7 Things We Learned From Google All-Stars Summit

What LSM Learned at Google All-Stars Summit

We went, we saw, we Googled. This past week, Local Search Masters was invited to the Google Partners All Stars summit at Google HQ in Mountain View, California. Aside from ensuring that we made the pilgrimage to In-N-Out Burger and visiting the Google campus gift shop to stock up on Christmas gifts, we were treated to a tour of the beautiful campus and a full day of keynote presentations by Google’s elite. Topics spanned from the more advanced Adwords dynamic remarketing discussions to developing cultures of innovation, so needless to say, there was a lot to learn!

LSM at Googleplex 1LSM at Google HQ to learn about Google AdWords

 

Here are just 7 of our main take-aways from the trip:

 

1. It’s Time To Innovate

Innovation isn’t just for CEOs, Chief Innovation Officers, and Innovation teams anymore. Everyone is called to innovate. Yes, that means you. Yes, you. If your business is not innovating, you’re missing out on opportunity. Every major industry is reinventing itself  with technology. Google driverless cars are real, and in a few, very short years, they will become a practical part of the mass marketplace, all because of Google’s culture of innovation. Even with highly-regulated industries like public transportation, ride-sharing companies (like Uber and Lyft) are not just offering a new service, but disrupting an ecosystem that’s been stable for decades. This is what we should all be doing – taking the risk to disrupt the environment in which we have become complacent. The innovators will win, and those who do not innovate will die. Google encourages its employees to think 10x. Meaning, when they think of an idea for a product or service, it’s not to improve a process by 10%, 25%, or even 50% – that’s incremental. 10x shifts the paradigm of thinking into accomplishing a previously impossible feat.

2. There’s Still Opportunity To Reach Untapped Markets

51% of businesses still don’t use the Internet to market their business. This means that the mom & pop shop down the street from you is not reaching its full audience, whether it be via pay-per-click Google Adwords search advertising, or maybe even creating a Facebook page. A good portion of your locale is yours for the taking!

3. We Are All Brand Builders

As the gig-economy takes off more and more, a company’s story takes front and center. The great, multinational conglomerates of our parent’s time are dwindling. It’s stories like the way Steve Jobs created Apple Computer in a garage that resonate with people and cultivate that positive brand perception, and the word of mouth engagement is what will drive sales. Jeff Rozic (Brand Product Strategist, Google Brand Labs) explains it like this… “Reach/impressions are easy to get; engagement is valuable, and the currency is ‘time spent.’’ Long gone are the days of purchasing 50,000 Twitter followers just for public perception – anyone can see through that now. The only thing that matters is that your true fans and brand ambassadors are talking about you and sharing their positive associations within their personal spheres of influence.

4. Create Micro-Moments

Google All-Stars Conference Room at HQYour day is filled with micro-moments, or small decisions that we make without too much thought. Google categorizes three types of micro-moments:

“I Want to Know” (115% increase year over year in shopping searches)

“I Want To Go” (34x increases in “near me” searches since 2011)

“I Want To Buy” (Google’s litmus test is a 90-second checkout experience, EVEN on mobile)

At the crux of all three types of moments, people want information, and they want that information fast. With this in mind, user experience needs to be a main focus for businesses. Optimize your website, provide reliable information about your product/service, and make it so easy to check-out and purchase that your grandma could do it. Pablo Slough framed it like this: 1) Identify your audience’s micro-moments; 2) Deliver on your audience’s needs in the moment; and 3) Measure/quantify every moment that matters.

5. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile

The time for mobile is now. It’s not the future; it’s here. And, the majority of the time, the micro-moments mentioned above happen on a mobile device. Why? Mobile is intensely more personal than desktop;  our phones are an extension of our person these days. It’s the source of our knowledge, and we think twice before surrendering that source. It’s personal, and as marketers, we need to remember this as we develop marketing campaigns tailored specifically towards mobile users.

6. Buzzword Of The Year: Programmatic

Long story short here: while programmatic is very important to think about, don’t give in to the hype of what programmatic could be. At its core, programmatic is the notion that a marketer can use audience data to automate the buying and selling of ads, reaching the right person at the right time. Data is getting smarter, so use it to your advantage and make your marketing easier.

7. Digital First

Marketers who lead on the internet surpass those who do not, especially from an advertising standpoint. Look at successful startup companies like Dollar Shave Club, AirBNB, and Warby Parker. You know their team made a dedicated and conscious decision to focus on digital first, and then scale up using more traditional mediums like radio and TV. The perfect 30-second TV spot is not the answer anymore – shorter, snackable content that captures attention is the key to success now. There doesn’t need to be a grand voice-over or a perfectly-lit set; Jeff Rozic explained that the keys to success and your job as marketers are to educate, entertain, and inspire.

 

Why Google’s Algorithm Update Might Affect Franchise Sales

Does your Franchise Recruitment Website need to be Mobile Friendly?

