I’m a right-brained type. I love all things creative; writing, designing, photography, and teaching are my jams. I’m thankful that I get to flex my creative muscles in my position here at Emotive Pull.
But when you’re a business owner, you can’t just live in that left-brained world. It’s necessary to embrace all those left-brained things like budgets and business plans, SEO and analytics.
I sheepishly admit that when someone speaks to me about SEO, my eyes glaze over and tendrils of smoke begin wafting out of my ears. My brain goes on overload.
Last week, though, I had the pleasure of listening to someone who not only has an incredible command of the subject and who is up to date on all the new things coming in the world of Google analytics, but he explained it in a way that I understood. Wowza! I’d like to share what he taught me so that you, too, can feel like a left-brained Google Wizard.
Doug Campbell, Director of Digital Services at Colling Media, is a wealth of information about SEO and all the latest changes that Google is making in its search system. This is important to you as a business owner because these changes directly affect how your business is found online.
Here is a glimpse into the future of Google search systems and how Emotive Pull is able to help companies take advantage of these new changes.
Emotive Pull (EP): Give us a little background on the new SEO algorithm so that we can understand it better.
Doug: Let’s talk about ad creation. Say you choose three key words to create static, pre-defined ad copy. From that copy, you have the ability to provide 3-5 different ads. The Google algorithms have always thought they had a good way of determining which ones were working and which ones were not. Those algorithms have existed for over a decade and a half now, where you could Google five ad copies and it’ll start pouring dollars where it thinks will be most effective.
About 10-12 years ago they started to do more with keyword insertion.
If I had a list of keywords related to used cars: used car, pre-owned vehicle, lease buy-back. These are different variables. I’m going to write ad copy that can support any of these three words and I’m going to put brackets in place of them in the ad copy. Now my ad copy will be:
Are you looking for [ ]? We have the best [ ] in town! Shop our selection of [ ] now!
If you searched “used cars near me,” it would trigger:
Are you looking for a used car? We have the best used cars in town! Shop our selection of used cars now!
That would tell the user I am specifically what you’re looking for and increase click through rates and drive them to the best page. The downside there is that your landing page is still static and the user has to choose which one they’re interested in.
Now, with an AI approach, they’re trying to get more clever about doing this automatically. On their own, they’re trying to figure out where they see you using a key word and how they can fit it in.
The problem has always been “If one of my things is ‘used car’ and one of my things is ‘pre-owned car,’ do I put ‘a’ or ‘an’ in my ad copy?” You have to learn to write copy that functions with a definite article rather than an indefinite article so that the grammar always sounds natural. It’s quite an art. They’re trying to do more of that with an automated approach.
EP: Meaning we can pull from the personalized way of speaking that connects.
Doug: At the same time, they’re also allowing you to now say, because they’re breaking it down into headline with text underneath, here’s my five headlines:
This one says: Do you want the best used car? Do you want the best prices in town? Do you want a used Carolla? These are your different headlines.
Then you have the ad text below that has five different variants. It can then pick and choose which combination it thinks will work best.
This is the alternative to running five fully realized ads. They prefer five headlines and five ad texts and they will mix and match based on what they feel will work the best.
EP: Emotive Pull provides a report of different buying motives making it easy to create multiple ad texts without copying other ads like some marketing agencies do. Someone will copy you, but we have the ability to go back to the report with original content and pick something that hasn't been used yet.
Doug: They’re also working on algorithms and AI approaches to do dynamic keyword insertion so that I don’t have to define the [ ] brackets that you can put your key word in. Rather, it can modify on the fly.
EP: Emotive Pull helps organic searches because it provides long tailed keywords that come from customer psychology and will reveal opportunities for searches that aren’t mainstream. The AI modifying on the fly is what makes Emotive Pull patterns so valuable for the organic side.
Doug: When SEO organically first started, when you wrote your web page, on the back end code (the only place you as the user would see it on the tab at the top of your browser, when you hover over it, text would pop up that would say “Colling Media, Scottsdale Advertising Agency.”
Now, that’s on the back end of the site and is your title tag. When you did a search that Colling Media showed up for, the big, bold, blue link text at the top of the organic listing would be literally that title tag. Then there was a separate tag that would the description, the text in black you see underneath it.
