Archiv für den Monat: Oktober 2018

Organic Results Disappear? What To Do in the Near Future of SEO

Bruce Clay's Ask Us Anything playlist on YouTube has 64 videos

Organic Results Disappear? What To Do in the Near Future of SEO was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Thinking about the future of SEO is a habit of mine. I like to anticipate where things are going, and no doubt this has helped me keep my SEO consulting business headed in the right direction over the past 22 years. Thought leadership is fun!

In an industry like organic search engine optimization, the pieces never stop moving for long.

Example #1: AI

We’ve just begun to see the impact of artificial intelligence on marketing and the world.

AI is ramping up with businesses in general, but surveys vary widely on how many organizations have implemented AI in their operations so far. Statista found 5 percent while Narrative Science reported a whopping 61 percent of survey respondents saying that they were using AI in 2017.

AI is impacting search much faster.

Search engines have been driving AI at full throttle for years. Google’s complex algorithms can now improve on their own, thanks to machine learning powered by artificial intelligence.

With AI, the search engines — and eventually businesses in general — can evolve at a superhuman pace.

Only by keeping our eyes on the horizon can SEOs keep up. The horizon gives you the long-range view, the big picture. To see that, I look through two lenses:

  • What’s good for the user.
  • What’s good for Google.

To See the Future of SEO, Follow the Money

When I try to anticipate where SEO is going, the most important question I ask is: How will Google make money?

Remember when we saw Google move ads out of the sidebar? That was in February 2016, and Bing followed suit in March 2018.

Organic listings felt the pinch as the space at the top of a SERP opened up to allow up to four paid ads.

Google search results with all ads above the fold

But the disappearance of organic results above the fold had just begun.

Example #2: Local Listings

A “local pack” complete with map entered the SERP picture. It gave local businesses a chance to show up organically on Page 1 when the searcher was physically nearby.

The local pack did push other top organic results (such as national brands) farther down the page for certain queries. On the upside, it also created a whole new field of competition that many SEOs welcomed.

But Google needed to make money … enter local search ads. These ads often appear above organic listings in the Local Pack and map results, especially for mobile users.

Ads in the local pack

More ads directed at local businesses arrived. Google Home Services, now expanded and rebranded as Local Services ads, feature many types of local businesses vetted by Google.

LSAs play to both priorities, helping users and profiting Google. And they appear right at the top of the SERP — filling the above-the-fold space with non-organic listings.

Google's Local Services ads at top of SERP

For many queries, the space given to local listings offers mostly ads.

The Disappearing Organic Space

A slew of other changes have arisen in the same way … first as an organic feature, and then converted to a space for revenue-producing ads for Google.

Today, organic web listings may be crowded down the page by many features:

  • PPC ads (paid)
  • Shopping ads (paid)
  • Local Services ads (paid)
  • Local pack entries (may be paid)
  • Featured snippets (may be paid in the future — expect it)
  • News
  • Images
  • Videos

Folks, organic listings will soon disappear above the fold.

What’s an SEO to Do?

Sites need to take advantage of the organic SEO opportunities that do exist today, among them:

  • Use structured data elements and structured data markup. Doing so will help you grab featured snippets. In turn, your content becomes more likely to come up in text and voice search results.
  • Answer questions in your content. This can help you rank for long-tail queries and show up as the answer under “People also ask” questions.
  • Be optimized for local search, if applicable to your business.
  • Serve site visitors well, with great content and a positive experience. Give visitors what they want pain-free, and they may come back on their own.
  • Don’t forget any of the normal SEO to-dos, from optimizing on-page content to making sure your site is crawlable. (See our SEO Checklist for the essentials.)

Looking at the future of SEO, I have one more piece of advice to add to this list.

Videos Are Crucial for Winning Back the SERP

Videos appear prominently in Google search results, especially for queries with a “how to” intent.

Videos can even take the featured snippet (aka Position 0). Take a look at the examples below:

SERP with multiple YouTube video links

All these video links fill the space above the fold. They count as “organic” results. However, when you click a YouTube video result, what do you see first? You see an ad.

Since video results create ad revenue for Google/YouTube/Alphabet, organic has ads!

