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On the subject of Pay Per Click

Martina Martina

February 23rd, 2011.

Why it is now impossible to rank as #1 in search engines…

The evolution of the Internet shows the constant change in the way search engines fetch you the information you want when you put in a query. Gone are the days, when a uniform set of results would pop up irrespective of who you are, where, when and how you searched a particular term.

One such example was just 2 years ago in the huge viral campaign for the blockbuster movie ‘2012’. The online marketing behind this movie was so clever that consumers were told to “just search 2012” in a search engine, as part of the teaser. Indeed if they did, a quick search in Google would return about 1, 000 websites and over 150 books based on the idea that 2012 marked – the end. Scary!

Localised and Personalised results.

Two years later, things have changed. With Google collecting just about every smidgen of information available to them from the online user, they have found away to return results that are ultra personalised all depending on the users’ settings. This is great in terms of relevance. For example, a Londoner living in Chelsea putting in a search for “local plumbers” or even just “plumbers” would be in for a treat. Google would collect her I.P. address which would determine roughly which area the search has come from, her domain name, (which in this case would be ‘.co.uk’), and even the similar searches that have been carried out in the past, to finally come up with some options that would best relate to that user.

This seems great for the person wanting a local plumber. But is it great? The answer is yes…and no – and here’s why:

  • It causes some businesses or products to not be shown, limiting the users opportunity to try something new/go somewhere else.
  • Other businesses might not draw customers from certain locations because they are not being shown in results.
  • Most importantly: nobody ranks number one!

Blended results

Blended results further add to this difficulty of ranking at the very top of your field. These are integrated in the results that are returned when you search any particular term. For example we already know that a search for “local plumbers” combines a series of data to produce personalised results. Blended results are the effect of vertical search engines gathering information. For example in Google, there are additional tabs you can click to get certain results: (images, news, books, blogs etc.) These are placed adjacently between organic results. So you might search “plumber” and return: 1. A Google page listing of a local plumber, 2. The Wikipedia definition for the word, 3. A directory result and 4. An image of a plumber (just kidding on this one :-) but you get the idea.)

Therefore ranking at number one is not really generic. This doesn’t mean however, that you can’t rank at the top for your field if you utilise tools such as Google AdWords and create a very powerful and successful campaign with all the right keywords. After all, you only need to appeal to the intended audience, and this is exactly what Google assists in doing!

Happy Searching.

Martina Martina

February 2nd, 2011.

What to do with organic search results

Firstly, what are ‘organic’ search results?

Organic search results found in search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, are those that are not strictly altered by anyone and are not paid for. They are results that appear centre-left on the screen after you put in a search term.

Doesn’t organic mean ‘pure’?

Yes, it does. This term is ideal because unlike the many paid/sponsored results, the purity of the organic result means that they are free from blatant advertisements pushing a product or service.

Search engines such as Google are great at separating the two. The paid adverts are usually columned off to the right.

So just how important are organic search results?

Very important! In fact 83% of commercial purchases come from them in comparison to paid results. So that’s 5/6’s of all potential business. Whilst PPC is a competitive and additionally important SEO element, if it only accounts for 1/6 of your overall success then organic results must be made priority.

Okay, so now I know about organic results and PPC results – but I’ve heard about sponsored or ‘paid inclusion’ results – what are those?

Paid inclusion is a search engine marketing tool where search engine companies charges fees for the inclusion of particular websites in their search index. These websites are then known as sponsored listings.

This sounds surprisingly similar to PPC…isn’t it the same thing?

Well, the line between PPC and paid inclusion is a thin one. Some believe that any paid listings are advertisements (which is essentially what PPC is), while others insist they are not because unlike ads, webmasters do not control the listings content, it’s ranking, or even whether it is shown to any users.

Okay to sum this all up, what are the differences between all three?

1. Organic traffic: includes the free-of charge results off to the left side of the page.

2. PPC listings: are the ads typically at the right side of the page. Occasionally they will appear at the top & bottom of pages too. When PPC ads appear above or below organic results in most search engines, they are in a coloured box which helps make it that little bit clearer.

