Does Google Ads scheduling take into account time zones?

No. And with all this AI that Google applies to other areas, ( for instance, they can tell that I need reading glasses because of the movements I make with my phone (all true – I have the proof). So why can’t they handle time zones for ads? Thats seems so ’00 to me.

…your ads will be shown based on your default time zone settings and not as per the location’s time zone which you include.

You don’t have to be a cynic to believe that its lucrative for Google not to offer more precision in ad scheduling. A little shloshing-around of my ad dollars never hurts (Google).

Before we look at an example, lets level-set. There are plenty of Google Ads campaigns that target regions with multiple time zones (there are actually more than 24 around the globe). Even a US focused campaign is reasonably looking to handle 5 time zones.

So as an example, my company is based in New York (EST), but obviously California is a large target market. My target audience buying hours peak at 11PM (in any time zone) and run until about 2AM, tapering off @5AM (least sales).

If I need to schedule maintenance down-time for my online shop, I already have a problem loosing sales in a time zone. If I’m down @ 4AM EST, Im not selling to those late-night shoppers in California, Hawaii & Alaska.

Salt in the wound, I SURE DON’T WAN TO RUN ADS while I’m offline. How do I handle 5+ time zones?

Google is no help here. If I want to avoid wasting precious ad spend, I have to setup a campaign for each time zone, don’t I? That’s also expensive to setup and to maintain.

I’m not the first to run into this problem. What I wonder is why Google can’t handle this obvious problem? Its not a technological challenge is it?

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It’s all true: Everything is fake

It’s all true: Everything is fake. Also mobile user counts are fake. No one has figured out how to count logged-out mobile users, as I learned at reddit. Every time someone switches cell towers, it looks like another user and inflates company user metrics.

Although this thread starts out in the New York Magazine, the Zerohedge cliffnotes are more readable here

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Statistics : Search Engine Marketing 2018

Here is a rare post in the Digital Marketing space worth bookmarking. Really useful information compiled in one blog.

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Search Results Page Features by Percent Clicks

You probably have wondered or really need to know how people click on results in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) in order to bid on keywords in your Adwords campaigns. What percentage of clicks go to The Knowledge Graph, right?

Well its a bit more complicated than that because there are more thaqn a dozen different “features” on SERPs today. MOZ has a great visual over here

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The SEO Package Scam

Are you paying for an SEO Package from your website vendor? Many businesses do. Yet you probably have no idea what exactly you get for that monthly fee. You probably don’t even know how to ask your vendor for clarity on this expense – and proof that its has an ROI.

Problem solved. This article will get you oriented.

Website vendors often offer what they call “SEO Packages”. It’s technically called “Dynamic SEO”. That means your website consists of templates. Each page is a template. The page is a combination of text and wild-card terms that form the pages of your website that people see.

The wild-card terms are “keywords”. They are stored in a database and when a page is requested, the page is “dynamically” created on each view in a browser. All modern website engines use this template principal. For example, that is exactly how WordPress works.

30 minutes of data entry. Job complete.

Your vendor enters your keywords into a database table at setup – mind you, this is a one-time event. Those keywords are not magical either. The “keywords” are simply your business name, phone numbers, “geos” (PMA, etc.), product names. This is not hard work. Anyone who can type on a keyboard can do it.

Below is what a page template looks like. See the Title, Keywords, Description boxes? They are mostly filled with [wildcards] from the box on the right, which is how the database fills the page with your “keywords”. re. [Current Year] or [City] with some generic text in between. (and the content sure wasn’t written by Mark Twain).

Call [Dealership Phone] for more information.

Further; each page of your website contains these three meta data fields which are populated using those templates (instead of plain text).  This Meta data is used by search engines and that information forms the text you see on Google when you search. Your vendor may rearranged the template periodically, maybe every year. Maybe not. But that is meaningless, because the same template is distributed across all customer websites at the same time (they will call it an update and tell you they did it for free). That means your vendor’s websites (and your website) are all identical with only the wildcard keywords differentiating one business from the other.

Didn’t You Get the Memo?

Funny thing, in the initial presentations, they told you they build “The Best Search Engine Optimized Websites“, didn’t they? I know they did, because I’ve been in those presentations too. Well why do they later sell you an SEO Ad-On Package? They say its about “beating the other guy in search results”, right?

Your website is [NOT] special…

…because every other customer of your vendor has the exact same template. Not convinced yet? Just look at this example of a Google search for Ford dealers in Miami. (try it yourself) We can easily see they both have the same website vendor with the same Dynamic SEO Package (and that is why they are listed right next to each other near the bottom of the search results page) – that’s beat’en ’em!

That template is easy to spot when you know what to look for. There is only the placement of the [Dealership] wildcard position that differentiates these 2 listings. See it?

[Make] Dealer in [City],[State] | Used Cars [City]

[Dealership] is your source for new [Make]s and used cars in [City], [State]. Browse our full inventory online and then come on down for a test drive”. 

[The Robot] made me “Come on down”

See how this Dynamic SEO Package is working so well, it’s impossible to choose between Metro Ford and Midway Ford. They are both so SEO optimized I just can’t decide who sounds more like a robot.

And that is what you get, for a few hundred dollars a month!

Don’t pay for it. It’s already built into the website anyway.

Its pathetic that this is sold as an Add-On product, because the template is integrated into the website anyway, that’s just how it work, whether you pay for it or not. That’s why I call this one of the best SEO scams ever. These vendors are pulling down hundreds of thousands of dollars per month for doing almost nothing and the results are the very definition of mediocrity.

If you need help holding your vendors accountable and want to trim the waste in your digital budget, we do that.

