Look No Further For Premium Content

Thanks for stopping by Middlegame. The world of premium content is a busy one right now, so my updates on here are less frequent than I’d like. My days are spent creating premium content for clients. Original blog posts and social media signals are my specialty. From short articles to ebooks – I do it all. Please contact me if you’d like to discuss how I can improve your business with premium content. Thanks!

New ventures

Successful marketing comes from good research. That is true today, in the age of social media, blogs and e-mail, but it was also true from the beginning. To represent a company we need to understand it. We need to know what they do, why they do it, and what the customers like or don’t like about the whole process. My recent venture has me working for a client in the field of interior design. It is not a subject I have ever considered before, but it has quickly become a passion of mine. It did not take long for me to realize how important design and decor is to my life. I never knew that before of course, but that doesn’t make it untrue. I’m reminded of the scene in The Devil Wears Prada when an intellectual and naive intern learns a similar lesson.

I love when things I never considered turn out to be worth considering. I am still in the intern stage myself in this new venture, but it is with a great and supportive client and when it comes to the marketing success we will achieve, I dare say the cerulean sky is the limit.

Marketing in the Digital and Social Age: Optimized Content

This report explains our approach to content marketing. It is an effort comprised of blog posts, social signals, social engagement and paid search. The goal is to increase revenues by bolstering your company’s online reputation, building your social audience and improving your search rank. This is done with research, writing, social engagement and other tactics. This brief report describes what we do and how we do it, as well as explaining why we do the things we do.

Communicate With Your Customers, Or Lose Them

We are all in the publishing business. It doesn’t matter what product or service you provide; if you’re going to be successful today you have to publish. With the advent of social media and the ability to communicate with every customer individually, the advertising and marketing worlds have merged into something new, something powerful and exciting. It’s often referred to as optimized content marketing.

Optimized Content

When you set out to boost your organic page rank, increase your click-through rate and build your social media audience, you are engaging in an optimized content marketing campaign. These are different from traditional ad campaigns for several reasons, most notable is that, for most businesses, the campaign will never end. Communicating with your audience, gaining credibility as an expert in your industry, sharing your company culture and keeping customers and potential customers informed on trends, events and news in your industry is something that every business should be doing on a regular basis.

What is Organic Page Rank and Why is it Important?

Organic Page Rank is the left side of the page in a Google search. The right side of the page (and sometimes the top) are paid results achieved through AdWords campaigns. AdWords is Google’s only profitable venture. Last year the tech giant earned 95 percent of its $46 billion through AdWords. Pay-Per-Click campaigns can be a useful tool, but here are some statistics that show why organic search results are more worthy of your company’s time and effort:

  • 100% of searchers look at the organic results 1
  • 85% of searchers click on organic results over paid 2
  • Average CTR for the top organic result is 36% vs. 2% for the top paid result 3
  • Organic search is the #1 lead conversion tactic over email marketing and paid search 4

 

1 Google, http://www.google.com/competition/howgooglesearchworks.html

2 Optify, http://www.optify.net/inbound-marketing-resources/new-study-how-the-new-face-of-serps-has-altered-the-ctr-curve

3 Ibid

4 Forbes, http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007131

 

Organic search is trusted because the average user knows Google’s algorithm is not compromised by financial interests. The results deliver the most relevant and timely* result for that particular search.

Marketing and SEO companies have made millions selling quick fixes to companies, promising high results or convincing companies to invest in costly PPC campaigns. They have been successful at earning money at this (even though their promises have fallen flat) because of the mystique of Search Engine Optimization. A lot of black-hat techniques have emerged, such as link farming and keyword stuffing, that, in the past, produced some quick results. But those results did not last, and those companies that engaged in those campaigns, even though they hired others to do the actual work, have been penalized in the organic search rankings by Google and other search engines. Google changes its algorithm 500 times a year. They hire some of the smartest people on the planet. Rather than trying to outsmart them, we recommend understanding the larger picture and engaging in quality, informative campaigns that will produce real results that will last for the life of your company. It’s hard work, but it’s better for the customers, builds your reputation, puts you in a position to maintain your web presence for years to come, and, frankly, just makes sense.