People cheated that system. They’d put in a “toothbrush” title on a “shoelace” page. Google started saying on their own that they would use your heading tag on your page that clearly indicates shoelaces in spite of the fact that your title tag clearly indicates toothbrushes.
They started taking more control over what they would use. Sometimes they use your description tag as the text and sometimes they don’t. They are suggesting that they’re going to be taking more and more liberties with that. If people do a search that involves “near me,” they might just say “Colling Media - our address” in spite of the fact that our title tag doesn’t include an address and we would never put that in a title tag because that’s not descriptive of the page.
Google will start taking more liberties. There are some suggestions that Google will be taking liberties with the actual copy. In the past, the headline on the organic listing was either my title tag or one of the heading tags on the page that they’d supplanted. The content was either my description tag or a snippet of text they found on the page. The suggestion is
that if they’re going to take more liberties with what they put in there, that they might not just
“Frankenstein” it, they may not just grab another piece of information and shoehorn it in, they may actually take liberties in terms of phrasing and which key words and how to change it out.
You’ll notice that when you do look at organic listings in Google, if I type in “used car” and my title and description happen to use “used car,” they’re going to be bolded. The key words are bolded throughout so you can see quickly what resonates and what doesn’t, what matches and what doesn’t.
For a while they started to bold synonyms like “pre-owned vehicle,” even though you searched “used car” in order to show that this is still a match. The suggestion is that they’re going to use AI to dynamically swap it out. Where they would have bolded a synonym match they’re going to swap it out and on their own put in “used car.”
So far, we have no indication that they’re going to do this on the ad side. I believe that they’re going to begin doing this on the organic side soon because they have no one putting dollars behind it, so there’s no one they’re accountable to in terms of what works and what doesn’t. They test all kinds of things all the time without your knowledge or consent because they’re providing their service based on publicly available information.
In the ad space, when we’re putting dollars behind it and saying “Google, do this…” they’re less likely to take liberties, but they may have a BETA you can opt into. They’ll go to people like Toyota and other big spenders - they love the auto space as a place to test because the conversion value is so high. They can run a test and if it doesn’t work, Google will pay it back. They’ll end up running it and at Google Marketing Live next summer, they’ll say “We did it organically and then we ran this great test with Toyota and look at this lift we saw, the reduction in touch points we saw before conversion, the increase in this or that.” They’ll announce it’s rolling out in the next six months and in nine months we’ll ask and they’ll tell us they shelved it. They test new things, get us all excited, and they never materialize. It happens all the time.
I just had a new feature turn up that they never told us was going to come. It’s exciting and a great new feature, don’t get me wrong, but they never told us they were doing it. It just randomly showed up. I’m like, well I don’t need it for this account, but can I get it for that one??
Then two other features they told us were coming, so we mentioned them to clients, and then Google will say it’s not coming out anytime soon. It is a moving dart board, for sure.
EP: One of the most exciting changes we’ve heard that is already being implemented is something called BERT. It stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It’s a neural based natural language processing technology. The purpose of BERT is to help computers understand language on a more human level.
This directly impacts searches by taking into account the context and nuance of language. It recognizes the important links between words that give meaning, resulting in much more accurate search results.
And more accurate search results mean that your business will be more easily found by the people searching for you.
In an article from searchengineland.com, an example for the query “Parking on a hill with no curb”was described this way:
In the past, a query like this would confuse Google’s systems. Google said, “We placed too much importance on the word “curb” and ignored the word “no”, not understanding how critical that word was to appropriately responce to this query. So we’d return results for parking on a hill with a curb.”
It’s been reported that 10% of all queries have been impacted by this change.
We at Emotive Pull are excited about this move, even in the tech world of search engines and SEO, to move toward a more human approach to making marketing more effective for businesses. It's what we know actually works in marketing.
We’re grateful to Doug Campbell and Colling Media for helping all of us understand these important concepts. They are experts at maximizing results using the latest data in an ever changing landscape. To learn more about Colling Media, visit their website at https://collingmedia.com/
To read more about BERT, read the entire article from searchengineland.com here:
And even more information from Google here: