7 AdWords Extensions You Should Utilize to Improve PPC Conversion Rate

Google_AdWords_Guide_PPC-1.jpgEvery AdWords advertiser wants more relevant clicks on their ads. The more relevant the click, the higher the chance that a visitor will convert into a lead and possibly a customer! If you’re looking to improve your PPC conversion rates by increasing your qualified clicks, one way to do this is to attach Ad Extensions on your AdWords campaigns.

 

 

 

What Are AdWords Extensions

 

When doing a Google search, you might see some ads take up more space than others. This is due to AdWords Extensions that give your ads the ability to display more information, therefore “extending” the length of your ad. When I search for “pizza near me”, two ads come up for Pizza Hut & Domino’s that both include extensions. Here’s what these ads look like with and without extensions:

 

adextensions.jpgSee how the ads with extensions provide more information and take up more space?

 

Why Use AdWord Extensions

 

Whether your ads are dominating paid search or need a little boost, ad extensions help in a variety of ways:

 

1) Better Click-Through-Rates

 

AdWords Extensions provide additional ways for searchers to learn more about your business and to interact with your ad. Searchers can make a phone call or go directly to the service page that they’re looking for from your ad/

 

2) Increased Visibility

 

Using Ad Extensions lets your ad take up more PPC real estate, making your ads stand out from the others. Just compare the ads with and without extensions above and you’ll see that the ads with extensions look more robust and informative than those without extensions.

 

3) Give Relevant Information at the Right Time

 

If a searcher wants to see a more specific page or specific information (such as reviews), AdWords Extensions can provide just that!

 

4) Gives a Better User Experience

 

Because you are giving a searcher more information about your business and services, they’ll have a better idea of what to expect when clicking on your ads.

 

5) No Added Charge, But More Valuable Clicks

 

If a searcher calls your business from your ad or clicks to a service page, you’re charged the same amount as if they clicked on your headline. Because the searcher is getting to the page / contact method they want, these clicks are often more valuable.

 

Extensions You Should Be Using

 

Now that you know what AdWords Extensions are and why you should be using them, let’s review 7 essential extensions you should be using:

 

1) Sitelink Extensions

 

Sitelinks allow advertisers to include up to four site links with their ad. Not only does this take up more PPC real estate and stand out from the other ads, but it gives a searcher the opportunity to find the page that is most relevant for them.

 
 

Sometimes these sitelink extensions will give a quick summary of the subpage which is particularly valuable for adding more call-to-actions and descriptions of your products / services.

 

 

sitelinkextensions.jpg

 

2) Call Extensions

 

When a searcher comes across your ad (especially on a mobile device), you want to give them the option to call you. Call extensions incorporate your phone number into your ads so searchers don’t have to go to your website to find your phone number. They just click “call” and you have a conversion!

 

call-extension.png

 

3) Structured Snippets

 

If your business offers different types of products or services, structured snippets are a perfect way to lay these out. You can talk about different styles of products, neighborhoods you serve, types of services, etc. in structured snippets.

 

structuredsnippetsextension.jpg

 

4) Callout Extensions

 

Can’t find everything you want to say into two lines of Ad Copy? Use callout extensions to incorporate up to four messages in your ads. Callout extensions are great to use campaign wide so the same information appears on each ad, regardless of what your ad copy says.

 

If you want to let everyone know that your plumbing business has 40 years of experience, use a callout! If you want to announce your 24/7/365 customer service, use a callout! If you want a searcher to know about your speedy delivery, use a callout:

 

callout-extensions.jpg

 

5) Location Extensions

 

If you own a business with multiple locations, you want to be able to show the right location to the right searcher. Location extensions add your address, phone number and business hours to your ad.

 

With 50% of mobile users visiting stores on the same day they do a Google search (Google), having your location in your ad is critical to showing searchers how close your business is to them!

 

location-extension.jpg

 

6) Review Extensions

 

By using a third party to review your website, you can get feedback on your products & customer service to show up directly in your ad. Because reviews and testimonials are a large part of the decision process, having them on your ad can help a searcher make their decision much more easily.

 

reviews-extensions.jpg

 

7) Offer Extensions

 

One of Google’s newer extensions lets you add offers onto your ad. Not only can you offer more information about your business, but you’re incentivizing a searcher to do business with you. Instead of searching for offers in addition to searching for the right business, they can find everything in one ad!

 

offer-extension.png

 

Next Steps

 

Whether you’re already running an AdWords campaign or looking to improve one, try adding these AdWords Extensions. Be sure to test different wording to see which phrasing gets the most clicks!

 

If you’re thinking about adopting Google AdWords or would like more information on how AdWords can add value to your overall inbound marketing strategy, download this free eBook “Why Google AdWords Should Be Part of Your Inbound Marketing Strategy” today!

 

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Reverse Engineering Google’s Local Search Algorithm

Hey Everyone! Andrew and I are about to go onstage and present the results of our 2016 Local SEO Ranking Factors study at SMX Advanced.

 

This study is the largest quantitive look at Google My Business ranking factors done in Local SEO. We hope it can help provide direction on how to prioritize your Local SEO spend and time investment. I’m told I should provide y’all with some tidbits to get you interested, so here are some questions we tried to answer:

 
 
    • Do links really matter when it comes to Google My Business Rankings?
 
    • Are citations the key competitive difference maker in Local SEO?
 
    • What’s up with Toolbar PageRank?
 
    • And more!!!
 
