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15 Quick SEO Wins (To Improve Your Rankings)

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Trying to boost your rankings on the SERPs? You’re in the right place.

Implement these 15 quick SEO wins to rank higher on search engines and get more traffic.

You should be able to do each within an hour.

Let’s get to it. 

1. Boost important pages with internal links

Internal links are often overlooked. But when used correctly, they can help boost the performance of your pages in Google.

Why are they important? There are two major reasons:

  1. They aid the flow of PageRank around your site. And PageRank is a confirmed Google ranking factor
  2. You direct PageRank to your site by building or earning quality links. But most webmasters will rarely want to link to your most important pages, as they are usually transactional in nature. You can “bypass” this by using the middleman method—building links to informational content, then linking to your money pages via internal links. 

How do you do this? First, make a list of all your “money” pages, i.e., those pages that make you money. These are likely your product, service, and category pages. 

Next, you’ll need to find relevant, contextual internal linking opportunities. The easiest way to do this is to use the site: Google search operator. For example, if we want to add internal links to our free backlink checker tool, we’ll likely search for this:

Site search in Google for the Ahrefs blog

Then we’ll go through each of these pages and add internal links to our backlink checker with relevant anchor text

Of course, that won’t be the only search we’re doing. Get creative here and use different searches to surface pages where you can potentially add internal links. As an example, we can search for “backlinks,” “links,” “link building,” “link building tools,” etc. 

Alternatively, you can simply sign up for the free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (AWT) and run a crawl on your site. When the crawl is done, go to the Link opportunities report in Ahrefs’ Site Audit

Link opportunities report in Ahrefs' Site Audit

This report will show you relevant link opportunities on your site. Set the filter to Target page and search for your money pages. 

Target page filter for the Link opportunities report

Then look at the suggested internal link opportunities. Where relevant, add your internal links. 

Recommended reading: Internal Links for SEO: An Actionable Guide

2. Install a caching plugin

Not only is page speed a Google ranking factor, but slow pages are also bad for business. According to Unbounce, nearly 70% of consumers admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer.

One way to improve your website speed is to install a caching plugin. Caching is basically a way to temporarily store copies of files so they can be delivered to visitors in a more efficient way. 

If you’re using WordPress, we recommend installing a plugin like W3 Total Cache to enable caching. 

If you have a page that’s dead but there are backlinks pointing at it, then those links are wasted. It can’t rank (because it’s dead), and it can’t help your other pages rank better too. 

Therefore, you should be fixing these pages. 

Here’s how to find these pages on your site:

  1. Enter your domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Best by links report
  3. Set the HTTP code filter to 404 not found
Best by links report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Redirect these pages to the most relevant, current ones. Or consider reviving them (if they’re still relevant).

4. Optimize the title tags of your top-ranking pages

Google may now rely less on title tags, but our study found that Google rewrites title tags only 33.4% of the time.

Our title tags study showing that Google rewrites title tags only 33.4% of the time

In other words, the title Google shows on the SERPs is the same as the page’s title tag two-thirds of the time.

Translation: You still need compelling title tags. But let’s prioritize them for pages that are already ranking high. 

Why? Because if a page is already ranking high enough (and therefore actually seen by searchers), a compelling title tag can make the difference between searchers clicking your page versus the others. 

Here’s how to find these pages:

  1. Enter your domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Organic keywords report
  3. Set the Position filter to 2–5
Organic keywords report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Some of these pages can be given a boost with improved title tags. Use these tips to make a title tag more enticing:

  • Add power words – Power words tap into people’s emotions. Examples include “rock-solid,” “remarkable,” and more. Check this list and see if you can add one or two to your title tag. 
  • Add parentheses – Parentheses work like the final salt sprinkle in your dish. See the title of this blog post for an example. 😉
  • Use curiosity – Curiosity makes people want to click and learn more. But don’t overdo it! Clickbait is bad. So is dishonesty. 

