[E-Book] 2022 Digital Marketing World Updates: Changes, What's To Come & Trends

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The digital world is always changing and evolving and, as digital marketers, we get to be the trail blazers on how to use new channels, technologies and techniques.

In our latest eBook, we've compiled the top digital changes of 2022 so you too can leverage the latest and greatest tools in our space.

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Why You Should Be Using Google Business Posts

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Introduced only in 2017, Google Business posts are fairly new to the search marketing scene. But don’t let that fool you. Google Business posts can be an incredibly valuable tool for local SEO, and they shouldn’t be overlooked.

Many businesses ignore or give up on Google Business posts due to their lackluster performance when it comes to direct views and click throughs. However, there’s a hidden benefit to sticking with it. While Posts may not be overwhelmingly successful on their own, posting somewhat regularly can improve your rank in Google’s algorithm, causing your Google Business Profile to be shown more often and generating awareness for your business. 

What Are Google Business Posts?

Google Business Posts can cover a variety of topics, with post types including “Events,” “Offers,” the open-ended “What’s New,” and more. These posts appear as part of your Google Business Profile listing, showing in both Maps and the standard Google results page.

Here’s an example of a “What’s New” and “Events” post on the general results page. 

Every post type is a little different, but each one offers a number of optional call-to-action buttons, such as “Learn more” and “Order online,” as well as the option to add an eye-catching image. 

All post types will disappear from your Google Business Profile eventually, which is why it’s so important to post regularly.

Putting Google Business Posts To The Test

Below, we’ve compiled data to help determine whether Google Business posts are worth the time and effort. 

This test was conducted across 5 boutique hotels, comparing user metrics between the 3 months before and after we started using Google Business Posts. While exact post frequency varied, each property posted at least once per month during this test, using a variety of “What’s New” and “Event” posts. 

“New Users” was pulled from Google Analytics, and only includes traffic from the Source/Medium combination of google / organic. Google Map Views was provided by Yext, a platform for managing Local SEO listings. 

While “Google Map Views” did not always increase (likely due to external factors such as seasonality and search volume), the change in performance for this metric was significantly better across all 5 properties than the change for “New Users.” These differences are not insignificant either, providing fairly convincing evidence that regular Google Business posts will increase your standings in the Google algorithm and lead to more awareness. 

Key Takeaways About Google Business Posts

If you aren’t using Google Business posts, you should start now. While they may not bring in a ton of traffic on their own, they’re an incredibly effective, and fairly easy, way to increase your business’ visibility on Google. 

GCommerce Solutions has already incorporated Google Business posts into our arsenal of standard Local SEO tactics, and we encourage you to do the same. If you’re interested in learning more about Google Business posts or other Local SEO tips, check out the rest of our digital marketing blog or contact us below.

An Overview of Google’s Helpful Content Update

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Google's big push with it’s latest algorithm update, named the helpful content update, is taking aim at pages that are solely produced for search engines and not users.  A lot of this targets pages with content auto-generated by AI writing apps or not providing original content/value on whatever the page topic is about. GCommerce’s SEO and content recommendation focus has always been with an emphasis on creation for people but making sure to use SEO best practices as outlined by Google. I think this article by Google really outlines how any website should think about Google’s helpful content update in an easy-to-understand format. 

Our suggestions remain the same as they have been. That pages should have rich, original content, and then the content provided should also integrate SEO optimization best practices based on Google's guidelines to position the page in the best way to achieve success in the SERPs (and avoid crazy performance issues when algorithm changes occur). We never attempt "black hat" tactics or tactics geared solely at search engines without first considering the value to someone coming to the site looking for the type of product or search topic we are optimizing that page for. If you have used auto-generated/AI content or simply created pages with low-value content for the sake of search engine ranking and it doesn't provide value to someone researching that topic, then we would recommend updating it or removing it from your site.

Want to understand if your site is impacted by Google’s helpful content update as it rolls out over the next couple of weeks? Since it is an update that adds the signal as one of the many signals Google uses in the algorithm. The best place to monitor overall performance continues to be within Google Search Console performance reports. You can also add another layer of reporting by monitoring your positions through a platform such as SEMRush and keeping an eye on your Analytics organic traffic. 

This update by Google was maining focused on eCommerce product sites and entertainment-related sites as you can tell by some of the language used in it’s Google update/release article, but I think it's a great reminder for all businesses across any industry that it's important to optimize their site experience and content for users while also making sure to follow SEO best practices for optimization. We’ve always viewed the two (optimizing for people and great SEO best practices) to have a ton of overlap if done correctly. 