 

 

I also wanted to thank Mark Kabana and the Places Scout team as well as Megan Smith and the statisticians at University of California Irvine’s Center for Statistical Consulting. Without these great partners none of this would have been possible.

 

For us this is only the begining. We have some really exciting projects lined up around this current data set. The next things in the queue are:

 
 
    • Looking at what factors differentiate pack results from everything else
 
    • What factors matter for local organic search
 
    • A deep dive into how Google treats “Near Me” searches.
 
 

And if that weren’t enough, we are already hard at work planning the 2017 version of the Local SEO Ranking Factors. This next version should have a larger sample size, more data points, and dive deeper into semantic relevance!

 

Also, if you want to read Mark’s take on the project over on Places Scout you can do so here.

 

Click to Unlock Local SEO Secrets…

 

 

 

The post Reverse Engineering Google’s Local Search Algorithm appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

 
 

 

Diving for Pearls: A Guide to Long-Tail Keywords – Next Level

Posted by jocameron

[Estimated read time: 15 minutes]

 

 

Welcome to the fifth installment of our educational Next Level series! Last time, we led you on a journey to perform a heroic site audit. This time around we’re diving into the subject of long tail keywords, equipping you with all the tools you’ll need to uncover buried treasure.

 

One of the biggest obstacles to driving forward your business online is being able to rank well for keywords that people are searching for. Getting your lovely URLs to show up in those precious top positions – and gaining a good portion of the visitors behind the searches – can feel like an impossible dream.

 

Particularly if you’re working on a newish site on a modest budget within a competitive niche.

 

Well, strap yourself in, because today we’re going to live that dream. I’ll take you through the bronze, silver, and gold levels of finding, assessing, and targeting long tail keywords so you can start getting visitors to your site that are primed and ready to convert.

 

So what the bloomin’ heck are long tail keywords?

The ‘long tail of search’ refers to the many weird and wonderful ways the diverse people of the world search for what they’re after in any given niche.

 

People (yes, people! Shiny, happy, everyday, run-of-the-mill, muesli-eating, bogie-picking, credit-card-toting people!) don’t just stop at searching broad and generic ‘head’ keywords, like “web design” or “camera” or “sailor moon.”

They clarify their search with emotional triggers, technical terms they’ve learned from reading forums, and compared features and prices before mustering up the courage to commit and convert on your site.

 

The long tail is packed with searches like “best web designer in Nottingham” or “mirrorless camera 4k video 2016” or “sailor moon cat costume.”

 

 

This lovely chart visualizes the long tail of search by using the tried and tested “Internet loves cats + animated gifs are the coolest = SUCCESS” formula.

 

All along that tail are searches being constantly generated by people seeking answers from the Internet hive mind. There’s no end to what you’ll find if you have a good old rummage about, including: Questions, styles, colors, brands, concerns, peeves, desires, hopes, dreams… and everything in between.

 

Fresh, new, outrageous, often bizarre keywords. If you’ve done any keyword research you’ll know what I mean by bizarre. Things a person wouldn’t admit to their therapist, priest, or doctor they’ll happily pump into Google and hit search. And we’re going to go diving for pearls: keywords with searcher intent, high demand, low competition, and a spot on the SERPs just for you.

 

 

Bronze medal: Build your own keyword

 

It’s really easy to come up with a long tail keyword. You can use your brain, gather some thoughts, take a stab in the dark, and throw a few keyword modifiers around your head keyword.

 

Have you ever played with that magnetic fridge poetry game? It’s a bit like that. You can play online if (like me) you have an aversion to physical things.

 

 

I’m no poet, but I think I deserve a medal for this attempt, and now I really want some “hot seasonal berry water.”

 

Magnetic poetry not doing it for you? Don’t worry – that’s only the beginning.

 

Use your industry knowledge

 

Time to draw on that valuable industry knowledge you’ve been storing up, jot down some ideas, and think about intent and common misconceptions. I’m going to use the example pearls or freshwater pearls in this post as the head term because that’s something I’m interested in.

 

Let’s go!

 

How do I clean freshwater pearls

 

Ok, cool, adding to my list.

 

Search your keyword

 

Now you can get some more ideas by manually entering your keyword into Google and prompting it to give you popular suggestions, like I’ve done below:

 

 

Awesome, I’m adding Freshwater pearls price to my list.

 

Explore the language of social media

 

Get amongst the over-sharers and have a look at what people are chatting about on social media by searching your keyword in Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. These are topics in your niche that people are talking about right now.

 

Twitter and Instagram are proving tricky to explore for my head term because it’s jam-packed with people selling pearl jewelry.

 

Shout out to a cheeky Moz tool, Followerwonk, for helping with this stage. I’m searching Twitter bios to find Twitter accounts with “freshwater pearls.”

 

 

Click these handy little graph icons for a more in-depth profile analysis

 

I can now explore what they’re tweeting, I can follow them and find out who is engaging with them, and I can find their most important tweets. Pretty groovy!

 

 

YouTube is also pulling up some interesting ideas around my keyword. This is simultaneously helping me gather keyword ideas and giving me a good sense about what content is already out there. Don’t worry, we’ll touch on content later on in this post.🙂

 

 

I’m adding understanding types of pearls and Difference between saltwater and freshwater pearls to my list.

 

Ask keyword questions?

 

You’ll probably notice that I’ve added a question mark to a phrase that is not a question, just to mess with you all. Apologies for the confusing internal-reading-voice-upwards-inflection.

