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5 Surprising Ways Great Content & PPC Can Help Each Other

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When it comes to improving your PPC campaigns, you’ve heard all the advice. Focus on improving quality score and click-through rates. Optimize your account structure. Use negative keywords.

And while those are all valid tactics that can work, there’s one thing that rarely (if ever) comes up as a way to improve your PPC campaign: great content.

I know what you’re thinking.

How can great content benefit your PPC campaign? That would be like saying buying Google Ads improves your organic search ranking, right?

Not only do I believe that quality content can benefit paid media, but I also think that paid promotion is a great way to drive exposure to your content.

Keep reading to learn how you can use content marketing to improve your PPC performance, and vice-versa. Then, I’ll share four actionable tactics for creating high-performance PPC ad campaigns to maximize your content ROI.

1. Use PPC Ads to Get Traffic FAST

The problem with organic search strategies is that it’s nearly impossible to drive eyeballs to your website without an established audience. Consider that more than 4 million blog posts are published every day, making it nearly impossible for your blog posts to receive exposure without an underlying strategy.

Leveraging PPC ads to drive traffic to your website in the early stages of development will give your brand some exposure and early revenue.

Best of all, traffic derived from paid clicks will represent a large share of the target audience you’re already seeking to sell your brand to.

It’s like killing two birds with one stone. Using Google Ads and Facebook Audience Insights, you can derive greater insights from your audience while, in turn, reaching them to gather brand exposure.

Slapping on a piece of detailed or informative content can help to further differentiate your brand from other advertisers. Good, quality content goes more hand-in-hand with PPC than you might think, so be sure to read up on the intersection of these two areas of digital marketing.

The idea is to focus on both campaigns simultaneously and target similar keywords. Content can be used to inform, while paid advertising should be your tool to convert.

This strategy can help your brand become top-of-mind whenever you appear in the search results for any keyword query.

2. Use PPC Ads to Bias People Toward Your Brand

Contrary to popular belief, studies have shown that paid ads actually help to drive clicks to organic listings, rather than cannibalize them.

This is because people who view paid ads are more likely to remember your brand when conducting a future search, even if subconsciously.

Rand Fishkin outlines this idea in this informative article. Essentially, having two listings on the same page will improve your click-through rate incrementally by biasing the searcher toward your brand.

This could hypothetically make your brand appear more authoritative as well, or larger than life.

Brand affinity dramatically increases the CTR of repeat visitors as well.

As research has shown, it’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than acquire a new one.

3. Deliver an Awesome Landing Page Experience

Even the savviest paid media manager sometimes runs into difficulty creating a landing page that satisfies the client and even his/her vision.

Content marketers are naturally great storytellers and creative in their own respect. Leverage your creative content to craft a unique landing page experience that nurtures inbound leads through your conversion funnel.

Visitors who click on ads are likely to investigate your website before making a conversion. Consider the buyer’s journey and how content can be applied across this process:

  • Awareness: A customer is alerted to a particular need or problem (blog posts, curated content, infographics, videos, articles).
  • Consideration: A customer realizes a particular need and conducts research on it (white papers, testimonials, reviews, landing pages, ebooks).
  • Decision: A customer decides to make a purchase or conversion (tutorials, trials, product demos).

Consider providing testimonials, user reviews, and links to relevant articles aside landing page content for visitors to read before making a purchasing decision.

Not all visitors who click on an ad will make a purchase during that session or even that day.

Providing relevant and quality content on your site will become a valuable touchpoint on your attribution path to generate conversions.

4. Find Content Insights from PPC Keyword Data

If there’s one feature your SEO and PPC campaign already share, it’s keywords.

Leverage your PPC keyword data to discover which keywords drive the highest traffic and revenue.

You can also analyze ad copy that’s performing well and apply it to your organic content campaign.

Consider using commercial intent keywords in your content to promote your services/products to customers.

Branded keywords are incredibly successful and have a much higher CTR than other standard keywords.

Group your keyword strategy together and transfer the success of one campaign to the other.

Conduct A/B testing to decipher which keywords operate the best within each campaign.

