All posts by Amanda DiSilvestro

image6.jpg

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

Event tracking is one of the most useful features in Google Analytics.

With just a little bit of extra code, you can capture all kinds of information about how people behave on your site.

Event tracking lets you monitor just about any action that doesn’t trigger a new page to load, such as watching a video or clicking on an outbound link. This data can be invaluable in improving your site.

There are two different ways you can set up event tracking in Google Analytics. One way is to add the code manually. The other is to set up tracking through Google Tag Manager.

Both methods are doable without a developer, although you may find it easier to use Google Tag Manager if you have no coding experience.

How to set up event tracking manually

What exactly is an event? Before you start tracking events, it’s important to understand how they’re put together. Each event is made up of four components that you define. These are category, action, label, and value.

Category

A category is an overall group of events. You can create more than one type of event to track in the same category “basket.”

For instance, you could create a category called Downloads to group a number of different events involving various downloads from your site.

Action

An event’s action describes the particular action that the event is set up to track. If you’re tracking downloads of a PDF file, for instance, you might call your event’s action Download PDF.

Label

Your label provides more information about the action taken. For instance, if you have several PDFs available for download on your site, you can keep track of how many people download each one by labeling each separate event with the PDF’s title.

A label is optional, but it’s almost always a good idea to use one.

Value

Value is an optional component that lets you track a numerical value associated with an event. Unlike the first three components, which are made up of text, value is always an integer.

For instance, if you wanted to keep track of a video’s load time, you would use the value component to do so. If you don’t need to keep track of anything numerical, it’s fine to leave this component out of your event.

A table of the four components of an event. Source: Google Analytics

Step one: Decide how to structure your reports

Before you dive into tracking your events, come up with a plan for how you want your data to be organized. Decide which categories, actions, and labels you’ll use, and choose a clear and consistent naming pattern for them.

Remember, if you decide to change the structure of your event tracking later, your data won’t be reorganized retroactively. A little thought and planning up front can save you a lot of hassle down the road.

Step two: Connect your site to Google Analytics

If you haven’t done so already, set up a Google Analytics property and get your tracking ID. You can find your tracking ID by going to the admin section of your GA account and navigating to the property you want to track.

Once you have your ID, add the following snippet right after the <head> tag of each page:

<!-- Global Site Tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics -->
<script async src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=GA_TRACKING_ID"></script>
<script>
window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
gtag('js', new Date());

gtag('config', 'GA_TRACKING_ID');
</script>

This code snippet enables Google Analytics to track events on your site. Replace GA_TRACKING_ID with your own tracking ID. Source: Analytics Help

Step three: Add code snippets to elements you want to track

Here is the format for an event tracking code snippet:

ga('send', 'event', [eventCategory], [eventAction], [eventLabel], [eventValue], [fieldsObject]);

After filling in the information that defines the event you want to track, add this snippet to the relevant element on your webpage. You’ll need to use something called an event handler to do so.

An event handler is a HTML term that triggers your tracking code to fire when a specific action is completed. For instance, if you wanted to track how many times visitors clicked on a button, you would use the onclick event handler and your code would look like this:

<button onclick="ga('send', 'event', [eventCategory], [eventAction], [eventLabel], [eventValue], [fieldsObject]);">Example Button Text</button>

You can find a list of common event handlers, as well as a more in-depth explanation on how they work, here.

Step four: Verify that your code is working

Once you’ve added event tracking code to your page, the final step is to make sure it’s working. The simplest way to do this is to trigger the event yourself. Then, check Google Analytics to see if the event showed up.

You can view your tracked events by clicking “Behavior” in the sidebar and scrolling down to “Events.”

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

Your tracked events can be found under “Behavior” in Google Analytics.

How to set up event tracking with Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager can be a little tricky to navigate if you aren’t familiar with it. However, if you’ve never worked with code before, you might find tracking events with GTM easier than doing it manually.

If you have a large site or you want to track many different things, GTM can also help you scale your event tracking easily.

Step one: Enable built-in click variables

You’ll need GTM’s built-in click variables to create your tags and triggers, so start by making sure they are enabled. Select “Variables” in the sidebar and click the “Configure” button.

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

Enabling built-in click variables, step one

Then make sure all the click variables are checked.

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

Enabling built-in click variables, step two. Source

Step two: Create a new tag for the event you want to track

Click “Tags” on the sidebar. Then click the “New” button. You’ll have the option to select your tag type. Choose “Universal Analytics.”

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

Creating a new tag in Google Tag Manager

Step three: Configure your tag

Set your new tag’s track type to “Event.” Fill in all the relevant information – category, action, label, etc. – in the fields that appear underneath, and click “Continue.”

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

An example of how to configure a new tag in Google Tag Manager. Source: Analytics Help

Step four: Specify your trigger

Specify the trigger that will make your tag fire – for instance, a click. If you are creating a new trigger (as opposed to using one you’ve created in the past), you will need to configure it.

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

Types of triggers that you can choose in Google Tag Manager

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

An example of how to configure a trigger. This one fires when a certain URL is clicked. Source: Johannes Mehlem

Step five: Save the finished tag

After you save your trigger, it should show up in your tag. Click “Save Tag” to complete the process.

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

A tag that is ready to go. Source: Analytics Help

The takeaway and extra resources

Event tracking is one of the most useful and versatile analytics techniques available – you can use it to monitor nearly anything you want. While this guide will get you started, there’s a lot more to know about event tracking with Google Analytics, so don’t be afraid to look for resources that will help you understand event tracking.

Courses like the 2018 Google Analytics Bootcamp on Udemy (which I used to help write this article) will give you a solid grounding in how to use Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, so you’ll be able to proceed with confidence.

Google-Analytics-bootcamp.png

7 Google Tag Manager courses to prioritize in 2018

If you love data (and what marketing expert doesn’t?), then learning Google Tag Manager should be high on your priority list this year.

Unfortunately, many spend so much time on Google Analytics that GTM gets pushed to the wayside. Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a powerful, versatile tool that helps you track and manage your own website data.

Since understanding analytics is increasingly important for businesses of all sizes, there’s no better time to start learning GTM than right now.

So what exactly does Google Tag Manager do for you? In a nutshell, this tool lets you easily add snippets of code called tags to your site. These tags track things your visitors do.

For instance, you could set up tags to track how many people download a specific file, which channels bring visitors to your site, and even how quickly visitors scroll through your pages. The tags then send your information to your third-party sites of choice, such as Google Analytics or Bing Ads.

The GTM web interface is easy to use and requires no in-depth coding skills, so you can stay on top of your tracking without relying on your web developer to do everything for you.

Getting started with Google Tag Manager isn’t always an intuitive process. You’ll probably want to seek out some training instead of trying to figure things out as you go.

Whether you’re brand-new to this tool or you have some basic knowledge about it already, here are seven courses that will help you get the hang of GTM and take charge of your data.

