Jeff Keleher

Hear that sound? It’s Alice Cooper’s seminal 1972 ode to summer vacation, “School’s Out,” blasting out of every boombox in America (Kids still listen to boomboxes, right? And Alice Cooper?). For the next two to three months, kids across the United States will be so busy with swim lessons, summer camps and little league that they’ll forget everything they learned during the past school year. Marketers don’t have that luxury, however.

The school year may be finished, but the learning has only just begun. So, get out your eraser, sharpen your No. 2 pencil and break open that Trapper Keeper, because the Content Marketing Weekly’s about to drop a knowledge bomb all over the place.

Google Begins Sending Goodbye Old AdWords UI Notices

Nobody likes change, but sometimes it’s for the best. Case in point: Google’s new AdWords user interface. The general consensus is the new UI has a bit of a learning curve at the outset, but once you get over the hump, it’ll feel more natural and intuitive than the old interface.

If you’ve been holding out on switching over to the revamped AdWords UI, now’s the time to map out a transition plan. The migration won’t happen all at once: Google plans to take a phased approach, moving groups of accounts over throughout the rest of the year.

According to Ginny Marvin over at Search Engine Land, Google has already begun sending out notices to advertisers letting them know their accounts will switch over to the new interface as early as next month.

There’s no way to know when you’ll receive your own notice, and you may only receive a week or two-week lead time before having your account switched over. With that in mind, it’s better to get acclimated with the next AdWords UI now rather than wait for your turn to come up.

How to Recover If You Got De-indexed by Google

We’ve all awoken in the middle of the night – bed sheets drenched in sweat, loved ones startled by your blood-curdling screams – from that same content marketing nightmare: Your entire organic search traffic simply vanishes overnight, leaving no trace of all that hard work you’ve put into building up your site’s search ranking over the years.

For some marketers, this is a nightmare they don’t wake up from. It’s the very real-life fallout that happens when Google de-indexes your site.

In these darkest content marketing moments, it can feel like your whole world is coming down around you. But HigherPartner co-founder and Search Engine Journal contributor Adam Heitzman is here with a message of hope: You can bounce back from this, but it’s going to take a lot of work.

The first step is to determine exactly why your site was de-indexed. If you haven’t received a formal notification from Google about it, odds are there’s a glaring error in your site’s code that’s the culprit.

Otherwise, Google’s flagged some practice of yours that violates its guidelines. And there are many ways to run afoul of Google:

  • Suspicious inbound and outbound links.
  • Duplicate, auto-generated or flatout plagiarized content.
  • “Cloaking” content through different sets of URLs.

There are more innocuous reasons for being de-indexed too: maybe your domain name expired or your server crashed.

Whatever the case may be, you need to take swift action to rectify the situation and get back into Google’s good graces. If you have done something to violate Google guidelines, treat it as a fantastic learning opportunity: You can’t game Google, so don’t even try.

Nine in 10 Marketers Admit Their Marketing Automation Is Not up to Scratch

If there’s one bad thing you could say about the first two “Terminator” movies, it’s that they have been directly responsible for an entire generation of movie lovers growing up deeply skeptical of automated machines.

Now we’re not saying Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron are personally to blame for the fact that nine out of 10 marketers fail to get the most out of marketing automation – but it’s something to think about.

According to a recent GetResponse and SmartInsights survey, only 8 percent of marketers would rate their use of automation software as highly effective. That’s not good, to put it mildly.

Think of all the time you could save not getting bogged down in repetitive, monotonous tasks. Let the robots handle this one – you have better things to do.

So put your fears of Skynet aside and take advantage of marketing automation already.

It’s Not About the Tea: How to Make Buyer Personas That Really Satisfy

We talk a lot about buyer personas here at Brafton, and with good reason: They help you think of your target audience as real people with real problems and real goals. The end result? More focused content that actually resonates with your readers.

However, not all buyer personas are created equal. As The Creative Copywriter CEO and Content Marketing Institute contributor Konrad Sanders pointed out, there are plenty of extremely detailed buyer personas that don’t really say anything at all.

Often, the problem is that businesses focus on the wrong details. Bart Thompson, the 43-year-old HR manager likes watching reruns of “The King of Queens.” Awesome, but what does that actually tell you about Bart other than he has terrible taste in TV shows?

Sanders argues that rather than focus on irrelevant personal details, your personas should be built around buyer insights with actual implications on their decision to purchase. He recommends interviewing existing customers to understand what led them to buying your solution and what role they played in that process.

You can color in the details with those personal factoids, but they shouldn’t be the core of your personas.

The school bell’s ringing, which means we’ve run out of time on this edition of The Content Marketing Weekly. Come back next week for a selection of the best marketing insights around. Class dismissed.