6 Pro Tips to Improve Your Web Design

6 Pro Tips to Improve Your Web Design

6 Pro Tips To Improve Your Web Design

July 15, 2020
Laptop and Monitor with web design

When it comes to website design, netizens are not very forgiving to poorly designed websites.

They take one look on a website and make 94% of their first impressions based on design alone.

What’s more, they are also using this time to decide whether they think the website is credible at all or not.

According to statistics, 74% of a website’s credibility is attributed to its design aka appearance.

You may think that’s unfair. But let’s consider these two websites:

Image: TOG

Image: Arngren

Looking at these two examples, I think it’s safe to assume which one you’ll trust with your time and money more than the other.

The same way a brand logo builds a business’ personality and character, a website ensures the survival and success of the said business.

So what are the top pro tips that can help you fix up your website design and turn it into a money-making machine? Let’s find out.


Website Navigation


A rule of thumb in the website navigation world is that it should only take 3 clicks for a visitor to land on any page of your website from any other part of the site.

It encourages site exploration, increases time spent on a page, and improves user experience, resulting in higher conversions.

How to improve your site’s navigation:

  • Use descriptive labels. Instead of ‘Product’ and ‘Services’, use the names of specific products or services you offer. For example: ‘Body Lotions’, ‘Hair Care’, and ‘Spa Bookings’. Specific product labels not only help visitors, but they also help search engines rank your pages better as they focus on a single topic.
  • Rearrange menu items. Menu items that are clicked the most should be on the top or the bottom of the list. Average performing items should come in the middle. Human cognition is biased towards items that we see the earliest (Primacy effect) or the most recent (Recency effect).
  • Make navigation responsive. Your navigation bar should not change its architecture or design when viewed on mobile. Keep it consistent and add responsiveness to the design.

Check out this article for more on website navigation best practices.


Mobile-friendly & Responsive Web Pages


While we are on the topic of responsiveness of websites, consider this statistic: 52.2% of all website traffic is generated from mobile phones.

Search engines also don’t care deeply about web pages that aren’t mobile-friendly.

A few ways to increase your site’s mobile-friendliness and make sure every page is responsive:

  • Mobile-first approach. Google has a mobile-first indexing policy which means your site’s mobile version will be indexed for rankings before the desktop version. Therefore, use a mobile-first approach when designing.
  • Optimize images. High-quality images are necessary to make a site look presentable and ‘worthy’ to visitors. Optimizing images will ensure that they load faster on mobile phones and keep their quality intact.
  • Buttons on the site. The buttons on your website must be easily clickable on smaller screens. Increasing the size of the clickable area is a great way to achieve that.


Internal Linking


Internal linking is part of the bigger link building strategy that ensures a strong SEO base for your website.

With different parts of your website directing visitors to other areas of the page or the site, and each of them containing important information for the audience, it increases your web page rankings.

To improve your site’s internal linking, here are a few tips:

  • Use specific key phrases. The anchor text on the page you want to link must be specific. Instead of ‘click here’, use targeted phrases such as ‘check out our link building guide’.
  • Link high-traffic pages to high-converting pages. Analyze your traffic and conversions and try organic ways to link pages that bring high traffic with pages that convert well. This way, most of your traffic will be routed to pages that increase conversions.
  • Limit the number of links. Keep the number of internal links to a 100, max. Fewer internal links mean more authority for each internally linked page.


Call-to-Action Buttons


CTA buttons make decision-making easy for visitors.

The clearer and more direct a website’s CTA game is, the easier the experience.

Customers also feel encouraged using a website that lays out its goals, what it wants from you, and how it can help you solve your problems.

Some tips that will help you use CTA buttons more effectively:

  • Use a Verb. Tell people what action you recommend they take on a certain page. Use verbs. ‘Get a quote’, ‘Download eBook, ‘Submit a request’, ‘Call to book an appointment’ and such are clear, specific calls to actions.
  • Remain concise. Use no more than three words. Keep it simple, to-the-point, and action-oriented.
  • Smart colours. Use complementary colours for your CTAs so people can easily distinguish them from the rest of the text on the page.

Image: Pixpa


Contact Forms


Contact forms perform as lead generation tools for websites by giving visitors multiple ways they can connect with the business.

A contact form for each of the different services, or on specific help topics, etc.

can help a business collect valuable customer data and will also know which customer is interested in which service or product.

There are a few ways you can use contact forms to your best advantage:

  • Optimize field labels. The field labels on your contact forms should be optimized for the specific CTA or service you’re designing that form for. For a booking form, for example, ask about ‘Type of Booking’, ‘Preferred Dates’, ‘Number of visitors’, etc.
  • Thank-You Page. A thank-you page after a contact form is submitted encourages the continuity of the conversation between the visitor and the business. Try investing in that.
  • Keep it simple. Only ask for the information that you need. Don’t hinder the user’s experience by asking lengthy, unnecessary questions or asking them to fill multiple forms. A list of pre-designed questions included in your contact forms my further help matters.

For more on contact forms best practices, here’s a useful article.


Spruce Up the Content


Your website content is the meat for your site’s skeleton.

This is what a huge part of your SEO is based on, thanks to content marketing.

While people may make snap judgments about whether a site is useful or not based on looks, useless or depthless content will cement such judgments.

To turn things around for your website, create content that is informative, knowledgeable, authoritative, engaging, and encourages discussion.

  • No technical jargon. Use simple and useful vocabulary that most people can understand and benefit from. Search engines are looking for content that people find valuable.
  • Use bullet-points and lists. Lists keep everything neat and tidy. Since the majority of visitors only skim the content, lists make sure that a high portion of your content will be consumed and hopefully shared with others.
  • Subheadings in paragraphs. Paragraphs that use subheadings are a dream-come-true for content marketers. They are so much easier to link, build authority, and easier for search engines to crawl for keywords and relevant phrases.




