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Should You Publish Blog Content on LinkedIn and Medium?

This article was originally posted on and can be found here.

If you publish blog content as part of your online marketing strategy, then you may be wondering if some of them are destined for content superstardom in places like LinkedIn and Medium.

LinkedIn Pulse is a great way to get your blog in front of your network because it notifies your connections when you publish content on the site (posting status updates just shows up in the regular ol’ newsfeed).

If you want to reach an even wider audience, then you might consider publishing content on Medium, which typically serves up longer, more in-depth articles.

No doubt about it, if you are looking to build your brand, then publishing to LinkedIn and Medium is a great way to start.

However, if you are like some of our clients, then you also wonder how this might affect your SEO.

How Republishing Blog Content Can Affect SEO

Anytime you take content from your own site and put it on another site without making any changes, you create duplicate content. Now you have your blog post on your website, and you have the exact same copy on LinkedIn and Medium.

How will Google decide which one to rank higher in its search engine results pages?

That depends on your site. LinkedIn and Medium may or may not have more authority. That means Google could rank the blog post from your site higher, or they could prioritize the content from one of the other two sites.

Whether or not this bothers you depends on your goal.

If you want to drive more traffic to your own website, then you may not want to republish your blog content to third-party sites. However, if you want to get more eyes on your work – to establish credibility or thought leadership, for example – then perhaps a site with a higher profile is more important this time around.

Some people also worry about their site being penalized by Google if they have duplicate content. While Google does discourage duplicate content, they do not necessarily penalize you for it. It depends on the circumstances, and KISSMetrics does a great job of explaining these.

Here are Some Options to Consider

Some clients want to work those SEO investments and get the benefit of LinkedIn and Medium, and nothing says you can’t do both. Try one or a combination of these approaches as you go forward:

  • Use canonical tags – If you want to repurpose your blog content on third-party sites for more exposure, then you can always ask those sites to use a canonical tag to give your site credit for the content. You won’t always get your way, but it’s worth a try. Note that LinkedIn and Medium don’t offer this type of functionality, but some others might.
  • Write the opposite point of view – Instead of using the same content on another site, try writing another blog from the opposite perspective. Example: Put “5 Best Practices for Being Awesome” on your own site, and “5 Biggest Mistakes When Trying to be Awesome” on another site. Your site gets some of the SEO benefits and you increase your audience at the same time.
  • Post differently on each platform – Consider writing some blog posts intended only for LinkedIn and Medium, and host the rest of your content on your own site. Sure, you don’t get the credit for the third-party pieces, but you eliminate the duplicate content issue and broadcast your work to people who may not see it when it’s only published on your own site.

Getting Started with Attribution Models in AdWords

With Attribution Models in AdWords, you decide how to assign credit to keywords, ad groups, and campaigns that influenced a conversion. For this to be meaningful, you need to first start recording conversions in AdWords.  If you are unsure if conversions are recording, go to Tools > Conversions from your AdWords account. If you do not see any, you can set up conversion tracking in Google AdWords or import goals from your Google Analytics account.

If you do see conversions recording, you can then choose “Attribution” in Conversions (or by going back to the Tools menu in AdWords).  Once you are in that sub menu, you will see options for Conversions, Cross-Device Activity, Paths, Click Analysis, and Attribution Modeling.

Attribution Overview

The overview shows the average period of time it took for people to convert. In the example below, you can see that it was within a day, so a strong-call-to-action for an immediate purchase works well for this account.



An Assisted Conversion demonstrates the impacts of your AdWords account in cases where someone did not purchase immediately.  Clicks and impressions may have influenced someone’s decision to convert at another time. The table below shows metrics for impression-assisted conversions and click conversions.


To use a specific example, let’s imagine a customer clicked on two ads for the keyword “clothing” before clicking on an ad for the keyword “shirts” and making a purchase. In this situation, it would count as two assisted clicks which is the number of times the keyword “clothing” appeared in the conversion path and one assisted conversion.


Cross-Device Activity

The Cross-Device Activity shows how customers use their devices before converting. In the example below, this account has primarily same day purchases, so it is not a surprise that no cross-device activity is available.



This next screen (from a different account) shows last click and click-assisted conversions for each device used in the searcher’s journey. Even in this account, most of the conversions happened on a single device.



“Paths” looks very familiar to Google Analytics users because it shows the route people took before converting.  With the campaign, ad group, or keywords, you can see the path a user took on the way to a conversion. Below is a very small sample size but shows some things you may see in your account.



Although the details  are blurred out, you can see that some searchers clicked on the same campaign more than once on line 2 and 3. On line 1 and 4, the searcher had the same last-click campaign before conversion. With this account, it’s possible that words or groups in the earlier campaigns could be paused if the trend leans towards a specific one that influences conversions. More data should be collected, however, before account changes are made.

With next report, Path Length, you can see that it only took one click for most visitors to convert.



Click Analysis

With the Click Analysis reports, you can see which keywords introduced people to your site (first clicked) and which ones sealed the deal – meaning led to a conversion (last clicked). This is available for campaign, ad group, keyword, and match type.

The match type report is especially helpful in demonstrating the importance of targeted keywords. Although a broad match will bring in a lot of keywords, in the screen below, you can see it was the phrase match that led to more conversions.


Attribution Model

Next select “Attribution Modeling” to compare two different models next to each other. Your options are first click, last click, linear, position based, and time decay.

Attribution is not an easy concept in Google AdWords, but is important in understanding what your ad dollars are really doing for you.  Using the above as a reference, walk through each of these steps in your account to see details about your ad performance. And remember, it all starts with conversions. If you do not have any in your AdWords account, set that up first by following the links referenced at the beginning, so you’ll have meaningful Attribution data to work from in your reporting.

Options for Device Bidding in AdWords

When Enhanced Campaigns were rolled out by Google several years ago, advertisers had less control in AdWords since they could not separate bids for mobile, tablet, and desktop. Although the intention was to make campaign creation and maintenance easier in Google AdWords, it was frustrating for advertisers who had a very different strategy for mobile versus desktop.  In the three years since Enhanced Campaigns were introduced, mobile clicks have increased significantly and some advertisers want to take advantage of that.  Fortunately, with the recent updates in Google AdWords, the ability to set bid adjustments by device is available again (to the joy of many advertisers).

Options for device1


However, even though this feature is available, Google’s recommendation is to not separate campaigns by device. This means advertisers need to consider what these changes mean before implementing them in an account. Going the route of separate campaigns for each device also means managing multiple campaigns with the same messaging. This increases the amount of work required to maintain an AdWords account.  If a separate campaign is created for each device, it requires additional time to monitor keywords, ads, ad extensions, negative keywords and more work when testing ads.

Many of the things that appeal to advertisers about device specific bid adjustments are actually available by utilizing existing features in AdWords.  Instead of a separate campaign for each device in Google AdWords, bid adjustments can instead be used with tightly themed ad groups, which results in a much more manageable account. And bid modifiers now provide more options with a range of -100% to +900% for the bid amount. (With Enhanced Campaigns, the max bid adjustment was 300%). Even if ads do not perform as well on mobile devices as they do on desktops, mobile ads should not be completely removed. Instead, an adjustment can be used to decrease the amount of budget put into them.

And with AdWords Smart Bidding (previous known as automated bidding), a number of signals are considered utilizing machine learning with the optimal bid being set for each auction based on those signals. For example, a signal may differentiate behavior based on someone in New York searching during the lunch hour on his or her phone compared to someone in Los Angeles searching after 6:00pm from a desktop. As a result, device is a bidding signal in the AdWords auction. This may be enough for many advertisers who do not know how to best approach bidding for different devices. Google’s Smart Bidding does override manual bids, so there should be at least 50 conversions over the past month for meaningful results.

If you’re not sure what to do with this update on device bidding, you can do nothing! Or if you’re not clear on what makes sense for your business and like the idea of setting device bids separately for campaigns, start testing. With drafts and experiments, you can test these device level campaigns side by side with campaigns that are that are already running with bid adjustments to determine the best bid methodology.

The simplest route may be to start by segmenting performance by device in your AdWords account. The data there is based on your actual data and is probably the best route for determining how you want to address device bidding. (You can view device performance in an AdWords campaign from Settings tab > Devices.)

One final feature that can help make that decision is the cross-device attribution report. This enables you to examine the full value of a click by seeing conversions beyond the one initial conversion listed in standard AdWords reporting.  You can see how much activity happens in your account, how devices assist each other in a conversion, and the top paths for users utilizing more than one device in their search. Reported conversions and full value conversions should both be considered before deciding what to adjust in your account.

Options for device2

Like many features in Google AdWords, the fact that something exists does not automatically mean you should implement. Spend time reviewing these account options, your data, and your overall business model before making changes to your account.

How to Manage Your Google AdWords Account

Whether you are getting started with Google AdWords or are ready to bring your account management in-house instead of outsourcing it, follow these best practices to ensure that you are getting the most for your AdWords dollars. 

Create a negative keyword list 

Negative keywords are words you do not want to pay for with  AdWords. For example, if you offer a resume class for $200 with no free options, you do not want your ad to show up for a search on “free resume class”.  With that example, your negative word is free. Creating a solid negative keyword list at the very beginning of your campaigns will save you money spent on irrelevant clicks

Continue checking for negative keywords 

Even if you start out with a solid negative keyword list, you may still find negative words in your account that you did not think about when you set the account up.  Staying with the example above, let’s assume your classes are only offered in person.  Over time, you may discover a search for “online resume class” that triggered your ad. You would know to add online to your negative keyword list in order to prevent that from happening in the future. To check for negative keywords once your account is running, use the Search Terms report. (more…)

How to Get Started with Expanded Text Ads

Google’s announcement about Expanded Text Ads was a huge day for marketers. Their new format provides an opportunity for better messaging on the AdWords platform.  There are now two headlines rather than one, with a character count increase from 25 to 30 characters. The ad description is 80 characters which provides more space for an offer, and the URL can be customized, allowing up to 15 characters. This Expanded Text Ad announcement is one of those changes that advertisers must pay attention to since standard text ads cannot be created or edited after October 26th. For now though, you will see both expanded and standard text ads on Google.  However, since Expanded Text Ads will likely perform better than the standard text ads, do not wait until October to make this change. Here are some considerations for making the most of this new format. (more…)

Analytics and AdWords – Not Always Perfect Together


If you are advertising on Google AdWords, connecting it to Google Analytics is a must so you can view what happens after someone clicks on your paid ad. Getting to your site is nice, but seeing an action that may result in revenue is more important.

What can be a bit confusing initially when using the products is seeing different data in Analytics compared to AdWords for the same day. If searchers clicked on your ad 100 times on Monday, you would expect to see 100 visits to your site from AdWords on that date in Google Analytics, but that is not always the case. Most of the time, those numbers will vary. Although a small difference may not seem that important, you still want to know what your marketing budget is doing for you so you allocate it to the right channels and/or make necessary adjustments to your landing page.  Let’s take a closer look on how those two products work together so you understand what these different metrics really mean.

First ensure you understand how metrics are defined in Google Analytics. A click in Google AdWords is when someone clicks on an ad. This action is recorded immediately and invalid clicks are removed.  Google Analytics has all the activity that happens after this ad click.


Performance (Active View) Metrics in AdWords

google-adwords-featuredIn the available columns option on the Ads tabs in Google AdWords, you will see Performance metrics and Performance (Active View) metrics. The Performance metrics were discussed in an earlier post and refer to the numbers every advertiser reviews, such as clicks, impression, cost, and click-through-rate.  Performance (Active View) metrics are available for YouTube ads as well as select ads on some Display Network websites. With Active View, advertisers can see if an ad is viewable by potential customers, which is measured when 50% of your ad can be seen on a user’s screen for a second or more.


Measuring YouTube Ad Performance in AdWords

Over a billion users are on YouTube, which accounts for one-third of people online. This is a potential goldmine for savvy marketers. With AdWords, you can promote your YouTube videos with paid placements to increase the chance of people learning about your brand. 

In Google AdWords, there are a set of metrics specifically for earned actions on YouTube: views, subscribers, playlist additions, likes, and shares. “Earned actions happen when a viewer watches a TrueView video ad and then takes a related action on YouTube.” In other words, you pay for that first click on your ad, but not additional actions which are “earned” as a result of people engaging with your video initially from an ad.

Here are brief definitions of the different earned actions available in AdWords:

  • Earned view: A viewer watched another video on your channel within a week.
  • Earned subscribers: A viewer subscribed to your channel within a week.
  • Earned shares: A viewer shares a video from your channel within a week.
  • Earned likes: A viewer “likes” a video after watching your paid placement.

This alone gives you a wealth of data about how interested people are in what you offer, but don’t forget about Google Analytics. As long as your Google products are connected, you will see Video Campaigns under Acquisition > AdWords in Google Analytics.


Performance Metrics in AdWords – What Should You Look At?

There’s no shortage of data in AdWords.  The data my clients are most interested in are clicks, impressions, and costs. How many people see the ad (impressions)? How many people clicked on the ad? What does this cost for both overall costs and individual clicks? Some also view conversions, whether they are set up on the AdWords side or come from goals imported in from Google Analytics.  There’s a whole world of hidden data that is accessible from drilling into AdWords. When you click on a tab – Ads in this example – you can choose additional Columns to add to your view of the data. In this post, we’ll look at the Performance metrics.



The first few should be familiar to everyone who uses AdWords – clicks, impressions, cost, and CTR (click-through-rate).  Avg. – average – is the average amount you pay per click or per impression. Keep in mind that the average will constantly change (like the other metrics in the account). If you look at Avg. CPC data over a week, it could be unusually high or low depending on how many competitors were in the auction, along with any seasonal changes relevant to the time of year. When you view Avg. CPC over a longer period of time, such as three months, it will probably look very different, so keep in mind that this is a moving target.  This is where a date comparison could be helpful because it gives you a view on the competitive landscape for your campaign across different periods. Note whether it has increased or decreased over the past year. Avg. CPM is a similar metric to Avg. CPC, but is based on how many times an ad was shown on the Google Display Network.

Avg. Pos. is the average position for an ad on This number has a new meaning as of earlier this year, when Google announced they are no longer displaying side ads. With the removal of side ads, it is now crucial to be in the top few positions rather than below the fold, which requires viewers to scroll to the bottom to view ads. If you compare this metric over time, keep this adjustment in mind when comparing to a time period when side ads were in use. If you compare average position of this year to last year, note whether or not the position impacted conversions.

Engagements, Engagement Rate, and Avg. CPE were added last year for people using Lightbox Ads, which “responsively combine ad assets — like videos, image galleries, and maps — to fill available ad spaces.” Clicks are Engagements, CTR is Engagement rate, and Avg. CPC is Avg. CPE with the E measuring expansions of the ad.

The next set of metrics: Views, View rate, and Avg. CPV measure performance of your videos. Views are exactly that – how many times a video was viewed. The view rate is very similar to a CTR – views divided by impressions. And the Avg. CPV is how much is paid – on average – when someone watches 30 seconds or more of the video.  This is an important distinction. If you have a longer video and can get your message across in those first seconds, it’s not a bad thing if someone does not watch the whole video because you don’t pay for the view if it’s under 30 seconds (unless that’s the full duration of your video).

Checking the Video played to: stats will show you how much of your video is viewed. If you feel your 8 minute video is wonderful, yet the majority of viewers drop off at the 2 minute mark – Video play to: 25% –  then you need to redo your video, possibly breaking it up into segments. Or at least make sure your core message comes across in those first 120 seconds.

And finally we have Interactions and Interaction rate. This simply means the user interacted with your ad in some capacity. With text ads, it’s a click. With videos, it’s views. The value in this metric is the ability to have a combined metric in one column for all campaign types.

There are many more metrics than what’s mentioned above. This is a breakdown of the Performance metrics only. Additional posts will taken a deeper dive into the other options available in Google AdWords.

What is User Explorer in Google Analytics?

In the last couple months, you may have noticed a new Google Analytics feature under Audience called “User Explorer”.  This presents a new way to analyze individual-user behavior on your website.

Each row in the User Explorer table represents a single user and the metrics for that specific user.  Anonymity is still in play so you will see a set of numbers (Client ID) to represent a unique visitor. This Client ID is generated randomly by Google based on device and browser information and persists across multiple sessions. And of course, it is good as long as people do not clear their cookies.

When you click on a row, you will see information showing when the user was acquired and through which channel. The top of the table will have additional metrics, such as the total number of sessions, session duration, and revenue for ecommerce sites. You can also filter session information by pageview, goal, ecommerce and event information.

When a new feature becomes available in Google Analytics, it is not always clear exactly how it should be used, including the User Explorer report.  Below are a few use cases for this type of data if you do want to learn more about your individual users.

Segment by bounce rate

Segments are a powerful tool in Google Analytics. One way to use a segment is to separate out high bounce traffic to determine if a particular type of traffic is the most inclined to bounce from your site. If you apply this segment, then look at User Explorer, you can see if individual users tend to bounce from the same pages. Perhaps a single traffic source is responsible for the bounce rate for a segmented group?

Sell more to buyers

Once a visitor becomes a customer, you naturally want that customer to convert again.  With the User Explorer report, you can learn how the high-dollar customers interact with your site. Once you examine that data, you can personalize the experience for your lower-dollar customers and provide the type of content you have learned the high-dollar customers enjoy.


Remarketing is a great tool from Google that works when used carefully – not overdoing it or repeatedly showing the same ads to people.  With individual level data in the User Explorer, you can see if someone made a purchase but did not buy the complementary item as you had hoped. You can then remarket to specific people for the specific items you want them to come back and purchase.

Market to personas

If you believe women over 55 who live in New York are your primary customers, you can create a segment for that demographic and apply it to the User Explorer to look at the purchases or goals for this specific base of consumers. What are they doing on the site that is different from other types of visitors?

Constant visits to the order status page

If you have a page that shows order status or delivery information and your buyer is checking that page multiple times a day, you may want to setup a feature where buyers would have the option to receive a daily email with status updates. Don’t assume this is a feature that all customers want, but could be a good optional feature based on your findings.

Drilling into paid search

Paid search can be tough to do the right way and many advertisers may see a high bounce rate, at least initially with a new campaign. Use the User Explorer report to study sessions in detail for visitors who come through a paid channel to determine whether your landing page may need some changes or the campaign needs new copy.

Although it still doesn’t provide information about the specific person that marketers would love to have, User Explorer does offer more information about the types of individuals on the site and can help site owners provide a more personalized experience, identify weak points in the customer experience through the site and identify trends in behavior.  As always, none of this data matters unless you can use it in your overall marketing strategy, but it is at least worth exploring.