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20 Essential Technical SEO Tools For Agencies

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20 Essential Technical SEO Tools For Agencies

Technical SEO tools are plentiful.

However, tools are just part of the equation.

Tools are useless without an experienced technical SEO professional to guide the strategy and ensure successful results.

But, within the hands of an experienced professional, tools can do many wondrous things. From scaling a site’s SEO effortlessly to creating content, it’s possible to improve things with less effort (rather than more hard work).

Tools can increase efficiencies, including:

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  • Identifying issues on-site, like crawling and indexing.
  • Diagnosing page speed issues.
  • Identifying missing or duplicate text and other elements.
  • Redirect issues.
  • And many others.

Your SEO tools arsenal, and how you use them, can mean the difference between great success and failure.

And indeed, there is no shortage of technical SEO tools for agencies.

Here are a few of the best you should consider.

1. Screaming Frog

Screenshot of Screaming Frog, December 2022

Screaming Frog is the crawler to have.

To create a substantial website audit, it is crucial to first perform a website crawl with this tool.

Depending on specific settings, it is possible to introduce false positives or errors into an audit that you otherwise would not know about.

Screaming Frog can help you identify the basics like:

  • Missing page titles.
  • Missing meta descriptions.
  • Missing meta keywords.
  • Large images.
  • Errored response codes.
  • Errors in URLs.
  • Errors in canonicals.

Advanced things Screaming Frog can help you do include:

  • Identifying issues with pagination.
  • Diagnosing international SEO implementation issues.
  • Taking a deep dive into a website’s architecture.

2. Google Search Console

Screenshot of Google Search Console showing the initial user interface upon logging in.Screenshot from Google Search Console, December 2022

The primary tool of any SEO pro should be the Google Search Console (GSC).

This critical tool has recently been overhauled to replace many old features while adding more data, features, and reports.

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What makes this tool great for agencies? Setting up a reporting process.

For agencies that do SEO, good reporting is critical. If you have not already set up a reporting process, it is highly recommended that you do so.

This process can save you if you have an issue with website change-overs when GSC accounts can be wiped out. If your account is wiped out, it is possible to go back to all your GSC data, because you have been saving it for all these months.

Agency applications can also include utilizing the API for interfacing with other data usage as well.

3. Google Analytics

Where would we be without a solid analytics platform to analyze organic search performance?

While free, Google Analytics provides much in the way of information that can help you identify things like penalties, issues with traffic, and anything else that may come your way.

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In much the same way as Google Search Console works, if you set up Google Analytics correctly, it’s ideal to have a monthly reporting process in place.

This process will help you save data for those situations where something unexpected happens to the client’s Google Analytics access.

At least, you won’t have a situation where you lose all data for your clients.

4. Web Developer Toolbar

Screenshot of the Web Developer Toolbar Google Chrome Extension.Screenshot from Web Developer Toolbar extension, December 2022

The web developer toolbar extension for Google Chrome can be downloaded here.

It is an official port of the Firefox web developer extension.

One of the primary uses for this extension is identifying issues with code, specifically JavaScript implementations with menus and the user interface.

Turning off JavaScript and CSS makes it possible to identify where these issues are occurring in the browser.

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Your auditing is not just limited to JavaScript and CSS issues.

You can also see alt text, find broken images, and view meta tag information and response headers.

5. WebPageTest

Screenshot showing the user interface of the Webpagetest.org tool.Screenshot of WebPageTest, December 2022

Page speed has been a hot topic in recent years, and auditing website page speed brings you many useful tools.

To that end, WebPageTest is one of those essential SEO tools for your agency.

Cool things that you can do with WebPageTest include:

  • Waterfall speed tests.
  • Competitor speed tests.
  • Competitor speed videos.
  • Identifying how long it takes a site to load fully.
  • Time to first byte.
  • Start render time.
  • Document object model (DOM) elements.

This is useful for determining how a site’s technical elements interact to create the final result or display time.

6. Google PageSpeed Insights

Screenshot of the output of Google's Page Speed InsightsScreenshot of Google PageSpeed Insights, December 2022

Through a combination of speed metrics for both desktop and mobile, Google’s PageSpeed Insights is critical for agencies that want to get their website page speed ducks in a row.