Instead of thinking of the Internet as some mysterious mechanism that requires expensive and condescending so-called experts to help you achieve your business goals, think of it as the neighborhood where you grew up. On any given day, you knew who was nice and who was not nice. You knew who was honest. You knew who did what they promised, and who promised what they could not do. The Internet is a neighborhood. Just because the communication is digital does not mean integrity no longer applies. The rules are the same as in the real world. To improve your search rank you don’t have to engage in mysterious behavior, you just have to be relevant and timely* for potential customers searching for your product or service.

*Quote from the Official Google Blog:

“Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven or cool refreshing fruit on a hot summer’s day, are best when they’re fresh. Even if you don’t specify it in your search, you probably want search results that are relevant and recent.”

 

Google’s Freshness Update, rolled out in 2011, changed the nature of organic search. While a company’s blog had always been important up to that point, its relevance acquired a whole new depth with the Freshness Update.

Your company’s blog is the most important aspect of your digital presence. Nothing you do has more impact on your reputation, your social audience and your page rank. In short, your blog is the lifeblood of your business. Neglecting it is like telling potential customers you don’t want their business.

Google doesn’t rank web sites. It ranks web pages. Without fresh content, you simply aren’t relevant.

Content marketing is nothing new. The term has been used for decades to describe the “art of understanding exactly what your prospects and customers need to know, and delivering that content in a relevant and compelling way.” ­

–      The Content Marketing Institute

 

Optimized Content adds the next step to make your message relevant in the age of digital and social media. We achieve this through research, quality writing and social strategies. Ours is a three-pronged approach:

 

3 Ways to Optimize Content

 

1.)  Keywords – We analyze the keywords used to find your site and your competitors’, then we weave these keywords into all the content produced for your blog.

2.)  Research – We learn about your company’s goals and culture. We study your industry. We become experts in your field, and write about industry trends, events and any news about your company that is relevant to your customers and prospects. These high-quality blog posts become the engine that drives your online success, building your reputation and increasing conversions.

3.)  Social Signals – All of the quality content produced is in turn broadcast, promoted and discussed in the appropriate social media channels. This promotes the blog while at the same time building the social audience.

 

Social Signals

Why are Social Signals so important?

This chart shows the increasing relevance of social media activity when it comes to Search Engine Results. Your customers and prospects expect to engage with companies, or at least determine the company culture, before making a purchase, and Google’s algorithms reflect this growing demand.

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 1.40.20 PM

source: Searchmetrics

Conclusion

To maintain relevance in search and a connection with prospects and customers, your business must maintain a quality blog. Today, every business is in the publishing business. What you publish and how you publish it will determine the success of your web presence, social audience and online reputation. This is a long-term effort, one that will continue for years. There are no quick fixes to avoid the hard work involved. It is a campaign to let your customers and prospects get to know your company, its culture, its goals, successes and challenges. These quality blog posts will then be promoted through the appropriate social channels, ensuring your company takes advantage of the growing number of potential customers who choose to begin their shopping efforts through social media. Publishing quality, fresh, optimized content is the key to marketing success in today’s digital and social environment.

 

An Optimized Content Campaign. Today. For Free.

You probably already have the resources and talent to begin your own Optimized Content Campaign. You have the data that can be used to inspire the content. You have the know-how to create that content, and you have the platform on which that content can be published to boost your Page Rank, build your audience and increase your revenues. So what are you waiting for?

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 11.58.34 AM

For the purpose of this exercise I am going to assume the role of owner of a fictitious company called South Philly Animal Hospital. I chose South Philly because that’s my home and an Animal Hospital because my girlfriend and I recently adopted a cat and animals are now a big part of my life. So in this exercise I will begin an Optimized Content Campaign using nothing but the resources and information already at my disposal. I don’t own an animal hospital but I know enough about the business to accurately predict some basic resources that would be available to the company. This campaign will cost me zero dollars but it will do what all effective Optimized Content Campaigns should do, which is to 1.) Raise the company’s profile in the eyes of its audience, 2.) Increase the size of that audience, 3.) Increase traffic to the company website, and last but not least, 4.) Increase revenue for the company.

Disclaimer – I should add a quick note here about these campaign results. The tactics I use are White Hat tactics. That means they follow the guidelines set forth by Google, Yahoo! and Bing. I don’t participate in link farm schemes, keyword stuffing and stacking, cloaking, page swapping, blog spam, cookie stuffing or any other shortcut techniques. I don’t believe shortcuts help any company in the long run, and I only work with companies who care about the long run. Organic, genuine, content-based techniques will boost your Page Rank, build your audience and increase your profits. It won’t happen overnight. But when it does happen (the process can take years) your company will maintain its online presence and your reputation will be secure.

