Trending March 2024 # Reciprocal Linking: A Disturbing Trend In Search Engine Marketing # Suggested April 2024 # Top 5 Popular

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In the world of Internet Marketing, and Web site promotion, nothing changes faster than the parameters that rule good Search Engine rankings and placement.

This has led to a developed new science in the last few years, SEM (Search Engine Marketing). This new science, SEM, has been a boon to both Web Masters and the merchants that maintain Web sites as a way to increase exposure and revenue for their products and/or services.

SEM has become a much sought after entity, with SEM specialists, who focus on optimization of a site, routinely adding linking campaign management to their overall repertoire of services. This has resulted in a large influx of Web sites focusing on linking campaigns and reciprocal linking as it has been established that good, solid reciprocal linking campaigns increased traffic and visitors to a site exponentially.

However, like with everything else online, the idea of SEM and linking campaigns has spread like “wildfire”, with sites seeking links seemingly endlessly. This has led to what can only be termed, “linking explosions”, with many sites posting links to everything and anything in an effort to increase their Search Engine rankings and placements.

or placement of a site. Questions about whether linking campaigns increase revenue for a site are coming into play now.

The World Wide Web quite obviously has now become more utilitarian to consumers, and linking campaigns, as a result, may become more ineffective as time goes on. Linking campaigns, by their very nature, promote “browsing” and time-consuming “visiting” of many sites, before the product/item/service, is found by the consumer. As the Web progresses and consumers become increasingly discerning in their overall approach to the Web, they are now going right to the source, more often, via “search features” and direct navigation.

Accordingly, then, the “digging around” on other sites, has diminished over the past twelve months, and in all likelihood, will continue as a trend well into the future, hampering the effectiveness of linking campaigns overall. This trend reflects an international shift towards this method of finding information on the Web, and is not localized whatsoever, crossing many demographic and geographic barriers.

become more difficult for Web masters. In addition, the sheer volume of linking requests to pages with a high ranking, has also increased, to the point where higher ranked Web sites are inundated daily with linking requests, interfering with their ability to attend to their own business.

Web masters have now oftentimes taken to using any links whatsoever, as long as the links added have the appropriate Page Rank. Little thought seems to be given at times, to the theme of a links page or the relevance of links that have been added, leaving visitors to some sites confused and frustrated. This will in all probability lead consumers to turn to the Search Engines and direct navigation even more in the future, not less.

This could have dire consequences for many Web sites down the road, as those at the bottom of search listings could conceivably be forced out of business.

There are methods however that can aid in the retention of top rankings and listings with the Search Engines, in and above linking campaigns. These methods would also hold greater appeal for consumers in general, as they would add quality to a Web site, as well as content, something that will add “longevity of appeal” to a Web site:

1. The writing of good, content oriented copy which imparts value to a Web site. Good copy has always been utilized to establish good overall traffic and conversion patterns. Even Search Engines seem to understand this and routinely rank Web sites with good pertinent content, higher than other Web sites.

3. The submitting of a Web site to all possible, pertinent directories. Directories were always a good method of increasing rankings and placement, and they still, to this day, are a good choice.

rankings and placement.

5. The enhancement of traffic by offline marketing campaigns. This is one facet of Web site traffic management that many individuals neglect, but that can successfully increase rankings significantly.

7. The addition of keywords that are relevant to a site, throughout the copy, the title, and the meta-tags and any other text, such as articles and reports. Keywords are the “guides” that the Search Engines use to find a site and rank it. The addition of good relevant keywords always enhances rankings and placement.

Linking campaigns, as you can see, while having their overall place in effective rankings and placement within the Search Engines, are not the “be all and end all” of optimization or rankings. Many various fundamentally sound methods of optimization still exist, and should be utilized in any well-rounded Search Engine Marketing campaign.

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Natural Seo : Reciprocal Linking And Interlinking

This is my second natural SEO post attempting to foster FUD-free approach to search engine optimization. This time it’s about two most overused (but still effective if done wisely) link building methods: reciprocal linking and interlinking.

Is reciprocal linking useless? Can it harm my site?

I would say, reciprocal links are natural. In today’s world of active online communication and idea sharing, it’s even inevitable. That’s the main reason (as I see it), they can’t be absolutely discounted. To look unnatural that should be:

excessive reciprocal linking;

simultaneous reciprocal linking (both links appear on the same day);

only reciprocal linking (no other backlinks except those);

brand new sites reciprocal linking;

absolutely irrelevant reciprocal linking.

