7 White Hat SEM Tactics to Become Google’s BFF

Breaking into a bank vault and making out like a literal bandit can be easier than pushing to the top of a SERP. But D. B. Cooper did it, so why can’t you? As you whittle away at those rankings, be sure to befriend Google and its mysterious algorithms by taking a stab at these white hat SEM tactics. Before you know it, you’ll be finishing each other’s…sandwiches.

Organic Search Decline

Source: Merkle

7. Diversify Your Branded Marketing Strategy

Of no surprise to anyone whose work has been to whack through Google’s weeds over the years, organic traffic is way down (see above). Where has that traffic gone, you ask? Google has kidnapped it, locked it in a dark-search basement, and there’s no ransom note for its safe return. You’re now having to replace that traffic with Google’s own properties: Reviews, Ads, Knowledge Panels, Answer Boxes, Maps—and the list goes on each time a new Google feature is released.

Yes, it’s true that Google has all your information. Yes, it’s true that over 34% of searches now result in NO CLICK AT ALL. Yes, it’s true that Google controls about 93% of the market. But you do have options to build a branded SERP.

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6 PPC Ad Copywriting Tips Every AdWords Manager Should Read

As marketers, we know to add call-to-actions, value propositions, and keywords to our paid search ad copy. Data strongly suggests these techniques work, but there are even more ad writing tactics that may be flying under your radar.

If you’re an AdWords manager whose PPC-stardom is reliant on garnering quality leads for your clients, be sure to take a look at these essential ad copywriting tips before you build another campaign. (Words are powerful, friends.)

1. Answer Readers’ Questions (Mirror User Objectives)

User Ad Objectives

Photo: wordstream.com


Ads on the SERP aren’t meant to be entertaining (yet?)—they’re meant to provide users with insight and a tangible reason to click. So, ask yourself three main questions when considering how to earn that ad click:

  1. What would I search for if I wanted to [find a local porcupine hairdresser]? (example)
  2. How can I make my ad stand out against other ads for [porcupine haircuts]? (again, just an example)
  3. Will my target audience be likely to visit my [porcupine barber shop] website if I write copy this way? (once again, we in no way offer rodent hair styling services)

Certain phrases may be more enticing in your niche—you’ll find some common advertising language that sparks interest further down this post—so keep that in mind when choosing words. The goal is to attract high-value readers, not those people who have time to kill and a smartphone at their disposal.

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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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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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5 New Paid Search Updates from Google AdWords & Bing

Opportunity Max is here to give you the down-low on the latest updates in the paid search world over the past few weeks. Be sure to check back, as we will inform you of any impacts caused by these recent updates.


1. Bing Advertisers – Now Able to Automatically Sync Google AdWords Campaigns

Bing continues to improve their platform by finding ways to help simplify managing pai.d search campaigns. If you are managing a Google AdWords account plus a Bing account, it can be difficult to ensure that you’re making adjustments to both accounts – let alone terribly time-consuming.

Now advertisers no longer have to remember to update ad copy, budgets, extensions, sitelinks, keywords, etc. on both accounts. You are now able to schedule automatic imports straight from your AdWords account. Keep in mind that you can import all or only specific campaigns depending on your paid search strategy for Bing.

Save some valuable time by following these few steps:

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Organic Decline Part 2: Increased Effort for Google SERP Monetization

One of the most influential pieces in the battle of paid versus organic is the increased effort for search engine results page (SERP) monetization by Google and other competing search engines. This monetization is led by enhanced perception of ad nativity, increased ad space on SERP, new paid search placements across Google products, and the decline in viewable organic results.

Digital advertising disclosures have been an issue with Google and numerous other online ad markets for a long time. In 2002, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a response to a complaint that numerous web companies offer advertisements “without clear and conspicuous disclosure that the ads are ads,” and that this “concealment may mislead search engine users to believe that search results are based on relevancy alone, not marketing ploys.”

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Organic Decline Part 1: Organic Search Traffic is in Decline

Each quarter, Merkle LLC, the largest privately held performance marketing agency, releases the Digital Marketing Report, which is a review of some of the major trends in digital advertising. Reviewing data from Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and other digital advertising mediums, the report helps marketers gauge where the industry has been and potentially where it is going.

The past year or more has been an interesting time for organic search traffic across the web. While overall traffic to websites has continued to increase, the share of traffic from organic search sources continues to decrease.

organic search traffic decline

Source: Q3 2016 Digital Marketing Report. Merkle Inc., 2016.

The Q3 2016 report shares the stark reality of organic search visits being down 5% year-over-year. This represents a fourth straight quarter of organic search visit declines, which began as the first decline in the history of the report back in the Q4 2015 edition. The only device type to show a year-over-year increase in that four-quarter decline was mobile, which will be reviewed in a forthcoming section of this six part organic decline research blog series.

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Targeting in Google AdWords has Never Been More Effective

Jumping into the various types of targeting in Google AdWords can be a daunting task, which is why we put together a list to highlight some examples of the most common types of targeting and why to use each. You can also download the full infographic.



Let’s start with the Google Search Network:

The Google Search Network is a gathering of related sites where your advertisements can show up. When you use on the Google Search Network, your ads can appear along with organic search results when somebody looks with terms identified with one of your types of targeting.


Choose words or phrases relevant to your product or service so your ads appear when customers search for those terms on Google or search-partner sites.

By showing ads to users that searched with keywords relating to your dealership, vehicle brands, and models, you’ll know the placement of the text ad is aligned with the goal of the searcher.

Language and Location

Choose the language and geographic locations—such as a country, region or city— where your customers are located.

Customizing ad text and landing pages for the device and language can lead to higher conversion rates.

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Google AdWords Customer Match Targeting

Email List Targeting for Google AdWords

Searching for a product or service on Google is about to get a bit more creepy – err, relevant. With an announcement earlier this year, Google is now letting advertisers upload lists of customer email addresses to use as a targeting method for Google AdWords. The lists can be used as a target or a target and bid option across the search network, YouTube, and Gmail ads; and eventually GDN audiences with similar characteristics.


The customer match capability comes to the cheers of digital marketers but is not at all groundbreaking. Facebook’s ‘Custom Audiences’ alongside Twitter’s ‘Tailored Audiences’ have beat Google to the punch. Nonetheless, the addition of Google now creates a proverbial three-headed marketing spear to find and advertise to the most relevant consumers.

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To Infinity & Beyond! Google Introduces New Price and Message Ad Extensions

Google wants people to click your ad, they really do. That’s why they’re constantly making changes and additions to ads, because they’re doing their best to get searchers to engage. The latest updates include the addition of two new Ad Extensions: Price Extensions and Message Extensions. Let’s get acclimated with the new members of the growing Ad Extension family and see how they can help you (and Google) get people to click your ads.


Price Extensions – For Free!

There’s no point beating around the bush – people want to know what something costs, and you’d do better to give them that information up front than to send them on a wild-goose chase. You know that, and Google knows that, and now they’re here to help with Price Extensions. Like other extensions, Price Extensions are additional nuggets of information that accompany your ad, showcasing your products and services, along with associated prices. And like most extensions, there’s no added cost – you simply pay the same as the CPC for your ad.


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