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A script to create a Google Ads Experiments dashboard

This script generates a dashboard with a comprehensive view of experiments across My Client Center.



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FAQ, HowTo, and Q&A: Using New Schema Types to Create Interactive Rich Results

Posted by LilyRayNYC

Structured data (Schema markup) is a powerful tool SEOs can use to efficiently deliver the most important information on our webpages to search engines. When applied effectively across all relevant entities, Schema markup provides significant opportunities to improve a website’s SEO performance by helping search engines to better understand its content.

While Schema.org is continuously expanding and refining its documentation, Google updates its list of supported features that are eligible to be displayed as rich organic results far less frequently. When they happen, these updates are exciting because they give marketers new ways to affect how their organic listings appear in Google’s search results. To make things even more interesting, some of this year’s new Schema types offer the unique opportunity for marketers to use Schema to drive clicks to more than one page on their site through just one organic listing.

Three new Schema types worth focusing on are FAQ, HowTo, and Q&A Schema, all of which present great opportunities to improve organic search traffic with eye-catching, real estate-grabbing listing features. By strategically implementing these Schema types across eligible page content, marketers can dramatically increase their pages’ visibility in the search results for targeted keywords — especially on mobile devices.

Pro tip: When rolling out new Schema, use the Rich Results Testing Tool to see how your Schema can appear in Google’s search results. Google Search Console also offers reporting on FAQ, HowTo, and Q&A Schema along with other Schema types in its Rich Results Status Report.

FAQ Schema

According to Google, FAQ Schema can be used on any page that contains a list of questions and answers on any particular topic. That means FAQ Schema doesn’t have to be reserved only for company FAQ pages; you can create a “frequently asked questions” resource on any topic and use the Schema to indicate that the content is structured as an FAQ.

FAQ Schema is a particularly exciting new Schema type due to how much real estate it can capture in the organic listings. Marking up your FAQ content can create rich results that absolutely dominate the SERP, with the potential to take up a huge amount of vertical space compared to other listings. See the below example on mobile:

Like all Schema, the FAQ content must be a 100 percent match to the content displayed on the page, and displaying different content in your Schema than what is displayed on the page can result in a manual action. Google also requires that the content marked up with FAQ Schema is not used for advertising purposes.

Impacts on click-through rate

There is some risk involved with implementing this Schema: if the content is too informational in nature, it can create a situation where users to get the answers they need entirely within the search results. This is exactly what happened when we first rolled out FAQ Schema for one of our clients at Path Interactive — impressions to the page surged, but clicks fell just as quickly.

This conundrum led to us discover the single most exciting feature of FAQ Schema: The fact that Google supports links and other HTML within the answers. Look for opportunities within your FAQ answers to link to other relevant pages on your site, and you can use FAQ Schema to drive organic users to more than one page on your website. This is a great way to use informational content to drive users to your product or service pages.

Note that this tactic should be done within reason: The links to other pages should actually provide value to the user, and they must also be added to the page content so the Schema code is a 100 percent match with the content on the page. Check out my other detailed article on implementing FAQ Schema, which includes recommendations around tagging links in FAQ answers so you can monitor how the links are performing, and for distinguishing clicks to the FAQ links from your other organic listings.

HowTo Schema

HowTo Schema is another new Schema type that can be used to enhance articles containing instructions on “how to” do something. Like FAQ Schema, Google lays out certain content requirements about what can and can’t be marked up with HowTo Schema, including:

  • Not marking up offensive, violent or explicit content
  • The entire content of each “step” must be marked up
  • Not using HowTo markup to advertise a product
  • Including relevant images, as well as materials and tools used to complete the task
  • HowTo should not be used for Recipes, which have their own Schema

Unfortunately, unlike FAQ Schema, the text included within each HowTo step is not linkable. However, the individual steps themselves can become links to an anchor on your page that corresponds to each step in the process, if you include anchored links and images in your HowTo markup.

HowTo has two visual layouts:

Image source: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/how-to

One layout includes image thumbnails for each step in the process. With this layout, users can click on each step and be taken directly to that step on your page. Anchored (#) links also appear separately in Google Search Console, so you can track impressions and clicks to each step in your HowTo process.

Image source: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/how-to

The second HowTo layout uses accordions to display the steps.

