Adwords Quality Score Help Part 3

The progressive conversation on relevancy:

With the onset of Quality Score, relevancy is much more scientific than most SEO packages will let you believe… if you want to approach it properly. The conversation has been going on for quite a while. I am going to focus specifically on the landing page and the collaboration that needs to occur to get this right.

Relevancy: what it used to mean, you had this bucket of keywords that you’d created during your search engine optimization training. You had the same titles and descriptions for everything on your list. Maybe you categorised them in Excel, started to map keywords, either way it used to be extremely manual. Then, the tools started to get better, standards started to raise, and relevancy became increasingly part of the conversation when it came to do quality search marketing.

We got more aggressive on bidding strategy, handling text ad methods, titles and descriptions, keyword landing page, and getting more serious about what we wanted the consumer to do.

Landing page: we have always been delivering this to deliver on consumer demand. Where you land on the page is one thing but now there are many more things to look at. You want to look at the account history, content and layout, usability and navigation and load time.

If Quality Score is well handled, it will force the tightening of relevancy to occur earlier on. We want to deliver on relevancy.

Guidance: When it comes to content, content rich strategies in search have always been wise. Use tags when necessary and be descriptive.

Usability: It should be useful, relevant, and deliver.

Navigation: Direct connection to what is sought. Make it clear how to get there. Ease of passage.

Transparency: Make sure the nature of your business is crystal clear.

Load time: this can be smooth with the right kind of collaboration. Minimize the number of redirects and come up with creative workarounds of slow servers.

Conclusion: If you are serious about relevancy, you need to take Quality Score seriously. It does I believe represent an opportunity to hang your interests on. As you go about making site modifications and dealing with all the other factors, understand what the threshold is and what your efforts should be. Know that your efforts are going to be re-evaluated by the engines over time, and will get better and better.

Summit for all your online marketing consulting

Did you like this? Share it:

Adwords Quality Score Help Part 2

The second part of our series on Adwords quality score. Here at Summit we’re not all about getting the best search engine placement possible for a budget. We’d also like to inform our clients about the why and How around online marketing strategy.

You will now get as close to Google SEO level knowledge as possible today!

Talking specifically about Google. Their Quality Score permeates everything in the account about what it affects. Your bids. Your position. Your placement targeting. Ad rank.

So we will walk through how the Quality Score factors affect everything;

* Why is Quality Score important? It affects your ad rank, where your ad appears.
* Ad rank = keyword Quality Score x maximum CPC.

So often you don’t want to change your bids, you want to see if you can raise your Quality Score rather than your bids.

First Google determines your minimum bid. The minimum you can pay to have your ad shown. And if your bid is higher than the minimum then you can show on search, but if its lower you can’t show up in search but you can show up in content network.

Minimum bid is determined by:

* Historical click through rate on Google.com – not on the content network.

* Relevance of keywords.

* Landing page (goes into the minimum bid calculation).

* Other factors.

What to do;

* Don’t get caught up in other factors.

* So viewing minimum bids: you can see them right away. Take your minimum bids and export them into Excel so you can see them more clearly.

* Quality Score factors chart: look at particular factors as a reference when you start diagnosing issues.

* The higher your minimum bid, maybe you have a landing page problem. Start playing with them and see what’s working. Go into your Adwords accounts to see more information. Load time of your landing page and other factors.

* Account organisation is the number 1 factor to get a good jump in quality score. The more granular the campaigns, the more relevant everything will be.

Did you like this? Share it:

Adwords Quality Score Help Part 1

As an Online marketing company with our web SEO and PPC training it’s very common to get questions on Google Adwords quality scores.

More and more, ranking positively in paid search listings is less about how much you pay and more about the “quality” of your ad campaign. But what goes into making up your quality score? We’ll take a closer look at quality factors and give tips on increasing the perceived relevancy of your campaigns.

What is a Quality Score? The old model is kind of a bid to position situation. Quality score essentially is a dynamic value assigned to each keyword, and is the basis for defining quality and relevancy of your ad. So the higher your quality score, the lower your minimum bid and the higher your ad placement.

Google rolled out Quality Score in 2005, and they revised the algorithm in 2007 to incorporate landing page relevance, and then later on allowed their users to see it

The key thing is that Google believe that delivering more relevant ads would create more value for users. If search engines can deliver more relevance that makes them look good and then you look good.

So Quality Score is a way to make searches more relevant.

Where to find the Quality Score? You need to drill down to the ad groups and specifically shows each of the keywords, you need to click on “customise columns” and then quality score. So it gives you a feeling of how good or poor your keywords are.