3. Paid inclusion results: are mixed in with regular organic listings however paid inclusion is known to have no effect on relevancy. They are simply blended into the search results anywhere and cannot be easily distinguished from the other search results.
However, some search engines such as Google, feel as though paid inclusion is a conflict of interest with relevancy, this is why they have never had a paid inclusion program.

Okay so back to organic results…how do I improve them?

  • Be an expert on your site. Literally know everything you need to know about it – it is extremely likely there will be competition, so that little bit of extra information is what will help you to stand out.
  • Research the competition to see how competitive the keywords you are using are.
  • After you have found the most effective and unique keywords make sure you include them in your meta-tags, your page title and everywhere you can on the page.
  • Submit your site to as many directories as you can find (that are relevant your location) If your services go as far as the South East of London and you are submitting to American directories, you may be found in the USA – but then ignored.
  • Each page should have a specific focus – whatever you mention on one page should stay there, no need to keep backtracking, it’s repetitive and ideally you want to be found for different things in search engines rather than just the one service/product.
  • Search for spam in your keywords and report any you find – you may be able to them removed.
  • Build links. This is the most effective element of SEO that exists. If you aren’t building links, start!
  • Remember that content quality matters much more than quantity. Don’t waste any time putting a site together  with tonnes of useless or badly planned out information when you haven’t got any strategy on what to do with it.

Martina Martina

January 12th, 2011.

Some tips on using Google Adwords effectively

Google Adwords is a fantastic way of advertising your business online. However, the key to success with this tool is to properly optimise your advertisements so that they reach the intended audience – and you don’t end up paying over the odds.

There are some obvious ways to do this and some tips you may not have come across before, this post will outline both:

Effective keyword matching: With Adwords you can specify how closely you want your keyword to match the users query on the search pages by selecting either “Broad match” “Phrase match” or “Exact match” – Avoid broad match. Why you ask? Simply because under a broad match, if a user searches for a specific term such as “woolly hat”, your advert will appear whenever a search for “woolly” or “hat” is made in any order and even alongside other terms (such as woolly mammoth).

Trying dynamic titles: ‘Dynamic titles’ are an efficient way to improve your CTR and conversion rates. They work by causing the phrase that the user is searching for in Google (for example woolly mammoth), to become the title of your advert when it appears. This of course means that your ad is more targeted.

Landing pages are important: This is the first page a person will see when they click onto your advert and come to your website. You can make this any page you wish, however you should probably avoid using your homepage if your product isn’t being pushed there. Whatever page you do use, it is a good idea to optimise it with information about your product.

Quality control: Do – work on the quality of your advert and rely on its CTR to get you into the top spot. Don’t – on the other hand get into a bidding war with a competitor vying to pay whatever it takes to remain in or get into the number one spot. This is never a good idea because it is actually the quality of the ad that will shine through meaning regardless of the position your ad appears in, you can still gain the top spot if you get more clicks over time. The best thing about doing it this way is that you will still be paying the lesser amount of being second place, even when you climb to first place.

Keeping track of everything: High CTR do not necessarily mean success. Try not to fall under the illusion that because the CTR is high, you are making money. You could in fact be losing money. Using Google’s conversion tracking codes to link Adwords with Analytics is a good idea and will help you to understand how each keyword is performing so that you can optimise your campaigns buy getting rid of any that do not work well, and putting more time and effort into the ones that do.

Use the direct approach: Keywords such as “Bargain” “You” “Free” and “Deal” all speak directly to a user and sound enticing. Use these. This also works with ‘call to’ actions which are phrases that provoke an action from the user. Some examples include “Buy Now”, “Free Delivery” and “For a Limited Time Only” etc. Such keywords cause a sense of urgency and give the impression that the user must act quickly or lose out. There are many other direct ways you can talk to a user including the use of questions to engage them. This could work particularly well if you ask questions that aren’t particularly clear or answerable, for example “woolly hats or woolly mammoths?”