So back to the South Philly Animal Hospital. I have decided to run a 30-day campaign. In that 30 days my goals are as follows: 1.) add 50 followers to my Twitter account, 2.) generate 100 likes on my Facebook account, 3.) increase traffic to my website by 20 percent and, finally, 4.) secure one new client directly from the efforts of the campaign.

On the face of it, these goals may seem modest. Especially if you’ve been thinking about spending some money on a campaign and have been interviewing a few Content Consultants. Our goals could be more robust, sure. If we devoted more time and money to this campaign we could aim a bit higher. But remember, I’m doing this with resources I already possess, using my own time and spending exactly zero dollars. Considering all this, these goals are laudable.

Where to begin?

Step 1 – Company review

During this process it is important to keep in mind that the content you create is the engine that drives the entire campaign. A great deal of time should be invested in determining what that content should be before any other work is done for the campaign. Whether that content is text, images, video or infographics, it must stimulate the audience. It must be interesting or entertaining, preferably both. So to mine that content we must first look inside ourselves (not our souls, this is not poetry. Inside our company).

I look back into the past three months at the South Philly Animal Hospital. Ten weeks ago, I purchased a new blood chemistry analyzer for the hospital. Previously, our patients had to wait for blood results for their pets because the samples were sent out to a facility for analysis. But with the new machine we can now conduct those tests in-house and provide our clients an easy-to-read printout of those results just a few minutes after the blood is drawn. This is a great convenience to our clients and something I wrote about in our monthly newsletter. But I am going to repurpose this information for our campaign and get even more traction from this investment.

Another recent event at my company that I think is worthy of a blog post is the retirement of our longtime employee Carolyn. I bought the business ten years ago from a retiring vet and when I bought it Carolyn was part of the deal. She had been the receptionist for Dr. Schmidt for more than thirty years, and continued on as my receptionist for more than ten. A vibrant, energetic woman, Carolyn had decided to hit the road with her husband of fifty years in their newly-acquired RV, so she had put in for her retirement. I think a blog post about her contributions to the hospital, and a reflection back on what things were like when she first started the job more than forty years ago, will make for an interesting read.

I won’t labor the point further. I think you get the idea. Every business has things that can be turned into effective blog posts. It can be about the company or the people, even the office space. There are always things to write about. So in my review of the company for the past three months I’ve uncovered six items that I feel confident I can turn into effective blog posts. Six posts are sufficient for a 30-day campaign. In fact, four is fine so long as they are quality posts, things that your audience will find interesting or entertaining, or both. But I had my heart set on doing two posts a week during the campaign, so my goal is eight posts. To find more data I might be able to use I look to my industry.

Step 2 – Industry Review

No matter what industry you are in, there are always events, trends, topics or controversies that can be mined for content. Currently, in the business of veterinary medicine, the topic of feline care comes up often. For many years, there were more cat guardians than dog guardians in America. In 2012, the dog people edged out the cat people (36 to 30 percent), but there are still more than 36 million cats cared for in American homes and the average cat person has at least two cats. The problem is that cats are much less frequently brought in for medical care. This is most likely due to the fact that cats are more adept at hiding their illnesses and pain from people than are dogs. It is part of my job as a veterinarian to encourage people to bring their cats in for regular checkups. This is something I feel strongly about because I have devoted my life to animal care and I know there are many cats suffering needlessly because the people who love and care for them are not trained to diagnose health problems. This, I decide, is worthy of a blog post. In fact, I’ve decided to make this the campaign runner.

The Runner

The runner is mini campaign inside our Optimized Content Campaign. Think of it as a theme. I call it a runner because it runs throughout the length of the larger campaign, popping its head up intermittently to draw attention, spark new interest and elicit an action or response from the audience. I’m, calling this runner Love Cats. (Cure song reference is a bonus).

So that gives me seven topics to cover for my blog posts. I still need one more, but it’s fine at this point to move forward with the campaign, keeping in mind that something will occur in the next few weeks that will provide me with that final inspiration.