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Hey Google Search Terms (Recordings) in Google Ads

In the course of my work, its rare to be the first to stumble upon something special – at least I think I have. I don’t find anything about it when I Google it.

Everyone is aware that Google, Amazon, Apple, all record everything you speak into their (your) devices. But what they do with those recordings is none of your business. Well here is one place you can see it in action. (and proves that they are saving that recording)

If you manage Adwords (now Google Ads), you are familiar with the widgets in the overview. Lots of handy intel there. However, you may not have stumbled on Hey Google search terms or what I’d rather call “Search Recordings“. These are the  entire conversation your prospective customer is having with Google.

You find this in Google Ads > Overview tab > in the widget that says “New Words were used in Google searches that showed your ads“. Then look for the keyword bubble “google“. Mouse-over it, and then mouse-over the “+x more searches“. The pop-up contains the entire recording a shopper had with Hey Google. In my case, its not just the search regarding the original keyword. Its the whole enchilada, truncated at x number of characters, it seems. I’m almost sorry I couldn’t catch what the next thing “to pay..” was going to be. To pay what?

I think this is far more insightful than just looking at a list of search terms to get inside the head of my audience. Its like eavesdropping on a private conversation and stream of behavior that you probably couldn’t get if you were this persons spouse.

Creepy Line? Or Use It Before You Loose It!

I can’t help thinking that this post will cause havoc down at the campus in Mountain View and (this disturbance in the force) may cause our little window into the soul of our shoppers to disappear. Enjoy it while you can.

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Conversion Statistics

Just some useful statistics on conversions as I’ve found them somewhere else or from my client analytics. In the interest of keeping this usable as a reference tool, this is intentionally brief. Perhaps I’ll expand more on certain points as necessary. All statistics are no older than 2018.

@ 60% of all conversions happen during a single visit
@ 15% of conversions require two visits
@ 25% of all conversions require at least 3 or more visits

@ 70% of conversions happen on the same day as the first visit

**Typical Local Business traffic Sources
@ 25% Maps
@ 25% Organic

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The Domain Authority Fail

Have you gotten a proposal from an SEO firm that lists as one of the deliverable “Domain Authority Evaluation”?

If so, you should unceremoniously crumple it into a ball and shoot for the trash can. If it arrived by email, delete it.

Why do I think this is a sign that the firm is not reputable?

Recently a few clients have passed along proposals they received from Agencies or SEO Firms. There in big bullet point fashion is “Domain Authority Evaluation” or  “Domain Authority Audit” or “Domain Authority Research”.

Domain Authority has always been a simple concept. Its not worth mentioning in a proposal or report. It once meant the age of your domain name and website (in continuous service). “How long has your website been around?” See?

A long time = “good”.

Its brand-spanking new = “not great for your search rank. We’ll need to work harder to get your web pages indexed and ranking in search results.”

So its was enough to simply say in meetings “You bought your domain name in 2001, and the website has been in continuous service since 2002. That means it has solid domain authority, which means its been around long enough to have credibility with search engines, making it easier to rank in search results.” Or you would say, “I see you just bought your domain name last month and built a website. It probably does not have too much street-cred with the search engines. We’ll have to work harder…”

That’s the gist of it. Its not rocket science and it does not require any “research”. (and by the way, Google never-ever mentions “Domain Authority” anywhere)

Now if you are new to the business of SEO, you may have read about it at MOZ, (but your prospective client didn’t) and MOZ has redefined the term over recent years. What we once called “link authority” is now “Domain Authority” according to MOZ. I’m not going into the weeds on why their definition is misleading. Read about it here and you decide if it should have been redefined.

This business has always had a problem with terminology and acronym-over-dose. Doesn’t anyone like straight-forward and clear communications?

Well I do, and I know my clients do too. That’s why the term and its use in a proposal is a bad sign.

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Semalt Still Spamming

They aren’t giving up so I assume it works to catch the dumb fish. I (again) found “traffic” spikes in Analytics coming from,,, only to find that it is our old friends at Semalt. Does this spam even work? Maybe their real purpose it to generate traffic out of your curiosity to visit one of their spam links in Analytics that forwards to their website to improve their Alexa Rank or something. I can’t imagine anyone would do business with someone who uses dirty tricks to advertise “spam advertising” – not cool! So I advise that you don’t give them the benefit of a visit.

For those who won’t visit but are curious, search a bit for other webmaster comments. What I have found (and I’m not visiting their site to see what they are pitching today) is they are reportedly a Ukrainian SEO outfit.

Since this isn’t real traffic (100% bounce rate) you can’t filter them from your analytics. You’ve got to block them at the server. If you have access to your Apache htaccess file, adding this line in mod_rewrite should do it.

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^.*seo-service.* [NC,OR]

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Conflicted Advertising Agent?

Before the Internet, a business would never hire the same person or agency as their local competitor employs. Today its any everyday thing.

How did that happen? Since when is that OK?

Chances are if you are a local car dealer you have a website vendor (or ad agency) that has hundreds if not thousands of other dealers for clients. You do know they employ cookie-cutter programs so that you all look alike, don’t you?

Why in the world is it now considered OK to hire the same vendor as your nearest rival? It is insane to give up this competitive advantage to “be different” from your competition.

So why are you trying to look just like your rival by hiring their agent?

In the legal trade, the agent (lawyer) would have to recuse themselves from practicing with one or the other client. Its the law! Doesn’t that make sense? Well apparently to many in the local digital advertising sphere, its the land of unicorns and rainbows and anything goes. Like I said, insane!

( As always, PLEASE, Please comment if you disagree. I would love to hear how I am wrong. )

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