Recommended reading: How to Craft the Perfect SEO Title Tag (Our 4-Step Process) 

5. Optimize for low-hanging featured snippets

Google anything these days, and you’ll likely come across a featured snippet:

Featured snippet for the keyword, "top google searches"

They’re excerpts from top-ranking pages that Google uses to show the “answer” right within the SERPs. The best part? You can often jump ahead to position #1 simply by grabbing the featured snippet. 

That’s in theory. In reality, some are easier to win than others, so we’ll want to prioritize those. Specifically, we want to target these opportunities: keywords with decent monthly search volumes where you currently rank in the top 10 and Google already shows a featured snippet.

Here’s how to find these keywords:

  • Enter your domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  • Go to the Organic keywords report
  • Set the Position filter to 1–10
  • Use the SERP features filter to filter for keywords that trigger featured snippets “where target doesn’t rank”
Organic keywords report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Look through the list to find opportunities where you can potentially capture the featured snippet. 

Next, check out what the featured snippet is like. See if you can include or change up the content on your page to make it eligible for the featured snippet. For example, we rank #2 for “google operators” after the snippet: 

SERP for the keyword, "google operators"

We can see that the snippet is a definition, which we didn’t include on our page. So we can try adding a definition and hopefully win the featured snippet for ourselves. 

Recommended reading: How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets 

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a free service that matches journalists with experts. 

Here’s how it works:

  1. You sign up for HARO.
  2. HARO sends you three emails a day with requests from journalists who are looking for expert quotes.
  3. If a journalist chooses your quote, you’ll (usually) get a mention and a backlink from the site. 

It’s an easy way to get high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites. 

However, most of these emails will likely be irrelevant to you, so we recommend setting up some Gmail filters so you see only the relevant ones. 

Here’s how:

  1. Click the search options filter
  2. Set the “From” field to [email protected]
  3. Set the “Subject” to “[HARO]”
  4. Set “Has the words” to keywords you want to monitor (you can use the OR operator to list multiple keywords here)
Example of a Gmail filter to sort out HARO emails

Once the filter is set up, it’s simply a matter of looking at your inbox and checking to see if there are any stories you can be a source for. Make sure to only respond to queries where you have relevant expertise. That’ll give you the best chance of standing out and being featured on these websites. 

7. Refresh old content by filling content gaps

To boost the rankings of your content that’s ranking decently but can be better, sometimes all you need to do is to give it a quick refresh by filling content gaps. 

What is a content gap? It’s basically keywords that competing pages are ranking for but not yours. And sometimes, they’re important subtopics that you did not include in your original post.

Here’s how to find content gaps:

  1. Enter your domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Content Gap tool
  3. Add a few competing URLs in the top section
  4. Add the URL of the post you want to boost in the bottom section
Content gap tool, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Look through the results and see if there are any subtopics you’ve missed out on. 

Results of the Content gap report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

For example, in our post on evergreen content, it appears we’ve missed out on two subtopics:

  • Evergreen ads
  • Evergreen content on social media

Sidenote.

If your content is not ranking well at all, then you may want to consider rewriting it.

8. Find new content ideas from competitors

A content gap analysis isn’t only useful for improving your rankings. It’s also useful for finding keywords your competitors are ranking for but you aren’t. 

Do the same as the above tactic. But this time ‘round, fill in your competitors’ homepages (or blogs if you’re specifically targeting informational content) in the top section and your homepage (or blog) in the bottom section. 

Content gap tool, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Look through the list and see if there are any relevant keywords you can target.

Results of the Content gap report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

9. Find low-competition keywords

Because of the presence of competition, some keywords are harder to rank for and some are easier. You should be on the lookout for keywords that have lesser competition so you stand a higher chance of ranking.

Here’s how to find these keywords:

  1. Enter one or a few relevant keywords into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Go to the Matching terms report
  3. Set the Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to a maximum of 10
Matching terms report with KD filter set to a max of 10, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Look through the list and pick out those that are relevant for your site. 

