Website SEO – Appearance In Search Results Impacts Brand Perception

Stop a search marketer on the street, whether a grizzled veteran or relative newcomer, and ask him/her to list the top goals of ranking in the search results; they will talk to you about traffic, revenue and conversions. Likewise, in reflecting what is top of mind for search marketers, a perusal of industry websites shows a majority of articles focused on the same.

Far less covered — whether research, POVs or even “thinking-out-loud” blog posts — is content focused on other benefits of appearing in the search results, such as brand development.

For decades, marketers have invested in getting their brand in front of eyeballs in traditional media channels such as TV, billboards and radio. Yet today, in the digital age, few brands think about the brand development benefits of appearing in the search results. Even though getting their brand in front of the search listings could mean millions and even tens of millions of eyeballs, brands are only laser-focused on driving traffic and conversions.

Research On Brand Benefits In Search

I am going to explore the question of whether there are, in fact, brand benefits above and beyond traffic and conversions to appearing in the SERPs. My hope is to leave the search marketer with food for thought around the ancillary benefits of appearing in search that they may not have previously considered when engaged in budget and strategy considerations.

To explore the issue, we’ll take a look at research on the subject from a number of different sources.

Searchers Recall Brands In SERPS; Higher Recall For Clicked Vs. Non-Clicked

To start, we must determine if the searcher even recalls the brands they encounter in the SERPs. A Microsoft study that asked searchers to recall search listings hours after viewing them showed that searchers did, in fact, recall the brands they viewed. There was also a correlation between (1) the higher ranking in search listings for brands showing a higher likelihood of recall and (2) clicked listings being far more likely to be recalled than non-clicked.

bing-serp-branding-study

*Note: The Microsoft study dates back several years, prior to the addition of many of the visual elements of the SERPs such as authorship, etc. Research shows that CTR can be significantly higher with visual SERP elements, and results that incorporate these elements are, therefore, also more likely to increase brand recall.

16% Lift For Brand Recall When Appearing In Search Results

Next, we look at a Google and Enquiro study that measured lift when a target brand appears in search results. The research found that there was a 16% lift in brand recall when a target brand appeared in the search results vs. control brands that did not.

google-serp-branding-study

When it came to purchase intent, they found purchase intent increased by 8% when the brand appears in the search listings vs. control brands.

Conductor Study: Up To 30% Brand Lift For Brands Appearing In Search Results

study we recently published at Conductor shows a similar finding, with brands appearing above the fold in the natural search listings experiencing a 10% lift in brand awareness, quality and purchase consideration. The findings showed, when it comes to reaping brand development benefits, placement above vs. below the fold is particularly crucial. And, the study found the greatest brand benefit was from those brands appearing both above the fold and in universal results (images, video, etc.).

conductor serp branding study

When it came to retailers, the study found a 20% lift in purchase intent for a target retailer when compared to control retailers for above the fold results. For below the fold retailer results, there was a 10% lift.

Search Impacts Brand Perception: Control Your Brand Messaging In The SERPs 

Analysis of the research around recall and impact to the brand suggests there is a definite brand impact to appearing in the search results, both in perception of brand and intent to purchase. Although marketers are not likely to drastically shift their focus from the primary goals of driving traffic and conversions from organic search, understanding the brand benefits in appearing in the search results may impact strategic approaches to marketing channels and could be used as an ancillary benefit cited when appealing to management for budget.

And, with the knowledge that exposure to a brand impacts perception of the brand in the mind of the searcher, paying close attention to how the brand is presenting itself in search snippets and leveraging visuals such as Google + authorship and digital assets in universal search becomes increasingly important.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: All Things SEO | Search Marketing: Branding | SEO – Search Engine Optimization | Stats | Stats: Search Behavior

 

Google Plus ahead of Twitter

Suddenly, Google Plus Is Outpacing Twitter To Become The World’s Second Largest Social Network

Thomas WatkinsAgence France Presse | May 1, 2013, 7:53 AM | 23,741 | 18

Google+ with Twitter logoWhen Google launched its social networking service, Google Plus, during the summer of 2011, tens of millions of people clamoured to sign up for an account.