Videos are crucial for winning back the SERP and preparing for the near-future of SEO.
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“How To” Will Rule Organic Results

Videos often answer questions more efficiently than any other format.

From how to use a staple gun to how to grow your business, you’d probably rather watch someone tell you how, in living color, than read an article looking for the answer. And you’re not alone.

In one year, YouTube viewers spent over a billion hours watching just videos with “how-to” in the title. That’s according to YouTube executive Malik Ducard.

YouTube sees more than an ad opportunity here. It’s launching a new YouTube Learning channel with a $20 million investment. In addition to supporting independent content by “Edu Tubers,” the channel plans to showcase original educational programs made by YouTube, as well.

Why Video Is a Best Play for SEO

Video search results can make the Google family of companies more money than ever. Recently, YouTube started counting an ad “view” at only 10 seconds, not 30.

With Google making money indirectly through “organic” video results, I predict that videos will rank more and more prominently in search results. That’s especially true for how-to types of queries.

Any business or organization would be wise to invest in video. I recommend that you collect your niche’s most-asked questions and start filming answers.

One of an SEO’s best plays today is to create videos that answer how-to questions.
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Case in point: We produce our Ask Us Anything series as a playlist on our YouTube channel. Each video answers a specific question about SEO, PPC, content or social in a short video. People can submit their digital marketing questions.

Our Ask Us Anything playlist is growing, now at 64 videos and counting.

We’re making lots of videos that answer questions for users.

Last Thoughts

At what point does Google become all ads, and “free” organic results become a billable premium service?

With voice search, AI will make the spoken results better — and Google will need to charge for answers since nobody will see the SERP ads.

The way Google implements changes over time is seen as evolutionary, not revolutionary. The result? People will not know that all that appears above the fold is ads.

Ads will always be needed for search engine revenue. Organic results will be pushed down, or become something people pay for.

This means organic results will disappear above the fold.


20 More Dumb Jokes for Smart Marketers

Dumb Marketing Jokes

Dumb Marketing Jokes

A great pun is like a great digital marketing campaign: If you do it right, it will stick with people until they’re compelled to share it — even the simplest ones require a level of sophistication to make and to appreciate.

Every marketer I know is incredibly smart — whether it’s my team at TopRank Marketing, the influencers and thought leaders we work with, or the folks I’ve met at marketing conventions. Marketers are sharp, detail-oriented, intellectually rigorous, and susceptible to flattery.

So, if you’re a smart digital or content marketer, take a break from your challenging, rewarding work and enjoy these jokes. And remember: If your colleagues don’t laugh, they’re just not as sophisticated as you.

20 Dumb Jokes for Smart Marketers

1. Q: Why did Dracula add the Creature from the Black Lagoon to his marketing team?
A: A-COUNT based marketing…at scale!

2. I made a joke about organic reach on Facebook… nobody got it.

3. My marketer friend quit and started a bakery. I tried to walk in the door and this big swatch of fabric popped up and blocked my way! I backed up; it disappeared. I walked forward, big cloth thing in the way again!

“Hey,” I shouted at my friend, “I can’t get in!”

“Oh, sorry,” she says, “You have to click on the banner to accept cookies.”

4. I hired an earthworm, a centipede and a millipede to do my email marketing. They’re really good at segmentation.

5. I’ve been retweeted a couple times by Altimeter Group — but I take little Solis in that fact.

6. I’m doing content marketing for a cheese company. We’re creating blog posts and a few grated assets.

That Was a Gouda Joke Meme7. I like to run all my AB tests in reverse after the first round. I call it AB/BA testing. It’s great, but only works if your target audience are dancing queens, young and sweet, only 17.

8. I have this marketer friend who still believes in last-touch attribution. He just opened a brick-and-mortar store. He says his highest-performing sales rep is the counter in front of the cash register.

9. Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Documented content marketing strategy!
Documented content marketing strategy who?
I’m not surprised you didn’t recognize me… Joe Pulizzi was right.

10. I nicknamed my cat “The Vast Majority of Social Media,” because he doesn’t like me, follow me, or share anything.

11. And I nicknamed my dog “Number of Twitter Followers,” because he doesn’t pay the bills but he makes me feel important.

Woof, That Joke Was Ruff Meme12. How many CRO experts does it take to change a light bulb?
100 the first time, 98 the second time, 93 the third time, 104 the fourth time, 25 the fifth time….