Spell things wrong: With Google’s “did you mean” feature it’s pretty easy to get away with the odd typo in a search and still successfully get where it is you want to go. The bottom line is, people spell things wrong, often. Take advantage of that by doing the same.

Stand out: Capitalising each word (not the entire word just the first letter) will help you to stand out. With competitors going after the same customers as you, this is almost essential.

Leave your number: This is beneficial for two main reasons. If your ad is seen, appears to have everything the user is looking for and has a telephone number, it could lead to a conversion if the user calls you up and completes a transaction. Also, you’d save on some money as you would have avoided the click! Bonus!

Martina Martina

December 15th, 2010.

An introduction to pay-per-click (PPC)

There are tales of retired businesspeople or sometimes new parents who leave jobs to raise families, who then get bored of monotony and decide to try and use the internet to cure their boredom. Perhaps this idea was launched after they stumbled across Google AdWords and PPC, both helpful tools in allowing companies to bid on certain keywords and phrases.

It works like this – if their bid is high enough,  the winning bidder pays the bid price which ranges from pennies to pounds depending on the competition for those words. Once paid for, a short advert from that bidders company will appear alongside the search results of anyone typing those keywords or phrases into a search engine or a website. Whatever the winning bid price was, is paid every time someone clicks on the ad. The benefits come from the traffic that is drawn to the site mentioned in the advert.

This may sound great, fantastic even – but there are ways to get it wrong, so read on for some handy tips in getting the most out of PPC:

Measuring Click-Through Rates

The success of pay-per-click is found in how many time someone clicks on your ad. This is called the click-through rate. In theory, a high click-through rate equals one click for every four times the page containing your advert is displayed. However you should remember that you are paying for any clicks, therefore – if no business is gained by the ad being clicked, you are potentially losing money.

This is why decisions about your campaign should be focused on getting customers to spend money on the product or service you supply, rather than simply getting them to click on your ad. Completely removing ad that gets lots of clicks but rarely results in a transaction is an idea; perhaps replacing this ad with of one that isn’t as big of a click draw but ultimately entices more transactions would help.

Understanding Conversion Metrics

Online ads allow for you to calculate the money you will make based on what you invest. Although it can be pretty straightforward in some cases, in others it may not, especially if you are using many different forms of marketing already. Google has conversion-tracking tools designed specifically to determine the rate at which people come to your website through clicking on your ad and actually go on to complete a transaction. This can be in the form of making a purchase, signing up for something or simply joining a mailing list. By telling these tools what different types of clicks on your site are worth, it can calculate what your total return will be.

Setting Manageable Budgets

Figure out where you are getting a positive investment and base your budget primarily around that – and that alone. If you are making money, continue to spend more and keep doing so as long as you are making money. Only stop this if it is absolutely necessary, or becomes too much of an outgoing each month to pay. If you are not making money on a campaign then fix it, or walk away from it but do not throw money away month after month in the hope that things will improve, chances are they won’t.

You’re Job Is Never Done

Make constant changes. Such changes include better ads, better keywords and better methods of converting ad clickers. There are some helpful tools provided by Google that assist you in doing so, such as ‘Bid Simulator’ which predicts how new keywords will pan out. Never assume you can do no better, there is always a way to make extra money, or to ‘right’ any wrongs.

Being Realistic

If your keywords are not highly sought after by other advertisers, then you will probably be just fine. But if you are in a crowded industry facing stronger competitors, then prices can get extremely high for keywords.

You can save some money by using more obscure keywords reflecting your businesses strengths and niches. Also, an ad that makes it to the second or even third page in a search engine is not a bad ad. You can save money this way – instead of doing all you can to land on the first page, which new businesses cannot always afford to do.

Good luck!

Jan

December 3rd, 2010.

How does Google AdWords remarketing work?

Google AdWords remarketing is Google’s product that allows website owners to re-engage with visitors who previously visited their website. It’s run through Google’s Display Network.

How does it work?
1. A visitor visits your website
2. then he leaves without making a purchase and goes on to browse other websites
3. with your remarketing campaign you can remarket your potential customers with personalized banners, text ad etc.

