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6 Perfectly Preventable Ways Facebook Ads Tend To Go Wrong

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6 Perfectly Preventable Ways Facebook Ads Tend To Go Wrong

Recent data shows that Facebook attracted 2.93 billion active monthly users. in Q1 2022, making it the social media platform used most around the world.

However, even though Facebook is the most popular social media platform, it doesn’t mean your ads will reach millions of people.

Nor should that be your goal, since that would expand past your budget and you’d end up targeting audiences who wouldn’t resonate with your brand.

How can you carve out an influential audience and customer base on Facebook?

Let’s take a look at some common mistakes that hurt ROI and how to avoid them, as well as some Facebook ad campaign strategy tips.

1. Deciding Facebook Is Not Suited To My Company

Some companies may choose to write off Facebook altogether since they may think it might not be best for their brand and complicated to incorporate or manage. But this would be a mistake.

Another reason brands may disregard Facebook Ads is because they believe it’s too expensive, but with a realistic budget and smart strategy, that’s far from the truth.

If your brand is considering Facebook ads, then it’s valuable to start by breaking down what your budget for Facebook Ads would be, including taking time to understand the different campaign potentials.

There are three crucial aspects of a Facebook campaign to consider when planning, such as the daily budget option, lifetime budget, and overall campaign budget optimization.

As we stated earlier, companies may think that Facebook ads aren’t for them because they might not be compatible with company branding for both B2B and B2C companies.

But both company types are sure to reach their target audience if they take the time to cultivate a strategy and get a bit creative.

For B2B brands, companies may believe their ads won’t attract professionals because the ad would appear on social media.

If this is a concern, then you might want to try lookalike audiences which are audiences that may be interested in your brand outside of the initial target audience.

A lookalike audience has the potential to broaden the scope of your audience and reach more businesses or individuals you didn’t initially consider.

This is a strategy to extend your reach through Facebook algorithms which have the ability to monitor multiple touchpoints as people and companies interact with Facebook.

The Facebook Lookalike Audience is the main feature that can help you connect with more people with similar qualities as your intended target audience.

This capability looks at what pages people like and interact with as well as their interests.

You can get more engagement with your content by adjusting it to answer questions they may have to engage with the audience on a topic, then creating additional supporting content to generate more engagement and traffic.

Then, based on this engagement, you can create a lookalike audience on social media.

For B2C companies that think they are more traditional or have non-digital products, it’s still a great way to build an audience and engage with individuals who may want to purchase your product.

It also builds brand authority to have a presence they recognize when searching for your product on social media.

You can create excitement, trust, and general interest that can turn into leads and long-term customers.

Whether you want sales or traffic, Facebook ads can be an effective tool, and Facebook makes the process more accessible through its algorithms and simple ad platform.

Now, let’s dive into strategy and objectives a bit more.

2. Having The Wrong Campaign Objective

The beginning of every strategy is setting your objective, and then you can decide the milestones and resources required to achieve it.

Facebook divides these objectives into three categories: awareness, consideration, and conversions.

If your goal is brand awareness, then you want to get people interested in your product or service through your ads and get them excited about your brand.

What makes your brand unique? What problem or problems does it solve? How can you best reach people, so they connect your product or service to your brand each time they see it?

Consideration is where you want to entice people to learn more about your brand and seek more information.

Get them intrigued to visit your website to learn more and potentially generate leads. Get people to like, comment, or message your brand to learn more.

Conversion, of course, is getting more sales. That strong and creative copy that prompts your call to action so they make a purchase.

Your objectives can change over time, but it’s crucial to select one objective for each campaign to evaluate its effectiveness since each strategy will have different goals and milestones.

Within the three groups, there are thirteen campaign objectives:

  1. Store Traffic
  2. Reach
  3. Brand Awareness
  4. Traffic
  5. Engagement
  6. Lead Generation
  7. Video Views
  8. Messenger
  9. Catalog Sales
  10. Conversions
  11. Event Response
  12. Page Likes
  13. App Installation

It’ll be essential to evaluate and consider each one to make sure you’re making the most out of your Facebook ad strategy.

