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Google Adds Data Back to Search Terms Report—What's the Catch?

Google Adds Data Back to Search Terms Report—What's the Catch?

Maybe I nerd out over PPC too much, but I think looking through the search terms report is the most entertaining activity. When else do you have the opportunity to get inside the heads of your audience and see what they’re typing into Google? Last year, Google took away some of the fun with limitations they placed on the data. I was among many advertisers bummed out about it. But just last week on September 9, Google announced it would be adding some new data to the search terms report.

So what are these changes? Are they all positive? Read on to find out:

What’s improving in the Google Ads search terms report.
What the trade-off is.
Comments from the PPC community on what this change means.
Four tips on how to make the most of the data you have.
Google adds new data to the search terms report—an improvement?

On September 9, Google announced that it will be making improvements to the search terms report tool within the advertising platform. Google stated that, effective immediately, search terms that pulled in impressions but no clicks will now show. So you may already be seeing this in your account!

This is different from it previously only showing popular queries that pulled in clicks. While you’ll still only be able to see the highest volume terms that meet privacy thresholds, this at least gives advertisers a bit more to work with.

They also did us the favor of having this change apply to some of our historical data as well. The new search terms reporting will be applicable to all data going back to February 1, 2021.

So, if you want to get a better idea of what you’ve been showing up for this past year, that’s now possible.

For further context…

The Google Ads search terms report used to show us all the queries our ads showed for. It gets me fondly nostalgic just thinking back on that. 

But in September 2020, Google Ads reduced the visibility in the search terms report to only show queries that “a significant number of users searched for” to maintain privacy between searcher and advertiser. 

Many advertisers were unhappy about these limitations, pleading with Google to give us the data we have a right to.

One of many angry tweets in response to Google’s 2020 announcement.

So this is what Google means in its 2021 update when it says “We’ve heard your feedback on last year’s search terms report updates.” We still can’t see low-volume queries, but for now, this recently released update is the closest we’ve gotten to an improvement.

But Google is also removing some data in 2022

I can’t believe I thought Google would let us off this easy! Of course, there’s a catch with this change.Although Google is expanding the search terms report to include high volume search queries with impressions but no clicks, there is a give-take here.

In February 2022, Google will be removing search terms in historical reports that don’t meet the privacy threshold volume established in September 2020.

What this means is, right now, if you look at your search terms report data for any date range prior to September 2020, you will still be able to see low-volume search terms.

But in February 2022, this will no longer be possible. All search term data, pre- and post-September 2020, will have the same limitations—showing only search terms with high enough volume to protect privacy.

However, this was some time ago. With the ever-changing search space, looking back on old search terms you showed for years ago may not do you much good anyway.

Thoughts from the PPC community on the search terms report update

I’m not the only who has an opinion on this change, check out what other PPC thought leaders are saying about this particular Google update:

General sentiment: this is good news

PPC Expert Navah Hopkins mentions the importance of this announcement to advertisers—and that we should get pumped about it.

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Removal of old search term data is a bummer, but not a major loss

Search Engine Land sat down with senior product manager at Google, Pallavi Naresh, who stated that this shouldn’t be a major loss:

“‘Most advertisers will continue to see most of their queries prior to Sept 1, 2020…We are only removing historical queries that did not meet the new thresholds for search query reporting that we established in September 2020. We are removing this data as part of our ongoing effort to make our privacy thresholds consistent across Google.’”

This doesn’t assure us that our pre-September 2020 search terms report data will still be helpful—after all, seeing “most of” your queries may not necessarily be what you need if the ones not included in the report are the ones you are adding to your negative keywords list.

However, as I stated earlier, old search terms from a year ago or longer may not be useful information. So all in all, it doesn’t seem to be a major loss.

More Google updates are coming down the line

Greg Finn, another PPC thought leader, reminds us about the part in Google’s announcement regarding more updates to come. 

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Tips for the new search terms report changes

This may not be the break-through search terms update everyone was hoping for, but it’s a change nonetheless. Here are a few ways to take this update in stride:

1. Take inventory of old searches

Since we’re potentially losing past searches from before September 2020 (depending on the privacy thresholds) you may want to take a sweep through for anything notable. You can take inventory of any past search terms you may want to use as keywords, negatives, or ad copy ideas for future.

Similarly, now that we have access to more searches from February 2021 to now, take a look through your past searches from this year and see if anything new catches your eye.

Aaron Levy, head of paid search at Tinuiti, has the same idea, telling advertisers to “harvest your long term trends.”

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2. Start looking through your current searches more regularly

Remember, we now have the ability to see a bit more into our current search terms! The practice of making regular check ups on the search terms report may have been abandoned by some folks due to the previous September 2020 changes. If this sounds like you, try incorporating a search terms review back intoyour regular PPC audit routine.

Searches with impressions but no clicks can be just as telling because they indicate those users were not inclined to click on your ad. So think about improvements you could make to improve your CTR (improving your headlines or adding extensions, for example).

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3. Be on the lookout for more info on the Insights page

At the very end of the announcement, Google slyly hinted at providing even more resources on its new beta tool, the Insights page.

The Insights page will be similar to the recommendation section where you can get help on overall performance, but it will also provide information on trends within your industry.

The platform mentioned that, in the coming months, the Insights page will be built out to include “search terms themes” to give you a better idea of the types of searches you’re showing up for.