There are dozens of ways to improve your website’s designs.

Take advantage of your site’s analytics and figure out the areas where your site may be performing poorly.

Knowing your weak areas will help you build a better business.

Hopefully, the information we’ve shared here will help you arm-up your web design plans and enjoy richer results.

If you know ways to fix up website designs in more unique ways, shout out in the comments below and help the community.


Jane Collen Guest Writer For Vancouver SEO Agency

Authored by Michelle Richards

Michelle Richards loves to chew on words, graphic design and bubble gum. Her writing reflects this combination – practical, aesthetical, and fun. She also likes to explore technical topics such as web development, and gadget reviews.

Guest Writer

Five Reasons You Need Digital Marketing During COVID-19

Five Reasons You Need Digital Marketing During COVID-19

Five Reasons You Need Digital Marketing During COVID-19

Guest Writer

Dataiku Model SEO Results

To summarize:

  • Businesses are considering digital marketing tools to increase their audience engagement during a pandemic.
  • Statistics show that Google Analytics helps entrepreneurs to track traffic variation on their website.
  • During the COVID-19 crisis, digital marketing helps organizations in receiving high ROI.
  • Email marketing helps in boosting customer leads and promoting conversion rates.

Global economic reactions are consistent with the sudden and deadly outbreak of COVID-19.

In such a time, taking stock of an epidemiological situation and future trends of businesses is a hard row to hoe.

The financial and economic damage that this ghoulish virus has caused is devastating.

Small to large scale entrepreneurs also took a beating.

Despite the ongoing health-crisis, the desire to expand a business is palpable.


The pandemic and businesses – trending statistics to follow

The alarming statistics and projections by the United Nations say that there are possible chances for the global economy to witness shrinkage by up to 1 percent due to the pandemic.

The smooth working conditions of international trade and supply chains have come to a screeching halt.

This halt has led a notable number of employees to witness a dreary panorama of losing their jobs.

Another analytical report presented by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) reveals that if the economic activities remain stranded, the economy may shrivel by 0.9% by the end of 2020.

The business downtime rate, scary as it sounds, needs to adopt efficient digital marketing strategies to combat the coronavirus.

With businesses at stake, creative ways to reach audiences are paramount.


How will Digital Marketing make a difference?

Due to the global pandemic, entrepreneurs are still concerned whether they will ever be able to leave homes to reopen businesses.

But, the excessive use of the internet by potential customers during these times is a blessing in disguise.

Thus, keeping your marketing and communication game on a point will undoubtedly nurture relationships with the customers.

Digital marketing during this time will make a difference because of the following reasons.


Digital marketing ideas that trigger your business during a pandemic

As rightly said, ‘Success is for first-comers’; companies that are becoming more active during this pandemic are surely going to bring in more conversion rates once the situation normalizes.

Improve your marketing strategies during this period to better understand your customers.

People are available online and are more active on their mobile phones and laptops than ever.

Make the best use of this opportunity to increase audience engagement amid the coronavirus global pandemic.


1. Reaching heterogeneous audience

Connecting with your potential audience becomes more accessible with the help of digital marketing tools.

It helps in tracking, evaluating, and analyzing the users who visit your website. You will be able to get an analytical report of consumer visits on the site in real-time.

Reaching different audience during tough times is easy as:


2. Turn the reset button on for a retargeting audience. 

Not all businesses know how effectively they can work during the pandemic.

You can take the best advantage of it by targeting and retargeting your audiences.

Companies should not forget that there are people who rely heavily on them to the avail of products and services.

Your existing customers are the vertebrae of your business.

Explore the following ways to retarget your potential audience:

  • Make your website more engaging and user-friendly
  • Avoid pitching new products
  • Maintain consistent interaction with customers regarding business updates
  • Provide timely safety tips


3. Face off with your counterparts

Please keep a close check on the activities your competitor is performing and learn from their lacunas.

Your business should come up as a spin-off in terms of digital marketing services.

Surpass your counterparts who are less active in their business strategies.


4. Promoting conversion rates to thrive with special offers 

The current situation has made people vulnerable and dependent on online sites.

Businesses can work on offering exclusive offers on their products and services to attract more customers and to show customers that you care.

Special offers will help in:


5. Trust in the survival of the fittest.

While assuring your customers that we are all together in this, businesses need to stay positive themselves as well.

You have got plenty of time to come up with new approaches and strategies.

Companies that have the potential to thrive in the global pandemic crisis will reach new heights of success soon.


Points that can’t go amiss!

Online marketing is measurable.

Take the best advantage of it to generate the highest number of conversion leads.

Understand that this is the right time to complete your ‘to-do’ list and improving your marketing strategies.

When the situations return to normal, you might get less time to renovate your website.

Thus, strengthen your marketing skills to combat the global economic crisis.

Divert your focus from campaigning and promotion to:


Authored by Anshul Sharma

July 15th, 2020
Anshul Sharma is an eminent app developer and digital marketer. He is presently serving as the CEO of a digital marketing company named Brandburp. His clients have always appreciated his expertise in the world of marketing and app development.

Guest Writer

Top 5 Benefits of Video Marketing For Small Businesses

Top 5 Benefits of Video Marketing For Small Businesses

Top 5 Benefits of Video Marketing For
Small Businesses

Jane Collen Guest Writer For Vancouver SEO Agency

by Jane Collen | June 11, 2020

Guest Writer

Dataiku Model SEO Results

From the last few years, video marketing is has gone through the roof, with more and more marketers investing in video content to keep up with people’s demand and love for this medium of storytelling.

However, with more than 30,000 hours of new content being uploaded every hour on YouTube alone, video marketing continues to be one of the top business marketing trends of 2020.