The Work

Okay, it’s time to buckle down and work. Writing each post will take on average about 4 to 6 hours. I find it easier to outline the story of each post, noting any interesting facts or details that should be included. For example, Carolyn’s retirement story is going to reminisce about the veterinary industry forty years ago. A quick search online brings up dozens of photos from the era and several have Creative Commons licenses, which means I can legally publish them on my blog.

There is no perfect method for writing. Everyone has their own pace, their own process and their own routine. But if you are serious about improving your own work, I highly recommend the book, Writing For Story. Written by a friend of mine, two-time Pulitzer winner Jon Franklin, the book tells in plain language how best to identify the critical parts that exist in all stories, and how to go about writing to maximize their effect on the reader. The book has been required reading for years for anyone studying writing or journalism in colleges across the country.

Share the Workload

At the South Philly Animal Hospital, we have an internship program. Every summer I hire students, both college and high school. The positions are unpaid but the students get to see how animal care businesses work in the real world. The students we get are enthusiastic, bright, eager to learn and just a pleasure to be around for an old curmudgeon like myself. These students are often well spoken, well read and capable writers. I frequently use their talents to help with my newsletter or with content updates to the website. So I’ve decided to task an especially bright college student named Megan to write two of the campaign’s blog posts. Giving added responsibility to the inexperienced often produces wonderful consequences. Megan has taken on this assignment with vigor, and in a few days has already shaped the posts into something better than I could have done.

I get up earlier than usual and devote two solid hours in the morning to writing. I cut out some TV time in the evening and devote four hours on Saturday and again on Sunday. In a week, my posts are finished and ready to be published.

The Strategy

I’ve already identified my goals:

1.) add 50 followers to my Twitter account, 2.) generate 100 likes on my Facebook account, 3.) increase traffic to my website by 20 percent and, finally, 4.) secure one new client

By having clearly defined goals the strategy of the campaign is already beginning to show itself. Our goals involve two separate social media accounts, our website and new business. So our strategy is going to involve spreading our efforts across these areas. That means the blog posts, which will be published to the website, will have to be pushed out to the Facebook and Twitter accounts as well. Once these accounts are established this is a simple process.

Twitter

I will publish the full post to the website and then remove what I think is a good sentence that explains the subject of the post while at the same time grabs the reader’s attention. For our first post, titled Love Cats, I pull out the following sentence:

“I hate to tell people their cats have been suffering all along, but it’s something I do nearly every day.”

Then I add a short intro that talks about the campaign:

Love Cats, a campaign to end cat suffering, at SPAH.

I put them together and add up the characters – 127. That leaves enough room for a shortened link that points back to my site and the full post, all within the 140 character limit of Twitter.

Facebook

Facebook is more flexible when it comes to sharing your content. I recommend pulling out a paragraph, or if necessary rewriting a paragraph that summarizes the point of the post and offers any details that might entice people to follow the update back to your site and read the entire post. For example, our Love Cats Facebook update could look like this:

Hi Friends,

Exciting things are happening at South Philly Animal Hospital. In our continued effort to bring good health and long lives to your beloved pets we have put together a month dedicated to feline health. Cats are great companions to so many of us. They offer affection and comfort and require little from us but some healthy food and some caring attention. Unfortunately, thousands of cats are suffering needlessly from undiagnosed health problems such as gingivitis, a condition that left untreated causes chronic pain and other health problems. As part of our Love Cats month here at SPAH we are offering free dental checkups to all of our feline friends. To learn more, check out our site: www.spah.com.

Once our content has been packaged for our social media channels we’re ready to post to the site. We publish the blog post, simultaneously pushing the content through our Facebook and Twitter accounts. As the owner of a busy animal hospital, I haven’t had time to keep up with the rapidly developing world of social media. I only have two accounts, and even those are frequently deprived of my attention for weeks on end. Were I to hire a reputable Content Consultant, however, I would quickly learn that this is unacceptable and that any business looking to expand today needs a robust social media presence. It is no longer optional and the hours or cash you devote to this effort will reward you with increased profits in the end. Even for basic SEO purposes, social signals are now topping the charts when it comes to variables viewed by search engines to determine Page Rank. Social media has redefined marketing and there is no indication this trend will do anything but grow in the coming years. If you’re asking yourself if you need a Google+ account, the answer is yes. Is Pinterest really necessary? Yes. Why do I have to bother with Instagram? Because the bigger your audience the more attractive your company looks to potential customers. Should I have a Facebook business page? Yes. Should I spend precious weekend hours gathering information for quality updates and Tweets? Yes. It is crucial that the audience you have sees you as an expert and authority in your field, and it is crucial this audience is never stagnant. Constantly push out fresh content and constantly build your audience. Like I said at the start of this exercise, it can be done for free, using only the resources you have at hand. I never said it would be easy. You can of course pay someone to handle this workload. But be wary of anyone making big promises or shortcuts. This is time consuming labor, even for the experts.