It can seem overwhelming, so testing a few different ones may be the correct route for your brand.

After some practice, you’ll be able to see which ones are giving you the results you’re looking for, especially if you test multiple objectives over time.

Another vital component of setting a brand’s objectives is aligning the company’s objectives with its needs.

Correctly completing this aspect can help you optimize your budget, efforts for bidding options, and ad unit options.

Now we talked about milestones, and unfortunately, some companies wrongly measure their success simply through page likes or only consider a high click-through rate, but there’s more to it than that.

There are numerous platforms to analyze the analytics, which will get into a bit later.

3. Narrowing Down Into Too Wide (Or Too Specific) Targeted Audiences

Defining your target audience is key.

Even though you picked your objective, you still need to specify your audience, and it can be a bit tricky to make sure it’s not too large or too small.

You want to make sure your content targets audiences interested in your ad, and one of the best ways to do this is to create a customer profile of someone you would like to attract to your brand. This profile should be all-encompassing.

While it’s good to start with age, gender, income, marital status, and education level, you want to go further into what their hobbies, values, and interests are as well.

To really connect with people, you’ll have to consider more detailed factors to create your content for your ads.

Even though you establish a customer profile, you don’t want to go too narrow and target solely based on an office type, job title, or daily budget.

On the other hand, if you go too broad, you can target people who wouldn’t be interested in your brand and spend more money retargeting.

To solve this conundrum, here are some tips for the best way to build your audience for Facebook ads.

Let’s talk about content.

Focus on the different order for each ad, and try to tell a story through each iteration.

How will the customer journey evolve for each ad you present? And what is your intention for each ad along the way?

Then, once you’ve selected your audience and started your campaign, you can use the audience insights to better target people and redefine your reach. And, you want to observe how the audience is interacting with your page and content.

Additionally, you can layer different audience components such as their interests to reach more audiences in each ad.

It’s important to keep in mind some changes Meta is making to Facebook Ad Targeting for 2022.

These changes revolve around how brands connect with audiences based on health causes, sexual orientation, religious practices and groups, and political beliefs.

People were concerned with data privacy, especially when it comes to ad targeting, and Meta has made changes to resolve this issue.

However, Meta may also make further changes down the line, so it’s essential to keep these shifts on your radar.

4. Using The Wrong Ad Type

There are numerous ad types you can use on Facebook. These include pictures, infographics, videos, carousels which are multiple images or a video, and product displays such as a collection.

Once you figure out your objective, audience, and the way in which you would like your customer journey to unfold, it’ll be easier to select the ad type that will work best for your campaign.

Then, over time as you measure and track engagement for different pieces of content, you’ll be able to see which types resonate best with your audience.

Make sure to check the requirements for each format type since there are different view options based on a mobile device, computer, and small pop-up ads.

Also, it’s important to consider how your audience will view your content on each device to make sure it’s effective.

Myth: Assuming You Need To Have A Big Budget For Image/Video

You can create impactful, high-quality ads with simple tools such as Canva, which has preset templates where you can add your brand color and logo, and photos to your ads.

These types of platforms simplify ad creation and are generally cost-effective.

Additionally, you can use the carousel format to give your audience multiple stock photo images to browse through or create a compelling video.

5. Not Measuring Conversions

If you’re not monitoring your campaign or end up abandoning the ad, it’ll be hard to measure its true return on investment to better inform future campaigns.

It’s the only way to really see if your ads are working or find ways to pivot and re-strategize. Don’t let an initial campaign discourage you.

One effective tool to monitor analytics is to use Google Analytics to track various aspects such as consumer location, content, conversions, mobile engagement, and more.

You can check out the guide to Google Analytics here for a step-by-step tutorial.

Facebook will also give you insightful analytics to see the engagement you’re receiving for each ad and how it performs compared to others throughout the weeks.

Additionally, through Facebook Business Suite, you can manage campaigns in one location for both your Facebook and Instagram posts, as well as customize or adjust your campaign.

Check out some additional simple tips for driving more conversions once you have set your benchmark, such as remarketing engagement and other capabilities and experimenting by reviewing your data and retargeting ads.