But within months, critics had panned the new service, pointing to user pages bereft of meaningful content and exchanges. They said the new social site just wasn’t, well, social. It seemed as though Facebook had cornered the market — Google was too late to the party.

Perhaps not. According to data released this week by Internet analytics firm GlobalWebIndex, Google Plus is racking up large numbers of new users and continues to outpace Twitter as the world’s number two social network, behind perennial titan Facebook.

The reasons behind Google Plus’s growth — it now can boast 359 million active users, up 33 percent from 269 million users at the end of June 2012, according to GlobalWebIndex — are complex and tied to Google’s effort to build a connecting layer across all its services, including search, YouTube, maps and other products. Log into one, and you’ve logged into the lot.

Google itself is tight-lipped about its numbers. Its last released figures were in December, when the search giant said 500 million people had created Google Plus accounts.

But of this number, only 135 million were actively posting to Google Plus pages. Millions more were using some of the service’s features, such as clicking the “+1” button to show they liked certain web pages.

It remains far behind Facebook, which boasts 701 million active users, according to the report, though Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg last year claimed more than a billion active accounts.

Still, the volume of Google Plus accounts suggests naysayers were too hasty in calling its demise. Like many social networking services, Google Plus has won over a devoted core of users.

One such convert is New Zealand photographer Trey Ratcliff, whose picture-centric Google Plus page has nearly five million followers.

“It’s nice to pop into Google Plus to discover new things. Facebook is pretty good, but it’s harder to discover new people or have more in-depth discussions around passions,” he said in an email exchange.

Indeed, this may be how Google Plus will find its niche in the crowded social media world: Whereas Facebook is the go-to service for connecting friends, Google Plus is more often used to meet strangers who share common interests.

Google Plus acknowledged as much last year by adding its “Communities” section, which hosts a diverse mass of groups and lets users join a “hangout” — the popular group video service.

“We’re extremely happy with our progress so far, and one of our main goals is to transform the overall Google experience and make all of the services people already love faster, more relevant, and more reliable,” Google said.

But some observers remain sceptical that account holders are doing much on Google Plus, and see it as little more than a tricked-out sign-in service for Google’s products.

Claire Stokoe, who works as social media manager at Mediaworks, a marketing agency in the English city of Newcastle, said she is doubtful Google Plus will ever catch up to Facebook, but she warns clients not to ignore it.

“An authoritative Google Plus account is one of the factors that will help you rank high on Google (search results),” she said, noting that a popular Google Plus account was an important criterion in the search algorithm that ranks pages.

But she doesn’t see the service expanding far beyond the business and marketing world — at least for now.

“Whoever I ask, everyone has a Facebook account. I don’t know anyone who has a Google Plus account unless they are in the industry, and that’s because they have to,” Stokoe said.

GlobalWebIndex’s latest figures show that while Google Plus is the second-most popular social networking service after Facebook, Twitter is actually growing at a slightly faster clip, increasing from 206 million users at the end of June last year to about 297 million today, a rate of about 44 percent.

The study also found that usage was growing fastest among older people, especially with Twitter, confounding stereotypes that social networking is for the young.

GlobalWebIndex is a London-based firm that tracks Internet users through a series of surveys in 31 countries, with an annual sample size of about 120,000 people. It asks respondents which social platform they have directly contributed to in the last month and said Google itself uses its numbers internally.

The study found that Facebook also continued to grow rapidly, at about the same rate as Google Plus.

But the leading social network is also said to be battling “Facebook fatigue” in some countries, with some users growing bored of the service or else bemoaning its myriad changes to privacy settings and other tweaks, including the growing prevalence of sponsored content.

A study by the Pew Research Center in February found that more than half of US Facebook members had taken breaks from the leading social network. While the top reason was they were just too busy, people also cited fatigue with the service.

Judith Catterall, a retired choreographer from Portland, Oregon, said she tried to close her account after getting fed up with changes and a news feed becoming increasingly cluttered with sponsored content.

“It’s one of those things where you think ‘OK, I have no control,’ and that may have been the final straw,” she said.