Here’s the official quote from Google on this:

“Our goal is to provide you with a deeper understanding of how your customers find you on Search. In the coming months, we’ll be giving you even more resources on the Insights page to help you understand the search query themes that drove performance in your campaigns—even if those queries don’t appear in your search terms report.”

4. Use Auction Insights and Google Trends for extra help

Lastly, these changes to the search terms report aren’t super significant. I can anticipate some advertisers, myself included, still wanting more. While this may be the best we can get from the search terms report for now, you can piece together what your SERP looks like elsewhere.

Auction insights is a great place to start because, while it doesn’t indicate what searches triggered your competitors to show, you at least know who else was sharing the SERP with you. This is key tounderstanding the competition space in your industry.

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Additionally, you can always rely on Google Trends to help you get a better feel of what search queries people are interested in over time and location.

Both can help you better understand your searchers’ experience on the SERP when used in conjunction with the search terms report.

Another day, another (hopefully helpful) change from Google?

When push comes to shove, this change should assist most advertisers in maintaining some control over what queries their ads show for.

Even with the trade-off of losing some historical searches from years past, this change is the closest thing to a positive or helpful one from Google Ads that we’ve seen in a while.

Either way, you can see that these changes won’t stop coming from Google. Therefore, it’s best to take them in stride and see how you can make every update work for your business.

So, what are you going to do to make this change work in your favor? Let us know in the comments!

Patrick Industries (PATK) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know

This story originally appeared on Zacks

Patrick Industries (PATK) closed at $80.47 in the latest trading session, marking a +1.71% move from the prior day. This change outpaced the S&P 500’s 0.85% gain on the day.

– Zacks

Coming into today, shares of the building products manufacturer had lost 5.88% in the past month. In that same time, the Construction sector lost 3.74%, while the S&P 500 lost 0.37%.Investors will be hoping for strength from PATK as it approaches its next earnings release. In that report, analysts expect PATK to post earnings of $2.06 per share. This would mark year-over-year growth of 27.16%. Our most recent consensus estimate is calling for quarterly revenue of $958.2 million, up 36.75% from the year-ago period.PATK’s full-year Zacks Consensus Estimates are calling for earnings of $8.64 per share and revenue of $3.79 billion. These results would represent year-over-year changes of +105.71% and +52.22%, respectively.Investors might also notice recent changes to analyst estimates for PATK. These recent revisions tend to reflect the evolving nature of short-term business trends. As a result, we can interpret positive estimate revisions as a good sign for the company’s business outlook.Our research shows that these estimate changes are directly correlated with near-term stock prices. Investors can capitalize on this by using the Zacks Rank. This model considers these estimate changes and provides a simple, actionable rating system.Ranging from #1 (Strong Buy) to #5 (Strong Sell), the Zacks Rank system has a proven, outside-audited track record of outperformance, with #1 stocks returning an average of +25% annually since 1988. The Zacks Consensus EPS estimate remained stagnant within the past month. PATK currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy).In terms of valuation, PATK is currently trading at a Forward P/E ratio of 9.16. For comparison, its industry has an average Forward P/E of 9.78, which means PATK is trading at a discount to the group.The Building Products – Mobile Homes and RV Builders industry is part of the Construction sector. This industry currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 6, which puts it in the top 3% of all 250+ industries.The Zacks Industry Rank gauges the strength of our individual industry groups by measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups. Our research shows that the top 50% rated industries outperform the bottom half by a factor of 2 to 1.You can find more information on all of these metrics, and much more, on Zacks.com.
Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana
If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027.
After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%.
You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE > >Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Patrick Industries, Inc. (PATK): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

Mid-Cap ETFs Looking Good Amid Market Uncertainties

This story originally appeared on Zacks

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– Zacks

Wall Street has surprised with rallies despite rising Delta variant cases. Investors are however on the edge considering certain factors that might impact the current investing environment. Factors like surging Delta variant cases and the Federal Reserve meeting where it might announce plans to taper bond purchases are also raising worries. U.S. consumers also seem worried about the sustainability of economic recovery from the pandemic-led slump, rising Delta variant threat and increasing inflation levels.Intensifying investors’ concerns further, September is historically considered the worst-performing month for Wall Street. Analysts expect a market correction in September. According to the LPL Financial data published in a Yahoo Finance article, the S&P 500 has fallen about 1%, on average, in September since 1950. Certain recent economic data releases also turned out to be very disappointing. The U.S. economy added only 235,000 jobs in August 2021 (the lowest in seven months).Meanwhile, the FDA granting the first full U.S. approval to Pfizer (PFE)/BioNTech’s (BNTX) coronavirus vaccine, Comirnaty (BNT162b), has also boosted investors’ confidence. The full FDA approval is expected to increase the confidence for imposing vaccine mandates. Also, the unvaccinated population is now more likely to opt for vaccinations.Considering the mixed sentiments, mid-cap funds are gaining increased attention as they provide both growth and stability in comparison to the small-cap and large-cap counterparts. As such, investors seeking to capitalize on the strong fundamentals but worried about uncertainty should consider mid-cap ETFs. Here, we have presented five popular mid-cap ETFs like Vanguard Mid-Cap ETF VO, SPDR S&P MIDCAP 400 ETF Trust MDY, iShares Russell Mid-Cap Value ETF IWS, Vanguard Mid-Cap Growth ETF VOT and Schwab U.S. Mid-Cap ETF SCHM.
Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana
If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027.
After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%.
You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE > >Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report SPDR S&P MidCap 400 ETF (MDY): ETF Research Reports Schwab U.S. MidCap ETF (SCHM): ETF Research Reports iShares Russell MidCap Value ETF (IWS): ETF Research Reports Vanguard MidCap Growth ETF (VOT): ETF Research Reports Vanguard MidCap ETF (VO): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research