The worst that you may expect with your good natural reciprocal links is that SEs will stop counting them when evaluating your authority. Per my observations, this hasn’t happened yet by the way. I have a little celebrity blog that has only been promoted by reciprocal linking, is no longer updated but still enjoys 700 uniques daily (and is ranked very well).

Can I interlink my own websites? They say if I interlink my sites I look like a spammer.

I won’t nofollow the links like Google suggests just because I think that’s stupid (and moreover unnatural). While SEs claim they might frown upon networks, that’s not at all that easy to really ban interlinking. Many companies have several official sites, almost all of them have multiple international sites, there are plenty of official blog networks and umbrella projects.

Interlinking is natural (even when being irrelevant) and no matter how much SEs might want to keep people from overusing it, the worst they can do is to discount the links in terms of authority and ranking. Interlinking might look unnatural if:

you have too many sites (Matt Cutts once said that more than 2000 sites owned by one person may look unnatural);

you have many interlinked sites launched on the same day;

your sites share blacklisted IP address (i.e. the one often used by spammers);

your sites have no other backlinks except for the ones from your other sites (or all your sites have same backlinks);

If you want to look even more natural:

don’t use sitewide links (create a separate page “My other sites”);

don’t interlink your sites in a day;

don’t crosslink your sites (instead interlink by groups, based on relevancy) or just spontaneously.

Anyway, the less you are trying to hide from SEs, the more natural you look.

Some Interesting Facts About Working Of A Search Engine Marketing Agency

You must contemplate the needs and requirements of entrepreneurs while implementing the agendas. Distinct benefits are associated with search engine marketing agencies, which entrepreneurs must investigate.

How do search engine marketing techniques work for your firm?

As stated earlier, this technique comes with a lot of use when you do it right. Irrespective of your firm’s nature and size, there is a lot that a search engine marketing agency can do for your venture. Hence, infer the following points in proper details

Things you must avoid while engaging in an SEO campaign

Also read: Best Oculus Quest 2 Accessories To Bring Home (Its Upgrade Time For Meta Quest 2)

Hence, there are some tendencies you have to abstain from while working with this strategy

Needy campaign structure: it is one of the biggest and common tendencies of entrepreneurs that lead to an impoverished campaign framework. Keep in mind that proper structuring of the campaign will provide you with an opportunity to increase flexibility and thereby control your audiences. It allows you to comprehend what is working and what is not.

Duplication of keyword: keywords play an integral role when it comes to search engine marketing techniques. It is an art that starts selecting the right keyword and, thereby matching it, with your campaign. For this, you have to focus on the theme as well as the group. If you use the same keyword for multiple ad groups, it will not work effectively. Hence, you have to be innovative while working with the keyword.

Apart from this, not following adequate policies, failing to test your performance, and lack of strategy is some wrong entrepreneurs’ tendencies.

Keep in mind that self-managed campaigns may look like a great way of saving money. However, the dynamism of the industry must be kept in mind.

There are SEM professionals available in the market to provide you with reliable assistance. All you need to do is, get in contact with them, and devise a proper plan for your venture.

It would help if you learned the working mechanism of SEO agencies to proliferate. Try to garner knowledge about the latest SEO techniques as it can help you grow considerably.

Trudy seeger

I am Digital Marketer with 6+ years of experience from different industries. I take a performance-driven approach and leverage my SEO expertise strategically to enable consistent organic growth and brand exposure amplification.

How To Change The Default Search Engine On Your Android Phone

While most web browsers available today use Google as the default search engine, many users are seeking to switch to alternatives. There are plenty of worthy options to choose from, and on Android you can easily change the default search engine in your browser of choice. This article describes all the steps to make the switch yourself.

Change the Default Search Engine in Firefox for Android

If you use Firefox on your Android device, there’s a really easy way to ditch Google and perform your searches using another search engine.

Here’s how:

1. Launch Firefox on your mobile device.

2. Tap on the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner of the display.

3. Select Settings.

4. At the top of the display, you’ll notice the Search option. Tap on it.

5. On the next screen, you should be able to see a list of search engines you can set as default on your device. For example, you can easily enable DuckDuckGo with a tap.