But within 10 days of deactivating her account, Catterall was back on Facebook. She missed her friends.

Copyright (2013) AFP. All rights reserved.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/google-plus-is-outpacing-twitter-2013-5#ixzz2SDfmz4yQ

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Using Google Plus

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), using Google Plus

BY MARTIN SHERVINGTON

Social Search Engine Optimization imageIn the past couple of years Search Engine Optimization may well have gone through a transformation. Since the launch of Google Plus people are talking more and more about Social SEO. As such, I would suggest this has as much to do with psychology as it does with hyperlinks…
This article will explore how you can best use Google Plus for perfectly natural, organic search engine results – including exploring the more technical considerations in interviews with Mark Traphagenand Joshua Berg.

Introduction

It doesn’t matter whether you are a beer and wine blogger, a global business, a consultant or a hobbyist collector you cannot ignore ‘Google Search’. Since the launch of Google in 1998, our lives have been transformed with increasingly relevant information available at our fingertips. But in the past few years, things have been changing – now it is personalized.
Tailored results based upon our own personal search history, locations, and potentially the people to whom we relate. We are not, however, just information consumers – we are creators and curators of content; with Google Plus we increasingly have the opportunity to be influencers as well.
Google Search is often where this influence will be displayed and from a Google Plus perspective we see a new emerging form of (SEO), Social Search Engine Optimization.
(For those not familiar with Google+, check out the video below…Google+ is Google)

What is this new form of Search Engine Optimization all about?

There is a great SEO industry joke from ‘The Next Web’ that goes: A SEO expert walks into a bar, bars, pub, public house, Irish pub, drinks, beer, wine, liquor, grey goose, cristal…

This kind of keyword stuffing is probably more a cliche than reality, but as you will read, there would appear increasingly to be new way – the social way – of search results appearing on Google.
Please note: the approach I take in this article does not mean in any way that ‘traditional’ SEO has gone; it just means the game may well have changed.

So how then, are people getting results in Search without using ‘traditional’ SEO techniques? Well, that is where the social bit comes in…
From this perspective, Social SEO is simply this:

You create content that people relate to, then engage with (e.g. ‘share’) and depending upon the nature of the connections, you may well find that the content appears in search results.

One Big Reason to use Google Plus

One big huge reason to use Google Plus is Google

Google plus links show up in Regular Google results. That’s reason number one.

Obviously, Google likes itself even though it’s obviously determined to kill off parts of itself – see the horrible decisions they made to kill social in Google Reader, then they went on ahead and killed Google Reader itself.

At the end of the day, you’ll see in Google results that Google tends to rank some of its own properties for ranking at times. A great example is when they include videos in results – while it’s not impossible to rank with other sites like Daily Motion, YouTube videos dominate search results.

You’ll also see Google news taking up a spot in the results sometimes, and of course, even with personal results turned off, you’ll see Google Plus links in search results as if they were regular pages from some other site.

So there may be keywords and phrases that you can’t get a ranking for at your own site, but could by leveraging Google Plus.

So should you quit everything and become a convert?

Now that’s not to say that you should transfer all of your blogging, equity and expertise marketing articles to Google Plus. You need a home base that you own and control before you begin to incorporate other tools for distributing the content you create.

The point is that if you have a vehicle to leverage the outer lying keyword targeting that you may not be able to accomplish with your own site, doesn’t it make sense to spread them somewhere else on another site that could get ranked?

As long as the end result of creating content at other sites leads back to your own, up to a point it’s worth the risk. Think of all those remote outposts as roads, highways, and bridges leading back to your island of content.