 

Questions are my favorite types of keywords. What!? You don’t have a fav keyword type? Well, you do now – trust me.

 

Answer the Public is packed with questions, and it has the added bonus of having this tooth-picking (not bogie-picking, thank goodness!) dude waiting for you to impress him.

 

 

So let’s give him something to munch on and pop freshwater pearls in there, too, then grab some questions for our growing list.

 

To leave no rock unturned (or no mollusk unshucked), let’s pop over to Google Search Console to find keywords that are already sending you traffic (and discover any mismatches between your content and use intent.)

 

Pile these into a list, like I’ve done in this spreadsheet.

 

Now this is starting to look interesting: we’ve got some keyword modifiers, some clear buying signals, and a better idea of what people might be looking for around “freshwater pearls.”

 

 

Should you stop there? I’m flabbergasted – how can you even suggest that?! This is only the beginning.🙂

 

Silver medal: Assess demand and explore topics

 

So far, so rosy. But we’ve been focusing on finding keywords, picking them up, and stashing them in our collection like colored glass at the seaside.

 

To really dig into the endless tail of your niche, you’ll need a keyword tool like our very own Keyword Explorer (KWE for short). This is invaluable to finding topics within your niche that present a real opportunity for your site.

 

If you’re trying out KWE for the first time, you get 2 searches free per day without having to log in, but you get a few more with your Community account and even more with a Moz Pro subscription.

 

Find search volume for your head keyword

 

Let’s put “pearls” into KWE. Now you can see how many times it’s being searched per month in Google:

 

 

Now try “freshwater pearls.” As expected, the search volume goes down, but we’re getting more specific.

 

 

We could keep going like this, but we’re going to burn up all our free searches. Just take it as read that, as you get more specific and enter all the phrases we found earlier, the search volume will decrease even more. There may not be any data at all. That’s why you need to explore the searches around this main keyword.

 

Find even more long tail searches

 

Below the search volume, click on “Keyword Suggestions.”

 

 

Well, hi there, ever-expanding long tail! We’ve gone from a handful of keywords pulled together manually from different sources to 1,000 suggestions right there on your screen. Positioned right next to that we have search volume to give us an idea of demand.

 

The diversity of searches within your niche is just as important as that big number we saw at the beginning, because it shows you how much demand there is for this niche as a whole. We’re also learning more about searcher intent.

 

I’m scanning through those 1,000 suggestions and looking for other terms that pop up again and again. I’m also looking for signals and different ways the words are being used to pick out words to expand my list.

 

I like to toggle between sorting by relevancy and search volume, and then scroll through all the results to cherry-pick those that catch my eye.

 

 

Now reverse the volume filter so that it’s showing lower-volume search terms and scroll down through the end of the tail to explore the lower-volume chatter.

 

 

This is where your industry knowledge comes into play again. Bots, formulas, spreadsheets, and algorithms are all well and good, but don’t discount your own instincts and knowledge.

 

Use the suggestions filters to your advantage and play around with broader or more specific suggestion types. Keyword Explorer pulls together suggestions from AdWords, autosuggest, related searches, Wikipedia titles, topic modeling extractions, and SERPscape.

 

 

Looking through the suggestions, I’ve noticed that the word “cultured” has popped up a few times.

 

 

To see these all bundled together, I want to look at the grouping options in KWE. I like the high lexicon groups so I can see how much discussion is going on within my topics.

 

 

Scroll down and expand that group to get an idea of demand and assess intent.

 

 

I’m also interested in the words around “price” and “value,” so I’m doing the same and saving those to my sheet, along with the search volume. A few attempts at researching the “cleaning” of pearls wasn’t very fruitful, so I’ve adjusted my search to “clean freshwater pearls.”

 

Because I’m a keyword questions fanatic, I’m also going to filter by questions (the bottom option from the drop-down menu):

 

 

OK! How is our list looking? Pretty darn hot, I reckon! We’ve gathered together a list of keywords and dug into the long tail of these sub-niches, and right alongside we’ve got search volume.

 

 

You’ll notice that some of the keywords I discovered in the bronze stage don’t have any data showing up in KWE (indicated by the hyphen in the screenshot above). That’s ok – they’re still topics I can research further. This is exactly why we have assessed demand; no wild goose chase for us!

 
 

Ok, we’re drawing some conclusions, we’re building our list, and we’re making educated decisions. Congrats on your silver-level keyword wizardry!😀

 

 

Gold medal: Find out who you’re competing with

 

We’re not operating in a vacuum. There’s always someone out there trying to elbow their way onto the first page. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because it’s a long tail term with a nice chunk of search volume all those clicks will rain down on you. If the terms you’re looking to target already have big names headlining, this could very well alter your roadmap.

 

To reap the rewards of targeting the long tail, you’ll have to make sure you can outperform your competition.

 

Manually check the SERPs

 

Check out who’s showing up in the search engine results page (SERPs) by running a search for your head term. Make sure you’re signed out of Google and in an incognito tab.

 

We’re focusing on the organic results to find out if there are any weaker URLs you can pick off.

 

I’ll start with “freshwater pearls” for illustrative purposes.

 

 

Whoooaaa, this is a noisy page. I’ve had to scroll a whole 2.5cm on my magic mouse (that’s very nearly a whole inch for the imperialists among us) just to see any organic results.

 

Let’s install the Mozbar to discover some metrics on the fly, like domain authority and back-linking data.