It should not be used as the be-all, end-all of page metrics testing, but it is a good starting point.

Here’s why: PageSpeed Insights does not always use exact page speed. It uses approximations.

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While you may get one result with Google PageSpeed, you may also get different results with other tools.

Remember that Google’s PageSpeed provides only part of the picture, and you need more complete data for an effective analysis. Use multiple tools for your analysis to get a full picture of your website’s performance.

7. Google Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool

Screenshot of the user interface of the Google Mobile Friendly testing tool user interface.Screenshot of Google Mobile-Friendly Testing tool, December 2022

Determining a website’s mobile technical aspects is also critical for any website audit.

When putting a website through its paces, Google’s Mobile-Friendly testing tool can give you insights into a website’s mobile implementation.

8. Google’s Rich Results Testing Tool

Screenshot showing the user interface of the Google Rich Results Testing Tool.

The Google Structured Data Testing Tool has been deprecated and replaced by the Google Rich Results Testing Tool.

This tool performs one function, and performs it well: it helps you test Schema structured data markup against the known data from Schema.org that Google supports.

This is a fantastic way to identify issues with your Schema coding before the code is implemented.

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9. GTmetrix Page Speed Report

Screenshot of GTMetrix report showing its output of page speed performance.Screenshot of GTmetrix, December 2022

GTmetrix is a page speed report card that provides a different perspective on page speed.

By diving deep into page requests, CSS and JavaScript files that need to load, and other website elements, it is possible to clean up many elements that contribute to high page speed.

10. W3C Validator

Screenshot of the W3C validator showing its outputScreenshot of W3C Validator, December 2022

You may not normally think of a code validator like W3C Validator as an SEO tool, but it is important just the same.

Be careful! If you don’t know what you are doing, it is easy to misinterpret the results and actually make things worse.

For example, say you are validating code from a site that was developed in XHTML, but the code was ported over to WordPress.

Copying and pasting the entire code into WordPress during development does not change its document type automatically. If during testing, you run across pages that have thousands of errors across the entire document, that is likely why.

A website that was developed in this fashion is more likely to need a complete overhaul with new code, especially if the former code does not exist.

11. Semrush

Semrush toolScreenshot of Semrush, January 2022

Semrush’s greatest claim to fame is accurate data for keyword research and other technical research.

But what makes Semrush so valuable is its competitor analysis data.

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You may not normally think of Semrush as a technical analysis tool.

However, if you go deep enough into a competitor analysis, the rankings data and market analysis data can reveal surprising information.

You can use these insights to better tailor your SEO strategy and gain an edge over your competitors.

12. Ahrefs

Ahrefs toolScreenshot of Ahrefs, January 2022

Ahrefs is considered by many to be a tool that is a critical component of modern technical link analysis.

By identifying certain patterns in a website’s link profile, you can figure out what a site is doing for its linking strategy.

It is possible to identify anchor text issues that may be impacting a site using its word cloud feature.

Also, you can identify the types of links linking back to the site – whether it’s a blog network, a high-risk link profile with many forum and Web 2.0 links, or other major issues.

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Other abilities include identifying when a site’s backlinks started going missing, its linking patterns, and much more.

13. Majestic

Majestic is a long-standing tool in the SEO industry with unique linking insights.

Like Ahrefs, you can identify things like linking patterns by downloading reports of the site’s full link profile.

It is also possible to find things like bad neighborhoods and other domains a website owner owns.

Using this bad neighborhood report, you can diagnose issues with a site’s linking arising out of issues with the site’s website associations.

Like most tools, Majestic has its own values for calculating technical link attributes like Trust Flow, Citation Flow, and other linking elements contributing to trust, relevance, and authority.

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It is also possible through its own link graphs to identify any issues occurring with the link profile over time.

Majestic is an exceptional tool in your link diagnostic process.

14. Moz Bar

It is hard to think of something like the MozBar, which lends itself to a little bit of whimsicality, as a serious technical SEO tool. But, there are many metrics that you can gain from detailed analysis.