13. I handed Scott Brinker my iPhone and he scratched it! Then he picked up my tablet and scratched it, too! He even put a dent in my Google Home! I said, “Scott, what are you doing?” He said, “What I do best: mar tech!”

14. Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Brand standards!
Brand standards who?
Sorry, knock-knock jokes don’t fit our mission and purpose statement. Could you tell this as a light bulb joke instead?

15. I’ve lined up Scooby-Doo, Rin Tin Tin, and Lassie for my latest eBook. I call it influencer barketing. We don’t have signed contracts, but we shook on it.

16. Have you heard about the tech startup trying to disrupt honey marketing? They go on and on about the “authenticity” of their bees and their “next-generation bleeding-edge hive.” If you ask me, it’s all buzzwords.

17. I’m trying to get in shape, so every time I schedule a post on social media, I do ten push-ups. I’m already getting Buffer.

18. So a social media marketer lost his job and went to work on a farm. He worked hard, but had one weird quirk: every morning, he would do a belly flop into the hog trough! After a few days, the farmer had enough.

“You city folks sure are strange,” the farmer said. “Why are you always floppin‘ headfirst into the pig slop?”

“Sorry, force of habit,” the social media marketer replied. “I’m trying to make an impression in your feed.”

19. Jokes about amplification are only funny if everyone gets them.

20. Hey, pirate marketer, do you have trouble proving that your campaigns generate revenue?
“Arr! Oh, aye.”

Parrots, The Original Retweeters Meme

Great Marketing Is No Joke

I said up top that great puns and great marketing campaigns have a lot in common. Here’s one important difference: A joke is a single discrete unit, meant to score a laugh and then vanish so the next joke can hit. Marketing campaigns work best when they’re an always-on, sustained effort that builds a relationship.

So, you should use creativity, humor and even wordplay in your marketing. But don’t just toss out individual jokes and expect them to do the heavy lifting.

For example, I wrote ten puns just last week for a client, hoping at least one of them would go viral.


No pun in ten did.

Ready for more laughs? Fear not. We got ‚em.

The post 20 More Dumb Jokes for Smart Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Parcours 18

Mehr Bilder…

Parcours – Die Abschlussausstellung an der Münster School of Design. Eine kreative Spielwiese. Ein Ort, an dem ‘Arbeit und Vergnügen‘ im gleichen Satz gesagt werden dürfen. Das crossdisziplinäre Projekt als unkonventionelles Arbeitsumfeld. Nicht einfach nur ein Katalog zur Ausstellung, sondern eine Institution, die es sich zur Aufgabe gemacht hat, Ideen zum Leben zu erwecken. Ein Ort zum Lernen, ein Ort zum Wachsen und ein Ort, der selber noch wächst. Ein Ziel, ein Traum mit Termin: Aufgabe ist die Visualisierung einer komplexen Themenkette im Kontext von Reflexion und Bewertung gestalterischer Erzählstrukturen. Qualifizierung und Klassifizierung des Umfeldes und der Zielgruppen. Kommunikationsdesign und gestalterische Autorenschaft um Absolventen, deren Themen und entsprechende Rezipienten besser zusammen zu führen.

Design als Vermittler von Inhalten, Themen hinterfragen und niemals langweilig sein. Parcours lässt etwas finden an das wir glauben, begrüßt das Unvollständige, macht Fehler, macht den Computer aus und lässt Nein nicht als Antwort gelten. Hier soll Design aufregend, hinterfragend, zeitgemäß und relevant sein. Erarbeitet wird die gesamte Bandbreite einer zeitgemäßen Eventkommunikation. Ausgehend vom Ausstellungsdesign, analoger und digitaler Katalog, Teaser der Ausstellung, Absolventenporträts im Bewegtbild, Einladungen, Plakate bis hin zur kommunikativen Begleitung über Social Media.

Konzept, Gestaltung, Ausführung
Johanna Albrecht, Hannelore Braisch, Gerrit Brocks, Canel Cagli, Jonas Davis Dichmann, Felix Feldmann, Maria Knaub, Natalie Lindner, Lennart Lohfink, Carlotta Markötter, Cornelius Richter, Camilla Scheplitz, Celine Schmidt, Enno Wigger

Prof. Dipl. Des. Rüdiger Quass von Deyen

Prof. Ralf Beuker
Dipl. Des. Paul Bičište


How should PPC and SEO work together to gain visibility?