It means people want to watch more of relevant, high-quality video content.

Hence, being a small business owner, it is time for you to embrace the benefits of video marketing and consider it as an effective strategy to achieve your marketing and business goals.

Let’s jump right to the top five benefits of video marketing that will drive more small businesses to explore this content medium.


Increase your visibility and reach


Video marketing helps you make your brand and products more visible and accessible for the ideal buyer.

As people are exponentially using the web and digital platforms to find information about different products and services before making a purchase, being a small business owner, you should establish your brand’s online visibility and accessibility.

The following are a few ways that video content increases your visibility and reachability.


Rank high in search engines


Google is the biggest global search engine, with more than 90% of the market share shared between Google and Google Images, as of September 2018.

It means to maximize your visibility on the search engine you need to adopt all the best practices that boost your ranking.

Adding videos to your website helps increase your search ranking on all major search engines, including Google.


Including SEO optimized videos on your website is said to be one of the easiest ways to get yourself on the first page of Google, organically.

And it is worth so much effort because, according to HubSpot, 75% of people never go beyond the first-page search engine results.

Besides, one of the best SEO practices for e-commerce websites to increase their Google ranking is to include high-quality videos and photos.

This shows that Google likes you when people love you.


Get on YouTube


Video marketing helps you to effectively repurpose your content on multiple platforms at the same time.

You can publish your videos on your YouTube channel and make your content to millions of people worldwide.

Besides, YouTube has become the second-largest search engine in the world, with more than a billion monthly users who watch more than 250 million hours of video content every day.

That said, Google owns YouTube, which is why it is fair to assume that the video platform would follow all best SEO practices to make it’s content visible.

The following are a few tips to increase the visibility of your YouTube videos over Google snippet and relevant searches.

  • Research keywords relevant to your brand, product, and video content.
  • Make sure to include the keywords into your video title and description naturally.
  • Use SRT file to include subtitles into your videos
  • Upload a custom thumbnail image


Boost email click-through rate


According to research, including videos in emails can increase your click rates by 300%.

Besides, small businesses can also boost their email open rates by 19%, click-through rate by 65%, and decrease unsubscribes by 26%, by only including the word video into the subject line.

The old, long text-based email formats do not motivate the readers to engage with your content.

However, you highly improve the results of your email campaigns by integrating engaging video content.

Email marketing is still a great way to engage with your prospects and maintain a lasting relationship with clients and leads.

But, it is important to adopt your email content with changing information consuming behaviour of people to optimize ROI

Here are some recommendations to consider when running an email campaign with video content.

  • Use the word ‘video’ in the subject line
  • Don’t embed the video as some email platforms may not support videos
  • Include the thumbnail or a custom image with the play button in the middle, which takes the receipt to your video hosting platforms like YouTube, Wista, and Vimeo


Increase understanding of your product


When you are running a small business, one of your priorities is to build audiences’ familiarity with your brand, mainly if your product or service idea is new for the people.

Products and services can be complicated, and you must explain your product, its benefits, uses, and value to motivate more people to make a purchase.

According to a study, your website visitors are 85% more likely to purchase after watching a product video.

It means that video marketing is not effective in engaging and entertaining your prospects, but it can have a solid impact on your conversion rate and profits as well.

Explainer videos make an excellent way for you to share vital information about your product or services.

From the explaining features, benefits, and functions to tutorial videos, you want to produce video content that delivers value for your audience.

Hence, when the goal is to increasing understanding of your product and services out recommendation is explainer videos, it provides information to your audience in the medium of their choice.


Capitalize on your social media presence


You will almost every brand from your industry posting images and text on social media, but a great way to make your social media game up a notch is to upgrade your content with videos.

Besides, social media feeds are designed in a manner that shows people more of what they want to see, which means videos posts are showing up on the top of people’s newsfeed.

Hence, creating and sharing video content highly improves your chances of not only increasing your social media visibility but engagement and interaction with followers as well.

That said, having interesting content on your social media that your audience can relate with also boosts your brand’s overall popularity and loyalty, which again results in more social media engagement.


Reveal your brand’s personality


In the age of awareness, people want to make more informed decisions.

As a small business, you no more have the option to hide behind your products and services anymore.

Video marketing empowers small businesses to not only reveal their brand’s personality, but this enables them to create brand loyalty that drives them to compete with big corporations.

In other words, people want to find out more about the brands that they buy and use.

Everyone loves watching videos, which makes them the best medium to create content that helps to give your brand the human element.

Video gives your brand a face for the audiences, and they allow them to see, hear, and truly communicate with you.

Video helps you build a real connection with the people at a level that no other type of content can.

Videos make your brand stand above other competitors in the market, and they give your brand an edge.

Beyond increasing your conversation rate, videos build your goodwill, which will continue to drive your return on investment for a long time.


Tell a compelling story


There isn’t any better way to keep your audience engaged and make them feel a connection with the brand than to tell a strong story with compelling visuals.

When it comes to video marketing, you have as much creative space as you like.

You can create various styles of videos for leads at a different stage of buyers’ funnel, different digital and social media platforms, and numerous purposes.

The following are a few of the most popular types of videos that marketers and small business owners often use.

  • 2D animation videos – This style of videos has been popular for the longest of time. It offers exceptional versatility, from iconic Disney movies to amazing product videos that you often see on social media and websites.
  • Live-action videos – This style of videos is mainly being used by small business owners to record their customer testimonials and share them on different digital platforms. Client testimonial or product review videos are a great form of user-generated content that helps give more credibility to your brand and increase your social media influence. These videos also encourage prospects on the final stage of sales funnel to make their decision.
  • Whiteboard videos – This is another style of video that can fall under the broad range of animated and explainer videos. Whiteboard videos are great to explain a new concept, and mostly they follow the problem and solution approach.
  • Demo videos – You can create animated demo videos or screencast videos for software. These videos help share useful and essential information with audiences through an engaging medium, and these videos often cater to the middle of the sales funnel leads.