So, maybe you’ve tried some tactics, and your Facebook Ads aren’t converting. Here are some reasons why your ads may not be converting and some tips to improve.

One reason is that your brand might not have enough audience data yet.

If this is your first campaign or you’re a newer brand, you might need to gather more analytics and comprehensive audience data to target your ads better.

You can accomplish this through Google Analytics, Microsoft Ads PPC, Facebook analytics, surveys, and questionnaires.

You may also need to take another look at your targeting parameters.

As stated earlier, going too wide or too narrow can diminish the effectiveness of your campaign.

You can improve this by redefining the three boundaries: demographics, psychographics, and behaviors.

Additionally, if customers aren’t buying your product or service, it can be impactful to focus on Facebook lead ads.

6. Not A/B Testing

When creating a Facebook ad campaign, it’s crucial not to assume you know what will automatically appeal to your intended audience.

Try completing some A/B Testing, and you might be surprised.

For example, you can make minor changes such as switching the call to action, messaging, or image selection to see which best engages with your audience.

Make sure to use the Facebook Ad Library for comparisons with other brands as well as to see trends and longevity.

Look at competitors’ ads to see what’s working for them within their ad messaging or format to connect with your similar audience.

Timing is also key to ensuring you’re reaching your audience at the right time.

Keep in mind the upcoming holidays that you might want to incorporate into your campaign.

Funnel mapping is also great to see where your audience is going when they go to your call to action.

When you look at the ad journey from the customer’s perspective, you can pinpoint areas for improvement.

Conclusion

When brands take the time to strategize and consider their objective, needs, audience, content type, and ad journey, Facebook ads become a more manageable option.

They are a cost-effective way to engage and grow a brand’s audience and have the potential for a great return on investment.

When you’re just getting into social media marketing, learning from your mistakes is an excellent opportunity for growth. It offers the chance to pinpoint areas for improvement.

Then you can course-correct to better connect with and expand your audience and customer base.

Facebook ads can become an influential tool in a brand’s market strategy.

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Featured Image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

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How To Uncover Traffic Declines In Google Search Console And How To Fix Them

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How To Uncover Traffic Declines In Google Search Console And How To Fix Them

Google Search Console is an essential tool that offers critical insights into your website’s performance in Google search results.

Occasionally, you might observe a sudden decline in organic traffic, and it’s crucial to understand the potential causes behind this drop. The data stored within Google Search Console (GSC) can be vital in troubleshooting and understanding what has happened to your website.

Before troubleshooting GSC traffic declines, it’s important to understand first what Google says about assessing traffic graphs in GSC and how it reports on different metrics.

Understanding Google Search Console Metrics

Google’s documentation on debugging Search traffic drops is relatively comprehensive (compared to the guidance given in other areas) and can, for the most part, help prevent any immediate or unnecessary panic should there be a change in data.

Despite this, I often find that Search Console data is misunderstood by both clients and those in the first few years of SEO and learning the craft.

Image from Google Search Central, May 2024

Even with these definitions, if your clicks and impressions graphs begin to resemble any of the above graph examples, there can be wider meanings.

Search Central description  It could also be a sign that…
Large drop from an algorithmic update, site-wide security, or spam issue This could also signal a serious technical issue, such as accidentally deploying a noindex onto a URL or returning the incorrect status code – I’ve seen it before where the URL renders content but returns a 410.
Seasonality You will know your seasonality better than anyone, but if this graph looks inverse it could be a sign that during peak search times, Google is rotating the search engine results pages (SERPs) and choosing not to rank your site highly. This could be because, during peak search periods, there is a slight intent shift in the queries’ dominant interpretation.
Technical issues across your site, changing interests This type of graph could also represent seasonality (both as a gradual decline or increase).
Reporting glitch ¯_(ツ)_/¯ This graph can represent intermittent technical issues as well as reporting glitches. Similar to the alternate reasons for graphs like Seasonality, it could represent a short-term shift in the SERPs and what meets the needs of an adjusted dominant interpretation of a query.

Clicks & Impressions

Google filters Click and Impression data in Google Search Console through a combination of technical methods and policies designed to ensure the accuracy, reliability, and integrity of the reported data.