5. Steal as Much SERP Real Estate as Possible

Naturally, having two links on the same page would increase website clicks.

This is especially critical over mobile displays where users tend to favor top results and paid advertisements.

Aside from increasing click-through rates on both listings, having extra links increases brand exposure and authority in the eyes of the searcher.

Now, if only you could get a rich snippet, too!

4 Actionable Tactics to Increase Content Marketing ROI Through PPC Campaigns

Now that you understand the benefits of combining PPC and content marketing, here are some ways to maximize this fully.

1. Promote Your Great Content with Facebook Ads

Use Facebook’s Audience Insights to segment your audience and target ads to new audience members relevant to your vertical.

Promote your best performing content by boosting your Facebook post to target specific audience groups.

Boost your Facebook post promotes content and ads to two audiences:

  • “People who like your Page and their friends”
  • “People you choose through targeting”

Use PPC ads to build an audience for your content and then utilize “boost post” to reach more people who may interested in your content.

Facebook Audience Insights and Twitter’s Tailored Audiences provide amazing remarketing tools for any PPC ad or promotional content.

Leverage your PPC spend to build an audience for your brand and target them with different ad campaigns based on your most shared and liked content.

2. Write Irresistibly Clickable Headlines

Use BuzzSumo to discover content that’s currently viral in your industry.

Leverage these keywords and topics to create a compelling and relevant headline for your ad display.

This will entice users to engage with your ad display who typically don’t engage with click advertisements.

Conduct A/B testing on different headlines that target different niche keywords to see which ones produce the most clicks and conversions.

It should be noted that clickable does not equal clickbait. It’s still important to the user experience to craft headlines that are relevant to the content itself.

3. Think Mobile-First

Nearly 60% of ad clicks across all platforms are from phones and tablets.

Use images, infographics, and any form of visual content to increase your mobile conversion rate for paid ads.

The rules for landing page content is different for mobile. It’s paramount that responsive design is enabled and that content is optimized for mobile.

Some tips:

  • Write short headlines.
  • Use concise paragraphs.
  • Avoid pop-ups.
  • Use small image sizes.
  • Include a clear call-to-action.

4. Craft Killer CTAs to Convert More Visitors

You should present a clear call-to-action on your landing page, especially for paid promotion articles.

This could be accomplished through a form field on the side or even a pop-up CTA. This will help transform leads into conversions for your paid promotion campaign.

People still debate whether a CTA should be placed above-the-fold or at the end of content.

In terms of paid promotion, I’d suggest using your content to hook reader interest and then throwing your CTA at the end of the landing page for more conversions.

Conclusion

In most digital marketing agencies, SEO, content marketing, and paid media are placed in silos, sharing nothing more than the water cooler.

By integrating content marketing into PPC campaigns and vice-versa, you can leverage each department’s strengths to gather more conversions for your site and increase your brand’s affinity.

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Google Search Console unparsable structured data report data issue

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Google has informed us that you may see a spike in errors in the unparsable structured data report within Google Search Console. This is a bug in the reporting system and you do not need to worry. The issue happened between January 13, 2020 and January 16, 2020.

The bug. Google wrote on the data anomalies page “Some users may see a spike in unparsable structured data errors. This was due to an internal misconfiguration that will be fixed soon, and can be ignored.” This was dated January 13, 2020 through January 16, 2020.

To be fixed. Google said they will fix the issue with the internal misconfiguration. It is, however, unclear if the data will be fixed or if you will see a spike in those errors between those date ranges.

Unparsable structured data report. The unparsable structured data report is accessible within Google Search Console by clicking here. The report aggregates structured data syntax errors. It puts all the parsing issues, including structured data syntax errors, that specifically prevented Google from identifying the feature type.

Why we care. The main thing here is that if you see a spike in errors in that report between January 13th and 16th, do not worry. It is a bug with the report and not an issue with your web site. Go back to the report in a few days and make sure that you do not see errors occurring after the 17th of January to be sure you have no technical issues.


About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.



