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.
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.
December 2nd, 2010.
Blog spamming is inevitable. It occurs when people post numerous links within comments sections in a blog article with the intention of readers of that article scrolling down to the comments bit to add their two pennies worth, seeing these links posted by other “readers” of that article and clicking on those links.
Whilst this is unfortunate for the blog owner, since many of these links drive traffic elsewhere, there is one proposed solution to this, and it goes by the name of the ‘NoFollow’ tag (written in HTML as (rel=”nofollow”)) – its one aim? To block search engines from following such links in comments.
Problem solved right? … Wrong! Regardless of the intention of the tag there is one overarching issue here – spammers haven’t hung up their spamming hats just yet, so if the tag does little or nothing to stop spam, ultimately it has failed.
Here are 5 more reasons why the NoFollow is a NoGo:
- It’s Pointless - It doesn’t work. Spammers still spam. If you want don’t want spam then perhaps you should use an(other) anti-spam tool such as ‘math’ alongside useful plug-ins like ‘SpamKarma’.
- It’s Pointless – The use of ‘NoFollow’ in comments on WordPress blogs (which are widely used) is default, hence – you may already be using it.
- It’s Pointless - There is no value, in terms of search engine indexing, & if the search engine indexes can’t find your link, and having many indexed links is your aim (and it is) then there is no point.
- It’s Selfish – Leaving a comment on another’s blog post is a nice thing to do and the right comment can even lead to more comments. If someone takes the time to do this for you, why not give back a little. Sharing is caring.
- It’s … Pointless – Guess what, Search Engines such as Yahoo, actually follow ‘NoFollow’ tags and have been known to count them as back-links in SiteExplorer. So, if you’re goal in comment spamming is to build such back-links in the hopes of building your site’s value … NoFollow is of no use to you here either.
The choice is yours…choose wisely.
Blogging regularly is important for many reasons. The most obvious being that if your want to retain a degree of professionalism (assuming your blog is not a personal one) then it looks better if you are continuously finding new and interesting things for your audience to read.
Honestly, how eager are you to get involved with a company or a business through its website, when you visit its blog and see that the ‘most recent’ entry has a date stamp of 6 months ago…?
Besides, there are some little gems you may be sacrificing if you neglect your company’s blog – such as:
Being fresh and innovative!
A blog post is an article that varies in length, can be about anything you want and is usually beneficial to the target audience it was written for. Through blogging, you can use it to encourage people, persuade them or simply to entertain them. Why lose out on something this beneficial? If you are a company or a business that has something you are trying to sell, your blog is the place to do this!
If you want to improve your chances of being visible in search engines (and you do) then well structured posts are essential. A great post can start to rank in search engines over time and could potentially bring in web traffic to your website. (For tips on how to write a great post you can read my earlier article titled ‘Successfully guest posting on A-list blogs’)
Being communicative & media savvy!
Simply because blogging and social media marketing must coexist when it comes to marketing a business, communication is essential.
Social communities, such as Twitter, Digg, and Facebook among others, can be used as a platform for your blog, and so being a consistent (but quality) blogger could create the opportunity for more traffic to find drive its way to your blog. Perhaps most importantly, through these social networks you could gather new business opportunities.
Blogging is a way to explain to your readers who you are as a company. Distancing yourself from the competition is what your brand and your website will attempt to do, but a blog can add that extra panache needed to make your business really stand out. Much like a chronicle, your blog can be how you document the goings on in your company – which will give allow it to develop a voice and a personality.
So blog & blog often!
Maximising the benefit of social and viral traffic is frequently a concept that is misunderstood by site owners looking at huge traffic spikes in their analytics accounts.
Great, 50k visits, how many sales?
None? What a waste of time!
Many years ago when I used to work in sales a key to a successful appointment was sticking to the habit of asking yourself,
What is the minimum I’m going to expect from this call or meeting?
For many salespeople its the sale, which in most cases just isn’t realistic. The minimum an intelligent salesperson expects from a contact is an invite to get in-touch again. Its building on this relationship that creates long-lasting rewarding partnerships.
I have always approached social media with the same kind of mindset. For the vast majority of people that land on your pages, particularly on viral and linkbait type content its the first time that they have had any contact with your brand. – What is the minimum you’ll expect? A sale, or an invite to get in contact again?
I have mocked-up below a before and after of a typical blog landing page.
Before (click for a larger version)
After (click for a larger version)
The key changes to the page include,
- Adding easily visible subscribe options to a prominent area of the page, including the ability to subscribe by RSS or email.
- Prominent social media voting buttons at both the top and bottom of a post. Many social media users are members of multiple sites. Many may arrive from Twitter for example and then wish to Digg a story. Make it as easy as possible for them to do this.
- Twitter followers and Facebook fan pages can be as effective as email newsletter sign ups – make the most out of these if you use them and encourage people to sign up.
- Experiment with adding related posts to the bottom of your articles, this can help with how ‘sticky’ your site is.
- Encourage people to comment on your posts. Moderate spam and try to reply to people asking for help or advice.
Remember, its not always about converting a visitor into a sale, converting them into a user, reader, commenter, voter, advocate or sharer can be far more effective in the long-run.
You are probably already aware of the importance of guest posting to for the purposes of promotion in the world of SEO. The two work hand in hand. However, there is more to guest posting than simply getting your article uploaded to any random blog on the internet – if you want it to be seen and seen often, then you need to be featured on successful high powered blogs that get attention.
As somebody that is fairly new to SEO, I have learned that there are many ways to ‘get a link’, but perhaps more importantly, I have recognised the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to guest posting.
So what shouldn’t you do?
- Aimlessly send out requests asking a multitude of questions regarding guidelines.
Why? – Because blogs like this usually have set guidelines that can be found on ‘guest posting’ sections of their site. Asking webmasters questions that they have already answered shows your lack of attention to detail. Not a good sign.
- Ignore the target audience.
Figuring out the niche for that blog, or the readers interests from previous posts that they have on the site is helpful. Of course you may be working for clients or have your own ideas that are far away from the niche theme of the blog that you are approaching. One solution to this is to be creative and to try and marry the ideas that you have, to this niche. For example, I recently found a blog on video-gaming where I wanted to incorporate a client that supplies contemporary decorative art; I came up with ideas such as ‘concept art in video-games’ and even ‘tattoo art inspired by game characters’. These worked well.
Taking initiative is highly appreciated in the world of guest posting. Don’t be afraid to send some material to the blog owner, rather than simply asking to send some. If they are a successful blog, chances are they will be inundated with requests daily, many of which they turn down. Instead, sending some well written content with a good email explaining your intentions will be a breath of fresh air, will get you noticed and will heighten your chances of getting that post.
- Be generic.
Go ‘gaga’ with the hyperbole, the numbered titles and the informative language used. If the blog owner wants changes to be made, you’ll be informed, but standing out is the key – a title can make the topic seem boring even if the content is great. Huge blogs of text with no photographs are a no-no. Avoid these.
- Give up.
If your post was refused but you followed the above steps, chances are it’s going to have been a pretty well put together and thought out piece of work. A well constructed post is never a wasted effort, so don’t waste it – use it elsewhere or use it on your own blog if you can. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
I’m new to the field of SEO and I came across it after graduating university with a degree in law. I enjoyed studying law but as far as the practise of it in the workplace, I felt as though it was a field that didn’t really leave room for me to utilise my creative abilities and imagination.
After getting some worthwhile careers advice, I decided that marketing was a field that I wanted to explore. I did some research on the different types of marketing and what these entail. I brainstormed, combining what I enjoyed doing, with the transferable skills that I already had, and figured that since I’m technology and Internet savvy (I like to think) and have an interest in how companies market themselves (perhaps sparked by my many years of experience in sales and retail as a student), I wanted to work somewhere that combined these skills and interests.
This led me to Datadial where I am currently an SEO Intern. So far, I have enjoyed coming up with ideas that really make a difference to the success of our clients.
In my spare time I love to write music, and I love to read. I also really enjoy going out & socialising with friends…and I like to cook.
June 14th, 2010.
Many thanks to the Biblical Suppliers Association for listening to my talk on:
How to build a Successful Search Engine Friendly Website.
You can download the presentation here.
I have also added some extra slides on attitudes to Social Media at boardroom level.
Also there is a slide of Resources slide for links to keyword tools, Datadial’s Reputation Management tool and a few other links worth looking at.
April 30th, 2010.
With the growth of digital marketing and social media participation we’re now starting to see more and more PR agencies looking to online communities as a way of increasing their clients influence.