Reasons for this include:

  • Spam and bot filtering.
  • Duplicate data removal.
  • User privacy/protection.
  • Removing “invalid activities.”
  • Data aggregation and sampling.

One of the main reasons I’ve seen GSC change the numbers showing the UI and API is down to the setting of thresholds.

Google may set thresholds for including data in reports to prevent skewed metrics due to very low-frequency queries or impressions. For example, data for queries that result in very few impressions might be excluded from reports to maintain the statistical reliability of the metrics.

Average Position

Google Search Console produces the Average Position metric by calculating the average ranking of a website’s URLs for a specific query or set of queries over a defined period of time.

Each time a URL appears in the search results for a query, its position is recorded. For instance, if a URL appears in the 3rd position for one query and in the 7th position for another query, these positions are logged separately.

As we enter the era of AI Overviews, John Mueller has confirmed via Slack conversations that appearing in a generative snapshot will affect the average position of the query and/or URL in the Search Console UI.

1718702762 996 How To Uncover Traffic Declines In Google Search Console AndSource: John Mueller via The SEO Community Slack channel

I don’t rely on the average position metric in GSC for rank tracking, but it can be useful in trying to debug whether or not Google is having issues establishing a single dominant page for specific queries.

Understanding how the tool compiles data allows you to better diagnose the reasons as to why, and correlate data with other events such as Google updates or development deployments.

Google Updates

A Google broad core algorithm update is a significant change to Google’s search algorithm intended to improve the relevance and quality of search results.

These updates do not target specific sites or types of content but alter specific systems that make up the “core” to an extent it is noteworthy for Google to announce that an update is happening.

Google makes updates to the various individual systems all the time, so the lack of a Google announcement does not disqualify a Google update from being the cause of a change in traffic.

For example, the website in the below screenshot saw a decline from the March 2023 core update but then recovered in the November 2023 core update.

GSC: the website saw a decline from the March 2023 core updateScreenshot by author from Google Search Console, May 2024

The following screenshot shows another example of a traffic decline correlating with a Google update, and it also shows that recovery doesn’t always occur with future updates.

traffic decline correlating with a Google updateScreenshot by author from Google Search Console, May 2024

This site is predominantly informational content supporting a handful of marketing landing pages (a traditional SaaS model) and has seen a steady decline correlating with the September 2023 helpful content update.

How To Fix This

Websites negatively impacted by a broad core update can’t fix specific issues to recover.

Webmasters should focus on providing the best possible content and improving overall site quality.

Recovery, however, may occur when the next broad core update is rolled out if the site has improved in quality and relevance or Google adjusts specific systems and signal weightings back in the favour of your site.

In SEO terminology, we also refer to these traffic changes as an algorithmic penalty, which can take time to recover from.

SERP Layout Updates

Given the launch of AI Overviews, I feel many SEO professionals will conduct this type of analysis in the coming months.

In addition to AI Overviews, Google can choose to include a number of different SERP features ranging from:

  • Shopping results.
  • Map Packs.
  • X (Twitter) carousels.
  • People Also Ask accordions.
  • Featured snippets.
  • Video thumbnails.

All of these not only detract and distract users from the traditional organic results, but they also cause pixel shifts.

From our testing of SGE/AI Overviews, we see traditional results being pushed down anywhere between 1,000 and 1,500 pixels.

When this happens you’re not likely to see third-party rank tracking tools show a decrease, but you will see clicks decline in GSC.

The impact of SERP features on your traffic depends on two things:

  • The type of feature introduced.
  • Whether your users predominantly use mobile or desktop.

Generally, SERP features are more impactful to mobile traffic as they greatly increase scroll depth, and the user screen is much smaller.

You can establish your dominant traffic source by looking at the device breakdown in Google Search Console:

Device by users: clicks and impressionsImage from author’s website, May 2024

You can then compare the two graphs in the UI, or by exporting data via the API with it broken down by devices.

How To Fix This

When Google introduces new SERP features, you can adjust your content and site to become “more eligible” for them.

Some are driven by structured data, and others are determined by Google systems after processing your content.

