Opportunity Max Blog

From content marketing and social media management, to website optimization and paid search trends, the Opportunity Max blog keeps you connected to the latest happenings in the digital marketing world. Get in the know, now.

Google Search Partners: Good or Bad for Your PPC Campaigns?

Our Opportunity Max family has spent years in front of the computer screen, analyzing and optimizing hundreds and thousands of AdWords campaigns and ad groups, all to help our clients succeed in the digital marketplace. Over those years, we’ve closely followed the debate over Google’s Search Partners.

  • Are they good or bad?
  • What are the benefits?
  • Should they be optimized separately in their own campaigns or groups?

Now the verdict is in, and we’d like to shed some light on this discussion with the only data we trust—hard data.

PPC Search Partners - Good or Bad

What Are “Search Partners”?

Search Partners are primarily composed of companies that opt into Google’s program; in exchange for ad space, the companies receive a small percentage of click revenue—it’s almost like Affiliate Marketing, but on a larger scale.

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The Creative Writer’s Way of Making a Content Calendar

If you’re anything like me as a writer—may God have mercy on your soul—people-watching is your fingers-to-keyboard gold. You excel at drawing out the interesting from the mundane, crafting fictional characters from nonfiction, eavesdropping your way into tales spun from invisible storytelling thread. It’s the creative thinker in you, and it has its place in the world of blogging and marketing as much as it does in your daydreams. Because content, no matter its form or presentation, is all about standing in someone else’s shoes, seeing the world with another person’s peepers, or any other idiomatic turn of phrase to reflect “empathy.”

Content Calendar

And isn’t that our goal as content kingpins: To understand our characters as well as our readers? In this post, we’re going to swim around in my Mind Palace, where my creative and professional sides mingle and give birth to what I like to call “Fictional/Nonfictional User Stories.” I just made that up, but whatever we call it, it’s going to help you develop a content calendar around reader personas that may actually exist. Yay.

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Are Google Page Images Ranking Factors?

Here’s a quick one for all of you in SEOville. According to CognitiveSEO’s months-old post, Google has started utilizing its “automatic object recognition” algorithm to analyze images—perhaps all in an effort to ascertain the image’s category and how it relates to the content it’s complementing. But will this new process affect overall site rankings?

Not so fast. Let’s first see how this all works.

Dog with Hat Image

Photo: research.googleblog.com

Image Object Detection Methods

In Google’s infancy, keyword-rich ALT tags were like SEO arrows that pointed to what the page was about—and it could certainly affect your rank. While we’ve evolved past that point, ALT text has continued to be a tried-and-true method of organizing and optimizing a page. With Google’s new method of object detection, ALT text will definitely play a smaller part in a much larger production.

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Do Google Reviews Help Your Click-Through Rate?

TL;DR answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes, according to recent data from BrightLocal’s Consumer Review Survey. In it, 91% of those surveyed stated that they read online reviews before calling or visiting a local business. Perhaps more telling is the fact that 56% of those surveyed base their click on a company’s star rating, meaning several 1-star reviews might be the difference between a click and a shoo.

Google Reviews CTR
Photo: brightlocal.com


Let’s dive into the deep(er) end of this pool of thought.

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Most Important Search Ranking Factors for 2017 (Part II)

In part I of this blog series we discussed the key search ranking factors to get your site in a local map pack. Today, we’re branching off into a similar territory by discussing which signals might be influencing your organic positioning in standard local-area search queries.

Ranking Factors 2017

  1. Inbound Linking – 29%

Moz’s Surveyed experts identified that links coming to your site have undeniable power in SERP positioning. Totaling over a quarter of the vote, signals like keyword-branded anchor text, domain authority, and a variety of inbound links all make a difference.

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Most Important Search Ranking Factors for 2017 (Part I)

You can always attribute success to having a good bit of luck, but properly prioritizing is what truly allows you to extend past the average and into the 1%. In the wonderful world of SEO, where muddied waters are like seasonal allergies, those priorities aren’t always clear, and they’re certainly never the same each year. That’s why an expert consensus on what is and isn’t important—along with data, yes—is so helpful.

