New open source robots.txt projects

Last year we released the robots.txt parser and matcher that we use in our production systems to the open source world. Since then, we’ve seen people build new tools with it, contribute to the open source library (effectively improving our production systems- thanks!), and release new language versions like golang and rust, which make it easier for developers to build new tools.

With the intern season ending here at Google, we wanted to highlight two new releases related to robots.txt that were made possible by two interns working on the Search Open Sourcing team, Andreea Dutulescu and Ian Dolzhanskii

Robots.txt Specification Test

First, we are releasing a testing framework for robots.txt parser developers, created by Andreea. The project provides a testing tool that can validate whether a robots.txt parser follows the Robots Exclusion Protocol, or to what extent. Currently there is no official and thorough way to assess the correctness of a parser, so Andreea built a tool that can be used to create robots.txt parsers that are following the protocol.

Java robots.txt parser and matcher

Second, we are releasing an official Java port of the C++ robots.txt parser, created by Ian. Java is the 3rd most popular programming language on GitHub and it’s extensively used at Google as well, so no wonder it’s been the most requested language port. The parser is a 1-to-1 translation of the C++ parser in terms of functions and behavior, and it’s been thoroughly tested for parity against a large corpora of robots.txt rules. Teams are already planning to use the Java robots.txt parser in Google production systems, and we hope that you’ll find it useful, too. 

As usual, we welcome your contributions to these projects. If you built something with the C++ robots.txt parser or with these new releases, let us know so we can potentially help you spread the word! If you found a bug, help us fix it by opening an issue on GitHub or directly contributing with a pull request. If you have questions or comments about these projects, catch us on Twitter!

It was our genuine pleasure to host Andreea and Ian, and we’re sad that their internship is ending. Their contributions help make the Internet a better place and we hope that we can welcome them back to Google in the future.


How to make your website ADA-compliant and win at SEO

30-second summary:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 does now include mobile apps and websites.
  • An ADA-compliant website helps more people than those covered by ADA.
  • There are many SEO benefits such as increased visibility on google image searches, and featured snippets.
  • Co-founder of Ally digital media, Abhishek Shah says, “Responsive websites help with ADA compliance and further improve your website’s overall search presence.”
  • The four best ways to make your website ADA-compliant with a clear outline of its ADA as well as SEO benefits.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 does now include mobile apps and websites. Specifically, Title III of the ADA has taken an official stand on how websites should be accessible for disabled users. However, when you look at what’s necessary to make a website ADA-compliant, you will see that these also will help improve your site’s SEO.

Some elements such as title tags, heading structure, alt text, and responsive design are things all websites should include. By ensuring these are done properly and in an ADA-compliant way will maximize your website’s effectiveness.

How ADA accessibility prioritization benefits everyone

Ensuring your website complies with the ADA helps you serve a larger audience and gives a boost to your search engine rankings. This is because most of the necessary components of making your website ADA compliant feed directly into SEO best practices.

After all, the whole point is to make your website easier to view, understand, and navigate. What business doesn’t want all that for their website?

Four ways an ADA-compliant website helps improve your SEO

Here are 4 ADA-compliant must-haves (in no particular order) that will help improve your SEO. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is a good place to start.

1. Title tags help screen searches and readers

Title tags are very basic SEO. They let the reader, and search engines, know what the page is about. A title tag doesn’t show up on your website. Rather, it appears on the results page of a search engine, and the tab at the top of your web browser.

SEO benefits

Title tags, while basic SEO, are very important. This tag needs to match your user’s intent. For example, when someone googles “best phone” the phrase best phone (or a variation like “best smartphone”) will appear in the title tag.

Writing a title that accurately reflects what the page is about is the best way to get found and clicked on. It’s why a title tag should be specific: “The best Android phones for 2020” is far better than “Why you will want to buy one of these phones.”

ADA benefits

For those who need screen readers to help them use a computer, a specific title tag such as the above example is much more user-friendly. So, it is vital the title tag accurately reflects the page content.

The accessibility guidelines say the title should be “The best Android phones for 2020” instead of “Why you will want to buy one of these phones.”

2. Descriptive alt text

Alt text is not the same thing as a caption. A caption is visible usually beneath an image. Whereas alt text is not visible on the front end of the site. The alt text is a written alternative to a page’s visual elements. This includes: .jpegs, .pngs, and .gifs. the alt text is a description of an image that lives in the backend of the site.