1. The 2018 Google Analytics Bootcamp on Udemy

If you’re not sure where to start learning GTM, the 2018 Google Analytics Bootcamp on Udemy is a great place to begin. I’ve found that this course is unique among the many other Google Analytics courses out there because it doesn’t just teach you the basics of Google Analytics – it also shows you how to combine that tool with Google Tag Manager.

GTM is essential for making the most of Google Analytics, yet many marketers don’t learn it until long after they’ve mastered the GA basics. Learning both together is a smart way to ensure you make quick progress right out of the gate.

The 2018 Google Analytics Bootcamp on Udemy will get you up to speed with both Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager

If you know a little bit about Google Analytics already, but you want to start getting more out of it, you will most likely find this course helpful. You’ll learn how to set up a Google Analytics property the right way, read and understand reports, and track different kinds of data using Google Tag Manager.

If you’re an intermediate-level marketer, some of this course’s Google Analytics information may be familiar to you already, but it’s still a great introduction to GTM.

I was able to get this course during a Udemy sale for less than the original cost, and with the course you’ll get lifetime access to three hours of instructional videos, several supplemental resources, and a certificate of completion.

Udemy has frequent sales, so if this price is a little steep for you now, keep an eye on the course – you may be able to snag it at a discount later.

2. Google Tag Manager Fundamentals course by Google

If you’re just getting started with Google Tag Manager, why not go straight to the source for information?

Google’s own course provides a solid and comprehensive overview of using GTM. And like Google’s other analytics courses, this course is free. Just keep in mind that you’ll probably want to combine this course with at least one other.

This will ensure you get a well-rounded perspective on GTM.

7 Google Tag Manager courses to prioritize in 2018

After you finish the Google Tag Manager Fundamentals course, you can brush up on your skills with some of Google’s other free courses

3. Google Tag Manager Essential Training on Lynda.com

If you’ve ever browsed through Lynda.com’s extensive library of tech-related videos, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that they offer a Google Tag Manager course.

This course is just over two hours long and provides an overview of the most important aspects of using GTM, from creating containers to understanding the data layer.

7 Google Tag Manager courses to prioritize in 2018

Google Tag Manager Essential Training on Lynda.com

If you don’t already have a Lynda.com subscription, prices start at $25/month. You may also be able to get free access to the site through your workplace, school, or public library.

4. Google Tag Manager YouTube Series by Weboq

YouTube can be a great place to learn about almost anything, including Google Tag Manager.

If you’re a beginner or intermediate-level marketer, you may find Weboq’s GTM playlist very useful, even though it’s not a course per se. This playlist starts with the basics and tackles more complex topics later on.

If you want to learn to do something specific with GTM – like installing Hotjar or remarketing with AdWords, for instance – you’ll find plenty of specific, step-by-step how-tos here.

7 Google Tag Manager courses to prioritize in 2018

Weboq’s Google Tag Manager YouTube playlist starts with the basics

5. Google Tag Manager Tutorials on YouTube by Measureschool

Measureschool’s channel is another good resource for learning about Google Tag Manager on YouTube. There’s a lot of content here, directed towards a wide range of skill levels – beginners as well as advanced users will be able to find something helpful.

This channel is updated with new videos regularly, so if you like the material, check back for fresh GTM tips and tutorials every week or two.

7 Google Tag Manager courses to prioritize in 2018

Measureschool publishes new Google Tag Manager tutorials on YouTube regularly

6. Master the Fundamentals of Google Tag Manager by CXL

This results-oriented course, led by marketing expert Chris Mercer, is designed to take you from beginner to proficient in GTM in just eight classes.

Starting from the very first class, which walks you through setting up a tag, you’ll practice essential hands-on GTM skills. This course also gives you access to 10 video lessons that explain the more conceptual side of GTM, such as understanding what tags, triggers, and variables are.

After you finish the course, you’ll get a certificate of completion. This course is on the pricey side at $299, but if you’re motivated and want to see results ASAP, it may be worth the cost.

7 Google Tag Manager courses to prioritize in 2018

CXL’s beginner-level Google Tag Manager course will get you up and running in eight classes

7. Google Tag Manager Workshop by LunaMetrics

Online classes are convenient and accessible, but sometimes, the ability to ask questions and discuss new concepts in person is priceless.

If you learn best in a real-life classroom environment, LunaMetrics’ in-person GTM training sessions might be ideal for you. These day-long workshops are offered in major cities across the U.S., from Los Angeles to Boston.

7 Google Tag Manager courses to prioritize in 2018

Cities where LunaMetrics holds training sessions for Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, and more. Source

Prices start at $799 for a one-day workshop. While this isn’t a cheap way to learn Google Tag Manager, keep in mind that you’re also getting a unique opportunity to network with other marketers and collaborate while you learn – something that’s hard to replicate over the internet.

Wrapping up

Google Tag Manager is a must-have tool for every marketer and data-savvy webmaster out there. While it has a bit of a learning curve, GTM opens up tons of possibilities for tracking and improving your site’s performance, so it’s well worth putting in the time and effort to learn how to use it.

Which of these Google Tag Manager courses are you going to focus on this year?

 

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for No Risk SEO, an all-in-one reporting platform for agencies. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her content services at amandadisilvestro.com.

SEW-domain-authority.png

How can you determine your website’s authority, and what can you do to improve it?

One of the most important and influential SEO metrics many marketers, and specifically content marketers, pay attention to is Domain Authority (DA).

The Domain Authority metric was developed by Moz as a means of quantifying your website’s relative importance as a whole – its authority.

It provides an insight into the SEO “strength” of your website, and its likelihood of ranking for certain keywords. Essentially, the higher this number is, the higher you’ll rank in the SERPs, and the more traffic you’ll have.

Like most SEO metrics, this number fluctuates based on several factors, and to improve your authority, you first need to determine where your website stands among the others online.

Not sure where to start? Compiled below is a guide to help you determine your website’s authority and improve your score.

Understanding Domain Authority

Before you determine your website’s authority, you should first understand the key components of DA. Domain Authority is scored on a one to 100 scale with 100 being the highest score a website can attain.

Here are some of the ways Moz determines your Domain Authority:

  • MozRank: In short, MozRank takes into account the number of links your website has, as well as the quality of those links. For example, if a website has 100 poor quality links, their MozRank score will be lower than that of a website that has 50 high-quality links within their website.
  • Root domains: Moz also looks at the number of different links your website has. The more websites you have linking to you, the higher your score in this area.
  • Search engine friendliness: We’ll look at technical SEO later on, but this factor takes into account how well your website interacts with search engines. Ultimately, Moz looks at how user-friendly your website is based on its overall structure.
  • Quality content: Google and other search engines take into account the quality of your website’s content. This is also the case with your Moz Domain Authority score. The higher quality content, the better your website will perform in this area.
  • Social media signals: When determining your Domain Authority score, Moz takes into account social media signals. The algorithm looks at how many times a piece of content has been shared, liked, or commented on via social media platforms.