6. If your search engine is not listed, you can add it by tapping the “Add search engine” button.

7. Select Other and input the address of the search engine you want to use. Make sure you add /search?q=%s at the end. Once you’re done, the new option will be added to the list.

8. Return to your browser and perform a query by using the search bar at the top. Your new search engine will be showing you the results.

Change the Default Search Engine in Chrome for Android

Google is obviously the default search engine in Chrome, but even so, you still have the ability to change it, if you wish to.

1. Fire up the Chrome app on your Android device.

2. Tap on the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner of the display.

3. Select Settings.

4. Go to Search Engine (at the very top).

5. Choose from the available list of search engines.

6. By default, there are only five options, including Google, Yahoo!, Bing, DuckDuckGo and Ecosia. Unfortunately, you can’t add other search engines to this predefined list like in Firefox. The solution could be to install the respective search engine’s independent app on your phone. But if you’re trying to save space, you may not be able to do so.

7. As soon as you tap on a search engine, it will become your default.

8. You can head back to Chrome’s main screen and see how your newly-set search engine is working. You are all set.

How to Get Rid of the Google Home Screen Widget

Google’s home screen widget is a given on the majority of Android devices these days. But unless you’re using Google’s own launcher on a Pixel device, you can get rid of this widget altogether or replace it with an alternative.

Before we begin, though, you should do one thing: decide which search engine you want to access directly from the home screen and install its own dedicated app for Android. For example, Bing, DuckDuckGo or Ecosia.

1. Let’s start by removing the Google search widget. Long-press on the bar and tap Remove.

2. To add a new widget, long-press on a blank space on the home screen.

3. You’ll see a menu appear at the bottom. From there, select Widgets.

4. Search for the widget pertaining to the app you previously installed. In our case, we’ve selected Bing.

4. Tap and hold the widget and drag it on the screen to position it. You can also resize it if you want.

5. Now you have quick access to your search engine of choice from your home screen.

How to Replace the Default Virtual Assistant on Your Android

Google Assistant rules supreme on most active Android devices, but if you’re craving some variety and want to switch to a different virtual assistant, you can set another default as the default. The alternate virtual assistant app needs to be installed on your device before you go any further.

1. Bring up Settings on your Android device.

2. Select “Apps & notifications.”

3. Tap on “Default apps.”

5. Tap on the “Assist app” option.

6. Select your preferred virtual assistant from the list.

7. Confirm your preference by tapping the OK button on the pop-up message that appears.

Depending on phone model, bringing up the default assistant on your device usually involves long-pressing on the home button on the navigation bar, swiping from the bottom left/right corner or using a hot phrase. Once you’ve switched to a different default virtual assistant, the routine you usually use to call on the assistant will summon your new choice.

If you wish to continue optimizing your browsing experience on Android, make sure you check out our list detailing the top UC browser alternatives for Android or learn how to enable cookies in your mobile browser.

Alexandra Arici

Alexandra is passionate about mobile tech and can be often found fiddling with a smartphone from some obscure company. She kick-started her career in tech journalism in 2013, after working a few years as a middle-school teacher. Constantly driven by curiosity, Alexandra likes to know how things work and to share that knowledge with everyone.

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New #Marketingnerds Podcast: Mark Traphagen Talks Search Marketing In 2024

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In this week’s episode of Marketing Nerds, Mark Traphagen, Senior Director of Marketing at Stone Temple Consulting, spent some time talking to me about what is going to be important to focus on in 2024, for both marketers and businesses. We talk about Mobilegeddon, HTTPS, the evolution of the SEO, the type of content that performs, and much more.

Here are a few of transcribed excerpts from our discussion, but make sure to listen to the podcast to hear everything:

What is going to be most impactful for marketers in 2024?

The first area that I’ll talk about is the mobile ranking changes—what people came to refer to in the industry as Mobilegeddon back in the spring of this year. Our mutual friend, Gary Illyes from Google, cringes whenever anybody says that because it sounds so negative.

What that was, for anyone who might not know… It was one of those very surprising and rare times when Google came out and told us something major that they were going to change, they were going to do, before they did it, and then they did it. They said that with the rise of mobile, the fact that they were seeing more and more searches taking place on mobile devices, and the fact that the experience—of course, as we all know—on mobile is very different from desktop, that they felt it was important to their users that sites be mobile-friendly. That sites show up well on a mobile device. It’s a different experience.