Have questions or think your site may have been impacted? Please reach out to our search experts with any questions.

3 Underutilized Google Ads Optimization Tips For Hotels

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The number one rule of search marketing is to never stop testing. You never know where you’ll find the next golden goose, so it’s important to try new things and reach outside of your comfort zone. GCommerce Solutions knows this, and we’re not afraid to experiment with lesser-known optimization methods to make sure we’re achieving the best possible results. 

Below, we’ve compiled test data for 3 often underutilized Google Ads optimization techniques. These tests were conducted over 2-3 months each, using data from 9 boutique hotels spread across the United States. 

Implement A Paid Search Ad Schedule

Consumers don’t interact with your business the same way all the time, so it’s a good idea to tailor your hotel’s paid search ads to your audience’s schedule. 

While the data below measures account-level changes, paid search ad schedules work best when tailored to an individual campaign’s performance. This is how paid search ad schedules were implemented for these 3 hotels: 

Branded Terms:

+10% bid adjustment on days/times with high conversions

-50% bid adjustment on days/times with low clicks and low conversions

0% bid adjustment on all other times, so ads always have the potential to serve

Non-Branded Terms:

+10% bid adjustment on days/times with high clicks/impressions

-50% bid adjustment on days/times with high average CPCs but low clicks and low impressions

0% bid adjustment on all other times, so ads always have the potential to serve

Percent Change By Paid Search KPI:

Account-Level, Period Over Period

Overall Paid Search Ad Schedule Results:

All Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) saw an average increase in performance.

Conclusion:

Regardless of your hotel’s marketing goals, an ad schedule can be a helpful addition to your Google Ads campaigns. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort to create and monitor an ad schedule based on individual campaign performance, this is a great way to give your KPIs a boost.

Keyword Optimize Your Paid Search Ad Paths

Ad paths are an often overlooked part of paid search marketing, but it’s worth taking the extra step to optimize them and make your ads more relevant. 

Paid search ad paths show up as part of the display URL of an ad. In this example, “hotel” is display path 1 and “digital-ads” is display path 2.

This test was performed using single keyword ad groups. Every single ad in the account received optimized ad paths based on the ad group’s associated keyword.

Percent Change By Paid Search KPI:

Account-Level, Period Over Period

Overall Keyword Optimized Paid Search Ad Paths Results:

All KPIs saw an average increase or no significant change in performance.

Conclusion:

This is another helpful optimization tip for various paid search account goals, and requires far less maintenance than an ad schedule. Editing ad paths can be tedious, but it’s worth using every single inch of space you’re given to optimize performance. Just be sure to keep up with paths, adjusting as needed when creating new ads or copying existing assets.

Don’t Neglect Negative Keyword Research

Positive keywords can help you reach new people, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be new customers. Negative keyword research is an effective safeguard to ensure you’re not putting paid search budget towards the wrong audience. 

This test included generalized keywords like “X Rated” and “Apartment,” as well as hotel-specific keywords such as competitor names and inaccurate locations. Every negative keyword was added with an “Exact” match type.

Percent Change By Paid Search KPI:

Account-Level, Period Over Period

Overall Negative Keyword Research Results:

Raw actions and revenue saw an average decrease in performance, but interaction rate and comparative revenue saw an average increase.

Conclusion:

Depending on your goals, well-thought-out negative keyword research can be incredibly effective for paid search campaigns. By design, negative keywords decrease the visibility of your ads, so they can lead to less overall traffic. However, this traffic is often very qualified, and will interact with your business at a higher rate to maximize your account budget. 

Key Takeaways

There are so many available paid search optimization tools, and it’s a shame to see them go to waste. If you’re willing to put in the work, the above Google Ads optimization tips are likely to work in your favor, despite their somewhat uncommon utilization. Results are never guaranteed, but tailoring these changes to specific campaign performance is a great opportunity to push your KPIs in the right direction.

If you’re interested in learning more about paid search for hotels, check out the rest of our digital marketing blog or contact us below.

How A Full Marketing Funnel Helps Boost Your Facebook Ads

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Have you ever wondered how both a prospecting and retargeting campaign can help move your potential customers through the funnel and eventually lead to conversions? Keep reading to learn how we use this in our Facebook ads and the results we have seen.