How to determine your website’s authority

There are several places you can locate your website’s authority score: Open Site Explorer, MozBar, or the Keyword Explorer all show you your score.

Here’s an example of Search Engine Watch’s domain authority score in Open Site Explorer. You’ll notice the score is 86 out of 100, which is a relatively high-ranking score on the scale.

Next to the domain authority score you’ll find the page authority score, which ranks an individual page, as opposed to a whole website.

How to improve your website’s authority score

Improving your website’s domain authority isn’t as simple as changing your meta tags. It requires heavy research on your end.

However, there are ways of improving your domain authority. Before you take these steps, make sure you’re getting rid of bad links first. Removing any low-quality links first improves your website’s authority.

Work on your technical SEO

In order for your domain authority score to raise, ensure your technical SEO is up to par. This is the foundation of any SEO tactic when you’re trying to improve rankings in the SERPs. This includes doing a full audit on your meta tags, word count, keywords, alt tags, and site structure.

Here are some quick ways to work on your technical SEO:

  • Keywords: Make sure you’re not stuffing keywords into your content. This not only helps your SEO, it makes your content easier for your audience to read and process.
  • Meta description: Always make sure your meta description is filled out. Include your main keyword in your description.
  • Image optimization: Optimized images make your website load faster, and boost SEO.
  • Heading tags: This is basic, but it should be mentioned—use your H1, H2, and H3 heading tags for your main talking points.

Create content that’s linkable

Content marketing is another foundation that determines how high your DA score is. For this tactic to be successful, you need tons of content that’s shareable and linkable. If you’re not creating content that others want to link to, you won’t have any strong backlinks in your profile.

Start by creating long-form, quality content that’s informational and relevant to your industry or niche. But your content shouldn’t start and end with written content. Infographics and video content are also linkable and can help your website gain traction.

Creating lots of content requires manpower and budget, but it’s one of the most effective SEO tactics that also improves your DA score.

Link internally

There’s a lot of push to get marketers to focus on backlinking. Backlinking does help your DA score, but so does linking to other pages within your website. This is another place where your large amount of content comes into play.

The more content you produce, the more you’ll be able to link to other places on your website. Interlinking builds a strong foundation that helps search engine crawl bots determine how authoritative your website actually is.

Share on social media

Because social media signals are a huge factor, it’s important to share your content on all your social media platforms. Not only does this help your domain authority score, it also brings more traffic to your website.

It helps to add social media link buttons to all of your content—this makes it even easier for your visitors to share your content on their own social media pages.

The takeaway

Your domain authority score is based on several factors. If you look at those factors, you’ll notice two trends—technical SEO and content marketing. These are two of the most important themes to follow when improving the quality of your website.

Make sure your website is optimized for both the user and search engines by focusing on good technical SEO. Create engaging, quality content that’s easily shareable by your audience. Follow these steps and your domain authority will increase over time.

Is there anything you would add to this list? Let us know in the comment section below.

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for No Risk SEO, an all-in-one reporting platform for agencies. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her content services at amandadisilvestro.com.

A beginner’s guide to display advertising

If you are a business looking to dive into display advertising, it can be overwhelming.

In an increasingly digital world, where everybody’s eyes are glued to a screen, most advertising can seem like white noise. So you want to make sure you’re designing and promoting worthwhile ads in a proper venue.

Here we’ll go over some simple best practices for creating a display ad: how to decide where to advertise, and what type of advertising you want to pursue. You can reach out to websites directly and do the dirty work yourself, or you can also utilize a marketing network to manage your marketing.

Lastly, you want to make sure that you are spending your dollars wisely, so you’ll need to measure the impact of your campaign.

What are the main types of display advertising?

Display advertising is a bit of a blanket term because it covers just about any visual advertisement on a website. However, this broad category can be divided up into a few main types:

  • Site placement advertising: This is when a marketer/advertiser chooses the site they would like to advertise on.
  • Contextual advertising: This is when you advertise your product or service on a website with similar content. IE- promoting wedding dresses on a honeymoon destination website.
  • Remarketing advertising: These ads appear when a user has already been to your website. A service uses cookies to track the visit, and then your ad would appear on another website they visit, and ideally this causes the user to return to your website. This would be done through a marketing network like Google Display Network (more on that later).

Display ad standards

When it comes to digital advertising, there are standards that both advertisers and publishers must adhere to.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is an organization that provides insight on industry standards for digital media. In its display ad guidelines, the IAB states that display ads should be “distinguishable from normal web page content and the ad unit must have clearly defined borders and not confused with normal web content”.

They also recommend flexible ad sizing, meaning the ad units are defined by aspect ratios that can adjust based on the screen size the user is viewing. In their guide to ad sizes, Google lists top performing ad sizes as 300×350 (medium rectangle), 336×280 (large rectangle), 728×90 (leaderboard), 300×600 (half page), and 320×100 (large mobile banner).

Display ad creation best practices

When working on design it is important to create ads that are unique and clearly identify your goal, here are some simple practices for creation.

Make sure you are relevant

Ads need to be relevant to your audience as well as your main objective. You want to entice a viewer, not annoy them.

If you are using contextual display advertising, your ad is already on a website with similar content to your product. When a user clicks on your ad, it’s important that it leads to a corresponding landing page, not just your main website.

For instance, if the viewer clicks on a banner ad for a Valentine’s Day sale, you should have this link to a stand-alone landing page that focuses on that topic, not your main ecommerce site.

Keep mobile in mind

Display ads were originally geared towards a desktop user, and mobile users were considered second. However tides have turned and that has flipped around.

According to recent eMarketer research 70.5% of all display ads in the US are mobile. Meaning depending on the audience you are trying to target, you may want to create ads with mobile-viewing in mind first.

Compelling, concise, clear design

Google Marketing advises to use the “3 C’s” when it comes to creating display ads: compelling, concise, clear. You want your ad to stand out by using eye-catching design, with a clear call to action button (CTA).

Use high resolution images. Display ads can be very compact, so your pitch and CTA need to be brief. Lastly, your marketing goal needs to be clear, only advertise one message- sign up now, check out our holiday sale, etc. You want to avoid overloading your viewer.

How to start display ad marketing 

With site placement advertising you can directly approach a website or publisher on your own. This could work for a small local business that knows its market.

For instance, if you are an event planning company, you could approach your local chamber of commerce about advertising on their website. However, depending on your digital marketing goals, it might be better to work with a third-party service.

Here are three popular options:

Google Display Network

This is the display ad arm of Google AdWords. Google Display Network offers over 2 million websites that your ad can appear on. It also promotes ads across other platforms like apps and mobile-based programs.

