Friday, 30 June 2017

Bing Introduces Personalized Image and Video Feeds by @MattGSouthern

Bing has introduced the ability to personalize your image and video feeds based on interests and favorites.

When you visit the Bing homepage, and navigate to the images or video sections before conducting a search, you will see the “Feed” tab.

Bing’s video and image feeds are based on trending searches. Now you can personalize either of those feeds by signing in, then selecting some interests or saving favorite images.

To save a favorite image or video, just click on the ‘+’ icon in the bottom left corner. Bing will then curate more images based on your personal tastes. You can see everything you’ve saved in the ‘Saves’ tab at the top of the page.

Once Bing starts to understand what you’re interested in, it will start suggesting other interests you may want to follow. These suggestions will change every day, encouraging users to check their feeds on a regular basis.

You can click on any interest to see the content that is curated for that topic. If you like what you see then you can follow that interest.

Personalized image and video feeds will be synced across devices, as long as you’re signed into your account.

In July, Microsoft will be bringing Bing’s ‘Interest Feeds’ to the new Skype app on Android. These can be accessed by tapping on the “Find” panel within any chat window.

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Author: Matt Southern

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Google AdWords Editor 12 is Now Available: Here’s What’s New by @MattGSouthern

Version 12 of Google’s AdWords Editor is now available worldwide to all advertisers.

In addition to a new design, new features in AdWords Editor 12 include custom rules, faster account downloads, support for bidding to maximize conversions, and more.

Refreshed Design

Google has updated the design of AdWords Editor to make the look and feel more consistent with the rest of Google’s products.

The new material design will not change how AdWords Editor is used, the update is purely cosmetic.

Custom Rules

AdWords Editor 12 allows advertisers to set custom rules for ads according to the advertiser’s own best practices.

For example, if you want all of your search ads to contain four or more sitelinks as Google suggests, you can set that as a custom rule. AdWords Editor will then alert you of campaigns or ad groups that are not following your custom rules.

Faster Downloads

When you update AdWords editor to version 12, more of your data from the previous versions will be transferred over. This will result in your account information downloading faster than before.

Bidding to Maximize Conversions

Google’s ‘Maximize Conversions‘ technology, which was introduced to the web version of AdWords last month, will now be available in AdWords Editor 12.

Maximize Conversions automatically sets the ideal bid for each ad auction, which helps you get as many conversions per day as possible according to your daily budget.

Other Features

Other features that are new to AdWords Editor include the ability to upload 20 images and/or videos for Universal App Campaigns, and new customization fields for responsive ads.

The following optional fields have been added for responsive ads: “4:1 logo,” “Price prefix,” “Promotion text,” and “Call to action text.”

You can start using these new features by downloading the new AdWords Editor here.

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Author: Matt Southern

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Daily Search Forum Recap: June 30, 2017

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

Other Great Search Forum Threads:

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Author: (Barry Schwartz)

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SearchCap: Google AdWords Editor, Danny Sullivan podcast & conversions

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:

Search News From Around The Web:

Local & Maps

Link Building



SEM / Paid Search

Search Marketing

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Author: Barry Schwartz

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Marketing Day: In-house SEO, featured snippets & Facebook targets spammers

Here’s our recap of what happened in online marketing today, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web.

From Marketing Land:

Online Marketing News From Around The Web:


Business Issues

Content Marketing

Copywriting, Design & Usability



Email Marketing

General Internet Marketing

Internet Marketing Industry

Mobile/Local Marketing

Social Media


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Author: Amy Gesenhues

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2017: The year in social marketing so far

The social marketing landscape shifts so quickly that a half-year review isn’t so much ridiculous as almost requisite, if only to keep track of what has changed already in 2017.

When 2016 ended, Snapchat was a social darling, Facebook videos could be watched uninterrupted, and Instagram’s Stories product was smaller than Snapchat’s original. Then 2017 happened. More specifically, these things happened:

Snap went public

Secrecy had always been part of Snapchat’s allure, but when the app’s parent company Snap filed to go public in February, it lost some of that mystique, in part because it appeared to be losing its war with Instagram. Soon after Instagram cloned Snapchat’s Stories feature, Snapchat’s audience growth slowed. By April 2017, more people were checking out Instagram Stories daily than opening Snapchat. Those stats alone would have made for a rough start to 2017. But in May, Snap said that its Q1 2017 revenue slid from the Q4 2016 mark because of seasonality, a trend that’s normal for a seasoned ad business but unusual for an upstart.

Instagram’s Stories audience overtook Snapchat’s

After closing 2016 by making run at Snapchat’s user base, Instagram opened 2017 by making a run at its rival’s advertiser base when it rolled out Snapchat-style vertical video ads between people’s Stories. Then in April — two months after Snapchat disclosed its daily user count for the first time — Instagram revealed that more people were using Instagram Stories daily than Snapchat. Then in June, a month after Snapchat said that its daily audience growth had rebounded by 5 percent from Q4 2016 to Q1 2017, Instagram announced that Stories’ daily audience had grown by 25 percent from April to June.

Facebook rolled out mid-roll ads

Views are nice, but revenue is nicer. After building itself up as a legitimate alternative to YouTube for creators and publishers to attract audiences for their videos, Facebook finally started testing a way for companies to make money from the videos they post on the social network. Now it’s a question of whether advertisers shaken by YouTube’s “adpocalypse” are comfortable with Facebook’s limited controls over which videos feature their mid-roll ads.

Twitter gained users, lost money

In the movie “National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation,” Chevy Chase tries to plug a leak in the Hoover Dam, only to have another one open. Twitter is Chevy Chase. The company has finally re-accelerated its audience growth, but now its total revenue and advertising revenue are in decline. And while Twitter has added more money-making ad products, like ads in Periscope, it has also lost one of its most marquee sales opportunities after the NFL opted not to renew its regular season live-streaming deal with the company.

LinkedIn turned on retargeting

Business-wise, LinkedIn had stayed pretty quiet since being bought by Microsoft in 2016. Then the the business-centric social network finally opened itself up to retargeted advertising through a new program called Matched Audiences. While LinkedIn isn’t doing anything that hasn’t already been done by Facebook, Google, Twitter — really, by everyone — it can better cater to B2B marketers.

Pinterest put a new Lens on visual search

Pinterest wants to do for visual search what Google has done for text-based search. But for a search engine to be truly visual, not only should the results be visual, but so should the queries. And so in February, Pinterest rolled out Lens, a feature in its app that convert a phone’s camera into a search bar. A few months later, Pinterest said that it would use the same computer vision technology powering Lens to target ads on its platform.

Facebook’s Messenger raised chatbots’ profiles

2016 was supposed to be a big year for chatbots. Luckily for them, it was not. But 2017 may be after Facebook’s Messenger added a Discover tab to make people more aware of the chatbots and businesses on its platform.

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Author: Tim Peterson

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Facebook targets individual spammers with latest news feed tweak

Facebook is getting more tactical in its war against spammy links invading people’s news feeds. After pinpointing individual spammy links, it is now going after individual users who post the most spammy links.

Facebook has noticed that “a tiny group of people on Facebook” regularly and publicly post a lot of links to spammy pages, like clickbait articles and fake news stories. Now it is going to reduce the reach of those individual’s posts in people’s news feeds, as well as the links they share more frequently than the average person, the company announced on Friday.

Facebook’s move will only apply to the links to individual articles shared by these targeted accounts and will not affect entire domains, Pages, videos, photos, check-ins or status updates posted by those accounts, according to a Facebook blog post announcing the news.

“Most publishers won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed,” according to Facebook’s blog post.

The publishers that would be affected are the ones who get a lot of traffic from these accounts that Facebook has identified as spammers. In the case of those publishers, articles linked to by the spammers “may see a reduction” in reach on Facebook, according to the company.

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Author: Tim Peterson

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No longer brick-and-mortar vs. online retail: Customers view a ‘single lens’

While people relish the convenience and vast inventory available via online shopping, today’s shoppers are still drawn to physical store locations to tangibly touch items, make purchases and process returns or exchanges. Rather than pitting the two channels against each other, retailers can secure a much larger wallet share by giving consumers the best of both worlds through the adoption and use of new technologies.

By offering complementary benefits, as well as engaging customers via mobile, both in-store and online retailer channels can strengthen overall customer engagement and brand affinity. And the best news for retailers taking an integrated approach: higher revenues and profitability.

Major retailer players from both sides of the aisle are pushing hard to expand their presence both online and in-store. Just this month, Amazon made a major move in spreading its physical presence with the purchase of Whole Foods, thereby seeking to reinvent the retail customer experience with its supply chain, logistics and customer service prowess. Walmart is stepping up its efforts in the online world with its announcement of an acquisition of online retailer Bonobos on the heels of its earlier purchase of online women’s apparel retailer ModCloth in March.