Your text, image, rich media, and video ads can appear across YouTube, Google properties such as Google Finance, Gmail, Google Maps, Blogger, as well as over one million Web, video, gaming, and mobile display partners.

Who should be using this service? Anyone who is looking to increase conversion rates by re-engaging visitors who left their site without making a purchase.

According to Criteo, a remarketing solution provider, personalized retargeted banners drive a 600% increase in CTR compare to run-of-network display. Another study by Advertise.com claims that remarketing can increase ad response by up to 400%.

How to set up remarketing campaign in Google Adwords?

1. Sign in to your AdWords account and set up an AdWords remarketing campaign.

2. Generate a small piece of code (remarketing tag) and embed it on your home page, for example. This code tells AdWords to save visitors to your “homepage remarketing list.” As people visit your homepage, their cookie ID is added to the remarketing list. Then, you can create an AdWords campaign that targets messages only to people who are on this list as these people browse the Web. Your remarketing messages won’t be shown to people who aren’t on the “homepage list.”

3. Someone visits your homepage. That visitor then leaves your website.

4. When they browse a site on the Google Content Network your banner ad or a text ad (depends on your selection) will then be displayed, but only to visitors, who visited your page with the remarketing tag, thus were saved to your “homepage remarketing list”.

5. Track the result in your AdWords or Google Analytics account.

NOTE: Each new page on your site you would like to create a Google AdWords remarketing campaign will require you to install a new remarketing tag into that page, create a remarketing list, banner or text ad.

If you would like to find out how Datadial can help you with your AdWords campaign please contact Robert on 0208 6000 500 or via email at rob@datadial.net.

Rob

April 12th, 2010.

Comparative charity advertising – the new online battleground?

I read an article on Marketing Week “Advertising industry and green charities welcome code changes“.

The story reports on some changes in the codes guiding TV and radio advertising, and one significant change will be that charities will be allowed to run adverts comparing themselves against another charity.

The new advertising code takes effect from September 2010.

Image from Charity Muggers by Ross McCulloch

Image from Charity Muggers by Ross McCulloch http://blogs.sundaymail.co.uk/thirdsectorlab/2008/11/charity-muggers.html

I believe it is unlikely that this kind of advertising will go out during prime time TV, or drive time radio; it is too expensive and finger pointing in the middle of Coronation Street isn’t the best way to open up the nation’s purses and wallets.

I do think though that the temptation to run comparative adverts during day time TV will be  irresistible to some young up and coming marketing manager.  The cheaper costs would be quite a lure, and let’s face it, day time advertising is really boring.

Where I see the some real change happening is in the search market, and given that Google has relaxed its stance on bidding for brand names, we can expect to see a whole raft of guerrilla style PPC campaigns such as “Donations to us go to good causes, not to fund new offices” or “We’re better as we don’t use chuggers” triggered by searches for charity names.

The meta description section of HTML code will become the marketing manager’s secret weapon, and will be “optimised” to within an inch of its life with remarks the activities of other charities alongside traditional calls to action.

The meta description content does not appear on the pages visitors browse, and is only ever seen as a summary of the page in natural search results.  Where better to put some unsettling comments and inconvenient truths about charities competing for the hearts and minds of the donating public?

Any bets on which charity will be the first to step up?

Rob

June 26th, 2009.

How not to do PPC – John Lewis

I’m sure it’s just a clerical error but at the moment (June26) If you search for Sony LCD TV’s in Google and click on the John Lewis Pay Per Click listing the ad takes you through to their Samsung LCD TV page. 

Anyone doing PPC will know how vital it is to have a proper landing page which responds to the what the user is searching for.   This could be costing a fortune in lost conversions for John Lewis. 

I wonder how long it will take for anyone to notice.  So far it’s been like that for a week. 

 

The listing in Google

 google-sony

  

 Part of the landing page

samsung

Matt

May 21st, 2009.

SMX London Roundup – More News, Tips, Tricks, Tools And Links

smxlogoAs I mentioned yesterday, we have just returned from the  recent SMX London search marketing conference. Below is our roundup of the best hints, tips and links that we picked up over the two days.

