The Cardinal Blog

Going Dark on Facebook is Not a Bad Idea

skylar sperin

Facebook is continuously changing its algorithm to level the playing field for online advertisers.

Previously, Facebook and other social media outlets were used for free advertising. The tactic was simple: like our page, receive our offers and view terribly planned posts that are irrelevant to the reason why you liked the page in the first place.

The newest Facebook algorithm is a potential nightmare for businesses unaware of the site’s social purposes. If you do not play by Facebook’s rules, your customers will never see your content. Lost are the days to generate “Likes” and “Comments.” Now, we are all paying to drive customers to content that is relevant to their daily lives.

As marketers, our goal is to engage with customers, listen to their needs and respond appropriately — all for the purposes of driving sales.

Breaking through the barrier is challenging, especially now that Facebook is further limiting how often business pages are viewed within user newsfeeds. We are no longer working with a free source of advertisement. In order to appear in front of your customers, you should utilize Facebook Unpublished Page Posts: the real bread and butter of social advertising.

Taking A Closer Look At Unpublished Facebook Ads

A dark ad, also called an unpublished post, is an ad that looks just like a normal newsfeed post, but does not appear on your brand’s timeline. The benefit of running unpublished posts or dark ads is that they are proven to deliver an, “ROI of 53 percent over a seven day period.”  Because organic posts are not as attainable as they once were, dark ads are the best alternative for getting your brand in front of potential customers.

dark ads1

The process is simple, but it needs to be supported with relevant content. The beauty of dark ads is that there are no significant identifiers that reveal their ad-like identity. The purpose is to blend in like a friend, but stand out to elicit a response.

The steps are simple when creating an Unpublished Post:

1. Select Power Editor

Power Editor    

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Posted in Social Media

There’s Something about Google Trends

Sonja Uppal

There’s been big talk surrounding access to big data lately. If you’re unfamiliar with Google Trends, it is a great big data resource for keeping up with current search trends and seeing what people are searching for around the world. This tool comes in handy for a number of reasons. When it comes to marketing, it gives agencies the ability to create campaigns based on what the market is currently interested in, as well as predicting upcoming trends based on past data. Let’s talk about how your business can benefit from using Google Trends.

How can Google Trends help your business?

Get Content and Topic Ideas

You can see what’s trending at this moment. The Trending Now feature is helpful for coming up with blog or article content ideas. This list shows you exactly what you need to create and distribute relevant content in a timely manner.

Trending now

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Posted in Insight and Analytics, Internet Marketing Updates

For Businesses Looking For SEO Services, Choose Experience

Jason Corrigan

Experience in SEO | Atlanta SEO Company | Cardinal Web SolutionsIn the six years that I have worked within the world of search marketing, I have had the unique and fortunate opportunity to approach SEO from multiple angles.

From copywriter to sales and account management, search strategist to manager before becoming a director; these positions have allowed me to work with some of the country’s most notable agencies in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and now Atlanta.

When it comes to choosing a search marketing agency to work with, everyone from small business owners to senior marketing directors often wonder what makes one agency different from all the others.

As much as it may seem like digital marketing has millions of secret tactics and SEO services that can instantly get anyone ranked on the first position of Google, the reality is that there are only a handful of concepts that influence search visibility.

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Posted in Marketing Strategy, SEO

Google Shopping: What are Product Listing Ads?


A Brief History Lesson

Does anyone remember a Google service named Froogle? Some of you may have an idea, while most will have absolutely no clue what I’m talking about. Froogle, launched back in 2002, was Google’s original attempt to create an online e-commerce search comparison tool. By 2007 the name changed to Google Product Search and was still being used as a free product listing tool. The next round of changes occurred in 2012 when it went from a free listing to a paid listing model and the name was changed to Google Shopping.

Google Shopping History

The Evolution of Google Shopping










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Posted in SEM

The Past, Present and Future of Robots.txt

Beth Clymer

Ever thought about how search engines are able to pull up hundreds of search engine results for a simple query? Or how, if you change just a single aspect of that query in the slightest, you are presented with entirely new results within seconds?

You can thank the spiders for that.

 Seach Engine Spider

Don’t torch your laptop just yet!

Search engine spiders scan billions of websites page by page in order to gain an understanding of their contents. According to Bots vs. Browsers, a public database of bots/user agents, search engine spiders alone account for 31% of all website traffic.  Based on modern search engine algorithms, web pages are then presented in search engine results depending on their relevancy, authority and credibility.

