Google's SERP Changes

What’s the price of real estate now?
How do google’s desktop changes impact your campaigns?

Google is eliminating desktop text ads in the right sidebar. Google’s SERP changes ramped up recently as the company brings desktop search more in line with the mobile/tablet experience. PPC managers and AdWords experts are once again playing catch up with Google, trying to anticipate how shrinking ad results from as many as 11 to a max of seven will impact their campaigns.

Adwords changes


What does this mean for SERPs?

Instead of three ads, four ads will be populated at the top of the page, for what Google considers “highly commercial queries” or searches with a perceived intent to purchase. Three ads will still appear on the bottom of a page.

By eliminating the right rail, Google will increase and benefit from click share, while advertisers will respond accordingly.


Will CPCs Skyrocket?

 

It’s too early to tell. The rules of supply and demand would indicate, with fewer spots available the demand for PPC real estate will be higher. Those advertisers bumped from page results completely, will obviously have to step up their game, and those at the top will certainly feel the pressure.
Our Senior Director of Paid Channels has been reviewing Google’s change and considers it one of the biggest changes to SEM since the institution of product listing ads. With the elimination of right rails, positions one and two will face stiffer competition and higher cost-per-clicks, with a lower click-through-rate. Three and four will benefit from a higher click-through-rate, but also contend with a higher C-P-C. Five through seven will face a higher C-P-C with click-through-rate remaining flat.

It’s important to keep in mind Google is not reinventing the wheel for AdRank formula. Bid, (Highest CPC) Quality Score and Extensions still dictate which brands end up where.

Relevance

The changes only underscore our point that PPC campaigns, landing pages and ad copy must work together. Effective ads begin with copy and keywords that align with customer language while highlighting products, services and offers that make your business unique. Conversions won’t happen unless there’s a clear call to action, and the ad links to a relevant landing page, which again pushes a call to action.

If you’ve found your PPC ads are no longer relevant or even showing up in search we’re happy to discuss actionable strategies.

PPC Improvement

Ecommerce PPC Success: Low Cost Per Click, High ROI

We want to share how a client saw positive results quickly, and what steps Evolve took to make it happen.

When we first talked to VetRxDirect, a national online pet pharmacy, we discovered the site had been experiencing a harmful drop in traffic due to Google’s Panda update. This notorious change to its algorithm allowed Google to fight against promoting alow quality websites in search results. The change was especially hard for ecommerce websites, which often unintentionally experience duplicate content or thin pages.

Optimize

 

Since the decrease in organic traffic, VetRxDirect had been relying on paid search for much of its inbound visitors, but as any business knows, paid search can quickly devour a marketing budget, especially if it is not optimized.

Understanding Our Client’s Goals

The most important objectives were to remedy the drop in traffic (and revenue) from the Panda update and to better understand visitor behavior. Our client was also skeptical of Evolve’s ability to decrease the cost per click (CPC) for the paid search ads.

Developing a Strategy to Meet Goals

As a Google Partner agency, Evolve has a strong track record of driving revenue through paid search. Our experts build flawless campaigns that target the right customers and drive to strategic landing pages. In the case of VetRxDirect, we were able to quickly find and eliminate waste in paid search efforts. Refining the campaigns with up-to-date keyword research allowed our PPC team to lower the cost per click and optimize the cost per conversion.

 

An efficient paid search campaign does more than drive leads and revenue; it also provides visitor behavior insight that can be applied to organic efforts. We explained to our client that paid search improvements would deliver a clearer understanding of the needs and online patterns of its primary customer.

Research from the Online Market Audit delivers critical insight regarding the online opportunity for VetRxDirect to make cost-effective decisions online, including:

  • Online investment
  • Acquisition
  • Strategy
  • Continued growth

Strategy Implemented

As mentioned, Evolve’s paid search team fulfilled paid search campaign improvements, which consisted of keyword research, positive/negative keyword expansion and enhanced messaging. The result was a lowered cost per click and a higher conversion rate.

 

We are still preparing an Online Market Audit for this client, but the initial success in paid search is already exceeding online lead generation goals. We are confident that the results from the existing campaigns foretell success for VetRxDirectas future organic traffic and revenue.

To learn how your organization can benefit from the services Evolve provides, fill out the form below or call us at 1-844-Go-Evolve.

And if you are in need of medication for your pet, we know a guy.

Browse additional case studies

Learn how we set a record for a client in paid search

 

Higher Education Marketing Keyword Research

At Evolve Digital Labs we pride ourselves on keyword research. It’s a critical component of SEO audits and a benefit for brands to make sure they are targeting the correct audience. Keyword research is the foundation for implementing successful paid search campaigns and bolstering website content which drives conversions.