SEO benefits

Alt text lets search engines know the subject matter of an image. It also helps search engines to better understand the page. Additionally, if you want images to show up in Google, then writing descriptive alt text is a must-have.

ADA benefits

For web users with visual impairment using screen readers, descriptive alt text is read aloud. This helps a visually impaired reader get a better sense of what’s going on, on any given page.

A useful descriptive alt text might be: “woman at café with laptop drinking coffee” 

A useless alt text would be: “SEO tips for freelancers | Get more clients with SEO | Writing your way to success with SEO”

3. Responsive design

Responsive design has been around since 2012/2013 in one form or another. But it means more than just your website being able to adapt to whichever screen size it finds itself on.

It’s about where your logo sits, how easy is your site to navigate, how easy is it to read, and how quickly does it load?

SEO benefits

Websites that offer good, functional user experience rank better in search results. User experience isn’t just one ranking factor but an umbrella term for quite a few. Google has said that a site that takes longer than three seconds to load on a mobile site will rank higher.

How easy content is to read (and how useful it is) is also an important ranking factor.

ADA benefits

Good responsive design puts the user first. It starts from the premise that a website needs to be easy to look at, easy to navigate, and be easy to understand.

This is why you need legible text for the visually impaired. As well as quick load times for people with slow internet. And straightforward navigation to make it easy for people to get around your website.

4. Proper heading (and subheading) structure

Headings (which show up in the code as <h1> or <h2> or <h3> etc.) define your content’s hierarchy. These headings (and subheadings) work along similar lines to when you wrote essays in school.

Proper heading structure:

  • Goes in order: a h3 doesn’t go directly after a h1.
  • Describes the copy beneath it.
  • Follows a sequence: if your h2 is “4 ways…” then the h3s would be each of those points.

SEO benefits

When your writing is clearly structured it is easier to read, and easier to follow. It’s also easier for Google to crawl your content and understand what is the most important (starting with h1, and so on).

Good header structure can also your content appear in the featured snippets in the search engine results page (SERPs).

ADA benefits

For users who have limited reading comprehension or cognitive impairments, clear and direct headings make it easier to read. Headings and subheadings let a reader know what’s worth reading and what’s worth skipping over.

And just like a reader skips heading, so too can a screen reader. Which only reinforces the need for a strong, clear heading structure.

An example of a website that has both good SEO and is ADA compliant is Enviro Safety Products. When you review this site you will see it ticks all the boxes, and provides the user a seamless, friendly experience.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA-compliant) - Example

Source: Enviro Safety Products

How making your website ADA compliant will help you win at SEO

By applying all the necessary ADA compliant elements to your website, you are helping the one in four Americans with a disability use your website. Additionally, you will also greatly enhance your website’s SEO.

If you would like to know more about how making your website ADA compliant will help you win at SEO, you can throw questions in the comments section below.

Abhishek Shah is the co-founder of Ally Digital Media, a leading voice in digital media and marketing. He advocates for evidence-based marketing strategies to fuel the businesses. He can be found on Twitter @abiishek.

Google Honors Jovita Idár, Mexican-American Journalist & Civil Rights Activist

Google Doodle Jovita Idár

Google has a special Google logo, Doodle, honoring Jovita Idár as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. Jovita Idár was a Mexican-American journalist, political activist and civil rights worker who championed the cause of Mexican-Americans and Mexican immigrants.

She was born on September 7, 1885 in Laredo, Texas and she was most well known for her work during the Mexican Revolution, between 1910 through 1920, for her writing and journalism during that time. She was part of several movements including Orden Caballeros de Honor, the first Mexican Congress, and La Liga Femenil (League of Mexican Women).

Google wrote “Today’s Doodle celebrates Mexican-American journalist, educator, nurse, and activist Jovita Idár, a pioneer in the fight for Mexican-American civil rights at the turn of the 20th century. During the First Mexican Congress, which met the week of September 14 to 22 in 1911, Idár was elected president of the League of Mexican Women, a feminist organization ahead of its time in uniting women around the critical educational, social, and political issues facing the Mexican-American community.”

Here are two earlier concepts for the Google Doodle:

click for full size

click for full size

Forum discussion at Twitter.

This decade’s most important marketing question: What data rights do advertisers possess?

With Google’s latest decision to strip Search Terms data insights from advertisers (some agencies have reported around 25%-30% or more of data loss), the frustrated outcry has caused some to begin throwing around lawsuit language. 

Specifically, there seem to be three main reactions to this change: 

  1. Those who believe that advertisers own the data outright, or at least the data is part of what they are paying for, and thus have every right to all data. These are the most likely to be outraged, as they believe their rights have been stripped away with decisions such as this.
  2. Those who believe Google (or the platform) owns the data, and that advertisers are simply playing within the elected program. These are the most likely to ignore the recent hubbub (or even this article!) and simply believe that advertisers should roll with the changes.
  3. Those somewhere in the middle. They may not have a hard and fast opinion on who does or does not own the data, but they also believe that advertisers do have certain rights and the platform cannot simply do what it wants without potential legal ramifications or oversight.

Why is the data ownership conversation so important to marketing?

While I am no expert on data privacy, and you really should not come to me for legal advice (there you go, that’s the legal addendum you expected), I did want to at least investigate data rights and ownership and share that with the marketing community. 

What I have found is likely no surprise, and why I believe this is the most important conversation happening right now, and in the near future with Digital Marketing. This gets into the privacy conversation. This gets into the data storage conversation. This gets into the automation conversation. This gets into marketing in nearly every way possible at this time. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration, to say this is *the* conversation that will shape the Digital Marketing industry for decades. 

Personally, I’m happy for conversations that move things forward in helping us be ever-safer with online data usage and storage. Though I am admittedly alarmed by legislators making decisions impacting our industry who don’t know how Facebook makes its money. How can you properly legislate the ad industry if you do not understand the fundamental existence of the ad industry…but, I digress. 

What do I believe is the core question that will most impact marketers in the coming decades? 

I believe it is this: “What rights do advertisers have to the marketing data we utilize for our decisions?” It’s not a complicated question at first blush, but the more we plumb its depths, the more we identify additional complications. Let’s dig into those next. 

Who owns your search term data, the one storing it or the one paying for it? 

This question is one we began to have internally at ZATO, as we disagreed on the answer. And that is what spawned this post. Well, of course the one paying for the data owns it! I scoffed. Then a logical disagreement was brought up and I backed off my firm position. 

Is the one who creates and stores the data physically the owner of that data? Who can determine exactly what is to be done with that data? Well, it’s complicated, and to my knowledge (I haven’t read every court decision in the past 10 years on this) that’s still being argued in certain courts. Winning Tech writes of the Microsoft SCA case in which the question was whether the (US) feds could access their data by court order if it was physically housed in Ireland. The decision? Well it flip-flopped. It seems that physical server location is important, but not the only thing to take into consideration…and shockingly, courts disagreed on the outcome. It’s complicated.

Isn’t the one who pays for the data the owner? That makes sense, right? If you buy a Big Mac, you get determine whose belly that Big Mac enters. 

But in terms of data, thus far it doesn’t appear that the one paying for the data owns the data (I’m not a lawyer, remember). Certainly the recent fine from Facebook for inflating video views suggests there are certain rights to data that advertisers have (even if only “the right not to be lied to), and also revealed how important the accuracy of data is to business decision-making, but it didn’t necessarily communicate that advertisers own that data. 

That being said, throw the actual person into the mix as well (hence, CCPA and GDPR), and this stuff just got even more complicated. You remember the person, yeah, she’s the one handing off that data to be argued over by Google and advertisers. What sort of ownership rights does she have? 

Here is how I personally (not an attorney, personal opinion here) believe the advertisers relationship to data is. I believe it is more like a lease/landlord situation. 

[Read: How much does Google’s new search term filtering affect ad spend transparency? Here’s how to find out]

If I lease my office space, I own the building now right? I’m paying for it! As we all know, of course not. I simply pay for certain rights to the space. 

I believe this is likely what is happening with a data rights and ownership situation between Google and advertisers. We advertisers probably do not own the data (that’s an argument between Google and the person handing over the data and the Supreme Court), we are only paying for the rights to access it…like a lease. We can store the data we get from platforms like Google, and thus have some sort of ownership rights ourselves to it as advertisers. As a sidenote, that’s where it gets even messier. Does that mean there are now two sets of owned data based on those duplicates? I don’t know. Smarter people are probably arguing over that now for obscene amounts of money. 

By the way, it appears this is also what Google believes based on its Advertising Terms and Conditions

In short: advertisers agree to very little rights with Google. Of course, that doesn’t mean this is legally or ethically correct, but it is an important point for Google since advertisers agree to the Terms and Conditions upon beginning with Google, and those T&C do not guarantee any sort of data rights other than impressions. 

Curiously, as I did my research for this article, I randomly discovered Google used to guarantee some sort of Impression-based reporting in an old version of the T&C housed here. While impression data alone is slightly more beneficial than throwing rocks at a charging Montana Grizzly Bear, it does mean that at some point in the past, there was an accepted understanding by Google that users have some form of access rights to some form of data.

The question we should be asking as PPCers

This is crucial, because even if we are paying for access in a lease situation, we should be asking an even more important question than “who owns the data”. 

PPCers are looking at Google’s new decision to remove Search Terms from their reporting and questioning Google as if advertisers own the data (since they’re paying for it). While frustrating, it’s quite possible that Google is shrugging its collective shoulders because it knows we have no rights to that data (see above discussion). We are simply leasing it from them and they can determine which data points to turn on and off like a spigot (by the way, I’ve written elsewhere that I am increasingly alarmed by decisions like that which demonstrate Google’s lack of interest in what its partners have to say on the matter, thus showing an imbalance in a relationship that certainly cannot last forever). 

All that to be said, I think the drum we advertisers need to be beating isn’t primarily “who owns the data”, though certainly let’s get that determined. 

I think the primary drum we need to be beating, with potentially more legal precedence, is “what data do we advertisers have the RIGHT to access?” 

If we argue data ownership and lose, game over. If we argue “access rights”, it’s a new ball-game. 

Google’s Own Language

Here is a curious thing, and one in which a lesser man (certainly not me) might utilize a statement such as “hoisted by its own petard”. Google itself claims in its third party policy with advertisers, that there is certain data necessary to show to the one actually paying money to Google for Ads Program usage. In other words, a Paid Search agency like my own, must share certain data with advertisers in order to align itself with Google’s Third-Party policies

See the “Transparency requirements” section here:

Of course, Google is masterful at keeping clearly defined language from sneaking into this policy. It’s not like they claim “search terms data is significant” for agencies, and then don’t show that data themselves. However, what I gather from this, is Google’s admittance that an advertiser has certain access to data rights because of their payment to the Platform to use the advertising service and I think *that* is where the upcoming battles will be fought. 

In other words, the question isn’t “do advertisers paying Google have certain access rights to data”? Because as I have shown above, Google themselves believes there to be some level of access rights. 

The question is, “to which data do advertisers have access rights”? 

This is where it gets complicated, and I will have to send you to a previous column I have written on this topic asking exactly this: Marketing Automation and Data: 2 Contradictory Elements We Need to Discuss

The TL;DR of that column is that certain data points are more important for success to one business than they are to another. It may be that some businesses are impacted more significantly from losing 30% of search terms data than other businesses. That’s the nature of business, and in this author’s opinion, it is precisely why the best solution is for Platforms to cease the obfuscation of data for the sake of more automated campaign types that may or may not work as well for all advertisers. 

A combination of the two would make sense. Increased advances in automation for those who don’t care about specific control and data access, plus full access to the data-sets for those advertisers who believe they need it. This will likely take some work and is certainly not the most efficient way to do business for Google, but it is arguably the best way to do business.

At some point, doing business with so many unique entities isn’t solely about efficiency that utilizes averages. Automation shines with grouped efficiency and averages…not shared and thus manually managed data. That is also why social audiences are becoming more popular over and above search terms data with Google (grouped averages are easier to automate well), even though the search term and keyword is why Google has always shone brighter than other marketing channels and is what continues to draw new advertisers to the platform (I know because I talk to them, small businesses LOVE the ultra-targeted nature of the keyword…a targeted nature that continues to be lost with additional close variant changes). 

The problem for Google is the businesses who don’t fit into those averages, but also have a right to certain data since they are also paying for the ad program, especially small businesses.

My question is, isn’t that the cost of doing business with people, especially lots of people? 

The small realtor in Billings, MT, paying Google pennies is part of the advertising ecosystem, and has equal data access rights as the billion dollar travel entity.

An engineer’s brilliant plan for an automated system that would work for the billion dollar travel entity, but result in the failed account of the small realtor isn’t actually the right way…even if it’s more efficient for some automated program.

Doing business with so many different people is messy, and can’t always be boxed up neatly into a closed-system, automated process. Sometimes the best thing you can do as a platform is to understand that profit and efficiency is at risk, but seek the solution that allows for the most data-points to be accessible so all paying customers can utilize your advertising solution. 

At least, that is my opinion. 

At some point in the very near future, “data access rights” will likely be decided in a high court somewhere, and I guess we’ll all watch with fascination and trepidation.

Read: Welcome to the Predictive Marketing Era


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Kirk is the owner of ZATO, his micro-agency focused solely on Paid Search Advertising, and has been working in Digital Marketing since 2009. He has been named one of the Top 25 Most Influential PPCers in the world by PPC Hero the past 5 years in a row, and is known for his e-commerce PPC articles across various industry publications. Pre-COVID, he was an international conference speaker presenting on all things Paid Search (especially Shopping Ads) around the world but now sticks to podcasts and online conferences to share his latest tips on Google Shopping Ads. Kirk currently resides in Billings, MT with his wife, 5 children, Trek bikes, Taylor guitar, books, and little sleep.

Google Merchant Center Additional Countries Setting Is Coming

Google said by the end of this month you will need to control global product availability in your product feed. You can apply the shipping attribute to products directly in the feed or specify countries by using the “additional countries” feature. This applies to both Shopping ads and free listings, Google said.

A month ago we reported about using the feed to exclude countries as an FYI but now Google said this is coming by the end of this month.

In the past, there were two ways for products to become available in multiple countries. You could specify countries through shipping settings (either by creating an account-level shipping service or by applying the shipping attribute to individual products), or you could specify countries in your Shopping ads feed (either as the country of sale, or by using the “additional countries” feature).

Google is pre-selecting countries in your feed to configure as “additional countries” of sale starting the week of September 14, 2020. For most merchants, this doesn’t change the availability of your products across countries. Up until September 30, 2020, Google will use Merchant Center shipping settings to determine additional countries for your product data. After this time, further country selection changes can and will be configured on the feed or product level. Your product-level shipping attributes will continue to apply.

There are a lot more details on this change over here.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Affinity Answers helps brands talk to fans

Affinity Answers, the marketing data science vendor, today announced the re-branding of its AudiencePlanner tool as FanFinder360° to reflect an increased commitment to serving the media and entertainment industry.

Founded in 2004 as a boot-strap start-up, the company today delivers anonymized social media-based audience insights not just to brands, but for example to political campaigns. The insights can be converted into programmatic audiences, or used to identify web content which matches an expressed affinity and is therefore likely to draw an audience with similar affinities.

Myspace data. The approach has its roots in data from Myspace, the early music-centric social platform. Said Josh Raper, VP Marketing at Affinity Answers, “That was really the first time a platform gave direct, one-to-one access between an artist and a fan. The first model we created was to help record labels better market their artists: the first project was around a Bob Dylan box set that cost around $200, and we created a model to target fans and got something like a 28% conversion rate within a digital marketing campaign.”

Later, the company pivoted from music to a wider range of brands: CPG, travel, retail, etc. Affinity Answers accesses public, privacy-compliant data across all networks available, to create what is in effect a recommendation engine based on cohorts of fans. “If are into this,” said Raper, “then they are most likely into that.”

Rebranding. Originally these recommendations were driven by AudiencePlanner. “We’re rebranding as FanFinder360°,” said Raper, “and we’re doubling down into the media and entertainment industry.

Affinity Answers partners with a range of marketplaces. LiveRamp, for example, said Raper, “provides an activation suite which allows us to activate directly into social channels, addressable, or both digital and video programmatic.”

Beyond lookalike audiences. “Traditional lookalike audiences are based on demographics,” said Raper. “It gives you the idea that you know someone, but doesn’t really paint the edges around a really broad spectrum. Look at the two candidates running [for President] right now. In a lookalike model, they would look like the exact same people. They both live in D.C., same age range, follow politics and golf. But if you dive into the media and organizations they follow, they become polar opposites.”

Why we care. Traditional segmentation based on demographic information has a long history, and social listening has been table stakes for years now. Affinity Answers describes ways to extend those strategies.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today.


About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech Today. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

How to drive digital innovation necessary throughout the pandemic

  • 30-second summary: COVID-19 has kept customers in their houses, which has caused substantial spikes in internet usage and business rushing to digitize in order to fulfill customers where they are.
  • The ability to rapidly develop digital abilities will continue to be critical for satisfying consumer requirements and ensuring companies’ survival.
  • To remain competitive, companies need to boost the digital customer experiences they offer through updated social networks, optimized conversion, techniques, better market research, a reliable internal website search, and fresh client touchpoints.

Emerging digital technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing enticed leaders with their dexterity and efficiency. Many business planned to make digitization a goal for the brand-new years.

In hindsight, they most likely wish they hadn’t waited.

The novel coronavirus overthrew every aspect of our lives. As companies and federal governments all over the world attempt to combat the pandemic, countless customers sit inside their homes. And where do people go during a government-mandated lockdown? Online.

The unprecedented shift to remote work and online learning, integrated with a remarkable increase in motion picture streaming, videoconferencing, and social media traffic, has actually resulted in substantial spikes in internet usage. In this very same amount of time, huge tech companies– the businesses at the leading edge of digital development– have actually flourished, as have brand names that took advantage of the power of social networks engagement.

The biggest technique to digitization today is meeting customers where they are. For example, my business, Teknicks, is dealing with an online K-12 speech and occupational therapy supplier. When schools began transitioning to remote knowing, trainees’ needs altered, too. We helped the supplier pivot its worth proposition and messaging to accommodate school districts’ brand-new truths. By focusing on teletherapy tools and reassuring parents, we’ve seen considerable development and brand name recognition throughout the pandemic.

Until we find a vaccine for the unique coronavirus, your customers will likely engage with you through online channels. The capability to establish digital capabilities quickly will continue to be important for meeting consumer requirements and making sure survival for your company. With that in mind, here’s how you can improve your digital consumers’ experiences:

1. Update your social media

It’s not difficult to be proficient at social media marketing– it’s tough to be excellent. As you construct your audience on sites like Facebook and Instagram, be sure to engage with followers consistently. Produce a material calendar mapping out your posts and sharing techniques and stay with it. These platforms are also an excellent channel for customer support, enabling you to provide tailored support and become instantly useful (something that consumer assistance tickets and chatbots never ever appear to be).

If you currently have a substantial engaged audience, it’s time to deal with your content strategy. Don’t build your content method around keywords. Rather, focus on your audiences’ needs. A really reliable material method will be tailored for the platform you’re on and will represent the user habits most particular of that platform. Naturally, you will use keywords and phrases that are enhanced for discoverability while keeping authenticity.

One key method is to perform market research utilizing a study. This strategy goes well beyond traditional keyword research and produces content concepts directly from your target market, not a keyword tool. Surveying your potential customers allows them to tell you what kind of material they wish to take in, considerably increasing the probability of engagement. Often, this technique is the key to successful marketing strategy. I’ll enter into more information listed below.

2. Concentrate on and prioritize conversion optimization

Preferably, your site looks excellent and loads rapidly, however those qualities alone do not make a site great. The user experience that your website offers is ultimately what identifies whether customers bounce in droves or actually stick around. Attempting to enhance your preliminary traffic will tremendously increase customer acquisition expenses, so improving your conversion rates by means of website optimization is a more affordable (and rewarding) service.

We often see double-digit increases in conversion rates on our first test. We usually focus on the most trafficked pages to increase the possibility of huge, impactful wins. There is an entire science behind conversion optimization, however the core principles have actually stayed the very same for several years.

To make sure your website’s architecture is seamless and user-friendly, establish a conversion rate optimization method that works for you. This will require you to ask visitors for feedback, try out different messaging options, and frequently examine your analytics, to name a few things. The concept is to learn more about your visitors well. It takes work, but it will pay off in time as the incremental conversion rate increases impact top-line profits.

3. Conduct marketing research surveys

With the ideal insights, you can turn every engagement into a remarkable and valuable experience for both you and your consumers. The best method to get consumer insights is to ask. Design a survey of as much as 10 questions in a variety of formats along with some screening concerns to ensure the feedback you get is in fact helpful.

When designing, consider your potential consumers’ choices and discomfort points. If you understand your audience is mostly on Instagram, asking “What do you like about social media?” won’t be as reliable as “What makes Instagram posts much better than Facebook posts?” When the study’s prepared, post it to your social channels and send it out to your newsletter. You want to understand which messages resonate with your audience before you spend a cent on marketing. Knowing how to conduct marketing research is among the most crucial marketing abilities you can obtain.

Asking specific customers how they feel about various messaging options can provide you a goldmine of useful data to assist notify the language and design choices you make. Not every consumer will pick to participate in a study, but some will. Show them you value their input by using a little discount or another incentive once the survey is finished. You’ll be surprised by how many actions you get and how useful the precursory info is.

4. Review your internal website search

As much as you ‘d enjoy for every visitor to spend hours exploring every nook and cranny of your website, the majority of will want to get on with their lives after they’ve found what they came for. To make the process much faster, you ought to offer some sort of internal website search performance. If you do not already have one, add a search box to your navigation menu.

Not every site has one, and even the ones that do have really surface-level functions. Search bars are an important possession that can increase internal sessions and conversion. Internal site searchers are 216% likelier to transform, according to WebLinc. Search bars assist your visitors and broaden your understanding of user habits, supplying you with the information you need in order to change your site accordingly.

Evaluate the efficiency of your internal search, noticing how it discovers and arranges the material after a search. A lot of native search functionality is extremely standard and simply searches for the existence of “search term,” but you may wish to evaluate out more advanced filters that help users better find the information they are looking for.

I advise taking a look at the search information monthly to see what users have been searching for. Make sure to evaluate what searches yielded no outcomes and which searches brought up irrelevant content. Determine areas that can be approved and comprehend your material gaps that require extra material to support the demand.

5. Determine brand-new customer touchpoints

Innovation is all about utilizing brand-new technology to improve old procedures. While your common client journey may depend on your market and service, possibilities are good that you can find ways to boost it with emerging innovations.

Assessing whether an emerging innovation is a fit for your organization and whether you ought to purchase testing it out, starts with (drumroll …) a survey. As we went over previously, studies can respond to just about anything you want to know about your target market. Proceed and ask your audience if they own or utilize the emerging tech and verify its location in the consumer journey.

Take the new home buying process, for instance. David Weekley Homes, the largest privately-held home builder in the U.S., wished to much better comprehend whether voice-enabled devices can contribute in the customer journey. The business also wanted to propose a voice app concept to the audience and understand how they felt about the emerging technology concept. By performing a study, we revealed that 81% of the participants would think about the voice app idea to be rather to incredibly valuable and 70% would possibly to definitely use the voice app if it existed.

The increasing usage of voice search and voice-enabled devices also uses an opportunity for customer brand names to make it simpler than ever for consumers to discover their products. Tide, for example, has actually profited from marketing on Amazon’s Alexa Skills platform to get rid of a step from the acquiring process. Clients can use the business’s ability to purchase Tide products without having to pull up the Amazon app or go to the Tide site. In that method, new tech makes an old process (purchasing cleaning agent) more smooth than ever.

The COVID-19 pandemic has actually made digital development a service imperative. Despite your industry, you should search for ways to prepare for and fulfill consumer needs. Your customers expect a seamless digital experience. If you can’t provide it, they won’t need to leave their houses to find someone else that can.

Nick Chasinov is the founder and CEO of Teknicks, a research-based web marketing firm accredited by Google in Analytics, Tag Manager, and a Google Premier AdWords partner.

Daily Search Forum Recap: September 18, 2020

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:

  • Search Buzz Video Recap: Confusing Google Search Fluctuations, Many Google Bugs & How Google Core Updates Work
    This week was an interesting one, we had a huge amount of Google search ranking fluctuations according to the tracking tools but overall the chatter within the SEO community was not all that much. Google had a bug with news…
  • Google Merchant Center Additional Countries Setting Is Coming
    Google said by the end of this month you will need to control global product availability in your product feed. You can apply the shipping attribute to products directly in the feed or specify countries by using the “additional countries” feature. This applies to both Shopping ads and free listings, Google said.
  • Can Cheap Hosts With Many Low Quality Sites Can Hurt Your Google Rankings?
    Recently an interesting experiment was published on Reboot Online that says cheap hosting with low-quality, spammy bad neighborhoods of sites, can actually impact Google rankings. But John Mueller of Google disputed this study saying it is not really true and it doesn’t work that way at Google.
  • Google Search Feature Online Therapy Providers
    John Vantine shared a screen shot of Google showing an “online therapy” box in the search results that helps you find options for therapy that is covered by your insurance. I can replicate, so it does seem to be live, at least in the US.
  • Gift Cards Can’t Be Sold On Google Shopping With Buy on Google
    Google has updated its gift card policy in the Google Merchant Center to disallow the sale of gift cards using Buy on Google starting on September 30, 2020. Google said “Beginning September 30, Google will be changing the gift card category policy to prohibit the sale of gift cards on Buy on Google.”
  • Google Logo On Spare Tire Cover
    Here is a van, actually the Google Research Van, with a Google logo on its spare tire cover. Everyone needs to have their company logo on a spare tire cover. Without it, can you really call your comp

Other Great Search Forum Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Next on MarTech Live: Where Does Marketing Automation Fit within Your Martech Stack?

On Wednesday, September 23 at 1pm EDT, MarTech Today’s, Editorial Director and host of MarTech Live, Kim Davis, will be talking with marketing automation experts about the state of marketing automation, and where it fits in the fast-evolving marketing stack.

Kim’s guests will be:

  • Helen Abramova, Marketing Technology Lead, Verizon
  • Justin Sharaf, VP Marketing, Jahia Solutions

Topics of discussion will include how marketing automation platforms seek to differentiate themselves; whether marketing automation fits in the stack as a hub and central data source, or should be one of a number of digital experience solutions integrated with a single data source like a CDP; and the critical importance of integration, for example with CRMs and events tools.

The chat will take place at 1 p.m. EDT and we will allow up to 100 people into the meeting to experience the discussion live and ask questions. We will then post the video of the meeting for the larger MarTech Today audience to enjoy. If you would like to be part of the meeting please fill out this form. We will send confirmations to the first 100 people who sign up.

We at MarTech Today hope this series of live discussions, presentations, tutorials and meetups will help everyone stay sharp and up to date on tactics and best practices. The episodes will also be available on demand. Check out the latest one here.

If you have an idea for a session or would like to join a panel, email [email protected] or fill out the pitch form here.


About The Author

Googlebot will soon speak HTTP/2

Quick summary: Starting November 2020, Googlebot will start crawling some sites over HTTP/2.

Ever since mainstream browsers started supporting the next major revision of HTTP, HTTP/2 or h2 for short, web professionals asked us whether Googlebot can crawl over the upgraded, more modern version of the protocol.

Today we’re announcing that starting mid November 2020, Googlebot will support crawling over HTTP/2 for select sites.

What is HTTP/2

As we said, it’s the next major version of HTTP, the protocol the internet primarily uses for transferring data. HTTP/2 is much more robust, efficient, and faster than its predecessor, due to its architecture and the features it implements for clients (for example, your browser) and servers. If you want to read more about it, we have a long article on the HTTP/2 topic on developers.google.com.

Why we’re making this change

In general, we expect this change to make crawling more efficient in terms of server resource usage. With h2, Googlebot is able to open a single TCP connection to the server and efficiently transfer multiple files over it in parallel, instead of requiring multiple connections. The fewer connections open, the fewer resources the server and Googlebot have to spend on crawling.

How it works

In the first phase, we’ll crawl a small number of sites over h2, and we’ll ramp up gradually to more sites that may benefit from the initially supported features, like request multiplexing.

Googlebot decides which site to crawl over h2 based on whether the site supports h2, and whether the site and Googlebot would benefit from crawling over HTTP/2. If your server supports h2 and Googlebot already crawls a lot from your site, you may be already eligible for the connection upgrade, and you don’t have to do anything.

If your server still only talks HTTP/1.1, that’s also fine. There’s no explicit drawback for crawling over this protocol; crawling will remain the same, quality and quantity wise.

How to opt out

Our preliminary tests showed no issues or negative impact on indexing, but we understand that, for various reasons, you may want to opt your site out from crawling over HTTP/2. You can do that by instructing the server to respond with a 421 HTTP status code when Googlebot attempts to crawl your site over h2. If that’s not feasible at the moment, you can send a message to the Googlebot team (however, this solution is temporary).

If you have more questions about Googlebot and HTTP/2, check the questions we thought you might ask. If you can’t find your question, write to us on Twitter and in the help forums.

Posted by Jin Liang and Gary