What is Schema Markup? (+6 Easy Types to Use for Your Small Business)

What is Schema Markup? (+6 Easy Types to Use for Your Small Business)

For any digital marketer who wants to elevate their SEO performance, taking the time to add schema.org markup to their web pages can help those pages appear in rich results, which are more clickable and desirable to users.But many hesitate to work on the backend of their websites. They know that schema is important, but forgo adding the markup to their pages (or default to plugins) without really understanding what schema is and how it can help generate more organic traffic.

For those digital marketers who are not familiar with the multiple schema types available and how they can boost search engine visibility, this article will cover the following schema essentials:

What schema.org markup is and why it’s important to search engines.
How schema.org can help with SEO performance.
The different schema types and how to choose the best types for your web pages.
How to add schema markup to a web page without consulting a web developer.
What is Schema markup?

Schema.org markup is a shared vocabulary of microdata that helps major search engines better understand the content on web pages.

The schema vocabulary includes specific ways of structuring data around people, places, and things. When Google crawlers find a specific schema type on their web page, it helps them understand what that content means, and which kinds of rich results to serve.

The Schema.org website estimates that only about 10 million web pages utilize schema. In the vast landscape of the internet, that’s a pretty small percentage.

So those digital marketers who take the time to add schema to their pages have even more opportunities to outrank and outperform their competitors in search.

What are the SEO benefits of Schema markup?

The primary value proposition of Schema markup is that it enables your web pages to appear in rich results, or more prominent SERP placements.

For example, see the first page of the SERPs for the keyword phrase, “target.”

Rather than just the standard SERP result with the blue, clickable page title and the accompanying meta description, this SERP has a variety of rich results that also appear at the top of the page.

All of these rich results are powered by schema.org markup.

But there are other benefits of adding schema.org to web pages beyond just improved SERP real estate.

Higher CTR: Average CTR for rich results is 58% compared to 41% for non-rich results. For some rich result types, CTR can jump as high as 87%
Improved Targeting: If you are trying to get users to book events, buy products, or make bookings, rich results can help you reach audiences who are looking to do so
Brand Awareness: Appearing at the top of the and in more prominent real estate can help your brand gain more recognition
Get a CTA from Google: Some rich results come with CTAs like “Call,” or “Get Now,” which can help drive clicks and conversions.
Types of Schema markups and when to use them

About one-third of Google’s search results include rich results. Rich results not only look more enticing in the SERPs, they more quickly provide users with the exact information they’re looking for.

For example, a searcher that types “indoor garden,” into the search bar is likely looking for a product that will allow them to garden indoors.

Example product rich results for “indoor garden” keyword

However, a searcher that types “how to garden” is looking for step-by-step information. Naturally, Google populates that second set of search results with the “How-to” rich results.

Because Google loves making search as simple and easy for the user as possible, it’s likely Google will continue to add different types of rich results to match the various types of searches people conduct on the internet.

Google now has over 30 different types of rich results. Here are some of the most common that you’ve likely seen populate in your Google searches:

Article
Breadcrumb
Event
FAQ
How-to
JobPosting
Logo
Product
Q&A
Review Snippet
Video
With products, jobs, and events schemas, and, as of earlier this year, education sites, Google doesn’t appear to be slowing down with rich results anytime soon.

That means if your web pages are not appearing in rich results yet, you’re missing out on tons of opportunities to stand out against your competition.

But no business needs to add every schema type to their website. Your specific industry and the type of content on your website will influence what schema markups will be most beneficial for your brand.

Schema markup examples: 6 powerful schema types for small businesses

Across the board, there are some essential schema types that pretty much every small to midsize business should add to improve their SEO performance, brand visibility, and conversion rates.

If you have content on your web page that fits with one of the below schema types, your brand could likely benefit from adding the corresponding schema markup to the page.

1. Organization schema markup

Improve brand identity and awareness

The organization schema combines essential information about your business or organization into a knowledge panel that appears in the right side of the search results.

This knowledge panel will show up for search queries that include your brand name.

Here are some specific benefits from adding the organization schema type to your web pages:

Brand recognition: Because the organization schema consolidates key information about your brand like your name, logo, founder, location, and services, it can help improve brand awareness overall.
Social media following: By combining links to your social media profiles within the knowledge panel, you can generate more links to your social media pages as well as more followers and engagements
Reputation management: For enterprise brands with a lot of brand recognition and therefore lots of other people on the internet publishing content with their brand name, schema can help with reputation management—by helping to direct users to the information you want them to focus on and understand about your business.
2. Local business Schema markup

Get more appointments and bookings

Google knows when a user is searching for a local offering and will rank local businesses at the top of the results accordingly.

Because the majority of local searches happen on mobile devices, it’s important to help improve your appearances in Google Map Pack.

Local search results on mobile for “physical therapists”

The local business schema makes it easy for Google to find and display key information about your business like hours of operation, address, phone numbers, as well as display your reviews.

Within the local business schema markup, you can add an action schema with your result, like “Book an appointment,” or “Make a reservation.”