Things like Moz’s Domain Authority and Page Authority, Google Caching status, other code like social open graph coding, and neat things like the page Metas at-a-glance while in the web browser.

Without diving deep into a crawl, you can also see other advanced elements like rel=”canonical” tags, page load time, Schema Markup, and even the page’s HTTP status.

This is useful for an initial survey of the site before diving deeper into a proper audit, and it can be a good idea to include the findings from this data in an actual audit.

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15. Barracuda Panguin

Screenshot of Barracuda Panguin ToolScreenshot of Barracuda Panguin Tool, December 2022

If you are investigating a site for a penalty, the Barracuda Panguin tool should be a part of your workflow.

It works by connecting to the Google Analytics account of the site you are investigating. The overlay is intertwined with the GA data, and it will overlay data of when a penalty occurred with your GA data.

Using this overlay, it is possible to easily identify situations where potential penalties occur.

Now, it is important to note that there isn’t an exact science to this, and that correlation isn’t always causation.

It’s important to investigate all avenues of where data is potentially showing something happening, in order to rule out any potential penalty.

Using tools like this can help you zero in on approximations in data events as they occur, which can help for investigative reasons.

16. Google Search Console XML Sitemap Report

Screenshot of Google Search Console XML Sitemap reportScreenshot of Google Search Console XML Sitemap, December 2022

The Google Search Console XML Sitemap Report is one of those technical SEO tools that should be an important part of any agency’s reporting workflow.

Diagnosing sitemap issues is a critical part of any SEO audit, and this technical insight can help you achieve the all-important 1:1 ratio of URLs added to the site and the sitemap being updated.

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For those who don’t know, it is considered an SEO best practice to ensure the following:

  • That a sitemap is supposed to contain all 200 OK URLs. No 4xx or 5xx URLs should be showing up in the sitemap.
  • There should be a 1:1 ratio of exact URLs in the sitemap as there are on the site. In other words, the sitemap should not have any orphaned pages that are not showing up in the Screaming Frog crawl.
  • Any parameter-laden URLs should be removed from the sitemap if they are not considered primary pages. Certain parameters will cause issues with XML sitemaps validating, so make sure that these parameters are not included in URLs.

17. BrightLocal

If you are operating a website for a local business, your SEO strategy should involve local SEO for a significant portion of its link acquisition efforts.

This is where BrightLocal comes in.

It is normally not thought of as a technical SEO tool, but its application can help you uncover technical issues with the site’s local SEO profile.

For example, you can audit the site’s local SEO citations with this tool. Then, you can move forward with identifying and submitting your site to the appropriate citations.

It works kind of like Yext, in that it has a pre-populated list of potential citations.

One of BrightLocal’s essential tools is that it lets you audit, clean, and build citations to the most common citation sites (and others that are less common).

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BrightLocal also includes in-depth auditing of your Google Business Profile presence, including in-depth local SEO audits.

If your agency is heavy into local SEO, this is one of those tools that is a no-brainer, from a workflow perspective.

18. Whitespark

Whitespark is more in-depth when compared to BrightLocal.

Its local citation finder allows you to dive deeper into your site’s local SEO by finding where your site is across the competitor space.

To that end, it also lets you identify all of your competitor’s local SEO citations.

In addition, part of its auditing capabilities allows it to track rankings through detailed reporting focused on distinct Google local positions such as the local pack and local finder, as well as detailed organic rankings reports from both Google and Bing.

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19. Botify

Botify is one of the most complete technical SEO tools available.

Its claim to fame includes the ability to reconcile search intent and technical SEO with its in-depth keywords analysis tool. You can tie things like crawl budget and technical SEO elements that map to searcher intent.

Not only that, but it’s also possible to identify all the technical SEO factors that are contributing to ranking through Botify’s detailed technical analysis.

In its detailed reporting, you can also use the tool to detect changes in how people are searching, regardless of the industry that you are focused on.

The powerful part of Botify includes its in-depth reports that are capable of tying data to information that you can really act on.