One added benefit of HowTo Schema is its voice search potential: properly marked up HowTo content is eligible to be read aloud by Google Assistant devices. When voice searchers ask their Google Assistants for help with a task that is best answered with a “how to” guide, content marked up with HowTo Schema will be more likely to be read aloud as the answer.

Like FAQ Schema, HowTo markup presents pros and cons for marketers. Given that the rich result takes up so much space in the SERP, it’s a great way to make your listing stand out compared to competing results. However, if users can get all the information they need from your marked-up content within the search results, it may result in fewer clicks going to your website, which coincides with Google’s rise in no-click searches.

In rolling out HowTo markup, it’s important to monitor the impact the Schema has on your impressions, clicks, and rankings for the page, to make sure the Schema is producing positive results for your business. For publishers whose sites rely on ad revenue, the potential loss in click-through-rate might not be worth the enhanced appearance of HowTo markup in the search results.

Does HowTo markup earn featured snippets for “how to” queries?

Given that virtually every “How To” query generates a Featured Snippet result, I wanted to see whether there was any correlation between implementing HowTo Schema and earning Featured Snippets. I conducted an analysis of 420 URLs currently ranking in Featured Snippets for common “how to” queries, and only 3 these pages are currently using HowTo markup. While this Schema type is still relatively new, it doesn’t appear to be the case that using HowTo markup is a prerequisite for earning the Featured Snippet for “how to” queries.

Q&A Schema

Q&A Schema is another new Schema type used for pages that contain a question and a way for users to submit answers to that question. The Q&A Schema should be applied only on pages that have one question as the main focus on the page — not a variety of different questions. In its documentation, Google also distinguishes between Q&A and FAQ markup: If users are not able to add their own answers to the question, FAQ markup should be used instead.

Q&A Schema is great for forums or other online message boards where users can ask a question and the community can submit answers, such as the Moz Q&A Forum.

Google strongly recommends that Q&A Schema include a URL that links directly to each individual answer to improve user experience. As with HowTo Schema, this can be done using anchor (#) links, which can then be monitored individually in Google Search Console.

Image source: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/qapage

Blending Schema types

Another exciting new development with these new Schema types is the opportunity to blend multiple types of Schema that generate rich results on the same page. FAQ Schema in particular works as a great supplement to other Schema types, such as Product or Professional Service, which can generate stars, review counts, or other attributes in the SERP. Below is an example of how these combined Schema types can look on mobile:

If it makes sense for your content, it may be worth testing adding FAQ or HowTo markup to pages that already have other Schema types that generate rich results. It’s possible that Google will display multiple rich result types at once for certain queries, or it could change the rich appearance of your listing depending on the query. This could potentially lead to a big increase in the click-through-rate given how much space these mixed results take up in the SERP.

Note: there is no guarantee Google will always display blended Schema types the way it currently does for websites who have already done this implementation. Google is always changing how it displays rich results, so it’s important to test this on your own pages and see what Google chooses to display.

Risks involved with implementing Schema

It would be irresponsible to write about using Schema without including a warning about the potential risks involved. For one, Google maintains specific criteria about how Schema should be used, and misusing the markup (whether intentionally or not) can result in a structured data manual action. A common way this occurs is when the JSON-LD code includes information that is not visible for users on the page.

Secondly, it can be tempting to implement Schema markup without thoroughly thinking through the impact it can have on the click-through-rate of the page. It is possible that Schema markup can result in such a positive user experience within the SERP, that it can actually cause a decline in click-through-rate and less traffic to your site (as users get all the information they need within the search results). These considerations require that marketers think strategically about whether and how to implement Schema to ensure they are not only complying with Google’s guidelines but also using Schema in a way that will provide meaningful results for their websites.

Lastly, it is possible that Google will update its quality guidelines around how rich results are displayed if they find that these new Schema types are leading to spam or low-quality results.

Avoid misusing Schema, or it’s possible Google might take away these fantastic opportunities to enhance our organic listings in the future.

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E-A-T and SEO: How to Create Content That Google Wants

Posted by Ian-Booth

Over the past few months, you’ve probably seen the buzzword (or acronym, rather) “E-A-T” floating around. While this term has been in the lexicon of many SEO’s for quite a while now, since the major Google algorithm update in August 2018 (AKA “the medic update”), a big bright spotlight has been shone on Google’s “E-A-T” — and it’s been frequently on the lips and fingertips of most SEO’s ever since.