So what does this all mean for specialty retailers, and how can they take a best-of-both-worlds approach through a unified lens? Let’s take a closer look.

Don’t ignore the ‘touch-and-feel’ aspect

For some online-only concepts, corporate executives are realizing that the “look before you buy” experience requires a certain level of physical presence. As an example, online-only mattress company Casper began a partnership with Target earlier this year to maximize its reach to consumers looking for a touch-and-feel experience prior to purchase. Similarly, online discount eyewear powerhouse Warby Parker continues to add brick-and-mortar stores to its portfolio.

On the flip side, Amazon just launched Prime Wardrobe, which is a new service described as “bringing the fitting room to you, so you can try on the latest styles and find your perfect fit before you buy.” Prime members can order clothes, shoes and accessories without an upfront charge and get seven days for a test drive. By all accounts, this is challenging the old school brick-and-mortar model by giving apparel consumers the ease of shopping online combined with the ability to experience merchandise firsthand.

Added offline incentives based on online purchases

Major brands are looking at incentives to drive online sales while pushing the shopper to the physical location through discounts on purchases, free or heavily discounted add-on items and superior in-store customer service. Walmart recently introduced Pickup Discount, which offers shoppers a discount on eligible online-only items that are shipped to individual Walmart locations for pickup. Nearly half of all online orders from home improvement giant Home Depot are picked up in the store, according to Forbes. As many brick-and-mortar retailers struggle with competitive pricing and inventory fulfillment challenges, these offline incentives meet consumers’ needs.

Conversely, Amazon offers nearly everything under the sun at low prices, but it decided to begin opening physical storefronts to accommodate consumer preferences for same-day pickup, in-store returns and other in-store perks that keep consumers coming back.

Further, partnerships and acquisitions with other retailers yield a treasure trove of retailer consumer data, including buying preferences, demographics and behavior patterns that allow for more personalized engagement with shoppers — no matter the channel.

Payment perks

Amazon also has made loyalty strides in introducing Amazon Prime Reload, which gives Prime customers 2 percent cash back on purchases when they load funds into their Amazon Balance via a debit card attached to a bank account. This is similar to Target’s Redcard debit card concept, which gives shoppers 5 percent cash back on Target and purchases.

These perks cross channel lines and make it easier for the consumer to do business with retailers in a way that makes the most sense for them — whether in store, online or mobile. Other retailers are offering secure cross-channel options to pay for items, such as Dunkin’ Donuts’ use of Masterpass by Mastercard and AutoZone and Dollar General’s convenience use of payment giant PayPal that allows customers to skip long lines and pick up purchases immediately.

Looking beyond single-day and seasonal promotions

While online sales have had good results with large one-day sales, e.g., Amazon Prime Day, brick-and-mortar retailers have seen Black Friday-type sales creep into month-long cycles of sales that no longer draw the kinds of crowds and dollars that were once a hallmark of American shopping. Instead, brick-and-mortar and online must band together in promotional and customer service strategies that serve the needs of both audiences.

Brands with a brick-and-mortar presence tend to offer a more personal customer experience versus their online-only competition, but they often fall short on convenience and rapid inventory availability. However, through an integrated approach, these same retailers can deliver the accessibility of online shopping and the advantage of personalization, tailored advice and support in product fulfillment when products are out of stock or unavailable.

Both Best Buy and Home Depot are among the retailers that have adopted a blended omnichannel strategy and increased or sustained revenues while not opening a single additional retail store this past year.

Whether engaging with consumers via mobile with personalized offers when they enter the store or letting them know that an abandoned shopping cart item is now on sale in the store, retailers have a lot to gain by unifying their channel strategies.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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Author: Allan Haims

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How Life is Good built a content-first app with an 89% retention rate

For more than 20 years, lifestyle brand Life is Good has been guided by one central mission: spreading the power of optimism. With “Jake” as the iconic mascot and a name that doubles as a slogan for the company’s values, the brand has worked hard on building a community that celebrates overcoming obstacles and coming together.

When Lauren Sorenson, head of community and content at Life is Good, started building out a digital strategy, she focused on content that created engagement and excitement around that mission. With inspirational messages and images, the brand engaged audiences across different social channels. Today, Life is Good has 2.7 million Facebook fans and 300,000 followers on Twitter.

So it only made sense that when Life is Good began developing an app last year, the company would take the same approach. But this time, the brand wanted to give their customers more power than ever.