However, sometimes search engine spiders are less helpful than they are designed to be. This is where robots.txt files comes in.

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Posted in SEO

Ad Extensions: The Bells & Whistles of SEM

Lee Berg

Close your eyes (after you’ve finished reading this paragraph) and pretend that you’re in New Orleans on a hot summer night. Picture yourself strolling down Bourbon Street. Imagine it’s your first time there and that other than booking your hotel you really don’t know much about the city or which bars and restaurants to visit first. As you meander cautiously around street performers and drunken college kids whilst trying to dodge heat-seeking beads, how does the decision-making process play out in your head of which establishment to step into? What factors contribute to your final decision? You don’t have a ton of time because the army of people led by that 18 year old behind you with the giant cup full of some bright red concoction is getting very pushy.

bourbon night

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Posted in SEM

Parallax Web Design and SEO: What you don’t know can hurt your rankings.

Caity Cogdell

What is Parallax design?

In short, parallax design refers primarily to something called “parallax scrolling,” in which the foreground scrolls at a different speed than the background. This mimics the way we view our actual surroundings and gives the illusion of depth, which is why it has been used in animated films and video games for years. If that description is not ringing any bells, you check out a demo of a Parallax theme here. I’ll wait for you to come back.

The first use of parallax scrolling for web design is credited to Ian Coyle for “Nike Better World,” seen above.

OK, so now that we’re on the same page, let’s get one thing straight: parallax scrolling looks very cool. I am not here to dispute that. But really, that demo was attractively designed already; the parallax scrolling was merely a small visual embellishment. Take that away, and you would still have a very nice site. So the question is, is that embellishment really worth the potential detriment to SEO?

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Posted in SEO, Web Design

KPIs That Really Matter In SEO Reporting

Kristen Peters

As we all know, SEO is an ever-changing industry full of penguins, pandas and hummingbirds. Sometimes it is hard for even the best SEOs to stay up-to-date on what is relevant in the industry. As an account manager at Cardinal, one thing that is very difficult for clients to move on from is keyword rankings. As a result of all these algorithm changes in recent months, Google is trying to push the SEO industry away from keyword rankings and closer to more useful performance indicators.

The Problems with Basing Entire SEO Campaigns Around Keyword Rankings

  1.  You don’t know what keywords are actually driving your website traffic anymore. Back in the good ole days, before the hummingbird update, you could see the keywords that were driving traffic to your website. Now with secure search, keyword data has been eliminated from Google Analytics. So, that’s great that you are ranked number one for ‘Example Keyword,’ but is that one keyword even driving your site traffic?
  2. Most likely your ranking reports are only tracking keywords that have the highest search volume according to Google’s keyword tool. This is completely inaccurate because over 75 percent of searches are long-tail searches. So, no matter how thorough your keyword report is, you are still missing out on all the long-tail keywords that are driving traffic to your site.
  3. SERPs aren’t cut and dry like they use to be. When SEO started, there were the standard 10 organic listings on the first page, three Ads on the top and seven Ads on the sidebar. This structure is completely outdated and hardly ever shows up as a SERP. Now, SERPs can contain a multitude of options including maps, videos, carousels, images, news, products, etc. There are infinite options for search results, so saying you are ranked #4 on Google is completely outdated because the listings are constantly changing and differ depending on who you are, where you are and what device you are searching on.

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Posted in SEO

Connecting the Dots

Jon Whitaker

I often think if I was able to pay a visit to my younger self and explain my life as it is now that I would have a very hard time believing what I would be told. I imagine it going something like Bruce Willis staring down Joseph Gorden-Levitt in the movie, Looper

Looper Diner Scene

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Posted in Community

Color for Web: Once Bitten, Color Shy? How to Use Cool Colors for Your Website


Over 92 percent of consumers rate appearance as the top factor in their purchasing decision. With such a huge emphasis on looks, the colors used on your website could be the difference between digital failure and success for your brand. Yes, it’s that important.

Using Colors for Primary, Complementary and Action Roles

Primary colors are the basis of your website. They are the colors featured prominently throughout the design, and they define what direction your website is going in.

Complementary colors do just that, complement the design. They serve as accents, lightly (or boldly) emphasizing the design and style of the website.

Action colors force a response from users and are primarily used for the call-to-action. They alert visitors to a sale, sign-up or info block that is of immediate importance. These colors may blend with the design, but should always stand out enough — whether through color, shape and/or size — that they command attention.

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Posted in Web Design