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iOS 14.5: The Impact on Facebook Advertising

A phone showing the Facebook logo.

If you advertise on Facebook, you’ve probably heard about the iOS 14.5 update and the apparent havoc it’s wreaked.

In the latest move towards championing user privacy and first-party data, Apple introduced the iOS 14.5 update to limit third-party data and tracking.

We’ve put together the ultimate guide to the iOS 14.5 update and its impact on Facebook advertisers.

Keep up to date with the latest industry news and trends by following us on Twitter.

 

 

What is the iOS 14.5 update?

 

In April 2021, Apple released a software update that requires Apps in the App Store, like Facebook, to show a prompt to users in accordance with their ‘App Tracking Transparency’ framework.

The prompt asks users if they would like to allow third-party cookies or ask the App not to track.

iOS 14.5 notification on an iPhone. Allow Facebook to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites.

If users opt-out of third-party cookies, certain data collection and sharing is prohibited.

 

 

What are third-party cookies?

 

Cookies are text files that hold small pieces of data about a user and their interactions on a site.

First-party cookies are ones created by the website you’re currently on, usually for their own digital purposes, like analytical reporting or saving your preferences such as a password.  Website cookie policies often refer to strictly necessary cookies, functionality cookies or performance cookies, and these are usually first-party cookies.

Importantly, first-party cookies can’t track your behaviour across different sites they visit.

Third-party cookies are created by other websites and these can track your activity across different sites. For advertisers, these third-party cookies are extremely useful. For instance, they allow the creation of retargeting lists of past visitors or people with similar interests. These are often referred to as targeting, tracking or advertising cookies.

The industry is increasingly moving towards first-party-only cookies, in an attempt to prioritise user privacy.

In January 2020, Google announced that it would scrap third-party cookies by late 2023. The technology giant followed the lead of other web browsers including Firefox and Apple’s Safari.

 

 

How has the iOS 14.5 update impacted advertisers on Facebook?

 

If a user asks Facebook not to track them, their data cannot be shared or collected by third parties.

This means that there’s less data being sent to Facebook pixels, which is the code used to record conversions and optimise campaigns for specific actions.

With less data gathered, Facebook’s algorithms will be less efficient and effective, and campaign results could suffer.

Remarketing pools will also be smaller, lookalike audiences less reliable and reporting capabilities limited

 

 

How much data is actually being lost?

 

It’s difficult to say exactly; Facebook/Meta hasn’t published official figures on opt-in rates, and it will likely vary from advertiser to advertiser, depending on the region and audience demographic for example.

To clarify, data is only ‘lost’ for users who are using the Facebook or Instagram App on an Apple mobile device with iOS 14.5 or later installed and have opted out of tracking.

To give a ballpark of how much of your audience this equates in reality; around half the users on Facebook and Instagram use Apple mobile devices, and around 40% (and rising) of these are on iOS14+.

Then there is the question of how many users actually opt-in to the tracking. Initial estimations showed that only 2% of these users opted into tracking. However, more recent estimations have put this figure higher, at around 15 or 25%.

So in essence, not all user data is being lost, but potentially enough to make a noticeable and lasting impact on your results.

 

 

What has Facebook done to ease the impact of the iOS 14.5 update?

 

Facebook has tried to ease the impact of Apple’s iOS 14.5 update by implementing a protocol that allows for the measurement of web events in iOS 14+ devices.

This is called ‘Aggregated Event Measurement’. However, only up to 8 conversion events can be prioritised for conversion optimisation per domain.

To set up event configurations and use your conversion events for ad optimisation, you must verify your domain – another setup process within the Facebook Ads interface.

 

 

 

Summary

 

It’s clear that Apple want to be seen as the industry leaders on increased privacy and putting users, rather than platforms such as Facebook, first.

It’s likely that this is just one update that advertisers will have to navigate in the journey towards increased user privacy and scrapping of third-party cookies.

We can’t foresee any major moves away from advertisers using Facebook ads – as long as Facebook continues to be a widely-used social media platform, there will be the opportunity to effectively target relevant audiences.

In the follow up blog we will delve deeper into how advertisers can respond, watch this space and subscribe to our email news to get the next article sent directly to your inbox.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the iOS 14.5 update and the industry trend towards prioritising first-party data. Send us a message through our contact page or email us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

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    SEO Highlights for November

    As ever, there was plenty of change going on in November, with a Core Algorithm update released just weeks before Christmas.  If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.

     

     

    Core Algorithm Update

    Google’s Twitter announced another algorithm update in November! With the last update released in July, it’s been a few months since Google made any big changes to their search algorithm. Having got back into the rhythm of regular updates to the core algorithm, November saw the arrival of one of these updates. Roll out started mid-month and finished on the 30th, but any volatility to rankings was recorded right at the start of roll out.

    Search Engine Land accumulated data from several sources, all of which fed into the same narrative: the rollout hit hard in the first day or so, but then impact slowed down quite quickly. For example, SEMRush record ‘very high’ volatility on the 18th, one day after rollout. This then drops down to ‘normal’ the next day.

    SEMRush SERP volatility for the last 30 days in November 2021 after Google Core Algorithm update graph
    Source: SEMRush

     

    SEMRush’s sensor defaults to US search results, however when compared against the UK volatility levels aren’t too disimilar.

    This is equally very similar to how rankings reacted to the July update, but with an even quicker cool down. So despite it being the worst timing for ecommerce sites, this update hasn’t caused too much upheaval. Within our charity clients, we also haven’t seen any massive changes.

    SEMRush SERP volatility for the last 30 days in November 2021 after Google Core Algorithm update graph
    Source: SEMRush

     

    This is equally very similar to how rankings reacted to the July update, but with an even quicker cool down. So despite it being the worst timing for ecommerce sites, this update hasn’t caused too much upheaval. Within our charity clients, we also haven’t seen any massive changes.

     

     

    Disavowal Files: they may take longer to update than you think

    In a recent hangout session, Google’s John Mueller touched on the topic of disavowal files. Specifically, how long it can take them to affect search rankings.

     

    What is the disavowal file?

    The disavowal file is a list that is submitted to Google. It contains pages or entire domains that link to your site, that you don’t want Google to associate with you. It’s intention is to help Google avoid associating your site with spammy websites, although Google has gotten better at recognising these types of links itself (and ignoring them).

    The disavowal file is not a tool to be used lightly; if used incorrectly it can do a fair amount of damage to your organic performance. This happens when you accidentally disavow links that were giving your site authority, and therefore good value opposed to bad.

    Rather than disavowing random links you think look bad, Mueller said you should be using the disavowal file for links where you are potentially responsible (through outreach activity).

     

    How quickly can it impact rankings?

    Mueller actually confirmed on this hangout that the file is only taken into account when they re-process the links pointing to your site, which isn’t an everyday occurrence. It also isn’t all done in one go, so incremental change occurs rather than a singular update. Meaning, the impact of the disavowal file is ongoing over several months.

    So, if you update the file and see an immediate change to your rankings days after, you might want to look further afield. The disavowal file is unlikely to be the cause.

     

     

    Better Job Descriptions, better visibility!

    Google have revealed they have ‘uncovered an opportunity to improve your job posting pages, and it only takes a few changes to the description field’.

    If you publish job vacancies on your site, then through the application of JobPosting Structured Data you can target Google’s job search. This can help your site gain higher visibility in a competitive search environment. Google uses the data you include in your JobPosting Structured Data to populate the listing, so it’s worth ensuring it’s as informative and relevant as possible.

    To help make this possible, Google have published a little extra guidance to make the description contains everything a user may need to know to make a decision. That guidance is to review the description field in the JobPosting Structured Data and ensure it contains all information you’ve included in additional, specific fields (like the qualifications listed under the qualifications property). Essentially, duplicate information included in other fields so description encompasses it all.

    By doing this, the description box on Google’s job search becomes a much more insightful place! This sounds like a useful little tip to us and is one we look forward to testing in the future.

     

     

    Did we miss anything?

    If there was anything else that happened in November that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

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      SEO Highlights for September and October

      SEO written on paper with pencils

      Autumn is here, bringing with it thick jumpers, PSLs and SEO highlights galore. If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.

       

       

      Continuous scrolling on mobile

      Continuous scrolling has rolled out to mobile search results in the US. Now, when you reach the end of page 1 more search results load automatically without you needing to do anything. In fact, you can scroll through up to 4 pages of results before needing to click a ‘load more’ button. If your pages are ranking just off page 1 at the moment, then your visibility just got the opportunity to be greater.

      Continuous scrolling is an interesting change as it does open up the competition between search results. Users are given more options to browse before needing to click anything. There’s some debate over how much this will affect CTR and traffic, though we can’t see this update stealing too much traffic from the top positions at this stage. Though we’ll understand more when this update is released more worldwide.

       

       

      12 Structured Data Fields no longer used by Google

      In October Google removed 12 Structured Data fields from their help documents, claiming the fields removed were ‘unused by Google Search and Rich Results Test doesn’t flag warnings for them’. In other words, they no longer do anything for your SEO.

      For those not in the know, Structured Data is a piece of code embedded in the head of a page. Visible to search engines only, it is used to provide search engines with the key details they need to know from that page, helping them understand the page much quicker during crawls.

      The fields being removed are:

      1. Structured Data type: HowTo

      Field: description

      1. Structured Data type: QAPage

      Fields: mainEntity.suggestedAnswer.author, mainEntity.dateCreated, mainEntity.suggestedAnswer.dateCreated, mainEntity.acceptedAnswer.author, mainEntity.acceptedAnswer.dateCreated, and mainEntity.author

      1. Structured Data type: SpecialAnnouncement

      Fields: provider, audience, serviceType, address, and category fields.

       

      Do you need to do anything in response to this?

      As Google is simply ignoring these fields now, you don’t need to worry about removing them, though please be aware that Google equally won’t inform you of any issues with these fields either. Instead, we recommend simply refraining from using these fields in any future Structured Data added to your site.

       

       

      Core Web Vitals: What was the impact?

      As one of the most anticipated changes to search this year, there’s been discussion in the SEO community as to how extensive the impact of the Page Experience Update is since it finished rolling out for mobile in August.

      The result is disappointingly, but not unexpectedly, vague. Many sites responded to the planned update by having their developers focus on improvements that would enable their sites to fall inline with target scores for the Core Web Vital metrics. Where site changes were deployed with the specific intention to improve scores for Core Web Vital metrics, it is almost impossible to isolate the impact. Summer 2021 saw a lot of change on Google Search, with many confirmed and unconfirmed updates going live, leading to a search landscape that was already full of temperamental rankings (see Mordy Oberstein’s Tweets on ranking volatility in 2021). And with the update release taking several weeks, the introduction of Page Experience was also too gradual for any ranking changes to be attributed to the release of the Page Experience update.

      From a data perspective, this has proven to be quite frustrating, with clients wanting to know the impact of putting time and resource into improving the page experience of their site. An impact we can’t honestly provide at this stage.

      Discussion is also revolving around how we measure this impact too. Though an organic change would be reflected in rankings, this update looks at the usability of the site. Usability affects all channels, at which point metrics such as conversion rate perhaps become more telling. Though indicative of UX improvements generally, conversion rate won’t tell you if Core Web Vitals are affecting your organic performance in search results, just that you’re converting well with the audience you do attract. So a telling metric, but not one that gives the full story for SEO.

      Though some tools claim they can see improvements in sites which pass the CWV assessment (meaning your site meets criteria for all 3 metrics), that improvement still appears to be quite minor, with Sistrix seeing a 3.7% improvement in visibility by the end of the update rollout (this is just for domains that pass CWV). And even then they admitted they couldn’t isolate it from other ranking factors.

      So, the advantage of optimising for CWV, from an organic sense at least, still remains unclear. As others have argued, page experience helps with conversions, making it a factor you still need to consider outside of your SEO. Perhaps the desktop rollout planned for February 2022 will provide more insight?

       

       

      Google Chrome testing new features

      Google took to their Chromium blog last month to reveal two new features they’re testing: Side Search and Journeys. Both are designed to help users engage with search results and find the information they want.

       

      Side Search

      Side search is a feature that means the user can now access the search results page for their query whilst viewing one of the pages, seeing both at once. The search results are shown in a side panel, enabling the user a more fluid ability to jump between different pages. Google claim the intention behind this feature is to enable better comparison of search results. It’s a feature I’d imagine will be utilised more with transactional queries – people looking for a restaurant or gift hunting for example.

      With this feature I think bounce and exit rates will be the metric to monitor – it’ll suddenly become a lot easier, and perhaps more tantalising, for the user to jump around. Engagement will also become much more paramount – capturing the user’s attention quickly and efficiently will be necessary to reduce the distraction side search will offer.

      To try this tool yourself, you need the Chrome OS Dev Channel on your desktop. Happy jumping!

       

      Journeys

      Google also revealed Journeys, a tool which will help group together your search history into relevant groups. This can make it easier for you to re-visit pages, rather than needing to sift through your search history or trying to recreate your original search journey. Though this isn’t a feature I can see impacting organic search for individual sites, it is a change likely to impact UX in search as a whole.

      This will only work for searches on a given device, Journeys doesn’t work across devices yet. Google speculate there may be potential for that adaptation down the line, but for now Journeys is restricted. To try Journeys for yourself, Google are rolling it out as an experiment on Chrome Canary on desktop. I’d imagine pending on feedback this will be rolled out more widely soon.

       

       

      Did we miss anything?

      If there was anything else that happened over the last few months that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

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        Core Web Vitals

        Core Web Vitals

        Google added the core web vitals into its algorithms earlier this year, but many organisations are finding it labour-intensive, confusing and time-consuming to improve their scores. So we asked our friends at Pedalo to explain how you can maximise your core web vitals in the simplest and most effective ways…

         

        What are the core web vitals?

         

        With the core web vitals, Google is trying to evaluate website user experience (UX) and prioritise the most user-friendly sites in its search rankings. They want searchers to have a seamless, high-quality experience both when searching and when clicking on a website in the results listings.