There are also some fantastic posts over at SEOptimise and Distilled that are well worth a read.

The State Of The Search Industry

  • The search industry must focus more on, analytics, holistic search and education for senior management. Cooperation between companies is required in order to grow the industry.
  • During the keynote, Brian Fetherstonhaugh from Ogilvy One pointed out that although search marketing is seen as the holy grail of marketing by the top 1000 CEOs, this still only occupies around a 1.5% mindshare. Search marketers should focus on how search can ad value to existing advertising mediums and can be sold as a research tool.
  • The US has a greater buy-in from senior management. This could be due to an increased understanding/awareness of the technology, or better and more organised education.
  • Integrated search is set to be a huge growth area, both in the form of integrated digital campaigns (SEO, PPC, Digital PR) and also increased synergy between online and offline PR.
  • 46% of respondents to the Guava/E-Consultancy Research were spending a minimum of £10,000 p/a on SEO.
  • 32% are spending a minimum of £100,000 on paid search.
  • 55% of companies predict an increase in SEO spending despite current economic conditions.
  • SEMPO research indicates a shift from paid search back into natural search.
  • SEO is increasingly being used for branding as well as direct response advertising being driven by an increase in local, video and news results visibility.

Keyword Research Tips And Advice

  • Download the Microsoft adCenter Excel Add-In for keyword research. This will help to quickly build keyword lists and give additional demographic information.
  • Don’t just use traditional tools for keyword research. Initial brainstorming with client sales teams is usually an untapped resource for potential keywords, as well as looking at internal site search queries.
  • The credit-crunch has altered search behaviour. Consumers are searching more, researching more but buying less.
  • There has been a 3-fold increase in informational and a fall in navigational search queries. Less brand searches, more price-led queries.
  • Optimise category pages for plural search keywords, product pages for the singular.
  • Use Google Trends to find and keep ahead of topical search terms in your industry.

SEO

  • Wordle is a great tool for finding which keywords a site/page has been optimised for.
  • Using a keyword site:domain.com query you can find the most important pages on your site for a specific keyword.
  • Mis-spellings can be targeted using a glossary or a ‘similar searches’ widget.

Link Building

  • Before releasing online PR/link bait you must understand the reasons that people link to pages. If your content doesn’t encourage people to link in some way, then it isn’t linkbait.
  • A successful linkbait article has an average of 2.7 seconds to grab a bloggers attention. The solution to retaining this attention? A Great Headline. These great headlines should be continued into the subject of the text, and should also be continued into the headlines of whichever social media distribution channel you choose (Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon etc).
  • Websites Don’t Link to Websites- People link to other people’s work. To improve the response from your linkbait, look into the mindset of the blogger reading your piece- why would you link to it if it was your blog?
  • Discussion sparking content – Create content that can spark controversial discussions. Not everyone in your industry will always have the same view, and providing content that sparks such discussions allows readers to get involved in the discussion. Invite other bloggers to get involved in the conversation (subconsciously inviting the blogger to link to the discussion and make a comment on the discussion on their own blog).
  • Actively promote your own content. Build a directory of targets and inform them when you publish linkable content to increase the take-up rate.
  • Link your articles with current affairs, topical news stories, or hot topics in your industry to increase the chances of publication.
  • Link building is very much dependant on the kind of website you’re working on. Big brands can get away with a far lower link quality than smaller companies and brands.
  • Analise the current inbound links- Big brands should have a range of authoritive links, meaning less authoritive links with optimised anchor texts can help when optimising for a particular phrase.
  • Install ‘Links From Images’ Plugin on WordPress. People still hotlink images… why not provide them with the HTML code and include a link back to the page the image.
  • Where possible, remove all social media buttons (‘tweet this’ buttons etc) on linkbait articles- remove the option for visitors to share the content on other networks to encourage linking to the article instead.
  • Six degrees of seperation works online… target the bigger sites in the industry that the smaller bloggers will read to get links from both the bigger and smaller blogs (and scraper sites!)
  • Build a Promotion Network-
    1. Research sites in the industry and see what they link to
    2. Create an email list
    3. Create the linkbait article
    4. Social media promotion- this is mainly for show- the more powerful links will come from the bloggers you email directly
    5. Send a personal email to the bloggers on your email list informing them of the post ahead of the buzz
    6. Watch the links come in
    7. Show gratification- thank the bloggers and show gratification (Tweet/Stumble/Digg their post in return)