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Google rolls out organic ‘Popular Products’ listings in mobile search results

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Several years ago now, Google made the significant move to turn product search listings into an entirely paid product. Shopping campaigns, as they’re now called, have accounted for an increasing share of retail search budgets ever since. More recently, however, Google has been augmenting organic search results with product listings. It’s in a product search battle with Amazon, after all. On Thursday, the company announced the official rollout of “Popular Products” for apparel, shoe and similar searches in mobile results.

Organic product listings. Google has been experimenting with ways to surface product listings in organic search results, including Popular Products, which has been spotted for several months now. The section is powered by those organic feeds. Google says it identifies popular products from merchants to show them in a single spot, allowing users to filter by style, department and size type. The listings link to the retailers’ websites.

Popular Products is now live in Google mobile search results.

Why we care. This is part of a broader effort by Google to enhance product search experiences as it faces increasing competition from Amazon and other marketplaces as well as social platforms. Earlier this week, Google announced it has acquired Pointy, a hardware solution for capturing product and inventory data from small local merchants that can then be used in search results (and ads).

In the past few years, Google has also prompted retailers to adopt product schema markup on their sites by adding support for it in Search and Image search results. Then last spring, Google opened up Merchant Center to all retailers, regardless if they were running Shopping campaigns. Any retailer can submit their feed in real-time to Google to make their products eligible in search results.

Ad revenue was certainly at the heart of the shift to paid product listings, but prior to the move, product search on Google was often a terrible user experience with search listings often not matching what was on the landing page, from availability to pricing to even the very product. The move to a paid solution imposed quality standards that forced merchants to clean up their product data and provide it to Google in a structured manner in the form of product feeds through Google Merchant Center.


About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, running the day to day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin writes about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.



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Google buys Pointy to bring SMB store inventory online

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Google is acquiring Irish startup Pointy, the companies announced Tuesday. Pointy has solved a problem that vexed startups for more than a decade: how to bring small, independent retailer inventory online.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Pointy had raised less than $20 million so it probably wasn’t an expensive buy for Google. But it could have a significant impact for the future of product search.

Complements local inventory feeds. This acquisition will help Google offer more local inventory data in Google My Business (GMB) listings, knowledge panels and ads especially. It complements Google Shopping Campaigns’ local inventory ads, which are largely utilized by enterprise merchants and first launched in 2013.

Numerous companies over the last decade tried to solve the challenge of how to bring small business product inventory online. However, most failed because the majority of SMB retailers lack sophisticated inventory management systems that can generate product feeds and integrate with APIs.

Pointy POS hardware

Source: Pointy

How Pointy works. The company created a simple way to get local store inventory online and then showcase that inventory in organic search results or paid search ads. It utilizes a low-cost hardware device that attaches to a point-of-sale barcode scanner (see image above). It’s compatible with multiple other POS systems, including Square.

Once the device is installed, it captures every product sold by the merchant and then creates a digital record of products, which can be pushed out in paid or organic results. (The company also helps small retailers set up local inventory ads using the data.) Pointy also creates local inventory pages for each store and product, which are optimized and can rank for product searches.

Pointy doesn’t actually understand real-time inventory. Cleverly, however, it uses machine learning algorithms to estimate this by measuring product purchase frequency. The system assumes local retailers are going to stock frequently purchased items. That’s an oversimplification, but is essentially how it works.

Pointy said it a blog post that it “serve[s] local retailers in almost every city and every town in the U.S. and throughout Ireland.”

Why we care. The Pointy acquisition will likely help Google in at least three ways:

  • Provide more structured, local inventory data for consumers to find in Search.
  • Generate more advertising revenue over time from independent retailers.
  • Help Google more effectively compete with Amazon in product search.

Notwithstanding the fact that e-commerce outperformed traditional retail over the holidays, most people spend the bulk of their shopping budgets offline and prefer to shop locally. Indeed, Generation Z prefers to shop in stores, according to an A.T. Kearney survey.

One of the reasons that people shop at Amazon is because they can find products they’re looking for. They often don’t know where to find a particular product locally. But if more inventory data becomes available, the more people may opt to buy from local stores instead.


About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes about the connections between digital and offline commerce. He previously held leadership roles at LSA, The Kelsey Group and TechTV. Follow him Twitter or find him on LinkedIn.



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