Advantages for Higher Education

The advantages of thoughtful and efficient keyword research for Higher Education institutes cannot be undersold. Universities both large and small are facing shrinking budgets, and an applicant pool, which assumes the education investment, is not worth the cost.

Those contributing factors make marketing initiatives all the more important, especially as it relates to cost-efficiency. Our goal in executing keyword research is to determine the terms and phrases prospective students are searching for to find a solution. Keyword research needs to be at the core of the marketing plan to ensure organizations are getting the most traffic for their investment.

Evolve Digital Labs analyzes five components for keyword research, including search volume by keyword, organic difficulty, client’s customers, client’s products/services and the client’s consumer path.

Segmenting Keywords

By segmenting keywords into campaigns we’re able to assess phrases in terms of search volume and organic difficulty.

Search volume relies on the number of national searches for a term each month, these terms are often broad vs. very specific queries for a brand or product – thus they are harder to rank for.

Organic difficulty is set up on a zero to 100 scale, with 100 being the most difficult. Organic difficulty is calculated based upon the total effort of competition in the search engines. Because the scale is incremental, ranking organically for high difficulty terms should be considered a long-term goal.

MBA Program SERP

In this case, the phrases at the top are paid, while those below ranked organically. There are a few colleges listed, vs. Wikipedia entries, and media articles. The organic difficulty for the term “MBA Program” and the search volume are both high, meaning ranking or moving up on the SERP will take time.

Higher Education marketing keyword research has multiple applications for growth in terms of both paid and organic strategies.

Paid Search Application

Like other businesses higher education organizations will have keywords which are difficult to rank for organically. Improving a website’s authority, to be capable of ranking in organic positions for recommended terms, requires a strategic plan and can be time-consuming. Paid search offers the flexibility of short-term exposure to targeted audiences, as organic efforts get underway. In cases where pages do rank organically, paid search for targeted “brand” terms may still be used to keep competitors from stealing prospective traffic.

Organic Search Application

Organic strategy should start by targeting terms from the keyword research that contain moderate search volume and moderate to low organic difficulty. Those keywords will allow for “quick wins” on the search engine results page, while concurrent site improvements and content optimization will help organizations eventually rank for significant more difficult terms.

For some universities keyword research may only be a component of paid search, but it should be at the forefront of all aspects of a higher education marketing plan.

Download our FREE online market audit checklist to learn more about our approach and how we can help your organic and paid search efforts.

A Few of Our Favorite SEO Tools

Have you ever sat down and thought about the tools that make your job easier? From a laptop, phone and Wi-Fi to search engines, Excel, PowerPoint, SlideShare, Dropbox and Microsoft Word.

The digital strategists and PPC managers at Evolve Digital Labs recently compiled a list of some of our favorite tools that make us more efficient and improve outcomes when it comes to SEO and SEM.

Google Adwords is at the center of most digital marketing campaigns. As a Google partner the Evolve team uses Adwords daily.

Included in Adwords are two features that make life easier and increase the cost-effectiveness of ad spending. Those are the Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator.

Keyword Tool provides search volume for keyword lists, however the values it returns are estimates and can be wildly inaccurate especially for low-mid search volume terms.

A better solution to get the true search volume is to use the Traffic Estimator tool. We do a traffic estimate for sites and keyword lists using the maximum bid ($100) to get the true search volume for those terms.

If your keyword list is large, (>2k) you can still use this method via the Adwords API and a little scripting know-how.

SEO Mofos Search Snippet Tools  helps quickly visualize and show examples of what SERPs will look like.

Mofo Snippet

Microsoft SEO Tools are helpful options for improving Bing SEO, as most other tools available are geared to optimize for Google.

Excel sheets are something Evolve’s PPC managers pour over hourly scanning thousands of keywords and search queries for clients like Merck and Charter Spectrum. It helps to have a few easy tricks to make working with Excel and endless data a little easier.

The Pivot Tables function allows users to look at account data for top-level analysis like campaigns, or ad groups. It can also quickly drill down all the way to keyword level to find which KWs are either driving the success of a campaign or holding it back.

The Find/Replace tool helps clean up data, which is one of the most important keys to big data sets and being able to quickly analyze and make accurate cost-effective decisions.

Everyone knows how to use VLOOKUP and what it does, but a free add-in in Excel called Fuzzy Lookup can help by matching up two datasets. Like Vlookup, Fuzzy can compare two unique columns between 2 sets of data. However Fuzzy can match up two columns from each side. So you can match First Names, and Last names that may not be in the same columns without concatenating. Fuzzy is free and takes a little practice to understand how it works. There is a limit on the size of data but for a couple 100,000 rows of data it works great.