At its core, the idea of video marketing is to tell a story in a visual manner that keeps your audiences engaged.

The more you understand your audience and what kind of videos and stories they want to watch, the better results your video marketing efforts will yield.


Wrap up


These top five benefits of video marketing should help more small business owners see what amazing opportunities they are missing out by not yet investing in video content.

Video marketing can yield fantastic results, particularly when integrated with other marketing efforts like email campaigns, social media engagement, building a brand persona, and creating product awareness.

Jane Collen Guest Writer For Vancouver SEO Agency

Authored by Jane Collen

Jane Collen is a distinguished and highly experienced industry voice. She is an incredibly eager learner and is always excited to write about new and trending topics, but her field of expertise are 2D animation, and corporate video production trends.

Guest Writer

6 Amazing Chrome Extensions SEOs Can Use

6 Amazing Chrome Extensions SEOs Can Use

6 Amazing Chrome Extensions All SEOs Should Use

by Nabil Ansari | June 10, 2020

Guest Writer

Dataiku Model SEO Results

No two SEO tools were created equal. And if you’ve been a marketer for more than 2 minutes, then you know that SEO is one of the most important parts of online marketing. 

And since more than 90% of the people search on Google, they learn more about a local company online than through word of mouth like they used to in the old days (god I sound so old).

As an SEO myself, I know it can get pretty expensive once you start paying for just a handful of these tools. So that isn’t realistic.

And so in this list, I’m going to cover the top 6 chrome extensions you can use as an SEO to help you save time and make your workflow more efficient.


#1 Moz

In the world of SEO, everything is judged based on a website’s DA/PA (Domain Authority/Page Authority). The higher these two numbers are, the higher your rankings will be. And if you’re out hunting for guest posts, you can use these metrics to determine whether a website is worth doing a guest post for or not.


Thankfully, Mozbar is a chrome extension that Moz created that tells you the domain authority and page authority of any web page you visit. This makes things incredibly efficient for you, especially when you’re doing keyword research and competitor research to see how your website stacks up against theirs.


#2 Keyword Surfer

Whether you’re a high roller and use Ahrefs or SEMrush’s most expensive subscription plan, or whether you love saving money and use Ubersuggest, there’s one thing all of us go back to, is getting the keyword data we need to decide whether or not the volume and competition is worth going after.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you didn’t need to go back each time you needed to check that data for a keyword? Could you see all that info on the same page just like Mozbar?

Well, lucky for you Keyword Surfer already does that. So whenever you search for anything on Google, Keyword Surfer pulls the volume and your region.

Keyword Surfer Google Chrome Extention

And not just that, you also get a bunch of similar keywords that you can also dig into to find more low competition keywords you can target.

On top of that, if you scroll down a bit, you also get to see how many backlinks every result has. This will give you a bird’s eye view on how many backlinks you’d need to rank your website.

And from there you can dig into the results and see where those backlinks are coming from and try to get the same backlinks for your website as well.

Keyword Surfer Extension Dashboard

Keywords Everywhere is an alternative of this tool that provided all the same data (except the no. of backlinks) for free until last year. Now they have moved to a credits system which is still very cheap. You can get 100,000 credits for $10, which to be honest, should last almost every SEO for at least a year unless you have 10+ projects running simultaneously and you have to constantly keep doing keyword research for each one of them.

I’ve been using Keywords Everywhere for over a year now and haven’t run out of credits yet. I’m still at 96,000 credits as you can see.


#3 Ninja Outreach

This one is for SEOs like me who LOVE doing guest posts. And let’s be honest. It doesn’t matter how much on-page SEO you do. You won’t rank if you don’t build any links.

And this is why most people are never able to rank their websites – because they hate to do the tedious work of doing the outreach, writing the articles, and customizing the articles to make sure that they fit the guidelines of the website owner.

But with Ninja Outreach, it makes outreach a little bit easier. Once you land on a webpage, this extension will show you all the email addresses that are associated with the domain name.

And if you like the website, you can get all the contact info you need with a click of a button. 

From there all you need to do is to craft a customized email that they’d like to respond to, and hit send.


#4 Fatrank

This one is for SEOs who check their website rankings every day, and then verify those rankings manually by typing the search terms in Google.

I know we all do this, and it’s good, unless of course, this turns into a time suck and you end up wasting 2-3 hours figuring out where your webpage is and why it isn’t ranking as high as it should be.

An easier way to do this is to add the Fatrank extension, go to the website you want to check the rankings for, and type in the keyword you want to check your website’s ranking for.

It’s simple. It’s easy, and it’s quick. That way, you don’t spend too much time contemplating the reasons why your on-page SEO might not be good enough when in reality, you might just not have enough relevant links going to your homepage and the inner pages.


#5 SEOquake

If you want a detailed view of a website you’re visiting, this is the extension you absolutely need.

With this extension, you can get an overview of things like Alexa rank, indexing info for both, Google and Bing, and also your SEMrush rank.

For me personally, this is an invaluable tool because I spend most of my time searching for guest posts in various niches, and this extension gives an overview of all the outbound links going from a webpage that I’m visiting.

That info, combined with the indexing info helps me decide whether or not the website is worth getting a guest post from. Most of the websites you find when searching for guest posts will be almost similar to link farms, as in, they link out to a ton of different websites from within their blog posts, post about a ton of topics, and also posts 5-6 articles every day.

SEOquake helps me filter those websites out by showing me all the outbound links of the page in one place.