Some of the information displayed in rich results for local businesses is pulled from your Google My Business listing, so make sure your business has properly set up and claimed your listing.

Then, I recommended adding the schema markup to your home page, about page, and contact page.

3. Breadcrumbs Schema markup

Help users (and search engines) understand your website architecture

The breadcrumbs schema helps search engines know how the web pages on your site interrelate. If you have a lot of content on your site, the breadcrumbs schema is a must-have.

Although the appearance of a SERP result doesn’t drastically change due to breadcrumbs, it helps users and search engines understand how your content is organized.

It can help reduce the number of times that users bounce back to the search results, but instead encourage them to navigate through more pages of your website.

4. Sitelink Schema markup

Give searchers more options and take up more real estate

When it comes to making an impact in the SERPs, sitelinks can help you provide more options to searchers and take up more space.

Some of the key benefits of the sitelinks schema include:

Give users more options that are relevant to their query
Direct users to your highest-converting pages
Make your SERP result more desirable and clickable than others
5. Product Schema markup

Let shoppers see key information about your products

Ecommerce companies will significantly benefit by adding the product schema to their product pages.

Product schema shows search engine users key information about your product in a carousel at the top of the SERPs.

Information like price, reviews, or special promotions will also appear alongside the image of your product in your rich result.

The product schema puts your product at the front and center of the user’s experience so they don’t have to navigate through category pages or your ecommerce site’s search bar.

For your competitors who are not using the products schema, you will also easily outrank them by appearing in the carousel at the top of the page.

6. Review Schema markup

Let searchers know you have happy customers

The review schema is arguably one that every business should be using, regardless of their industry.

That’s because reviews are such a key part of most users’ purchasing decisions. Almost 90% of buyers look to reviews before purchasing a product. So if you have good reviews, there’s no reason not to display them.

Review snippets will display those yellow stars alongside how many reviews your product, local business, or software product has received.

Seeing directly in the SERP results that your business, product, or service has lots of 4 and 5 star reviews makes your result more desirable in the eyes of users who trust ratings and reviews when choosing products or services.

How to add Schema to your web pages

Because adding schema markup means venturing into the backend of their websites, many digital marketers hesitate to add schema.

Although it may be best for beginners to be guided by the help of a skilled web developer, anyone can add schema markup to their web pages using schema tools.

Choose a Schema markup format

There are three different schema markup formats. These formats determine which properties are required, optional, or recommended in the schema markup.

No schema format is better than another, but you must know and understand them to ensure your schema is properly validated and can appear in rich results.

JSON-LD: This format is considered the easiest to implement for beginners, as the annotation type can simply be copied and pasted into the heading of the web page.
RDFa: Short for Resource Descriptive Framework in Attributes, you can add this code to any HTML, XHTML, and XML-based document
Microdata: Microdata has separate attributes than RDFa, but the implementation is similar.
If all this code talk makes you nervous, don’t worry. You can implement a schema to your web page using tools that generate the code for you.

Use a Schema markup generator 

To add schema to your web pages, use a schema generator tool. These tools simplify adding schema markup by doing the hard part (the coding) for you.

Schema Generator in SearchAtlas software suite

Simply select which schema type you want, add the required attributes prompted by the tool, and you will see the tool generate your code.

The above tool uses JSON-LD markup, so all you have to do is copy and paste the markup into the heading of your web page.

Test your Schema markup

You can then check that your schema has been properly implemented with the help of Google’s rich results test.

After you’ve deployed your web page with the new schema, copy and paste the url into the tool.

Google will notify you whether or not the page is eligible for rich results, which results it’s eligible for, and whether or not there are any warnings on the page.

If the page is not eligible, you’ll see this:

Improve your SEO, CTR, and reputation with Schema markup

If you’re not comfortable choosing your own schema and implementing the code yourself, don’t hesitate to work with a seasoned SEO strategist or web developer to get schema markup implemented on your web pages.

But if the cost of hiring those services is holding you back, you can implement this powerful SEO optimization on your own.

Adding schema to your website will be worth the value it brings in the long term: More visibility, more clicks, and more converting traffic.

Do you want to start with tequila? Open a multilevel marketer

This article was translated from our Spanish edition.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This article was updated on September 15, 2021

Exports of the national distillate to the United States totaled 172.4 million liters. On the other hand, direct or multilevel sales constitute one of the main marketing channels worldwide. Design a payment and compensation model for people who join your network. Why? The tequila industry in Mexico produces more than 240 million liters each year; of which 70% is exported. According to the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT), as of December 2018, foreign sales totaled 209.7 million liters.

Depositphotos.com

Exports of the national distillate to the United States totaled 172.4 million liters, which is equivalent to 1.3 billion dollars in sales and more than 70 thousand jobs throughout the Agave-Tequila production chain . On the other hand, direct or multilevel sales constitute one of the main marketing channels worldwide. Mexico is the second most important market in Latin America (only after Brazil) and sixth in the world. While the most popular product categories are: beauty, footwear, food supplements and fashion. How? From the union of two industries that, despite the economic ups and downs, are always dynamic – tequila and direct sales – a new concept arises that consists of the commercialization of this distillate through a multilevel system. To start, contact one or more tequila brands that are interested in you becoming their commercial arm. Then, it integrates a physical or online catalog that contains the most important characteristics of each product (origin, type, years of aging, milliliters, price). Also design a payment and compensation model for the people who join your network, and don’t forget to include training in key areas such as negotiation, customer service, tracking, and collections. All of this can represent up to $ 100,000 of investment. How to start selling? Like the rest of the direct sales networks: start promoting your offer among friends and family (both to join your marketing network and to make them end consumers). Whats Next? Two more elements: perseverance and professionalism in terms of punctuality in deliveries, variety of products and special promotions. Success example In Mexico: Tequila Nock

Stocks to Correct 5-10% in 2021? Buy These ETFs

This story originally appeared on Zacks

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have been near all-time highs despite a disappointing jobs report, soaring COVID-19 cases and the Fed’s taper talks. Miller Tabak chief market strategist Matt Maley raised a warning sign against such stock market behavior, as quoted on CNBC.