They use contextual and remarketing advertising to target your audience. Their guidelines can be somewhat strict to adhere to, but this is one of the largest audiences you will be able to reach, all with the backing of Google. AdWords also offers deep analysis of your campaign’s performance.

Facebook Audience Network

With over 1 billion users worldwide, Facebook offers a  huge audience for digital marketing. Their ads not only appear on Facebook, but other high traffic apps and sites. If you are already using Facebook advertising for your business page, transitioning to using the audience network is fairly simple, their advertising guidelines are the same.

Media.net

This allows you to display ads on the Yahoo! Bing Network, which may not be as large as it once was (or as Google’s), but they claim that they reach 46 million unique searchers who aren’t using Google.

Measure your results

However you chose to display advertise, you need to track your ad performance. What is your marketing goal, and is your digital campaign getting you there?

Hubspot recommends tracking the following KPIs:

  • New site visitors: How many new visits after launching the campaign
  • Engagement: Time spent on your site, page views, bounce rate
  • Number of conversions

If you are individually managing your display advertising, you can request this info from your publishing website, or track where traffic is coming from on your landing pages.

If you are using a service like Google Display Network you can download analytic reports and use their tools to monitor conversion tracking.

Is it worth it?

Display advertising can help you reach a targeted customer base, drive engagement, and get users to your site. Navigating this type of digital marketing can be complicated. The click-through rate on display ads hovers around 0.07% worldwide, which often scares marketers away.

Yet in spite of this, display advertising is continuing to grow. A recent IAB study found that display ads grew 13.1% in 2017 (compared to search ads at just 12.8%). If you have a measurable goal for your campaign, create compelling ads, and you keep track of results you can see a high ROI in a short amount of time.

If you found this guide useful, don’t miss our other beginner’s guides to search marketing and advertising:

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for No Risk SEO, an all-in-one reporting platform for agencies. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her content services at amandadisilvestro.com.

banner-advert.jpg

Search advertising vs. display advertising: Which delivers the best returns?

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned vet, determining if you should use search advertising or display advertising for your marketing campaign is tough.

Use the wrong channel and you potentially ruin the maximum success of your whole campaign.

Thankfully, there are ways to decide which is the best for your business and which will generate the most conversions.

Display advertising

Display advertising is everywhere online. Every website you visit has ads that showcase products for sale. But have you ever noticed you keep seeing the same ads on your social media feeds and the like?

That’s because display advertising tracks a user’s behavior in order to put the right ads in front of the right customers. Display ads are also sometimes known as banner ads, like this one:

Major advantages

Brand awareness

In order to properly utilize display advertising, you need to understand its purpose. In short, display ads are great for driving brand awareness because, generally, these types of ads are found in a place a potential customer may be found.

For example, if a customer is on a website for vegetarian recipes, a display ad that may show up would be an advertisement for a health food store. The customer may not be aware of this type of store, but the ad would drive awareness. Marketers generally gather this information by studying customer behaviors, demographics, and previous search histories.

Retargeting

Let’s say a user has visited your website but hasn’t converted. Display ads give you the opportunity to pull those users back in with retargeting. Your display ad reminds the user about your brand; thus improving the chance of them converting. Check out our ‘5 remarketing strategies to prep for Q4‘ to learn more about retargeting as a whole.

High volume

Display ads may promote your brand to the right people, but they also have high visibility. When you use display ads, they’re also being shown to customers who may not have thought to look for your products or services (even if they’re not part of your demographic).

Even if you’re not targeting an audience, they’ll still see your business in front of them.

Search advertising

Search advertising, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, is an easy, low-budget way to reach the right audience. You’re able to control who sees the ads with nearly instant results. The PPC ads are shown directly on search engine websites after a keyword or phrase has been searched.

For example, here’s two PPC ads that might show up at the top of a Google search:

Search advertising vs. display advertising: Which delivers the best returns?

Search advertising vs. display advertising: Which delivers the best returns?

Major advantages

Qualified leads

A PPC campaign, done effectively, boosts traffic to your website and drives higher conversions. This is because customers are actively searching for keywords that result in seeing your PPC ads, so long as their keywords match your product or service. PPC ad campaigns generally drive higher click-through rates than display ads because of qualified leads.

Measurable data

Google AdWords is not only the place to setup your search advertising campaign, but it makes it easy to track how well your PPC campaign is doing. Simply pull up your AdWords account, choose the Campaigns tab, and choose “Keywords.” This shows you exactly how well customers are responding to your keywords and phrases.

Search advertising vs. display advertising: Which delivers the best returns?

Budget-friendly

If you’re just starting out or starting your campaign on a lower budget, PPC may be the best bang for your buck. With a PPC campaign, you’re not paying for the ads unless a user has clicked on them—hence their name.

This means, if you’re choosing and bidding on keywords that are relevant to your product or service, the users are most likely qualified leads, resulting in higher conversion rates.

It’s a great way to test what works before moving on to more time-intensive marketing strategies like SEO and content.

Determining factors

Now that you’re aware of the major differences between search and display advertising, consider some of the factors that you should take into account before making a decision.

Search volume

What are your potential customers searching for? Are they already actively looking for the products you’re selling? Here’s where Google AdWords helps yet again. Use this tool to determine if the keywords you’re using are high volume.

If relevant keywords for your business are showing as high competition keywords, your best bet is to start with a PPC campaign. Here’s an example using the keywords “health foods.”

Search advertising vs. display advertising: Which delivers the best returns?

Awareness

Brand awareness is another determining factor when deciding. The first question you should be asking: How many people are aware of your brand already? If you’re looking to increase brand awareness, display ads are your best bet. However, a search campaign can also benefit from brand awareness, especially if your campaign focuses on brand-specific keywords.

Type of services or products

Certain ads may not bring you the highest ROI right away depending on the type of product or service you’re offering.

For example, services like towing, locksmiths, and doctors (also known as “urgent” services) are all services that users will specifically look for, and need, quickly. Using a display ad to advertise may not be the most beneficial if your service is something potential customers may need immediately.

However, this doesn’t mean your services wouldn’t benefit from a display ad—it just won’t be as beneficial to the customer in their time of need.

Mobile first

Did you know that almost 60% of searches are done on a mobile device? Typically, search ad campaigns are better equipped at handling mobile searches.

For example, a user may search for a service on their mobile device, which means they won’t be scrolling through a website. They’ll choose the first ad that comes up, and that’s generally going to be a PPC ad.

The takeaway

When you’re starting a new campaign, it’s not always easy to identify which type of advertising to use. Factors such as your budget, your search volume, and your main goal are only some of the things you should consider before choosing one.

Sometimes, it’s in your best interest to utilize both platforms to maximize your ROI. Using both at the same time means you’re reaching customers at different points in the customer journey, which may be a huge payoff for you in the end.