#6 Detailed SEO Extension

If you do a lot of local SEO for clients, then you know how important it is to have your on-page SEO on point. In a lot of cases, all you need to do is to get your on-page SEO right, create social profiles, and just send some citations. And that’s it. The website will rank for the keyword you’re targeting.

But all of that depends on whether or not you get your on-page SEO right.

So how do you know what you should do?

You can reverse engineer what your competitors are doing by using this extension.

Just go to their website and see what they’re doing in terms of the title tag, meta description, H tags, etc.

Detailed SEO Google Chrome Extension

Detailed SEO Extension Headers

See what keywords they’re repeating in those places and see how you can include them on your website in a unique way.



There are a ton of tools you can use as an SEO to make things more efficient for you. But you need to choose the right tools for YOU that will help you deliver better results than other SEOs out there.

Choosing the right chrome extensions is the right place to start because you spend almost your entire day in a web browser. So you need to be more efficient with the time you spend there.

Check these extensions out. You don’t have anything to lose because they are all free.

Also, what extensions are you currently using? Are any of them from the list I mentioned above? Let me know in the comments below.

Nabil Ansari SEO Guest Writer For VSA (1)

Authored by Nabil Ansari

Nabil has been doing SEO for almost half a decade and he is the owner of NabilAnsariSEO.com. He helps local businesses dominate their industries and achieve their goals by ranking them #1 for their target keywords and getting them the exposure they deserve.

Guest Writer

3 Fast As Hell Ways to Make More Money From Your Google Ads

3 Fast As Hell Ways to Make More Money From Your Google Ads

3 Fast as Hell Ways to Make More From Your Google Ads

Linden Schwark

by Linden Schwark | June 09, 2020

VSA Team

Earn More From Your Ads

In the last couple of years, I’ve had the chance to work with numerous successful and struggling Google Ad accounts.

It was hard not to notice the patterns that made a struggling campaign fail and a successful campaign succeed.

It’s crazy how much of a difference fixing a few trouble areas of a campaign can completely turn things around.

Over the years, I’ve condensed a simple, straightforward strategy to turning around struggling ad campaigns consistently… and it took a lot of trial and error along the way. 

So today, I wanted to share the common mistakes I’ve seen and how to fix them before they deal a sucker punch to your campaign… so here goes:



Tip #1: Track Your Audiences


Before we even get started with optimizing your Google Ads, let’s get you set up with some of the tracking functionality that isn’t activated out of the box on your Google Ads Account, because of that, almost everyone misses it, or are afraid to mess with it. 

I’m talking about Audiences. If you haven’t explored every part of your Google Ads dashboard yet, there’s a really good chance that you don’t have your audience tracking set up yet.

Audience tracking is incredibly important long-term.

Setting up your audience tracking is super simple and will allow you to start building up your data on which audience groups are most likely to click on your ads and convert.

Targeting the right audience groups can increase your return per dollar by 2x, 3x, or even more. 

If it’s easy to set up, and allows you to make more out of your ad campaigns, why wouldn’t we use it, right?

So here’s what you need to do: first, go to your Google Ads dashboard and go to the “all campaigns” page.

(If you don’t see what I’m talking about, you’re probably in “simple mode” and need to switch your dashboard to “expert mode” before you will be able to see everything). 

Audiences in Google Ads Dashboard

Now, on the sidebar menu, click the “audiences” drop-down

The next step is to click the blue “+” or pencil icon to add new audience groups to your campaigns. 

Here’s where you can add new audiences to your campaigns and ad groups.

For our purposes we want to select an ad group and set new audiences to “Observation”, because all we want is to track which audiences are converting.

Audience Groups

We don’t want to start exclusively targeting any of them just yet, and observing audiences at the ad group level will allow us to make more precise decisions for each search intent grouping.

You’ll want to click the “browse” tab to get a full list of audiences to choose from.

I like to add a lot of relevant audience groups to a campaign. The more data the better, right?

Real Estate Audiences

But if you like keeping it a little bit tidier, I suggest you add at least 20 of the most relevant audiences to your business that you can find in the list. 

For example: if you’re in the real estate niche, you’ll definitely want to include in-market audiences related to real estate (people showing signs that they are preparing a purchase.)

In-Market Audiences

You should include In-market audiences like residential, commercial, and rental properties, and demographics like home owners and renters.

You will also want to add relevant interest groups like luxury travel and home & gardening.

You might find that your best customers have interests you didn’t expect!

After you’ve got your audiences set up for all of your ad groups and campaigns, your account will start tracking a ton of information about who your customers are.

Leave your audiences to gather information for a while and once you’ve got enough conversion data to work with, you can start targeting your best audiences, excluding your worst, and significantly increasing your return.

Excluding Audiences

Trust me, you’re going to be very happy that you added the audiences to your account now instead realizing months down the road that you have next to no demographic information to optimize your campaign with.

Now that we’ve got the audiences set up to earn you more from your ads in the next few months, let’s talk about how to properly, and quickly, set up your keyword targets for better and faster results.

Deflating Keywords

Tip #2 Condense Your Keywords


A lot of campaigns I inherit contain huge, bloated lists of keywords inside of each of their ad groups.

Unlike a single keyword strategy, these keyword lists often contained thousands of specific phrase-match and exact-match keywords.

If you’re not sure, “phrase match” keywords match with any query that has the same phrase in it (“yellow socks” -> query: “where do I get yellow socks”), and exact-match keywords match with queries that are exactly the same (“[yellow socks]” -> Query: “yellow socks”).

Long List of Phrase and Exact Match Keywords

Although this can sometimes be enough to get relevant clicks and conversions to your campaign, depending on how good the keyword research was, There are three huge problems with this approach.

Firstly, putting together a long list of keywords to target can be a very time consuming task, and if you don’t know how to research keywords and search intent correctly, you could be wasting a lot of time needlessly.