– Zacks

Per the article, Maley believes that today’s market bubble is similar to “red flags during the 1999-2000 and 2007-2008 peaks. During the dotcom bubble, for example, he says stocks shot sky-high no matter the fundamentals much like AMC and GameStop have this year.”He indicated that the QQQ Nasdaq 100 ETF now trades at a 70% premium to its 200-week moving average, pretty higher than where it was before the last few corrections. Another market watcher warns there’s a “fair chance” that stocks may decline 25%, as quoted on businessinsider.com.A consensus in a September market sentiment survey published by Deutsche Bank lately indicated that an equity market correction of 5-10% by the end of the year is likely, as quoted on Reuters. According to the report, conducted from Sep 7-9 and covering over 550 market professionals globally, 58% of respondents expect an equity selloff by the year-end.While such predictions may go wrong and stocks may soar if the COVID-19 crisis is handled efficiently, overvaluation concerns do remain. This is especially true given that the earnings estimates of the S&P 500 components are showing signs of a slowdown. The magnitude of positive third-quarter estimate revisions is notably below what we had seen in the comparable periods of the last three earnings seasons. The Delta variant can be held responsible for the loss of momentum.If this was not enough, two senior U.S. Senate Democrats recently forwarded a proposal to levy a 2% excise tax on corporate stock buybacks to finance President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion domestic investment plan. Per the Democrats, such a move would force companies to shell out more on workers and less on share repurchases (which normally boost stock prices).Against this backdrop, below we mention a few ETFs that carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) or 1 (Strong Buy), lagged the S&P 500 year-to-date returns by about 20% and has a P/E lower than the S&P 500 ETF SPY’s 22.20X.ETFs in Focus SPDR S&P Biotech ETF XBI – Down 6.52%; P/E: 14.77XThings have turned bullish for the biotech space of late. The pandemic triggered a race to introduce vaccines and treatment options, opening up investing opportunities in the biotech sector. The FDA’s first full U.S. approval to Pfizer (PFE) /BioNTech’s (BNTX) coronavirus vaccine, Comirnaty (BNT162b) has brought optimism to the space. Moreover, a Reuters report stated that the U.S. government recently announced plans to make COVID-19 vaccine booster shots available starting Sep 20. Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF XLB – Up 18.11% YTD; P/E: 17.28XThe gradual reopening of the economy and the $1 trillion worth of infrastructure bill are positives. Infrastructure and industrial activities will definitely require materials and thus the sector will emerge as yet another beneficiary. Plus, higher pent-up demand and an improving labor market should boost the inflationary pressure and increase the price of materials.Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF VYM – Up 18.21% YTD; P/E: 18.20XWith the 10-year Treasury yield crossing the S&P 500 dividend, income-loving investors would definitely look for other better options. VYM yields 2.77% currently. Plus, the dividend payout scenario has also improved within corporate America (read: Is Taper-Tantrum Looming Ahead? 6 ETF Plays).iShares Currency Hedged MSCI Japan ETF HEWJ – Up 16.99% YTD; P/E: 16.77XAfter underperforming for several months, Japan stocks have gained momentum lately on hopes of a stronger government ahead of a ruling party leadership race and a general election in November. The resignation of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has opened the door for the new government, which will likely unveil an economic package to support pandemic-hit businesses and families. As such, the move has spurred bets for strong economic recovery by the end of the year. Notably, the Japan Topix Index climbed to the highest level since April 1991 and has been outperforming its Asian peers in recent weeks. 
Tech IPOs With Massive Profit Potential
In the past few years, many popular platforms and like Uber and Airbnb finally made their way to the public markets. But the biggest paydays came from lesser-known names.
For example, electric carmaker X Peng shot up +299.4% in just 2 months. Think of it this way…
If you had put $5,000 into XPEV at its IPO in September 2020, you could have cashed out with $19,970 in November.
With record amounts of cash flooding into IPOs and a record-setting stock market, this year’s lineup could be even more lucrative.See Zacks Hottest Tech IPOs Now > >Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLB): ETF Research Reports SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI): ETF Research Reports iShares Currency Hedged MSCI Japan ETF (HEWJ): ETF Research Reports Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research