         

        The core web vitals judge UX in terms of the speed at which content becomes visible and interactive for users. This is important because as page loading time increases, bounce rate increases and user satisfaction decreases; research suggests that a five-second increase in website loading time is responsible for a huge 106% increase in bounce rate.

         

        Unlike some other search engine ranking factors, the core web vitals are based on user/field data. In other words, they reflect how real people experience and interact with your website. By improving your core web vitals scores, your website will feel faster and better for users.

         

        As the core web vitals affect SEO, it’s important to make your site fast and user-friendly or you’re likely to see reduced search engine rankings and less organic traffic.

         

        What makes up the core web vitals scores?

         

        The core web vitals are made up of three website speed and user experience measurements. It’s worth noting that Google gives separate core web vitals scores for each of your webpages, and separate scores for mobile and desktop.

         

        The three core web vitals are:

         

        • Largest Contentful Paint

        Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures how long it takes for a page’s heaviest content element to appear. The score is based on the loading experience for real-world users, rather than on technical or backend speed performance. A good LCP is considered to be under 2.5 seconds.

         

        • First Input Delay (FID)

        First Input Delay (FID) measures how long it takes your website to respond to user interactions, such as clicking links or pressing buttons. A good score FIP is 100ms or less.

         

        • Cumulative Layout Shift

        Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures how visually stable your site is. The higher your CLS score, the more your content moves around – for example, by text shifting to make space for images, or message boxes popping up. A good CLS measurement is considered to be 0.1 or less.

         

         

         

        Do you need all ‘green’ core web vitals?

         

        You can check your core web vitals in Google Search Console. However, we’ve noticed that Google keeps changing the way it scores, meaning that your results may fluctuate from day to day.

         

        The core web vitals use field data, which is accumulated over a period of time. This makes it tricky, and slow, to improve your scores, as field data takes a while to catch-up with any website changes.

         

        Whilst it’s definitely worth doing what you can to improve your core web vitals – both for SEO and better user experience – you’re unlikely to need full ‘green’ status across all of your webpages. Following our tips below and getting into the ‘amber’ is good enough for most websites and will save you hundreds of hours making technical changes without worthwhile results.

         

        We also find that the core web vitals scores often don’t seem to tally with other measures of website speed and performance, such as Google PageSpeed (which uses lab data reflecting a specific moment in time). It’s worth bearing in mind that it’s often quicker and more effective to make improvements to these scores instead.

         

        Easy and effective ways to improve core web vitals

         

        Here are our top three ways to improve your core web vitals.

        1. Focus on images

         

        You’d be surprised at how many website-owners forget to optimise their imagery and still wonder why their website is slow. As images are usually the heaviest elements on a webpage, they’re often responsible for slow loading times and poor LCP scores.

         

        Fortunately, optimising your images is one of the quickest and simplest ways to improve site speed and core web vitals.

         

        Firstly, make sure to resize and compress your images. If you have a WordPress website, you can do this with an image optimisation plugin, such as Smush. Alternatively, use a tool such as Photoshop or Pixlr to crop and shrink your images before uploading to your site.

         

        Secondly, enable webp image conversion. Webp images are super-rapidly loading versions for mobile. With the majority of internet sessions taking place on mobile devices, speeding up your site’s mobile image performance offers a huge boost to your core web vitals.

         

        If you have a WordPress website, you can install the WebP Express plugin. For non-WordPress sites, try converting images to webp yourself or speak to your web support agency for other solutions.

         

        Thirdly, make sure to enable lazy loading. This delays the loading of images which are out of sight until users scroll down, dramatically improving initial loading speeds and LCP scores.

         

        2. Minify CSS and JS

         

        Web developers use Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) and JavaScript (JS) files to mark-up and add comments to your website code.

         

        To improve your core web vitals, it’s important to minify these files – in other words, to reduce their size and remove any unnecessary information. This increases site speed and improves user experience whilst preserving the key information needed to ensure your website loads correctly.

         

        If you have a WordPress site, minification can be done simply and easily with a free plugin, such as WP-Optimize. For other websites, you can try minifying the code yourself with a free online tool such as minifier.org.

         

        3. Reduce third-party scripts

         

        Google Analytics, Google Maps, YouTube and many other common third-party services add a lot of additional scripts to your website. Whilst some are crucial for functionality, others may be unnecessary or may be significantly slowing down your site.

         

        We recommend removing any third-party services which are non-essential. For essential scripts, you can try removing the script on webpages where it’s not specifically needed, or loading the script using the async or defer attribute.

         

        For more information, check out this Google article about how to minimise the impact of third-party scripts.

         

        Core web vitals: the bottom line

         

        The core web vitals are a measure of your website’s user experience, particularly in terms of speed. As your scores impact your Google search engine rankings, it’s well worth following the tips above to improve site and SEO performance.

         

        However, most websites would need hundreds of minor changes to gain full ‘green’ core web vitals status. And even if you reach ‘green’, Google could change its scoring system the next day!

         

        So, action our suggestions and keep an eye on your core web vitals scores but don’t worry too much. The core web vitals are only measure one small component of website and search engine performance.

         

         

        Pedalo is an award-winning London-based digital agency with two decades of experience. It specialises in providing support, development and maintenance for WordPress and Drupal websites.

         

         

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          SEO Highlights in August

          SEO New Round Up August 2021

          Has everyone been enjoying the summer holidays? Whilst we might have taken time off to relax over the past few weeks, SEO has continued to be hard at work. If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.

           

           

          Page Experience is live!

          The roll out of the long-awaited Page Experience update is complete! Starting in mid-June, Google took to Twitter to announce the update was complete 2nd September.

           

          Impact?

          Since the roll out began we have yet to see any significant changes to rankings for any of our clients. This isn’t surprising, as Google deliberately released this update gradually to prevent any abrupt changes to results. Though page experience is important, it is but one of many ranking factors Google considers. This is helpful in some ways, but it does make the impact difficult to isolate. Despite the lack of apparent change we’re still pushing for clients to update their sites and meet Google’s targets. After all, page experience doesn’t just affect organic traffic – there’s an omnichannel benefit to having good page experience.

           

          Search Console data glitch in August

          Google admitted to a little mishap on 23rd-24th August, where:

           “An internal problem caused a data loss in Search and Discover performance during this period. Users might see a significant data drop in their performance reports during this period. This does not reflect any drop in clicks or impressions for your site, only missing data in Search Console.”

          The performance report is a key Search Console report used in SEO. It gives us insight into how the site is performing and provides a lot of data around keywords such as clicks, impressions, CTR and the ranking position. All integral information to knowing what’s working and what isn’t.

          Frustratingly, this isn’t data that will be backfilled; that data is permanently lost. This means that performance data for that period should be taken with a pinch of salt. Where you might see a drop on those days, there’s a good chance the data simply hasn’t been recorded and the data is incorrect.

           

           

          Page Titles

          Page titles seem to be getting some headline space this month!

           

          An update to Page Title generation

          First, Google published a blog where they announced changes had been made to how they generate page titles for search results. Google usually does this when they believe the page title you’ve provided doesn’t describe the page well.

          Previously, titles could be changed depending on the search query. So where a page title is optimised for Keyword A and shown for Keyword A, Google might generate it’s own page title for Keyword B, which it believes better helps the user. The new system doesn’t have this approach.

          The new system focuses more on the on-page copy and content visible to users. To be specific Google “consider the main visual title or headline shown on a page, content that site owners often place within <H1> tags or other header tags, and content that’s large and prominent through the use of style treatments”.

          Use of generated page titles shouldn’t affect rankings. John Mueller confirmed this following SEO chatter on Twitter. Though the title displayed changes, Google does not take anything different into account when ranking the page. CTR, however, may still be affected and is something to monitor.

          However, Google say they’re making this change to help provide relevant page titles to users, which they don’t believe is consistently achieved by websites at the moment. I don’t find this explanation to be particularly helpful. When developing page titles keyword research, target audience and page contents is taken into consideration; by myself and countless other SEO individuals. So it would be useful to know how Google decides your page isn’t clear enough.

          Google’s generated meta data often reads quite fragmented too, with bits of text cobbled together. Here’s hoping their generated copy reads more fluidly with this update.

           

          A Twitter Study

          A couple days later, SEO-er BowTiedWookie took to Twitter to share their findings in a little page title study they had conducted. The study looks at ten sites and five hundred keywords – a small scale experiment but the takeaways piqued our interest. Particularly the following: If Google changes the title it is pulling in the H1 >50% of the time.

          This places even more emphasis on optimising your H1s and getting them right, which Google themselves have done in their latest statement on Page Title Generation. H1s shouldn’t be exact matches of your page titles – page titles may not provide good UX in a heading function. But it’s an ideal spot for the target keyword and should provide contextual relevance.

           

          Spam is Nullified

          Another update Google completed in August was the spam update. Originally planned to take 2 weeks, the roll out ended up extending across 4 weeks.

          In part of their bid to cleanse our browsers of spam, Google release this latest update, designed to nullify spam. So rather than penalise sites that partook in dodgy link schemes or had built up spammy backlink profiles, they would simply ignore them. This has been an ongoing focus of Google’s since 2016. Spammy sites beware.

           

           

          Did we miss anything?

          If there was anything else that happened in August that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

           

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            SEO Highlights in July

            SEO News Round Up July 2021

            After a month of updates July wasn’t much quieter, with updates to search continuing to rollout. Google also released more details around their roadmap and plans for MUM, so all in all a month of exciting news for SEO! If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.

             

             

            Core Algorithm Update Part II

            In our June round up we discussed the introduction of the June Core Algorithm Update and the planned follow up rollout to follow in July. Google again took to Twitter to announce the launch of this update bang on the 1st. Roll out completed on the 12th.

            As usual Google said no specific site or factor was targeted with this update. It was considered to have less impact to rankings and performance than its June counterpart, which saw a higher level of volatility in the rankings. Of all the updates over the last year July sat in the middle in terms of impact to rankings, having had a higher impact than the December 2020 update. Generally, the consensus seems to be that those investing in good on/off-page SEO practice are reaping the benefits by maintaining stable rankings throughout and after the update, a statement we agree with whole-heartedly.

             

             

            Spam Update Part III

            On the flip side, there’s also conversation around more spam results rising to the top ranking positions in search. Google has already been taking action to remove spam from search results, with 2 spam updates preceding the July update. Despite these actions is seems some spam is continuing filter through to the search results, though with the amount of spam out there that is unsurprising.

            Google has now taken further action and released a third spam update; this one aiming to fight link spam more broadly and across multiple languages. The update will nullify link spam – meaning rather than penalise a site for having spammy links, the spammy links will simply be ignored. This will render any efforts to build links through questionable methods (such as link schemes), pointless.

             

             

            MUM’s Roadmap Revealed

            Back in May Google announced a new AI being introduced to search: MUM. In July Google’s VP of Search, Pandu Nayak, spoke to Search Engine Land about the short and long-term plans for the development of the AI.

             

            Short Term: Removal of language barriers

            One of the early insights we had into MUM is its capability to go through all content, regardless of the language, and serve us the pieces that will best serve our needs. As part of this it can translate articles written in languages that aren’t the users native tongue. By being able to transfer knowledge across language barriers, MUM will open up a lot more content to global prospects. In fact, many of Google’s internal teams are using MUM in their own projects for this insight.

             

            Medium Term: Multimodality

            Moving further down the line, the focus then moves to include multimodality functions. This will see image and text results and search queries become more intertwined and informative. He’s also suggesting it would reduce the number of 0 click searches that are cropping up, by providing more information for users to dig into. As 0 click searches provide minimal value to SEO, this is an exciting prospect.

             

            Long Term: Connect the dots

            The longevity behind MUM will be its ability to provide users with a more detailed and satisfying search journey. At the moment restricted, with MUM Google will be able to tackle more complex queries and provide users with more detailed and diverse results that pertain to their needs. So, rather than a user breaking down their question into several sub-questions to get all the information they need, they should be able to search their initial question and have all the information available in one go.

             

            No dates put to any of these different elements yet, but MUM looks set to bring some big changes and catch up with how users want to interact with search.

             

             

            Did we miss anything?

            If there was anything else that happened in July that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

             

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              Paid Media Highlights in July

              The last few months have seen a variety of changes to the paid media world. From Google announcing a new 3 strike system for ad policy violations to LinkedIn updates, there’s been a lot of change in the paid media sphere in July.

              If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.

               

              Google Image Extensions

              The image extension feature within Google Ads is now out of beta and it can be implemented across all accounts!

              However…in reality, we are still finding that not all accounts have this feature enabled yet. It appears to be quite hit or miss as to which accounts have this functionality and which ones don’t.

              The ability to attract more customers by enhancing text ads with images is appealing, with this potentially increasing both quality score and CTR. Advertisers should know, however, that these images are dynamically inserted, so keeping on top of what types of images are showing for each ad is important!

               

               

              Ad Account Certifications Audit and the New ‘Strike’ policy

              At the end of June, we were notified by Google that they were performing an audit of restricted verticals for which they require certification. Essentially, we were warned that any accounts that have certificates in a variety of restricted areas, such as healthcare or financial services, could be impacted or have their certification revoked. Since then, we, along with the rest of the digital marketing community, have seen an increase in ad disapprovals as Google have tightened up their compliance policies.

              To take things even further in the coming months, Google announced in July that they are planning on piloting a new ‘strikes’ system to address repeat ad policy violations. From September 2021, strikes will be issued for violations of Google’s Enabling dishonest behaviour, unapproved substances and dangerous products or services policies.

              Each time your account violates a policy within 90 days of their first policy warning, Google will apply sanctions of increasing severity. On the first warning, only the relevant ads are removed. Strike two sees your account placed on a temporary hold for three days during which ads are not eligible to run. This increases to seven days on strike two before account suspension on strike three.

              Based on the tightening of policies over the past few months, the introduction of this new strike-based system is quite intimidating… It will be interesting to see how Google plans to couple these strikes with their existing appeals system.

               

               

              Covid-19 Ad Grant Funding Continued

              A pleasant surprise that we experienced at the beginning of July was that the additional Covid funding for Google Ad Grant accounts has remained in place. Despite the fact that it was expected to run out in June, all of our Google Ad Grant accounts that had received additional funding still have it.