So why am I talking about it now? Because the days are long gone when you could pop up on Google overnight. To rank well on Google, you need to nurture your brand by building its expertise, authority, and trustworthiness — which is exactly what E-A-T stands for! 

In this post, I’ll cover the three pillars of E-A-T and share tips on how to incorporate each into your content strategy so that you can rank for the best search terms in your industry. 

But first…

Initially, this “medic” update seemed to have hit loads of websites offering health and medical advice, more than any other vertical. Therefore, acclaimed search engine marketing journalist, Barry Schwartz, declared it “the medic update”.

Yet, while this update certainly did hit many medical websites, it also hit many other websites that could be categorized under what Google calls “YMYL sites” — yep, another flippin’ acronym (and no it’s not a confused person singing a certain Village People hit).

Digital marketers are notorious for using jargon and having tons of acronyms, but this time, it was Google themselves who added these YMYL and E-A-T to the ever-growing pile of potentially-confusing insider lingo. 

YMYL is a quality rating for content that stands for “Your Money or Your Life“. Google doesn’t just care about delivering the most relevant information — they also want to deliver the correct information. With certain types of searches, there is a huge potential to negatively impact users’ “happiness, health, or wealth”— in other words, were these pages low quality, they have the potential to impact a user’s well-being.

So, when it comes to health, financial issues, and safety, Google doesn’t want to serve up links to pages that share uneducated advice, opinions, or potentially fraudulent websites. Google wants to be as certain as possible that they are recommending sites that display a high level of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness — which is what E-A-T stands for! It’s Google’s way of protecting searchers from low-quality content that has the potential to be detrimental to a searcher.

If your business falls under the umbrella label of happiness, health, or wealth then E-A-T might be vital for you to understand, so keep reading!

Google's E-A-T and Y.M.Y.L

Google search quality evaluator guidelines

E-A-T and YMYL came from a very important Google document known as “the Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines”.

Back in 2015, Google officially released its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines and this gave us an idea of what is deemed to be a high (or low) quality website, from Google’s perspective.

Check out this article from 2015 on the Moz blog — 30+ Important Takeaways from Google’s Search Quality Rater’s Guideline for an insight into their importance and why us SEOs need to take these guidelines seriously.

The document was written for their human rating team, who are performing important searches all day long and evaluating websites which top the Google results for those searches. Apparently, there are about 10,000 people employed by Google to carry out these spot-checks, a process which is designed to check up on the ranking algorithms effectiveness in recognizing web page quality.

The learnings from the quality rating team inform Google’s engineers on how to improve the ranking algorithm. As the folks at Google often remind us, their ranking algorithm is a continuously improving process, with updates made very regularly.

Check out Marie Haynes talk at Brighton SEO 2018, where she breaks down the ‘Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines’ for us, in plain English with some of her own insights.

The 2018 update to the guidelines

A week after the July 2018 update to the guidelines, Google made some additions that carried some significant impact: The quality evaluators would now be asked to review not only a website’s E-A-T but also the content creators E-A-T too. This is huge news.

So, from now on Google wants to see who the author of a page’s main content is and what their credentials are with regards to the subject matter, particularly if it’s a YMYL subject.

This means that we should now be building up author E-A-T as well as website E-A-T. Some ways you might achieve this is by having author boxes, with links to author profiles elsewhere online and using author schema markup, i.e. structured data that tells Google all about the author, making it easier to connect the author with any other authority signals (such a author profiles on authority sites, social media profiles, etc.).

Above is an example of a good author profile [KB1] given to Google quality evaluators in the guidelines. It declares who has written this content and shares some credentials. It’s very easy for an algorithm to connect the dots and find this author on other websites (something we assume Google does).

One key takeaway (or concept) from this document is E-A-T.

As Marie Haynes’ tweet points out, the term E-A-T is used 186 times in the guide. There’s no question that this is an important criterion for how a page’s quality is perceived by Google.

So, let’s be sure we understand what Google E-A-T is, exactly.

Expertise

To be an expert is defined by the Oxford dictionary as being “very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area”. However, possessing this knowledge alone is not going to get traffic flooding to your website from Google.

You need to understand how to communicate this knowledge in a way that engages people. It comes down to not only having the information but also knowing what your audience wants and how best to deliver the information to them.

