Search Engine Land’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s search marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.
Good morning, Marketers, all the traffic and rankings aren’t worth a thing if they don’t help you reach those business goals.
That’s the bottom line and that’s what we’re focusing on today at SMX Convert, our single-day learning journey that dives into organic and paid search conversion optimization. Barry Schwartz and I will be moderating the organic side, where the day begins with learning how to identify top-converting queries at every stage of the customer journey, then finding out how your content marketing can be leveraged to drive the funnel as well as ways to boost visibility and conversions via your navigation and CTAs. And, we’ll cap it all off with testing your strategy for continued improvement.
On the PPC side, moderated by our own Director of Search Content Carolyn Lyden and Anu Adegbola of MindSwan, you’ll start with how to create copy that converts. Then you’ll hear about targeting tactics to help you make the most out of those new ad copy skills you just picked up. And lastly, we’ll focus on improving landing page conversions using both qualitative and quantitative data.
There’s even more value to be had if you plan on attending the community meetups, site clinics and keynotes — I’m particularly looking forward to Michael Aargard’s talk on “The psychology of disappointment: How it works, why it hurts, and why it’s so bad for conversion.” You can check out everything SMX Convert has to offer over at the agenda page. We hope to see you there!
Google’s tool to report indexing bugs is now available in the U.S.
That’s not an actual button in the image above — it’s what the button to access Google’s indexing bug reporting tool looks like, and you can locate the real deal at the bottom of the URL inspection help document and indexing coverage report document.
The tool, which was announced as a pilot program back in April, enables SEOs and site owners to report an indexing issue directly to Google. It is designed for those who need further support with indexing issues outside of the Google community forums and support documentation.
When it was first announced, the company said it would be “fully available to all in the U.S. within a week or less.” Nearly four months later (certainly better late than never), it’s now accessible to all signed-in Search Console users in the U.S. Don’t forget to bookmark it and use it when you need to escalate an issue.
Brett Bodofsky chats with Barry Schwartz about third-party PPC integrations
In the second part of his interview, Brett Bodofsky, senior paid media specialist at Elumynt, discussed some common themes among third-party PPC integrations and shared some guidance for when it comes time to pick one out.
In addition to evaluating the capabilities of the platform and the build vs. buy value, Bodofsky’s number-one piece of advice was to look for a company with a great support team: “When you’re starting with a brand new integration, you may have never used it before and you’re going to want a team to back you and help you get integrated with it,” he said, “Can you get a hold of somebody on the phone? If not, do you really want to consider them? What happens when you have a question?”
In the latter half of the conversation, Bodofsky continues to discuss third-party integrations but with respect to how they can be used to get back more control over your campaigns by layering automation onto an ECPC manual bidding strategy.
Consumer sentiment tumbles to 70.2, the lowest reading since 2011
Inflation and surging COVID cases have taken a toll on consumer sentiment, as measured by the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index, which is informed by 500 monthly telephone interviews of people across the U.S. Since just last month, the metric has fallen by 11 points, bringing it to its lowest point since December 2011.
“Consumers have correctly reasoned that the economy’s performance will be diminished over the next several months, but the extraordinary surge in negative economic assessments also reflects an emotional response, mainly from dashed hopes that the pandemic would soon end,” Richard Curtin, director of the survey, said in the report.
When it rains, it pours: “Only 36% of respondents expect a decline in the jobless rate, down from 52% the prior month, despite record job openings,” Jordan Yadoo wrote for Bloomberg,
“Consumers also became decidedly downbeat about their income prospects. The gauge of expected personal finances fell to a seven-year low.”
Why we care. The initial vaccine rollout, combined with various stimulus initiatives, gave consumers a reason to feel optimistic and behave accordingly (read: spend more freely). That optimism seems to have peaked in April (when consumer sentiment hit a 2021 high of 88.3) and now that vaccination rates have declined and initial worries about the Delta variant have largely become a reality, people and businesses are starting to hedge their bets. This may be a sign that consumers are tightening their spending to prepare for another economic downturn, and businesses may be doing the same with their budgets, which might also affect employment rates. However, I’d like to point out Curtin’s quote, which posits that these assessments reflect “an emotional response” and “dashed hopes” — maybe it’ll be better than we expect.
It looks like B2B influencer marketing on TikTok may become a thing
The domestic B2B digital ad market grew 32.5% in 2020 and is forecasted to grow 24.9% this year to nearly $11 billion in spending, according to a July 2021 report by eMarketer. Some of that growth may be going towards influencer marketing, and for good reason — that’s the takeaway from Erika Wheless’ article for Ad Age.
“The more we test platforms like TikTok, the more we are finding good fits,” Jenni Buchbinder, director of strategic communications at QuickBooks, is quoted as saying, “These influencers are small business owners themselves, so they can speak about our product from personal experience.”
Although QuickBooks also contracts influencers on other social media platforms, it’s found more value on YouTube and TikTok because those platforms are video-first. While the company has partnered with numerous small business micro-influencers, this isn’t a throwaway campaign — it even features baseball player Alex Rodriguez.
Naturally, there are key distinctions between B2B and B2C marketing to be aware if you’re mulling over whether TikTok is right for your brand:
- There are usually longer buying cycles in B2B, and they tend to be more logical purchases (rather than emotional).
- An influencer with a large following may not be necessary. Instead, businesses should look for an influencer that is more impactful and resonates with the intended audience.
- B2B influencers usually work full-time at major businesses, which means they may not be able to accept traditional compensation.
If you’re considering dipping your toes into B2B marketing on TikTok, it’s also good to explore hashtags to see how your (or a competing) product is being used, kind of like a live focus group. And, if you’re looking for ideas, search around for user-generated content that’s already highlighting your product and build from there.