Come back soon to see the next step in our South Philly Animal Hospital Campaign

 

 

 

 

 

 

Made in the UK

I was thinking the other day, what drives people to subject themselves to suffering and abuse? This thought came to me as I was watching a Hell’s Kitchen rerun. Here’s a taste:

Gordon Ramsay is one of my all-time favorites. His attitude and knowledge (and rage) make him TV gold in the reality-show era. But why anyone would subject themselves to his scorn is beyond me. After this show I watched some MasterChef, another favorite and another show featuring Gordon Ramsay (he also stars in The F Word, Ramsay’s Best Restaurant, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Hotel Hell, Gordon’s Great Escape, Gordon Behind Bars and Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course – the man’s prolific).

Later, I saw MasterChef on again. But this time when I switched the channel it was a much more toned down affair, and Gordon Ramsay was nowhere to be seen. I learned that the show was first made in the UK and then remade for an American audience. The British version was all about the food and the heartfelt aspirations of the chef contestants. There was none of the tension that comes when ill-seasoned food touches Ramsay’s lips and his face contorts into a sneer. I thought that made sense. Americans like the theatrical. We’re never too concerned with substance.

But the revelation that MasterChef was a British show got me thinking. How many of our shows were actually first made in the UK?

It didn’t surprise me that Antiques Roadshow started across the pond. But I was shocked to learn that Three’s Company was on the list. And The Cosby Show. Sanford and Son. All in the Family. Some of the greatest classic American shows were actually remakes of British versions. How could this be? I thought the one good thing we could still make was TV. Too Close for Comfort was a British show? Huh? The Office? (If you think Steve Carell is funny you have to watch Ricky Gervais in the British version).

Well if we didn’t invent the sitcom then I thought for certain the reality show era was something we could take credit (be blamed) for. Right? Wasn’t it ushered in with shows like American Idol? (nope, that was made in the UK first. So was America’s Got Talent and The X Factor).

I went back to my list of Gordon Ramsay shows (exquisite reality fare) and realized that they were all (with the exception of Hotel Hell) made first in the UK. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me, considering that Ramsay is British. (Interesting note: Ramsay’s fame, while earned, came about because of another British show called Boiling Point which followed him as he quit his job as executive chef at Aubergine and started his own restaurant for the first time back in 1998. If the cameras had not been rolling on Ramsay at that time, he would most likely have never become the celebrity he is today and would most certainly not be featured on so many American shows that you can pretty much spend every night of the week watching Ramsay scream at some poor soul who undercooked the lamb).

It’s a little disheartening, to learn that thing into which I put so much of my American pride was actually made in the UK. I don’t know what to do with my evenings now. I feel cheated. Worse, I feel like a fraud. A fraud watching fraudulent content on a Japanese TV while sitting on my Chinese couch, drinking my Italian wine and spilling it occasionally on my jeans, which were made in Vietnam. I guess I could watch Netflix. They have a great new show called House of Cards. Oh wait…

But then it struck me. After all, this spiel started with me wondering about the people who subject themselves to abuse just for the chance to get on TV. Maybe that’s what America does best. We put ourselves out there to be judged. Sure, we’re a little crude and obnoxious. But we’re doing it. When that company offered to send someone to Mars who signed up first? Americans. Sure it will be a torturous trip and when you arrive you will die a slow lonely death surrounded by red dust. But you will at least have done something. And that’s what we’re all about. Doing something that others are too proud to do. We are rude and crude and no longer care who knows it. We sell it because it’s the last thing we have to sell. We manufacture shame. It’s our last marketable commodity.