Google wanted to incentivize that. The way of doing that was to actually come out and say, “If your site is mobile-friendly, if your site works well, looks good, is easily used, easily viewed, easily navigated on a mobile device—on a smartphone in particular—then we may give you a ranking boost for that on a mobile device.” It’s very shocking when Google does something like that. I always call it Google behavior modification. Sometimes they tell us these things because they want to change our behavior.

What happened when the mobile update was implemented?

One of the questions about mobile, coming back to that, when it first came out and they actually told us the day—again, very unusual and interesting that they told us, “This is the day we’re throwing the switch on.” Once that happened, they said, “Well, actually, it’s going to take a few weeks for all the results to settle in and for it to come to what it’s going to be.” Still, they told us, “As of this day, the mobile ranking update is in effect.”

What we did at Stone Temple Consulting was we were fortunate enough to have taken a large snapshot. We had a set of over 15,000 queries that we had studied. We had taken a chunk of those, looked at those before the mobile update, a few months before it and said, “Here’s where they’re ranking. Here’s where they are.” Then about a month after, when it seemed like everything is probably going to settle in, we took a look at that same group of 15,235 queries.

…The anecdotal things you first heard the weeks after Mobilegeddon was people saying, “It was a big fizz out. I didn’t really see that much change.” But these were all people that were looking at individual results. They were maybe just looking at their own sites and things like that. Some of them saw it, some of them didn’t, so I don’t see that big a change.

But we were looking at, again, this large set of queries. To cut to the chase, what we saw was it did have significant effect. …In our query set, we saw that over 46% of the non-mobile-friendly pages … And I should say, just to be sure, to define that, we were using Google’s designation.

If you’ve searched on a smartphone anytime in the last year, you’ve probably seen sites where Google will put a little tag on the search results that says, “Mobile-friendly.” We don’t know everything that that means, as you were saying earlier. We took that as the evidence. We were going to assume that if Google puts a tag on there, this is a site that the mobile update should effect. What we found again was 46% of the non-mobile-friendly pages—pages that did not have a mobile-friendly tag in the search results—lost rankings over that period of time.

It was all over the map: anything from just a one or two position drop to major dropping, like dropping a page or more, to in some cases disappearing. We didn’t do the stats on that, like down to that level of how many dropped how much. We were just basically looking for, did you go up or go down? We want to have a big enough sample knowing that there were other updates that happened during that time, so certainly not everything in this sample went up or down because of the mobile-friendly update. We saw enough to say it’s definitely statistically significant that far more non-mobile-friendly pages lost ranking than gained it.

The ratio there was like 47% to 19%. 47% lost ranking. Only about 19% gained ranking. On the mobile-friendly pages, it was more split. 30% gained and about 25% lost. Pretty much within the normal fluctuation that you would expect because anybody that watches such rankings know they fluctuate, they go up and down all the time within a certain margin. We felt that this was significant enough to say, yes, the mobile ranking update did have a significant effect. The main effect of it was, non-mobile-friendly pages tend to lose ranking.

How can businesses identify if they’re affected and, if they are, take action to fix it?

You have to think about the experience. Now, more and more, one of the things that many of us in the search engine world are talking is how important user experience is. That is even becoming, in a sense, a ranking factor, because Google is getting better at evaluating that on a machine basis. Looking at a site and saying, “Does this site have the characteristics of a site that users like, enjoy being on, and find friendly?” They are able to measure that and evaluate that. That is going to become more and more of a factor.

Beyond that, as far as the priority of it, I think one factor is thinking, “How important is this to my users?” Then to prioritize it, you should look at your analytics. How much of your traffic is coming from mobile? If you are getting a significant amount of traffic from mobile then this seems like a higher priority. You should also look over time. Look way back, look over early 2024, at least into the present. Are you starting to lose organic search traffic from mobile? If you are, then that may be an indication that this mobile update is impacting your site and you need to do something about it.

Thoughts on HTTPS and its impact in 2024?

Yeah…that was another one that they announced. They didn’t quite announce as clearly as they did the mobile-friendly update, but as you said, they hinted at it. They said, “We may start giving a little boost to pages.” That set off a big—you and I both remember it—big for people thinking that this is going to be a huge update and it’s going to have an effect. Once they said, “Yeah, we are starting to do that,” we studied it, Marcus Tober at Searchmetrics studied it…bottom-line was, at least initially, we could not discern any significant boost.