LSM’s Matthew Job was recently featured in Entrepreneur for his article “Will Google’s Algorithm Update Affect Your Franchise Sales?” The article, which came out April 1st, addresses the upcoming Google algorithm that will expand the importance of mobile-friendly factors in order to determine search engine result page (SERP) rankings. A Google representative stated that this update will have a “significant impact,” meaning franchises without mobile-friendly sites need to consider making adjustments.

Here are 8 key takeaways from the article on what the algorithm update means for franchise sales:

1. The percentage of prospective franchisees using smartphones to research and contact franchise opportunities nearly doubled from 23% to 42%.

Research Franchise Opportunities on a Mobile Device

2. Because more people are using smartphones to research franchise opportunities, franchisors should offer mobile-friendly information websites (sometimes known as ‘franchise recruitment websites’).

3. If franchises don’t have mobile-friendly sites when the algorithm updates go live, their sites’ organic rankings on lucrative, non-branded search queries are likely to drop. Conversely, mobile-friendly franchise information sites might see a rise in their organic rankings. This drop in the rankings will likely lead to a decline in quality traffic to the franchise info site.  

Mobile Friendly Franchise Information Websites

4. Currently, only 17% of franchise information websites are mobile-friendly!

5. If a franchise recruitment website is not mobile-friendly, it may be hindering its ability to generate franchise lead opportunities for the franchisor.

6. To help determine if your franchise info site has helped your franchise generate leads in the past, speak with your current franchisees and see how many viewed your franchise recruitment site , as well as a few of your competitors’ franchise recruitment websites, on a mobile device at some point during their research process.

7. This mobile-friendly test from Google will analyze a URL and report if the page has a mobile-friendly design. Check it to see if your site is mobile-friendly.

8. Visit Google’s Webmaster Tools Help website to review ways you can optimize your website for mobile devices.

Summary

More and more people are using their mobile devices to browse the Internet and research buying decisions, big and small. Review the mobile web presence of your franchise and, if you think it’s going to hinder your ability to generate franchise leads, consider making your site(s) mobile-friendly.

 

Breakfast with Google, Google AdWords Solutions

On December 9th Local Search Masters co-hosted an exclusive Google breakfast. Attended by clients, local partners and media contacts, the event focused on how to use Google’s latest products and services to grow your business. The presentation, conducted by Google Partners Agency Development Manager, Vanessa Conceicao, focused on dynamic phone tracking, remarketing (also known as retargeting) and YouTube TrueView.

There was a lot to takeaway from the breakfast. Below are the top 11 most important takeaways:

  1. Potential customers across all industries are likely to utilize Google AdWord’s “click-to-call” mobile ad function.Click-to-call stats showing importance of having click-to-call button on mobile website
  1. Over 90% of all smartphone users use their phones to look up information about local businesses, and 52% of those same users will call a business as a result of their mobile search.
  1. Google AdWords call forwarding function allows for a business to dynamically track calls placed directly from the “click-to-call” ad extension, as well as gather information such as the consumer’s area code, the call date, start and end time of the call and the call’s duration (a minimum duration is used to track conversion). A different forwarding number is used for each ad, so businesses can also track which of their ads are generating the most phone calls.
  1. If a business lacks a mobile site, but still wishes to engage with smartphone users, Google display ads can be created showing only the telephone number and appearing without a link to the business’ website.
  1. There are three situations in which a business can count calls as conversions: 1) calls from the “click-to-call” ad extension, 2) calls from the landing page once an ad is clicked and 3) clicks on a phone number on the website. In all 3 instances, Google AdWord’s dynamic tracking will count these as conversion if the minimum call duration is met.
  1. The easiest way for a business to increase return-on-investment is to target consumers who have already visited their site, but left without converting (applies to 96% of consumers). Remarketing can be done by adding these consumers to a list that will display to them ads with customized text (such as Free Shipping). This gives business a second chance to reach out to users who are already interested and who are 3x more likely to convert than someone who has never been to the site, thus resulting in a higher ROI.
  1. Dynamic remarketing is taking consumer targeting to the next step by tailoring ads based off of exactly what the consumer was viewing on the website. Through Google AdWords, businesses can easily create beautiful, high-performing customized ads, ads that will increase click-thru-rates and decrease cost-per-conversion rates.YouTube TrueView Ads slide presented at Google event with Local Search Masters
  1. Google AdWords doesn’t only to apply to display ads and search ads; businesses can also build dynamic video ads to be displayed on YouTube in only about 20 minutes. These ads, called TrueView video ads, can be displayed before a video (in-stream), on the page where a user is watching a video (in-display) or on a search results page (in-search).
  1. The Google Display Network, through which the TrueView ads are shown, reaches 89% of the population. However, businesses can target and reach specific audiences based off of things such as different interests, certain topics, publishers or specified keywords.
  1. TrueView ads can be highly engaging and specific – the type of ads that will result in a higher ROI. Additionally, the ads are “pay-per-view” which means businesses are only charged when a user watches the whole length of the ad.
  1. A business’ marketing agency can be their best friend, as long as they trust their agency and engage in open, honest lines of communication on a regular basis. An agency wants their clients to succeed, but this can only be done with a successful onboarding experience. During the onboarding stage, a business should tell their agency all of their goals (immediate and long-term), any ad campaigns already running and the money made per conversion for each product/service offered. This will allow for your agency to tailor the business’ marketing plan to maximize ROI.