Social Media

  • Social media is now sending significant amounts of traffic to many sites, for the right industries/demographics it’s crazy to ignore it.
  • Utilising Facebook connect and the Twitter API is an excellent way of encouraging your visitors to interact on social sites and linking that interaction with your brand.
  • Use the RIOT principal – Relevant Interaction = Optimised Traffic – Massimo Burgio
  • Bear in mind the 4 P’s of social media – Passion, Proactively, Perseverance and Patience
  • Twitter may well become more important in the search engine world as it starts to index the content of links in tweets and starts to rank these.

Reputation Management

  • There are several basic strategies for dealing with negative listings in the search results. 1) Legal action 2) Purchasing the offending site 3) Organic strategies to push other listing above it 4) Paid listings to argue your case/divert attention5) Hacking – not recommended!
  • Resort to legal action only if sure of your legal footing and as a last resort. It’s very easy for aggressive tactic to blow-up in your face.
  • Sometimes authority domains that have negative listings may also contain positive pages that can easily be used to replace the negatives.
  • Reputation management shouldn’t just be thought of in crisis situations. Effectively monitoring and managing online reputation before a crisis occurs can save time and money later.
  • Bear in mind that if people want to look hard enough for negative stories and articles, they will find them.

Analytics

  • SEO is not a ‘free’ medium – everything has an ROI that should be measured.
  • When monitoring the performance/conversions of large groups of keywords, separate them out into groups for more manageable analysis – Top 10, Top 100, Top 1,000 and 1,000+
  • Brand engagement can easily be worked out using BE = #brand searches + #direct visits / #search visits + # direct visits
  • Another metric worth measuring is the % of pages yielding search traffic. Consider replacing or amending under-performing pages.
  • Link building counts are a metric that people should be using. The most accurate tools for tracking this are Linkscape and Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Use the 2nd page traffic filter to spot keywords sending you traffic from the second page of search results. Pushing these phrases onto the first page are your low-hanging fruit.
  • Use multi-touch tracking to find the initial referrer for a sale rather than the final one. Often a sale initially comes from a long tail search query, then possibly a branded search or PPC ad which then incorrectly gets the credit for the sale.

Digital PR

  • Get Known- build a brand, attend conferences, seminars and other industry engagements. Comment in forums and become a noticed resource.
  • Build a Platform- Speaking slots, interviews, trade shows. Announce your presence at these industry events ahead of time
  • Find industry news and get on it

Presentations/Write-Ups Currently Available Online

Dean Chew – What’s New With Social Media?
Lyndon Antcliff – Smash A Brick In The Face Link Building
Richard Gregory – The Latest Stats About The Search Engines
Patrick Altoft – Blow Your Mind Link Building Techniques
Ciaran Norris – Old Or New? The Future Of Media
Will Critchlow- Analytics Every SEO Needs to Know
Lucy Langdon- What’s New With Social Media?
Rich Cotton- Paid Search & Tricky Issues
Rob Ousbey- Brand & Reputation Management Strategies
Guy Levine- Writing Killer Search Ads
Massimo Burgio – What’s New With Social Media Marketing?
Richard Baxter – Diagnosing Website Architecture Issues
Richard Gregory – Paid Search And Tricky Issues
Nick Abramovic – Multivariate Testing

Anything I have missed? Let me know :)

Adam Adam

December 10th, 2008.

Interflora Suing M&S and Flowers Direct over AdWords

After reading some interesting posts over at Holistic Search and Brand Republic, one of the largest florist chains worldwide is suing Marks & Spencers and Flowers Direct for using the Interflora brand name to trigger AdWords ads for their competitors.