Building a content-first brand

“The idea of our app is to spread optimism,” Sorenson told me in an interview. “And we wanted to push our graphics into the hands of consumers, so they could use them for their own photos and messages.”

Life is Good worked with Bare Tree Media, a business that specializes in creating sticker packs and emojis for apps. Bare Tree Media has helped brands like The Patriots, 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks and others. As the mobile experience has become defined by visual messaging apps, like Snapchat and WhatsApp, companies have been looking to seamlessly connect with consumers in new ways.

Life is Good decided to build messaging and photo editing into their app. You can upload existing photos and modify them with stickers and slogans — which are often seasonal or communicate the power of optimism — and then use them in other apps or send them to friends.

“A lot of people use it to add things to their photos,” Sorenson said. “They enhance the images and messages with it, then send it out.” More than half (52 percent) of the stickers are shared in messaging conversations, according to Sorenson.

Focusing on functionality

Life is Good may seem like a great candidate for an e-commerce app, but instead, the team focused on empowering app users with functionality. The app attracts users who want to use the stickers and emojis unique to the brand, which means there’s a broader pool of people who download the app and, in the end, keep visiting it.

A whopping 89 percent of users return to the app and keep using it after downloading, according to Sorenson. In an industry where 80 percent of app users churn after a month, this is a world of difference. And it all comes down to offering an app that allows consumers to personalize and create great content.

The stickers and images give Life is Good an endless supply of user-generated content, too. The brand features pictures that have been edited with the app across social channels, building community engagement and broadening the potential audience with each share.

“We don’t do any traditional marketing, no print or billboards,” Sorenson said. “But the more people use our app, the more other people are going to ask how they did it. So when those photos get shared, we have an easy way to organically market the brand and the app at the same time.”

Consolidation, content and consumers

When Sorenson looks to the future of the mobile space, she says that more than anything, users are going to want everything in one place. An easy app that integrates with the other activities on a phone will succeed where an isolated app may fail. The Life is Good app is a great example of building an app that offers mobile content that can be used far beyond one closed ecosystem.

Aside from creating a functional mobile experience instead of a sales-driven one, the team offers tips, seasonal content and new sticker packs to keep users coming back. With a regular content program, the app experience stays fresh and exciting.

What it comes down to, Sorenson says, is that authenticity and simplicity win the day.

“When we first looked at all the things we could do for mobile, we wanted to do everything,” she said. “But by really focusing on one thing, we created an experience that aligns with our brand and keeps pushing the power of optimism.”

And in the long run, that’s been the mission of Life is Good since the start.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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Author: Blaise Lucey

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The June 25 Google Update: What You Should Do Now by @beaupedraza

A significant Google algorithm update happened on June 25. This update has had webmasters and SEOs buzzing all week about the significance of its effects on websites across the world.

Rather than succumbing to the information overload that comes with frequent “quality updates” from Google and forgetting about the other times that you saw the same problems, let’s cover the steps that turn a reactive or response into a proactive plan that can help your struggling online presence recover for good.

Google Algorithm Updates Will Only Continue Coming (As They Have for Years)

It’s no secret that Google updates its algorithm often, and based on what we’ve seen since 2000, it will likely continue to do so for years to come.

If you’re noticing the reduction of impressions in Google Search Console over the default view of 28 days, expand the range to 90 days.

If you’re examining site traffic in Google Analytics across the week, expand to a full historical view. If you have access to Google Analytics data that is filtered for your IP and your historical view doesn’t go back far enough, switch to the unfiltered master view.

If you were hit by Google’s algorithm update this week, there’s a chance you’ve been hit before. You may not even realize it.

Why Switch to an Unfiltered View?

Switching to an unfiltered view isn’t exactly the most scientific approach as it will show site visits by employees, webmasters, and those who provide digital support, which tends to be omitted in an IP filtered view when done properly. This will largely depend on your site’s general volume of traffic and weighed against how many daily and monthly visits you believe those visitors generate.

If your site receives tens of thousands of sessions a week and filtered sessions are in the single or double digits during the same time frame, the numbers won’t be exact, but you can still assess the historic damage with minimal variance.

What You Should Look For in Historic GA Data

In short, you’re looking to find evidence of other events similar to June 25 that may have been overlooked. A simple way to handle this includes:

  • In GA, navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium.
  • Extend the time frame from the default seven-day view to as far back as you can, preferably before 2015. I’ll explain later on.
  • Under the Source/Medium columns, select google/organic.
  • Look at the line chart in a Weekly or Monthly manner, especially if you’re working with years of data.