Secondly, if you have thousands of keyword targets in your ad group, guess what? You’re spreading your ad budget very thin over thousands of keywords. 

Ad Budget Divided

Think about it, which data set are you most likely to take insights from and scale your ad campaign?

A campaign with a thousand keywords with 1 click, or a campaign with 10 keywords that have 100 clicks each? 100 clicks each, right? No contest.

If you’re spreading your budget over many different keywords, It will take forever to decide if a lot of the keywords are even worth advertising to in your campaign. 

The third reason is this, the quality score of your ads is incredibly important for the success of your ad campaign.

The best way to make sure you have a good quality score is to match your ads perfectly to your target keywords

Google Ads Quality Score

If you have hundreds, or THOUSANDS, of keywords in an ad group, only a handful of your keywords will be perfectly relevant to your ads, and the rest are going to suffer.

This will leave you with a ton of keywords that have mediocre or bad quality scores plumeting your ad positions and raising your costs – sometimes stopping your ads from running entirely.

Instead of doing a long list of keywords, here’s how I recommend you set up your campaign to give you the best return on your time, solid keyword coverage, high quality scores and consolidated, actionable data. 

Partial Match Keywords

Setting Up Broad Match Modifiers

The answer to getting a high performance, low fuss campaign is “broad match modifier” keywords

If you don’t know what a broad match modifier is in Google Ads, a broad match modifier shows your ad on any query that has the words that you’ve put a “+” in front of [“+example +keyword”]. 

For comparison, an exact match keyword only show your ad on queries that are exactly the same as the keyword, and a phrase match keyword only show your ad on queries which have the same phrase as the keyword.

Exact match, written as: [water bottles] triggers on the query: “water bottles

Phrase Match, written as: “water bottles” triggers on the query: “where can I get water bottles from?”

Broad Match Modifier, written as: +water +bottles triggers on the query: “what are the best bottles for water?”

Broad Match, written as: water bottles triggers on the query: “spray bottles for watering plants”

So here’s what you’ll want to do.

Let’s pretend we’re an ecommerce store selling sports shoes only to Vancouver, and we’re making an ad group to target people searching generally for performance footwear:

Footwear Keywords

Have Google help you come up with around 3 words or phrases that describe your product or service (even using 1 will give you plenty of targets)

Example: shoes, footwear, sneakers

Synonym Keywords

Next, we’ll want to list a few very relevant descriptors about our products that people would be searching (customers searching for non-specific sports shoes might also use “performance” or “active” in their search)

Example: active, running, sports, performance

OPTIONAL: If you’re a service, or brick and mortar, it can sometimes be beneficial to choose a couple more business-type modifiers to further separate search intents. (company, service, agency, store, etc.): 

Example: company, store, brands

Finally, if you want to advertise to a specific location, add that in too (if you have geo targeting set up for your ad group, adding the location is optional.)

Example: Vancouver

Now, we’re going to put these all together into our final ad group keyword list using each variation of core words, descriptors, business-type modifiers, and location.

I’ve created a simple spreadsheet to pump these out for you instantly so you can quickly get them into your campaign.


Keyword Sheet

Remember to make a copy of the sheet for your personal drive.

You should end up with a list of 4-20 keywords like this:

+shoes +active +Vancouver

+footwear +active +Vancouver

+sneakers +active +Vancouver

+shoes +running +Vancouver

+footwear +running +Vancouver

+sneakers +running +Vancouver

+shoes +sports +Vancouver

+footwear +sports +Vancouver

+sneakers +sports +Vancouver

+shoes +performance +Vancouver

+footwear +performance +Vancouver

+sneakers +performance +Vancouver

+shoes +athlete +Vancouver

+footwear +athlete +Vancouver

+sneakers +athlete +Vancouver

Using a broad match modifier strategy like this one will help you collect enough data on your keyword string variations to confidently make decisions on where to best allocate spend, while significantly tidying up clutter, saving you tons of wasted research time, and keeping your ad quality higher across the board.

Once you’ve been running the ad group for a while, check to see if any of your new keywords are marked as “low volume” or have a poor quality score and remove them to hone in your keywords even more.

You can always add more keywords to scale later once you’ve maxed out the spend for your current keywords.

Now that we’ve got an awesome list of broad match modifier keywords, you might be thinking “but Linden, aren’t these keywords a bit too board, dude? Won’t I get a bunch of bad clicks?”

Good question, while it’s true that even with the location modifier, +Shoes +Active +Vancouver could trigger on “which active shoe store is best in Vancouver” or “free active shoes in Vancouver” or even “active shoes repair in Vancouver”. Luckily, There’s a solution.

Eliminate all irrelevant phrases from your ad-serving queries using a negative keywords list.

Lets make your ad clicks even more effective by using negative keywords (I’ll make it very easy for you, I promise).

Negative Keywords

Tip #3 Improve Your Negative Keyword List

If you’ve run Google Ads before and have looked at the “search keywords” that you’ve received clicks for, then you’re probably familiar with the occasional “junk click”.

What I mean by junk click is any click that is clearly not a relevant search for the products or services you’re advertising. 

Junk Ad Clicks

Here’s an example: If I’m advertising for “real estate agent” and I get a click from someone searching for a “real estate agent”, that’s pretty spot on.

But what if I get a click from the same ad from someone searching for “how to become a real estate agent”? That click is clearly not going to be a good for me since it has a completely different search intent

Bad Ad Clicks

This is what I call a “junk click”, and they can waste you a ton of advertising dollars that could otherwise be spent on quality clicks earning you money.

So what can you do to fix that?

The way you can fix it is by adding keywords like “how to” or “become” to our campaign’s negative keyword list so whenever a query contains that keyword our ad isn’t shown.