If Google has introduced a feature that results in more zero-click searches for a particular query, you need to first quantify the traffic loss and then adjust your strategy to become more visible for similar and associated queries that still feature in your target audience’s overall search journey.

Seasonality Traffic Changes

Seasonality in demand refers to predictable fluctuations in consumer interest and purchasing behavior that occur at specific times of the year, influenced by factors such as holidays, weather changes, and cultural events.

Notably, a lot of ecommerce businesses will see peaks in the run-up to Christmas and Thanksgiving, whilst travel companies will see seasonality peaks at different times of the year depending on the destinations and vacation types they cater to.

The below screenshot is atypical of a business that has a seasonal peak in the run-up to Christmas.

seasonal peaks as measured in GSCScreenshot by author from Google Search Console, May 2024

You will see these trends in the Performance Report section and likely see users and sessions mirrored in other analytics platforms.

During a seasonal peak, Google may choose to alter the SERPs in terms of which websites are ranked and which SERP features appear. This occurs when the increase in search demand also brings with it a change in user intent, thus changing the dominant interpretation of the query.

In the travel sector, the shift is often from a research objective to a commercial objective. Out-of-season searchers are predominantly researching destinations or looking for deals, and when it is time to book, they’re using the same search queries but looking to book.

As a result, webpages with a value proposition that caters more to the informational intent are either “demoted” in rankings or swapped out in favor of webpages that (in Google’s eyes) better cater to users in satisfying the commercial intent.

How To Fix This

There is no direct fix for traffic increases and decreases caused by seasonality.

However, you can adjust your overall SEO strategy to accommodate this and work to create visibility for the website outside of peak times by creating content to meet the needs and intent of users who may have a more research and information-gathering intent.

Penalties & Manual Actions

A Google penalty is a punitive action taken against a website by Google, reducing its search rankings or removing it from search results, typically due to violations of Google’s guidelines.

As well as receiving a notification in GSC, you’ll typically see a sharp decrease in traffic, akin to the graph below:

Google traffic decline from penaltyScreenshot by author from Google Search Console, May 2024

Whether or not the penalty is partial or sitewide will depend on how bad the traffic decline is, and also the type (or reason) as to why you received a penalty in the first place will determine what efforts are required and how long it will take to recover.

Changes In PPC Strategies

A common issue I encounter working with organizations is a disconnect in understanding that, sometimes, altering a PPC campaign can affect organic traffic.

An example of this is brand. If you start running a paid search campaign on your brand, you can often expect to see a decrease in branded clicks and CTR. As most organizations have separate vendors for this, it isn’t often communicated that this will be the case.

The Search results performance report in GSC can help you identify whether or not you have cannibalization between your SEO and PPC. From this report, you can correlate branded and non-branded traffic drops with the changelog from those in command of the PPC campaign.

How To Fix This

Ensuring that all stakeholders understand why there have been changes to organic traffic, and that the traffic (and user) isn’t lost, it is now being attributed to Paid.

Understanding if this is the “right decision” or not requires a conversation with those managing the PPC campaigns, and if they are performing and providing a strong ROAS, then the organic traffic loss needs to be acknowledged and accepted.

Recovering Site Traffic

Recovering from Google updates can take time.

Recently, John Mueller has said that sometimes, to recover, you need to wait for another update cycle.

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be active in trying to improve your website and better align with what Google wants to reward and relying on Google reversing previous signal weighting changes.

It’s critical that you start doing all the right things as soon as possible. The earlier that you identify and begin to solve problems, the earlier that you open up the potential for recovery. The time it takes to recover depends on what caused the drop in the first place, and there might be multiple factors to account for. Building a better website for your audience that provides them with better experiences and better service is always the right thing to do.

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Featured Image: Ground Picture/Shutterstock

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Barriers To Audience Buy-In

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Barriers to audience buy-in with lead generation

This is an excerpt from the B2B Lead Generation ebook, which draws on SEJ’s internal expertise in delivering leads across multiple media types.

People are driven by a mix of desires, wants, needs, experiences, and external pressures.

It can take time to get it right and convince a person to become a lead, let alone a paying customer.