10. Get a Google Business Profile

The Google Business Profile is a local listing with information about your business. After claiming it, the information you add can show up in Google’s web search results and in Google Maps.

If you’re a local business, this is especially important. In fact, many SEOs think it’s the most important ranking factor for local SEO

Bar graph showing percentage of SEOs who think GBP is most important ranking factor for "map pack" and "regular" results, respectively

Claiming your Google Business Profile is pretty easy, and you can do it in 30 minutes (or less). Follow the step-by-step guide below:

Recommended reading: How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing in 30 Minutes 

11. Add a table of contents

A table of contents links to important subsections of your post and helps visitors find the information they’re looking for.

Here’s an example from our SEO mistakes post:

Example of a table of contents

Adding a table of contents can often trigger sitelinks, which can potentially help you win even more organic clicks.

Example of sitelinks in the SERPs

Our table of contents is custom-coded, but yours doesn’t have to be. You can use a free plugin like Easy Table of Contents to add a table of contents to any of your posts. 

How the plugin, Easy Table of Contents, looks on a page

12. Add FAQ sections (to get long-tail traffic)

When you’re researching a topic, you’ll probably come up with more related questions you want answers to. Other people are the same as well.

For example, if we search for “kefir grains” in Keywords Explorer and switch to the Questions tab, here’s what we see:

Questions tab in the Matching terms report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

By not answering all of these questions in your post, you’re likely missing out on long-tail traffic. So rather than shoehorn these questions unnaturally in your post, the easiest solution is to add a FAQ section at the end of your post. 

FAQ section in Ahrefs' H1 tag blog post

Because we answered a common question related to H1 tags—the length—we now rank on Google when people are searching for this answer:

The top-ranking page for the keyword "h1 tag length"

Recommendation

Mark up your FAQs with structured data, and your page may be eligible for a rich result. This gives you more SERP real estate and may lead to more traffic.

Recommended reading: Mark Up Your FAQs With Structured Data (Google)

13. Find guest post opportunities fast

Guest blogging is an important link building technique. In fact, Aira’s State of Link Building report lists guest blogging as the third most popular technique:

Aira's State of Link Building report

But finding good guest blogging opportunities can be a chore. So here’s how you can find good ones fast:

  1. Find a prolific guest blogger in your niche and identify their Twitter account
  2. Enter the URL of their Twitter account into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  3. Go to the Backlinks report
Backlinks report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This list will show you all the sites that have linked to their Twitter account—some of which are guest blogs. Go through each site and see if it is a relevant guest blogging opportunity for you. 

14. Find easy-to-replicate backlinks

If a website is linking to a few of your competitors but not you, then it’s reasonable to assume they may be willing to link to you too. 

Here’s how to find these opportunities:

  1. Enter your domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer (set it to Exact URL)
  2. Go to the Link Intersect tool
  3. Add a few competing homepages in the empty fields (set them to Exact URL too)
Link intersect tool, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Look through the results to see if there are any links you can potentially replicate.

For example, the website below links to two of our competitors. If we look at the links, we see that they’re both podcast interviews.

Website linking to one of our competitors, but not us
Website linking to one of our competitors, but not us

Given that this host has interviewed two of our competitors, they may be interested in interviewing us too.

15. Look for long-tail keywords you already rank for (but target them separately)

According to our study, the average #1 ranking page will also rank in the top 10 for nearly 1,000 other relevant keywords. 

Chart showing the average number of keywords the top 20 ranking pages also rank for

Most of them will be different ways of searching for the same thing. However, some of them will not be. And if you can target these long-tail keywords with a separate article, you can potentially rank higher for them. 

We did this recently on the Ahrefs blog. We noticed that we were ranking for the keyword “on page vs off page seo” with our post on off-page SEO. But we were only ranking in the lower positions (30+) for that keyword.