 

The digital classroom

Below is a guest post I did for an agency client. The subject was education. Inspired by a recent article in the Economist, I wrote about how technology is (finally) changing the way we learn and teach. It’s fascinating to think about what the classroom will look like in fifty years, about how specialized each and every student’s curriculum will become so that our strengths will be capitalized upon. There will be some very smart, very talented people roaming this earth when we are all dead and gone. I wonder what kinds of things they will imagine for their future generations…

Adaptive Learning is Changing the Classroom

Ever since the invention of the typewriter, technology has had an impact on the American classroom.  But while promises have been made and money has been invested, little has changed the way students learn. Until now.

According to a recent article in The Economist, technology developed for social networks and online games is offering the first measurable results in the edTech industry. Called adaptive learning, the method allows each student to be taught individually, on their own schedule and, sometimes, with their own curriculum. Data is tracked over time and adapted to optimize the performance of the student.

classroomfuture

Programs like Reading Eggs use game technology to encourage students to learn. Each lesson in spelling or mathematics progresses the pupil further along a cartoon map, and rewards them with eggs, which can be used to make virtual purchases for their customized avatar.

Education Tech Investments Surpassed $1 Billion in 2012

The Economist article cites some of the movement’s boosters, and they include heavy hitters in the worlds of tech, venture capital and entertainment. Bill Gates has long been a proponent of computers in the classroom and steers some of his charity’s cash toward innovative education programs. Rupert Murdoch, the owner of NewsCorp, is also leading the charge, though albeit from a for-profit standpoint. Murdoch’s company Amplify is one of the industry leaders, offering software programs promising to revolutionize students’ ability to learn. With the advent of cloud computing, which has lowered costs, and the development of massive social platforms like Facebook, which have paved the way, technology is finally having a real impact on education. San Jose-based Rocketfish, a collection of charter schools, is producing some of the most eyebrow-raising results with its flipped classroom approach, according to an article in EdSource. By having students view online tutorials at home and then work through problems in class with the help of a teacher, their low-income students are now outperforming the wealthiest schools in the state.

 

The Players in Adaptive Learning

Dimension U – maker of educational video games

Amplify – Developer of games, assessment tools and tablet-based curriculums

Noodle – Creator of integrated computer-based tools for students, including tools for writing, researching, collaborating and note-taking.

Sharemylesson.com – social network for teachers

 

Education is big business. And while there are privacy concerns regarding data collected about students, an archaic procurement process for implementing new tools in the classroom, and a worry among teachers that investors want to replace humans with computer programs, there is incentive for investors to carry on. Adaptive learning is providing some encouraging results, and with the continuing development of online games and large social networks, the trend is likely to continue.

 

Author: Jason McKee

 

Infographic credit: Visual.ly

 

 

Ready or Not, AdWords Enhanced Campaigns Coming July 22

Google’s flagship advertising product will roll out a new look and function in just a couple of weeks. This completely revamped AdWords promises to change the way your company advertises, and may also change the way you shop for years to come. 

What is AdWords? Most people know Google for its search engine, but Google doesn’t make money with search. In 2012, the tech giant raked in $46 billion. Ninety-five percent of that (43.6 billion) came from AdWords. (Google Investor Relations)

Enhanced Campaigns, a breakdown

The new AdWords has expanded its features to include context in its formula. This allows for three basic customizations, or adjustments, for advertisers. It allows them to alter their bids based on the customer location, device and time of day.

These changes have come about because of the upsurge in mobile devices that we now use to browse the web. This has created a new environment in advertising, one never seen before and one that will likely change forever the way we shop, according to Jason Spero, Global Sales Director for Google.

“So, because (we) have this connectivity, in new places and new contexts, which is all about (our) time and location when you’re using that connected device, it enables all these really rich new experiences which are just starting to be built,” Spero said in a video promoting the Enhanced Campaigns.

For your business, it means you can create new ways to interact with potential customers. It means if you’re a retailer you can offer customized ads for people searching on devices within 300 feet of your store. If someone is walking around the city wondering where to shop for winter jackets, your restaurant can push an ad to them offering a discount along with directions to your business.

“We designed Enhanced Campaigns as a flexible way for marketers to reach these users in the different contexts that they’re in, whether it’s a specific location, or by time of day, or by device type,” said Susan Wojcicki, Google’s senior vice president of advertising, said on the Inside Adwords blog.

The new AdWords has been available for a few months, and many agencies have taken advantage of its flexible tools to create successful campaigns for their clients. But on July 22, the rollout will be complete and all AdWords users will have to use these new enhanced features. It will take some investment of time to adapt to these changes, but it appears the new features will be a benefit to advertisers because smartphones and tablets continue to rise in popularity.