It’s extremely important to eliminate as many junk clicks as possible by repeating this process for every word or phrase that results in “junk clicks” and adding them to our negative keywords list.

But we don’t want to carelessly throw phrases in there until we see what intent the searches have – the phrase “how to” could easily be a money maker in some niches, and a money sink in others.

“How to buy a home”, for example, could be exactly the type of click you’re looking for.

So here’s something juicy.

Over the past few years I’ve been constantly tweaking and adding to my own negative keyword list I use as a base for each of the campaigns I work on.

Every time I see a word or phrase that’s causing junk clicks, I add it to the sheet, and I’ve been doing that for years.

Filtering Keywords

Just by uploading the list I eliminate 90%+ of junk clicks right off the bat while leaving 90%+ of the good clicks still enabled.

Well, here’s the awesome part. I’m giving you my negative keyword list of over 1,100 keywords for free to use here [you’re welcome :)]:


Free Negative Keywords Template

I’ve done the majority of heavy lifting for you so you can copy and paste the file into your campaign and cut out a majority of junk click sources that are killing your campaign, just like that. 

Now, before you throw my negative keyword list into your campaign, make sure you read the rest of my instructions below and within the speadsheet so you can get the most out it and avoid killing any of your profitable clicks.

So which keywords do we want to add to our negative keyword list? 

Descriptors can have a huge impact on the quality of clicks you’re getting. Depending on the price point of your product or service you may consider eliminating economic or premium keywords.

Budget Shopers

Words like “cheap”, “deal”, “clearance”, and “sale” indicate a searcher who is very conscious about pricing, and may almost never convert at a luxury or premium price point. 

On the other end of the spectrum, anyone using words like “premium”, “professional”, or “high quality” may rarely convert at an economic price point.

Another thing you should consider for your negative keyword list is your competitors. Advertising on your competing brands can be a great way to snatch up business from your competitors, but consider who your competitor’s customer is.

If you’re advertising a premium sports footwear line, your target audience probably isn’t the people shopping at budget brands like Ardeen, The Shoe Company, or Pay Less Shoes right?

Budget vs Premium

Consider which of your competitors have a very different audience than you and put them on your negative keyword list.

Is there any classes, certifications, licensing, or information seekers in your niche? Think about some of the main words that would indicate a bad (or good) click: “certification”, “how to”, “course”, “lesson”. (We added a lot of the common ones in the negative keyword spreadsheet above).

Once you’ve given a few minutes reviewing my list for your big “junk click” keywords and compiled a list for yourself, it’s time to upload the list to your campaign.

To update the negative keyword list for your campaign, go to your campaign or ad group, then click the drop-down for “keywords”, then click “negative keywords”.

Negative Keyword List Update

Then, click on the “+” button.

Uploading a Negative Keyword List

Select “add negative keyword list”, add to: campaign (or ad group), select your campaign or ad group, paste your new list into the box, then click “save”.

If you would like to use the same list of negative keywords again in the future, click “save to new or exisiting list” and give the list a name before saving.

Finished, you are now filtering your ad from showing to a slew of junk searches.

Every niche has a few of its own unique junk keywords to filter.

From here on, you will want to consistently check on your “search keywords” inside of your campaign dashboard and adding any new “junk click” words that you see until all of your clicks are relevant and on target. 

For many campaigns, having a robust negative keyword list is extremely important and can completely transform a losing campaign into a winning one


There’s a lot of strategies that can help you campaign perform better, and a lot of those lessons come with making lots of mistakes on how you’re serving your ads.

But hopefully, I can help you save a lot of time and money in wasted ad spend by teaching you some of the lessons I’ve learned over the past few years.

Debloat your keywords, and add audiences and negative keywords to your campaign.

If you follow these three strategies, you’re well on your way to a scalable campaign.

Was your campaign suffering from one of these mistakes? Have a question? Want to let me know how you’re liking the content?

Let me know about it in the comments.


Linden Schwark

Authored by Linden Schwark

VSA Team

How To Use Artificial Intelligence To Rank On Google (Dataiku)

How To Use Artificial Intelligence To Rank On Google (Dataiku)

How To Use Artificial Intelligence To Rank On Google With Dataiku

by Braeden Schwark | May 31st, 2020

VSA Team

Dataiku Model SEO Results

Artificial intelligence — the new frontier.

It seems like only yesterday that A.I. had surfaced as the new promise for technological advancement.

Google themselves have driven down their energy costs using AI by a huge amount, just by letting machine learning do its thing.

Everyone has heard about AlphaGo, AlphaZero, and even AlphaStar taking the mental-sporting field by storm.

But few truly realize what goes into these deep learning achievements, and feel it’s a big mystery that only Big-Tech can solve.

So why does it feel like AI is so out of reach for the average person or business?

Well, I think it’s because there just isn’t enough accessible information out there.

Just like everything else worthwhile, it takes a bit of time, and effort, to learn a new skill.

I’m here to help you understand the basics, and how to leverage this technology today in improving your Google rankings.


The A.I. Basics


Although they’re spoken of interchangeably, machine learning, AI, and deep learning, all have their own meaning behind them. Let me explain.

Artificial Intelligence, otherwise known as A.I., refers to the broad idea that machines can be trained so as to perform a task that requires a certain degree of creativity. In other words, it’s the science of creating a machine capable of mimicking human tasks or abilities.

Deep learning, and machine learning, are both subsets of A.I., they help recognize patterns, build correlations, and typically attempt to mirror basic ways humans learn.
One great example of this is a neural network.

Neural networks are a kind of machine learning made up of units connected similar to the neurons of a human brain. In this way, the computer can learn more abstract ideas such as video games with uncertain information, such as Starcraft, or Dota.