There were small things here and there but again not enough was able to separate from the general noise of the general fluctuations of the search results. …Eric Enge from Stone Temple was on a panel with somebody from Google who was very much involved with the Https movement within Google.

That’s where the quote came from where he said, “Well, it’s basically a tie breaker.” That could be one way that we are using it. That’s not a major ranking boost, but all of the things being equal. We have two sites that are pretty equal but this one is secure, this one is not. We are probably going to give the nod and the ranking to the secure site. I do think it will become more important. They haven’t stopped talking about it.

The evolution of the SEO in 2024

It has always been a part of our philosophy at Stone Temple Consulting, but we are seeing more and more with our clients, a lot of what we have to do is education. Education and helping them with that decision-making, the priority setting, through talking about it. It’s not just a matter anymore of doing it and saying, “Okay, here are some basic technical problems your site has. This is what you have to do to fix them,” but it’s looking at all these things we’ve been talking about. We haven’t even hit some of the other big things that are happening and have to be thought about.

We have to be an ally because otherwise—if we are working with a large brand and their SEO or marketing department—we just throw all these recommendations at them and they feel overwhelmed. They only have so much budget; they only have so much man power. What we have to do is help them to prioritize, help them to assess, “What is most impactful to us and our users? What should we be giving resources to first?” That’s becoming almost as important, maybe as important, as any of the technical things that we help them to do.

Let’s talk about content

I think we are seeing a maturing … It’s interesting to watch this, in the years that I’ve been in the industry. I know you’ve seen it too over time. There’s different waves of things come in. They are “the new thing”, they are exciting—whether it’s social media or whatever it is. For hours everybody just does it because that’s what everybody is doing. “You’ve got to do social media; just do social media.”

There comes a certain point a few years in where there’s a maturing that starts to happen. People realize, “Okay, we’ve got to talk about where are we really getting value from this and how much time are we spending on it—what are we getting in return for that?” I think we are seeing that with content now. There has been a lot of talk; it probably started with Mark Schaefer’s Content Shock article.

Like a lot of people, I don’t agree with everything in that. I think that he has some points—there’s no denying that the amount of content that’s thrown at us is increasing. I don’t see it as a zero-sum game, as he portrays it. On the other hand, it’s undeniable that it’s getting harder and harder to get your stuff noticed. …I don’t think ever it was really easy, but it’s certainly harder now to get anything out there that’s going to get mass attention and have huge amounts of eyeballs on it, huge amounts of people talking about it, sharing it, and that sort of stuff.

A more recent wakeup call on that was this big study that came out from BuzzSumo in partnership with Moz a few months ago that was quite eye-opening.

What they basically said was that, they looked at 100,000 random posts. These are posts from all different kinds of sites, high authority, low authority, big well known, little known, all over the map. They said that 75% of those pages, those blog posts they looked at, had zero external links to them. 75% had zero external links. Even among the 25% that had any links at all, most of them had only very few like a handful scattering and most of those weren’t from very authoritative sites.

There’s one-percenters club here, the rich of the rich. There’s only a very small amount of content out there, relative to all the content that’s published, that gets links. The other thing is that it’s also true of social shares, always a hard word for me to say that most of those, 75% of them, had 39 or fewer shares total of any social network. The bottom-line of their study was, there’s tons of content being published and most of it is not getting seen or not getting any real results.

Real Quality Content

Those things can help but… if you get down out of the stats and look at the actual posts, they are having the most significant effect on things that are great. You are really saying something of substance. There’s no magic tricks. Just like we learned with SEO, right? It’s not just sprinkling some fairy dust on your social post and then they start to work.

You have to keep in mind that any of these engagement studies are always correlation studies, they are just correlating presence of the hashtag or presence of an image or whatever it might be to increase engagement, increase shares, that sort of thing. You have to ask yourself, is it possible all these results that we are seeing point this way—that the kinds of posts that are really excellent, extraordinary, and above the average content, also can possibly tend to do those other things as well. There people are paying attention.

They are going to have good images, they are going to use hashtags, and they are going to craft their posts very carefully. It may…not just the presence of a hashtag or an image or something as it is that a lot of those posts are just by people paying more attention and putting more care into their content.

What are the key takeaways from Stone Temple Consulting studies?