All of our clients undergo an audit to identify opportunities for growth. “Found SEO Tool” (UK) is a straightforward audit resource that provides insight into what to fix on a website, like Screaming Frog it’s used more for analysis than an SEO road map.

Webmaster Tools are critical during the audit phase; we use those insights to highlight the next steps. We pay incredibly close attention to impression data, query data and CTR to analyze organic performance and potential.

Onsite improvements and shortcomings are identified with several Google resources, including the Page Speed and mobile friendliness tests.

Those are just a few of our top tools, to learn more about how we can put them to work for you get in touch with us. If you’ve got a unique ‘go to’ SEO/SEM tool that you’d like to share, let us know!

 

 

Medical Hackathons Re-Invent Patient Experience

If there is one takeaway from our healthcare report from earlier this year, it is that a majority of hospitals – even the biggest names in healthcare – struggle to be patient-centric online. Websites generally lack in functionality as well as visibility in search engines, and as a result, patients’ online needs are neglected.

As a recent article from Slate points out, it is ironic that hospitals are failing to improve patient outcomes, considering how motivated the industry is to innovate with robotic surgeries and pill-mounted cameras. The tech deficiency in how patients can seek and manage care is prevalent: it is 2014, and only one in five hospitals from our report offered pre-registration online. You can make a restaurant reservation online, but not schedule a doctor appointment.

So we have to admire the organizations that take huge strides toward tech innovation. The most recent example that piqued our interest is the development of medical hackathons.

These events, typically framed as a competition, challenge participants to leverage new technologies to develop more efficient ways of providing care. In this post, we cover three different hackathons from three innovative organizations.

Why We Love This Trend

Hackathons require the participation of developers and designers in any field. People who are patients themselves are able to bring their ideas for better care into fruition.

All in all, everyone benefits: Winners can receive cash prizes and organizations receive innovative new ways to reduce readmission rates and ultimately improve the patient experience.

So let’s explore a few of the organizations that are attracting brilliant people to congregate and solve problems.

Example 1: Healthcare’s Grand [email protected]

This event by MIT Hacking Medicine and The Kauffman Foundation allows participants to choose from multiple tracks, including: Diabetes, Global Health Technology, Telehealth & Mobile, Global Genes Rare Disease, and Hospital IT.

Healthcare’s Grand [email protected] occurred this past March, welcoming 400 engineers, doctors, scientists, and designers to the MIT Lab for a bustling weekend of innovation.

While details of the hackathon’s success are not widely available, MIT recently hosted a Post-Hack Pitchfest, which gave teams the opportunity to make progress on their ideas and business by pitching to healthcare leaders, investors, and customers.

Example 2: Shark Tank

Riding on the success of the popular ABC show, Shark Tank, this medical hackathon of the same name by Brigham and Women’s Hospital challenged 10 local startups to pitch ideas or products relating to two areas:

  1. Patient & family experience in the inpatient setting
  2. Patient engagement in the outpatient setting

The results of Shark Tank delivered impressive, yet simplistic, possible solutions to common struggles across healthcare organizations. VerbalCare, for example, is a product that uses cloud technology to improve and streamline communication between a patient and care team. Healo is a mobile app that helps clinicians monitor the progress of a patient’s post-operative wound.

Example 3: Innovate NYP

The third example of a medical hackathon was focused on an existing online portal for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s online portal, myNYP, which helps patients track health records and schedule appointments. The goal of Innovate NYP was to “improve the patient and health care experience.”

Individuals or teams of up to eight participants were asked to submit projects that were judged on the following criteria:

  • Ease of use
  • Design – does it reflect the NYP brand?
  • Is there a benefit to patients?
  • Is the idea/technology creative and innovative to NYP
  • Overall quality of the product

Conclusion:

Hosting a hackathon is by no means the end-all solution to a hospital’s struggles. Inception of an idea or product is one thing. Proper implementation of the technology into an organization’s operations is a tall order, and the results may not even be in line with expectations. Still, we applaud these organizations for not only hosting hackathons, but also tailoring the events – by leveraging local talent, narrowing the focus to an online portal, and offering multiple tracks.

For hospitals to continue improving, they need to invest as much effort in on-site functionality as much as they invest in the advancement of medicine. The hosptials that find ways to deliver care beyond the walls of a hospital will ultimately improve patient outcomes.

Learn more about the need for patient-centric hosptials – download our report