20. Excel

Technical SEO Tools - Excel TricksScreenshot by author, December 2022

Many SEO pros aren’t aware that Excel can be considered a technical SEO tool.

Surprising, right?

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Well, there are a number of Excel super tricks that one can use to perform technical SEO audits. Tasks that would otherwise take a significantly long time manually can be accomplished much faster.

Let’s look at a few of these “super tricks.”

Super Trick #1: VLOOKUP

With VLOOKUP, it is possible to pull data from multiple sheets based on data that you want to populate in the primary sheet.

This function allows you to do things like perform a link analysis using data gathered from different tools.

If you gathered linking data from GSC’s “who links to you the most” report, other data from Ahrefs, and other data from Moz, you know that it is impossible to reconcile all the information together.

What if you wanted to determine which internal links are valuable in accordance with a site’s inbound linking strategy?

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Using this VLOOKUP video, you can combine data from GSC’s report with data from Ahrefs’ report to get the entire picture of what’s happening here.

Super Trick #2: Easy XML Sitemaps

Coding XML Sitemaps manually is a pain, isn’t it?

Not anymore.

Using a process of coding that is implemented quickly, it is possible to code a sitemap in Excel in a matter of minutes – if you work smart.

See the video I created showing this process.

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Super Trick #3: Conditional Formatting

Using conditional formatting, it is possible to reconcile long lists of information in Excel.

This is useful in many SEO situations where lists of information are compared daily.

Although Tools Create Efficiencies, They Do Not Replace Manual Work

For any SEO agency that wants a competitive edge, SEO tools run the gamut from crawling to auditing, data gathering, analysis, and much more.

You don’t want to leave your results up to chance.

The right tools can provide another dimension to your analysis that standard analysis might otherwise not provide.

They can also give you an edge in creating an output that will delight your clients and keep them coming back for years to come.

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Which of these tools will you use to wow your customers?


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal



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WordPress Releases A Performance Plugin For “Near-Instant Load Times”

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WordPress speculative loading plugin

WordPress released an official plugin that adds support for a cutting edge technology called speculative loading that can help boost site performance and improve the user experience for site visitors.

Speculative Loading

Rendering means constructing the entire webpage so that it instantly displays (rendering). When your browser downloads the HTML, images, and other resources and puts it together into a webpage, that’s rendering. Prerendering is putting that webpage together (rendering it) in the background.

What this plugin does is to enable the browser to prerender the entire webpage that a user might navigate to next. The plugin does that by anticipating which webpage the user might navigate to based on where they are hovering.

Chrome lists a preference for only prerendering when there is an at least 80% probability of a user navigating to another webpage. The official Chrome support page for prerendering explains:

“Pages should only be prerendered when there is a high probability the page will be loaded by the user. This is why the Chrome address bar prerendering options only happen when there is such a high probability (greater than 80% of the time).

There is also a caveat in that same developer page that prerendering may not happen based on user settings, memory usage and other scenarios (more details below about how analytics handles prerendering).

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The Speculative Loading API solves a problem that previous solutions could not because in the past they were simply prefetching resources like JavaScript and CSS but not actually prerendering the entire webpage.

The official WordPress announcement explains it like this:

Introducing the Speculation Rules API
The Speculation Rules API is a new web API that solves the above problems. It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation. This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them.”

The official WordPress page about this new functionality describes it:

“The Speculation Rules API is a new web API… It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation.

This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them. Also, with the Speculation Rules API, “prerender” actually means to prerender the entire page, including running JavaScript. This can lead to near-instant load times once the user clicks on the link as the page would have most likely already been loaded in its entirety. However that is only one of the possible configurations.”

The new WordPress plugin adds support for the Speculation Rules API. The Mozilla developer pages, a great resource for HTML technical understanding describes it like this:

“The Speculation Rules API is designed to improve performance for future navigations. It targets document URLs rather than specific resource files, and so makes sense for multi-page applications (MPAs) rather than single-page applications (SPAs).

The Speculation Rules API provides an alternative to the widely-available <link rel=”prefetch”> feature and is designed to supersede the Chrome-only deprecated <link rel=”prerender”> feature. It provides many improvements over these technologies, along with a more expressive, configurable syntax for specifying which documents should be prefetched or prerendered.”