Historical click through rate for each keyword affects your Quality Score, the relevance of the ads and the quality of landing page. Also your account history, history of all click through rates and ads in your account. Of course there are factors as well that won’t be revealed to us.

Relevance and landing page are the key things.

Case study: We had a client who came to us as part of their whole SEO outsourcing requirement. They were managing their own campaign and they currently had an average minimum bid of 40 pence, and 5 ad groups, and each ad group had 100 keywords. It turned out that 72% of their keywords had poor Quality Scores.

So the first thing we did was come in and create more, smaller, more relevant ad groups. Then we developed more relevant ad copy for each group. Then we optimised the landing page using Google’s web optimiser. And we tested to see what was and was not working. So some results: the average minimum CPC went down to about 8 pence, click through rates went up about 11%, conversions went up from 2.6% to 4.2% within 2 weeks, the quality score for over 50% of the keywords went from poor to great. And then after a month, anything that still had a poor rating, we just deleted them altogether.

So the key thing is you need to test and keep an eye on quality score. Many people miss out on this.

Hot tip: You probably should allocate about 10%-15% of your budget specifically to testing. You will learn what’s working and what’s not working.

Did you like this? Share it:

6 common website mistakes that could be costing you money

As an SEO Company we’re always dealing with clients who seem to have a little bit of SEO PPC or online marketing knowledge. Here we’ve put together 6 really common website mistakes and get they could be costing you money.

1. JavaScript or other crawler-unfriendly navigation that may impede indexing. Most newer sites don’t have this problem, but there’s almost always at least 1 site we review in every class that has its main navigation pretty much invisible to the search engines. If your navigation basically doesn’t exist as far as Google is concerned, then it’s very difficult to get all of the pages of your website indexed.

2. Navigation that buries important pages within the site architecture. The deeper that pages are buried within the website, the less importance they are given. For SEO, as well as usability purposes, it’s often helpful to showcase important sections of the website up an additional level in the site’s hierarchy. This can usually be achieved via a search-friendly CSS mouse-over menu.

3. Duplicate “pages” getting indexed under multiple URLs. While Google has, for the most part, worked out many of their canonical issues of the past and now generally realize that www.example.com/index.php is the same as www.example.com, many content management systems (CMS) take things a step further and provide a whole array of URLs for any one particular page of content. Sometimes this is done purposely for tracking reasons, as with session ids or tracking links appended to the end of URLs; but other times, it’s simply done because the CMS was never designed with search engines in mind. This is not a good thing, as it can cause the spiders to be so busy indexing the same content that they miss the more important stuff.

4. No keyword phrase focus in the content or conversely, keyword phrase stuffing. It never ceases to amaze me when people claim to have optimised a page, but there are no keyword phrases anywhere to be seen within the content. I suppose this might happen because they’ve put them in the keyword meta tag and assume they’ve optimised. (It’s a good thing they’ve come to our class when this is the case!) On the other side of the coin, there are those who seem to think that 4 instances of a keyword phrase in one sentence must certainly be better than just one! The fix, of course, is to provide a balanced focus on the optimised keyword phrases so that a trained SEO would know what the page is optimised for, but the average reader wouldn’t find the copy repetitive.

5. An optimised home page, but that’s it. While optimizing just the home page is better than not optimizing anything, it’s not going to increase the website’s search engine traffic by that much. Without fixing all the issues on inner pages and optimizing a number of them for their own set of keyword phrases, the site will basically be leaving money on the table.

6. Additional domains owned by the company are not properly redirected. In the old days, it was fine to park any additional domains that the company owned as an alias of the main website; however, today it’s much better practice to 301-redirect all additional domains to the main website. This enables the company to control which domain is the one that the search engines index, and avoids any splitting of link popularity between the different domains.

These 6 are by no means the only website mistakes we see. I’m going back through the sites we reviewed, I found tons of additional mistakes which I’ll save for a future article. My hope is that at least one of these may ring a bell to you as something that needs to be fixed on your own website. Once you take the time to correct the issue, you should find that your website will start gaining a lot more targeted search engine traffic, and ideally start making you more money!

Did you like this? Share it:

How Consumers Search For A Perfect Meal

Mark Sprague wrote this fantastic post for Search Engine Land Oct 15, 2010

Personally i feel every small business SEO should read this post.

How do consumers find the perfect restaurant? Word of mouth plays a role, but there are other elements at play. How important is your brand? Is value more important than quality? What role does content play in this quest? Here I take a look at the term “restaurant” to show what consumers value when searching for a good place to eat.