Getting PPC and SEO to work together effectively is always a key goal, whether we’re managing just one of the channels or both of them.

Although it sounds easy in principle, it’s generally not. A typical request cropping up is around sharing top-performing PPC ad copy by category and using this to update meta descriptions.

Sharing ad copy performance is something PPC teams should definitely be doing with their SEO counterparts; but unless your meta descriptions are awful the impact here is minimal.

This brings us to the first problem you encounter — although there is lots you CAN do, picking and prioritizing what you do when is vital.

The second common request is switching off PPC ads when you rank in position one (P1) organically. Initially this makes perfect sense and gets the attention of sharp CMOs and CFOs. But this is the second key challenge to overcome; how do I get the right data in the right place to know if it’s actually working.

Let’s take a typical example: car insurance. Here we see MoneySuperMarket ranking P1 organically:

The inevitable push comes; can we turn PPC off in [car insurance] because it’s really expensive and we’re ranking P1 organically.

Well, probably not. Yes, your report is accurate: you rank P1 organically. But you’re actually the fifth result on that page. On my work monitor the organic ranking is well past halfway down the page. On mobile you’re well below the fold:

This is where getting the right data is key.

Keyword universe

One way in which we’re improving SEM data for our clients is via a Keyword Universe. This isn’t perfect by any means, but it gives us a working framework on which to build our reporting and optimize efforts. A template can be found here.

It uses PPC search query data as a starting point. It’s important to use this; instead of the Paid v Organic report you can find in Google Ads or Search Ads 360. The reason for this is that Shopping search query data isn’t included in this report, so for retailers you’re likely to be missing out on a ton of data!

Layer this with organic data from Search Console and you’ll start to be able to build up an idea of your coverage.

Pulling in conversion data at a keyword level for PPC is easy; organic not so much. What we recommend here is using the category column to categorize your terms and then pivot up. You can then assign landing pages to categories and understand organic conversions and revenue. Not a perfect solution, but it gives you something to work with.

Then you can add in search volume estimates from Google Keyword Planner or other tools you may use. You can use this to figure out what your paid, organic, and SEM share of voice is. This gives you a few ideas:

  • Where is PPC very dominant and SEO not so much? What can you do to improve rankings across these terms?
  • Are there areas where PPC has coverage but conversion rate is poor, and you can perhaps sacrifice this spend and allow organic to pick things up?
  • Do you have a good share of voice across SEM across your key categories?

You can then add in search queries where you only rank organically and see if you want or need PPC coverage.

Finally, you could add in keywords you might want to target and ask the PPC team to run some tests to see what kind of volume and competition you will be up against. Run PPC temporarily until organic rankings get up to scratch.

The categorization element of the report is the most time-consuming.

Brand testing

As you can see, the argument for switching off generics can be blurry at best. However, we tend to also see an argument for switching off brand. It’s generally the next conversation once a client realizes that turning off a generic head term is perhaps not going to have the impact there were expecting.

Again there are a multitude of options and approaches here but we’ll cover the most common ones:

  • Turn all PPC brand off because we’re ranking P1
  • Leave PPC brand on all the time and gun for 100% impression share
  • Switch off desktop

There are tech providers out there which offer, in various guises, ways supported here. The important thing to remember is that you are not allowed to scrape Google search results if you are also making changes to bidding. So for example, ad monitoring platforms which can tell you what competitor creative is for certain terms can do that because they are allowed to scrape the results — but they cannot use this information to make automatic changes to your account. That means an account manager jumping between both monitoring tools and search engines on a daily basis to eke out minor gains. It’s possible; but probably not a sensible use of time.

The challenge we have with the strategies outlined above, respectively, are:

  • Turning it all off will lead to drop in traffic and a potential drop in orders and revenue.
  • This can be expensive; you don’t necessarily need to protect your brand all the time, and you can use saved budget elsewhere (i.e use it to grow your brand with YouTube)
  • You lose data because you aren’t bidding for your terms.