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See also: Are Websites Getting Faster? New Data Reveals Mixed Results

Performance Lab Plugin

The new plugin was developed by the official WordPress performance team which occasionally rolls out new plugins for users to test ahead of possible inclusion into the actual WordPress core. So it’s a good opportunity to be first to try out new performance technologies.

The new WordPress plugin is by default set to prerender “WordPress frontend URLs” which are pages, posts, and archive pages. How it works can be fine-tuned under the settings:

Settings > Reading > Speculative Loading

Browser Compatibility

The Speculative API is supported by Chrome 108 however the specific rules used by the new plugin require Chrome 121 or higher. Chrome 121 was released in early 2024.

Browsers that do not support will simply ignore the plugin and will have no effect on the user experience.

Check out the new Speculative Loading WordPress plugin developed by the official core WordPress performance team.

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How Analytics Handles Prerendering

A WordPress developer commented with a question asking how Analytics would handle prerendering and someone else answered that it’s up to the Analytics provider to detect a prerender and not count it as a page load or site visit.

Fortunately both Google Analytics and Google Publisher Tags (GPT) both are able to handle prerenders. The Chrome developers support page has a note about how analytics handles prerendering:

“Google Analytics handles prerender by delaying until activation by default as of September 2023, and Google Publisher Tag (GPT) made a similar change to delay triggering advertisements until activation as of November 2023.”

Possible Conflict With Ad Blocker Extensions

There are a couple things to be aware of about this plugin, aside from the fact that it’s an experimental feature that requires Chrome 121 or higher.

A comment by a WordPress plugin developer that this feature may not work with browsers that are using the uBlock Origin ad blocking browser extension.

Download the plugin:
Speculative Loading Plugin by the WordPress Performance Team

Read the announcement at WordPress
Speculative Loading in WordPress

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See also: WordPress, Wix & Squarespace Show Best CWV Rate Of Improvement

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10 Paid Search & PPC Planning Best Practices

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10 Paid Search & PPC Planning Best Practices

Whether you are new to paid media or reevaluating your efforts, it’s critical to review your performance and best practices for your overall PPC marketing program, accounts, and campaigns.

Revisiting your paid media plan is an opportunity to ensure your strategy aligns with your current goals.

Reviewing best practices for pay-per-click is also a great way to keep up with trends and improve performance with newly released ad technologies.

As you review, you’ll find new strategies and features to incorporate into your paid search program, too.

Here are 10 PPC best practices to help you adjust and plan for the months ahead.

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1. Goals

When planning, it is best practice to define goals for the overall marketing program, ad platforms, and at the campaign level.

Defining primary and secondary goals guides the entire PPC program. For example, your primary conversion may be to generate leads from your ads.

You’ll also want to look at secondary goals, such as brand awareness that is higher in the sales funnel and can drive interest to ultimately get the sales lead-in.

2. Budget Review & Optimization

Some advertisers get stuck in a rut and forget to review and reevaluate the distribution of their paid media budgets.

To best utilize budgets, consider the following:

  • Reconcile your planned vs. spend for each account or campaign on a regular basis. Depending on the budget size, monthly, quarterly, or semiannually will work as long as you can hit budget numbers.
  • Determine if there are any campaigns that should be eliminated at this time to free up the budget for other campaigns.
  • Is there additional traffic available to capture and grow results for successful campaigns? The ad platforms often include a tool that will provide an estimated daily budget with clicks and costs. This is just an estimate to show more click potential if you are interested.
  • If other paid media channels perform mediocrely, does it make sense to shift those budgets to another?
  • For the overall paid search and paid social budget, can your company invest more in the positive campaign results?

3. Consider New Ad Platforms

If you can shift or increase your budgets, why not test out a new ad platform? Knowing your audience and where they spend time online will help inform your decision when choosing ad platforms.

Go beyond your comfort zone in Google, Microsoft, and Meta Ads.