 

 

Now, if seeing those big players in the SERPs doesn’t make it clear, looking at the Mozbar metrics certainly does. This is exclusive real estate. It’s dominated by retailers, although Wikipedia gets a place in the middle of the page.

 

Let’s get into the mind of Google for a second. It – or should I say “they” (I can’t decide if it’s more creepy for Google to be referred to as a singular or plural pronoun. Let’s go with “they”) – anyway, I digress. “They” are guessing that we’re looking to buy pearls, but they’re also offering results on what they are.

 

This sort of information is offered up by big retailers who have created content that targets the intention of searchers. Mikimoto drives us to their blog post all about where freshwater pearls come from.

 

 

As you get deeper into the long tail of your niche, you’ll begin to come across sites you might not be so familiar with. So go and have a peek at their content.

 

With a little bit of snooping you can easily find out:

 
 
    • how relevant the article is
 
    • if it looks appealing, up to date, and sharable
 
    • be really judge-y: why not?
 

Now let’s find some more:

 
 
    • when the article was published
 
    • when their site was created
 
    • how often their blog is updated
 
 
    • how many tweets, likes, etc.
 

You can also pop your topic into Moz Content to see how other articles are performing in your niche. I talk about competitor analysis a bit more in my Bonnie Tyler Site Audit Manifesto, so check it out.

 
 

Document all of your findings our spreadsheet from earlier to keep track of the data. This information will now inform you of your chances of ranking for that term.

 

Manually checking out your competition is something that I would strongly recommend. But we don’t have all the time in the world to check each results page for each keyword we’re interested in.

 

Keyword Explorer leaps to our rescue again

Run your search and click on “SERP Analysis” to see what the first page looks like, along with authority metrics and social activity.

 

 
 

All the metrics for the organic results, like Page Authority, goes into calculating the Difficulty score above (lower is better).

 
 

And all those other factors – the ads and suggestions taking up space on the SERPs – that’s what’s used to calculate Opportunity (higher is better).

 

Potential is all the other metrics tallied up. You definitely want this to be higher.

 

So now we have 3 important numerical values we can use to to gauge our competition. We can use these values to compare keywords.

 

After a few searches in KWE, you’re going to start hankering for a keyword list or two. For this you’ll need a paid subscription, or a Moz Pro 30-day free trial.

 

It’s well worth the sign-up; not only to you get 5,000 keyword reports per month and 30 lists (on the Medium plan), but you also get to check out the super-magical-KWE-mega-list-funky-cool metric page. That’s what I call it, just rolls off the tongue, you know?

 

Ok, fellow list buddies, let’s go and add those terms we’re interested in to our lovely new list.

 

 

Then head up to your lists on the top right and open up the one you just created.

 

 

Now we can see the spread of demand, competition and SERP features for our whole list.

 

 

You can compare Volume, SERPS, Difficulty, Opportunity, and Potential across multiple lists, topics, and niches.

 

How to compare apples with apples

 

Comparing keywords is something we get asked about quite a bit on the Moz Help Team.

 

Should I target this word or that word?

 

 

 

For the long tail keyword, the Volume is a lot lower, Difficulty is also down, the Opportunity is a bit up, and overall the Potential is down because of the drop in search volume.

 

But don’t discount it! By targeting these sorts of terms, you’re focusing more on the intent of the searcher. You’re also making your content relevant for all the other neighboring search terms.

 

Let’s compare difference between freshwater and cultured pearls with how much are freshwater pearls worth.

 

 

 

Search volume is the same, but for the keyword how much are freshwater pearls worth Difficulty is up, but so is the overall Potential because the Opportunity is higher.

 

But just because you’re picking between two long tail keywords doesn’t mean you’ve fully understood the long tail of search.

 

You know all those keywords I grabbed for my list earlier in this post? Well, here they are sorted into topics.

 

 

Look at all the different ways people search for kind of the same thing. This is what drives the long tail of search – searcher diversity. If you tally all the volume up for the cultured topic, we’ve got a bigger group of keywords and overall more search volume. This is where you can use Keyword Explorer and the long tail to make informed decisions.

 

You’re laying out your virtual welcome mat for all the potential traffic these terms send.

 

 

Platinum level: I lied – there’s one more level!

 

For all you lovely overachievers out there who have reached the end of this post, I’m going to reward you with one final tip.

 

You’ve done all the snooping around on your competitors, so you know who you’re up against. You’ve done the research, so you know what keywords to target to begin driving intent-rich traffic.

 

Now you need to create strong, consistent, and outstanding content. For the best explanation on how and why you must do this, you can’t go past Rand’s 10x Whiteboard Friday.

 

Here’s where you really have to tip your hat to long tail keywords, because by targeting the long tail you can start to build enough authority in the industry to beat stronger competition and rank higher for more competitive keywords in your niche.

 

Wrapping up…

 

The various different keyword phrases that make up the long tail in your industry is vast, often easier to rank for, and indicates stronger intent from the searcher. By targeting them you’ll find you can start to rank for relevant phrases sooner than if you just targeted the head. And over time, if you get the right signals, you’ll be able to rank for keywords with tougher competition. Pretty sweet, huh? Give our Keyword Explorer tool a whirl and let me know how you get on🙂

 
 

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After 10 Years, Local SEO Guide Relaunches Website So It Can Get Links

LOCAL SEO GUIDE LOGO

 

 

 

PLEASANTON, CA – On June 20th, 2016, Local SEO Guide, one of the world’s premiere provider of Local SEO Services (a high volume keyword according to Google Keyword Planner), after months of procrastination, several false starts and stops, awkward discussions about putting up or shutting up and endless debates about which font “really expresses who we are”, is proud to announce the launch of its new website to celebrate the company’s tenth year in business. While it is in fact just another marketing company website, and we’re kind of tired of looking at it, we could use a few new backlinks, so we gave it a shot.

 

 

 

The post After 10 Years, Local SEO Guide Relaunches Website So It Can Get Links appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

 
 

 

Using Google Tag Manager to Dynamically Generate Schema/JSON-LD Tags

Posted by serpschris

[Estimated read time: 7 minutes]

 

One of the biggest takeaways from SearchFest in Portland earlier this year was the rapidly rising importance of semantic search and structured data – in particular Schema.org. And while implementing Schema used to require a lot of changes to your site’s markup, the JSON-LD format has created a great alternative to adding microdata to a page with minimal code.

 

mike arnesen searchfest 2016

 

Check out Mike Arnesen’s deck from his SearchFest talk, “Understanding & Facilitating Semantic Search,” for a great overview on using structured data.

 

What was even more exciting was the idea that you could use Google Tag Manager to insert JSON-LD into a page, allowing you to add Schema markup to your site without having to touch the site’s code directly (in other words, no back and forth with the IT department).

 

Trouble is, while it seemed like Tag Manager would let you insert a JSON-LD snippet on the page no problem, it didn’t appear to be possible to use other Tag Manager features to dynamically generate that snippet. Tag Manager lets you create variables by extracting content from the page using either CSS selectors or some basic JavaScript. These variables can then be used dynamically in your tags (check out Mike’s post on semantic analysis for a good example).

 

So if we wanted to grab that page URL and pass it dynamically to the JSON-LD snippet, we might have tried something like this:

 
 

Using tag manager to insert JSON-LD with dynamic variables

 

But that doesn’t work. Bummer.

 

Meaning that if you wanted to use GTM to add the the BlogPosting Schema type to each of your blog posts, you would have to create a different tag and trigger (based on the URL) for each post. Not exactly scalable.

 

But, with a bit of experimentation, I’ve figured out a little bit of JavaScript magic that makes it possible to extract data from the existing content on the page and dynamically create a valid JSON-LD snippet.

 
 

Dynamically generating JSON-LD

The reason why our first example doesn’t work is because Tag Manager replaces each variable with a little piece of JavaScript that calls a function – returning the value of whatever variable is called.

 

We can see this error in the Google Structured Data Testing Tool:

 

JSON-LD Google Tag Manager variable error

 

The error is the result of Tag Manager inserting JavaScript into what should be a JSON tag – this is invalid, and so the tag fails.

 

However, we can use Tag Manager to insert a JavaScript tag, and have that JavaScript tag insert our JSON-LD tag.

 

Google Tag Manager JSON-LD insertion script

 

If you’re not super familiar with JavaScript, this might look pretty complicated, but it actually works the exact same way as many other tags you’re probably already using (like Google Analytics, or Tag Manager itself).

 
 

Here, our Schema data is contained within the JavaScript “data” object, which we can dynamically populate with variables from Tag Manager. The snippet then creates a script tag on the page with the right type (application/ld+json), and populates the tag with our data, which we convert to JSON using the JSON.stringify function.

 

The purpose of this example is simply to demonstrate how the script works (dynamically swapping out the URL for the Organization Schema type wouldn’t actually make much sense). So let’s see how it could be used in the real world.

 

Dynamically generating Schema.org tags for blog posts

Start with a valid Schema template

First, build out a complete JSON/LD Schema snippet for a single post based on the schema.org/BlogPosting specification.

 

example article schema template

 

Identify the necessary dynamic variables

There are a number of variables that will be the same between articles; for example, the publisher information. Likewise, the main image for each article has a specific size generated by WordPress that will always be the same between posts, so we can keep the height and width variables constant.

 

In our case, we’ve identified 7 variables that change between posts that we’ll want to populate dynamically:

 

identify schema properties for dynamic substitution by tag manager

 

Create the variables within Google Tag Manager

 
    • Main Entity ID: The page URL.
 
    • Headline: We’ll keep this simple and use the page title.
 
    • Date Published and Modified: Our blog is on WordPress, so we already have meta tags for “article:published_time” and “article:modified_time”. The modified_time isn’t always included (unless the post is modified after publishing), but the Schema specification recommends including it, so we should set dateModified to the published date if it there isn’t already a modified date. In some circumstances, we may need to re-format the date – fortunately, in this case, it’s already in the ISO 860 format, so we’re good.
 
    • Author Name: In some cases we’re going to need to extract content from the page. Our blog lists the author and published date in the byline. We’ll need to extract the name, but leave out the time stamp, trailing pipe, and spaces.tag manager extract author name from pagetag manager extract author name from page markup
 
 
    • Article Image: Our blog has Yoast installed, which has specified image tags for Twitter and Open Graph. Note: I’m using the meta twitter:image instead of the og:image tag value due to a small bug that existed with the open graph image on our blog when I wrote this.
 
    • Article Description: We’ll use the meta description.
 

Here is our insertion script, again, that we’ll use in our tag, this time with the properties swapped out for the variables we’ll need to create:

 

google tag manager json-ld insertion script with dynamic variables

 

I’m leaving out dateModified right now – we’ll cover than in a minute.