In my opinion a more organised and structured approach to social media can only be a good thing, used in the right way it can be a very powerful tool, however far too many companies are either not using it to its full advantage, or doing things badly and damaging their brand while isolating themselves from other social media users.
However that’s not to say that every PR agency jumping headfirst into Twitter and Facebook is doing a great job. I still see many agencies that don’t really have a full understanding of what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Many cases tend to be client-led, with questions and requests for a social media strategy leading to hasty moves in order to win business and prevent existing clients from potentially looking elsewhere.
In our various dealings with agencies these are the topics that repeatedly seem to reappear…..
Content really does matter – Most Of Your Ideas Will Fail
- The quality of the content is the key to any social media strategy
- You can’t rely on contacts for success. There are no friendly journalists or editors that can swing a campaign with a well placed piece
- Okay, good and great don’t cut it, if you’re relying on people to see your content and pass it on then it needs to be amazing, fantastic or brilliant
- Let go of the brand – in many cases overuse of the client brand will turn a successful viral into blatant advertising that people have no inclination to pass-on.
- The trickle-down effect is key to a successful campaign, brilliant content seeded onto key blogs, Twitter accounts and other social news sites will explode onto other social sites, smaller blogs and media outlets without you having to do anything.
- Having said all of that, most of your great ideas will fail. There really is an element of being in the right place at the right time and taking advantage of any good fortune that comes your way.
It Isn’t ALL about Twitter
- Twitter at the moment tends to be used as a buzz-word for social media, desire to participate can often be driven by a CEOs 14 your-old daughter.
- There are other social sites that are just AS important
- Sites like Digg can potentially send far more traffic and is monitored constantly by journalists and influencers
- A well seeded and targeted story on a sites like Digg and Reddit can translate into national and international press
Understand Your Audience
- You need to understand not just who you’re talking to but why
- Is your or your clients Twitter account supposed to be speaking to potential clients, existing customers or journalists, bloggers and the media?
- Is Twitter and Facebook or Digg and Reddit the best way to connect with your linkerati?
- Spend some time understanding where your targets are communicating with each other. Any time spent on competitor intelligence is worthwhile, but bear in mind they might not have got things right themselves.
Don’t Use Channels In Isolation, Look At The Bigger Picture
- If you’re just using one social media network in isolation then you’re almost certainly underperforming
- It’s usually a good idea to create a blog or news section on your client site and then use this as a ‘hub’ for all of their social media activity
- Cross-promote your different networks, you’ll find that users will sign-up for other networks as well as the one they arrived from
It’s Not Just About What You Say But How You Say It
- Syndicating content isn’t just about pushing a release through a network like PRWeb, if only things were that easy!
- Draw up a list of targets for each release – blogs, news sites, media outlets, find their contact details and contact them directly as you would with any offline story.
- Have some idea of the potential ‘influence’ of each target, record metrics such as domain authority, Compete rank, Technorati ranking, and look at the number of comments each article receives. The idea being you can then identify the top sites in a given vertical and prioritise where you focus your efforts. Remember if you can gain coverage on the larger sites the smaller ones tend to follow.
It’s All About Measurement And Metrics
- The real advantage of being online is that everything is trackable. You can gain insight into where visitors arrived from, how long they spend on the site and where they move onto.
- Use this data to understand which elements of your activity work and which ones don’t
- Sign-up to a reputation monitoring service to track brand mentions online, you’ll almost certainly miss posts, mentions and articles if you don’t.
- Have a clear plan as to which metrics are important and make sure you track them – visits, views, contacts, sales, comments, signups, links gained, search engine rankings can all be influenced by your activity – track it and report it.
Remember You Have No Control
- Always remember you have no control over how things are passed-on and how they’re being received
- Things aren’t always ‘on-brand’ – remember people pass things on because they like them, not because they help you or your clients
- Be ready to react and respond directly to questions, be honest and professional at all times
Many of us have the question in our minds trying to figure out whether they should use facebook ppc or Google ppc, but realistically the only way one can resolve this dilema is to try them both and measure the results over a period of time.
- Facebook ads are rapidly gaining in popularity and are very beneficial to small to medium size businesses, attempting to increase traffic with pay per click.
- Facebook is currently showing up as having four hundred million active members and is the only company that Google actually acknowledges is a real competitor to them.
- Facebook is pretty much untapped compared to PPC advertising on Google, Yahoo or Bing. There is another big benefit to this type of advertising – if people like your business, they can pass “word of mouth” very easily to other people on facebook, and now you have happy customers doing your advertising.
- Another fantastic advantage of facebook advertising is you can target a list of potential customers in a way that was never available before. Demographic targeting means that facebook PPC clients will be able to set up their ads so that they only appear on the facebook pages of people who are tightly defined as part of their target market. For example, advertisers will be able to select from a number of options such as age, gender, marital status, geographical location, hobbies and interests. When ads are as well targeted as this, copy writing becomes a much easier process. You have a much better chance of generating targeted clicks to their sales pages.
- Google pay per click advertising is a flexible, relatively low cost method of promoting your website and generating interest that can help you achieve your company’s targets.
- It can be economical compared with more traditional advertising strategies.
- The principles of pay per click advertising are straight forward – if a company is willing to place the highest bid for a keyword it will be ranked the highest on the search results page.
- For short-term advertising campaigns, pay per click advertising is ideal – allowing organisations to change the copy of ads. as desired to reflect keyword changes.
In both cases the disadvantages of pay per click campaigns is if they are not monitored on a regular basis, ones company could end up spending more money than it made by pay per click advertising. The cost per click will remain the same rate, whatever your traffic levels are.
This document is a great guide for anyone company setting up a Social Media policy for their company and employees.
Coca-Cola’s approach is mature and shows the situation that we have arrived at: that is to say that they cannot restrain their staff from writing about their job and their company in which they work but that in doing so this also comes with (social) responsibility.
I cant remember where I first found this but it was floating around on the Internet so apologies if you have seen it before.
March 25th, 2010.
‘What page should I launch – a group or fan page?’
There are two ways on facebook you can advertise your business – a fan page or a group page. Firstly, you should consider how you want to communicate with your audience, i.e. do you want to be an information source or do you want to engage your audience in dialogue? Both groups and fan pages allow you to create discussions and others to reply. Both have a wall for people to write on and allow you to share videos and pictures and require you to manually remove posts as an administrator if something does not meet your standards or purpose for the page.
Here are some points that can help you decide which is best for you:
- Pages are similar to personal profiles on facebook, but used in a commercial capacity such as a celebrity, public figure, Brand, local business and so on.
- Pages are essentially a profile for your business, which can also be viewed publicly by people who are not users of facebook.
- Businesses can use fan pages to publish information, which is then picked up in status feeds of their fans.
- facebook users can connect with their favourite artists and businesses through fan pages and also show their colleagues/friends what they care about.
- Once a facebook user becomes a fan they then can recommend that page to other friends.
- Pages have two walls, one which the Page owner writes, and one just for fans to write their own messages. Like a normal facebook profile, Pages have tabs that uncover more information.
- Pages are better for companies who want to interact with their fans or customers without having them connected to a personal account, and have a need to exceed facebook’s 5,000 friend cap.
In summary if you don’t want to mix your personal interactions with your business on facebook, then a fan page might be just want you need. Your fan page can be strictly for your online business and will keep all your interactions steered towards your business contacts.
- These are generally better for hosting an active discussion and attracting fast attention.
- Groups allow you to send out bulk invitations (for instance, you can ask all of your friends to join the group) and any of your group members can also invite their friends. If you have “friends” on your facebook page who are acquaintances or just share common interests this is a good way to market.
- Groups are not public, but allow you to send messages that show up in a person’s Inbox, making more direct communication.
- Group pages allow you to set other administrators to see who is requesting to join the group. If you post something to the group page, it will also show up on your personal wall. Some people don’t like this because it ties them to their businesses, but this can be useful in creating a “person behind the online business” feeling with your customers. You have more control over participants and permissions with group memberships.
- A group, however, has a limitation of 5,000 members if you wish to send a message. They are generally considered to be best for more personal interaction.
In summary groups are great for organising on a personal level and for smaller scale interaction around a cause.
Regardless of which one you choose (of course, you can have both), be sure to update regularly, keep your audience engaged and offer something of value. If you use your fan page or group purely for promotional reasons, you are far less likely to build loyalty, and there’s a good chance that your members and friends won’t be returning to your pages anytime soon.