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Here are a few other advertising platforms to consider testing:

  • LinkedIn: Most appropriate for professional and business targeting. LinkedIn audiences can also be reached through Microsoft Ads.
  • TikTok: Younger Gen Z audience (16 to 24), video.
  • Pinterest: Products, services, and consumer goods with a female-focused target.
  • Snapchat: Younger demographic (13 to 35), video ads, app installs, filters, lenses.

Need more detailed information and even more ideas? Read more about the 5 Best Google Ads Alternatives.

4. Top Topics in Google Ads & Microsoft Ads

Recently, trends in search and social ad platforms have presented opportunities to connect with prospects more precisely, creatively, and effectively.

Don’t overlook newer targeting and campaign types you may not have tried yet.

  • Video: Incorporating video into your PPC accounts takes some planning for the goals, ad creative, targeting, and ad types. There is a lot of opportunity here as you can simply include video in responsive display ads or get in-depth in YouTube targeting.
  • Performance Max: This automated campaign type serves across all of Google’s ad inventory. Microsoft Ads recently released PMAX so you can plan for consistency in campaign types across platforms. Do you want to allocate budget to PMax campaigns? Learn more about how PMax compares to search.
  • Automation: While AI can’t replace human strategy and creativity, it can help manage your campaigns more easily. During planning, identify which elements you want to automate, such as automatically created assets and/or how to successfully guide the AI in the Performance Max campaigns.

While exploring new features, check out some hidden PPC features you probably don’t know about.

5. Revisit Keywords

The role of keywords has evolved over the past several years with match types being less precise and loosening up to consider searcher intent.

For example, [exact match] keywords previously would literally match with the exact keyword search query. Now, ads can be triggered by search queries with the same meaning or intent.

A great planning exercise is to lay out keyword groups and evaluate if they are still accurately representing your brand and product/service.

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Review search term queries triggering ads to discover trends and behavior you may not have considered. It’s possible this has impacted performance and conversions over time.

Critical to your strategy:

  • Review the current keyword rules and determine if this may impact your account in terms of close variants or shifts in traffic volume.
  • Brush up on how keywords work in each platform because the differences really matter!
  • Review search term reports more frequently for irrelevant keywords that may pop up from match type changes. Incorporate these into match type changes or negative keywords lists as appropriate.

6. Revisit Your Audiences

Review the audiences you selected in the past, especially given so many campaign types that are intent-driven.

Automated features that expand your audience could be helpful, but keep an eye out for performance metrics and behavior on-site post-click.

Remember, an audience is simply a list of users who are grouped together by interests or behavior online.

Therefore, there are unlimited ways to mix and match those audiences and target per the sales funnel.

Here are a few opportunities to explore and test:

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  • LinkedIn user targeting: Besides LinkedIn, this can be found exclusively in Microsoft Ads.
  • Detailed Demographics: Marital status, parental status, home ownership, education, household income.
  • In-market and custom intent: Searches and online behavior signaling buying cues.
  • Remarketing: Advertisers website visitors, interactions with ads, and video/ YouTube.

Note: This varies per the campaign type and seems to be updated frequently, so make this a regular check-point in your campaign management for all platforms.

7. Organize Data Sources

You will likely be running campaigns on different platforms with combinations of search, display, video, etc.

Looking back at your goals, what is the important data, and which platforms will you use to review and report? Can you get the majority of data in one analytics platform to compare and share?

Millions of companies use Google Analytics, which is a good option for centralized viewing of advertising performance, website behavior, and conversions.

8. Reevaluate How You Report

Have you been using the same performance report for years?

It’s time to reevaluate your essential PPC key metrics and replace or add that data to your reports.

There are two great resources to kick off this exercise:

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Your objectives in reevaluating the reporting are:

  • Are we still using this data? Is it still relevant?
  • Is the data we are viewing actionable?
  • What new metrics should we consider adding we haven’t thought about?
  • How often do we need to see this data?
  • Do the stakeholders receiving the report understand what they are looking at (aka data visualization)?

Adding new data should be purposeful, actionable, and helpful in making decisions for the marketing plan. It’s also helpful to decide what type of data is good to see as “deep dives” as needed.