What has worked for you when it comes to search versus display advertising? Let us know your thoughts and your story in the comment section below!

 

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for No Risk SEO, an all-in-one reporting platform for agencies. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her content services at amandadisilvestro.com.

High-level search marketing: How to keep your momentum from the holiday season going

Businesses tend to have a huge marketing push right before, and often during, the holidays, but often times these marketing campaigns fizzle out after the new year.

It’s easy to dial back your marketing efforts and budget after a busy season, but if you’re smart you’ll keep that momentum up well into the first months of the new year.

Here’s how you can keep up your push in marketing efforts in 2018.

Start email marketing campaigns early and target right

If you played smart during the holidays, your email leads should’ve increased significantly. The best practice is to act fast. Your new leads may have purchased their holiday gifts already, but that doesn’t mean they’re done shopping. Understand that your customers want to hear from you, so it’s best to act fast.

This starts with targeted email campaigns. Instead of doing the hard work yourself, use the help of marketing automation software to determine which content fits each audience. For example, automation software looks at the previous purchases of customers and prompts emails for similar products.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to overdo it with the emails. This will turn your customers away quicker than they came. Offer valuable content in your emails early on and you’ll keep your customers coming back.

Some ways to add value to your email marketing campaign:

  • Reach out to customers who purchased their products as a gift. Use similar product suggestions for future gift purchases
  • Contact customers who left an abandoned cart. Customers often use their shopping carts as a “wish list” of sorts. Reach out to those customers to see if they plan to complete their purchase
  • Offer a discount to entice customers to purchase. Free shipping adds tons of value. Make your discount exclusive to email subscribers to further add value.

Continue to use paid ads

You already have your paid ad campaign underway from the holidays. Don’t let those ads go stagnant as you start the new year.

Leading up to (and during) the holidays, ads from all over are competing. That energy slows down as the holidays end. Take advantage of both lower competition and less expensive ads during the aftermath of the holidays.

This is a new year, which means it’s the right time to switch up your strategy. You’re no longer in holiday mode, but laying out the foundation for the rest of the year.

Do you normally bid second position keywords throughout the year? Change your strategy and look for keywords that are first position. The holiday campaign may have busted your budget, but that doesn’t mean you should pull back on your paid ads. You’ll actually spend more money in the long run, and completely kill your momentum from the holidays.

Keep your paid ads running throughout the year, so you’re not halting traffic and trying to build it back up after you run your ads again.

Take advantage of keywords around new year’s resolutions

“New year, new me” is the mantra for most people after the holidays are finished. A new year means a fresh start, and regardless of your market, customers focus on improving their health and well-being. Use these trends to benefit your business. This means creating impactful content that’s valuable to customers and their goals for the new year.

Use your content to promote your products and services in a way that appear useful to your customers. How can you portray your products as a tool for achieving customer goals? This tactic is possible to spin no matter what industry you’re in.

For example, let’s say you’re a company that specializes in green cleaning products. Cater your content towards improving health and keeping chemicals out of the home.

You know keyword choice is imperative when working on your search marketing campaign. Take advantage of new year resolutions by choosing keywords that match. For instance, words like “get healthy” and “get organized” are keyword phrases that tend to pop up as the new year approaches.

Look at last year’s organic keywords. Which were the best performing, and which could you stand to ditch?

Take a peek at your competitors’ keywords, too, to see what they’re ranking highly for. Incorporate these keywords into your blog posts and social posts to drive traffic to your company’s website.

Review your data and strategize for the upcoming year

No doubt about it, the months of January and February are slow months for everyone, no matter your industry. The best way to push forward is to take a look at what worked and didn’t work during the holiday season.

It’s also a great time to learn more about your new customers. This gives you great leverage to start working on your campaigns throughout the new year.

Look at things like your timing and segments. Who responded well to specific emails? Which groups brought you the most ROI? How was the timing of your campaign? When looking at your new customers, figure out which of these groups fit well for your business.

As far as your website goes, A/B testing will tell you which pages of your website responded well with your customers. Test your non-holiday specific landing pages and compare them to your holiday pages.

Notice the shift between the two and apply those shifts to your new year campaign. Take this information and tweak the things that didn’t work and apply those changes to your upcoming campaigns.

The takeaway

After the surge of the holidays, most SEOs and marketers feel they’ve exhausted their resources and budget. This doesn’t have to be the case. The success of a holiday campaign should continue well into the new year. Keep these things in mind during your slow months and you’ll keep the momentum up to prepare you for spring and busier selling seasons.

How do you keep your momentum going into the new year? Let us know what has worked for you in the comment section below.

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for No Risk SEO, an all-in-one reporting platform for agencies. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her content services at amandadisilvestro.com.

The Google AdWords training courses you need ASAP

Much as Google has become synonymous with the Internet, AdWords has become synonymous with marketing.

The search engine giant’s advertising platform is, without a doubt, one of the most integral parts of any online advertising campaign. In fact, for every $1 spent on digital advertising, 42 cents goes to an AdWords campaign.

That being said, regardless of whether you’re a first-time AdWords user or a seasoned online marketer, getting the right training—and certification—can make or break your online advertising efforts.

So if you want to be fully trained in how to use AdWords to its best effect, here are the courses you need ASAP.

Google’s Academy for Ads

Where better to start learning about AdWords than from its creator? When you join Google Partners, which you’ll need to do if you want to get your AdWords Certification, you gain access to libraries of free AdWords training modules with Google’s “Academy for Ads.”

There are several learning paths you can follow, each focused on a different aspect of AdWords, including (but not limited to):

  • AdWords fundamentals (good for certification training). This includes advertising on Google’s Search, Display, and Shopping networks.
  • DoubleClick by Google
  • Advertising on YouTube, advertising apps, and mobile advertising.

The courses are specifically designed to help you pass the AdWords Certification exams, but can also be taken as quick refreshers on best practices when it comes to advertising with Google.

The modules are interactive and provide the information in an easy-to-understand manner, making the courses a great starting point for someone who’s new to AdWords. From ad creation to bidding strategies, keyword selection to trademark infringement, Google Academy for Ads covers all you need to know to set up a successful AdWords campaign.

Udemy: Ultimate Google AdWords Course – Stop SEO and Win with PPC

Udemy is an online repository for people interested in teaching and learning about a virtually endless range of topics—AdWords being one of them.

You can take video-based courses from a number of AdWords experts, some for free and others for a low price (usually around $12 each). Each course is structured like a college class, complete with a series of lectures and assignments for you to complete.

Udemy is a nice option because there’s a course for everyone. Some courses are broad, covering just the AdWords basics, and others are much more focused, covering topics like emotions and ad creation, mobile app advertising, and even as specific as video advertising for dance and yoga businesses.

The highest rated AdWords course on the site can be found here, though it was last updated in January 2017 – let’s hope a 2018 refresh is on the way!