The lesson we’ve been learning there is, even when Google does something that seems to be hurting us, or taking away our traffic, or are going after something where we’ve gotten traffic in the past, you can be smart and savvy and you can—instead of just complaining about it and whining about it—find ways to help Google out with that. That actually drive traffic to you. These rich answers are one of those areas.

Let me give you one more. We have said it but I want to reemphasize it. If you are going to be in the content game at all, think about emphasizing quality over quantity. I think there’s still a reward for being consistent. I don’t believe the old chestnut about content that says, “the most important thing is just to be churning something out three time times a week,” applies at all anymore or has any value. Having a few really amazing pieces that become the definitive answer, the definitive resource for whatever the question out there might be, is far more valuable than being able to produce 75, 80, 100, 150 articles all over the place.

To listen to this Marketing Nerds podcast with Mark Traphagen and Brent Csutoras:

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Bored, Broken & Burned Out: Overcoming Challenges In Search Marketing

Search marketing is, by nature, a monotonous game.

It’s a series of math problems.

Its excitement comes in its power.

A few small tweaks to a landing page, a few more keywords in the account, or a few lifted bids can be life-changing.

Picking all the low-hanging fruit on a new account yields instant gratification.

“We’ve doubled our numbers year over year,” you exclaim.

The initial results are amazing!

But what happens when you have to start comparing yourself to… yourself?

What do you do when you’re stuck in the grind of day-in, day-out tweaks that make marginal lifts?

What happens when year-over-year numbers fall?

What do you when you’ve lost the spark and excitement to drive great results?

I’ve been doing the same job for 12 years, and have had more than my share of ups and downs.

I’ve burned myself out, developing a process blunt-force pushed onto every client I’d touched.

Sometimes the processes worked, sometimes they didn’t. But they were my best practices, they have to always work, right?

I’ve learned, over the years, to shift my way of thinking and to find continued satisfaction (and success) in my work.

We’ll walk through three scenarios you’ll encounter in your search marketing career.

Stagnation (boredom).

Downturns in performance (broken).

Worst of all, a lack of motivation (burnout).

Bored: Your Accounts Are Stagnant

Nobody ever made a car faster with more oil changes. I often see accounts that are flat year over year, or worse, spending more for the same results.

The account manager is going through the motions. There are ad tests, bid tweaks, search query reports, and new keyword builds.

There are best practices, but there’s a lack of innovation.

Odds are these accounts are devoting the budget to “what’s always worked.”

When an account falls stagnant, the best bet is to challenge old assumptions. Use new tools to take the same old same old to the next level.

What to Do

1. Challenge the adage of being in position 1.0 100% of the time for your brand terms.

You’re devoting more and more money to brand each year as your CPCs creep up higher and higher – nudge bids down (not up).

Find the sweet spot of efficiency and volume. You won’t lose much, trust me.

2. Bear with me here; relinquish control!

Google Ads started The Smart Era because there are too many bidding levers that we can’t control.

Shift budget away from exact match and towards broad match with Smart Bidding layered on.

I didn’t think it’d work either, but it does.

3. Review your attribution philosophy.

I don’t mean turning on Data-Driven Attribution (which, yes you should do), but rather evaluating your KPIs.

Some tactics aren’t meant to drive a user to the end of the funnel on the first try.

Test alternate KPIs; develop an email list or feed a remarketing audience with top of funnel tactics.

4. Add Audiences EVERYWHERE.

Audiences will be a more powerful targeting tool than keywords.

Imagine intent layered on broader keywords, pointing the algorithm in the right direction.

Start by adding as many audiences as you can on observation mode and see what insights arise.

Broken: Your Accounts Are Doing Worse Year Over Year

Sticking with the car metaphor – I am unreasonably excited about the premise of self-driving cars. I cannot WAIT to be on a long drive, relaxing behind the steering wheel with a good book or movie.

I’ll have the opportunity to grab the wheel if things go awry, but if I don’t feel like driving, I won’t have to.

That’s where a good SEM account should be today – self-driving with a steering wheel. Focused on automation, but keeping the opportunity for manual intervention.

If an account is trending down year over year, odds are it’s resting on laurels of dated best practices.

I realize the irony here, as I’ve long been a proponent of super ultra crazy hyper account segmentation.

I teased this in the prior section, but the days of controlling everything are over.

An account that’s trending down doesn’t need tweaks – it needs a new foundation.