              Google have yet to announce when this funding will come to an end, but we are grateful for the additional opportunities that it is providing to our accounts.

               

               

              Ads Creative Studio

              At the end of June, Google introduced its new creative management tool; Ads Creative Studio. Google heralds the software as ‘a unified home for Google’s creative advertising tools, to help you build compelling experiences for video, display, and audio ads’, but what does this actually mean?

              In Essence, Google is unifying aspects of its products to create a more cohesive and easily manageable platform for creative teams. So, features that were previously only available within certain products and to limited advertisers, such as Director Mix, are now available in one place.

              Google claim that it will ‘create one process across display, video and audio’ as well as ‘improving collaboration across teams.’ We would love to hear from anyone who has been using Ads Creative Studio to see if it has improved the unity of your processes and teams.

               

               

              New Google Partner Badge

              In June, Google responded to the calls of Google Partners who already believed that they meet the February 2022 Partner Requirements. Google have now allowed Partners who already met the new requirements to gain early access to the new partner badge.

              Partners still need to spend $10K across managed accounts for 90 days and ensure that 50% of account strategists are certified by Google ads, but now, advertisers also have to maintain a 70% optimisation score.

               

               

              LinkedIn Introduced Event Ads

              LinkedIn recently introduced the Event Ad Format to its users. Like events in Facebook, the event appears in a user’s feed if a user’s mutual connections have shown an interest in the event and gives them the option to register themselves.

              In conjunction with this, they have also revealed that they will soon be launching an Event analytics Tool where you can measure the performance and return on investment of an online LinkedIn Event that you have organised. We’re excited to see these developments in the advertising options available within LinkedIn and we are looking forward to see how this new events feature will change the LinkedIn landscape.

               

               

              Did we miss anything?

               

              Tweet us at upriseupSEM, email us at [email protected], or send us a message through our contact page if you think we missed something important. We would love to hear what’s got you thinking this month!

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                The Drum & Third Sector Business Charity Awards Winners 2021

                Award Winners

                To top off a fantastic first half of the year, we’re proud to have added 2 award wins to our list of accolades. After being nominated for Best Buy Side Team or Agency and Social Purpose at the Drum Digital Advertising Awards 2021, Uprise Up’s paid media team won Best Buy Side Team or Agency. Uprise Up were also winners at this year’s Business Charity Awards by Third Sector, winning Marketing Partnership of the Year for our work with Catalyst on Crisis’ Christmas campaign. This work also earned us a nomination at this year’s Campaign Media Awards in the Charity category.

                 

                Best Buy Side Team at the Drum Awards 2021

                Uprise Up added to their awards cabinet in April, with a win at the Drum Digital Advertising Awards 2021. The Paid Media Team won Best Buy Side Team or Agency, beating Semetrical agency and Universal Music Group’s Consumer Marketing team. The award was for the best team or agency who work in buy side advertising. Uprise Up were awarded the accolade as the Paid Media team demonstrated great internal and external relationships, the ability to go the extra mile, flexibility, and efficiency.

                 

                Uprise Up Paid Media Team

                In our entry, we conveyed our core belief that revolution is needed in the world of digital advertising. Digital needs to be better for charities and non-profit organisations, with effective and transparent data at the core. In 2020, Uprise Up strived to continue this revolution by creating exceptional campaigns for socially positive organisations, and more than succeeded. This success was only achievable through the hard work, diligence and camaraderie demonstrated by our paid media team of 10 throughout the year. A data–focused technical approach, phenomenal charity sector and client understanding, propelled success in 2020, and warranted this fantastic award win.

                Uprise Up’s award entry was centred around our revised values, which were introduced this year to better illustrate our vision, purpose and identity.

                • Champion heartfelt camaraderie.
                • Bravely grab the standard, and run.
                • Relentlessly pursue continuous improvement.
                • Lead the charge for effective, transparent data.
                • Make the world better.

                These values demonstrate a clear intent to do good and help others to do good. By aspiring towards these values in 2020, Uprise Up experienced outstanding growth and success.

                 

                We also drew upon our portfolio of projects and ongoing work throughout the year to demonstrate excellence in digital advertising. This included:

                Please visit our case studies section to read more about our work.

                 

                Marketing Partnership of the Year at Third Sector’s Business Charity Awards

                 

                Uprise Up Crisis at Christmas Campaign

                 

                Uprise Up won Marketing Partnership of the Year at this year’s Business Charity Awards by Third Sector, for our work with Catalyst for Crisis on their Christmas campaign. The successful digital campaign beat other nominees including partnerships between Johnson & Johnson and NSPCC, Pringles and Movember, Ford and RNLI and Tesco Mobile and Crisis.

                Uprise Up team with Business Charity Marketing Partnership of the Year award
                The Uprise Up team with the Business Charity 2021’s Marketing Partnership of the Year award.

                The judges were looking for a marketing initiative between a business and a charity that helped to promote a charity’s work or raise funds. In our entry, we demonstrated that Catalyst’s strategic direction and our delivery of the digital advertising campaign went above and beyond for Crisis, in the end raising over £6 million in vital revenue for the charity.

                Despite initial concerns over the ability to achieve strong results in light of the pandemic, the campaign more than exceeded goals through creative thinking, fast decision-making, adaptability, and the pursuit of continuous improvement. The combination of paid social, search and programmatic advertising for the campaign succeeded in raising vital awareness, bringing in donations and acquiring new supporters.

                The revenue raised for this year’s Crisis at Christmas digital advertising campaign will go on to change the lives of homeless people all year round across the UK.

                 

                Want to chat?

                If you want to find out more about our award-winning work, or find out how we can support your organisation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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                  SEO Highlights in June

                  SEO news highlights in June

                  Google kicked it up a notch in June, with updates being released left, right and centre! There’s a lot to keep track of as we start to measure the impact of these updates to SEO over the upcoming months; no lazy summer for us. If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.

                   

                  Core Algorithm Update Part 1

                  At the start of June Google unveiled plans to release not one, but two updates to their core search algorithm. This is the first algorithm update of 2021, following the December update 6 months previous. Roll out of the June update started on the 2nd June and completed 12th June, taking just under 2 weeks.

                  Be aware that this update is to be followed up with another core update in July. Google said they chose to do this owing to some updates not being ready for June. Seems there was some changes Google wanted live sooner rather than later. This does mean there’s a slight chance that any impact websites saw to performance in June could be reversed. So we’ll be waiting with bated breath for a few more weeks yet.

                  Generally speaking, early data indicated that impact was predominantly felt in the first few days of the roll out. The depth of impact of the update seems to be up for debate; some claim it was bigger than the last update in December, yet others only saw an impact to a small collection of niches. In fact, the difference with this update was that the SEO community was relatively quiet the first 24 hours following the announcement. Many didn’t notice a change, suggesting this update wasn’t as big as some claim.

                  At Uprise Up we have a strong focus on the charity sector, though we do also have non-charity clients. So far, we’ve seen minimal impact to the performance of our clients, with no drastic changes to rankings or traffic, as a result of the June update. With a sub-focus on health and YMYL, out data suggests these niches saw little impact from the update.

                   

                  Page Experience began rolling out

                  The long-awaited Page Experience update began rolling out this month, on 15th June to be precise. Changes have already happened on search, with non-AMP pages now eligible to feature in the Top Stories carousel. It’ll be interesting to see how many sites continue to use AMP, as its benefits start to be pushed onto regular pages.

                  This update will see a continual slow roll out with all Page Experience elements, including Core Web Vitals, set to be full ranking factors by the end of August. If you’re still in the process of updating your site, that’s your deadline.

                   

                  Introducing Search Console Insights

                  Google have a new report live: Search Console Insights.

                  The report itself seems to act as an accumulation of key insights available on Google Search Console (GSC) and Google Analytics (GA) in one place, with some insights around Social Media as well. Google stated the report is designed to provide ‘an easier way to understand how your content resonates with users’.

                  The report essentially pulls out the key stats from your GA and GSC property to show website owners what their top performing content pieces are, how people are finding them – from top performing channel to insights within these channels – and the time people spend engaging with the content.

                  It does require a bit of set up to work; if your GSC and GA property aren’t linked then you won’t receive the full benefits of this report. So, it’s not a seamless start if you don’t have your GSC and GA properties associated.

                  This tool is currently in beta; no doubt we’ll see further adaptations to the interface in the future. For me, there is value in the interface; if you want to get a quick understanding of site performance it provides just that. However, there’s no individual feature that stands out as being new and intriguing.

                  But I don’t think this tool was built for me. This report seems more targeted to people that aren’t as a familiar with GA and GSC, and therefore would benefit from having a single interface that allows them to see the content and keywords that perform best for them.

                  A nifty interface for some, I want to give this tool more time to grow on me in the upcoming months.

                   

                   

                  Did we miss anything?

                  If there was anything else that happened in June that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

                   

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                    SEO Highlights in May

                    SEO News May 2021

                    After being relatively quiet for several months, Google announced a broad core update and their plans for a new language model, called MUM. That’s a lot to digest from an SEO perspective! If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.

                     

                    Rollout of the June and July broad core updates

                    On 2nd June, Google announced a core algorithm update. This is a general update to Google’s search algorithm, with no indication provided of what could be affected. This time, the announcement mentioned that this update was being split in two, resulting in the June Core Update and the July Core Update, as not all of their planned improvements were ready for a June based rollout.

                    Over the next few weeks, Google has warned that although most sites won’t experience any changes, some could experience drops or gains as the update rolls out. However, they also noted that a few sites may notice changes this month that could then reverse in July due to the two-part nature of this core update.

                    Technically, this update was announced at the beginning of June, but we thought that this announcement was worth mentioning now so that you can be on the look-out for any changes to your content’s performance over the coming weeks. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you notice any particularly interesting side effects of the algorithm update!

                     

                    Google announced their new language model: MUM

                    If we didn’t know it already, Google have confirmed this month that MUM’s the word. In this case, MUM stands for Multitask Unified Model and the technology has been designed to understand more complex search queries so that in future, it will take fewer searches for Google to understand the User’s intention.

                    At the moment, we don’t have a definitive date when MUM will be implemented, but Google has stated that it will ‘bring MUM-powered features and improvements to our products in the coming months and years.’

                    How will MUM work?

                    MUM uses Transformer Information and builds on the BERT update. Designed to be 1000 times better than BERT, Google claims that the technology will be able to understand and generate language. MUM is also multimodal, so it understands information across text and images. In future, Google also hopes that it will have the capacity to understand audio and video. In layman’s terms, this essentially means that Google will be more able to understand the language and context surrounding a search query, with the aim of being able to answer more complicated user queries in fewer searches.

                    Another aspect of the product that could have a dramatic impact on SEO in years to come is the fact that MUM aims to remove the language barriers that currently exist in search. As MUM can understand multiple languages, when a user submits a query, it will look for the most relevant content in any language. Therefore, SERP results could now show webpages written in different languages and translated back into the into the User’s native tongue. The impact of this could be huge, especially for companies seeking to attract an international audience!

                    What does this mean for SEO?

                    It is unclear how the SERP will be affected by these changes overall. MUM will use the most relevant content, whether that’s images or articles written in multiple languages to inform the different aspects of its answer. We don’t yet know how this will affect the search results page. For these complex searches, how will MUM determine which source of information or which part of the answer is the most relevant to the user? Is our current model of having 10 ranked answers becoming outdated?

                    After the MUM update was announced, users took to Reddit to voice these concerns. However, Google’s John Müller tried to alleviate worry by stressing that he didn’t ‘really see how this would reduce the need for SEO. Things always develop… and yet the SEO people still have enough to do.’ So, whilst the impact of MUM is still uncertain, what is for certain is that SEOs should be prepared for the changes that MUM could bring in the future and adapt their processes accordingly.

                     

                    Google continues to roll out ‘About this result’ worldwide

                    Google announced its intentions to make us all more judicious in February 2021 with the ‘About This Result’ feature. The tool is designed to help Users determine credible and reliable information at a time when ‘fake news’ hides around every corner. ‘About This Result’ has been rolling out since then but in May, Google officially announced that they had started implementing this feature to all English results worldwide.

                     

                    About This Result Google

                     

                    They have also promised to implement this feature to other languages in the future and they have teased more details that will be included within the tool later in the year, such as related articles, what other sources say about the site and how the site describes itself. We are excited to see how the expanded use of this tool will help or hinder websites based on Google’s added votes of confidence or concern.

                     

                    Did we miss anything?

                    If there was anything else that happened in May that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

                     

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                      Paid Media Highlights in April

                      Want to find out the latest news in the world of paid media? Grab a cuppa and let us bring you up-to-date on some of the key highlights across paid search and paid social during April 2021. 

                       

                      There’s been some interesting developments with Apple’s introduction of iOS14 updates and its’ subsequent effects on Facebook advertising. We’ll also take a look at the latest news involving Microsoft Advertising, as well as some changes to bidding strategies within Google Ads.

                       

                      iOS14 Update

                      What does it mean for paid media?

                      The iOS 14 updates scheduled during the first half of 2021 has been a hot topic for advertisers across the industry, but particularly for those advertising on Facebook. We have seen some of these changes start to take effect on Facebook, with accounts being equipped with a ‘Resource centre’ to help house a number of tasks that need to be actioned as a result of the update. 

                      These range from verifying your website domain to reviewing the number of website events across pixels installed in an account to reviewing affected automated rules. We’ll be tackling this topic in a soon-to-be-released blog, so do stay tuned for more content on this key issue!

                       

                       

                       

                      Streamlining of target ROAS and target CPA bidding strategies

                      Bidding on Google Ads continues to change in a push towards greater automation on the platform. From now onwards, Target ROAS and Target CPA will no longer be their own bid strategies, but instead will be options within the Maximise Conversions and Maximise Conversion Value bidding strategies instead. 

                      The upshot is that this is unlikely to have any actual impact on performance, think of this as more of just a streamlining of strategies within the interface. But given that more emphasis is now placed on the Maximise Conversions and Maximise Conversion Value strategies, we may expect more users to take up these options, with or without the target constraints. To get the best out of these strategies, do ensure that you have sufficient conversion data available in your campaign for the bid strategy to optimise towards.

