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Technical SEO Audits: Tips For Successful Implementation

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technical seo audits tips for successful implementation

According to BrightEdge, 68 percent of all online experiences start with a search engine, and 53 percent of website traffic comes from organic search.

Yet, only 0.78 percent of these searchers click results on the second page of Google.

That means if you’re not showing up on the front page of the SERPs, you aren’t getting traffic.

It’s clear why SEO is a top priority for marketers. In fact, 61 percent say it’s their main focus when it comes to inbound marketing.

If you can get your client’s website to the top of user search, you’ll have a much easier time improving their ROI.

Of course, mastering SEO is no easy task.

There are so many things to consider, from on-page SEO to off-page SEO, copy, content, and even technical SEO.

A truly effective SEO strategy includes all of these strategies, plus regular optimization to ensure consistent returns.

This post dives deep into technical SEO and how you can use it to increase organic traffic, show up in search, and improve your overall site experience.

What Is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is an area of SEO that covers optimizations that improve search engine ranking by making your site easier for search engines to crawl. For example, improving site load time, checking robot.txt files, and making redirects work properly.

Essentially, it’s the process of ensuring your website can be seen, crawled, and ranked by search engines.

Search engines, such as Google, give preference to websites that meet their webmaster guidelines. The basic principles state your website content should be accurate, easy to access, and user-friendly.

If your website loads slowly, has an unresponsive design, or lacks a secure connection, your content will not meet these guidelines.

This is where technical SEO comes in, as it can help you improve the technical characteristics of your website to improve organic traffic.

Why Is Technical SEO Important?

Imagine you wrote the most amazing content in the world. It’s content that everyone should read.

People would pay buckets of money just to read it. Millions are eagerly waiting for the notification that you’ve posted this new, incredible content.

Then, the day finally comes, and the notification goes out. Customers excitedly click the link to read your article.

Then, it takes over 10 seconds for your web page to load. Readers are annoyed and they don’t want to wait.

For every second that it takes for your web page to load, you’re losing readers and increasing your bounce rate.

technical seo for bounce rate

It doesn’t matter how great that piece of content is—your site isn’t functioning well, and you’re losing precious traffic.

That’s just one example of why technical SEO is so critical.

Without it, Google and other search engines are incapable of finding, crawling, and indexing your site.

If search engines can’t access your site, you can’t rank and you become one of the 90.63 percent of websites that get no organic search traffic from Google. Yikes.

Even if your site can be found, user experience issues, like page load times and confusing navigation, can still negatively impact SEO.

Other issues like mobile optimizations, duplicate content, and site security can cause search engines to rank your site lower.

Elements of Technical SEO

While crawling and indexing are important factors in SEO, there are many more aspects to consider when performing a technical SEO audit. These include:

  • mobile optimization
  • page load speed
  • link health
  • duplicate content
  • schemas
  • crawl errors
  • image issues
  • site security
  • URL structure
  • 404 pages
  • 301 redirects
  • canonical tags
  • XML sitemaps
  • site architecture

At a minimum, a technically sound website should be secure, quick to load, easy to crawl, have clear and actionable navigation, and not contain any duplicate links or content.

It should also have systems in place to engage users even if they do hit a dead end, such as content created for 404 errors and 301 redirect pages.

Finally, a site should have structured data to help search engines understand the content. This can come in the form of schema graphs and XML sitemaps.

When conducting a technical SEO audit, be wary of over-optimizing your website. Too many improvements can work against your best intentions and actually damage your SEO rankings.

What Is an SEO Audit?

An SEO audit is the process of evaluating your website to see how well it is performing on search engines.

SEO audits are a great way to create actionable plans to outperform your competitors, identify opportunities within your website, find and fix exit points, and create better customer experiences.

You should perform technical SEO audits, on-page SEO audits, and off-page SEO audits regularly.

As you go through your audit, you’ll find places where you can improve or optimize your website performance to improve performance and keep site visitors happy.

You may not be able to fix every error at once, but you can figure out what’s going wrong and make a plan to fix it.

What Are the Key Elements of a Technical SEO Audit?

There are three key factors to look at during an SEO audit:

  • back-end factors, such as hosting and indexing
  • front-end factors, such as content, keywords, and metadata
  • link quality and outside references

Sometimes, you won’t have the time to address each pain point. So, when deciding which audit insights are worth taking action on, use the 80/20 rule.