New tools for automation won’t have the same power on a structure built for control.

What to Do

1. Simplify your accounts.

Mitigate SKAGs and SKCs except in the position of extreme competition.

With the shift in exact matching behavior, SKAGs don’t work the way they used to anyway.

Instead, focus on thematic ad groups. Allow algorithms to make the decisions they need to make to bid.

2. Craft campaigns based on budget and volume.

Remember, automation needs data to make decisions! Your new campaigns built for automation should generate 50 conversions/month.

The more data AI has, the faster it learns.

3. Don’t ignore what’s flopped before.

Make sure to port any negative (or positive) terms and targeting features. Most bidding algorithms focus only on bidding, not targeting.

If you know where to point the machine already, make sure to do it.

4. Give the machines as much data as possible.

Port in down down-the-line sales information for lead generation. Teach the tools to optimize what you the business is after.

Burned Out: You’ve Lost Your Fire

Warning: we ‘bout to get preachy!

Search marketing is an odd industry. I’ve had a day where I thought “well, I’m done! I did all the search there is to do today.” It’s a job that doesn’t end, a job where there is no such thing as perfection.

While I haven’t heard it in a few years, the word Kaizen was tantamount among agencies for years. The institutional process of constant improvement, seeking but never achieving perfection. Process improvement is crucial as I’ve outlined in previous segments.

The idea of constant evolution is mentally and physically exhausting.

We wind up letting our roles run our lives instead of supporting them. We bring our work home with us. We squeeze in an hours’ worth of work after the kids go to bed.

We fall into the busy trap.

We keep doing the work over and over and over again because that’s what we’re trained to do. We fail to adopt the economic principles at play in our work to our lives.

We don’t think of why, or what the return is. We just do the work.

We find our personal value in clearing our inboxes, in dropping CPA by a few percentage points. We’re never bored if we have our work, and we’re never uncomfortable. We have our dopamine security blankets in our back pockets or purses every waking hour.

We glue ourselves in front of our laptop screens. We bask in the comforting glow of a line graph reaching up and to the right.

Over the course of my career, I’ve learned how to value my own time and how to release the false locus of control. I’ve adopted a few core economic metrics that we all use in our daily digital marketing lives as core to my own work life. Return on investment (or Return On Effort) and the law of diminishing returns.

Every hour in every day has less value than the one before it.

I do the most important things first, the more monotonous last.

The most monotonous tasks, I get rid of. I still do them, but manually computing 10,000 simple math problems in a given day doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

A machine should take care of any simple repetitive tasks. It’s better at them, it’s faster and it’s more precise. I devote as much time as possible to what I’m great at, that is strategy and analysis, and leave the rest to a calculator.

I’ve also learned the value of re-setting myself, both on a daily/weekly/annual basis. I have a few personal rules that have eased any semblance of burnout over the years.

What to Do

1. No new work after hours.

I’ll attend to emergencies only, or I’ll schedule projects I want to do when I have a few hours in the evening.

But I won’t create new work for myself. Save that for the good hours, not the bad ones.

2. One day a week is work free.

It doesn’t matter what day it is, it could be Wednesday if I plan my schedule right.

But there will be one day a week where I do not work. That means no email, too.

My team knows to call me if there’s an emergency; it’s more important to free my mind and body for a day and do something else.

Of late, that’s been making hot sauce (reserve your samples!), but anything non-digital will do.

I recommend everyone do this to remind themselves of what it feels like.

3. Take a vacation, physically and mentally.

Not “I’ll be available if you need me,” but entirely offline.

I left HeroConf this year to take a jaunt through Eastern Europe with my best buddy.

I deleted Gmail from my phone and turned my computer on only to buy train tickets. It took planning, but the refresh week worked wonders on my psyche and motivation.

Summary

We have a rule at my agency for this: it’s required that everyone take at least one consecutive week off a year.

These rules were hard for me to set in my life thanks to an addiction to constant work gratification.

What I’ve learned is that freeing myself for a few hours a day makes me a better worker and marketer. I’m better able to observe the world from an outsider’s perspective. To tailor my strategy to the end user rather than the best practice.

Above all, I’m able to maintain my passion for the industry no matter what gets thrown at me. I’ve adopted a phrase I heard some time ago as an adage for work/life success.

Everything works better when you turn it off and back on again – even you.

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Image Credits

In-post Photo: Provided by author, September 2023

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