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Ravi Sodha
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Here's a blog post about the First Ever Banner Ad, and how it performed when I set it live again:

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Here's a quick note on why "just focus on the content" isn't always the right answer, and why 'SEO is dead' is a pointless stance to take, and 'forget about search engines, just create for your users' is backward, because your users spend key moments of their days looking for people like you using search engines.

SEO = search engine optimisation = optimisation to increase the likelihood of improving your results in and from search engines.

links, 'social signals', particular technical points, etc, may be attributes within that, but to define SEO by a few tactics that particular agencies sold heavily is vaguely similar to saying "marketing is dead because less people put ads in magazines". It's simply a concept rather than a set of fixed processes.

Along with that, if you follow Google you'll know they've radically increased the amount of technical work 'required' to match their ideas & the way they work. Things like canonicalisation, rel/prev, hreflang, video/news sitemaps, rich snippets and other markup, rel publisher & author, not to mention all of the other 'meta' technical stuff to ensure your content performs well in facebook, or that twitter cards appear, etc.

As a silly example of the cumulative impact of some of that stuff: take a look at a Google search results page today. Let's take 'Kew Gardens' as a result - here's what you see on the page:

1. Their main listing.
2. News results.
3. A 'places' result.
4. A couple of images.
5. A snippet intro about them.
6. A 'directions' button.
7. Opening hours.
8. Their phone number.
9. A list of upcoming events, with links.
10. A review score.
11. A 'people also search for' block.

That's essentially their 'shop window' to anyone searching for them in Google. (and that's just the desktop version - there's mobile too of course).

Let's say you work for a museum & you didn't have all of that - wouldn't you want to ask "what can I do to optimise my appearance in search engines like they have?" or would you simply say "we're already writing lots of articles, we don't have to think about that".

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A Google Proposal: Yes, Googlers do it in style!

Do not watch this video with other people around you. You are going to tear up, you don't want them to see your emotional side. :)

As the description says, the video, is of a proposal. It is at a Google office. It is spectacular.

I'm touched that everyone chips in to make this so special for the couple. I can't imagine the logistics of what it might have taken to pull it off.

I wish my peers all the very best with their engagement, and a very long happy marriage.

#thingsthatmakeyoutearup   #lifelibertyandthepursuitofhappiness  

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Thinking about the eBay thing:

The brand search result is not particularly surprising. All the normal reasons I'd recommend running brand ads don't really apply to their business:
1. They don't have a competitor who is going to steal market share off them by bidding on these keywords
2. The product range is so broad that "controlling the message" is a lot harder. They don't run seasonal sales or anything like that
3. Their SEO for brand terms seems to be pretty strong

The none brand result is very interesting. In short, non brand ads don't really work at increasing the purchase frequency of current eBay users. They work, but not particularly well, at acquiring new users.
I have not looked at this for any of my clients because it is the sort of thing that requires some Google Analytics madness to track (Universal Analytics offers a glimmer of hope...).

But that is kind of besides the point as AdWords doesn't offer any way to target new customers through search. So eBay have to make their decision based on the aggregate numbers because they can't segment the profitable part of the audience and only advertise to them.

Regarding the general awfulness of eBay paid search ads and the question of whether or not they could make money off paid search if only they "did it right":
1. They probably could make it work (some ideas on this below)
2. But I wouldn't use search to try and increase the purchase frequency of existing customers - if this is their focus they could better spend resources elsewhere
3. Search is good for acquiring new customers. But I think that is UK/USA pretty much everyone who might use eBay probably knows about it already. And seeing as they can't segment the people who don't this will be pretty tricky. Is search the best channel for this? What else could they do?

Thoughts on what I'd do if I had their account:
1. Their DKI and broad matching thing is trying to pick up really cheap clicks on remenant inventory. They are already close to paying the minimum CPC for these keywords so improving QS won't reduce their costs here. I'm not really sure how I'd do this better at the kind of scale needed to pay my salary (if anyone has any thoughts on this I'd love to hear them). I suspect the profit per click is so low that spending the time writing customised ads etc. will not be worth it. 
2. I'd focus on categories where people don't know eBay is strong. Until a few years ago I didn't realise that eBay had loads of cars so seeing a paid search ad would have worked for me here.
3. Has anyone ever seen an eBay advert targeted at people looking to sell stuff?

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#humour   #joke  
A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised my friend I would meet him half an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The man below says, “Yes. You are in a hot air balloon, hovering approximately 30 feet above this field. You are between 40 and 42 degrees North latitude, and between 58 and 60 degrees West longitude.”

“You must be an engineer,” says the balloonist.

“I am,” replies the man. “How did you know?”

“Well,” says the balloonist, “everything you have told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost.”

The man below says, “You must be a manager.”

“I am,” replies the balloonist, “but how did you know?”

“Well,” says the man, “you don’t know where you are, or where you are going. You have made a promise which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. The fact is you are in the exact same position you were in before we met, but now it is somehow my fault.”
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