Here are some nuances of logic and psychology that could be impacting your ability to connect with audiences and build strong leads.

1. Poor Negotiations & The Endowment Effect

Every potential customer you encounter values their own effort and information. And due to something called the endowment effect, they value that time and data much more than you do.

In contrast, the same psychological effect means you value what you offer in exchange for peoples’ information more than they will.

If the value of what you’re offering fails to match the value of what consumers are giving you in exchange (read: their time and information), the conversions will be weak.

The solution? You can increase the perceived value of the thing you’re offering, or reduce the value of what the user “pays” for the thing you offer.

Want an exclusive peek into tactics we use when developing our own lead gen campaigns? Check out our upcoming webinar.

Humans evaluate rewards in multiple dimensions, including the reward amount, the time until the reward is received, and the certainty of the reward.

The more time before a reward occurs, and the less certain its ultimate value, the harder you have to work to get someone to engage.

Offering value upfront – even if you’re presenting something else soon after, like a live event, ebook, or demo – can help entice immediate action as well as convince leads of the long-term value of their investment.

It can even act as a prime for the next step in the lead gen nurturing process, hinting at even more value to come and increasing the effectiveness of the rest of your lead generation strategy.

It’s another reason why inbound content is a critical support for lead generation content. The short-term rewards of highly useful ungated content help prepare audiences for longer-term benefits offered down the line.

3. Abandonment & The Funnel Myth

Every lead generation journey is carefully planned, but if you designed it with a funnel in mind, you could be losing many qualified leads.

That’s because the imagery of a funnel might suggest that all leads engage with your brand or offer in the same way, but this simply isn’t true – particularly for products or services with high values.

Instead, these journeys are more abstract. Leads tend to move back and forth between stages depending on their circumstances. They might change their minds, encounter organizational roadblocks, switch channels, or their needs might suddenly change.

Instead of limiting journeys to audience segments, consider optimizing for paths and situations, too.

Optimizing for specific situations and encounters creates multiple opportunities to capture a lead while they’re in certain mindsets. Every opportunity is a way to engage with varying “costs” for time and data, and align your key performance indicators (KPIs) to match.

Situational journeys also create unique opportunities to learn about the various audience segments, including what they’re most interested in, which offers to grab their attention, and which aspects of your brand, product, or service they’re most concerned about.

4. Under-Pricing

Free trials and discounts can be eye-catching, but they don’t always work to your benefit.

Brands often think consumers will always choose the product with the lowest possible price. That isn’t always the case.

Consumers work within something referred to as the “zone of acceptability,” which is the price range they feel is acceptable for a purchasing decision.

If your brand falls outside that range, you’ll likely get the leads – but they could fail to buy in later. The initial offer might be attractive, but the lower perception of value could work against you when it comes time to try and close the sale.

Several elements play into whether consumers are sensitive to pricing discounts. The overall cost of a purchase matters, for example.

Higher-priced purchases, such as SaaS or real estate, can be extremely sensitive to pricing discounts. They can lead to your audience perceiving the product as lower-value, or make it seem like you’re struggling. A price-quality relationship is easy to see in many places in our lives. If you select the absolute lowest price for an airline ticket, do you expect your journey to be timely and comfortable?

It’s difficult to offer specific advice on these points. To find ideal price points and discounts, you need good feedback systems from both customers and leads – and you need data about how other audiences interact. But there’s value in not being the cheapest option.

Get more tips on how we, here at SEJ, create holistic content campaigns to drive leads in this exclusive webinar.

5. Lead Roles & Information

In every large purchasing decision, there are multiple roles in the process. These include:

  • User: The person who ultimately uses the product or service.
  • Buyer: The person who makes the purchase, but may or may not know anything about the actual product or service being purchased.
  • Decider: The person who determines whether to make the purchase.
  • Influencer: The person who provides opinions and thoughts on the product or service, and influences perceptions of it.
  • Gatekeeper: The person who gathers and holds information about the product or service.

Sometimes, different people play these roles, and other times, one person may hold more than one of these roles. However, the needs of each role must be met at the right time. If you fail to meet their needs, you’ll see your conversions turn cold at a higher rate early in the process.