 

Extracting meta values

Fortunately, Tag Manager makes extracting values from DOM elements really easy – especially because, as is the case with meta properties, the exact value we need will be in one of the element’s attributes. To extract the page title, we can get the value of thetag. We don’t need to specify an attribute name for this one:<p><img src=”http://d2v4zi8pl64nxt.cloudfront.net/using-google-tag-manager-to-dynamically-generate-schema-org-json-ld-tags/576794184cca31.23853501.png&#8221; width=”738″ alt=”configuring a google tag manager tag to extract the title value”>

<p>For meta properties, we can extract the value from the content attribute:

<p><img src=”http://d2v4zi8pl64nxt.cloudfront.net/using-google-tag-manager-to-dynamically-generate-schema-org-json-ld-tags/5767941901fcb8.76439638.png&#8221; width=”738″ alt=”configuring a google tag manager tag to extract the title value”>

<p>Tag Manager also has some useful built-in variables that we can leverage – in this case, the Page URL:

<p><img src=”http://d2v4zi8pl64nxt.cloudfront.net/using-google-tag-manager-to-dynamically-generate-schema-org-json-ld-tags/57679419854306.38513113.png&#8221; width=”618″ alt=”Tag Manager Page URL built in variable”>

<h3>Processing page elements</h3><p>For extracting the author name, the markup of our site makes it so that just a straight selector won’t work, meaning we’ll need to use some custom JavaScript to grab just the text we want (the text of the span element, not the time element), and strip off the last 3 characters (” | “) to get just the author’s name.

<p>In case there’s a problem with this selector, I’ve also put in a fallback (just our company name), to make sure that if our selector fails a value is returned.

<p><img src=”http://d2v4zi8pl64nxt.cloudfront.net/using-google-tag-manager-to-dynamically-generate-schema-org-json-ld-tags/5767941a0600f1.80330070.png&#8221; width=”738″ alt=”custom JavaScript google tag manager variable to extract and process copy”>

<h2>Testing</h2><p>Tag Manager has a great feature that allows you to stage and test tags before you deploy them.

<p><img src=”http://d2v4zi8pl64nxt.cloudfront.net/using-google-tag-manager-to-dynamically-generate-schema-org-json-ld-tags/5767941b683f03.05409682.png&#8221; width=”400″ alt=”google tag manager debug mode”>

<p>Once we have our variables in place, we can enter the Preview mode and head to one of our blog posts:

<p><img src=”http://d2v4zi8pl64nxt.cloudfront.net/using-google-tag-manager-to-dynamically-generate-schema-org-json-ld-tags/5767941bd03e11.38700283.png&#8221; width=”738″ alt=”testing tag manager schema variables”>

<p>Here we can check the values of all of our variables to make sure that the correct values are coming through.

<p>Finally, we set up our tag, and configure it to fire where we want. In this case, we’re just going to fire these tags on blog posts:

<p><img src=”http://d2v4zi8pl64nxt.cloudfront.net/using-google-tag-manager-to-dynamically-generate-schema-org-json-ld-tags/5767941c50bfd3.27970223.png&#8221; alt=”tag manager trigger configuration”>

<p>And here’s the final version of our tag.

<p>For our dateModified parameter, we added a few lines of code that check whether our modified variable is set, and if it’s not, sets the “dateModified” JSON-LD variable to the published date. You can find the <a href=”https://gist.github.com/chrisgoddard/bbc998efc270929d0a67305d0941c6eb&#8221; target=”_blank”>raw code here</a>.

<p><img src=”http://d2v4zi8pl64nxt.cloudfront.net/using-google-tag-manager-to-dynamically-generate-schema-org-json-ld-tags/5767941cc21524.15034477.png&#8221; width=”738″ alt=”dynamic schema json-ld tag”>

<p>Now we can save the tag, deploy the current version, and then use the <a href=”https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool&#8221; target=”_blank”>Google Structured Data Testing Tool</a> to validate our work:

<p><img src=”http://d2v4zi8pl64nxt.cloudfront.net/using-google-tag-manager-to-dynamically-generate-schema-org-json-ld-tags/5767941d8ff161.37948276.png&#8221; width=”738″ alt=”google structured data testing tool validates dynamically generated JSON-LD”>

<p>Success!!

<hr><p>This is just a first version of this code, which is serving to test the idea that we can use Google Tag Manager to dynamically insert JSON-LD/Schema.org tags. However after just a few days we checked in with Google Search Console and it confirmed the BlogPosting Schema was successfully found on all of our blog posts with no errors, so I think this is a viable method for implementing structured data.

<p><img src=”http://d2v4zi8pl64nxt.cloudfront.net/using-google-tag-manager-to-dynamically-generate-schema-org-json-ld-tags/5767941e2bb207.78142880.png&#8221; width=”738″ alt=”valid structured data found in Google Search Console”>

<p>Structured data is becoming an increasingly important part of an SEO’s job, and with techniques like this we can dramatically improve our ability to implement structured data efficiently, and with minimal technical overhead.

<p>I’m interested in hearing the community’s experience with using Tag Manager with JSON-LD, and I’d love to hear if people have success using this method!

<p>Happy tagging!

<p><a href=”https://moz.com/moztop10″>Sign up for The Moz Top 10</a>, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!</p>

Trying to Find a Job? 8 Little Ways to Make Your Job Search a Whole Lot Easier

Job_Search_Hacks.jpg

 

The average job search is a peculiar paradox. There may be 2,278 available positions for your chosen field, but as you scroll through pages and pages of listings, you’re lucky if two stand out.