Dollars and Cents

Some of the most interesting features of Enhanced Campaigns allow advertisers to adjust their bids based on the context of the target customer. This means you can increase your bid rate for ads that appear on phones versus computers, or you can adjust that same rate based on the time of day in which the ad appears. This enables a company to focus on the location and time of day it feels its service may be most likely to suit the needs of a Google searcher. If you increase your bid rate for mobile devices from 5 to 8 p.m. within one mile of your restaurant, more people searching at that time in that location will see your ad and that might mean a busier dinner service at your restaurant.

According to the AdWords team at Google, this means a company can lower their CPC (cost-per-click) spend while still increasing their (CTR) click-thru or conversion rate. Basically, they say you will have more effective advertising for less money, and while enough data is not yet available to support this, it does seem plausible considering an advertiser’s ability to narrow their spending to very specific markets.

Additional tools included in the rollout include customizable ad extensions. These brief lines of text at the bottom of an ad can now offer specific deals for shoppers located nearby, or a click-to-call feature connecting the user to the business by phone. They can also be used to display recommendations from third parties, such as from a magazine review or, potentially, a testimonial from a satisfied customer. This gives an advertiser another dimension of information to deliver to a potential buyer.

There is a deal available now based on your location and the time of day, and to entice you further here is what others have said about our business.

The user feels the ad has been custom made for them, which in a sense, it has. It’s been enhanced, and that is a word we will be hearing quite a lot in the coming years from the folks over at Google’s most profitable venture, AdWords.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boost your SEO in three easy steps

3 things you should do today for SEO

By Jason McKee, Director of Optimized Content for Middlega.me

seo-icon

Create

Write something about your business. If you own an animal hospital, write about the issues your industry is facing. Maybe there is a rise in stray or abused animals in your city. Maybe a new drug has been developed to combat Lyme disease in dogs. Or maybe you just have some trivia that your audience would find interesting. When I adopted my cat I learned she had herpes. I also learned cats spread herpes through sneezing, and that while a common affliction among strays, the disease is not that serious for felines. This information is interesting to cat lovers, but it also accomplishes two other SEO goals: 1.) keep your content fresh 2.) position yourself as an expert. These two rules should be your mantra when trying to boost your online audience. Publish fresh, original, quality content as often as possible, and make sure you know what you’re talking about.

Share

With a quality blog post written, the hard work is done. But without proper distribution, no one will see what you’ve written.

“It’s important, as part of your daily business, that social media channels are given some attention. This is a direct line to your audience and is quickly becoming the most important variable in Search.”

A company does not have to have a presence on every available social platform, but as a professional SEO marketer, I recommend it. Yes, it is time consuming. But nothing worthwhile comes easy. Think of it as an investment in your business.

twitter-icon_large Write a quick sentence describing your blog post and tweet it with a link to your site

facebook-icon_large Paste the top two paragraphs onto your Facebook wall with a link back to the article

linkedin-icon_large Publish the entire post on LinkedIn to share with professionals in your circle and in your industry

 

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Google+ stands to become the most important social circle of them all. If this article inspires you to do nothing else, create and expand your Google+ profile. Which leads nicely into the third thing you can do today to boost your SEO…

Update

While SEO focuses on search, your physical presence is getting more and more important. Local Search is rapidly evolving to account for the increasing number of searches performed on mobile phones and tablets. Google is tweaking its formula to recognize that when someone is sitting at a desk looking for a pizza restaurant their search results should be different than someone walking in the street at lunchtime performing a similar search. The first candidate may receive results which detail delivery specials, while the second may receive offers from the closest pizza restaurant, enticing them to turn the corner and walk inside. Even if you’re not in the pizza business, this Local Search revolution will effect your business as well. And to ensure you’re positioned to take advantage of these changes, it is imperative you update your listing at Google Places, which is the database from which Local Search draws its information.

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These are the three basic steps for boosting the SEO of your company. There are other, more technical aspects to the work, but if you focus on these steps you will build organic search results, a social audience, and a reputation as an expert. That’s enough, in today’s rapidly changing digital world, to keep your business growing. And in case you were wondering, no, you cannot catch herpes from a sneezing cat.