Whenever a Googler is asking the question “How can my site improve its rankings?” the stock answer most often seems to be something like: “Create great content that your audience loves.” While this may seem like an overly-simplistic answer (and it is), it’s an answer which pretty much sums up what I’m writing about in this post, to be honest.

How do we create expert content? Well, here are a few tips to answer that question:

  1. Find out what your audience is searching for, then meet and exceed their needs. This begins with keyword research.
  2. Try to understand the searchers intent behind the terms you discover during that keyword research.

You should understand what stage these searchers are at in their journey as a consumer or as somebody getting involved in your industry. There are a plethora of situations here, depending on your exact case, but if you’re targeting, for example, a search term that clearly is for somebody who is new to the subject matter, then try not to use too much jargon and or gloss-over points that a novice is unlikely to understand.

  1. Find the balance between being comprehensive while keeping it simple. This comes down to formatting your text so it’s digestible, using visual aids or rich media like video or audio. A perfect example of this is Moz’s Whiteboard Friday series. We want the consumer of the content to truly understand the subject by the end, without making it too laborious.
  2. Think about the next queries a searcher might have and have content ready to answer that, too. Suitable supplementary content should be internally linked and easy to access. It’s all about becoming the go-to source of information in your field.

Authority

Being an expert is great, but it’s only the beginning. When other experts or influencers in your vertical are citing you as a source of information or when your name (or your brand) becomes synonymous with the relevant topics, then you are not just an expert — you’re the authority.

Here are some of the KPI’s when it comes to judging your authoritativeness:

  • Links from relevant and authoritative websites are of course a huge factor when it comes to ranking websites and we certainly can’t discuss any framework for SEO success without emphasizing this.

    Note: When we talk links, it’s all about building your domain’s authority. This means we want relevant websites who have gained authority in the space already to recommend us and there is no better endorsement that a website can get from another website owner, than a link.

  • While links are ideal, simply being mentioned in the news or on authoritative websites in your space will still boost your authoritativeness, in Google’s eyes. So, mentions are also something to strive for.
  • We can use the Moz Domain Authority score to help us understand the authority of a website. It can be used for a quick look at our own website or for the websites linking to us and gives us an idea of the current level of authority.

  • Another reliable gauge of authority and trustworthiness is the Majestic ‘trust ratio’ score. If you can get a score close to 1.0 you know things are going well.
  • If your content is widely shared, genuinely and consistently across social media, this is also a sign of growing authority.
  • Building a brand is a good idea for many reasons, not least for SEO authority. Branded search volume is a good measure of how your brand authority is doing. If more and more people are searching for your brand name, this is amazing news. If they’re searching for your brand name with a relevant keyword attached, that’s even better.
  • Having a Wikipedia page for your brand and/or the people in your company is a big signal that you’re an authority. Keep in mind, getting a Wikipedia page is not easy unless you’re a recognized person/brand. However, this does come up within the Google raters’ guidelines, so it is something to strive for.

Trustworthiness

Proven trustworthiness is really important. While expertise and authority are factors that boost your rankings, trustworthiness or rather a lack thereof is what can easily tank your rankings on Google.

If you don’t reign-in any negative sentiment around your business, you will suffer on Google. Fundamentally, you need to be delighting your customers and if you have any complaints, you should address them before you end up with too much negativity attached to your brand. Google is very clear about this in their guidelines, too many bad reviews is a sign of low quality.

Positive reviews on places like Tripadvisor, Trustpilot, Facebook, Google My Business, and so on are going to really help. If you’re operating in the US, Canada, or Mexico, then you should be encouraging good reviews on bbb.org specifically. The Better Business Bureau is the go-to source for customer sentiment for Google, as referenced several times in their search evaluators guidelines.

Some ways that we can promote trustworthiness on our website are:

  • Having a clear way to make contact with the website owners.
  • Associating the website with a physical location, i.e. your office or store address.
  • Having a term of business or T&Cs page, which is easily accessible to users (usually from the footer).
  • Making sure your website’s domain is secure. Correctly implementing HTTPS is very important to Google and helps to ensure any data your users’ input won’t be intercepted by a nefarious 3rd party entity.
  • Having a privacy policy which is clearly accessible (usually from the footer).
  • If you’re accepting transactions, you should have clear refunds and returns policies.
  • If you’re selling products, try to include comprehensive specifications of the product and include any safety advice that might be relevant.
  • If you’re sharing knowledge, in general, it’s a good idea to have an author biography included and to cite external sources where relevant. Linking out to authority sites is a good thing.

The Wolfgang essential takeaways

If you’re sharing information on a subject, particularly medical, health and financial related matters, you need to have proven expertise, authority, and trustworthiness for Google to recommend your content.

When Google recommends a page to a searcher, they don’t want them to read false information (fake news!) especially when it could impact their health, finances or happiness. Bad advice is never good, but when it comes to these topics it’s the worst.

Following E-A-T as a framework when working on your business’s digital marketing means you’re taking a holistic approach to SEO and content marketing. Covering these three pillars is a smart thing to do, particularly if you want to rank pages on Google for the best search terms in your industry.

It may come as bad news for those in the game for a quick win, but expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness take time to build and nurture, with no real shortcuts; this is important to remember. Long gone are the days where you can pop-up overnight and take over Google’s results pages. The E-A-T criteria, by definition, means incrementally growing a brand and a positive online presence in a natural way.

The good news, however, is that if you do this right and achieve a high E-A-T, it will hard to get knocked down from the top spots of Google.

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How to Use the ‘Rule of Three’ to Create Engaging Content

What’s so magical about the number three? It’s no accident that the number three is pervasive throughout some of our…

The post How to Use the ‘Rule of Three’ to Create Engaging Content appeared first on Copyblogger.


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How to create landing pages that convert

Landing pages can make or break your digital marketing.



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Discovery CEO: We’re Trying To Create a Golf Netflix

In announcing a wide-ranging content deal with golf legend Tiger Woods, Discovery CEO David Zaslav says that what we’re trying to do is really create a golf Netflix. Discovery’s strategy is partnering with high profile personalities such as Tiger and Oprah and others to provide quality non-scripted programming globally. Zaslav says that they’re going to cede this whole idea of scripted, there are loads of people in that space and they’re fighting over it.

David Zaslav, Discovery president and CEO, discussed the companies “Netflix” strategy on CNBC’s Squawk Box (video below):

What We’re Trying To Do is Really Create a Golf Netflix

This is a wide-a wide-ranging partnership with the greatest golfer ever, Tiger Woods. He’s a transformational figure really. It’s a cherry on top of our golf strategy. We were in business with the PGA Tour everywhere in the world. We owned the tour globally with Jay Monahan and the PGA Tour, it’s a long-term partnership. What we’re trying to do is really create a golf Netflix, create an ecosystem where everyone in the world that loves golf can get everything they want on the phone and/or on EuroSport in Europe or on channels around the world.

It’s multifaceted and it fits our strategy. A couple of years ago we got into business with Oprah Winfrey, so we’re in business with Oprah globally. When we bought Scripps, food, HGTV, travel, people thought we bought linear channels but we bought IP. We owned food everywhere in the world, home everywhere in the world, travel everywhere in the world. We have natural history with Discovery.

We really took a big pivot four or five years ago where we went from a traditional nonfiction company to asking ourselves how do we create content that people would want if they could want anything and if they could see anything? It was a world that at that point people thought, why is Discovery getting into sports? Why they buy EuroSport? Why do they own all the cycling and all the tennis in Europe? Why did they do the Olympics?

We’re Going to Cede This Whole Idea of Scripted

We see golf, particularly with Tiger, tennis, cycling, the Olympics, food, home, and natural history. The rest of the media business is in scripted. Disney and Bob Iger, probably the best media company in the world when it comes to scripted and traditional storytelling. Tiger is really an important part of that strategy because people love golf everywhere in the world.

Think about China, two of the best players on the PGA Tour are from China. We own all the golf in China and they love Tiger. Two weeks ago we did a deal with Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper and Magnolia. Two fantastic authentic great personalities, they’re back in our family. So we’re going to cede this whole idea of scripted, there are loads of people in that space and they’re fighting over it.

For us, that’s kind of like the soccer ball on a kids game and we’re the rest of the field. If people love food content or golf I think we have a real chance. We hope that we’re where the ball is going to be. Who’s above the globe? The FANG companies, they’re so powerful because they’re above the globe. They could reach everywhere in the world. The only media company that’s truly above the globe that has IP rights everywhere in the world is Discovery.

We Need to Reach All of These 4 Billion Devices

We haven’t over-invested in content because we do believe that we need to reach these four billion devices and the best way to reach that is to have stuff that people really want. This business started with cable systems around the world, then it went to satellites. The companies that have created the most value for shareholders are the global companies, because of the leverage.

What we’re saying is we think that by owning all of this global IP we can partner up very effectively. We don’t need to sell, we can we can partner up with any one of them. We can do a natural history global business with Google or Apple. We can go into business with Oprah ourselves and we can together reach every regional player in the world.

Our Bet is That We’re Completely Different Than the Rest

People fall in love with great stories and with people. If you think about the media business and the rush to Netflix, HBO, Hulu, those are all great plays. Disney buying Rupert’s company and he’s gonna build a product that looks a lot like it. If you’re sitting at home, whether you’re young or old, and you want to spend ten to fifteen dollars and get scripted series and movies there’s going to be 10 choices for that, and the movies are starting to be commoditized with the same movies are on each platform.

If you want something else, if you want to see golf or if you want to see natural history, that’s our bet. Our bet is that we’re completely different than the rest of the guys and we have superfans that have an affinity for our stuff.  Our content costs about $ 400,000 to $ 500,000 an hour, scripted is anywhere from $ 5 million to $ 10 million, so it’s a lot more expensive and it’s getting even more expensive. We have a much more efficient model, so we could actually charge less (than Netflix).

In the US we have 18 channels, so we’re the second biggest TV company in America. When you look at our 18 channels the amount that we charge for those 18 channels is less than one regional sports network. So our costs are less but we can make a lot of money even if we charge less, so that’s one of the reasons why we’re on every skinny bundle. We have great channels but we’re also not that expensive.

The post Discovery CEO: We’re Trying To Create a Golf Netflix appeared first on WebProNews.

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How to get links to your site: Create content that people want to link to

At SMX East Alli Brenner, Lisa Barone and Paddy Moogan talked about how to make content that attracts links.



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How to Create a Local Marketing Results Dashboard in Google Data Studio – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by DiTomaso

Showing clients that you’re making them money is one of the most important things you can communicate to them, but it’s tough to know how to present your results in a way they can easily understand. That’s where Google Data Studio comes in. In this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday, our friend Dana DiTomaso shares how to create a client-friendly local marketing results dashboard in Google Data Studio from start to finish.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hi, Moz fans. My name is Dana DiTomaso. I’m President and partner of Kick Point. We’re a digital marketing agency way up in the frozen north of Edmonton, Alberta. We work with a lot of local businesses, both in Edmonton and around the world, and small local businesses usually have the same questions when it comes to reporting.

Are we making money?

What I’m going to share with you today is our local marketing dashboard that we share with clients. We build this in Google Data Studio because we love Google Data Studio. If you haven’t watched my Whiteboard Friday yet on how to do formulas in Google Data Studio, I recommend you hit Pause right now, go back and watch that, and then come back to this because I am going to talk about what happened there a little bit in this video.

The Google Data Studio dashboard

This is a Google Data Studio dashboard which I’ve tried to represent in the medium of whiteboard as best as I could. Picture it being a little bit better design than my left-handedness can represent on a whiteboard, but you get the idea. Every local business wants to know, “Are we making money?” This is the big thing that people care about, and really every business cares about making money. Even charities, for example: money is important obviously because that’s what keeps the lights on, but there’s also perhaps a mission that they have.

But they still want to know: Are people filling out our donation form? Are people contacting us? These are important things for every business, organization, not-for-profit, whatever to understand and know. What we’ve tried to do in this dashboard is really boil it down to the absolute basics, one thing you can look at, see a couple of data points, know whether things are good or things are bad.

Are people contacting you?

Let’s start with this up here. The first thing is: Are people contacting you? Now you can break this out into separate columns. You can do phone calls and emails for example. Some of our clients prefer that. Some clients just want one mashed up number. So we’ll take the number of calls that people are getting.

If you’re using a call tracking tool, such as CallRail, you can import this in here. Emails, for example, or forms, just add it all together and then you have one single number of the number of times people contacted you. Usually this is a way bigger number than people think it is, which is also kind of cool.

Are people taking the action you want them to take?

The next thing is: Are people doing the thing that you want them to do? This is really going to decide on what’s meaningful to the client.

For example, if you have a client, again thinking about a charity, how many people filled out your donation form, your online donation form? For a psychologist client of ours, how many people booked an appointment? For a client of ours who offers property management, how many people booked a viewing of a property? What is the thing you want them to do? If they have online e-commerce, for example, then maybe this is how many sales did you have.

Maybe this will be two different things — people walking into the store versus sales. We’ve also represented in this field if a person has a people counter in their store, then we would pull that people counter data into here. Usually we can get the people counter data in a Google sheet and then we can pull it into Data Studio. It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but it certainly represents all their data in one place, which is really the whole point of why we do these dashboards.

Where did visitors com from, and where are your customers coming from?

People contacting you, people doing the thing you want them to do, those are the two major metrics. Then we do have a little bit deeper further down. On this side here we start with: Where did visitors come from, and where are your customers coming from? Because they’re really two different things, right? Not every visitor to the website is going to become a customer. We all know that. No one has a 100% conversion rate, and if you do, you should just retire.

Filling out the dashboard

We really need to differentiate between the two. In this case we’re looking at channel, and there probably is a better word for channel. We’re always trying to think about, “What would clients call this?” But I feel like clients are kind of aware of the word “channel” and that’s how they’re getting there. But then the next column, by default this would be called users or sessions. Both of those are kind of cruddy. You can rename fields in Data Studio, and we can call this the number of people, for example, because that’s what it is.

Then you would use the users as the metric, and you would just call it number of people instead of users, because personally I hate the word “users.” It really boils down the humanity of a person to a user metric. Users are terrible. Call them people or visitors at least. Then unfortunately, in Data Studio, when you do a comparison field, you cannot rename and call it comparison. It does this nice percentage delta, which I hate.

It’s just like a programmer clearly came up with this. But for now, we have to deal with it. Although by the time this video comes out, maybe it will be something better, and then I can go back and correct myself in the comments. But for now it’s percentage delta. Then goal percentage and then again delta. They can sort by any of these columns in Data Studio, and it’s real live data.

Put a time period on this, and people can pick whatever time period they want and then they can look at this data as much as they want, which is delightful. If you’re not delivering great results, it may be a little terrifying for you, but really you shouldn’t be hiding that anyway, right? Like if things aren’t going well, be honest about it. That’s another talk for another time. But start with this kind of chart. Then on the other side, are you showing up on Google Maps?

We use the Supermetrics Google My Business plug-in to grab this kind of information. We hook it into the customer’s Google Maps account. Then we’re looking at branded searches and unbranded searches and how many times they came up in the map pack. Usually we’ll have a little explanation here. This is how many times you came up in the map pack and search results as well as Google Maps searches, because it’s all mashed in together.

Then what happens when they find you? So number of direction requests, number of website visits, number of phone calls. Now the tricky thing is phone calls here may be captured in phone calls here. You may not want to add these two pieces of data or just keep this off on its own separately, depending upon how your setup is. You could be using a tracking number, for example, in your Google My Business listing and that therefore would be captured up here.

Really just try to be honest about where that data comes from instead of double counting. You don’t want to have that happen. The last thing is if a client has messages set up, then you can pull that message information as well.

Tell your clients what to do

Then at the very bottom of the report we have a couple of columns, and usually this is a longer chart and this is shorter, so we have room down here to do this. Obviously, my drawing skills are not as good as as aligning things in Data Studio, so forgive me.

But we tell them what to do. Usually when we work with local clients, they can’t necessarily afford a monthly retainer to do stuff for clients forever. Instead, we tell them, “Here’s what you have to do this month.Here’s what you have to do next month. Hey, did you remember you’re supposed to be blogging?” That sort of thing. Just put it in here, because clients are looking at results, but they often forget the things that may get them those results. This is a really nice reminder of if you’re not happy with these numbers, maybe you should do these things.

Tell your clients how to use the report

Then the next thing is how to use. This is a good reference because if they only open it say once every couple months, they probably have forgotten how to do the stuff in this report or even things like up at the top make sure to set the time period for example. This is a good reminder of how to do that as well.

Because the report is totally editable by you at any time, you can always go in and change stuff later, and because the client can view the report at any time, they have a dashboard that is extremely useful to them and they don’t need to bug you every single time they want to see a report. It saves you time and money. It saves them time and money. Everybody is happy. Everybody is saving money. I really recommend setting up a really simple dashboard like this for your clients, and I bet you they’ll be impressed.

Thanks so much.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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