Google updated their policy on brand name keywords and trademark terms that trigger competitor’s adverts to display back in May. Previously, competitors could not bid on other brand names to display their ads, but since Google updated their policies on brand name keywords and trademarks, competitors in various industries have been using competition brand names to trigger their adverts.
It has been reported keywords include “Interflora”, “Intaflora” and “Inter-flora” which have been used to trigger the display of competitors adverts.

Interflora’s argument is that the actions of Marks & Spencers and Flowers Direct are a breach of trademark law, as marketing director Michael Barringer stated:

“The Interflora brand is extremely valuable and we will not tolerate competitors taking advantage of it and infringing our right.”

However, both M&S and Flowers Direct are abiding by the Google Terms of Service- no mention of the band is made within the advert itself and is now somewhat of a common practice across industries, as a spokeswoman for Marks & Spencers was quoted saying they are “extremely surprised by Interflora’s course of action” adding it was industry-wide practice and not unlawful.

Interestingly, there has been no mention of Interflora or any other company suing Google over the use of trademark terms in AdWords for allowing this to happen.

This is not the first report of companies suing over the use of their trademark terms on Google AdWords either, as Dominic Farnsworth (a partner at Lewis Silkin) commented:

“There are a lot of legal letters flying around in the background at the moment and many disputes are being resolved without the need for legal proceedings”.

This poses an interesting situation for advertisers and search agencies- how long is it before competitors terms cause a lawsuit against your company or client, or how many more examples are needed before Google considers refining their policies? As Google have recently allowed the advertising of gambling and alcohol related sites, it appears they are expanding their policies to get even more from their advertising revenue—could this be Google’s solution to the current economic downturn? Let us know your comments.

Matt

November 17th, 2008.

The Online Spend Disconnect – PPC And SEO

An interesting post over at SEOMoz highlights the spending disconnect that exists in the way that many companies allocate their online marketing spend.

Not surprisingly, search advertising should continue to be the largest category, growing from $9.1 billion in 2007 to $20.9 billion in 2013.
- Source: C|Net News, June 30, 2008

While the current spend on natural SEO?

SEO: $1.3 billion (11%)
- Source: SEMPO data via Massimo Burgio, SMX Madrid 2008

So, out of a total of around $10.4 billion spent on search, only $1.3 billion, or 12.5% is spent on natural search placement. Therefore you would expect the potential traffic from natural search to be the smaller piece of the pie, right?

Wrong.

Looking at the Google heat map we can see that it’s the natural results that catch the attention of users viewing the page.

This superior visibility is matched by the click through rate data,

The natural results in Google drive more than 70% of search traffic, though only account for 12.5% of online spend.

Why is this? Take your pick from any one or more of the following,

  • PPC is an easier concept for people to understand, there is a general lack of education and understanding of the SEO process.
  • PPC is quicker (almost instant) to get results and you only pay for traffic that you actually receive. There is a higher perception of accountability and control.
  • Traditional marketers pay far less attention to SEO, column inches in the business press given over to SEO are far less than PPC. Again this may well be due to a lack of SEO understanding amongst journalists.
  • There is a lack of trust in a segmented and unregulated SEO marketplace. A basic lack of understanding handicaps buyers and can lead to acceptance of poor advice and wrong buying decisions.

Adam Adam

September 16th, 2008.

Google AdWords Keyword Matching Options

You’re probably aware of the quality targeted traffic Google AdWords can bring to your website through Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, and if so, you should be aware of the importance of keywords.

Google provides several keyword matching options to enhance the exposure of your ads, which when used correctly, can pre-qualify visitors and maximise your advertising budget.

Google’s keyword matching options include: -

•    Broad Match
•    Phrase Match
•    Exact Match

Broad Match

Broad Match is the default keyword type where the advert runs on relevant variations of your keywords and phrases. This means your ad could display when the search term includes synonyms, singular/plural forms and other phrases containing your keywords.