The most important part of your site’s SEO is the part that your incoming traffic actually sees.

That’s all washed away if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, though.

With the introduction of the mobile-first index, you need to make sure you understand how your site performs on mobile to ensure proper placement on SERPs.

What does the mobile-first index mean?

Due to 52.2 percent of global web traffic coming through mobile, Google has adjusted its algorithm to crawl the mobile version of websites.

technical seo - mobile first indexing example

It boils down to this—if your site doesn’t perform well on mobile devices, you are not just losing traffic; your site also looks bad to Google. That can result in lower rankings, and even less traffic.

How to Perform a Technical SEO Audit

SEO guidelines are constantly changing. Every time a major search engine significantly updates its algorithm, SEO has to adapt.

The good news is the frequency of changes in technical SEO tends to be lower.

After all, it’s not like search engines or readers will suddenly decide they’re okay with slower speeds.

If anything, you will see the average acceptable speed continue to drop. Your site simply has to be faster if you want to keep up with SEO demands.

Your website has to be mobile-friendly. This is only going to become more important over time, too.

It has to work without errors, duplicate content, and poor images.

Search engines also have to be able to crawl it successfully.

These things are all crucial to your success on search engines and site visitors. If you want to prioritize your SEO efforts, make sure you tackle the technical aspects first.

1. Crawl Your Website

The most important part of the SEO audit is the crawl.

Before you do anything else, start a crawl of your website. You can use Ubersuggest to make it a simple process. Here’s how you do it:

  • Step 1: Enter your URL and click “Search.”
  • Step 2: Click “Site Audit” in the left sidebar.
technical seo ubersuggest sidebar
  • Step 3: Run the scan. Upon completion, you’ll see this:
technical seo - Ubersuggest audit page crawl

Crawling is useful for identifying problems such as duplicate content, low word count, unlinked pagination pages, and excess redirects. Ubersuggest will even rank issues in order of importance, so you can focus on what matters most.

technical seo audit with Ubersuggest

If you find anything here, click on it for more information and advice on how to fix it. For example, our website has 32 pages with a low word count.

technical seo audit links

You can then review these pages to determine if you need to add more content.

What does this all mean?

In short, it gives you a glimpse into how the Googlebot is crawling your site.

If you don’t use Ubersuggest for your technical SEO audit, you can also search your site manually. We’ll explain that below.

2. Perform a Manual Google Search

A few Google searches can tell you approximately how well your website is ranking. This will help you figure out where to start your technical SEO audit.

How many of your pages appear in relevant search results?

Does your site appear first when you search for it by name?

Overall, where does your site appear in the results?

To figure out which pages are actually being crawled, you can use a “site:rootdomain” search to see what shows up.

Here’s what this looks like in action:

technical seo audit - root domain search

Missing pages don’t automatically mean that your site is un-crawlable, but it’s useful to understand what’s happening behind the scenes.

Your website doesn’t need to be at the very top of your searches, either. By using the site search, it will show you only pages on your own site.

3. Make Sure Only One Version of Your Site Is Browseable 

If your website has multiple “versions” of itself, you send search engines a mixed message about how to crawl your site.

Basically, the crawlers don’t know which one is the right one.

If search engines don’t even know how to show your site to prospective traffic, your site’s SEO ranking will be negatively impacted.

This could be a mobile and desktop version warring with each other, or a duplicate “https” version and a non-”https” version.

The impact of HTTP vs. HTTPS on a site’s SEO is debated in the SEO community. Some sites using AdSense saw a decrease in revenue after making the switch to HTTPS.

For example, Crunchify’s revenue decreased 10 percent after switching to an HTTPS site.

However, it seems that websites without SSL protection are being deprecated on Google SEO moving forward.

Google is even taking steps to make it more known which sites have SSL protection and which do not. Chrome is marking pages as “Not secure” to make it clearer.

technical seo audit http

With this change from Google, it seems you will need to make sure that your website only uses “https.”

4. Conduct On-Page Technical SEO Checks

When evaluating your site and the results from your crawl, there are tons of things to check. Don’t get overwhelmed! Start by looking for duplicate pages, headers, and title tags.

If you’ve published a lot of content with similar themes, like me, some seemingly unrelated content will show up in your crawl.

That’s okay. You’re looking for duplicates of the same content.