The marketing funnel starts at the top with awareness. Awareness campaigns help educate your audience on your hotel, product, or anything else unique about your company that will help you stand out from the crowd. Usually this can include amenities, activities, or experiences you offer at your hotel that will make it enticing for the next person to learn and eventually book with you. In awareness campaigns we utilize lookalike audiences which is a segmentation tool that finds people whose demographics and interests are similar to your current followers. We also use Adara audiences that have specific audiences that we can target based on their interests, hotel experiences, location, travel, and more. There is also detailed targeting and location targeting that helps us get the best results with our ads.

Then we go into consideration. Consideration can include ads or Facebook posts. You can go into more detail about your hotel, product, or service that will make your potential customer consider buying from you. 

Next, we try to convert our audience through Facebook ads. This is how we move people through the funnel to eventually booking with us. This would be in a retargeting campaign where we try to attract that user who showed interest and target them and remind them about us. In retargeting, we promote ourselves and usually offer some kind of incentive such as an offer, deal, or discount code to bring them in to eventually converting. When it comes to targeting we utilize website visitors, social media engagement, or customer lists to remarket to potential customers.

Lastly, we have engaging your audience on Facebook ads. This could involve customers interacting with your ads and leaving positive feedback about their experience with you or this could also include boosted posts on Facebook to get more engagement and interest in what you are promoting or offering. 

Below we will show some data from our hotels’ Facebook ads campaigns that use this full funnel approach and how it helps them move potential customers through the funnel and to eventually convert. The data is shown from the whole month of July. 

Hotel A received 44,036 impressions, 519 outbound clicks, and a 7.16% CTR. 

Then for retargeting we saw 169 clicks, 11.58x ROAS, and 12 conversions.

Then we move onto Hotel B that also uses this funnel approach. 

In this prospecting campaign we got 103,303 impressions, 3,943 outbound clicks, and an 8.58% CTR.

In retargeting we got 212 outbound clicks, 74.54x ROAS, and 19 conversions. 

How were both of these hotels so successful in their Facebook ads campaigns? First, they had their prospecting campaign. This campaign included details about the hotel, experiences, and special features. Then they had the retargeting campaign that features special events, promotions, or limited time offers to hook in their customer in booking with them. Then to keep engagement with past, present, and future customers they post regularly on their social media and utilize boosted posts that promote an offer or something that is exclusive to either educate their audience or remind them to book with them.

The marketing funnel approach works to move people through the funnel to converting with your hotel, product, or service you are offering. Make sure you stand out from the crowd and show off images of your property, special features, amenities, and exclusive offers. Is there a deal you are offering that you don’t want people to miss? Promote the deal, but also focus on the experience that someone can have at your hotel. What does it feel like to stay there? What experiences, adventures, or activities near your hotel are there for your guests? 

Hopefully this has provided a better understanding of the marketing funnel and how to best use it for successful hotel Facebook ad campaigns. Contact us today to get started on your hotel’s Facebook advertising strategy!

What's The Single Most Important Thing You Can do for SEO in 2018?

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Now that you’ve completed all necessary steps to ensure your hotel’s website is well optimized for the shift to mobile-first indexing and you’ve made the upgrade to HTTPS, where should you focus your energy next?

Structured Data.

Gary Illyes, Google’s webmaster trends analyst and one of the most respected voices in the SEO world, spent lots of time focused on structured data during his talks at Pubcon in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. Here’s a direct quote:

“Structured data. This is one of those things that I want you to pay lots of attention to this year.

We launched a bunch of search features that are based on structured data. It was badges on image search, jobs was another thing, job search, recipes, movies, local restaurants, courses and a bunch of other things that rely solely on structure data, schema.org annotations.

It is almost like we started building lots of new features that rely on structured data, kind of like we started caring more and more and more about structured data. That is an important hint for you if you want your sites to appear in search features, implement structured data.” (Reported by The SEM Post)

The SEM Post also reported that Illyes stated “But more importantly, add structure data to your pages because during indexing, we will be able to better understand what your site is about.”

That means Google’s using structured data for ranking and indexing purposes. Right now very few websites are using structured data. By implementing structured data now, your website will get ahead of your competition and it can help boost your rankings and organic traffic results. Don’t believe us? Looking for more answers on what structured data is and how to implement it?  Check out this case study for the impact of structured data. Then contact us to help you implement it before your competition does.

Do your own test with Structured Data:

If you are logged into a Gmail account that you have used for hotel reservations or flights, simply search:

“My Previous Flights” to see all flight reservations in your Gmail:

“My Previous Hotels” to see all hotel reservations in your Gmail:

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