Lynda: Google AdWords Essential Training

Similar to Udemy, Lynda is another online community where teachers and learners come together in the pursuit of knowledge. Lynda’s different from Udemy in that it’s a subscription-based service (with Udemy, you pay by the course).

This means you can potentially get more training for your money by using Lynda, as long as you’re dedicated to setting aside a few hours each week for your AdWords classes.

With Lynda, you can take video-based AdWords courses taught by industry leaders, ranging in topic and timespan. Courses on more focused topics, such as AdWords budgeting tips, are just 5 minutes long.

Other, more extensive courses, like those better suited for AdWords beginners, could last up to 3 hours, but can be completed on your own time. Lynda’s most popular general AdWords course is Google AdWords Essential Training.

LunaMetrics

If you’re prefer learning in a face-to-face environment or are looking to interact and collaborate with other people (in person), LunaMetrics offers the AdWords training you need. LunaMetrics facilitates conference-type events in cities across the U.S., open to anyone with the time (and budget—these courses aren’t cheap) to attend.

The greatest advantage of signing up for one of LunaMetrics’ multi-day AdWords trainings is the collaboration and networking available to you at the event. You’ll meet people from all different industries, with different levels of AdWords expertise, to bounce ideas off and maybe learn a few new tricks.

This is an especially good option if you’re able to attend on a company-sponsored basis because of the professional connections you’ll make and again, the steep price point (right now it costs around $500 to attend the 5-day AdWords training).

WordStream PPC University

WordStream is a Mecca for online advertisers—the online firm offers guidance to assist with all aspects of online marketing. WordStream’s PPC University comes equipped with a wide variety of free AdWords training modules.

If you’re new to AdWords, you can work your way through WordStream’s PPC 101 and 102 courses, which feature lessons written in a blog-style format that makes it feel like you’re learning from a real person and not a dry textbook. These lessons get into the jargon AdWords experts rely on and cover everything you need to know for a well-rounded AdWords education.

There are also webinars you can attend to expand your AdWords knowledge in a collaborative environment. Take some time to explore WordStream’s site, as you’ll probably find even more opportunities for learning about AdWords and online advertising in general.

Perry Marshall’s Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords

Perry Marshall is a well-known and respected member of the online marketing community. He’s been using AdWords since it was first released in 2002, and is a leading expert on the platform.

In his continued impartation of online advertising knowledge to the masses, Marshall has released his fifth edition of the Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords. This book comes at a low cost and includes free trainings from WebSavvy’s founder, Mike Rhodes. There’s a chapter for everything, including up-to-date AdWords strategies and functionalities.

Marshall’s book is nice to have on-hand when you’re creating or editing your campaigns, serving as a reference point when you find yourself in an AdWords conundrum.

Quick refreshers

If you’re experienced with AdWords and looking to refresh your knowledge of the platform (or are a beginner just looking for a general idea of what AdWords is about) you may not need to commit the time and money required for the aforementioned trainings. You can start with the following, relatively broader, guides and infographics on the topic:

The takeaway

The AdWords training that’s right for you may not consist of just one course or education provider. Finding the format that works for you will require some exploring and experimenting on your own.

Each training provider requires a different amount of time and monetary commitment, so make sure you’re realistic about what your schedule and budget can accommodate for.

But most of all, remember to have fun and get excited about the future success of your AdWords campaigns. AdWords is your key to the world of online advertising, and when you know how to use it correctly, your business will thrive.

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for No Risk SEO, an all-in-one reporting platform for agencies. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her content services at amandadisilvestro.com.

oscobo.png

6 innovative new search engines to keep an eye on

Plain and simple, Google isn’t the be-all and end-all of search engines, but it’s often easy to feel like it – perhaps nowhere more so than within the search industry itself.

And when you think of other noteworthy search engines besides Google, how many can you name? Bing? Yahoo? Maybe DuckDuckGo, if you’re privacy-conscious (or a bit of a tech hipster)?

Believe it or not, there are a number of other search engines out there, still crawling the web and making their mark. Since Google has so completely dominated the “all-purpose” search engine space, many of them have moved to occupy more niche areas, like academia, or sought to distinguish themselves in other ways.

As technology continues to have a hand in most everything that we do, it’s important to be aware of the other contenders in the industry. While they aren’t likely to revolutionize SEO overnight, they’re indicative of the trends and technology currently making their way through search, which could show up on a much larger scale later on.

If you’re feeling fed up with more “mainstream” search engines, you might even want to give some of them a go yourself.

Below is a break-down of six new search engines you should be keeping your eye on and why:

Oscobo

Oscobo is a privacy-focused search engine that made its debut in late 2015. You will see in the screenshot below that its landing page is almost identical to Google, showing results similar to what you would see on Google, but there is one major difference: it’s anonymous.

The other difference is that this particular engine targets those in the UK. Regardless, the engine is open to everyone and licenses its search index from Bing/Yahoo, so you’re getting the same great results without the snooping online.

It doesn’t log your IP address or drop any cookies, and generates revenue solely from PPC advertising, where the advertiser is paying for the intent behind someone typing a keyword.

Good Gopher

Good Gopher is a search engine for independent media and academia, created in 2015. This search engine boasts being “the world’s first privacy-protecting search engine that bans corporate propaganda and government disinformation.”

6 innovative new search engines to keep an eye on

It has been dubbed “the Internet for human knowledge”, supposedly allowing more independent and honest sites to rise to the top of search results – though as the screenshot above will demonstrate, many of these are still highly politically partisan. However, its roster also includes independent activists, journalists, scientists, bloggers, media websites, nonprofits for human interests, and more.

Users can “like” certain sites they enjoy to help them move up in the SERPs, flag any sites that may have slipped through, and the engine will not track your searches or search behavior (a trend seems to be brewing here…).

Semantic Scholar

Semantic Scholar is an academic research search engine, launched in November 2015. Adam Stetzer previously wrote about Semantic Scholar for Search Engine Watch, noting its use of artificial intelligence, data mining and natural language processing.

6 innovative new search engines to keep an eye on

This engine has been designed to be a search service for journal articles, using a combination of machine learning and semantic analysis to offer relevant results. In this way, the engine is called a “smart” engine. It will highlight which papers are most important using data mining (hence the AI and machine learning aspect of the engine) as well as make connections for you about other related papers (hence the “semantic” portion of the engine).

While this is currently used primarily for those in the field of scientific research, the implications of how this engine, or type of engine, could grow are huge.

Yippy

There’s only one word to describe this search engine: obscure. If you’re looking for hard-to-find websites, use Yippy. Essentially, Yippy searches other search engines for you. It does the hard digging so you don’t have to.

If you’re looking for very explicit hobby sites, government information, or specific research for an academic paper, you’ll find it on Yippy. Once you’ve done your search, you’re given the option to “preview” the website before you go directly there. It’s a helpful feature for browsing.