You can use a tool like Copyscape to assess potential technical SEO problems arising from duplicate content.

technical seo audit plagiarism

From there, closely examine a few key criteria that Google evaluates in their rankings.

Page Titles and Title Tags

A title tag is an HTML code that tells search engines the title of a page. This information will be displayed on SERPs.

It looks something like this:

technical seo audit serp

You’ll want to make sure these are relevant to the content on your page. The content should also answer the questions your users are asking as fast as possible.

The optimal length for title tags is between 56-60 characters. You can use a pixel width checker to make sure that your title isn’t truncated.

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions don’t directly impact ranking; but they are still incredibly important because it’s the first thing a user sees in the SERPs.

Meta descriptions should be compelling, engaging, and give a taste of what the user will find on the page.

Google recently expanded the limit for descriptions from 160 to 320, which provides even more real estate to draw in a click.

Clear Hierarchy

You’ll want to make sure your content is organized, with a clear hierarchy on the page.

This makes it easy for Google to analyze your site and index it for search.

technical seo hierarchy

Essentially, you want to make sure the placement of pages makes sense—all your service pages should be under your “services” tab, for example. Make sure users don’t have to click through four levels of pages to find best-selling products. The goal is to make it easy for Google —and users—to find the information or products they are looking for.

Keyword Placement

Every page on your site should have a focus keyword included in the first 100 words.

For example, in this post about social proof, it’s included twice in the first 100 words.

technical seo keywords

This helps Google understand what the post focuses on—but don’t stop there.

While keyword stuffing will penalize you, you should be strategic about keyword placement.

Include them, when possible:

  • title
  • alt tags
  • URL
  • subheadings (h2, h3, etc.)
  • meta description

Overall, on-page SEO checks are incredibly important, but they are only one part of your overarching technical SEO strategy. There are also other SEO checks to consider.

5. Manage Your Internal and External Links

Sites with logical hierarchies have improved SEO rankings. That’s why it’s important to check your internal and external links—to make sure visitors can navigate your site intuitively.

Pages might be deleted or moved, which can result in broken links and annoyed site visitors.

Don’t worry; you don’t have to do this manually.

Integrity and Xenu Sleuth can help you identify your broken links on your site. (Note: Integrity only works for Mac.)

While both tools are straightforward to use, I’ll use Integrity as an example.

Once you download it, add your URL in the text bar at the top of the page and click “Go.”

technical seo audit integrity

Then the tool will begin testing all the links found on your site and provide you with the results.

technical seo audit backlinks

In the top-left corner, you see a snapshot of links and how many are bad.

Depending on the size of your site and how many links you have, you might consider viewing the results by link, page, status, or flat view to understand the results.

You’ll want to change any links marked in red with the “404 not found” label. These dead ends can negatively impact your technical SEO.

Google does score clicks from internal and external links differently, although both have their purpose in improving your SEO.

technical SEO audit links tweet

6. Check Your Site Speed

People are impatient. Google knows this.

Your customers don’t want to wait around. The longer your page takes to load, the higher the chance your customer will bounce.

You need to check your site speed, and Ubersuggest can help. Here’s how to get started:

  • Step 1: Enter your URL and click “Search.”
  • Step 2: Click “Site Audit” in the left sidebar.
  • Step 3: Scroll down to “Site Speed.”
Technical SEO - ubersuggest site speed

Ubersuggest displays loading time for both desktop and mobile devices. The results above show my site is in the “excellent” range for both.

In addition to loading time, it also tests:

  • First Contentful Paint
  • Speed Index
  • Time to Interactive
  • First Meaningful Paint
  • First CPU Idle
  • Est. Input Latency

Take action if your website scores less than excellent or good.

You might need to optimize your images, minify JavaScript, leverage browser caching, or more.

Ubersuggest will outline just what you need to do to improve site speed.

7. Leverage Your Analytics and Compare Site Metrics

This step determines whether your analytics service (e.g., Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, etc.) is reporting live metric data.

If it is, your code is installed correctly.

If not, your code is not installed correctly and needs to be fixed.

If you’re using Google Analytics, you want the tracker code to be placed above the header of each web page.

Once you have an analytics service up and running, compare the metric data to the results of your earlier “site:rootdomain” search.

The number of pages showing in your metric data should be comparatively similar to the number of pages from the “site:rootdomain” search.