Natural Language Processing is what we use to analyze and understand the complexity of languages. If you’ve ever spoken with Siri or Alexa, you have spoken with one of these NLP AIs.

Understanding these terms is important in taking your first steps in using artificial intelligence.


Using AI To Rank On Google


As you know, Google’s SERPs are all determined by the RankBrain algorithm, which is an artificial intelligence.

By using machine learning, we can reverse-engineer parts of Google’s ranking factors by collecting the key SERPs data and running it through predictive modeling.


STEP 1 | Collect The Data


There are hundreds of ranking factors, and there’s no way we can collect every single one, even if we tried.

However, there is a lot of on-page and off-page data we can collect in bulk using a few helpful tools.

In this guide, we’ll be using:


Scrape SERP URLs Using Ahref Keyword Research Tool


The first thing you’ll want to do is to gather a list of URLs that are ranking for your targeted keyword.

In this case, I simply used the Ahref keyword research tool to return a list of the top 100 SERPs for a given keyword.

You can export just one keyword SERP, but the more data you have, the more accurate the predictive modelling will be. So I suggest you export at least 5 related keyword SERPS (~500 results) to work with.


Run List of URLs Through Screaming Frog


Screaming frog is an SEO favourite when it comes to scraping tools, as it gives you loads of useful data about any list of URLs or domains.

First, you’ll need to use the “list” function on Screaming Frog to manually upload the list of URLs.

Once uploaded, press start, and allow the crawl to run its course.

When the crawl is complete click on export, and save the CSV to your computer.


Run the URL List Through BatchSpeed


With Googles recent announcement on Core Web Vitals, it is a good idea to also test our dataset URLs for those same vitals.

Batchspeed.com will allow you to crawl your URL list in bulk, and receive critical webpage performance metrics.

The “Core Web Vitals”, as Google calls them, are:

  • First Input Delay, or FID, is the time between the user’s first interaction with the website and it’s response to that interaction.

Using BatchSpeed, you’ll be able to export mobile and desktop performance data that can help build correlations between Core Web Vitals and a URL’s position on Google.


Combine the Data


Once all of the data is collected, it’s time to combine the data into a single sheet, so our machine learning platform can access all of the pertinent information from one place.

An easy way to port data across spreadsheet tabs is the VLOOKUP formula, which can help you match the data with the proper URL.


STEP 2 | Download Dataiku



Dataiku is a free machine learning platform that is beginner-friendly and offers done-for-you algorithms. There is no better platform to start with if you are looking to learn the ropes of artificial intelligence and it’s applications.

You’ll need to, first, visit the Dataiku website, where you can then click on the “get started” button.

When you land on the pricing page, look for the “free” pricing package and click “install now”.

Now you only need to follow the instructions for your operating system.

It’s important to note that if you are using Windows OS, the installation process will be slightly more complicated.

Once you have Dataiku running, you’re ready to start your machine learning project!


STEP 3 | Create a New Project


To create a new project, simply click the “New Project” button on the top right of the dashboard.

When prompted, give your project a name. I chose “Top Ranking Factors”.


STEP 4 | Import Your Dataset


Once you reach your new project dashboard, click on the “+ IMPORT YOUR FIRST DATASET” button.

The button will take you to an upload page, where you’ll want to click “upload your files” under the “Files” category.

You’ll be taken to an upload terminal where you can now import your dataset of ranking factors.

Now that your file is uploaded, you can click “create” on the top right of the screen.


STEP 5 | Create a Visual Analysis


Continue by clicking on the circular icon on the top left of the toolbar for visual analyses.

Now click on “+ New Analysis”, and select your dataset with the dropdown, and click “Create Analysis”.

You will now be presented with the data you’ve imported.

If needed, you can make changes like deleting irrelevant data columns, and more.


STEP 6 | Create Machine Learning Model


This is where things get fun.

Head over to the “Models” tab on the top right of your page, and then click “create first model”.

Choose a “Prediction” task.

Select your target variable, in this case, that’s “Rank”. Also, click “Automated Machine Learning”.

Then, select “High-Performance Models” with the “In-memory” engine.

We can run this model as-is, but we still want to make a couple of changes before we pull the trigger.

Head to the “Design” tab.

Under “Modeling”, click “Algorithms”. Then make sure you only have “Random Forest” and “XG Boost” algorithms active. You should also change the “Number of trees” to 1000.

That’s it, we’re ready to go. Click “Train” at the top right, name your training session, and confirm.

Allow the magic of machine learning to take its course. This may take some time.



STEP 7 | Analyze Your Results


When the algorithms have finished processing, they’ll return a number of the most important variables according to their calculations.

You can click on the title of the algorithm report to view more detailed information.

In the case of the Random Forest session, it has evaluated that “Dofollow Domains” is the number one variable related to top-ten rankings, and XGBoost agrees with that assessment.

Feel free to look around the additional charts and information within the models by clicking on them after they’ve finished calculating their reports.


STEP 8 | Put Your Data Into Action


Now that you have a clear model on what ranking factors have the most impact on your given keywords, you can now put it into action for your SEO campaigns.

By prioritizing your budget, time, and resources towards the metrics that matter most, you can drive organic growth at a faster pace, and at a lower cost.

If your ML results are showing a high “variable importance” for do-follow backlinks, with a low variable importance for on-page factors, consider allocating more of your campaign budget towards link-building and visa versa.




I hope you found this guide helpful in getting started with machine learning, and how it can benefit your business or agency.

Again, to make the most out of A.I. it’s important to continue learning, and experimenting with more models, algorithms, and datasets to find new ways it can bring value to you or your clients.

If you think of some ideas on what you can do with this technology, give it a try. You never know, you might just discover something extraordinary.


Authored by Braeden Schwark

Published on May 29th, 2020

VSA Team