One of the coolest things about this search site is the ability to even further refine your searches. For example, I searched “search engine watch.” When I performed my search, I was given the option to choose exactly what I was looking for. I even got sidetracked looking at all the other things related to that search query (shown on the left-hand side).

You’d be surprised all that you’d find with this engine. Below shows a screenshot of the engine in use:

6 innovative new search engines to keep an eye on

Once again, notice that along the left side of the page you’re given recommendations for how to enhance your search! With this specificity, you can really dig deep and find exactly what you’re looking for – literally, exactly.

Omnity

Omnity is a research and semantic mapping search engine, launched circa 2016. The search engine aims to help you find related documents and therefore discover how different pieces are interconnected, specifically in the fields of science, medicine, engineering, law, and finance.

Although this search engine would be a dream for researchers, it can also help marketers who may have a client in one of these fields and are looking to create unique content. Note that in order to use the engine, you need to sign up to use the site on either the free or the paid enterprise plan.

6 innovative new search engines to keep an eye on

Webopedia

Not sure what a specific technical term means? You could check out Google’s results, or you could go to Webopedia. If you’re not already familiar with technical terms, then you’ll want to use this search engine. Webopedia is set up exactly how you’d expect—in encyclopedia format.

For example, I searched the word “software.” Here’s what showed up in the results:

6 innovative new search engines to keep an eye on

Unlike other sources, Webopedia breaks a term down so it makes sense to the average person who may not be technically literate.

The takeaway

In a world run by Google, we often forget there are other search engine options available. When you’re searching the vast black hole that is the Internet, you want accurate results, uncluttered data, and ways to reduce your search for specificity.

While Google is king of search and universally used, there is still plenty of room for search to evolve and become smarter and more specialized, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for the little guys who are finding ways to do it.

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for AgencyAnalyticsan all-in-one reporting platform for agencies. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her content services at amandadisilvestro.com.

kiddle-error-1024x576.png

4 safe search engines for kids

Young children are using the internet to search and find content more than they ever have before—but we can all understand some of the trade-offs that come with this technological advancement.

Typical search engines (think Google, Bing, etc.) do not default to kid-friendly settings, and it takes a lot of adult monitoring to make sure that nothing is appearing and getting clicked on that isn’t age-appropriate.

Luckily in recent years, more and more safe search engines for kids have been emerging. Today we are going to talk about four of the most popular safe and kid friendly search engines, and why they should be on your radar if you are a parent, teacher, or child development professional.

1. Kiddle

Kiddle.co is a “safe visual search engine for kids” developed by Google. It has all of the power and resources of Google, with all of the safe search filters that parents and educators need.

In addition to traditional web and image searches, they also have “Kimages” or popular kid images, and “Kpedia”, a kid’s version of Wikipedia. In addition, there is also a video search feature, a news search feature, and resources for parents and educators.

The bottom toolbar also has more information on kids’ safe search and keyword blocking, making the platform a very transparent and understandable alternative search option.

What is really awesome about platforms like Kiddle is that there are very different approaches to how content is displayed, depending on the word. For example, typing in the word “boob” will give kids this error message:

We can understand how this is limiting (what if a kid is genuinely curious about body parts in a scientific or sociological way?) However, as pointed out by Mashable, not all terms have this “oops, try again” landing page.

In fact, when the word “transgender” is searched there are definitions, “kids of trans” resources, and other helpful information for kids that may have first hand experience with transgender communities, or may just be genuinely curious about the term and people who identify as trans.

4 safe search engines for kids

2. Wacky Safe

The Microsoft version of a kid-oriented safe search engine is called Wacky Safe, and it comes in the form of an app that is specially made for PCs and Android phones. I’m sure you will not be surprised to find out that it is rated E for everyone.

4 safe search engines for kids

It claims to provide an “ultra-safe” environment so that parents and educators can be worry-free about children surfing the web. As with other safe search sites for kids it blocks inappropriate content and images, uses strict keyword filtering, and allows for searching of information that is “kid-friendly.”

The app also blocks and filters harmful websites that would typically be blocked by parental controls.

3. KidRex

KidRex has to be one of my favorites—if for no other reason than because the home page contains a wonderfully drawn image of a T-rex.

4 safe search engines for kids

This search engine, which is also powered by Google, is an independent organization that claims to be kid-centric with their “safe search for kids, by kids slogan.”

The organization (a division of Brent Media) was founded in 2016, and as you would expect, it addresses all of the parent/educator concerns that are associated with children searching online.

4. Safe Search Kids

You may think you’re experiencing deja vu at this point, but here is yet another available safe search engine that is geared toward kids and utilizes the power of…you guessed it…Google! (Seriously, can any company come out swinging and outshine Google in this area?).

Safe Search Kids is a download that is also available as an app, and can deliver filtered search results when your kids use the internet. This search tool automatically activates Google Safe Search—and ultimately helps to keep kids from landing on websites that contain inappropriate content.

4 safe search engines for kids

Some extra considerations

It is fantastic that these tools are available and that there are increasingly more ways for parents, educators, and child development professionals to be proactive in what their kids are seeing online.

With that said, these search engines are not foolproof (ever) and there are some things to consider as a parent or educator who is letting their children absorb all of the wonderful information that is available online.

Blocking out keywords could potentially block out useful or educational content

There is no good solution to this, but by hyper-filtering the internet, you could also be filtering and screening out some valuable and educational information. Think human reproduction, cultural genocide, or other historical events that could easily be erased from a G-Rated search.

Ultimately, there is no replacement for parents and educators supervising and teaching children how to use the internet. These tools can help, but they are not the ONLY solution to enhance children’s experience online.

Who is hand-picking?

Safe search that is geared towards children has always had to answer the question: who picks the inappropriate keywords? Who decides what content is child-friendly?

It should be no surprise that not all parents agree on what is appropriate, let alone different cultures, religions, and other social positions.

In other words, what Google or other search engines feel is appropriate or inappropriate does not necessarily capture every parent’s wishes. This makes it all the more important for parents and educators to continue to be proactive, even with these powerful tools.

While these tools are incredibly powerful and can allow children to be much more curious and independent online, there is really no substitution for parent and teacher involvement when it comes to learning about the internet and the power of search engines.

By teaching kids HOW search engines work, what they can do, and the kind of content that is fully at their fingertips, kids can feel empowered to research and learn in ways they never had imagined!

What are your thoughts on these safe search engines for kids? Have you tried any as a parent or teacher? Let us know in the comments section below!

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for NoRiskSEO, a full service SEO agency, and a contributor to SEW. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her services at amandadisilvestro.com.

video-content-marketing.jpg

Google videos vs. YouTube: Which is the best video search engine?

Video is booming as a content marketing medium.