Let’s use a test site of mine to uncover what a long, slow decline looks like if left untreated:

Two-year organic performance on Google Search for a test site

From here, you should have a pretty good glimpse at how your site has performed on Google Search. Now, you’ll need to ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • Where are the dips in traffic? Any gains? When did the decline start?
  • Can those be explained by seasonal factors or poor tracking issues?
  • Are there any annotations that can provide a better understanding? Often these can answer questions that you may not have considered if they cover site maintenance and migrations. If you’re lucky, you may even have a digital record showing correlation between performance and Google’s algorithm updates.

Annotations in Google Analytics which note site and algorithmic events

At this point, you have a number of options. One of my favorite things to do after an algorithm rolls out involves looking at the site’s top landing page performance before and after an algorithmic event.

Glenn Gabe developed a timeless tutorial on identifying low-quality landing pages affected by the Panda algorithm update using GA and Excel magic which still works wonders today.

What Does Panda 4.2 Have to Do With Google’s June 25 Update?

In short, Google’s Panda 4.2 refresh began slowly rolling out on July 18, 2015, taking weeks to fully go into effect. At the time, Panda was the name for Google’s algorithm that targeted sites of “low quality” content and rewarded sites that adhered to the search engine’s site quality recommendations.

Many of the points that Google made regarding Panda’s intent in 2014 are still focused on in 2017, most notably, with the March 7 rollout of the “Fred” algorithm update.

Here is the same site’s organic performance on Google, comparing “Fred” to this week’s update on a daily basis:

Comparing the June 25th algo update to Fred

The Next Step is Admitting You Have an SEO Problem

Being able to accurately identify the root causes plaguing your website can seem like a scary proposition for some.

Using the scientific method can help you figure out whether you have a big SEO problem.

For those who have left their memories of childhood science fairs at the door of adulthood, here are the steps along with a general example for each situation:

Make an Observation

This is where many of us were at just a few days ago. For others, this might not have happened yet! One example of an observation I’ve seen across the web has generally followed the format of “My organic traffic on Google is down!”

Ask a Question

After identifying the downward trend, you may be asking yourself “Why did my organic traffic take a hit?” This is where most tend to stall, unsure of where to go or how to proceed. For SEOs, there’s a good reason for this…

Form a Hypothesis

The reason why many digital marketers and webmasters never reach this step is that when it comes to handling “The Google Dance”, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of ranking factors that come with the territory. However, by taking a step back and reviewing your site’s historic performance and comparing them to any changes that have been made on your site, you can make the case that “Turning hundreds of pages with thin content into ones that speak to the intent of each page will restore our site’s previous rankings.”

Because this is a cause and effect relationship, be mindful of your variables – the aspects of your site that you’re changing. If you aren’t familiar with the site or if your experience in handling general website optimization efforts is minimal, you may want to control your other variables to ensure that any other changes outside of the ones stated in the hypothesis don’t turn your poor rankings into non-existing ones.

Make a Prediction

“I predict that if I turn my site’s thin pages into vibrant pages that people want to read, share, click, and convert on, then my rankings will return.” Easy enough, right?

Conduct an Experiment

Now, this is where we turn a good idea into action. For this example, identify site pages that you believe are the source of your traffic (and rankings) issues identified and also confirm that if those pages are to be updated, that other unaffected pages won’t be next as a result. It needs to be said that if you’re going to write great content, you should know how Google defines “great content”.

If all goes well, you stand to see your site return to its former glory or even better, have it reach newer heights!

If this doesn’t affect your site at all, you may have other issues at play such as over-optimized anchor text or poor mobile experience, which means you’ll need to return to the hypothesis drawing board.

Since you’ve produced content that marketers dream of, this shouldn’t be a detriment once you begin your next experiment.

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

One piece of advice I was given early in my professional career came from my first agency mentor, who recommended that I focus less on the algorithms and more on the path towards consistently improving on the smallest of every detail.

With Google’s algorithms, there are no easy fixes for a poor showing. SEO success takes effort.

Your website is a single entity composed of hundreds of interconnected parts and numerous off-site accessories that if focused on individually using a detailed plan of action backed by tested best practices and continuous research, will add up to success in the long run.

Image Credits

Screenshots by Beau Pedraza. Taken June 2016.

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Author: Beau Pedraza

The post The June 25 Google Update: What You Should Do Now by @beaupedraza appeared first on On Page SEO Checker.