You Don’t Have to Fake it to Be a Successful Leader

ContentFreshnessUsefulnessActionable advice for small business owners who want to lead authentically through good times and bad, encouraging them not only to survive but thrive with integrity.If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.“Make it don’t Fake It: Leading with Authenticity for Real Business Success” is a new book by Sabrina Horn. In short, “This book is about ethics, passion, confidence, pride, resilience commitment and survival. It’s about doing things the right way. It’s about becoming a leader, building a company culture and a brand based on strong core values, managing both growth and decline dealing with loneliness and with losing. Facing a plethora of crises, and profitably selling your business — It’s about doing all this while staying grounded in reality, integrity and grace.” If you’re a small business owner who wants to reach success without sacrificing their integrity, then read on. Who is Sabrina Horn?With just $500 and five years of experience, Sabrina Horn founded her PR firm, Horn Group. She’s been committed to focusing on the importance of authenticity in all aspects of business since her days as one of the few female CEOs in Silicon Valley.Over several decades of being both a CEO and an advisor to clients, she learned that leadership is about making the right decision at the right time — often based on less-than-a-desirable reality.Look for her articles in The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Forbes nad CMO.com.A Spectrum of LiesIn just under 200 pages, Sabrina Horn provides a clear outline for where integrity ends and fakery begins. In short, there isn’t a lot of gray in Horn’s world.It all starts with setting context around the spectrum of “faking it”. From the useful “Acting as if” as introduced by the psychologist, Adler to the downright criminal end of the spectrum which includes fabrication, deception and gaslighting. Honestly, I think the first chapter is the best chapter in the book.  Horn goes through a series of lies you often come across in order of severity.  Here are just a few; Little white lies: These are harmless because their intention is to avoid hurt feelings. But, in a business context, it can lead to trouble. When the chef comes to your table and asks for your feedback on a disappointing dish — if you lie to save their feelings, you’re ultimately hurting their business. Necessary lies: People lie to protect their privacy, to avoid a difficult truth that might hurt the eventual outcome or if they are in physical danger. That’s it, people.  This is where acceptable lying ends.  Remember when I said Horn had no “gray area”?  This is what I meant.  Everything after this point is like moving through the seven levels of lie hell. Winging it: Now, this one surprised me a bit because — well.  Who isn’t guilty of winging it from time to time. Exaggeration: This is another one that’s rather common.  Everything from fudging the results on your resume to inflating a product’s capabilities.Hype and Buzz: Yikes! We marketers are guilty as charged in this area. Sales are emotional and building energy and urgency around a product or service can backfire.Then there are the lies we sort of tell ourselves — Build it and They Will Come: This is when you take a giant risk based on little more than guts.Hot Seat Lies: This is another “entrepreneurial favorite”. When a client asks if you can do something — you say “yes” and grab the skills and people later. Yes — it’s a sort of lie — but hey, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did this in spades and lots of small businesses do this successfully.  So this is one to noodle on.Overconfident lies: You know this one — “We are the premier provider of [insert your product or service here]. This goes right along with, we are the best, biggest, brightest, only, etc,Ostrich lies: These are lies we tell ourselves when we ignore or sweep something under the rug.This next category of lies goes beyond lying to yourself. These are lies we can tell ourselves and others that can really come back to bite.Minimization lies: Unlike exaggeration, these are the lies that you minimize by dodging blame.Lies of Omission: Also known as selective truth-telling. If you’ve spent any length of time in corporate or politics, you have a lot of experience with this one. Downright Deception: These are the most vicious of lies. Hornes gives examples of Bernie Madoff and Elizabeth Holmes — business leaders who really weren’tBut Wait — Is There More?I loved the first chapter so much that I wanted more! Instead, the book moves forward with more of Horne’s experiences, history, and client stories.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I was just excited to get to the lessons ahead with the same type of directness as in the first chapter.So here’s a short summary of the lessons inside:You don’t always have to be strong and fearless. Dealing with crises such as layoffs, tragedy, and disruption sometimes means that “making it” is good enough.The stories you tell yourself or your customers can (and often will) come back to hurt you. Get resilient and become a rigorous truth-teller. Accept and embrace imposter syndrome – it only means that you’re human. Seek out confidence and clarity so that you can make sound business decisions, even when there are no right answers.Read Make it Don’t Fake ItYou might be thinking to yourself that this book is more about the psychology of business than it is about actual tactics. But as I read, I found myself nodding along with many of her lessons. “Make It Don’t Fake It” really does provide valuable insight on how a strong awareness and understanding of one’s own personality can help in all areas. From crisis management to decision making- we are faced with difficult decisions every day that have far-reaching consequences for our businesses–and our lives. Sabrina Horne delivers much-needed clarity in what seems like an overwhelming space.Image: amazon

8 Free Social Media Marketing Courses That Won't Put You to Sleep

8 Free Social Media Marketing Courses That Won't Put You to Sleep

More than half of the world’s population uses social media today for just about every aspect of life. This makes it a staple in any digital marketing strategy, but with multiple rapidly evolving platforms, it’s a bit of a beast to harness for business growth.The other problem, as you’ll soon learn, is that finding a free social media marketing course that is actually worth your time is harder than it should be. 

Which is why I’m excited to share with you my list of eight courses that make for interesting and relevant online learning experiences. Each course covers a slightly different facet of social media marketing, including:

Brand building and SEO
Strategy building and tracking
Social listening and monitoring
Facebook and Instagram advertising
Influencer marketing
TikTok marketing and advertising
Diversity and inclusivity in social media
Paid social strategies
In two hours or less

Before we get into the courses, a bit of context.

The problem with Googling “free social media marketing courses”

Google is generally good at providing the best results for queries (because, Google), but there are exceptions. And apparently, “free social media marketing courses” is one of them.

Due to (a) the rapidly evolving nature of social media, (b) something I’m calling “black hat course engine optimization,” and (c) those who replicate lists without doing their own research—the results were wildly underwhelming.

