re usually for keywords that get so little search volume that it would be hard for a competitor to find and defraud them. (Most of the keywords our customers target get <100 exact searches per month.)

Q: Is it not a risk to organic SEO rankings to have thousands of landing pages? Will these be crawlable or hidden just for PPC ads?

AD: Not a risk. We roll out pages for Organic SERPs at a rate of 20% of indexed pages on the website. All long-tail landing pages intended for collection of PPC traffic are noindex, nofollow. (So no need to worry about crawl budget in either case.)

Q: Where are the best places to get first party data?

AD: The Search Terms report from GA. The Longtail UX Scorecard shows you everything you need to know in about 30 seconds of work.

Q: Will automating the page creation process sacrifice design and UX for ranking/conversion?

AD: No. Longtail UX landing pages convert on average 50-100% higher than product detail pages.

From the perspective of the searcher, she’s just grateful somebody finally created a landing page to serve her very personalized search.

Q: Amazing statistics of how few SEOs look at keyword data. How are you determining clicks or revenue for featured snippets?

AD: That report comes from Tim Soulo at Ahrefs: https://ahrefs.com/blog/featured-snippets-study/

Q: You won’t see Search Terms reports unless you’re running ads.

AD: That’s right. To be a prospect for Longtail UX, you need to be running at least $20,000/month in paid search ads.

Q: How do you know an SEO long-tail landing page focus is going to be a better user experience than what could be generated in the Google Answer Box?

AD: You don’t! That’s why you testing thousands of long-tail landing pages – and then cutting the poor performers (a.k.a. “failing cheap”) is the name of the game today.

Q: Should we use Google Ads search term reports for SEO keyword research?

AD: Because Search Terms reports give you the exact keyword, the exact amount of traffic, the exact conversion rate, the exact amount of revenue… all stuff that the Organic report doesn’t give you. Then you can find those gold nugget keywords that need better matching content, products, reviews, etc.

Q: By automating landing pages at scale whats the balance with this vs. crawl budget?

AD: We recommend limiting the number of Longtail UX landing pages to 20% of your current number of indexed pages.

[Video Recap] Google’s Hogging Half YourTraffic: How to Get It Back

Watch the video recap of the webinar presentation and Q&A session.


Image Credits

In-Post Image: Longtail UX

All screenshots taken by author, March 2020

Read More

GOOGLE

Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Published

on

Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.

“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”

The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”

“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.

The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.

Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.

The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”

The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.

Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.

Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”

States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.

The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.

Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.

“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”

The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.

Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.

“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

Source link

Continue Reading

GOOGLE

5 Tips to Boost Your Holiday Search Strategy

Published

on

Student writing on computer

With the global economic downturn, inflation, ongoing supply chain challenges, and uncertainty due to the Ukraine war, this year’s holiday shopping season promises to be very challenging. Will people be in the mood to spend despite the gloom? Or will they rein in their enthusiasm and save for the year ahead?

With these issues in mind, here are five considerations to support your search engine optimization strategy this holiday shopping season:

1. Start early.

Rising prices are likely to mean shoppers will start researching their holiday spending earlier than ever to nab the best bargains. Therefore, retailers must roll out their holiday product and category pages — and launch any promotions — sooner to ensure their pages get crawled and indexed by search engines in good time.

Some e-commerce stores manage to get their pages ranking early by updating and reusing the same section of the website for holiday content and promotions, rotating between content for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine gifts, Fourth of July sales, etc. This approach can help you retain the momentum, links and authority you build up with Google and get your holiday pages visible and ranking quickly.

2. Make research an even bigger priority.

With all the uncertainty this year, it’s vital to use SEO research to identify the trending seasonal keywords and search phrases in your retail vertical — and then optimize content accordingly.

With tools such as Google Trends you can extract helpful insights based on the types of searches people are making. For example, with many fashion retailers now charging for product returns, will prioritizing keywords such as “free returns” get more search traction? And with money being tighter, will consumers stick with brands they trust rather than anything new — meaning brand searches might be higher?

3. Make greater use of Google Shopping.

To get the most out of their holiday spending, consumers are more likely to turn to online marketplaces such as Google Shopping as they make it easier to compare products, features and prices, as well as to identify the best deals both online and in nearby stores.

Therefore, take a combined approach which includes listing in Google Shopping and at the same time optimizing product detail pages on your e-commerce site to ensure they’re unique and provide more value than competitors’ pages. Be precise with product names on Google Shopping (e.g., do the names contain the words people are searching for?); ensure you provide all the must-have information Google requires; and set a price that’s not too far from the competition. 

4. Give other search sources the attention they deserve.

Earlier this year Google itself acknowledged that consumers — especially younger consumers — are starting to use TikTok, Instagram and other social media sites for search. In fact, research suggests 11 percent of product searches now start on TikTok and 15 percent on Instagram. Younger consumers in particular are more engaged by visual content, which may explain why they’re embracing visually focused social sites for search. So, as part of your search strategy, create and share content on popular social media sites that your target customers visit.

Similarly, with people starting their shopping searches on marketplaces such as Amazon.com, optimizing any listings you have on the site should be part of your strategy. And thankfully, the better optimized your product detail pages are for Amazon (with unique, useful content), the better they will rank on Google as well!

5. Hold paid budget for late opportunities.

The greater uncertainty and volatility this holiday season mean you must keep a close eye on shopper behavior and be ready to embrace opportunities that emerge later on. Getting high organic rankings for late promotions is always more challenging, so hold some paid search budget back to help drive traffic to those pages — via Google Ads, for example. Important keywords to include in late season search ad campaigns include “delivery before Christmas” and “same-day-delivery.” For locally targeted search ads, consider “pick up any time before Christmas.”

The prospect of a tough, unpredictable holiday shopping season means search teams must roll out seasonal SEO plans early, closely track shoppers’ behavior, and be ready to adapt as things change.

Marcus Pentzek is chief SEO consultant at Searchmetrics, the global provider of search data, software and consulting solutions.

Source link

Continue Reading

GOOGLE

Google Home App Gets an Overhaul, Rolling Out Soon

Published

on

Google Home app

Google refreshes its Home app with a slew of new features after launching a new Nest gear. This makes it faster and easier to pair smart devices with Matter, adds customization and personalization options, an enhanced Nest camera experience, and better intercommunication between devices.

This revamped Home app utilizes Google’s Matter smart home standard – launching later this year – especially the Fast Pair functionality. On an Android phone, it will instantly recognize a Matter device and allow you to easily set it up, bypassing the current procedure that is often slow and difficult. Google is also updating its Nest speakers, displays, and routers – to control Matter devices better.

Google Home App New Features

  • Spaces: This feature allows you to control multiple devices in different rooms. Google has listed a few things by room: kitchen, bedroom, living room, etc., although it’s pretty limited right now. Spaces let you organize devices how you see fit. For instance, you can set up a baby monitor in one room and set a different room’s camera to focus on an area the baby often plays. With Spaces, you can categorize these two devices into one Space category called ‘Baby.’

Google Home app Spaces

  • Favorites: This one is pretty self-explanatory. It allows you to make certain gears as a favorite that you frequently use. Doing so will bring those devices into the limelight within the Google Home app for easier access. 

Google Home app

  • Media: Google adds a new media widget at the bottom of your Home feed. This will automatically determine what media is playing in your home and provide you with the appropriate controls as and when needed. There will be song controls if you listen to music on your speakers. There will be television remote controls if you’re watching TV. 

Google probably won’t roll out this Home app makeover anytime soon. But you can try it for yourself in the coming week by enrolling in the public preview, available in select areas.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

en_USEnglish