So we decided to create a page more targeted toward the query

Our blog post on on-page SEO vs. off-page SEO

Doing that shot us to position #1:

Ranking improvements for the keyword "on page vs off page seo," via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

How do you find these keywords where you should create a better page? Here’s how:

  1. Enter your domain (or blog) into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Organic keywords report
  3. Set the Position filter to minimum 20
Organic keywords report with Position filter selected, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Look through the report, manually analyze each keyword, and see if you can better target them with a new article. 

Learn more

Looking for more tactics that can boost your rankings on Google but aren’t necessarily “quick” wins? Check out these articles:

Did I miss out on any quick SEO wins? Let me know on Twitter



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Google’s AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny

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Google's AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny

Google’s rollout of AI-generated overviews in US search results is taking a disastrous turn, with mainstream media outlets like The New York Times, BBC, and CNBC reporting on numerous inaccuracies and bizarre responses.

On social media, users are sharing endless examples of the feature’s nonsensical and sometimes dangerous output.

From recommending non-toxic glue on pizza to suggesting that eating rocks provides nutritional benefits, the blunders would be amusing if they weren’t so alarming.

Mainstream Media Coverage

As reported by The New York Times, Google’s AI overviews struggle with basic facts, claiming that Barack Obama was the first Muslim president of the United States and stating that Andrew Jackson graduated from college in 2005.

These errors undermine trust in Google’s search engine, which more than two billion people rely on for authoritative information worldwide.

Manual Removal & System Refinements

As reported by The Verge, Google is now scrambling to remove the bizarre AI-generated responses and improve its systems manually.

A Google spokesperson confirmed that the company is taking “swift action” to remove problematic responses and using the examples to refine its AI overview feature.

Google’s Rush To AI Integration

The flawed rollout of AI overviews isn’t an isolated incident for Google.

As CNBC notes in its report, Google made several missteps in a rush to integrate AI into its products.

In February, Google was forced to pause its Gemini chatbot after it generated inaccurate images of historical figures and refused to depict white people in most instances.

Before that, the company’s Bard chatbot faced ridicule for sharing incorrect information about outer space, leading to a $100 billion drop in Google’s market value.

Despite these setbacks, industry experts cited by The New York Times suggest that Google has little choice but to continue advancing AI integration to remain competitive.

However, the challenges of taming large language models, which ingest false information and satirical posts, are now more apparent.

The Debate Over AI In Search

The controversy surrounding AI overviews adds fuel to the debate over the risks and limitations of AI.

While the technology holds potential, these missteps remind everyone that more testing is needed before unleashing it on the public.

The BBC notes that Google’s rivals face similar backlash over their attempts to cram more AI tools into their consumer-facing products.

The UK’s data watchdog is investigating Microsoft after it announced a feature that would take continuous screenshots of users’ online activity.

At the same time, actress Scarlett Johansson criticized OpenAI for using a voice likened to her own without permission.

What This Means For Websites & SEO Professionals

Mainstream media coverage of Google’s erroneous AI overviews brings the issue of declining search quality to public attention.

As the company works to address inaccuracies, the incident serves as a cautionary tale for the entire industry.

Important takeaway: Prioritize responsible use of AI technology to ensure the benefits outweigh its risks.



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New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

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New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

A keynote at Google’s Marketing Live event showed a new AI-powered visual search results that feature advertisements that engage users within the context of an AI-Assisted search, blurring the line between AI-generated search results and advertisements.

Google Lens is a truly helpful app but it becomes unconventional where it blurs the line between an assistant helping users and being led to a shopping cart. This new way of engaging potential customers with AI is so far out there that the presenter doesn’t even call it advertising, he doesn’t even use the word.

Visual Search Traffic Opportunity?

Google’s Group Product Manager Sylvanus Bent, begins the presentation with an overview of the next version of Google Lens visual search that will be useful for surfacing information and for help finding where to buy them.

Sylvanus explained how it will be an opportunity for websites to receive traffic from this new way to search.

“…whether you’re snapping a photo with lens or circling to search something on your social feed, visual search unlocks new ways to explore whatever catches your eye, and we recently announced a newly redesigned results page for Visual search.