                       

                       

                      Dynamic placement exclusion lists

                      What are they and why do I need them?

                      Google Ads currently has the capacity to block display network ads from being shown in particular placements, however, this is something that you would normally have to implement manually. Now, Google has introduced dynamic exclusion lists, which gives advertisers the ability to use exclusion lists created by third parties such as advocacy organisations and industry groups. Any updates to the list by these third parties can then be automatically updated to your own Google Ads account, helping to save time by not having to go through this process manually. We hope this will be a good time-saver!

                       

                       

                      Changes to phrase match and broad match modifier also apply to Microsoft Ads

                      This is fairly unsurprising news, given the close alignment between Microsoft Ads and Google Ads, but Microsoft have given the go-ahead to remove broad match modifiers from ad accounts. From August 2021, “you’ll no longer be able to create new BMM keywords”, but  “your existing BMM keywords will continue to serve under the new phrase match behaviour”. The changes also encompass the tweaks made to phrase match keywords too, with those terms now also showing for searches that include the meaning of your keyword. Check out our blog from earlier this year for more information on what we think the effects that these changes (on Google, and now Bing) will have for advertisers.

                       

                       

                      Video ads and Facebook imports for Microsoft ads

                      Following on from Microsoft’s update to keywords, they have also released a bunch of new features to their ad platform. This includes video ads launching in the Microsoft Audience Network in the UK and US, with 6-to-120-second videos that can be used to reach an audience of 300m daily users. Interestingly, Microsoft is also enabling the function of being able to import single-image ads directly from Facebook into Microsoft Ads, functioning in a similar way to the Google Ads import function. This may prove a handy time-saving tool for multimedia campaigns.

                       

                       

                      Did we miss anything?

                       

                      If there was anything else that happened in April that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseupSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

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                        Data Drives Digital Media Success

                        Data drives digital media success

                        Unsure how to best utilise your data? Not sure how to structure your digital campaigns? Look no further. We’ve detailed below our comprehensive guide to constructing a plan for analysing and utilising data from your digital media campaigns.

                         

                        How to use data to your advantage for your digital campaigns.

                        The most successful campaigns have clear objectives and Key Performance Indicators. These KPIs are tracked via the user’s journey from their initial interaction with your media to the completion of a conversion. For the best success, it is vital to understand and track the journey that each user takes; data can help you with this process.

                        With an understanding of your objectives in place, you’re then in a brilliant position to begin implementing your data tracking processes and future-proofing your site.

                         

                        Planning: Objectives and KPIs

                        We start the planning process by defining clear objectives to the campaign. Knowing what we need to achieve, who the audience is, developing personas and outlining success.

                        The below diagram analyses your user’s journey through your site. It begins with their first exposure to your media, looks at how they behave with your site, and finishes when they complete a conversion aligned with your mission.

                         

                        User Journey Funnel

                         

                        Conversions

                        We recommend that you start with the end in mind. What do you ultimately want your audience to do? If it revolves around a transaction, you want to capture that and the amounts through ecommerce reports. If you are still suffering from a lack of data because your transition is on a third-party payment site you can’t track, get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help you change that. Other objectives that you might have for your campaign include volunteer sign-ups, petition fills, newsletter signups, using a health calculator, calls or downloading a free guide.

                        All campaigns, including those based around communication, information and awareness, should have targets and hold themselves to account. You might need to innovate, but there are a variety of actions you could use to track your engagement. For example, tracking a users’ scroll depth to check that your user is reaching the bottom of your page, using a timing tracker to check that the user is reading your content or, some of our clients have started adding a ‘was this helpful’ button, to give a simple ticker that we can track.

                         

                        Behaviour

                        You want to understand website behaviour and improve the site User Experience (UX) and Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). It’s important to remember that creating conversions isn’t just about dropping people onto a landing page, the full journey of the conversion needs to be tracked and tweaked.

                        The most obvious tool is Google Analytics. Analytics needs to be audited every couple of years and there are always opportunities for improving the data quality – usually substantially. Other helpful tools include Search Console, Tag Manager, Optimise, Hot Jar or Crazy Egg. All of these tools can be fed into a dashboard, allowing you to easily display all of your data.

                        In particular, we have seen significant improvements to campaigns just from utilising User Journey Data. These campaigns consider the actual behaviour of your user and can be used to update the user journey to make a conversion more likely. For example, you could make the call-to-action clearer or experiment with the default donation amounts to see whether altering these actions results in a higher conversion rate.

                         

                         

                        Media

                        Conversion flowchart

                         

                        Next, it’s important to understand the performance of your media. This includes emails, social media, organic search and paid search.

                        You can see a simple journey in the diagram above. Programmatic (display ads using a machine learning) could be the first impression, then a video ad, another programmatic impression, a click via Paid Search, a Facebook ad view and then finally maybe converting following a search and clicking an organic listing (as displayed above in red).

                        As default, Analytics will attribute the last click made when someone converted. But we want to understand all the touch-points, including Impressions. Media channels will all count a conversion as being down to them; this would duplicate the credit, which can make it very hard to really understand how effective each channel is. For multi-channel campaigns we need a more sophisticated Ad Management system, such as Campaign Manager.

                         

                        Implementation: Infrastructure and Technology

                         

                        Process Infratructure

                         

                        It’s important to have data sources such as Analytics, Conversion Rate Optimisation Tools, media channels and (for larger campaigns), Ad Management software to feed into your dashboard so that it can all be viewed and analysed in one place.

                        Key to extracting this data is using a ‘connector’ that can get what it needs through the software’s API. You could run that straight into your dashboard, but if you have multiple data sources, you’ll likely want to customise the data, dedupe it and sort it into a useful format first.

                        Dashboards are designed for front-end display. They aren’t so hot at handling the calculations, so this is better done first by use of a data sorting tool, such as Google Sheets. This is where your data analyst will get involved, making sure that all your data is compiled and structured; before being pulled into your dashboard.

                        In terms of the technologies involved in these processes, these are our initial recommendations. For big campaigns that need an ad management solution, Campaign manager with it’s Floodlight Tracking is our favourite. It tracks across your media, website activity and conversions, integrating with DV360. As an Ad Serving tool, Campaign Manager is about as future-proof as it gets, being integrated with Google’s Marketing stack. We also strongly recommend this if you are managing Programmatic Campaigns.

                        Supermetrics is our top tip for a connector. It’s paid, but very stable and versatile. It will usually work with non-Google programs such as Facebook and also some Google programs that even data studio can’t connect with, such as My Business.

                        There are several great Data Visualisation (or dashboard) tools out there. Google’s Data Studio is likely going to be the most appropriate, but Microsoft’s Power BI is more powerful. However, if you are using Sheets, you won’t need the extra power that Power BI can provide. Google Data Studio makes sharing reports easier and the big advantage is that it handles integration with other Google tools pretty seamlessly, including Google Sheets, or if you are feeding it directly, other Google tools.

                         

                        Implementation: Futureproofing

                        Data handling policies are constantly changing, and we need to keep an eye on all future developments. For example, there have recently been a lot of changes surrounding Privacy and Consent. IOS 14.5, ‘The Privacy update’, which was released very recently requires app developers to explicitly receive consent for any ad tracking. Additionally, Google Chrome is removing 3rd party cookies by 2022. We are still awaiting clarification on what this will mean exactly, but we can assume that there will be more use of first party cookies.

                        In the meantime,

                        • Investigate ‘Civic UK’ to ensure that Tag Manager operates in line with cookie policy.
                        • Google Analytics 4 is now released. Google is moving away from sessions and page views to users and events. Upgrade to GA4 (but for now also run existing account in parallel).
                        • Also upgrade to Bing and Google Ads first party cookie pixels to your site, you’ll need them for when 3rd party tracking is removed.

                         

                        In our experience, having a clear dashboard makes driving campaigns a lot more fun. Putting the work in at the beginning, to track the important metrics, sort them and have them ready for your convenience will make you feel more relaxed, and in control.

                         

                         

                        We are very keen to support non-profits get this right. We’re available for a free conversation which often solves organizations’ issues straight away.

                        We are also running a number of free webinars, and when Covid allows, breakfast roundtables. Some of those are going to be focused around setting targets and measuring performance with a lot of peer-to-peer conversations. You can also signup to our newsletter from here too. If you subscribe, we’ll keep you up to date with Technologies, Strategies and Privacy Updates.

                         

                         

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                          SEO Highlights in April

                          April 2021

                          April was a good month for SEO. With deadlines extended and the 2020 Spam Report published, there’s been a lot of information to digest. For regular updates on the world of digital marketing and Uprise Up, you can sign up to our Newsletter.

                          Rollout of the Page Experience Update delayed to June.

                          No doubt many website owners breathed a sigh of relief when Google announced their decision to delay the rollout from May to mid-June. Time pressures have been eased as websites have longer to ensure their pages provide a good page experience. Search Console has also updated to include a new Page Experience Report, which makes it much simpler to see how your site currently performs and understand the areas you need to prioritise.

                          The rollout will now be a more gradual process, with Page Experience not expected to be a full ranking factor until the end of August. This change in tactic will make it harder to measure the impact of the update, as the ranking factors slowly merge with the search algorithm. This change does mean there won’t be any drastic changes to results, which for some sites should soften impact and give them a better chance of resolving any ongoing issues with their performance before the update has any serious detrimental effects.

                           

                          What does the update include?

                          It’s been previously revealed that the Page Experience Update  will consider several signals for page experience, including the metrics included in Core Web Vitals (FID, CLS, LCP).

                           

                          We can see Google is making a clear move away from favouring AMP, with the update set to bring regular non-AMP pages into the results more. AMP will no longer be required to feature in the Top Stories Carousel; once the update goes live all news content will be eligible for this feature. The AMP badge will also be removed from AMP results, removing that distinction. So, if you’re a site that relies on AMP I’d suggest really focusing on guaranteeing your non-AMP pages have similar load times on mobile, because from June onwards AMP is unlikely to provide you the value it once did.

                           

                          Webspam Report 2020.

                          Another year, another Webspam Report was published! As expected, the presence of spam has only continued to grow over the past 12 months, from 25 billion pages being discovered daily in 2019 to 40 billion in 2020.

                           

                          This growth includes increasing levels of hacked spam. Big or small, there’s no discrimination when it comes to being hacked. All sites are vulnerable. In fact, Google found that sites Search Consoles’ were being hacked, with the culprit posing as the Owner and using the ‘request indexing’ feature to get the spammy pages crawled and indexed. A good tool being misused. Whilst Google can take action against hackers, websites can also help through the practice of good security.

                           

                          In the report more emphasis was placed on fighting spam ‘smarter’. As a part of this we can see the continued evolvement of AI, as Google developed a spam-fighting AI. They consider this to be a revolutionary update to their approach to spam and as a result, have reduced sites with auto-generated or scaped content appearing in the SERPs by more than 80% (compared to a few years ago). This advancement definitely highlights the clamping down on low quality content; spam or even content that fails to serve the needs of the user will not be shown.

                           

                          Google has also been focusing their anti-spam efforts more on important topics, such as queries related to Coronavirus. Having spent most of last year in a global pandemic, it was pretty crucial that everyone had access to the right information. Whilst this meant ensuring spam wasn’t given the opportunity to distract and waste the time of users, it also meant curating the SERPs so only high quality up to date information was shown.

                           

                          Though the figures don’t show any big surprises, the latest webspam report does give an indication of Google’s continued restrictions on content they deem low quality. Maintained, high quality content continues to be placed at the forefront of searches.

                           

                          Content Case Study.

                          Towards the end of the month a case study was published that highlights the need to place users at the centre of any SEO strategy. Conducted by Sterling Sky, the case study examines the performance of a local injury law firm in Canada. They had not been ranking well for their target keywords and wanted some help boosting results.

                           

                          The case study flagged that the issue lay in the strategy that had been implemented to date. The site had multiple templated pages, each targeting a different city and service. The content was difficult to access and very similar owing to the template approach. It’s clear this content was built with a focus on ranking, but not on being useful to those that landed on it. By creating content for search engines rather than users, the content didn’t meet expectations.

                           

                          I found this article to be valuable in its takeaways, one being that publishing lots of content can be a bad thing. Quality will always override quantity, websites need to ensure that the content they publish serves a purpose outside ranking in the search results. If the user experience is poor and leaves visitors unfulfilled, then it provides no value to your site.

                           

                          The case study also highlights the need to measure your strategy continuously. Just because you’ve agreed and begun implementation of a strategy, doesn’t mean the strategy is done. No strategy is finite. Measuring and adapting a plan is vital to ensure you stay on track and meet your established objectives.  By testing different tactics you can start to understand what will work for your site. In the case of this example, removing the templated content and redirecting to other built out, informational pages on the site helped the client meet the ranking requirements and increase their levels of organic traffic. A simple, but effective solution.

                           

                          Did we miss anything?

                          If there was anything else that happened in April that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseupSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

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                            A Review of the Ad Grant Scheme’s Transformative Last 2 Years

                            Google Ad Grant Scheme 2 Year Review

                            2020 was not an easy year for anyone, but in the Google Ad Grant world, many accounts were reporting huge year on year increases in traffic. Our Paid Media Consultant, Dan, runs through the many changes Google made to the ad grant scheme over the last two years and what it could mean for the future.

                            The story starts in January 2018, when new requirements were placed upon Grants to remain active. Of these, both the limitation on single word keywords and the minimum of a 5% account-wide CTR reduced the total traffic available to some accounts, but the biggest change that affected traffic in accounts around this time was initially undocumented by Google.

                             

                            Google Ad Grant Traffic timeline
                            An example of one of our client’s Google Ad Grant traffic over the past 2 years.

                             

                            The change involved the Ad Grant Quality filter, a rather minor part of the ad auction system. Google describes the Ad Quality feature as being “based, in part, on the general ad quality level of the standard ads in the country where you’re showing your ads”. This seems to be a system by which Google limits how much Ad Grant ads show in comparison to paid ads.