 

Perhaps you’re a recent college graduate searching for the needle in the haystack of three- to five-year experience jobs. Just as frustrating, you could be a senior employee wondering if any position out there matches your unique mix of skills. Either way, it doesn’t take long before you start to feel like the Goldilocks of job searching.

 

So how do you know if you’re being too picky? In my own job searching, I’ve tried two opposite methods:

 
 
    1. Blanketing hundreds of postings with the same resume.
 
    1. Strategically focusing on a dream list of companies.
 
 

But for the sake of full transparency, the former option was fueled by the motivation to get off of my parents’ couch as quickly as possible.

 

If you’ve read any amount of job search advice on the internet, you probably know which of these two methods yielded the best results. However, there are plenty of other factors beyond your resume-sending habits that go into finding the perfect position and ensuring you get the call back. Below, I’ve gathered some of the top tips to score a job without all the added stress that comes along with the search.

 

Trying to Find a Job? 8 Little Ways to Simplify Your Search 

 

1) Customize your web presence.

 

It should go without saying, but if you aren’t customizing your resume, cover letter, and portfolio for the specific job you’re applying to, you probably won’t get the interviews you’re hoping for.

 

While a full resume checklist warrants a blog post of its own, one tip I will highlight is taking the time to match the wording of your resume and cover letter to the position you’re applying to. In the world of marketing, jargon abounds. Whether it’s content management or landing page optimization, talk about your skills in a way that a first-round recruiter — or even a computer — will understand.

 

Let’s take a look at the listing for a blogging position on our content team as an example (and did I mention, we’re hiring?):

 

content_marketing_writer-blogger.png

 

Having found this promising job listing, here’s how you might begin customizing your application:

 
 
    • Create word cloud. As a first check, use a word cloud generator to extract the terms that are used most in the job description. For example, here’s what terms stand out in the blogger listing:
 
 

blogger_word_cloud.png

 
 
    • Scan the job description for technical terms you can repeat in your own writing. This doesn’t mean mentioning “high-impact experiments” if you’ve never actually tested content distribution or format. But it would be wise to replace “designs hero images” on your resume with “creates multimedia assets” to make the connection clear for a recruiter.
 
    • Identify themes between the resonsibilities and qualifications. If the job description repeats a desired quality, you can assume it’s a pet rock of the team. For example, the posting stresses the importance of experimentation. Therefore, you should replace or refine the anecdotes of your cover letter to highlight this quality.
 
    • Take notice of culture clues. Sentiments of collaboration and teamwork appear multiple times in this job posting. As you aim to show you have this quality, refer to the company’s culture code to inform your language choice.
 
 

Beyond tweaking your resume and cover letter for the specific company and role, make sure all instances of your name on the internet — including your LinkedIn profile, Twitter, Instagram, published clips, and portfolio — tell a cohesive story. Remember, every aspect of your online presence should scream, “I’m perfect for this job!” before you pick up the phone for your first screening call.

 

2) Don’t limit yourself to formal applications.

 

“It’s not what you know, but who you know.” No matter how many times I hear this quote, it still makes my blood boil. In the back of my mind, I hear my post-grad self wine: “But I don’t know anyone. How am I supposed to get a job then?”

 

Even if that saying is true, I would now push back on my former self with a little tough love: If you don’t know the right people, make the connections.

 

No matter what what stage of your career you’re in, it won’t hurt to reach out to friends, alumni, and former colleagues. Even if you don’t know the right person, they might. And that referral can make all the difference. While employee referrals make up only 7% of applications, Jobvite estimates they account for 40% of all hires.

 

Opt for targeted, personalized emails as opposed to a single spammy message to your entire address book. For an example, take a look at this inquiry email I might send to a former co-worker for potential leads:

 

job_inquiry_email.png

 

You’ll notice that besides attaching my resume, I’ve shorted my recent experience to a few quick bullet points in the body of the message to make it as easy as possible to scan. I’ve also included ideal job titles and companies, while of course, thanking them graciously for their support.

 

As frightening as it may be, emailing second connections or companies of interest without job listings is not out of the question … as long as you do it in the right way. There’s a big difference between a cold email and a genuine, personalized message. Many of my best leads came out of direct messages to content directors, admiring a specific aspect of their work and asking for their creative expertise over a cup of coffee. For those who know me be best, they’ll confirm it’s completely out of my introverted, Midwestern-nice comfort zone to ever do this. But in the end, your momentary discomfort could pay off tremendously.

 

3) Reflect on your why.

 

Most interview questions never change. Why are you interested in this position? What are your top strengths and weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in five years?

 

Yet, no matter how many interviews you’ve had, it’s still easy to stumble through these questions. According to Charles Duhigg, building mental models and telling yourself stories of potential situations can help control how you think. What could be more helpful in an interview than being able to control your racing mind?

 

Too often, we wait until the night before an interview (or even the 30 minutes before) to reflect on why we want that particular position and how we’ll answer the questions we know are coming.

 

Instead, move this process to the top of your job search to-do list. Don’t settle with just knowing you want a position as a content marketer or project manager. Consider the “why” and write it out. From my experience, the more I wrote out my reflections to common interview questions, the more confident I felt in each of my interviews.

 

4) Be specific in your search.

 

At this point, you’ve compiled a list of dream companies and scoured their individual careers pages. Likely, you’ll still want to spend some time on job boards to complete your search.