In this data set there are eleven distinct high-level categories of behaviour. The categories are sorted by volume (the first number reflects the number of keyword phrases in that group).

* 22 Informational – 65,650,450 searches
* 308 Location based – 13,577,700 searches
* 76 Type of restaurant – 4,261,540 searches
* 51 Quality of restaurant – 1,835,520 searches
* 36 Restaurant business – 1,299,270 searches
* 150 Restaurant by brand – 1,236,530 searches
* 81 Request for content – 850,020 searches
* 42 Value (cost reduction) – 500,660 searches
* 12 Industry events – 376,600 searches
* 4 Restaurant directory – 218,000 searches
* 1 Software tools – 2,400 searches

When you examine these categories you are struck by the specificity of intent here. Generally, there are large numbers of vague informational keyword phrases being used. In this case, there are just 22 of them, but they account for 65M searches a month. The second important item to note are the top three themes that dominate restaurant search behaviour: location, quality and type. From an information architecture perspective these three concepts, which represent almost 30 percent of consumer traffic, should be infused into website copy. The probability that a consumer will construct a [quality] [location] [type] query is very high.

Several of these high-level categories have sub-categories that provide useful information about consumer intent. This expands the unique categories to twenty seven. There are, for example, three categories of behaviour for content, and five categories for the Type of restaurant.

* Information – 65,602,880
* Location – 13,538,000
* Type by nationality – 2,380,480
* Quality using Best – 1,251,600
* Brand – 1,211,340
* Business products – 1,043,370
* Type by food – 901,190
* Type by style – 733,390
* Industry events – 376,600
* Content (reviews) – 352,120
* Quality using Top – 345,720
* Content (guides) – 277,180
* Value (coupons) – 266,790
* Business – 255,900
* Quality – 238,200
* Website directory – 218,000
* Content (menus) – 168,020
* Type – 136,480
* Value (vouchers) – 126,080
* Type for delivery – 110,000
* Value – 107,790
* Content – 52,700
* Information (names) – 44,200
* Location by country – 39,700
* Brand by location – 25,190
* Information by zip codes – 3,370
* Software tools – 2,400

When you look at consumer intent by category, you can make assumptions when developing your website architecture. For example, many more consumers are interested in reviews rather than looking at menus by a two to one margin. Both content types are important, but from a volume perspective restaurant reviews should get top-billing.

Let’s take a look at the categories in a little more detail.

Brand: There are 1,211,340 searches a month for restaurants by brand name alone (no location was specified). Interestingly, the search for a brand by location comes in on the low side at 25,190 searches a month.

Business: As a restaurant business owner these searches are of no value to you. The majority of the traffic is for products and services (1,043,370 searches), while the rest (255,900 searches) are about franchises and for sale opportunities. The majority of the traffic for business products is searched for with just a handful of secondary terms. This makes it straightforward to manage where your ads should not be displayed. These terms in order of importance are:

1. Supply
2. Supplies
3. Equipment
4. Tables
5. Chairs
6. Furniture

Content: These are, for the most part, three very specific content requests. Reviews are the top-dog in terms of volume, but this volume is clustered in just 10 keyword phrases. Guides show up in 53 different queries, most of them city-based. Most of the request for menus is by national cuisine (Chinese, Italian and Mexican). There is very little traffic for menus from brand name restaurants.

* Content – reviews (352,120 searches)
* Content – guides (277,180 searches)
* Content – menus (168,020 searches)
* Content – non specific (52,700 searches)

Events: There are 376,600 searches a month for restaurant week. Coming in at four million searches a year, this looks like a microsite opportunity worth exploring when this event occurs in your city.

Information: Not surprising, the majority of this traffic is on a single term: restaurant(s). It’s hard to divine user intent in this traffic. It could be businesses looking for services, or a mom looking for a birthday party restaurant. There are a number of queries looking for a list of restaurant names by nationality. Are these queries coming from someone looking to start a new restaurant, or is this an unusual way to search for a place to eat? I suppose you could target this traffic to see how it converts.

* Information – vague intent (65,602,880 searches)
* Information – request for list of names (44,200 searches)
* Information – request restaurants by zip code (3,370 searches)

Location: With 13,538,000 monthly searches, these location-based searches are the second largest behaviour category. This group is looking for a restaurant in a city without mentioning any other attributes, such as food type, content or quality.

Quality: Consumers are certainly interested in a quality eating experience, and they use relatively few adjectives to describe the restaurant they are looking for.