It was the same 10 or so courses in every roundup, many of which were:

Not free: Not okay.
Not fun: An hour of text-only slides with voiceover.
Outdated: Title says 2021 but content is from 2016.
Too long: 18 hours of video or 165 pages of text-only content.
Sleep aids: College lectures w/o visuals.

For such a visual, creative, and rapidly evolving medium as social media, these courses aren’t going to cut it.

Free social media marketing courses actually worth your while

That being said, I came up with this list of eight (actually) free social media marketing courses that recent, short (15 minutes to two hours), and interesting. They are:

Local Social Media Marketing Lab
How to Create an Impactful Social Strategy for Any Business
Social Listening: Your Launchpad to Success on Social media
Facebook Advertising Blueprint
Influencer Marketing 101: From Zero to Hero
How To Use TikTok for Business
Best Practices for Inclusive Social Media
PPC University: Social Ads 101
I do realize that someday this list will be outdated, but not anytime soon given the evergreen tips and information in these courses. 

Let’s get started.

1. Local social media marketing course (LOCALiQ)

This course is brought to you by LOCALiQ, a digital marketing agency known for its proprietary technology and deep local roots in over 260 communities across the US. 

Title: Local Social Media Marketing LabFormat: Written with visualsLength: 38 minutesCost: Free

Sure, social media can get you in front of billions of people, but that’s not what you’re looking for (or if it is, it’s time to rethink your strategy). This course by LOCALiQ teaches you how to use social media to get the right kind of reach—as in, not for likes and follows but for sustained business growth.

True to its name, this course covers how to use social media for local marketing, but make no mistake—it also contains a wealth of information fit for anyone looking to grow any size business. The course covers:

The essence and nuances of each of the top platforms in 2021.
How to optimize your profiles and posts for local SEO.(Did you know that Facebook is one of the top three business directories?)
How to create content that differentiates your brand and attracts customers.
What (and what not) to post on each platform, and at what frequency.
Over 131 post ideas and examples.

Who this course is good for:

Small/local business owners/marketers looking to build an authoritative online presence through social media—in their geographic and topic-based communities.

Head to the social media marketing course > >

2. Social media marketing strategy course (SkillShare)

This course is brought to you by Living to Roam, an e-learning destination for businesses and marketers of all levels.

Title: Social Media Marketing: How to Create an Impactful Strategy for Any Business(If you have trouble with this link, open it in an incognito window.)Format: Video Length: 2 hoursCost: Free *with free seven-day trial of SkillShare*

The instructor of this course is Living to Roam’s founder Maggie Stara, a social media and digital marketing consultant with a background in organizational psychology. She uses her big-picture mindset to teach you how to develop a holistic social media marketing strategy based on your long-term business objectives, and to break it down into measurable, achievable steps.

You’ll learn how to:

Audit your current strategy and identify what tactics to amplify, continue, or stop. 
Find, assess, and learn from your competitors’ strategies on each network.
Prioritize tactics and allocate resources to drive your marketing objectives.
Tailor your strategy to the unique skillsets of your team. 
Document and report on the analytics of your social media strategy.
This course is good for:

Social media marketers and managers of mid-size or larger organizations looking to streamline and scale their social media marketing efforts.

Go to the social media strategy course > >If you have trouble with this link, open in an incognito/private browsing window.

3. Social listening course (Sprout Social)

This course comes from Sprout Social, a social media management software provider known for its intuitive, easy-to-use web and mobile platform.

Title: Social Listening: Your Launchpad to Success on Social mediaFormat: WrittenLength: 33 minutesCost: Free

Social media optimization isn’t solely about looking at your data and making tweaks. Since social media is a vast world where people can express opinions and emotions, there is a lot more to the picture. This is where social listening is important, and why I’ve included this course on my list. 

With this course, you’ll learn:

The difference between social media monitoring and social media listening
How to use social listening for brand health, industry insights, competitor analysis, campaign analysis, and event monitoring 
In-depth coverage of social listening strategies and use cases using real brands.
How small businesses can use it to establish thought leadership, reach top audiences, identify the best influencers, increase reach in local regions, and beat big brands 
Who this course is good for:

Small businesses and social media marketers looking to build a community around their brand, stay ahead of the curve, and maintain a positive reputation.

Go to the social listening course > >

4. Facebook advertising & social selling courses (Facebook)

This course comes to you from Facebook, the world’s largest social media channel with the widest age range of users than any other platform.

Title: Facebook Blueprint: Start Your Advertising JourneyFormat: Text with visualsLength: 1-2 hoursCost: Free

Facebook Blueprint is a free learning hub with a series of step-by-step tutorials on marketing and advertising effectively through Facebook and Instagram. The tutorials are short and modular, which Facebook will mix and match depending on your learning goal.

While it doesn’t get into strategic approaches, its the best place to find the most current information. Plus, you need to learn how to walk before you start looking at dance moves. Amiright?

In the “Start advertising from your page” track, you’ll learn how to set up Facebook ads, including how to:

Select the right campaign objectives for your business goals.
Choose the right audience type to target.
Select placement targeting and budget method.
Use Facebook Ads Manager to schedule, measure and analyze campaign results
In the “Sell your products online” track, you’ll learn:

How Facebook and Instagram commerce work.
How to manage inventory with product catalogs.
How to set up your shop and use Commerce Manager.

The courses are simple and straightforward. They do have some short videos within them—but these are more related to the benefits of a product or feature rather than screen recordings or tutorials.