Ranking Factors 2017

Let’s take a look at Moz’s recent 2017 list of ranking factors to see where we’re at, where we’re going, and what you can do to help your business or clients succeed. (Remember: these are expert opinions, not Google-sanctioned rules.)

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Google AdWords Transitions to “Close Variant Exact Match” Keywords

We all know to choose keywords based on the probable intent of our targeted searcher. For years, AdWords marketers and PPC kings have labored over hundreds and thousands of keyword phrases, all for the sake of their or their clients’ businesses. We’ve run through the gauntlet, passed the “broad match” rounds, ventured into “broad match modifier” territory, and circled all the way back to the drawing board countless times. We’ve added tedious prepositions and conjunctions to our long-tail keywords, hoping to draw even a few extra visitors. We’ve typed more open and closed brackets than probably anyone in the history of the internet.

Google AdWords Changes

Is that time over? Has Google’s AdWords team become our salvation? With Google’s newly announced changes, exact match keywords will become somewhatexact match, instead—and it just might save us time and effort.

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How to Improve Your Dealership Homepage & Drive More Leads

Your dealership’s website makes a difference, even though a growing number of consumers utilize Google’s information (schema) over your site’s. But there are ways to help put your homepage in the driver’s seat and on track to generate more traffic and leads.

Increase Homepage Traffic

First things first: If your homepage isn’t up to snuff, your visitors will quickly disengage. A good homepage should absolutely display the following details prominently:

  • An intuitive navigation bar that focuses on the juiciest major keywords. This must also be mobile-friendly.
  • A phone number that matches with what is listed in Google and other search engines and directories.
  • An address (also must match) with clickable directions.
  • Your dealership’s hours should be visible, as this is one of the most viewed details in Google.
  • A search bar.
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Organic Decline Part 3: Organic Search Results Have Visually Fallen

The increased amount of ad space and additional paid search functionality features have done more than expand options for advertisers; they have physically moved the organic search results further down the page.


google-serp-changes-2016 The change in Google search engine results from January 2013 to May 2016. The red square highlights the organic listings that are visible on the first page. The yellow line represents the standard page cut off point for the average desktop browser size. The May 2016 result is the current format which shows over half of the consumers above the fold screen estate controlled by paid search advertisements.

In 2016, when a searcher types in a high volume query, i.e. “car dealer near me,” they have the potential to only see paid search results on more than 50% of their desktop screen, and 100% of their mobile screen.

The organic push further down the SERP has caused consumers to react to the information that is presented to them first, which has shifted more and more toward paid placements. The data for this trend has come into focus in the 2016 Q1 Merkle Digital Marketing Report, which shows a first-ever win for paid search over organic search in the share of mobile site visits. (“Q1 2016 Digital Marketing Report”, p. 21)

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How To Create An Effective Content Strategy

It’s all in your head. No, not that little voice saying “I really want to have some ice cream and binge-watch my favorite shows on Netflix.” Rather, we’re talking about your online content strategy. You do have one, right?

Creative Content Strategy

According to Demian Farnworth of copyblogger.com, many small business marketers have a content strategy that is most likely not written down. Instead, it’s just a jumble of vague notions and ideas that resides in a business owner’s head, but not on paper.

Farnworth cites a 2015 study by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs which found that only 39% of small business owners have a written content marketing strategy. Even more surprising, the study reveals that about 12% of those polled have no content strategy whatsoever. To which we say, “Yikes!”

The study also reveals that those companies that do have a well-defined content strategy are more than twice as likely to be successful than those who only have an ill-defined verbal content strategy.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to ROI and profitability, doesn’t it? An ineffective, or even nonexistent, content strategy could be seriously torpedoing your sales and marketing objectives. As Farnworth sagely points out, “Your content strategy helps you see clearly, avoid excuses, and remove distractions. It’s there to keep you accountable.”

Well said.

Now that we’ve established the importance of drafting and sticking to a clear content strategy for your business, the question is: How do you go about doing it? According to Farnworth, here are some important questions you need to ask as you begin crafting your successful content strategy.

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