The only way to avoid this complication is to understand who it is you’re attracting when you capture the lead, and make the right information available at the right time during the conversion process.

6. Understand Why People Don’t Sign Up

Many businesses put significant effort into lead nurturing and understanding the qualities of potential customers who fill out lead forms.

But what about the ones who don’t fill out those forms?

Understanding these values and the traits that drive purchasing decisions is paramount.

Your own proprietary and customer data, like your analytics, client data, and lead interactions, makes an excellent starting place, but don’t make the mistake of basing your decisions solely on the data you have collected about the leads you have.

This information creates a picture based solely on people already interacting with you. It doesn’t include information about the audience you’ve failed to capture so far.

Don’t fall for survivorship bias, which occurs when you only look at data from people who have passed your selection filters.

This is especially critical for lead generation because there are groups of people you don’t want to become leads. But you need to make sure you’re attracting as many ideal leads as possible while filtering out those that are suboptimal. You need information about the people who aren’t converting to ensure your filters are working as intended.

Gather information from the segment of your target audience that uses a competitor’s products, and pair them with psychographic tools and frameworks like “values and lifestyle surveys” (VALS) to gather insights and inform decisions.

In a digital world of tough competition and even more demands on every dollar, your lead generation needs to be precise.

Understanding what drives your target audience before you capture the lead and ensuring every detail is crafted with the final conversion in mind will help you capture more leads and sales, and leave your brand the clear market winner.

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Featured Image: Pasuwan/Shutterstock

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Google Answers Question About Toxic Link Sabotage

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Gary Illyes answers a question about how to notify Google about toxic link sabotage

Google’s Gary Illyes answered a question about how to notify Google that someone is poisoning their backlink profile with “toxic links” which is a problem that many people have been talking about for at least fifteen years.

Question About Alerting Google To Toxic Links

Gary narrated the question:

“Someone’s asking, how to alert Google of sabotage via toxic links?”

And this is Gary’s answer:

I know what I would do: I’d ignore those links.

Generally Google is really, REALLY good at ignoring links that are irrelevant to the site they’re pointing at. If you feel like it, you can always disavow those “toxic” links, or file a spam report.

Disavow Links If You Feel Like It

Gary linked to Google’s explainer about disavowing links where it’s explained that the disavow tool is for a site owner to tell Google about links that they are responsible for in some way, like paid links or some other link scheme.

This is what it advises:

“If you have a manual action against your site for unnatural links to your site, or if you think you’re about to get such a manual action (because of paid links or other link schemes that violate our quality guidelines), you should try to remove the links from the other site to your site. If you can’t remove those links yourself, or get them removed, then you should disavow the URLs of the questionable pages or domains that link to your website.”

Google suggests that a link disavow is only necessary when two conditions are met:

  1. “You have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site,
    AND
  2. The links have caused a manual action, or likely will cause a manual action, on your site.”

Both of the above conditions must be met in order to file a valid link disavow tool.

Origin Of The Phrase Toxic Links

As Google became better at penalizing sites for low quality links and paid links, some in the highly competitive gambling industry started creating low quality links to sabotage their competitors. The practice was called negative SEO.

The phrase toxic link is something that was never heard of until after the Penguin link updates in 2012 which required penalized sites to remove all the paid and low quality links they created and then disavow the rest. An industry grew around disavowing links and it was that industry that invented the phrase Toxic Links for use in their marketing.

Confirmation That Google Is Able To Ignore Links

I have shared this anecdote before and I’ll share it here again. Someone I knew contacted me and said that their site lost rankings from negative SEO links. I took a look and their site had a ton of really nasty looking links. So out of curiosity (and because I knew that the site was this person’s main income), I emailed someone at Google Mountain View headquarters about it. That person checked it and replied that the site didn’t lose rankings because of the links. They lost rankings because of a Panda update related content issue.

That was around 2012 and it showed me how good Google was at ignoring links. Now, if Google was that good at ignoring really bad links back then, they’re probably better at it now, twelve years later now that they have the spam brain AI.

Listen to the question and answer at the 8:22 minute mark:

Featured Image by Shutterstock/New Africa

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