Soon, instead of just visual matches, you’ll see a wide range of results, from images to video, web links, and facts about the knowledge graph. It gets people the helpful information they need and creates new opportunities for sites to be discovered.”

It’s hard to say whether or not this will bring search traffic to websites and what the quality of that traffic will be. Will they stick around to read an article? Will they engage with a product review?

Visual Search Results

Sylvanus shares a hypothetical example of someone at an airport baggage claim who falls in like with someone else’s bag. He explains that all the person needs to do is snap a photo of the luggage bag and Google Lens will take them directly to shopping options.

He explains:

“No words, no problem. Just open Lens, take a quick picture and immediately you’ll see options to purchase.

And for the first time, shopping ads will appear at the very top of the results on linked searches, where a business can offer what a consumer is looking for.

This will help them easily purchase something that catches their eye.”

These are image-heavy shopping ads at the top of the search results and as annoying as that may be it’s nowhere near the “next level” advertising that is coming to Google’s search ads where Google presents a paid promotion within the context of an AI Assistant.

Interactive Search Shopping

Sylvanus next describes an AI-powered form advertising that happens directly within search. But he doesn’t call it advertising. He doesn’t even use the word advertising. He suggests this new form of AI search experience is more than offer, saying that, “it’s an experience.”

He’s right to not use the word advertisement because what he describes goes far beyond advertising and blurs the boundaries between search and advertising within the context of AI-powered suggestions, paid suggestions.

Sylvanus explains how this new form of shopping experience works:

“And next, imagine a world where every search ad is more than an offer. It’s an experience. It’s a new way for you to engage more directly with your customers. And we’re exploring search ads with AI powered recommendations across different verticals. So I want to show you an example that’s going live soon and you’ll see even more when we get to shopping.”

He uses the example of someone who needs to store their furniture for a few months and who turns to Google to find short term storage. What he describes is a query for local short term storage that turns into a “dynamic ad experience” that leads the searcher into throwing packing supplies into their shopping cart.

He narrated how it works:

“You search for short term storage and you see an ad for extra space storage. Now you can click into a new dynamic ad experience.

You can select and upload photos of the different rooms in your house, showing how much furniture you have, and then extra space storage with help from Google, AI generates a description of all your belongings for you to verify. You get a recommendation for the right size and type of storage unit and even how much packing supplies you need to get the job done. Then you just go to the website to complete the transaction.

And this is taking the definition of a helpful ad to the next level. It does everything but physically pick up your stuff and move it, and that is cool.”

Step 1: Search For Short Term Storage

1716722762 15 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows an advertisement that when clicked takes the user to what looks like an AI-assisted search but is really an interactive advertisement.

Step 2: Upload Photos For “AI Assistance”

1716722762 242 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above image is a screenshot of an advertisement that is presented in the context of AI-assisted search.  Masking an advertisement within a different context is the same principal behind an advertorial where an advertisement is hidden in the form of an article. The phrases “Let AI do the heavy lifting” and “AI-powered recommendations” create the context of AI-search that masks the true context of an advertisement.

Step 3: Images Chosen For Uploading

1716722762 187 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows how a user uploads an image to the AI-powered advertisement within the context of an AI-powered search app.

The Word “App” Masks That This Is An Ad

Screenshot of interactive advertisement for that identifies itself as an app with the words

Above is a screenshot of how a user uploads a photo to the AI-powered interactive advertisement within the context of a visual search engine, using the word “app” to further the illusion that the user is interacting with an app and not an advertisement.

Upload Process Masks The Advertising Context

Screenshot of interactive advertisement that uses the context of an AI Assistant to mask that this is an advertisement

The phrase “Generative AI is experimental” contributes to the illusion that this is an AI-assisted search.

Step 4: Upload Confirmation

1716722762 395 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

In step 4 the “app” advertisement is for confirming that the AI correctly identified the furniture that needs to be put into storage.

Step 5: AI “Recommendations”

1716722762 588 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows “AI recommendations” that look like search results.

