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Yandex Introduces Cityguide Apps For Russian Market

Yandex stock has suffered since the Putin crackdown and the crisis in Ukraine. But there are signs that things may be easing as the Ukraine crisis potentially heads for a peaceful resolution.

The Russian market doesn’t have the same glut of local search competitors seen in the West. Thus the company is filling a void. It’s possible that Yandex City could be competitive in selected Western European markets, as well.

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Why “Linksville” Is a Ghost Town: Link Building Is Moving In House

Why “Linksville” Is a Ghost Town: Link Building Is Moving In HouseJun 18, 2014 at 9:15am ET by Eric Ward


Several years ago, I wrote a column here titled Why Link Building Must Go In-House. The main thesis of that column can be summed up with this quote:

There are almost as many link building tactics as there are companies selling them. Google lists over a million. On more than one occasion, I have pretended to be in need of link building services just to engage in an email dialogue with a firm selling linking services, just to see what they did (or didn’t) know.

It’s truly scary. Companies selling useless services that don’t know those services are useless. Or maybe they do. When you can’t trust that the company you are hiring knows what they are doing, in many cases you end up with a worse inbound link profile than you would have if you’d done no link building at all.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Link Building For Boring Industries Or Products

This approach to search engine optimisation is more akin to a typical PR campaign than a traditional SEO campaign — and the former, in my opinion, is the way that most digital agencies should be positioning themselves.

Yes, I’m gonna say it: content marketing is the way forward.

Now that I’ve got that buzzword out of my system, we can move on.

Creating truly engaging, fun, linkable content may not seem that daunting when you’re an exciting B2C company that has a quirky product behind it. Just look at the likes of Red Bull and their Stratos project or Oreo’s Daily Twist campaign. These were genius ideas that have already become iconic content marketing examples.

But it’s not always easy when you don’t have the kind of brand value or creative positioning that those companies have.

Around 90% of the companies that I work with operate within what you would typically classify as “boring” industries — I’m talking businesses that manufacture special valves to go within specific types of machinery.

There’s not the same kind of scope to do some of the more exciting product-related marketing activities, and these businesses are often incredibly brand-conscious. Plus, proposing to drop a bloke from space doesn’t always fill my clients with confidence in our work, let alone our sanity!

There is a solution, though — and it’s something that we’ve been executing to great effect for a number of our clients.

Positioning Your Clients As Thought Leaders

One of the approaches from which we’ve seen fantastic results involves positioning our clients as thought leaders within their fields. This works really well within B2B industries, especially when their product/service is very niche.

The idea behind the thought leadership is to develop some key members of staff within the organisation as experts within their field and have them featured across a number of top-tier publications (both online and offline), then use the reputation that we’ve built to bring in leads. This could be through search, social, offline or a number of other channels, but it all stems around the content we create.

Here’s a typical approach:

Identify key members within the organisation that we can run some thought leadership pieces around.Develop the message and story that we’re looking to position around the individual that falls in line with the values of the brand.Optimise their online presence to reflect the image that we’re trying to convey. This includes scripting their LinkedIn profiles, Twitter bios, etc. and ensuring that all of their online and offline presence falls in line with the message we’re conveying. In some cases there has been a personal blog set up for the individual to further amplify their image.Identify the top-tier publications that we’re going to target in order to get some coverage for the individual and wider brand.Develop a content roadmap that covers the major topics that we’re going to focus on and collate this against major industry topics, events and wider company news/campaigns.Work on a reputation catalyst to give us some credibility when pitching to the top-tier publications. What I mean by this is that we look to get a profile piece on a respected industry publication so that we can use this as a catalyst for further placements in the future.Identify industry influencers, journalists and major content producers so that we can work on building relationships with them.Get to work!

As I mentioned, content is at the heart of all this. This is where we will develop in-depth white papers surrounding the latest topics within the industry and work on some more visually appealing content that will appeal to some of the publications we’re targeting.

Does Google’s “Search Ads Lift Brand Awareness” Study Mean What It Says?

This was a meta-study in which several studies were conducted by Google and Ipsos MediaCT across a set of verticals including CPG and automotive. A total of 800 US consumers were asked to search for a category specific keyword. The results showed that the test brands across the verticals saw a lift in awareness:

When respondents were asked what brand first came to mind when thinking about a specific category keyword, an average of 14.8% in the Test group named the test brand, while just 8.2% of the Control group named the same brand. That’s a 6.6 percentage point increase or an average 80% lift in top-of-mind awareness.

Only The Top Ad Spot Was Tested

Here’s the thing about the study, it only tested the brand impact for the brand when its ad appeared in the top spot. It didn’t test the branding impact of other ad positions.

The Test SERP featured the test brand in the top search ad position, with all other ads on the page moved down by one position. The Control did not feature an ad from the test brand at all. The organic results of the SERP were not manipulated in any way.

So, while the overview boasts that “the results were clearly positive: search ads increased top-of-mind awareness and unaided brand awareness.” The results didn’t actually show that search ads lift brand awareness. They showed the top search ad increases brand metrics.

Is anyone surprised that brand recall for an ad consistently shown in the top spot on the SERP in the test group was higher than in the control group that saw no ad for the brand at all? Probably not. Is an 80 percent lift in top-of-mind awareness good news for brands? It would seem so, and most search marketers wouldn’t argue about the branding benefits of paid search advertising.

The Top Ad Position Is Not A Proxy For All Ad Spots

However, to extrapolate this finding and paint it with a broad brush to say “Search Ads Drive Brand Awareness” seems a stretch and potentially misleading. Is there research that shows right rail ads lift brand awareness? How much do positions 2 and 3 lift brand metrics? This study didn’t measure that.

Toward the end of the original post on the Think With Google blog, brand advertisers are encouraged to think about search for more than just driving conversions, buy category keywords and “Use the top ad slot and image search formats to help your brand stand out from other results.”

I’m not arguing with the results or even the recommendations necessarily. I find fault with the fact that the title and write-ups aren’t more explicit about what the results actually show. A strategy to be in the top ad position on a number of broad category terms is different, both tactically and budget-wise, than a campaign driven by the concept that “search ads lift brand awareness” might be. This study shows the results are likely to be different, too.

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