                            Around the same time as the new policies were implemented (in Nov 2018), Google significantly changed how many ads the Ad Quality filter was limiting in grants. This generally affected the lower priority informational content that makes up the bulk of traffic for many accounts. This caused a significant drop in traffic across the Ad Grant scheme as many accounts lost up to 50% of their daily traffic.

                            The community were unhappy about the changes, to say the least. The timing of the announcement (after many charity staff had left for Christmas) and the short amount of time given to adjust to the drastically different set of rules was not the best Christmas present Google could have given. The Google Ad Grant scheme realised they would have to start giving rather than taking after this change, and over the next year we would see a drastic turnaround in the prospects of Ad Grant accounts.

                            Most recently Google has offered extra budget in several periods for Grants during peak performance times such as Christmas. In addition to extra budget, the addition of the maximise conversion bidding strategy being allowed to exceed the $2 bid cap, and the introduction of responsive search ads (which seem to be preferred greatly by the Ad Quality Filter) have allowed us to improve traffic levels across many accounts.

                            In addition, Google have seemed to relax the initial change they made on Nov 2018 to the ad quality filter, causing traffic to climb back up even without any officially announced new changes. You can see the large increase in traffic between the implementation of the policies and the release of Responsive Search Ads as a result of this.

                             

                            The Future of the Ad Grant Scheme

                            So, what does all of this tell us about the future of the Ad Grant scheme? In our opinion the message is quite clear from Google: adopting new features, such as automated bidding and Responsive Search Ads, will allow you to mitigate or bypass the restrictions being placed on accounts. It is now more important than ever to be quick to adapt to new features and changes being implemented in the Grant scheme, as they often seem to come paired with changes which limit accounts not using them. For example, the ad quality filter change has been mitigated by responsive search ads and being able to bid above the $2 limit allowed higher priority content to bring in more traffic during times of increased budget.

                            In recent times we have seen changes to search term reporting and keyword match types, reducing how specifically we can target user searches. However, we have been granted access to demographic targeting, which was up until now not allowed within Grant accounts. This will once again require a change in how you operate a Grant account, focussing less on what people are searching and more on who those people are. Moving into the future, it is important to remain up to date on what changes are happening in the Ad Grant scheme and coming up with ways to maximise the benefit these new changes can give to your accounts.

                             

                            If you have any questions on future implications for your ad grant, or are interested in working with us to apply for your non-profit organisation’s own Google Ad Grant, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

                            Why not follow us on Twitter for the latest updates to the Google Ad Grant scheme?

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                              Brighton SEO

                              Once again the SEO Team took to their laptops for 2 days attending the different talks available at Brighton SEO last month. There was a great range of talks to choose from, all delivered by expert talkers, opening up topics for debate and enabling SEOs from across the globe to hone their skills.

                              Our Takeaways

                              After 2 days of attending talks brimming with information, here are the insights and tips we took away from virtual Brighton SEO:

                              1. An internal search results page could end up ranking better than a dedicated category page. As SEO’s, we usually try to have a suitable landing page to help us rank for our target search terms – but after all the optimisation, Google may still opt to prefer the internal search page if it believes it provides a better answer to the user search queries.
                              2. GPT-3 from OpenAI is scarily good at generating human-like text from a prompt. But how can this help us as SEOs? Using GPT-3, it is possible to copy & paste content from a web page and have it summarise the article within ~160 chars for a meta-description. While it may not be perfect, this could be a great timesaver for a situation where you would need to create meta-descriptions for a large number of pages.
                              3. Google cache aggressively and probably won’t listen to your cache-control headers. Images, CSS, JavaScript and API crawls can all be cached and Google may hold onto these for some time to help preserve the crawl budget. Use the URL inspection tools in Search Console to see if Google is seeing your page the way you expect them to.
                              4. Use data to drive your user-centric navbar design! You have plenty of data within Google Analytics that shows how users navigate around your site. Make sure you pick out the most important pages and ensure they are easily navigable to the user.
                              5. We use DevTools regularly, but it’s always been something we pick up as we go. It was great to hear some tips about how we can use this powerful feature of Google Chrome to help within SEO. For example, local overrides can allow you to changes elements of the page locally and run lighthouse tests with your changes. This could be great to see the impact of your Core Web Vitals recommendations before they are handed over to the developers.
                              6. Longform content doesn’t belong in FAQ’s. This area is for users who have been unable to find the content that they were looking for in your existing content and are looking for a pithier response.
                              7. When pitching your new content via email, password protect your articles or emphasise when your post is due to be published. Doing so means that you avoid clients accidentally referencing your content prior to your article being published!
                              8. Image Tags need to go beyond identifying the objects in the image. Consider using topic mapping to identify the links between the objects you are trying to describe, and the areas that you might be missing by keyword search terms.
                              9. Make use of pagination on the comments on your article posts to reduce the DOM size and improve loading speeds.
                              10. Create a Pivot chart in excel based on user traffic to decipher which pages are the most popular on your site. Organising the information this way helps you to identify popular pages that you might have missed from your navbar or highlight the need for a restructure.
                              11. The bigger your site the more at risk you are of index bloat. Rather than letting Google crawl everything, it’s good to have more control over the different pages and sections Google indexes to ensure the focus is on pages that have the potential rank well and bring in leads.
                              12. Neural matching impacts 30% of queries and is used to understand the patterns and concepts behind various search terms. This means your page doesn’t need to match the text, it needs to match the idea behind the search. So think less about keywords and more about the topic.
                              13. When looking at your content, look beyond the keyword. Instead focus on how users interact with the site and products. This can inform any necessary changes to your content. It also allows you to embrace the ‘fuzzy’ keywords: Google wants to match you to users with unclear search terms.
                              14. Accessibility is crucial! Currently, 70% of UK and US sites do not meet accessibility standards, whilst 90% of sites don’t meet accessibility standards worldwide. There’s also data to show that if a disabled person visits a site that isn’t easy to use, there’s only a 12% chance they’ll return.
                              15. When developing an internal linking strategy, consider the pages your backlinks point to. Backlinks are more likely to point to the informational pages on a site, rather than the transactional ones. It’s important that the link equity and value of these backlinks is passed onto the pages more likely to convert.

                               

                               

                              Our Thoughts

                               

                              We checked in with some members of the team so see how they found the experience. For our recent joiner Ellie, it was her first time! When we asked if it lived up to expectations, this is what she had to say:

                              “Overall, I really enjoyed my first Brighton SEO Conference as it gave me a great insight into the many different specialisms that exist within the industry. I’m looking forward to being able to (hopefully!) attend the event in person next time!”

                              Eleanor, Digital Marketing Assistant

                               

                              We also spoke to one of our more senior members of the SEO team.

                              “Having been with Uprise Up for a few years, I’m fortunate enough to say this is not my first time attending Brighton SEO: both off and online. There’s always something to learn from these talks, it’s never time wasted! Over the last few conferences there’s been a growing focus on automation. Whilst it’s generally agreed automating where possible is the way forward, there still seems to be contradiction over what should be automated and what still needs human interference. This is a conversation I can see progressing more in the future.”

                              Aimee, SEO Consultant

                               

                              As lovely as it is to attend Brighton SEO in loungewear, we collectively look forward to having the opportunity to go in person once more.  What were your favourite takeaways? Did something stand out to you that we haven’t mentioned? Feel free to get in contact today and start a conversation, we look forward to hearing from you.

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                                  John at The Engaging Digital Comms Conference.

                                  John Engaging Digital Communications Conference

                                  On 27th April 2021, we attended the Engaging Digital Comms Conference. Although the conference was held virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions, the talks throughout the day presented new and exciting perspectives on Digital Communications for today’s changed reality.

                                   

                                   

                                  Steering Digital Media to Success

                                  Our Founder and Managing Director, John Onion, was a speaker at the event and gave a fantastic talk on ‘Steering Digital Media to Success’. He covered how to use information to plan measurable objectives and KPIs, as well as the use of data to construct dashboards as a way of tracking media performance.

                                   

                                   

                                  Event Speakers

                                  We were thrilled to be a part of an array of charity sector expert speakers at this year’s Engaging Digital Comms event. The programme included 32 charities, not-for-profits and public sector organisations, contributing to a wider discussion of how to deliver high-impact, inspirational and engaging digital communications.

                                  Engaging Digital Comms Conference Event 2021
                                  Speakers at the Engaging Digital Comms Event 2021.

                                   

                                   

                                  If you’d like to know more about how we steer digital media to success for our clients, please do get in touch. If you’d like to sign up to future Uprise Up events, please register your interest below.

                                   

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                                    Upcoming: Webinar discussion. How will digital media step up?

                                    Digital Media Webinar

                                    How will digital media step up?

                                    Tuesday, 25th May, 2021

                                    A discussion about what charities have been going through and where they are finding the answers. With open debate about the mission that now faces us and how we are going to deliver.

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                                      Upcoming: Webinar Discussion. Tracking, data and effective attribution.

                                      Digital Media Webinar Event and Discussion

                                      Tracking, data and effective attribution.

                                      Friday, 25th June, 2021

                                      Having the data available to understand the performance of campaigns and channels is crucial to improving results. A discussion on the best strategies and tools for tracking activity, understanding it’s impact on conversions and bringing the clarity needed to unlock digital media’s potential.

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                                        Upcoming: Breakfast Roundtable.

                                        Breakfast Roundtable Event

                                        The New Normal in Digital Media

                                        An open discussion for Heads of Digital Marketing / Digital Marketing Managers who now have a mission.

                                        We’ll discuss method for getting the most from digital media, from Strategy, data tracking and attribution, through to specific channels including programmatic, social media, paid search and SEO.

                                        Sign-up to this roundtable here…

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                                          Uprise Up shortlisted in The Drum Awards AND Campaign Media Awards 2021

                                          The Drum Digital Advertising Awards Finalist 2021
                                          UPDATE

                                          We have since won at The Drum Digital Advertising Awards 2021 and Third Sector’s Business Charity Awards 2021. Read more here.

                                           

                                          After an award-winning 2020, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for three more awards in 2021! We have one nomination in the Campaign Media Awards, and two nominations in The Drum Advertising Awards.

                                          We’re kicking off the year with nominations in:

                                          • Campaign Media Awards – Charity Category for Crisis at Christmas Campaign 2020
                                          • The Drum Advertising Awards – Social Purpose Category for Crisis at Christmas Campaign 2020
                                          • The Drum Advertising Awards – Best Buy Side Team Category for the Uprise Up Paid Media Team

                                           

                                           

                                          Our Journey

                                          You don’t need us to tell you that the last 12 months have been difficult. In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, economic uncertainty, and navigating the ramifications of lockdown, we’ve been working harder than ever. Digital marketing had to step up, and so did we.

                                          The Crisis at Christmas campaign is a stellar example of the results that digital marketing can achieve when approached with a creative, data-led attitude. In 2020, we need to be relentless in our pursuit of continuous improvement, to seek out the results that organisations – especially charities like Crisis – need in order to thrive.

                                          We’re particularly proud of the nomination for Best Buy Side Team, for which our Paid Media Team has been nominated. The Paid Media Team at Uprise Up has worked far and beyond what was expected of them during the pandemic, displaying truly heartfelt camaraderie while achieving unbelievable results for our clients. The Paid Media Team was able to pivot seamlessly to working from home and communicating with our clients virtually during the various lockdowns, and we’re immensely proud of them for that.

                                           

                                           

                                          Crisis at Christmas Campaign 2020

                                          For Crisis, the coronavirus pandemic meant making significant changes to their usual Christmas offer, such as closing their Crisis Christmas Centres and halting their usual ‘reserve a place’ fundraising proposition.

                                          We worked closely with the team at Catalyst, who led the strategic direction of the campaign, to deliver an omni-channel digital advertising campaign across paid social, paid search, and programmatic advertising. This campaign raised over £6,100,000 in revenue for Crisis, from over 98,000 generous donations – obliterating the target of £1,630,000 from 30,000 donations.

                                          Overall campaign results:

                                          • 98,096 donations – 533% year on year increase
                                          • £6,147,056 revenue – 755% year on year increase
                                          • 10.08 ROAS – 288% year on year increase
                                          • £6.22 CPA – 65% year on year decrease

                                          The £6,147,056 raised meant that Crisis were able to directly provide support to 2,004 people experiencing homelessness over the Christmas period. The money raised will also make a significant contribution to Crisis’ year-round services, supporting people out of homelessness for good.

                                           

                                           

                                          Paid Media Team

                                          The Paid Media Team at Uprise Up are the talent behind several of our most successful campaigns of 2020. This includes the Crisis at Christmas campaign, as well as campaigns for MSI reproductive choices, Diabetes UK, Greenpeace and Sue Ryder (to name just a few).

                                          The outbreak of COVID-19 presented a unique challenge to the fundraising capabilities of charities, with the loss of offline advertising opportunities. The Paid Media Team stepped up to deliver exceptional digital media, for our charity clients in particular.

                                          In light of the pandemic, the team were determined to maintain the exceptional standard of digital campaigns produced in previous years. By pursuing continuous improvement and taking a data-led approach to campaigns, the Paid Media Team didn’t just maintain the standard, but were in fact able to deliver significant growth – both for Uprise Up and for our clients.

                                          Camaraderie between the team was particularly evident over the last 12 months, with weekly Zoom quizzes and video wellbeing check-ins. The close-knit team has managed to maintain their relationship, even welcoming new members of the team who are yet to meet their new colleagues in person.

                                           

                                           

                                          Awards

                                          2020 was a year of growth for Uprise Up. The team saw improved revenue, excellent client retention and fantastic results for our clients. We hope to win all of the awards we have been nominated for, but being shortlisted alone is recognition of the fantastic work we’ve achieved and we are very proud.

                                          The Drum Awards winners will be announced on the 25th March at 4pm GMT. For the full list of awards and nominations, visit The Drum Awards website.

                                          The Campaign Media Awards are announced on the 14th and 15th April. The full list of awards and nominations can be viewed on the Campaign Media Awards website.

                                          For regular updates on our agency, why not follow us on Twitter?

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                                            SEO News Round Up: February 2021

                                            SEO Round Up February 2021

                                            What happened in the world of SEO in February?

                                            February was a calm month for SEO, with just a few changes announced. However, I suggest you keep an eye on results, as these announcements seek to continue Google’s aims of diversifying our search results.

                                             

                                            Featured Snippets showed a decline in Feb

                                            There was a decline in the percentage of queries including a Featured Snippet in the SERPs. Across all tools the decline starts from 18th February.

                                             

                                            SERP Feature History MozCast
                                            Source: MozCast

                                             

                                            Broken down, similar declines have been recorded across desktop and mobile devices. It’s unclear whether this is permanent or Google will increase the percentage back up. Queries impacted are thought to be the shorter, more competitive terms and specific industry categories. Industry-wise, Health, Finance and YMYL were impacted most, though other industries have also seen notable change.

                                             

                                            Top Featured Snippet Losses by Industry
                                            Source: Moz

                                             

                                            This is an important reminder that whilst Featured Snippets can be golden nuggets when you have one, they are a double-edged sword. You get a boost in visibility and traffic when you have them, but they aren’t permanent. They come and go; losing one can then lead to a reduction in visibility and traffic for that keyword.

                                            It’s worth remembering that when you lose a Featured Snippet you don’t drop down to the next position as you do with regular rankings. You drop back to where you were originally ranking, which is typically further down the page (think positions 4-7). Your visibility, therefore, drops more dramatically than you expect.

                                            Whilst Featured Snippets are unlikely to disappear completely, this is something to monitor. It’s likely Google updating their algorithms to closer match the intent behind search terms, so this is a percentage that could grow again. We’ll find out.

                                             

                                            New Association feature on Search Console

                                            Search Console has a new Associations feature available. This function allows you to link up your Search Console property with properties you have in other Google Services.

                                            Associations can link up your Search Console with the following:

                                            • Google Analytics
                                            • Google Ads
                                            • YouTube
                                            • Play Console
                                            • Action Console
                                            • Chrome Web Store

                                            Association is a function worth utilising, it’s a great way to link up your data and see more in one place. The effect of the association does depend on the properties you’re linking up. For instance, linking up your Search Console with your Analytics means you can see organic query data with the Analytics dashboard.

                                            To access the Associations feature, go onto the Settings Menu on your Search Console property.

                                             

                                            Metric Boundaries updated for Core Web Vitals

                                            Google has made a minor change to the metrics used to measure Core Web Vitals. The boundaries previously only looked at ‘less than’ the given number. Now, the defined boundaries have been updated to be ‘less than or equal to’. A small change, but one that could make the targets for each metrics more achievable.

                                            The new boundaries for each metric are as follows:

                                            New Core Web Vitals metric boundaries
                                            Source: Search Engine Land

                                             

                                            Passage Ranking has gone live in the US

                                            Passage Ranking, first announced in October 2020, went live in US search on Wednesday 10th February. Expected to only affect 7% of searches initially, it’s a change to rankings that is likely to expand in the future-  to affect more searches and more countries.

                                             

                                            What is passage ranking?

                                            Passage ranking is where Google indexes passages within your page. The aim is to help Google find information that might be buried in your content. By understanding specific passages within a page Google can then rank that page for more specific queries, thus improving the relevancy of search results and diversifying the results.

                                            We look forward to seeing what the impact is to US search in the coming months.

                                             

                                            Did we miss anything?

                                            If there was anything else that happened in February that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

                                             

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                                              Goodbye To Broad Match Modifiers

                                              Goodbye to Broad match Modifiers

                                              Google’s Retirement of Broad Match Modifiers: Paid Media Team’s Reactions

                                               

                                              On 4 February 2021, Google announced that broad match modifiers, a keyword match type available to advertisers in Google Ads, is to be retired. In this announcement, Google described the move as ‘making it easier to reach the right customers on Search’, explaining that this update would simplify keyword match types as well as provide advertisers ‘more control and better reach’. 

                                              Google began to phase out broad match modifiers, merging their targeting with phrase match keywords, from February 2021. In July 2021, advertisers will no longer be able to implement new broad match modifiers. 

                                              But, is this a welcome departure or a heart-breaking farewell? And what will the impact of this be for advertisers and account performance? Our Paid Media Team gives their thoughts on Google’s announcement. 

                                               

                                               

                                              Jonny – Paid Media Consultant

                                              “This move from Google is not an entirely surprising one, given some of Google’s other recent moves around restricting search term reports, gradually limiting users’ ability to review and control elements of campaigns. For me, I’ll be sad to see broad match modifiers go.

                                              Using BMMs is all about control and for those who have been creating Google Ads campaigns for years and want the ultimate control over their campaigns, this change will definitely come as an annoyance rather than a benefit. The ability, in particular, to manually select individual words within a phrase that have to be included in the user’s search query is useful, particularly when trying to attract a high search volume with broad keywords but maintain an effective, relevant search funnel.

                                              The main benefit for me is that it will be slightly easier to manage campaigns, without another match type to worry about. But my main worry is for smaller, more focused accounts where only phrase and exact match keywords are currently used. I expect to see an increase in traffic (and overall cost) for phrase match, where BMM traffic will now filter through. With this broadening of search terms, I also expect to see an increase in irrelevant and spam search traffic, so keeping an eye on those search term reports will be even more important…oh wait…

                                               … search term reports are getting restricted *sad face*. Well, I say, keep those negative keyword lists updated and keep an eye on your campaign budgets too.”

                                               

                                               

                                              Aisha – Paid Media Assistant 

                                              “One of the beauties of Paid Search is that we’re able to specifically target ads to the right people and help the user find exactly what they’re looking for. However, with the phasing out of the Broad Match Modifier match type, it seems that there will be a proportion of search queries that won’t lead users to relevant ads, which is quite disappointing. On the bright side, I’m glad we still have access to a variation of match types, allowing us to still implement keywords in a strategic way.”

                                               

                                               

                                              Dan – Paid Media Consultant

                                              “As someone who has always been a big fan of broad match modifiers, especially for grant accounts and larger reach paid campaigns, I am very sad to see the match type go the way of accelerated delivery and strict campaign budgets. Many of the recent changes have been helpful for us in Google Ads, but I struggle to see a way this change is going to benefit accounts.”

                                               

                                              Do you agree with Jonny, Dan or Aisha? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please do leave a comment below, or Tweet us @upriseupSEM

                                              For further information on Uprise Up’s Google Ads management services, including ongoing support and targeted campaigns, please do contact us. We’d love to hear from you. 

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                                                SEO News Round Up: January 2021

                                                SEO Round Up January 2021

                                                What happened in the world of SEO in January?

                                                With competition between search engines growing, new ranking factors being introduced and new tools becoming available, 2021 is going to be a busy year for SEO! For regular updates on the world of digital marketing and our campaign you can sign up to our Monthly Newsletter.

                                                 

                                                Coverage Data got an Update on GSC

                                                The Search Console coverage report has always provided valued insight into the errors on a site. However, it isn’t perfect. It would seem Google have taken feedback on the report into consideration, and made some changes.

                                                Of these, my favourite change without a doubt is: ‘Removal of the generic “crawl anomaly” issue type – all crawls errors should now be mapped to an issue with a finer resolution’. I don’t find “crawl anomaly” to be a particularly revealing error, so to know more detail will be on offer from now on is reassuring.

                                                A new ‘warning’ has also been introduced: Indexed without content. From now on, this will identify pages on a site that are empty or where Google was unable to read the content. Again, a useful insight to have.

                                                There are still some issues to be addressed, but the changes are a notable improvement.

                                                 

                                                New Report: Google News Performance

                                                Similar to Discover, data on how your site’s articles perform in Google News can now be found in a bespoke report on the Search Console dashboard.

                                                Google News, for those out of the loop, is separate to Google Search. Accessed via an app or news.google.com, it serves users with a curated feed of news content based on the publishers and topics they are interested in. Therefore, news publishers can rejoice, for they’ll now have access to even more data around the performance of their content and the preferences of their audience.

                                                 

                                                Google introduced Subtopics as a ranking factor in November

                                                If anyone was able to attend Google’s On Search Event last October, one topic that was discussed was Subtopics. In January, Danny Sullivan confirmed via Twitter that Subtopics had gone live as a ranking factor mid-November.

                                                What are Subtopics?

                                                In the words of Google, Subtopics are ‘neural nets to understand subtopics around an interest, which helps deliver a greater diversity of content when you search for something broad’.

                                                This means that for some of the search terms, Google is showing a range of search results that are focused on the topics related to the original query (Subtopics). This won’t affect all searches, but will focus on broader terms where there is more subtopics variety.

                                                What does this mean?

                                                It’ll be interesting to see how this affects SEO in the long-term. From a strategic perspective, SEOs should cater to this update and start shifting focus from individual keywords and more onto a broader topic focus. Some SEOs already do this, others will be starting to.

                                                Google wants to diversify their search results by offering users a wider range of content that differs from each other, aiming to cater to the different needs of users. This likely means broader keywords are going to come much more competitive. Long-tailed variations are going to become more important as intent is scrutinised even further. It also means there’s a growing, pressing need for unique content that will make your site stand out. Understanding your topic, and any subtopics, in detail will be crucial.

                                                 

                                                100 Million Searches a Day for DuckDuckGo

                                                DuckDuckGo has hit a new record in January as it finally reached the milestone of attaining 100 million searches in a single day. The search engine was on track to achieve an average of 90 million searches a day for the whole month. Compared to January 2020, this is a 73% improvement year on year. This shows that DuckDuckGo’s prominence is continuing to grow and they pose a growing threat to Google’s position.

                                                 

                                                They continue to thrive on mobile as well, as they became the second used search engine on mobile in the U.S. As DuckDuckGo boasts of its privacy features, the growth spurt signals an incoming shift to private platforms.

                                                 

                                                Chrome 88 includes Core Web Vitals metrics

                                                The recently launched Chrome 88 is proving valuable to developers and SEOs as it includes elements that enable you to see the Core Web Vitals metrics along with pre-existing ranking signals. A useful amendment for those preparing for the upcoming Page Experience update.

                                                One element they’ve actioned is to provide the Web Vitals, LCP, FID and CLS, with their own reporting lane in the dev tools. This has also been given more space for more detailed reporting.

                                                Additionally, Chrome 88 now supports a CSS property called aspect-ratio. This allows you to define ratios for certain elements, which can contribute to an improved Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) score.

                                                Some useful additions we look forward to utilising.

                                                 

                                                Did we miss anything?

                                                If there was anything else that happened in January that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseupSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

                                                 

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                                                  Paid Media News Round Up: January 2021

                                                  Paid Media Round Up January 2021

                                                  Paid Media News January 2021

                                                  A new year means new news in the world of paid media. We take you through the latest updates at the beginning of 2021!

                                                  Keep reading for news on automated bidding, new Microsoft Ads features, as well as some industry news from across the pond and across the world in Australia.

                                                  If you want to check out our round-up from the end of last year, you can view last month’s summary here.

                                                   

                                                  Data exclusion controls for Smart Bidding on Google Ads

                                                  Smart bidding is becoming an increasingly key component of Google Ads, with a wealth of different strategies now available to marketers. Those using Google Ads will now have more control over automated bidding strategies through new data exclusion controls. Google have specified that you can exclude particular date ranges to prevent interference with conversion rates that help calculate auction-time bids for smart bidding

                                                  This will be particularly important for when conversion tracking breaks on a particular campaign (eg. tagging issues or website outages). While this may not be something that would be worth doing for very short outages or for small campaigns, we do see this being a useful tool for larger campaigns and longer periods of time where there is inaccurate data, to help maintain consistent performance.

                                                  Google Ads Data Exclusion Controls Smart Bidding

                                                   

                                                  New optimisation tools for Microsoft Advertising, including optimisation score

                                                  Since Bing Ads launched the Recommendations tab back in 2018, it was only a matter of time that they would launch an ‘optimization score’ in a similar fashion to Google’s own. The new feature appears as though it will operate in an almost identical way to Google’s, with a percentage score from 0% to 100%, based on the number of recommendations applied to individual campaigns. As with Google’s feature, we’d look to implement some of these recommendations to help improve optimization score (like automated responsive search ads, for example), with other recommendations (like raising budgets) needing more consideration as to whether they’re appropriate to apply or not. 

                                                  Bing are also going to introduce target impression share as a new bidding strategy too. This will be particularly helpful for awareness campaigns and for enabling an easier way to achieve great visibility for brand terms too.

                                                   

                                                  Microsoft Logo

                                                   

                                                  Trump gets banned from social media

                                                  Just a couple of weeks before the end of his presidential term, Donald Trump was suspended ‘indefinitely’ from a host of different social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. The suspension took place as a result of hundreds of Trump supporters storming the US Capitol in an attempt to overthrow November’s presidential election result. Twitter deemed Trump’s Tweets to be a violation of their Glorification of Violence policy, as they believe he was inspiring people to incite violence.

                                                  Donald Trump banned from Twitter

                                                  At this stage, it is unclear how advertisers will be affected by Trump’s ban from social media. It could potentially result in a slight decline in traffic to these platforms, due to his supporters being deterred by the platforms as a form of boycott. Some say that social media companies shouldn’t have the power to remove people from their platforms as it could be viewed as censorship, however research suggests that online misinformation about the US election fell by 73% since the notorious #FakeNews spreader was suspended from the sites.

                                                   

                                                  Google threatens to withdraw search engine from Australia

                                                  In another move from governments around the world looking to impose more regulations on some of the large tech firms, the Australian government has asked Google to share some of its royalties with news publishers. This move is as a result of Australia’s competition regulator ruling that there was a “bargaining power imbalance” between the tech giants like Google and the newspaper industry. The newspapers have seen a rapid decline in revenues over recent years.

                                                  Google’s response to this was threatening to withdraw their search engine from the country altogether, hardly a tentative response! The tech firms are naturally going to be worried about the immediate impacts to its revenues this might have. However, more worrying for Google is the precedent that these types of laws may have, if they get passed. We’ll have to see whether Google’s firm stance on this issue will be enough to persuade Australia’s lawmakers to reverse their decision.