The Recommendations Are Ad Units

1716722762 751 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Those recommendations are actually ad units that when clicked takes the user to the “Extra Space Storage” shopping website.

Step 6: Searcher Visits Advertiser Website

1716722762 929 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Blurring The Boundaries

What the Google keynote speaker describes is the integration of paid product suggestions into an AI assisted search. This kind of advertising is so far out there that the Googler doesn’t even call it advertising and rightfully so because what this does is blur the line between AI assisted search and advertising. At what point does a helpful AI search become just a platform for using AI to offer paid suggestions?

Watch The Keynote At The 32 Minute Mark

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Ljupco Smokovski

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How Do I Get A Job With A PPC Agency

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Conversion Tracking In PPC Campaigns

This month’s “Ask A PPC” question is particularly significant because the job market has been quite volatile.

“How do I get a job with a PPC agency when I have only worked in-house. What experience would they want?” – Karl Toronto

It’s understandable that people want to know which skills employers seek when hiring for a PPC team. There can be a disparity between what people think they need and what the market actually demands.

We’ll delve into some data and commentary to explain why various traits are valued.

It’s crucial to understand that the ideal candidates will be versatile and have an aptitude for all aspects of digital marketing.

However, no one can excel at everything, so leveraging your strengths or preferences is beneficial.

Ensure that you’re securing the best role for yourself while the company hiring you finds the best fit for them.

Here Are The Essential Skills

  • Analytics.
  • Creativity.
  • Ad network knowledge.
  • Willingness to test/learn.
  • Culture fit.

Discrepancy Between Market Demands And Perceived Needs

I conducted a poll on my LinkedIn to gauge the skills desired by current employers and practitioners.

Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Analytical skills emerged as the most sought-after trait. Employers seek individuals who can interpret numbers and discern the story behind them.

However, relying solely on analytical prowess may overlook the importance of creativity.

Creative skills are vital in today’s ad networks, especially emphasizing visual content like videos and campaign types that force visual content (Performace Max/Demand Gen). Neglecting creativity can hinder a company’s branding efforts.

Unexpectedly, ad network skills and cultural fit were deemed far less critical than analytical skills. Brands should prioritize team cohesion for long-term success, yet this aspect is often undervalued.

The disparity between job descriptions and actual skill requirements contributes to the difficulty in the job market.

Agencies that hire for how PPC used to work will be left wanting. Practitioners who only focus on popular skills instead of needed ones will be made obsolete by the privacy-first era obscuring data and AI owning creative.

Analytical Skills

Analytical abilities involve knowing where to find relevant data sources and understanding how they contribute to success.

While PPC historically relied on measurable outcomes, the landscape is evolving, necessitating adaptability in data analysis. Technical proficiency and strategic acumen are crucial for navigating different data sources.

These include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
  • Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
  • Ecommerce platforms.
  • Content management platforms (CMS).

Empathy for various ad channels improves your candidacy, and knowing how to work with post-click data will give you an edge over those who can only work with ad platform data.

While being highly technical isn’t required, having empathy for coding and scripts will give you a better chance to stay current with evolving data mechanics (especially as APIs become even more important for accessing data blocked by privacy-first regulations).

Here are some takes from PPC experts on why analytics is the most important:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn comment by Georgi Zayakov, who describes himself as analytical Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A LinkedIn post by Kathryn B., a paid media specialist at a PPC agencyScreenshot from LinkedIn, April 2024
Screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Nikolaos B., discussing how marketers must become data-savvyScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Creativity

Creativity is essential for crafting compelling ad content, yet many PPC agencies struggle in this area.

Clients are often tasked with providing creative materials due to cost or complexity constraints.