* Quality using the term best – (1,251,600 searches)
* Quality using the term top – (345,720 searches)
* Quality, various terms e.g., good, famous, 5 star – (238,200 searches)

Tools: There are just 2,400 searches a month in this data-set for calorie counters. At this level you can’t really be bothered with such a tool. Perhaps if you are offering fast foods this becomes a more useful option.

Type: There is a lot going on in this group, and it provides a restaurant owner the option to construct landing pages with ad copy that reflects the probability that consumers are searching for your restaurant in five different ways. The probability that consumers will search by national cuisine is very high – the probability that they will search by delivery is almost twenty times lower.

* Type by nationality e.g. Chinese, Mexican – 2,380,480 searches
* Type by food e.g. seafood, burger, pizza – 901,190 searches
* Type by style e.g., family, romantic, buffet – 733,390 searches
* Type, various one-off terms e.g., gluten free, waterfront – 136,480 searches
* Type, for delivery – 110,000 searches

Value: Cost is important in this category. The majority of consumers focus on just two terms: coupons and vouchers. When consumers search for coupons, you do see some request for coupons by brand name. When they search for vouchers, none of the consumers specify a brand.

* Value – coupons 266,790 searches
* Value – vouchers 126,080 searches
* Value, various terms – e.g., cheap, kids eat free 107,790 searches

Website directory: 218,000 consumers a month search for directories of restaurants. There is certainly enough traffic here to justify registering your restaurant with every local and hyperlocal directory you can find.

Secondary terms

It’s always useful to look at term density in the dataset, as it provides more insight into what customers value. In this case the top term is best. This would suggest a great landing page opportunity e.g., “the best seafood restaurant in Boston.” In this label you have captured the three main themes identified earlier: location, quality and type.

Stop Words: If you have been around search for a while, you know that stop words (a, in, the, of, for, be) are supposed to be of little value in search relevancy. However, if you look at the list of secondary terms below, you see that the term “in” has the fifth highest density. In this case, it is very valuable because it is a geo-indicator. You see a lot of traffic using the following two forms:

* Best in [your city]
* Restaurants in [your city]

Since the best search result is an exact match with a consumers query, the term “in” becomes important because:

1. It’s used often
2. It’s a geo-indicator
3. It’s important in an exact (word-for-word) query match

By the way, the term “near” plays this roll as well, as in restaurants near Kendal Square.

When you examine the rest of the top 25 secondary terms you see several themes reflected in the list. These are listed roughly in order of value. The first six provide insight into what is valued by consumers, and should govern how you develop your website architecture and page copy.

1. Looking for a quality dinning experience
2. Looking for restaurants by national cuisine
3. Looking for content (reviews and guides)
4. Looking for a restaurant by food type (seafood and vegetarian)
5. Looking for a restaurant by style (family and romantic)
6. Looking for value (coupons and vouchers)
7. Looking for directories (city cheat and table-table)

Some secondary terms are off-topic, and are of no use to you. In fact, if you talk about the state-of-the-art restaurant equipment you have installed in your restaurant, you may well attract traffic looking to buy stoves and chairs.

Summary

So, what does this analysis do for you as a restaurant owner? Let’s list some of the more important items to think about.

* At the highest level, consumers are interested in location, quality and type. These themes should underpin your website copy.

* Consumers are much more interested in quality than value by a three to one margin. The terminology they use (best and top) and the most requested content type i.e., Reviews supports this observation.

* When consumers search by brand, they already know about you. If they have never visited your restaurant before you should support this group with reviews and location information.

* Many consumers are cost-conscious, and search for discount coupons. What was a bit of a surprise in the data was how often the term voucher was used. I think this reflects the relationship that hotels have with the local restaurant community. I don’t think I’ve ever received a coupon from the concierge, vouchers yes, coupons no.

* Last but not least, you have the option to provide potential customers with three distinct ways to find your restaurant. Statistically large numbers of consumers search by nationality, by food type and by the style of the restaurant. This behaviour suggests a multiple landing page strategy.

The last point about the style of restaurant is important. What if you are “family restaurant?” Does search behavior differ when searching for a restaurant when children are factored in? It does and it doesn’t. Many of the categories of behavior are the same, but with dramatically different volume. For example, there is also almost no interest in reading reviews in this group, and brand searches tops the list. Next month I will develop a family restaurant search behavior model, and contrast it to this model to show that behavior can be different depending upon the type of restaurant consumers are looking for.
Advice

This analysis is high-level, and it is very useful to understand what is going on at the industry level—the dominant themes and so on. However, most restaurants are not one-dimensional. They have multiple characteristics such as in this tag line: “Brazilian steakhouse specializing in romantic dining.” My advice here is to go the extra mile to understand the behavior associated with consumers searching for a romantic restaurant. No doubt, the behavior will differ from this analysis.

