The Truth Behind Targeted Advertising

You log onto your computer and head to Google to shop for a new watch. After browsing a few sites from the results, you decide to postpone your purchase until you find the perfect one. You continue browsing on your computer, checking the news or weather. Then bam – squished on the side of the page is an advertisement for the exact watch you were just looking at. How did it get there? It’s like your computer is magically spying on what you’ve been searching. Welcome to the world of targeted advertising. Targeted advertising is the practice of advertiser’s using highly specific characteristics, demographics, search engine habits, cookies, and a variety of statistics to tailor a promotion to a specific consumer’s wants and needs. Find out the truth about targeted advertising and how the tailored ads you see are formed and implemented into your daily web browsing.

How it Happens

Targeted internet advertising has many components combined to tailor an ad to a specific consumer’s behavior. Information is pulled from a consumer’s web usage, search inquiries, past products viewed, social media pages, and online activity. Furthermore, advertisers can base their ads on specific characteristics such as socioeconomic groups, distinct time of day, behavioral patterns, and even location.

Specifically, the main sources of information used to develop custom ads are clickstream data, search data, purchase data, and profile data. With all this information, advertisers can create a picture of the potential customer’s interests, attitudes, and hobbies. Consequently, building ads that are targeted exactly to the consumer’s specific wants. This explains why a watch advertisement would show up during a different search, such as the weather, after previously searching to purchase a new watch.

Collecting Cookies

Clickstream data is a huge source of where the internet is pulling your information from to target ads. Clickstream data specifically refers to the record of web pages you’ve previously visited. How is all this data collected you might ask? It’s a simple answer, a cookie. All your clickstream data is stored in a tiny text file referred to as a cookie. Websites are able to communicate with your computer through cookies, so it can better track your online inquiries and movement on web pages. This information is what directly helps target specific ads based on a user’s unique online actions. If your clickstream data includes a lot of shopping on jewelry websites, you’ll begin to see more targeted advertisements appear for watches, necklaces, or other items within that category.

Daily Data Habits

A user’s daily data habits play a big role in what advertisements they see. Along with clickstream data, here’s a deeper look into the other data responsible for targeted advertisements.

Search data is compiled anytime a user types an inquiry into a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo. Search engine companies analyze the words typed into the search bar, along with a user’s habits, to position targeted advertising alongside the results.

Purchase data is the information collected from a user’s past purchases from online stores. The online store uses cookies to track what you buy or don’t buy and in return are able to target advertisements for future purchases pertaining to similar interests.

Profile data has increased enormously, thanks to the rise of social media. When creating a social media profile, social networking sites typically have users enter a variety of information and demographics such as age, location, religion, education, interests and more. The social media sites then are able to use this information you provided to build custom ads for your timeline.

With so many options of where to pull potential customer’s online data from, targeting advertising has become an increasingly popular and lucrative way to advertise online. With so much data readily available about individual’s online activity, searches, and purchases, it makes sense why so many ads are appearing targeting exactly what a specific consumer is interested in.

The world of targeting advertising continues to grow exponentially with the wave of the digital age. Targeted advertisement’s ability to seep on to potential buyer’s online usage urges action, purchases, and strengthens a brands image and connection to its targeted audience.

Tips for Creating Intelligent Content

What is Intelligent Content? 
Content marketers strive to craft content that’s intelligent. This is content that’s not merely smart and relevant – instead, it’s also discoverable, reusable, and not limited to one purpose. Intelligent content is the bread and butter of successful marketing campaigns because it’s easily discovered by online communities and has the potential to reach large audiences. Simply put, it’s winning content that gets the clicks.

By harnessing the tools necessary for developing rich and reusable content, teams strategically position themselves ahead of their competitors. As a writer, you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing your work is consumed by a large audience – a dream shared by most doe-eyed, eager content marketers.

Here’s what you need to know while on a mission to improve your content and leverage success.

Intelligent Content Should Be Reusable
Repurposed content can be published more quickly, limiting the amount of time it takes to reach clients and audiences. By creating content that’s modular, writers help themselves and their teams by intentionally designing content pieces for reuse.

Think about it. When you create reusable content components (or modules) you can reuse them time and again in related pieces. Marketing brochures, product splash pages, and other structured pieces use recycled content modules to create killer marketing collateral.

Best of all, your brain gets a bit of a break from having to constantly invent new and creative work. Any busy business writer knows operating under ‘creative constraints’ is a reality when deadlines must be met. Leaning on reusable content components is helpful when trying to save time and precious writing energy.

Using modular, reusable content also reduces translation costs. This is because less time is spent doing the actual writing, and content production expenses are reduced overall. When projects allow for it, reuse these valuable components. Your team will have more time for other pressing tasks – and you can finally spearhead that project you were so excited to start.

Logical Thinking Is Necessary
Alongside being reusable, content must be logically structured to incorporate metadata. Metadata is machine-readable information that tells a computer how to understand the content and differentiate it from other content pieces. SEO practices optimize metadata to push it to the top of search engine pages, ensuring your article, blog, or post is seen by many people.

Metadata can be incorporated into content when pieces are structurally and semantically rich. When the content’s structure has meaning, humans and machines are better able to detect what kinds of material will comprise the piece. We can trust that a whitepaper, for example, will contain a positioning statement, value proposition, list of features, and a list of benefits. Structured content is more easily manipulated because there is a recognizable order to it. Instead of scrambling for meaning, readers know to refer to certain paragraphs, lists, etc. Creating structured writing provides both order and coherency.

Understanding semantics is equally important. Semantically rich content contains intentionally chosen words, phrases, and optimized metadata familiar to an industry or niche. By researching and incorporating unique sets of keywords and phrases, you can create highly personalized content that targets a unique audience.

Creating intelligent content is a process requiring several important steps you won’t want to skip. Stay on top of the game by crafting content that:

  • is modular & reusable
  • structured intentionally
  • semantically rich

Reap the Rewards of Your Smart Work
Creating intelligent content can be tough, and you’re going to have to bust out your writing toolkit. But you’re going to see some awesome results if your content is reusable, highly structured, and optimized.

When content is put together in this way success will be yours. By creating intelligent content, you can more easily deliver it, customize it, personalize it, deliver it to multiple channels, speed up delivery time, and reduce production costs – and that’s a whole lot of bang for your buck.

Getting Started with Your Google My Business Listing

Signals from Google My Business (GMB) listings are the most influential ranking factor for local search results. Potential customers use the information provided to learn about your business and decide if they contact you or convert. Take advantage of the free and easy to use platform for local visibility. Here’s how to get started.

Claim and Verify Your Listing

First you need to get your listing on the map. To do this you need to either create a new listing or claim one that already exists. You will then need to confirm your ownership of the business. Google can send you a PIN verification code or recognize ownership using a few of methods:

  • Sending a postcard to the physical address of the business
  • Call or text the listed phone number
  • Send an email to the email address associated with the account
  • Verifying your business in Google Search Console

If you don’t verify via Google Search Console, just enter the PIN provided and you’re good to go.

Fill Out Your Business Listing

Now it’s time to add information to your listing. Providing accurate information will help customer locate and contact your business. The information on your listing will also help differentiate your business from competitors. There are plenty of features to take advantage of to completely optimize your listing like adding appointment URLs and services, but there are a few critical pieces of information you must include.

Your businesses name, address, and phone number (NAP)

Add your business’ current contact information and don’t be tempted to keyword stuff your business name. You will still need to add an address if you travel to customers, but the address will be hidden on your listing.

Primary and additional categories

Choose the right category for your business. Keep in mind that only the primary category gets added to your listing, so make sure you choose the most applicable one. Additional categories, while not public, can help your business show up for relevant searches.

Business Hours

Add your current business hours and make sure to update this if your hours change. This is vital information for customers who are trying to call or visit your business. Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than showing up to a business that is closed when their business listing says open.

Add Your Website

Add your business’ URL so customers can learn more about the company and the services or products offered. Businesses with a single location should link to their homepage. Consider linking to location pages if your business has multiple locations.

Add Photos

Customers love looking at photos, in fact, Google announced that “businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving direction to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their website than businesses that don’t have photos.” Take advantage of this opportunity by loading up your listing with great photos.

Manage Your Reviews

When a business is listed on Google customer can easily leave review if they are logged into their account. These reviews show up in a tab on your business listing along with a star rating. Reviews also help build trust with customers, Brightlocal revealed that 73% of consumers trust a business more when they read positive reviews. There is also evidence that Google reviews help ranking and SEO. Actively reaching out for and responding to reviews will create trust with your customers and send positive signals to Google so make sure to take advantage.

Look at GMB Insights

See how customers search for your business with using insights from GMB. View whether customers find your business from a direct or a discovery search. Direct searches involve customers searching for your business name or location and discovery searches are from people searching locally for generic categories (such as urgent care near me). GMB insights will also tell you how many customers visited your website, requested directions, and called you within a given period of time. Leverage this data to your advantage to help further optimize your GMB listing and website.

Monitor Your Listing

Google loves community input and allows anyone to suggest an edit to your listing. While this is meant to be a helpful tool to keep information accurate and up-to-date spammers can take advantage of this function to add incorrect information and lead customers away from your business. Just be sure to check your listing regularly to make sure all information is correct.

Keep these tips in mind when creating a GMB listing and stay on top of new updates and releases from Google to keep your listing optimized.

SEO for Hotels: A Beginner’s Guide

It’s a common misconception that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a one-size-fits-all solution for businesses. The truth is that SEO tactics can vary depending on your industry. This is especially true within the hotel industry because competition is fierce, and most consumers begin researching hotels for trips at least three months in advance. Therefore, it’s vital that your hotel has prime visibility within search engines to capture not only the consumers who are ready to book, but also those who are still in the research stages of the booking journey. Today, we will cover some unique SEO strategies for hotels that can carve a successful path for your business.

Audit & Update Local Citations

Local citations are websites that provide information about local businesses (i.e. TripAdvisor, Yellow Pages, Yelp, etc.). Having updated location citations plays a key role in achieving prominent rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs). In fact, Google trusts local citation sites even if potential customers do not visit them because they are established and indexed websites.

Google crawls the web for your business information and any inconsistencies in your UNAP (URL, Name, Address, Phone Number) information decreases the organic visibility of your site. Hotels are often listed in these directories. Frequently auditing and updating your local citations is crucial to ensuring your hotel displays in the SERPs.

Link Building

Obtaining links from other websites to yours is an important component of any digital strategy. Inbound links are particularly important for hotels. This is because they work as an important ranking factor for Google when determining how hotels should be displayed. In addition, having 3rd party links to your website can lead to bookings and awareness as well. However, obtaining those links initially can be a bit difficult and may require some manual outreach. One handy tip is to think of local websites your potential visitors may be viewing. For example, perhaps there is a marathon coming up in your area; or some sort of popular event will be held nearby. It would be beneficial to reach out to the webmaster of the event’s website and try to get your hotel linked on their site.


Another example of great websites for hotels to link to include wedding venues and universities. Plastic surgeons’ websites are also mutually beneficial, because their patients will need a restful place to recuperate after their procedure. Just know that some businesses may require some sort of group discount to get listed – so it is a good idea to get your sales team involved.

Best Keywords for Hotels

The best keywords to target within the hotel industry are those that are hyper local to the hotel’s location. For example, let’s say your hotel is in a suburb (such as Plano, Texas) of a major metro market (such as Dallas, Texas). When a user searches for the term, “Dallas hotels”, Google only displays hotels directly in the city-center.

But when a user searches for hotels in Plano, Texas, only hotels near the suburb of Plano will display in the search results.

Google’s algorithm is highly sophisticated, and Google’s #1 priority is to serve highly relevant results to its users. So, even if it’s tempting to target a term with high search volume such as “Dallas hotels,” that type of keyword is highly competitive, and your hotel will only have a chance at ranking for that keyword if it is in that exact geographical area.

Website Content

Changes are often happening at hotels. Perhaps your hotel had a recent name change or an upcoming event is occurring nearby. It’s important that this information is prominently displayed for customers on your site. Failing to notify visitors about certain updates (such as hotel construction for a renovation) leads to a poor customer experience and negative reviews. Negative reviews cause long-term SEO problems in the future. In addition, having fresh content on your website is another one of Google’s ranking factors and it plays an important role in terms of strong SEO performance.

Overall Hotel SEO Strategy

Crafting a hotel SEO strategy requires thoughtful research about your customers and their purchasing journey. It is also important to implement a unique strategy that considers your hotel’s brand, amenities, location, and seasonality. The tips covered in this guide are intended to work as a starting point to highlighting your hotel online. If you have questions about your hotel’s digital marketing, we’re here to help. Leverage Marketing is built on 17 years digital marketing experience. Contact us to learn more about our vast array of services and discover how we can tailor a strategy to meet your needs.