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Google Ads’ Performance Planner can help predict performance across accounts

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Planning can be both exciting and exhausting, as I’m sure many of you have already found out at the start of January. New years come with new opportunities and a whole lot of planning. Throughout my 8-plus years at Google, I’ve actually come to enjoy prognostication a good deal. Despite how much I may enjoy the act of planning, all of that estimation takes time. And that may be a time you don’t even have – like when you’re asked to predict performance at various spend levels, performance targets or total conversion goals for a meeting tomorrow morning.

Our team at Google built Performance Planner for just these situations. When you need to decide how to allocate your budget across accounts for next month, next quarter, or throughout 2020, you can now answer those questions and more (e.g. Performance Planner now works for manager accounts). Even if your goals or budget aren’t changing, you can still find opportunities to improve the performance of your campaigns and accounts and kick off the year right.

Getting the most out of Performance Planner

If you get a question like “What could we expect from another $1,000 next month?” you can answer it in a few minutes.

Simply click the right part on your curve. The three fields at the top — conversions, CPA and spend — are customizable. Make a change to one of those, and the rest of the metrics will update accordingly.

Forecasting

After you’ve created your plan, you can view it on the draft plan page. The page includes an overview where you can make changes to see how your campaigns might perform. You can also see how your performance numbers will change in real-time and can share that information before implementing anything. It’s a safe place to forecast.

Plan according to the time periods you care about

You can customize the dates of your forecast depending on how your business operates. Monthly, quarterly, annually, fortnightly – whatever you’d like. Projections for 2020 are included so you can get ahead of next year’s performance. You can even focus on a single day if you want.

Know what seasonality can mean in terms of performance

Seasonality can have a big effect on your planning. Every time you update your date range it’ll take seasonality into account. This prediction includes whether your campaigns will see increases (or decreases) in traffic based on Google’s historical search queries in similar periods, geographic areas, and categories from previous years. It also factors in year-over-year growth.

Note that seasonality projections won’t include changes to your conversion rates. For instance, if you know that holiday sales result in a higher conversion rate, you can manually update that in the tool.

Budget based on data

You can also calculate your ideal budget allocation across campaigns and accounts. If you get more budget to play with, this tool can show you how to best spend it. But what if you get a budget reduction? That boss who gave you $1,000 more is now taking $1,000 away. You can then use Performance Planner to find the best areas to cut while maintaining performance.

You can see what would happen if you shift spend toward campaigns that are predicted to have better CPAs, for example. Performance Planner considers your proposed bidding and budget settings and gives you the expected performance at each spend point.

Estimate how new keywords will affect existing campaigns

What will new keywords do to your existing query mix and budget plans? Will those new ideas address searches you’re already appearing for, or will this drive new volume for you?

To find out, click on your individual campaigns (underneath the plan table) and check out the “Things to try” section. You can add your keywords and see what’s projected to happen.

Compare your plan side-by-side with existing settings

You can view past performance alongside your existing and planned settings. This is particularly useful when you’re getting approval from people who might not be that familiar with the current performance of the campaigns.

For example, if you’re looking to increase conversion volume while keeping your ROAS stable, you can see what that might look like.

Act on the plans you create

As soon as you get approval on your plan, you can act quickly. Plans can be downloaded as Google Ads Editor files, so you can hit the ground running. Others can be downloaded as a plan summary that includes the changes you’ll need to make yourself. In either case, moving from ideation to execution is a snap.

Creating a successful plan

As you start planning, here are a few additional things to keep in mind:

  • Plan across accounts. If you have multiple accounts you can add campaigns from each into your plan. The Performance Planner is as flexible as your account structure can be.
  • Your campaigns and accounts in each plan should have similar goals. Your plan won’t make a ton of sense if you’re basing things around a CPA goal only shared by some of your campaigns. With different goals, your account(s) use different plans.
  • Not all campaigns are eligible to be planned. Campaigns need to have enough history. Also, Performance Planner works with Search campaigns using certain bid strategies: manual CPC, maximize clicks, enhanced CPC or Target CPA.
  • Timing affects accuracy. The closer you are to your forecast period, the more accurate the plan is. If you’re forecasting out into the distant future, there’s a chance that some variables will change between now and then.
  • Forecasts are directional, not guarantees. They’re based on auction data, seasonality and recent history from your campaigns.
  • You can manually set a conversion rate if you’d like (or if you don’t have enough conversion history). If you do that, be realistic. Too aggressive and you’re likely to miss your lofty goal, too conservative and you might lose out on lots of profitable traffic.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Anthony Chavez is a director of product management at Google working on Google Ads and Search Ads 360. Previously Anthony worked on Mobile Search Ads including offline measurement, calls and apps. Before joining Google in 2011, Anthony worked at Microsoft for 15 years where he led program management and engineering teams for a wide range of projects. Anthony holds a SB and MEng degree in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



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Google Search Console now lets you export more data

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Search Console users can now download complete information (instead of just specific table views) from almost all reports, Google announced Wednesday. Data can be exported as a Google Sheet, Excel or .CSV file.

Source: Google.

Why we care

Being able to export your Google Search Console reports makes it easier to analyze and manipulate the data using other tools. It also provides you with the option to join datasets, perform more advanced analyses or just visualize the data a different way.

More on the news

  • Downloaded Enhancement reports include the list of issues and their affected pages, a daily breakdown of your pages, their status and impressions from Google search. When downloading a specific drill-down view, details describing the view are also included in the exported file.
  • All Performance data tabs (Queries, Pages, Countries, Devices, Search appearances and Dates) can now be downloaded with one click. The data will include an extra “Filters” tab that shows which filters were applied when you exported the file.

About The Author

George Nguyen is an Associate Editor at Third Door Media. His background is in content marketing, journalism, and storytelling.



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Google Images to replace dimensions overlay on image thumbnails

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Google Images will soon replace the dimensions information you see in the image search results, as you overlay your mouse cursor over a specific image thumbnail. Google will replace the dimensions information with product, recipe, video, and soon, licensable labels based on the query.

What is changing? Here is a screenshot highlighting the dimensions section of the image thumbnail in Google Image search:

By the end of this week, a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land, the image size dimensions will be replaced with product, recipe, video, and soon, licensable labels.

Google was unable to share a screenshot of the new change. We will update this story when we see the new labels show up in Google Image Search.

Why the change? Google said this will help searchers find visual ideas and get more done directly from the image thumbnail. Images that are licensable, will likely show the license label in that overlay. Images that come from videos, will show a video label. Recipe photos will show the recipe label and so on.

Why we care. If this does indeed work as Google expects, more engaged searchers will help increase clicks on your images and hopefully traffic to your web site. This gives us even more reason to make sure to add the various markups to our images when applicable.


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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What happens if you stop doing SEO?

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Often, businesses want to stop and start SEO. 

Some feel that taking a break won’t cause any issues. 

But when a client suggests taking a break, you can explain the details of what will happen.

If you stop posting content correctly 

When you stop publishing content, the following things happen:

  1. You stop targeting new terms consistently. This results in fewer new keyword rankings and new traffic. 
  2. You stop creating new pages that can be linked to, and the number of links you earn goes down.
  3. You stop capturing new visitors to add to your remarketing audiences, email list and push notification list.
  4. You stop generating content that can be used to create hub pages, which are master pages that link to all other pages on the topic. These often rank very well.
  5. You stop generating content that gets shared on social media, and thus, generates social media shares and traffic.
  6. You stop encouraging people to return to your website for new posts. This reduces your branded searches, which are an indicator of quality to Google.

Overall, if you stop creating content, it says to Google that your website is no longer as active as it was and thus beginning the process of dying a slow death.

If you don’t watch for technical issues 

Those without web experience often don’t understand that from a technical perspective, things often break for no real reason.

I’ve never seen a website that did not have at least a handful of technical SEO issues.

If you don’t monitor the technical aspects of your site, issues such as the following could arise:

  1. You block your website with robots.txt.
  2. You generate duplicate content.
  3. You accidentally push your development site into the index. 

You can read more about common technical issues here.

