Native Ads, Good or Bad?
If you’ve browsed the web at all in the past 5 years, you’ve likely come in contact thousands upon thousands of native ads. I’ll spare you the explanation of what native ads are — also known as recommended/sponsored content ads — and get right to the part everyone wants to know. What does the data tell us about native ads, and are they good or bad for your website?
It’s kind of a loaded question. Good and bad are a little subjective in this instance because it really depends on what we’re measuring. For the sake of this article, I’ll be spending my time digging into the data and learnings we have from publishers and websites that have run different experiments with native ads within the context of how they’ve affected user experience and monetization.
I’ll highlight what publishers should think about when considering native ads, how we’ve seen them used successfully, and the known risks associated with displaying them on your site to visitors.
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User Experience Metrics That Are Correlated With SEO
Organic search has a evolved a lot over the past decade. One of the most sophisticated ways search engines have changed is in the way they evaluate pages and content. User experience metrics have become more and more important as technical HTML structure (tags and the alike) have become less and less important.
This is something most content creators have familiarized themselves; however, many actually still struggle with measuring and understanding how user experience affects their overall organic search traffic.
Below, I’ll show you some of the fundamental user experience metrics that are most closely correlated with improved search rankings. I’ll also highlight the errors that digital publishers and website owners make when trying to improve user experiences and measure their organic search marketing progress.
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300×250 Ads Allowed Above The Fold On Mobile By Google
Google recently announced a major shift in their ad policy. Google has modified their stance on 300×250 ads allowed above the fold on mobile devices. Previously, websites with these ad sizes above the fold would be in violation of Google policy; which could net you one of those handy violation e-mails.
Now, Google has shifted their stance on these ads and is allowing all publishers to display 300×250 sized ads above the fold on mobile devices. Above the fold just means, in the viewport upon page load. Having 300c250 ads was previously viewed by Google as bad for user experience — and possibly a mechanism for accidental clicks.
Below, we’ll highlight what this news means for publishers and what can be done to take advantage of the changes.
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How User Engagement Impacts Ad Revenue (Data Science)
What’s a good user experience and what’s a bad one? We could probably all agree that a good user experience is one in which user engagement is high. The visitor is reading the content, visiting multiple pages, and possibly sharing on his social media. What’s a bad one? The exact I opposite, right?
Defining these things in general terms is easy. Coming to terms with metrics that everyone agrees on is actually more complex than it might seem. Fortunately, there are some clear signals in the data that point us towards what types of things extend user sessions and generate more revenue.
Below, I’ll take you through a short run down of how data science can help us better define user engagement, and why it has such a dramatic and unprecedented effect on digital ad revenue. You’ll see what metrics matter most and how they are often impacted.
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Short Form vs Long Form Content Monetization
The debate about short form vs long form content has been raging for years and years. The fact remains that both have relevant roles in the world of digital publishing. A broad brush approach of comparing the two isn’t as productive as discussing how each should be properly monetized and leveraged by digital publishers.
Below, I’ll show you how to use both short form and long form content as tools in an overall basic publishing strategy and highlight how to best monetize both forms of content on a digital property to earn more digital revenue. I’ll show you the actual data behind these strategies and teach you why each offers potential higher earnings.
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Image SEO Tips For Website Owners & Digital Publishers
One of the biggest SEO opportunities — on a page by page basis — that I see digital publishers and website owners miss out on is their page images. Image SEO isn’t just about having images show up in image searches, it’s about having those images contribute to overall page rank by making pages faster and offering more information about how those images relate to a certain subject a searcher may be looking for.
Below, I’ll show you how to compress and optimize images so that your individual pages can rank higher in organic search results. These image SEO tips are easy, free to do, and neglected — to some degree — on 99% of digital properties; including some of the biggest sites on the internet!!!
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Formula For Balancing User Experience & Digital Ad Revenue for Publishers
This is an extremely hot topic right now. How do you balance digital ad revenue and user experience if you’re a digital publisher or website owner? At a recent event, some of the largest publishers on the planet recently circled this issue as their core challenge right now. So, what is the formula for balancing these two key site elements?
As you might easily guess, the audiences on CNN.com and FoxNews.com are different. They’re behavior’s are different, despite the fact that they are both visiting mainstream news properties. However, not every member of the audiences is the same. An experience may work for 75% of the audience but could be terrible for the other 25%.
This is where publishers and website owners have always struggled. How do you strike the right balance between user experience and digital ad revenue without leaving someone out, and where do you even start?
Below, I’ll share some data and learnings from sites that have done this successfully, and share some information about how to do this yourself.
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Digiday Publishing Summit News & Notes
The Digiday Publishing Summit kicked off on March 29th at 2pm (MST). The event was 3 days long and featured some of the digital publishing industries biggest brands and most well-known thought leaders. We provided live updates on Twitter, and have a rundown of each day’s biggest and most important news and information below.
We highlighted the buzz that seems to be coming out of the conference and what some of the industries most influencers had to say about some of the current climate’s hottest topics.
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How To Do An SEO Audit On Your Website
There are few things more frustrating to me than all the e-mails I get on a regular basis from agencies and freelancers pitching me SEO audits. Some offer me a free SEO audit — hoping I will agree and then buy services from them after they try to highlight things that may or not actually impact my site or my bottom line. Others want me to pay them to do a deep SEO audit of what can be improved on my website so that it will rank better in organic search.
I ignore all of these requests and most of you should too!
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I’ll spare you the caveats and details around how you should really think about SEO and organic traffic and just tell you this, website owners and digital publishers should be doing their own SEO audit.
Below, I’ll show you how to align an audit to your goals, how to perform a detailed SEO audit of your own site, and how to create and produce reports that will help you identify and take action on things that truly will help you generate more quality traffic to your website.
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Google AMP Conference News & Updates
On March 7-8, 2017, Google helped to host the very first AMP Conference. AMP, of course, stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages — the open source mobile technology project endorsed (and largely created by) Google.
The Google AMP Conference was designed to be an event for developers to come together to learn and share information about the AMP project, it’s progress, and the roadmap for the future.
Google made several major announcements at the conference and there was some really interesting information shared by several third parties. Below, I’ll update you on the AMP road map, major news from the conference, and what this means for sites that hope to leverage AMP successfully in the future.
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