Google’s example provides an excellent example of how this keyword matching option operates. In their example, if the keyword web hosting is used, the advert would display for the following search queries:

web hosting company
webhost
web site hosting

You can see that related synonyms also trigger the advert to display, along with additional terms within the triggering keyword (such as site in the last example).

As the keyword variations triggering your adverts change over time, Google continually monitors the keyword quality and performance, meaning you continue to display the highest performing and most relevant keyword variations.

Broad match has several advantages: – more visitors can be attracted to your site as your advert is displayed for other keyphrases which you may not have thought about targeting, but are still relative to the keyword you’ve chosen.

The disadvantage to broad match keywords is that unwanted search terms may trigger the ad to display (if not correctly managed using negative keywords, which will be explained later).

Phrase Match

The next keyword matching option is phrase match. Phrase match keywords trigger your advert to be displayed if the search query contains the keyphrase in the order specified, and phrase match keywords are enclosed in quotation marks (“ “). For example, the phrase match keyword “football boots” will display for the search queries such as:

football boots
buy football boots
football boots review

but would not display for search queries such as:

boots for football or football shoes.

Phrase match has the advantage of being more targeted than broad match, but also has the disadvantage of potentially displaying the advert for an unwanted search query if not correctly managed using negative keywords, i.e. for the phrase match keyword “football boots” the advert would also display for the search query free football boots. If your business is selling football boots and your ad displays for this term, you’re unlikely to make a sale from this searcher!

An important note: For phase match keywords, your keyword or keyphrase triggering your ad is not case sensitive to the search query.

Exact Match

The third keyword matching option is exact match. Exact match keywords will only display the advert if the search query is exact to the keyword.
Exact match keywords are enclosed in ‘[‘ and ‘]’ characters.

For example, for the exact match keyword [buy dog bowl], the advert will only display if the search query is buy dog bowl and would not display for any other search query.

Exact match keywords have the advantage of being extremely targeted if you know an exact popular term for your industry.

Negative Keywords

The final and equally important keyword matching option is negative keywords. Negative keywords are used to NOT display the advert if the search query contains the negative term. Negative keywords are used by placing a ‘-‘ character before the keyword.
For example, if your business is selling web templates, using the negative keyword
–free will not display your advert if the search query as free web templates.

Matt

June 20th, 2007.

Pay-Per-Click-Advertising – Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Dynamic keyword insertion is a little known trick that can really help to improve ad click through rates and help to reduce overall advertising costs.

When users search queries appear on the search results page they appear in bold text as in the adverts below.

flower-delivery.jpg

This attention grabbing bold text helps to improve the click through rate of the advert. Sometimes it’s not practical to create 100′s of different adverts for combinations of different search keywords that searchers may use.

It’s possible to set your adverts so that they match the exact keywords that the search engine user has used to trigger your ad. This means that all of your adverts will display the exact search text used each time.

The correct syntax to use dynamic keyword insertion when writing your ad titles is: {keyword: } You can even add text before or after your keyword. Such as Buy {keyword: } or {keyword: } Cheap.

You can also use capitalisation,

{keyword:} will make the title small
{KeyWord:} will capitalize all the words in the Google AdWords ad title.

Imagine that you are running an ad for lots of different makes of cars, by writing an ad like this,

cars1.jpg

Will mean that a user searching for “BMW” will see this,

bmw.jpg

Or a user searching for “Ford Escort” will see this,

ford.jpg

Notice that the dynamic keywords can be inserted into any section of the ad, the ad title, body text or even the URL.

What if a keyword is searched for that isn’t on your keyword list?

The text that is inserted after keyword: is your default ad text. So if someone enters a serach query that isn’t matched exactly to one of your specified keyword terms, then your ad will revert to it’s default,

default.jpg

Although dynamic keyword insertion can work really well at maximising the number of relevant visitors to your site, increasing click-though rate and keeping your cost per click low, it should be very carfully managed and monitored to ensure that you’re only bidding on terms that are relevant.

E-Bay is a good example of what can go wrong when dynamic keyword insertion isn’t monitored closely,

buy-babies.gifcorpses.gif

nothing.gifdead-cats.gif

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