Google Partners Event with Local Search Masters in Nashville

Local Search Masters, a member of the Google Partner’s Network, is a digital marketing agency headquartered in Nashville, TN that specializes in organic SEO, local search marketing, paid search advertising, social media and online reputation management for franchises, local businesses and large corporations. For additional information about our business, or using the Internet to make a meaningful impact on your business’s bottom line, you can contact us today!

Local Search Masters
631 2nd Ave S #LL-D
Nashville, TN 37215
localsearchmasters.com

 

 

SEO Moneyball: How to Utilize Google Trends

In SEO, doing your keyword research is of utmost importance. You can optimize a page all you want, but if no one searches for your keywords then all that work is useless. The Google Keyword Planner is the most detailed tool to do this research, but the application with the most options may be Google Trends.

The main function of Google Trends is to show a chart of search volume for a particular keyword so you can find how popular it is and when it was most popular. Below, the search volume for “Jackson Martin” since 2004:

Google Trends Jackson Martin

As you can see, my popularity peaked in the summer of 2009, which was just before my senior year in high school. Man, that’s depressing.

This function is parlayed into a bunch of other applications within Google Trends that are useful for a number of different facets of your company.

Search Groups

Google Trends can show you search volume since 2004 for any term or group of terms. You enter this by putting a + in between terms and compare different search groups. For Instance, below is the chart comparing the group “Atlanta Braves+Chipper Jones” to “Nashville Predators+Pekka Rinne” and “Tennessee Titans+Chris Johnson”.

a screenshot of a chart from Google Trends

How to use this data

Because Google Trends doesn’t give you the actual number of searches on a term (Keyword Planner does), it is best used to look at relative data. For instance, we can utilize the charts to see what times of the year certain keywords are most popular. This is a chart showing all searches for “Atlanta Braves” since 2004.

 A screenshot of a chart from Google Trends about the Atlanta Braves

As you can see, searches for “Atlanta Braves” peak each year in April, when the season begins. As the Braves begin their slow, inevitable decline before suffering a crushing defeat in the playoffs, the search volume tails off as well.

This search function allows for a number of options to limit what you want to see. You can look at charts for web searches, product searches, image searches, news searches, and YouTube searches.

This can be particularly valuable to ecommerce fields, especially the product search functionality. Knowing what times of the year people look to buy certain products can be a big boon to your marketing research.

Geotargeting

Another useful application within Google Trends is the ability to see where searches are coming from. We can look at these numbers for “Atlanta Braves” by country (Again, these numbers are for all searches since 2004):

Atlanta Braves worldwide

We can then ENHANCE, and look at the just United States, by state:

Atlanta Braves United States

Clearly, the Southeast is far more interested in the Braves than the rest of the country, but what about within the state of Georgia?

Atlanta Braves Georgia

Woah, that’s almost all coming from the metro Atlanta area.

Now, this exercise served to show us that people in the city of Atlanta are more interested in the Atlanta Braves than anyone else (duh), but if you apply these methods to relevant search terms to your company, a lot of valuable marketing data can be obtained especially for local SEO and geo-targeted PPC.

Hot Searches

Google shows you what the most searched terms are in a handy chart here. There are a couple of uses for this, but the most relevant one is newsjacking. By finding out what is truly trending in the online world, your social media or content teams can jump on a popular topic to drive engagement, pageviews and interactions.

When jumping on a trending topic, be smart. Don’t try and capitalize on a tragedy and please don’t ever do what Urban Outfitters did during Hurricane Sandy:

Urban Outfitters fail

Top Charts

You can use the Top Charts function to find content ideas related to your company. This tool lets you see the top searches in all major categories, like Actors, Animals, Sports, etc.

This is a way to newsjack, but it is more useful for content than social media because these terms are based on a longer-term search volume.

Conclusion

While the Google Keyword planner is incredibly detailed, it doesn’t offer as many options as Google Trends. Use Trends to see when and where to advertise as well as what’s popular so that you can leverage this information to drive better engagement with your audience. Spend a few minutes playing around on the site, and I promise, even if you don’t come away with any groundbreaking insights, you’ll at least have a lot of fun. I know I did.

Jackson on Google+

 

For more SEO Moneyball check out these posts!

SEO Moneyball Series

SEO Moneyball: Google Makes AdWords Extensions Even More Important

SEO Moneyball: Why It Pays to Rank on Google