When you don’t monitor these things and fix them consistently, they start to add up. Think of it as a garden – it takes maintenance, or it starts to become overgrown.

It is incredibly important to stay technically correct, especially with new developments such as mobile usability, page speed, AMP and more.

If you don’t, you are sure to have an error at some point that will cost you down the line. Similarly, your tech stack will become so out of date that you can no longer compete in the market.

If you stop refreshing pages

When you refresh a page correctly, traffic will generally increase to that page 10% to 30%, sometimes more.

The reason for this is because Google sees the new text and the value it provides and wants to rank it higher.

Now, there are many ways to go about doing refreshes. Some of those include:

  1. Adding FAQs to the page
  2. Adding links to other articles
  3. Updating facts
  4. Updating dates 
  5. Making the text longer 
  6. Adding schema
  7. Changing a page template 
  8. Etc.

Lately, the most important thing to look for when refreshing a page is whether or not it matches search intent, and if the page in question is better than the #1 ranking page.

My process includes doing a search, categorizing the query based on intent, analyzing the top pages, creating a new strategy for the page we are trying to get ranked, and refreshing as a result of that.

If you stop building new pages 

Building new pages are harder for some industries than others.

For example, when I worked with a few firms in the outsources accounting space, the lower funnel terms were minimal. If you compare that to a large e-commerce site like Amazon, its terms are endless.

While that is the case, I believe websites should always be targeting new terms and organizing them by segment. Those segments should be prioritized based on business goals and tracked in a dashboard.

But if you stop building new pages, you’ll lose keyword growth momentum.

I highly recommend creating these pages for SEO, but additionally, these new pages can be excellent landing pages for paid search and paid media, in general.

As a website grows, it’s a great idea to create more landing pages that target specific keywords and audiences. This will improve quality score on the page side and conversion rates all around.

If you stop this process, you’ll lose your competitive advantage. The people who win in the future of the web will be the ones converting traffic for less.  

If you stop watching out for bad links

If you stop doing SEO, your backlink profile can get out of control.

Lately, spammy links are worse than ever before.

When you watch your backlinks, you will see the following happen:

  1. People scrape your website content and keep the links in by accident. 
  2. You get Google alerts from sites hacked by malware. 
  3. Competitors try to do negative SEO on your site.

If you don’t update your disavow file once a month, you are putting your website rankings at risk. Lately, we have been doing it weekly for clients in competitive spaces.

If you stop watching out for stolen content 

Go to your top landing page on your website right now.

Copy a block of text about three sentences long.

Put that text in quotes and search for it in Google. What do you see?

I’ll bet some of you will see other websites coming up for that content. Some might have even stolen from your website.

Now, think about the impact that can have if it happens across multiple pages on your site. Honestly, it can be devastating. Many times we find others have wholly duplicated a website, stolen key pages, or taken individual sections of a page.

When this happens, you need to address it.

  1. Rewrite the content on your site.
  2. Ask the other site to take it down. 
  3. File a DMCA on them if needed.
  4. Consider sending them a cease and desist.
  5. Sometimes, you can contact the hosting company and ask them to remove the site.

Regardless, if you stop watching for stolen content, it could have an extremely negative effect on your business and rankings. This is something you need to catch right away.

Bottom line: Why you should not stop doing SEO

Obviously, you’re not going to stop doing SEO. We all know it is an amazing asset to improve search ranking and help your business grow. The work you do to create and update content along with the technical issues that are easily solved if they’re on your radar, all improve your bottom line. But you also need to ensure you are compliant with privacy regulations if you wish to remain on top.

The ugly truth is that it’s hard to reverse momentum once a website starts going in the wrong direction. I am a firm believer that all things online should be scaled as the business grows, SEO included.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, a digital marketing agency and an Inc. 5000 company. Lincoln is consistently named one of the top marketing experts in the industry. He has been a recipient of the Search Engine Land “Search Marketer of the Year” award, named the #1 SEO consultant in the US by Clutch.co, most admired CEO and 40 under 40. Lincoln has written two books (The Forecaster Method and Digital Influencer) and made two movies (SEO: The Movie and Social Media Marketing: The Movie) on digital marketing.



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