                                                   

                                                  If there was anything else that happened in the last few weeks that you found particularly enticing, feel free to tweet us @upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page.

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                                                    Is procurement preventing you from finding a good agency?

                                                    Is procurement preventing you from finding a good agency?

                                                    Common Issues With Procurement Procedures

                                                    I’m writing this following continued frustration. This year we’ve had an increase in organisations inviting us to pitch. Often we have been perfectly positioned to demonstrate expertise and provide significant value. But, we’ve had to pull out because of their process.

                                                     

                                                    Problem summary

                                                    We are not the only agency finding this. Regularly procurement procedures are stopping organisations from getting the agencies they deserve. Pitch requests are becoming increasingly demanding, opaque and don’t enable agencies to demonstrate expertise. Good agencies will drop out of these processes altogether.

                                                    Procurement Departments are not used to purchasing ‘expertise’. Not in digital marketing. They attempt to simplify and commoditise agencies into a criteria that they are more used to: Value vs. cost; without the expertise to evaluate value.

                                                     

                                                    Common issues with procurement procedures and their inevitable results:

                                                     

                                                    Procurement Rule

                                                    Issue it causes

                                                    Requesting an incredible amount of work, (unpaid), including plan the strategy

                                                     

                                                    Unless the pitch process is remunerated, this will act as a filter to deter agencies that value their (strategic) time.

                                                     

                                                    Email questions, answered to be shared with all

                                                     

                                                    This will prevent thought going into pitches and will prevent agencies from being able to check they are on the right lines before developing a proposal.

                                                     

                                                    You can’t speak to Stakeholders before writing the proposal

                                                     

                                                    Any responses won’t meet all requirements.

                                                     

                                                    You can’t have any conversation, questions on the brief must be written

                                                     

                                                    Any responses will meet few requirements.

                                                     

                                                    Turnaround must be quick

                                                     

                                                    The response from agencies  will be rushed apart from those who are under booked.

                                                     

                                                    There is no budget, we are waiting to see what the cost will be from  the responses

                                                     

                                                    This will filter out agencies focused on quality. Agencies focused on price, or with little confidence of their abilities will compete on getting rate down, not on appropriate quality of work.

                                                     

                                                    We need to know what the results of the campaign will be in proposals

                                                     

                                                    This will filter out agencies that aren’t prepared to exaggerate results.  Proposals that are received will have exaggerated responses.

                                                     

                                                    We can’t give you access to our data for preparation

                                                     

                                                    Expect uninformed proposals.

                                                     

                                                    We are inviting several (over three) agencies to respond to brief

                                                     

                                                    Organisation won’t have enough time to communicate effectively with all agencies. They will appear unsure about what they want. Good agencies won’t feel confident in being able to establish expertise under such conditions, and concerned about the time investment, will pull out.

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    john-on-the-phone-frustrated

                                                    As an example, a recent conversation went like this:

                                                    Client:   “Our marketing department has done some research and would like you to be one of the ten agencies to pitch for our SEO and Google Ads business. You’ll receive a brief on Friday. You’ll need to respond within two weeks and if you make it to the next stage the account team should come to Birmingham to present. You’ll need to have all your questions asked within 3 days of receiving the brief, we’ll publish everyone’s answers together…”

                                                    Me:       “Great, can we have a conversation with the Stakeholders once we’ve received the brief.”

                                                    Client    “If we let you have a conversation with the stakeholders we’d have to let everyone have a conversation with Stakeholders. They don’t have the time for that”

                                                    Me:       “This is a considerable amount of work, over a week’s worth. Unplanned, and unpaid, without being sure of the details that we are working too. Then an extra ½ day per person, for four people to travel to Birmingham and discuss the proposal.

                                                    We really would need an hour of  the stakeholders time before making that investment.

                                                    Client:     “They are very busy, we are inviting ten agencies to pitch.”

                                                    I don’t know how many agencies that organisation had contacted to find ten that they could send the brief to. Any agency with the slightest confidence in itself would have dropped out after that initial call. And this is common. Often pitch requests involve many days of work, to the (very real) cost of thousands of pounds to the agency. A brief alone is never enough. A conversation with stakeholders to understand requirements is essential.

                                                    Agencies need to be able to ask follow-up questions; clarification questions; big open ‘setting the context questions’, small little minutiae detailed question. We shouldn’t spend time writing about content development to later discover a content writer inhouse and an internal video team. We wouldn’t recommend a full SEO audit of the site to find out that it is migrating two weeks later.

                                                    We need to understand complex situations and prescribe complex solutions.

                                                     

                                                    Marketing and Communication needs to demonstrate leadership

                                                    Marketing and Communications decision-making processes should not be decided by departments that don’t know the sector. I think that fear of making a poor decision focuses agency selection on numerical quantifiable which don’t fit the nature of the decisions that need to be made. Marketing and Communications leaders should have the expertise to evaluate agencies themselves and therefore should take ownership of the process.

                                                    Expertise needs a degree of expertise to be understood. A procurement lead process may appear to be working, whittling agencies down to a list of 6; but hidden might be that the four strongest agencies didn’t want to take part.

                                                    A small number of agencies should be approached, no more than three. Otherwise the ones that agree to take part won’t be any good. Effective communication needs to run throughout the process. Any solutions should be arrived at together, so that the proposal details a combined solution. In digital strategy development, a ‘Grand Reveal’ isn’t appropriate.

                                                     

                                                    What do you think?

                                                    I really would appreciate any feedback on this blog, from other agencies, clients, Marketing departments, Communications departments and definitely any Procurement departments.

                                                    Please email us at [email protected]

                                                     

                                                    Have I missed something? Have I failed to see another perspective?

                                                    It feels to me like there is a trend here and that organisations are being impeded in finding good agencies as a result. I think something is broken and it would be good to get clarity on the issue and fix it.

                                                     

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                                                      Defending Your Brand in Keyword Bidding Wars

                                                      Defending your brand in keyword bidding wars

                                                      Paid search brand attacks are becoming increasingly commonplace. They can be harmful if left unchecked, and if a bidding war ensues the only real winners are the search engines.

                                                      When we’ve needed to let clients know that this has happened, the general principles and subsequent advice is always similar, so I thought I’d lay things out here for the benefit of everyone. Firstly, I’ll run through the factors at play. At the bottom of this article we’ll look at what to do if you think your brand is coming under attack.

                                                       

                                                      Why is a competitor bidding on your keyword?

                                                      The aggressor brand is able to circumnavigate (typically) more competitive and expensive, intent-based keywords, and focus on taking traffic and sales away from competitors (the defending brands).

                                                      As the user has reached the point of searching for a particular brand, they would usually be in the ‘purchase’ phase, not the ‘research phase’. The closer advertisers can reach consumers at point of purchase, the more likely that user is to convert.

                                                      For example, the keyword ‘buy a TV online’ might theoretically cost £5 per click. A competitor’s brand, ‘LG TV’ would likely be considerably less, conceivably 50p. Was LG to bid on ‘Sony TV’ and successfully convert the user, they could be reducing a competitor’s revenue, whilst increasing their own, at reduced cost.

                                                      There are other gains to be made from bidding on competitors brand names beyond exposure and high quality traffic. There will be extremely useful data around those brand queries, including volume, and associated keywords. Also, one brand is able to invite comparison against another, and frame it in a way that favours them.

                                                      If this is happening to your organisation, your competitor hasn’t necessarily decided to bid on your brand directly. It could be an aggressive agency – they could be following Google’s keyword suggestions. So the first step isn’t necessarily to go knocking down doors, but open a dialog; and it’s good to know the practicalities first.

                                                       

                                                      What are the legalities?

                                                      It is legal to bid on other organisations’ branded keywords. Sometimes Google, (for example), will trademark certain keywords. But this is infrequent, inconsistently applied, and typically only done for mammoth organisations with significant spend in paid search. It’s legal to do and hard to prevent if you are defending yourself.

                                                      It isn’t legal for the aggressor’s ad text to make it appear that they are the organisation who’s keywords they are bidding on as this could mislead the user (who is often the consumer). This was cited in 2013, when Interflora sued M&S for branded keywords together with ads appearing to lead to an Interflora service. With dynamic keyword Insertion (DKI) ads, (automatically repeating the keyword being bid for in the ad text), it could be easy to make this mistake. So legally, fixed ad text should be used.

                                                       

                                                      Are there any moral implications?

                                                      Arguably. From a user’s perspective, they have been quite specific in looking for a particular brand. Bidding on keywords when you are not the brand they are looking for is clearly outside ‘user intent’.

                                                      This can be more clearly illustrated in the charity sector, with bidding on competitor brands takes increases the price of traffic, takes money away from both advertisers, and as such the cause they are trying to support.

                                                       

                                                      What about ‘keyword focused’ brand names?

                                                      Where an advertiser’s brand name clearly indicates the activities they are involved in, they are not so easily defendable. For example, if a TV retail company called itself ‘buy a TV online’, then they are clearly putting themselves in the firing line of intent-driven keywords. The same could be said for ‘Diabetes UK’ or Cancer Research UK. (The charity sector is particularly at risk here as many charities like to clearly indicate their cause’ in their name).

                                                      In these situations, Google is unlikely to allow these terms to be trademarked and competitors are less likely to avoid these keywords. However, having a keyword focused brand offers organisations a slight advantage in bidding for those search queries, as below:

                                                       

                                                      Are competitors able to bid on another brand’s keyword as effectively as the brand owner themselves?

                                                      No. Organisations that own their brands should be signalling clearer intent to search engines, and so be rewarded with an increased quality score (QS). This will mean that it should cost the defending brand less to rank above their rival, maybe by something like 20%.

                                                      There will still be a significant increase in cost for the defender to compete for their own branded traffic. Maybe several times greater than they would otherwise be paying. So long as the ‘aggressor’ brand is bidding within their means, (with an acceptable amount of revenue being generated from this activity), they could keep increasing the bid, and the cost for their rival organisation to defend their brand.

                                                       

                                                      Does anyone win?

                                                      Google, certainly. It is no surprise that Google and other search engines benefit significantly from the mechanics of paid search that they have engineered. If brand names become competitive, as with other high-demand keywords, Google will pocket the increased cost-per-click on those keywords.

                                                      The issues around this are really highlighted by the charity sector. For example, one of the charities we work with is Crisis. They have a particularly well know Christmas campaign which they use to increase awareness around homelessness. Although the word ‘Crisis’ is common, there is little correlation for the keyword ‘Crisis’ to indicate intent to donate to a homeless charity; apart from where it applies to the brand. However, several other homeless organisations, (or their zealous agencies), do bid on this keyword, especially over the Christmas season.

                                                      Brand bidding wars really hurt the charity sector. Assuming an average donation amount achieved per click to be £10: If a rival is prepared to bid £8 for this click (and still make profit) and the charity is then also forced to match that spend to defend it’s own keywords. This could mean 80% of the intended donation going to Google.

                                                       

                                                      In a brand bidding war does either organisation have an inherent advantage?

                                                      Perhaps. Let’s assume there are two advertisers where all other variables are equal: The same quality of service (or product), the same costs for production, the same cost of sale, the same ability to convert users that land on the site, – and so on. There is a strong commercial case that the smaller organisation with less brand awareness will have the advantage. There is more branded traffic they can take from their competitor, and less cost to themselves for the increase cost in defending their own brand in search engines. I’m over-simplifying here to illustrate the point, but often the smaller challenger-brand has more to gain and less to lose.

                                                      Also, ‘competitor bidding awareness’ is a big contributing factor to whoever has the advantage. The aggressor will have the upper hand here at the beginning. If one advertiser is aggressively moving in on another’s brand search traffic, until the defending brand spots it, the aggressor has probably found itself an opportunity.

                                                      If the defending brand does have effective detection in place, they are able to increase the cost of their click to defend their position, and maybe retaliate, but this is probably at considerable expense, and more money to Google. The defending brand could also decide to bid on the aggressor’s branded keywords in return, again, escalating the cost for this traffic.

                                                       

                                                      What’s the process for stopping it?

                                                      Trademark. Try to get Google to apply that trademark across keywords as well as ad text. This should be done anyway, before any competitor bidding shenanigans take place.

                                                      Monitor. Regularly search for your own brand name and identify any competitors bidding on it.

                                                      Speak to the competitor and agree not to compete on bidding against each other brands. In many situations, this is going to make sense. Initially we recommend starting conversations at the level of whoever oversees the Google Ads account. Often someone like the Marketing Manager or Marketing Director. I recommend friendly communication in the spirit of cooperation, and to get buy-in from the other organisation. If no luck is found at that level, escalating this to a ‘CEO – CEO level chat’ would commonly be the advised next step. The case is simple: Please stop bidding on our brand, because if you continue, we’ll have to out-bid you, and in return, bid on yours. This would then cost us both a lot of money.

                                                      Not actively bidding on another’s brand wouldn’t stop advertisers from appearing when competitor’s brand names are included in the search query. For example, bidding on just the words ‘buy TV online’ might make Sony appear for the search query ‘buy an LG TV online’. Likely if LG are using their own brand in addition to the other words used, they will have the advantage, (greater relevancy = improved quality Score). However, for competitors to agree not to rank (at all) in search queries where the other brand is used, they need to go one step further…

                                                      Negative keyword matching goes one step further.  This is where one Google Ads account specifies that if a particular keyword is included in the user’s search query, they won’t enter the bid.  If organisations could align themselves so that each introduces the rival’s brand as a negative keyword, they would both be rewarded with significant cost reductions on their own branded traffic.

                                                      This has limitations with multiple advertisers, as it only takes one to break ranks, and due to the auction-based system for establishing price, the market rate for that brand would quickly shoot up.

                                                      The process can often work for charities, where economies of scale are such that there is often only a limited handful of organisations (of any considerable size) clustered around a particular cause. Often only two or three. This makes coordination between the groups relatively easy. If a collaborative approach can be taken, it should save all of them considerable funds.

                                                       

                                                      In summary

                                                      Bidding on another brand is common, and in my experience, often organisations don’t even know they are doing it. So, keep communication friendly, but you do want to stop this where possible. Brands are built on the back of good awareness marketing; no-one want to pay for them again with significant search costs!

                                                      If this post is of interest and you would like to discuss in more detail, we’d love to help! Drop us your details in our contact page and someone will be in touch.

                                                       

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                                                        A Very Different Brighton SEO: Highlights and Takeaways.

                                                        Brighton SEO

                                                        Brighton SEO 2020

                                                        Ever wanted to turn up to Brighton SEO in your pyjamas? While it’s unlikely there’s a rule preventing you from doing so, there’s a good chance that 50% of the attendees seized the opportunity at last week’s conference. With all the talks being released in a video format online, I generally thought that the format of the conference worked great. Having the ability to pause and rewind the talks was extremely useful, although I did often find myself falling behind on my schedule.

                                                        As per usual, there was hosting of different talks on different topics presented by some new and familiar faces. We did our best to cover as many of these as possible, and have collated some of our favourite ideas and takeaways from the events below.

                                                        Key Takeaways

                                                        1. If you want to understand the technical performance of your competitors, site search and XML sitemap cross-referencing is a great way to get a quick idea of your competitor’s indexing on Google.
                                                        2. With Digital PR, often the small pieces you outreach alongside big campaigns can provide a lot of support, or even outperform. Whether it’s little pieces made from desktop research or articles using statistics sites, never underestimate the little content wins.
                                                        3. When completing keyword research, user intent is becoming even more crucial. Especially for eCommerce, bear in mind how your user refers to your products – if you refer to them differently users are likely to struggle to find these products, on your site and in search.
                                                        4. Need a boost to your internal linking strategy? Consider pagination. As Google crawls these links it’s a good way to ensure content doesn’t get lost. Though pagination can’t be relied on for full content accessibility.
                                                        5. Using the “Fuzzy Lookup” add-in for Excel can help speed up tasks such redirect mapping and 404 mapping. Fuzzy lookup allows you to combine to datasets and help to locate the most similar value from one set to the other. A useful add-in that I’d previously never heard of!
                                                        6. Introducing Python and machine learning into part of your SEO strategy is becoming increasingly popular and great way to save time. Got a site of thousand of images and no alt-text? Consider using MMF, a Python library that uses machine learning to describe what an image is portraying to be used for alt-text.
                                                        7. Using headless CMS is becoming an increasingly popular way to create and publish content. It has many advantages of a traditional CMS, such as WordPress, and doesn’t contain the usual bloatware that come with them.
                                                        8. Look at your client’s log files. It’s not always easy to get hold a of site’s log files, but doing so can contain valuable information on how Google crawls your site. Analysing these logs can tell you how Google crawls your site and can inform whether you may need to make changes to your site’s structure.
                                                        9. A common marketing mistake is to try and present a brand as the best, which can be difficult for brands to prove and consumers to validate. All brands need to do is prove they aren’t the worst. Brands can be successful sitting in the middle of this spectrum.
                                                        10. Large scale Featured Snippet acquisition could be achievable by an update to the back-end coding design, whilst the front-end design of websites remains untouched. Time to get in touch with your developers!

                                                         

                                                        Were you attending this year’s BrightonSEO? Please comment below what your main takes were. And, as always if you have any questions about SEO do contact us.

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                                                          Life as a Digital Marketing Intern in 2020

                                                          Life as a Digital Marketing Intern in 2020

                                                          Intro from John (MD)

                                                          I remember starting my career, trying to understand this strange new world and pick up on the culture: What were my colleagues like? What behaviours were expected from me? What was the context of my work compared with that of the wider agency?

                                                          It wasn’t easy; but looking back, there were many touchpoints to help me understand this new environment and my position within it. I was sat with a great team who gave me an example, and context. I learned a lot by watching them and listening to them at work. Also, the regular kind words and smiles helped settle me down, something I’ll always be grateful for.

                                                          Fast forward to today and graduates of 2020 are starting their careers during a much harder time.

                                                          In that context, it is even more inspiring to have seen how well our interns, Jasmine and Emily have made this work. They have contributed to our culture immediately, have shown a real aptitude for digital marketing and have demonstrated outstanding focus and professionalism too. Wow, we have been fortunate!

                                                          I look forward to when they can enjoy a live company event; also to when they can experience the usual buzz of the office for the first time, – or when they are able to join us in a champagne moment after winning a new client! Hopefully, all of that won’t be too long – the champagne is already on ice.

                                                          This blog is not just sharing what life is like as a digital Intern. It can be read as an insightful look at the views of two exceptionally talented digital marketeers, new to their careers, but who have overcome the significant hurdles of these times – and thrived.

                                                          Enjoy!

                                                          John

                                                           

                                                          Life as a Digital Marketing Intern in 2020

                                                           

                                                          Zoom Call

                                                          Ever wanted to know what life is like as an intern at an award-winning digital media agency?

                                                          We’ve caught up with our interns, Emily and Jasmine, to hear about their experiences as interns at Uprise Up.

                                                           

                                                          First things first, introduce yourself and give an insight into why you’re interested in digital marketing.

                                                          Emily: I studied Chinese and International Business at the University of Leeds. Digital marketing appealed to me because of its capacity to measure all aspects of the marketing journey and understand how a user found your product/service. Also, I love a good spreadsheet!

                                                          Jasmine: I graduated from the University of Birmingham in June 2020 with a First Class honours degree in History. I was interested in beginning a career in digital marketing throughout university, particularly after completing work experience at a social media marketing agency.

                                                           

                                                          What does your role entail?

                                                          Emily: My role is Paid Media Assistant. I work with a variety of clients, setting up new campaigns, ad groups and optimising current campaigns. Typically, each day is different, but I am consistently reviewing campaigns and tweaking them to improve performance.

                                                          Jasmine: As a digital marketing assistant, I support my team with implementation for paid search campaigns. This primarily involves continually optimising campaigns on Google Ads, through updating ad copy, keywords and monitoring performance. I also provide support for Uprise Up’s own marketing, including scheduling content for our TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn and publishing content on our website.

                                                           

                                                           

                                                          Tell us a bit about the team that you work with.

                                                          Emily: The Paid Media team works to reach audiences at the exact moment when they are looking for your product/ service. The team works closely with clients to clearly define the goal of each campaign and works to achieve that. A lot of the time our goals are oriented around increasing conversion rates.

                                                          Jasmine: I work alongside the Strategy & Client Services team, who have all been extremely supportive with regards to sharing their expertise with me and helping me to learn new skills. We have a daily team catch up, which I value being a part of to keep up to date on work within the team.

                                                           

                                                          What do you enjoy the most about your role?

                                                          Emily: I love having the ability to work on such a wide range of socially responsible clients, all with different digital marketing objectives. Having the scope of clients at an agency, like Uprise Up, allows you to learn a lot quicker about different marketing strategies.

                                                          Jasmine: In terms of account work, I find working with charities really rewarding. Knowing that our work can lead to a charity receiving a donation or volunteer sign up is amazing! I also love supporting with marketing tasks and contributing to Uprise Up’s constant expansion and growth.

                                                           

                                                          What have you found to be the most challenging aspect?

                                                          Emily: The most challenging aspect I found was getting used to navigating around the different interfaces. During the first week, it was all a bit of a shock to the system, but over time it has become a lot easier!

                                                          Jasmine: Learning how to use completely new platforms, such as Google Ads and Google Data Studio, has definitely been challenging. I’m lucky to have such helpful and patient colleagues who are more than willing to help me out!

                                                           

                                                          What has it been like starting a new job from home and having limited time in the office?

                                                          Emily: It has been a challenge, but the team have been incredible at consistent communication and checking in on my work. Going into the office for the odd few days has been great to meet the team face-to-face.

                                                          Jasmine: Starting a role “virtually” isn’t how I imagined my first job after graduation to look like, but I’ve grown to enjoy working from home. I feel as though I’ve still had a chance to get to know the Uprise Up team even though we’re not in the office, as we have weekly catch ups and socials that often involve quizzes (which I’m unfortunately yet to win).

                                                           

                                                          What skills do you think are necessary to succeed as a digital marketing intern?

                                                          Emily: I think there are 3 main skills necessary: having a curiosity and willingness to learn, being able to read and interpret data, being able to adapt quickly and react.

                                                          Jasmine: Communication, a willingness to learn and adapt, and a keen eye for detail are all skills that are essential upon entering the world of digital marketing.

                                                           

                                                          Emily, what do you listen to whilst you’re working?

                                                          Emily: I often listen to my Morning Coffee playlist first thing, whilst enjoying far too many cups of coffee! By the afternoon I tend to prefer silence or listening to the radio.

                                                           

                                                          Jasmine, what’s your ultimate hack for being productive whilst working from home?

                                                          Jasmine: I find being that being surrounded by an abundance of iced coffee and my personalised ‘guilty pleasures’ playlist on Spotify playing in the background is unquestionably the ultimate working environment for high levels of productivity.

                                                           

                                                          If you would like to know more about our award-winning agency, tweet us at @upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page.

                                                           

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                                                            Paid Media News Round Up: August 2020

                                                            Paid Media Round Up August 2020

                                                            Paid Media News August 2020

                                                            August was a quiet month for paid media, livened up by the Google responsive search ad test which creeped in at the end of the month!

                                                            If you want to check out last month’s round-up you can view our summary here. Here are our highlights from the past few weeks.

                                                             

                                                            Google Tests Hiding the Option for Expanded Text Ad Creation

                                                            In a potentially alarming move, some users noticed the ‘text ad’ option had vanished from the Google Ads interface on Friday 28th August. This was confirmed to be a test subsequently.

                                                            This test prompted users to create responsive text ads (RSAs) by default, which is a format where Google decided which text assets to display with each other. Expanded text ads on the other hand display exactly what the advertiser chooses.

                                                            Steps like these to take away control from advertisers who aren’t prepared to shift to RSAs are slightly worrying. Whilst most can agree this is the direction paid ads are going in, this new move from Google would be one made far too quickly. We’ve had good results with RSAs but they are still some way away from being able to outperform text ads on a regular basis.

                                                             

                                                            Bing Introduces Organic Product Listings

                                                            Microsoft has followed Google in implementing an organic form of its product listing ads. The organic listings will appear on the Bing shopping tab alongside sponsored ads.

                                                            These only require you to have a Microsoft Shopping Campaigns account with an active product feed, and can generate you free, high intent traffic from Bing. The volume of traffic from these listings will be less than Google, simply due to the relative sizes of the user base, but the barrier to entry is so low that this should be accessible to anyone with an online store.

                                                            The organic listings are currently only live in the USA, but will shortly be rolled out to other markets, including the UK. When they arrive, we’re looking forward to testing them out and seeing what traffic can be generated for our clients.

                                                             

                                                            Bing Shopping

                                                             

                                                             

                                                            Google Performance Planner Gets An Upgrade

                                                            The Google Performance Planner is a tool in Google Ads that allows you to forecast and plan bidding strategies. Google recently announced three new features to the planner.

                                                            • Sharing functionality – since the Performance Planner is often used to plan budgets throughout the year, the ability to easily share the plan among multiple users is definitely useful.
                                                            • Improved forecasting of longer conversion windows – this is appreciated, but will only be a major improvement if your average conversion window was longer than a week.
                                                            • Inclusion of shared budgets – this is the big one! Shared budgets are an integral part to the way Google Ad Accounts are managed, and their inclusion in the performance planner makes it far more usable in the majority of accounts.

                                                             

                                                            Shared Budgets on Google Performance Planner.

                                                             

                                                            Google extends lead forms to YouTube & Discovery Campaign

                                                            Last year Google introduced Lead Form extensions, and have now said that these extensions are available in YouTube and Discovery Campaign. There will also be a rollout into Display campaigns by the end of the year. These work in a similar way to other platforms, letting users show interest without necessarily visiting the advertiser’s website.

                                                            These extensions have proven a success and work well on mobile, so it’s no surprise to see their functionality expanded.

                                                            YouTube Video on a Mobile

                                                            Microsoft Advertising Editor Update

                                                            This month, Microsoft announced a large update to their Advertising Editor platform, helping them stay competitive with Google’s Ads Editor. The updates included Al-powered recommendations and campaign-level audience targeting.

                                                            Global users will now have a lightbulb icon in their interface recommending new keywords, highlighting fixes, and suggesting bid optimisations. The new feature will ensure advertisers maximises their potential traffic.

                                                            The second new feature enables campaign-level audience targeting within the Editor programme, saving time, and maximising efficiency when working across numerous campaigns. It is worth noting that advertisers however are still unable to simultaneously target associations at the ad group and campaign level.

                                                            Microsoft Advertising Editor Interface

                                                            Did we miss anything?

                                                            If there was anything else that happened in the last few weeks that you found particularly notable, feel free to tweet us @upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page.

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                                                              Google Introduces 2% Fee on all Ads Served in the UK

                                                              Google 2% fee on all ads served in the UK

                                                              Google Introduces 2% Fee on all Ads Served in the UK

                                                              Starting on Tuesday, Google have been emailing Google Ads users about the introduction of extra fees for ads served in the UK (NB: a few other territories are affected too, but we’ll be focusing on the UK).

                                                              The help page clearly states that this is in direct response to the government’s newly introduced Digital Services Tax and will result in an extra 2% charge on top of any ad spend within the UK. This will start to take affect from November 1st 2020.

                                                              This tax was aimed at the largest organisations, so it is disappointing (if not somewhat inevitable) that Google have decided to pass this cost directly onto their customers. Amazon have similarly passed this cost on recently, though that goes beyond just advertising. It will be interesting to see Microsoft’s response, as if they are able to not follow Google’s lead, advertising on Bing will become more attractive.

                                                              So far, there has been no news from any Social Networks about any changes, but it will be something else to keep an eye on over the coming months.

                                                              Advertisers will need to carefully budget for the end of 2020 and beyond. Costs within the Google Ads platform will remain the same, as the fee is added on top. This does create an added complication when calculating budget and so we advice thinking about this sooner rather than later.

                                                               

                                                              If you have any questions about how this new fee will affect you, we’re happy to help. Please do email us at [email protected], send us a tweet @upriseUPSEM or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to have a chat and find out how we can support you.

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