People love watching videos online, and producing great video content is quickly becoming one of the most surefire ways to command attention and grow a following. In fact, by 2019, video is expected to drive an astonishing 80% of all internet traffic.

Clearly, it’s important for businesses to start working on their video content sooner rather than later. And while producing great content is essential, that’s only half the battle. For your videos to benefit your business, people have to be able to find them, and that involves optimization.

So which video search engines should you focus on optimizing for? This article will explore the differences between YouTube and Google Videos, the two biggest video search engines on the web.

Keep reading to learn more about the types of traffic these search engines will bring you – and why your videos might rank well in one but not the other.

How do people find your videos?

There’s no shortage of video search engines and video hosting sites on the Internet. YouTube, of course, is the web’s video giant, with 300 hours of new video uploaded every minute. Other video hosting sites like Daily Motion and Vimeo also get a significant amount of traffic.

Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat incorporate short video into their platforms as well. Social videos are gaining steam, and they may become a threat to YouTube in the future. For now, though, YouTube still dominates the online video world the way that Google dominates other search engines.

And while plenty of video searches happen through Google, most of them return YouTube videos. If you produce video content, there’s a good chance your watchers are finding you either through YouTube’s built-in search function or through Google Videos searches.

Google Videos returns mostly (but not exclusively) results from YouTube. This search for “video content marketing” also returned a video from lynda.com.

Comparing YouTube and Google Videos searches

If you search for the same keyword on YouTube and Google Videos, how similar will your results be? Not that similar, as it turns out. Take a look at the following example. Here are the first few results from a Google Videos search for “how to improve video SEO”:

Google videos vs. YouTube: Which is the best video search engine?

The top Google Videos results for the query “how to improve video SEO”

And here are the first few results for the same query on YouTube:

Google videos vs. YouTube: Which is the best video search engine?

The top YouTube results for the query “how to improve video SEO”

In this case, there’s no overlap at all between the top four results. Clearly, these two search engines don’t use the same criteria for ranking videos.

“Wait a minute,” you might say. “Doesn’t Google own YouTube?” Yes it does. In fact, Google has owned YouTube for more than ten years. However, the two sites serve distinct purposes. Someone who visits YouTube probably isn’t looking for the same thing as someone who types a question into Google.

Thanks to this difference in user intent, Google Videos and YouTube don’t use the same algorithms to rank videos, so it makes sense to think about them as two different search engines.

Why YouTube and Google Videos display different results

Earlier this year, Stone Temple released a study that found that YouTube and Google Videos return different top results for the same query more than half of the time. In fact, the more YouTube results show up in a Google Videos query, the more dramatically Google’s results differ from YouTube’s.

Google videos vs. YouTube: Which is the best video search engine?

Stone Temple found that the more YouTube videos appear in Google Videos results, the more results for that query vary between the two search engines. Source

The study goes on to explore the reasons behind these differences. In a nutshell, it comes down to both user intent and monetization.

Google as a video search engine

Specific searches

When someone goes to Google, they tend to be looking for something specific. They want to find out how to do something, track down a particular fact, or research the difference between several options. Google is most often used as a tool for finding other things, not as a medium in itself.

Immediate resources

The videos Google displays tend to be to-the-point and useful. Google’s video results tend to favor how-tos and other specific, immediate resources. Videos made for entertainment purposes are probably less likely to rank highly in Google, although of course this is dependent on the search query and the individual video.

Quality results

Google also places a great deal of importance on user satisfaction, since that’s what keeps people coming back. Thus, they’re likely to favor higher-quality videos over lower-quality ones, even if the creators of those lower-quality videos are bidding higher in AdWords than their competitors.

Of course, “quality” is a vague and somewhat subjective metric, and Google is famously tight-lipped about how their algorithm determines quality. The important thing to understand, though, is that Google won’t sacrifice good results for more ad money.

YouTube as a video search engine

Entertainment-focused

On the whole, people go to YouTube to find entertainment. Google wants to solve people’s problems and send them on their way as quickly as possible, but YouTube wants to keep users watching.

This is partly because view time is an indicator of a video’s quality. If people stick around and watch a whole video, it’s a good sign that that video is interesting, useful, or entertaining. View time also tends to be correlated with user satisfaction. People who find and watch lots of enjoyable, high-quality videos will probably keep coming back to YouTube.

Longer videos favored

For YouTube, view time is also linked to making money. The longer someone watches a video, the more ads YouTube gets to show them. This is also why YouTube tends to favor longer videos over shorter ones in its rankings.

These differences shed some light on why Google Videos and YouTube use different algorithms, but unfortunately, we still don’t know exactly what the differences between those algorithms are. Considering how closely Google guards its secrets, we’re not likely to find out anytime soon, either.

In the meantime, though, it’s important not to forget that the two search engines often have a lot of overlap in their results, even though they’re not exactly the same. Thus, it stands to reason that there are some general principles for ranking well in both places.

How to rank well on video search engines

First, and most obviously, create great content. Your bounce rate says a lot about the quality of your videos. If a lot of people hit the “back” button within the first ten seconds of a video, YouTube and Google will both assume it’s not very good. So do your best to start each video with a compelling opening, and then give people a reason to keep watching.

Include plenty of text-based information with your video. Search engines can’t watch a video and determine what it’s about, but they can read the accompanying text. Your title is important – it should be descriptive and use your main keyword, preferably at the beginning.

Take the time to write an in-depth description of your video as well. Captions and transcripts aren’t necessary to include, but they improve accessibility, and they could give you a keyword boost. Finally, tag your video with some useful and relevant tags.

Getting views and comments will help your rankings, but don’t be tempted to purchase these. YouTube has gotten smarter about figuring out when views and comments are fake. Promote your content through social media to get more engagement, and be patient – if you do great work, people will discover it in time.

So, which is better: YouTube or Google Videos?

At the end of the day, it’s hard to say whether YouTube is “better” than Google Videos, or vice versa. The two search engines tend to be used differently, but both of them are very popular, and both of them are valuable sources of traffic if you optimize your videos correctly.

The type of content you create could have an impact on your rankings in each search engine. For instance, if you make short videos geared towards answering specific questions, you might have an easier time gaining traction in Google. If you make longer, more entertainment-focused videos, you might see better results from YouTube. This is far from a hard-and-fast rule, though.

The main thing to remember? High-quality videos have a good chance of doing well in both search engines, regardless of other factors. We don’t know exactly which metrics Google Videos and YouTube use to determine rankings, but we do know viewers prefer well-made, informative, and entertaining videos.

Focus on making the best video content you can, and you’ll probably find that your rankings take care of themselves.

Have you noticed a difference in your videos’ rankings between different video search engines? Share your observations in the comments!

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for NoRiskSEO, a full service SEO agency, and a contributor to SEW. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her services at amandadisilvestro.com.