Google and Google Plus are great highways to have on your side. Next week, we’ll address more in-depth reasons for using Google Plus, but for now, go spend some time poking around and getting a good feel for Google’s social network

Why you should use Google Adwords

Why Use AdWords? Here Are 10 Reasons

Orginally Blogged and Written By Elisa Gabbert December 03, 2012Posted In: AdWords Tips Comments: 19
To get your Google Adwords Campaign Started today for your Outdoor Business, please contact The Outdoor Marketing Group @ 904-323-1177 or email info@marketingtheoutdoors.com 

 

Why Use AdWords

“Why use AdWords” and “Does Google AdWords Work?” are pretty common keyword phrase searched on Google, which suggests that there are a lot of marketers and business owners out there who have heard about Google AdWords but aren’t sure if and how it can work for them. We believe that AdWords – Google’s enormously successful pay-per-click (PPC) advertising system – can work for almost any type of business. Using AdWords (or any PPC platform) requires time and money, but thousands of businesses have found that it’s time and money well spent, because AdWords delivers measurable ROI. We’ve devoted countless pages to how you should use AdWords. In this post, we’ll answer the question of why you should use it.

Before any of our SEO-loving readers get up in arms, let me preface this by saying that we’re not advocating that you do PPC to the exclusion of other marketing activities. As always, we recommend a healthy balance of marketing channels, including organic search (check out our recent10-step guide to ranking for a keyword), email marketing, events, social media and other lead sources. How you allocate your marketing budget will depend on which channels turn out to be most effective for your business.

But if you’ve never used Google AdWords before, and you’re wondering whether or not it’s worthwhile, this post is for you. Here are 10 reasons to use AdWords.

1. AdWords Is Scalable

One of the trickiest challenges for any marketer is finding lead sources that scale – meaning, it doesn’t require five times the effort to get five times the leads. Google AdWords is highly scalable, which is why some business spend millions of dollars a year on AdWords advertising. If you create an AdWords campaign that is converting at a profitable rate, there is no reason to arbitrarily cap spend on that campaign. You can increase your PPC budget and your leads and profits will increase accordingly. This makes AdWords highly effective for businesses that need a lot of leads but are short on time and heads.

2. AdWords Is Measurable

Compared to traditional marketing channels like TV and magazine advertising, online marketing is highly measureable, and AdWords PPC is one of the most measurable of online channels. It’s difficult to make exact measurements in SEO because you can’t always know what actions led to increased or decreased rankings. Then there’s the whole “not provided” fiasco. Social media can be equally difficult to measure. In comparison, AdWords is more transparent, providing tons of PPC metrics that allow you to see at a granular level what works and what doesn’t. You can pretty quickly determine if your campaigns are sucking or returning ROI.

3. AdWords Is Flexible

AdWords provides tons of options so you can customize your campaigns and ads to your particular needs, hyper-targeting the audiences you most want to reach. For example, with AdWords you can:

  • Specify keyword match types – You can, for example, only display your ad to people who search for an exact keyword you specify, like “vegas hotels” – filtering out traffic on general terms related to Las Vegas or hotels. (SEO, on the other hand, is aspirational; you can’t define what you rank for, you can only hope for the best.)

AdWords Is Flexible

  • Use ad extensions to display product images, a phone number, a mega-pack of links to your site, your physical location – you can even initiate a chat or get an email address right from the SERP.
  • Narrow your audience by location, time of day, language, browser or device type and more. A good portion of your SEO traffic may be worthless to you (for example, if you only need US-based leads, and half your web traffic comes from Australia), but in AdWords, you don’t have to display your ads around the world.
  • Access an enormous network of non-search users on properties like Gmail and YouTube and tons of partner sites.
  • Leverage the display network, which is great for building brand awareness and often converts at a lower cost than Google Search.

4. AdWords Is Faster Than SEO

For new businesses and websites, it can take months to see results from SEO. This perceived “penalty” used to be referred to as the Google sandbox effect – people assumed Google was intentionally filtering new websites out of the results. More likely the problem is that competition is fierce and it takes time for a website to “prove” itself and earn authority and links.

AdWords is a great workaround for new businesses because you don’t have to wait around so long to see results. While working on your site’s SEO, you can put resources into an AdWords campaign andstart getting impressions and clicks immediately. Because it’s so speedy, it’s also a good way to test whether a given keyword or audience is worth pursing via organic search – if it converts well in AdWords, you can deduce that it’s worth trying to rank for in SEO and build out your content in that area. (Just one of the ways that AdWords and SEO are two great tastes that taste great together.)