If not, certain pages aren’t properly accepting crawl requests.

Check Your Bounce Rate

Google Analytics can be helpful when assessing your page’s bounce rate.

A high bounce rate means that people aren’t finding what they are looking for on your site. This means you might have to go back and make sure the content is optimized for your audience.

You can check your bounce rate by logging into your Google Analytics account and clicking on Audiences > Overview.

Compare Metrics With the MozBar

In addition, you can use Moz’s tool called The Mozbar to benchmark between pages.

The MozBar is a tool that provides various SEO details of any web page or search engine results page.

The toolbar adds an overlay to your browser and offers a number of features.

For example, MozBar can be used to highlight different types of links that you view.

technical seo mozbar tool

This is useful on its own, but it also lets you compare link metrics on or between pages.

It also comes with robust search tools to make your life easy.

With it, you can create custom searches by location, down to the city.

Page Authority is also supported by the MozBar.

It ranks each specific page from 1 to 100 in terms of how well it will rank on search engine results pages.

When doing a technical SEO audit, tools like this help you quickly take the temperature of your site’s relationship with search engines.

The less guesswork you have to do, the better quality your SEO audit will be.

8. Check Your Off-Site SEO and Perform a Backlink Audit

Backlinks are critical for SEO success.

This way, Google and other search engines will know that your page is particularly relevant and that other users will find it useful.

Remember that hyperlinks are not the only thing crawlers look for in off-site SEO.

Your site is also crawled for brand mentions. This is why it’s crucial to pay attention to what’s happening both on and off your site.

Perform Your Backlink Audit

Use a tool such as Ubersuggest to perform a backlink audit and assess the kind of backlinks pointing to your site. Here’s how:

  • Step 1: Enter your URL and click “Search.”
  • Step 2: Click “Backlinks” in the left sidebar.
  • Step 3: Review the report.
technical SEO backlinks ubersuggets
technical seo audit new and lost backlinks

Backlink audits are helpful because:

  • You can assess your current link profile and see how it is affecting your site.
  • You can identify areas where you can focus on getting more high-value links.
  • You can assess your competitors’ number of backlinks and work to outperform them.

Don’t just stop with your site’s backlink audit—you’ll also want to see what the competition is up to.

Analyze Competitor Keywords

Your competitors were busy upping their SEO capability while you were sleeping. Now, they rank higher for your most important search terms.

Ubersuggest can also help with this.

It allows you to see what keywords other sites are ranking for. It also shows what backlinks are going to those sites.

Basically, you want to explore your competitors’ backlinks and see how they compare to your own. Here’s how you do it:

  • Step 1: Enter your competitor’s URL and click “Search.”
  • Step 2: Click “Keywords” in the left sidebar.
  • Step 3: Review the results.
technical seo keywords list
ubersuggest technical SEO audit

This provides a clear overview of what your competitor’s site is ranking for. In addition to a list of keywords, you can review:

  • Volume: the average number of monthly searches for the keyword
  • Position: position the URL is ranked in Google search
  • Estimated Visits: estimated monthly traffic the webpage gets for the keyword
  • SD: estimated competition in organic search, the higher the number, the more competitive the term is

Engage on Social Media

Social media is a conduit for consistent backlinks and engagement. You can use it to support your technical SEO efforts.

technical SEO social media chart

You want to figure out which additional social media platforms are frequented by your target audience.

Simply put, social media can improve your SEO by:

  • Increasing the number of your backlinks. Those who discover your content on social media might be more likely to link to it.
  • Increasing brand awareness, which can help with search queries including your brand’s name.

Social media is an opportunity to increase traffic and mentions beyond what people are searching for on a search engine.

Social media saturation is also simpler than putting together a link-building campaign.

Use the Facebook Sharing Debugger to see what your web content looks like when shared on Facebook.

This tool also allows you to check your Open Graph tags.

Technical SEO: Final Thoughts

There are three different aspects of SEO, and technical SEO is the most important of the three.

It won’t matter how amazing your on-page SEO is if you fail at technical SEO.

It also won’t matter how great you are at off-page SEO if you’re horrible at the technical stuff.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the idea of it being “technical” or complex. Start with the big, critical aspects discussed above and tackle them one problem at a time.

How have you found success with technical SEO on your site?

See How My Agency Can Drive Massive Amounts of Traffic to Your Website

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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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