Who this course is good for:

Business owners, marketers, and entrepreneurs looking to get started with Facebook ads or sell directly through the Facebook platform.

Go to the Facebook advertising course > >Under “Select a topic to get started,” choose “Start your advertising journey.”

5. Social media influencer marketing mini-course (Later)

This course is brought to you by Later, a leading visual marketing platform for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. 

Title: Influencer Marketing 101: From Zero to HeroFormat: Video & textLength: 20 minCost: Free

Social media influencers may be more accessible than major celebrities, but that doesn’t mean that landing an influencer collaboration is a walk in the park. In fact, some of us don’t even know how to get to the park. Or maybe even what park we’re going to…

This course provides you with an actionable outline for how to get started and then walks you through the essentials of a successful influencer marketing strategy:

Setting your goal and planning your campaign.
Finding the best influencer for your goal and audience. 
Reaching out to the influencer. 
Creating the campaign brief.
Tracking the ROI of your campaign.
There is a short video for each of the five steps above, each one with additional free resources, tools, and templates. 

The instructor of the course, Gretta van Riel, is the founder of Hey Influencers, the world’s first influencer relationship management platform.

Who this course is good for

Business owners or marketers looking to reach a wider but still relevant audience through influencer marketing.

Go to the influencer marketing course > >

6. TikTok marketing course (Udemy)

With the relative newness of TikTok as well as its infiltration into daily life, it only felt right to include a TikTok-specific course in this list.

Title: How To Use TikTok for Business (Beginner to Advanced)Format: VideoLength: 1h 45 minCost: Free

What’s unique about TikTok is that it’s sort of a super social platform. It doesn’t just connect users; the ways users interact with one another is what fuels the platform itself.

So to successfully market and advertise on TikTok, the approach is slightly different. And Scott Clary, founder of ROI Overload and host of the Success Story Podcast, addresses that in his course.

You’ll get the tips and tools to get on, grow on, and generate leads and sales on, TikTok. Includes:

A complete TikTok walkthrough—from setting up your profile to recording a duet.
How to integrate TikTok into your content marketing strategy and create great videos.
Strategies and best practices to optimize for TikTok’s algorithm.
Advanced TikTok marketing strategies including influencer campaigns, ads, and analytics.
Who this course is good for:

Anyone looking to promote their business, personal brand, or products with video marketing via TikTok.

Go to the TikTok marketing course > >

7. Inclusive social media marketing (Ragan)

Confession: This is not actually a course—BUT it’s a well-pritten guide by the Ragan Communications Social Media Council.

Title: Best Practices for Inclusive Social MediaFormat: Written with screenshots (pdf)Length: 17 minutesCost: Free

While there are many free courses out there on diversity and inclusion, I liked how this guide was focused on social media. The introduction to this guide gives a solid taste of what to expect:

Creating social media campaigns that are sensitive to diversity and inclusion sounds like it should be a slam-dunk for a pro communicator. Choose images with a mix of racial and gender identities, avoid using racial and ethnic stereotypes, and you’re good to go—right?

Not so fast. There are subtleties in how you craft social posts that showcase your organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I)—and not just pay it lip service.

It then goes on to give nuanced tips on how to actually demonstrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in your social media content. 

 It covers:

How to show authentic support for diversity and inclusivity.
Tips on how your supportive content can make a greater impact.
How to create not performative posts but purposeful posts that are part of a larger initiative.
Questions to ask before publishing a post.
Ways to make your content more accessible.
Who this course is good for:

Everyone.

Go to the inclusive social media marketing guide > >

8. Social media advertising course (WordStream)

Course name: PPC UniversityFormat: Written with visualsLength: 1-2 hoursCost: Free

While Facebook Blueprint is great, it is, of course, focused only on Facebook and Instagram ads and very tactical. So what about the more strategic aspects of social media advertising? You can find that in our very own PPC University.

Between the Social Ads 101 course and Facebook Ads course, you’ll learn how to master the art and science of social media advertising.

Social Ads 101 covers:

Why social media advertising is beneficial, overall tips to succeed, and metrics to track.
Crash courses on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok ads.
The basics of social selling on Facebook and Instagram.
In Facebook Ads, you’ll take a deeper dive into intermediate and advanced strategies, related to:

Costs: Choose the right budget strategy and optimize your account to maximize spend.
Campaigns: Use different ad types and build powerful audiences.
Content: Write great Facebook ads and get tips and tools for ad creative.
Competitors: Use a full-funnel strategy to take down your competitors.
Who this course is good for:

Social media marketers looking to start a paid strategy, or PPC advertisers looking to improve their strategy and ROI.

Go to the social advertising course > >

Get started today with these free social media marketing courses

So there you have it—a list of free social media marketing courses that are worth your time. Hopefully, you also find them to be relevant, interesting, actionable, and overall, a good online learning experience.

Local Social Media Marketing Lab (LOCALiQ)
How to Create an Impactful Social Media Strategy for Any Busines (Living to Roam)
Social listening: Your Launchpad to Success on Social Media (Sprout Social)
Start Your Online Advertising Journey (Facebook)
Influencer Marketing 101: From Zero to Hero (Later)
How To Use TikTok for Business (Udemy)
Best Practices for Inclusive Social Media (Ragan)
PPC University: Social advertising 101 (WordStream)
Have any recommendations? Let me know in the comments below!