As an added bonus, you can often get started on AdWords very cheaply – Google often offers vouchers (basically free PPC budget) for new advertisers. Right now it’s running a special for AdWords Express:Sign up by December 16 and get a free month of advertising.

5. AdWords Is (Usually) Easier Than SEO

Larry has argued in the past that SEO is much harder than PPC. His arguments were met with disagreement, but probably more because of how he said them than what he was saying. Here are WordStream, we’re seasoned practitioners of both SEO and PPC. And now that our PPC campaigns are built and in place, we find they require much less effort to maintain than our SEO efforts. Not only is our enormous beast of a website very difficult to keep up to date (which plagues me), but in order to increase organic traffic, it takes a team of 3-5 constantly churning out SEO content, working on optimization and building links. It’s fun, creative and rewarding when it works – but it’s also a relief to know that we can depend on PPC to deliver leads without all the hoops to jump through.

AdWords is also probably easier to learn because there’s less contradictory information out there. If you’re not inside the industry, it can be hard as a marketer to know which sources are honest and which are just selling proverbial snake oil. On the other hand, there isn’t a whole industry built around “gaming” AdWords. Check out our AdWords Learning Center for help getting started.

6. AdWords Is Taking Over The SERPs

AdWords is Google’s baby (it should be – it accounts for about 97% of their revenues), and over time the SERP has changed so that more and more above-the-fold real estate is given to ads rather than organic results. This can be frustrating both for SEOs and users. But if you engage in PPC, it’s not all bad! It’s an opportunity for you to get your message high up on the SERP in a highly clickable way – it’s a myth that no one clicks on AdWords ads. For queries with high commercial intent (hint: those are the ones you’d want to be advertising on), sponsored ads take up to 2 out of 3 clicks on the first page.

7. AdWords Formats Can Be More Engaging Than Organic Results

Google has rolled out lots of new ad formats in the past couple of years, such as product listing ads andin-video ads on YouTube. Google is motivated to do this because shinier, more engaging ads get more clicks and that means more revenue for Google. But higher clicks are good for the advertiser too, so take advantage of these new ad formats and extensions. Organic listings look pretty boring in comparison.

8. AdWords Traffic Might Convert Better Than Organic Traffic

Hey, organic traffic is great, we don’t knock it! But there’s some evidence that paid search traffic converts better than organic traffic – with conversion rates up to two times higher. (Conversion rates vary by industry, and as always, this may not be true for your particular business, but you won’t know until you try.) This is probably due to the fact that paid search traffic is more targeted and qualified (due to those targeting options we talked about above), and that queries that result in ad clicks are much more likely to be commercial in nature, rather than informational.

9. AdWords Complements Your Other Marketing Channels

AdWords is complementary to your other marketing efforts. Remarketing is an especially powerful way to use AdWords to target people who have shown an interest in your business. With AdWords remarketing, you can track past visitors to your website with a cookie (these people may have found you through social media, your blog, a click on a product page from a forwarded email, etc.). Your display ads will then “follow” them around the Internet, so your brand stays top of mind. For example, the Land’s End and Priceline ads below are both retargeted – I visited those websites in the past 30 days.

You can even show them the exact product that they searched for. Along with cart abandonment emails (same principle), retargeted ads have super-high ROI compared to other marketing channels.

10. Your Competitors Are Using AdWords

Finally, there’s peer pressure: The old “Everyone else is doing it, so why not you?” argument. It doesn’t work for jumping off a cliff, but it is persuasive when it comes to search engine marketing. Covario recently reported that global paid search spending increased by 33% in the third quarter of 2012, year over year. According to a study by NetElixer, which looked at data from 38 large U.S. retailers and 120 million search ad impressions, “revenue driven by paid search on Black Friday rose an impressive 31% year-over-year as advertisers invested 21% more in search ads than they did in 2011.” Do a few searches on keywords you care about. Your competitors are likely there in the sponsored results at the top of the SERP. Can you afford not to be?

To get your Google Adwords Campaign Started today for your Outdoor Business, please contact The Outdoor Marketing Group @ 904-323-1177 or email info@marketingtheoutdoors.com