9. Consider Using Scripts

The current ad platforms have plenty of AI recommendations and automated rules, and there is no shortage of third-party tools that can help with optimizations.

Scripts is another method for advertisers with large accounts or some scripting skills to automate report generation and repetitive tasks in their Google Ads accounts.

Navigating the world of scripts can seem overwhelming, but a good place to start is a post here on Search Engine Journal that provides use cases and resources to get started with scripts.

Luckily, you don’t need a Ph.D. in computer science — there are plenty of resources online with free or templated scripts.

10. Seek Collaboration

Another effective planning tactic is to seek out friendly resources and second opinions.

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Much of the skill and science of PPC management is unique to the individual or agency, so there is no shortage of ideas to share between you.

You can visit the Paid Search Association, a resource for paid ad managers worldwide, to make new connections and find industry events.

Preparing For Paid Media Success

Strategies should be based on clear and measurable business goals. Then, you can evaluate the current status of your campaigns based on those new targets.

Your paid media strategy should also be built with an eye for both past performance and future opportunities. Look backward and reevaluate your existing assumptions and systems while investigating new platforms, topics, audiences, and technologies.

Also, stay current with trends and keep learning. Check out ebooks, social media experts, and industry publications for resources and motivational tips.

More resources: 

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Featured Image: Vanatchanan/Shutterstock

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Google Limits News Links In California Over Proposed ‘Link Tax’ Law

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A brown cardboard price tag with a twine string and a black dollar sign symbol, influenced by the Link Tax Law, set against a dark gray background.

Google announced that it plans to reduce access to California news websites for a portion of users in the state.

The decision comes as Google prepares for the potential passage of the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), a bill requiring online platforms like Google to pay news publishers for linking to their content.

What Is The California Journalism Preservation Act?

The CJPA, introduced in the California State Legislature, aims to support local journalism by creating what Google refers to as a “link tax.”

If passed, the Act would force companies like Google to pay media outlets when sending readers to news articles.

However, Google believes this approach needs to be revised and could harm rather than help the news industry.

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Jaffer Zaidi, Google’s VP of Global News Partnerships, stated in a blog post:

“It would favor media conglomerates and hedge funds—who’ve been lobbying for this bill—and could use funds from CJPA to continue to buy up local California newspapers, strip them of journalists, and create more ghost papers that operate with a skeleton crew to produce only low-cost, and often low-quality, content.”

Google’s Response

To assess the potential impact of the CJPA on its services, Google is running a test with a percentage of California users.

During this test, Google will remove links to California news websites that the proposed legislation could cover.

Zaidi states:

“To prepare for possible CJPA implications, we are beginning a short-term test for a small percentage of California users. The testing process involves removing links to California news websites, potentially covered by CJPA, to measure the impact of the legislation on our product experience.”

Google Claims Only 2% of Search Queries Are News-Related

Zaidi highlighted peoples’ changing news consumption habits and its effect on Google search queries (emphasis mine):

“It’s well known that people are getting news from sources like short-form videos, topical newsletters, social media, and curated podcasts, and many are avoiding the news entirely. In line with those trends, just 2% of queries on Google Search are news-related.”

Despite the low percentage of news queries, Google wants to continue helping news publishers gain visibility on its platforms.

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However, the “CJPA as currently constructed would end these investments,” Zaidi says.

A Call For A Different Approach

In its current form, Google maintains that the CJPA undermines news in California and could leave all parties worse off.

The company urges lawmakers to consider alternative approaches supporting the news industry without harming smaller local outlets.

Google argues that, over the past two decades, it’s done plenty to help news publishers innovate:

“We’ve rolled out Google News Showcase, which operates in 26 countries, including the U.S., and has more than 2,500 participating publications. Through the Google News Initiative we’ve partnered with more than 7,000 news publishers around the world, including 200 news organizations and 6,000 journalists in California alone.”

Zaidi suggested that a healthy news industry in California requires support from the state government and a broad base of private companies.

As the legislative process continues, Google is willing to cooperate with California publishers and lawmakers to explore alternative paths that would allow it to continue linking to news.

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Featured Image:Ismael Juan/Shutterstock

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