You’ll get a competitive edge if you have these skills:

  • Video Editing: With the rise of PMax, as well as many ad networks leaning heavily into connected TV, having video editing chops will be a huge asset for any team. If you’re not comfortable using conventional editing tools, AI tools like Descript are a great way to take on those tasks.
  • Graphic Design: No matter the ad network your potential employer is hiring for, you will need some ability to design static images. Whether you use stock photos or AI-generated images or come up with the creative yourself, the days of purely text ads are over. Tools like Canva can help bridge the gap for less technical designers, but don’t discount ad network AI.
  • Content Creation: While the first two categories leaned toward visual content, written content is still important (i.e., most ad formats include some text). Having the ability to understand how diverse audiences prefer to be addressed while respecting the specific requirements of each format is a great skill to hone.

While some roles may prioritize analytics or ad network knowledge, emphasizing creative abilities can distinguish you during the hiring process.

Here are some experts who value creativity:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Erik PetersonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a Linkedin post by Amy HebdonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Ad Network Knowledge

Ad network expertise is valuable, but adaptability is paramount as platforms evolve rapidly.

Some agencies will have specialists, while others hire folks they expect to be passable at every network they service. It’s important to understand what workflow will enable you to succeed.

If you’re happy working with all platforms, then don’t shy away from it. However, if you do better in focusing on one aspect of PPC, that’s totally valid. Just know it might limit your ability to get hired into smaller “familyesque” agencies.

Understanding auction dynamics and bidding strategies is crucial.

Many of us who entered the industry when manual bidding was more popular have an unfair advantage over those who came in during the Smart Bidding era (i.e., anything from 2020).

This is because manual bidding requires you to think about the mechanics of each ad platform’s auction and how you could use those mechanics to your advantage in building account structure.

Knowing what to track and allocating appropriate budgets are key considerations.

Understanding that some networks require more conversions than others to run (e.g., Meta Ads’ 50 in a 7-day period vs. Google Ads’ 15 in a 30-day period) should influence what you choose to track, as well as how you report the data.

Additionally, if you are under or over budget, you’ll set yourself up to fail. Knowing which channels require a big investment upfront and what the breaking point for each network is (either on underspending or spending too much) is critical.

Awareness of potential pitfalls, such as false positives or negatives, enhances campaign effectiveness. For example, it’s important to know how to check if automatically applying recommendations is on and what tasks it’s on for.

It’s worth noting that none of the experts who chimed in on the poll made a clear case for ad network knowledge specifically.

Willingness To Test

Success in PPC requires openness to experimentation and a willingness to adapt. While this wasn’t one of the criteria in the poll, it was one of the most popular traits experts look for in hiring.

Perfectionism can hinder progress in a fast-changing environment. Testing new ideas and embracing failure as an opportunity for growth are essential.

While analytical skills aid in test design, empathy and creativity are equally vital for devising effective experiments.

Here is an expert who favors a willingness to test:

Screenshot of a social media post by Mike RhodesScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Cultural Fit

Cultural alignment with an agency fosters productivity and job satisfaction. However, you can only achieve that by being honest with yourself about what you want and the mechanics of how you work.

Agencies demand intense effort and collaboration, making compatibility with colleagues crucial.

Anyone looking to make the shift from in-house to agency needs to be prepared for a much faster pace of work and a lot more agency.

Open communication with leadership regarding preferred management and learning styles will ensure a positive working relationship.

Respect for peers and a supportive atmosphere contribute to a fulfilling work environment.

Here are a few thoughts on cultural fit from polled experts:

The image shows a LinkedIn post by David Zebrout containing text discussing the importance of integrating PPC network knowledge with intertimed optimizations in generating profitable growth.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
LinkedIn post by Lisa Erschbamer discussing the importance of cultural fit and individual personality in team dynamics for effective performance at a PPC Agency.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Aaron Davies discussing the importance of cultural fit, individual skills, and team communication in marketing for a PPC agency. The post has reactions and a question comment by NavahScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Final Thoughts

Navigating the current job market can be challenging, but understanding industry needs and honing relevant skills increases your chances of success.

Balancing technical proficiency with creativity and cultural fit is essential for thriving in a PPC role. By aligning with market demands and showcasing your strengths, you can secure rewarding opportunities in the field.

Have a question you’d like us to address? Fill out the form!

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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