As such, we’ve been establishing a more balanced approach – which takes time, but will help save budget and, most importantly, keep the data flow going so you can explain WHY the results are as they are.

Key steps to a more balanced approach

1. Understand the lay of the land:

  • Use Google Ads to report on your top spending exact match brand terms. You’ll also want to include search impression share and search exact match impression share.
  • If you are in position 1, with 100% exact match share (or 95%+ overall search impression share), you can probably stand to save some budget by reducing your costs-per-click. If you aren’t in P1 with 100% impression share then this gets more complex; and you’d need to understand the reasons for not being at those levels. However, you can still follow the next steps to help you monitor overall performance.
  • You’ll also want confirmation you are ranking P1 for the terms you are looking on PPC. It would be very rare that you wouldn’t be — but worth checking!

2. You now want to identify a target search exact match impression share. This is a little bit finger in the air as the idea is to drop this gradually over a period of weeks; but you need a starting point. We’d recommend:

  • If the auction for your terms is usually aggressive then play it cautiously – drop from 100% to 95% and monitor from there.
  • If the auction tends to be weak (i.e not many competitors) you can afford to drop to 90% or 85%; but we wouldn’t recommend going lower than that in week one.

3. A report template can be found here. All you need to do here is to populate the table with your data. Take the PPC data from Google Ads for the campaign you are testing and then Google Search Console data and look for your branded terms.

4. Fill out the report every week, with both your PPC and SEO teams feeding into it. What you are hoping to achieve is SEM traffic staying static and your overall PPC investment declining.

Key benefits of brand testing

This is a good starting point for brand testing. The key benefits are:

  • If you keep spend going through Google Ads, you can monitor your cost savings, your traffic drop and how aggressive the auction is getting.
  • It allows you to measure where the point of no return is; once you start seeing SEM traffic drop, you can bump up your bids a little bit to regain the traffic – although we’d recommend not being too jumpy here. Day by day things will change – look at this over weeks rather than days.
  • A common concern is the time taken to manage this; but typically you are looking at a handful of keywords – no more than 10 which actually spend the greater share of budget – and making changes maximum twice per week.

Build an environment that encourages sharing

Aside from the more practical tips outlined above, we’ve found the most important strategy in getting PPC and SEO to work well together is enabling a method for the teams to talk to each other. If this is internal it should be easy; but across different agencies it’s likely to be a bit more difficult. Our top tips for this are:

1. Establish a monthly learning deck. This changes from client to client but typically looks like this:

  • A top-line view of performance versus targets for key metrics (orders, revenue, ROAS, traffic to site, etc.). Do this for each channel individually.
  • A review of the tests / learnings that have been made in the past month
  • It’s also important to focus on what is important to both teams, including:
    • New keywords / new negatives from PPC
    • Any kind of landing page testing
    • Any kind of a copy testing
    • Any data regarding audience from PPC. We’re finding content teams are able to use PPC data to help ideation. For example; what are people’s affinity segments, what are their detailed demographics?
  • A review of what is coming up and anything that’s currently in progress.

2. Have a monthly call. This can be tweaked depending on the scale of work that’s going on; but monthly works for a lot of our clients. It takes 30 minutes and we run through the monthly learning decks and highlight areas of opportunity. One example of a benefit here was landing page testing. An SEO team had struggled to make a case for changes to the organic page because the internal brand team were winning the argument on what the page should look like. We used PPC landing page data to evidence how a change in the position of a call to action had a significant impact on the conversion rate of the page; immediately the SEO team got the green light to start testing new page designs and performance improved!

3. Make sure you’re sharing anything you think may be relevant. Sometimes even the smallest detail can be important. For example SEO teams may be planning for AMP pages; but that means new Floodlight tags for PPC teams if they are using SearchAds 360.

4. Don’t forget about the other teams. I know this is an SEM post; but audience data is already a key pillar. Search has had to play catch-up with the likes of Facebook; but the stuff PPC teams have access to at their fingertips is extensive. Make sure the social and programmatic teams know about it!

Getting PPC and SEO to work better together is a bit like the attribution conversation. It’s not always perfect; but it’s better than doing nothing! Hopefully these points give you a jumping-off point.

Martin Reed is PPC Account Director at Croud.