 

If you’re anything like me, clicking through pages upon pages of job links is not your ideal pastime. In the best interest of your sanity, prioritize your searching on niche job sites. If a company has taken the time (and often, money) to post a position on a niche site as opposed to simply Indeed.com, they are serious about finding the perfect fit. From my experience, companies that prioritize the interview experience also value things like career development, people operations, company culture, and management training later on.

 

Not sure where to start? Sales Gravy is great for sales jobs, while JournalismJobs.com and Mediabistro are perfect for writers. Be sure to check out Inbound.org for marketing positions.

 

To stay on top of new listings, most job boards allow you to set up instant alerts that’ll immediately email you when a position is posted with specific keywords in your chosen area. Twitter is another option for monitoring job listings in real time. Get yourself in the habit of searching for specific keywords like “marketing job Boston” or “content director.” As you find specific companies or job sites tweeting about positions regularly, you can add them to a public or private Twitter List to make monitoring easier.

 

job_search_boston.png

 

Of course, don’t forget to clean up your profile with a nice headshot, creative bio, and link to your porfolio — that way, when you find the perfect job listing tweet you’re ready to start the conversation.

 

5) Think about timing.

 

With a stroke of luck, perhaps you do find the perfect job in your endless scrolling through job listings. So, do you stop everything and submit the application as quickly as possible? Besides, you don’t want someone else to snatch the position before you do …

 

Not so fast. When you find the listing for your dream job, here’s might advice: don’t apply for it. At least not until you think about your timing.

 

According to a study by Bright.com, applicants that apply on a Monday are most likely to advance in the hiring process. In fact, nearly one in three job seekers who applied on a Monday moved forward successfully in the hiring process.

 

Sound like a myth? Considering a separate study by SmartRecruiters found that most applications are submitted on a Tuesday, there could be some truth to the early bird gets the worm philosophy for job searching. The data shows that 18.5% of candidates apply on Tuesday, with 21.5% of hiring decisions also being made on a Tuesday. Therefore, use the weekend to get your cover letter and resume in line. Then, be ready to submit your application before the emails flood the recruiter’s inbox on Tuesday afternoon.

 

6) Stay organized.

 

While it’s nearly impossible to know the average number of applications an individual job seeker fills out before they get an offer, we do know that, on average, 118 people apply for any given job.

 

There’s a lot of factors that affect how long your search will last: your experience level, your network, the time of year, the demand for your skill set in your geographic area. No matter what, you’ll probably fill out more applications than you can remember. Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial that you stay organized.

 

Keep an organized spreadsheet with more information than you think you’ll need. There are some obvious inclusions, such as the title of the position, the location, the type of company, etc. But don’t forget to include the date you applied, who you included as your references, and the name and email of the hiring manager. That way, when your former boss reaches out to you because of a reference, you’ll know exactly how many times you gave out their contact information.

 

Good news here: We have a job application tracking template ready for you to use as a part of our Interview Kit for Job Seekers. As you proceed through the job search process, use this Google Sheet to keep track of where you are in the interview process with each company and manage all of those new names like a pro (Believe me: I’ve messed up someone’s name in a job interview. It’s not fun).

 

 

7) Go the extra mile.

 

What if I told you that your resume doesn’t matter? You’d probably question me to some degree. Of course, your resume serves the very important purpose of telling a hiring manager where you’ve been and what you’ve done. However, when it comes to making a impression, there is something much more important than a list of bullet points: proof.

 

Show, don’t tell. It’s nothing new. In his recent Medium article, writer Raghav Haran spoke of the importance of this through the concept of a “pre-interview project.” And not nearly as many people are taking advantage of this opportunity as they should.

 

The idea is to show your potential employer that you can do the job before you get the job, and often before you even talk to a hiring manager. For a salesperson, that might be reaching out to prospects and introducing them to the team. For a marketer, you could replace the traditional cover letter with a sample campaign, complete with an ebook, social images, and promotional blog post.

 

The trick is, do the project before they ask. Especially for creative jobs, it’s normal for hiring managers to ask final-round applicants to write a blog post or draft a creative brief. But to really stand out, show that you are proactive about solving problems.

 

8) Don’t obsess.

 

There is a behavioral pattern I seem to follow whenever I’m applying for jobs. 90% of the time, I’m my usual conscientious, rational self. I thoughtfully sort through job listings, take breaks, consider my cover letters word-by-word.

 

The other 10% of the time, I’m a chaotic mess. Suddenly it hits me how much I need a job and how much I need one right now. In a frenzy of panic, I binge apply. In a single night, I’ll power through 30+ typo-ridden applications until I’m too tired to function.

 

From someone who’s fallen prey to this lie more times than I’d like to admit, don’t panic. If you’re truly being thoughtful about which positions you are applying for, there’s a limit to how many you can apply to in a single day, or even a week.

 

Instead, take your time and form a strategy for each company on your dream list. The irony of obsessing over the job application process is you’ll bring yourself to burnout before you even start training for your new position. Don’t treat applying for jobs like it’s your full-time time job — it’s emotionally exhausting in a way I hope your actual job never is.

 

No matter who you are, self-promotion is draining and rejection is inevitable. The truth of the matter is, applications can’t fill a forty hour week. Keep your expectations reasonable and give yourself adequate breaks to rest, spend time with people, and stretch your creativity. Your future employer will thank you for it.

 

Unsure if now’s the time to start the job search? Take our career development quiz to learn how to accomplish your professional goals.

 

take our five-year career plan quiz