As in politics, all restaurants are local. If you have not claimed your business in Google’s, Yahoo’s and Bing’s local search services, you should do so. You will not automatically get added to these local search indexes. There are local search requirements for being included. Make sure you understand what they are.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

My Thoughts

So SEO training can only help you to get so far. This article borders on persona training. Which is the complex understanding of user and searcher behaviour around a webpage or places search result .

Sensible online marketing strategies dictate that knowing your audience, alongside searcher decision making and keyword research are absolutely key to any strategic decision

Did you like this? Share it:

SEO Basics: What Is Link Popularity?

A recent SEO Manchester discussion on what is link popularity?

Link popularity measures the quality and quantity of links pointing to a web page. All the major engines use it, it’s considered an off-page factor and is also called “link juice” (most popular), “link pop”, “link reputation” or “link love”. Link Popularity Components

There are four main components that agencies involved offering web marketing services will openly discuss:

Link quantity: The number of links pointing to a web page.

Link quality: Quality is determined by the authority of the host sites and the sites linking to them. Quality flows from one site to the next through links. The most well known quality factor is PageRank. Page Rank is a link analysis algorithm used by Google to determine the quality factor of a page based on its inbound links.

Anchor Text: Query ranking indicator, it’s an endorsement of what’s to come. Anchor text is the clickable part of the link you see; hyperlinked keyword phrases provide additional “weight” and carry semantic value.

In a rare moment of algorithm clarity, Google states: anchor text influences the queries your site ranks for in the search results. And from Bing, an equally clear comment about anchor text: …”anchor text helps define the theme of a linked page…”. Anchor text continues to be one of, if not the strongest component of link popularity.

And last but not least the most important as stated by the top seo agencies…

Relevance: This establishes your topical/geographic neighborhood within the link graph. It is commonly accepted that links to and from topically related sites convey more authority.

For maximum algorithm influence, your linking goals should be to secure large numbers of links (quantity) from quality (PageRank) pages using keyword rich anchors (anchor text) on thematically related (relevance) authority sites/pages. I know, easier said than done right?

Yes, but definitely not impossible if you focus on using tactics that hit on each component. Right now, the best linking strategy to implement revolves around the use and promotion of content because the content influences each component of link popularity.

To rank well, build brand and drive targeted traffic, it all starts with understanding how link popularity works.

Did you like this? Share it:

404 or 301 Your Old Pages? Which is Best For SEO?

We’ve had a bit of a discussion at SEO Liverpool about getting did of multiple subpages & not get penalised. The discussion is around the topics of using different techniques when removing or redirecting pages.

Which is better to do for SEO? Do you want to 301, redirect a page, or 404, return a not found status, a page?

I can tell you that the best SEO companies think about this fairly frequently. At Summit we take different approaches for different sites. I try, try hard, to not think only about SEO and think what would also benefit the user.

Here is my guide:

301 redirect everything you possibly can, when it makes sense. If you have a page about big blue pineapple chairs on the old site and you are moving it to the new site, 100% use a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one. However, sometimes it is not that easy.

Sometimes you have a site with hundreds, if not thousands of pages, if not more. Manually redirecting each page is a huge chore. When we can, we set up logic based 301 redirects, to redirect the old URL to the new URL dynamically. That can result in thousands of redirects, but Google should handle those fine over time.

For all the pages that do not match that pattern or logic AND for sites where there is no logic (large, old, non-database driven sites), you want to manually redirect the most important pages. So make sure you have analytics installed on the previous site, way before launching the new site – this way you have the 301 redirects in place, on the most important pages, when you launch.

Then, all other pages, I typically set up a 404 page, returning a valid 404 status code, plus it is set up as a custom 404, so users who land on it, have an avenue to find the right page.

Some people have suggested that sometimes you should think about setting up what is called a “soft” 404 page. Basically, a soft 404 page, is a page that looks like a page not found page, but returns a server status of 200, meaning, the page is valid and active and should not be deleted. The only issue I see with that, is that the URL of the page will be different but the content of the page will be very similar, if not exact, to the other soft 404 pages you set up. Of course, if you are a smart coder, you can look at the Google referrer or the old page’s data and serve up contextual relevant product or content on that page, which would make the page’s content more unique.

So, like I said, it totally depends on the situation and your search engine marketing experience.

Did you like this? Share it: