PPC Landing Page Essentials

In the last two months, we’ve never had so many calls regarding optimising existing Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns.

After analysis, these campaigns may not be set out how we’d like, ads might look a little wooly to us, but on the whole they’re in good shape.  The commonality amongst them, is the lack of good landing pages.

This SEO Liverpool post is about educating our readers on important landing page elements that will provide a good conversion benefit. Obviously, some elements are subjective but we feel those identified below are very important.

Elements Of A Good Landing Page

High Quality Product Images (Product Zoom And Multiple Views).

This is a simple win. As with most elements of design, consistency is the key. If you’re trying to imply trust, then product image resolutions are important. Background colour consistency, is the most noticeable, get this right and the page will look professional. If you’re selling a product that has small details or maybe the image size is small, then product zoom is also a good idea. If the product looks different from the back, or side, then you should have multiple images.

Product Demonstration Videos

These can be an excellent way not only to get across information in an easy to digest way, but also help monitor customer engagement. A video of instruction, with the odd testimonial and user experience thrown in, will speak volumes.

Calls To Action

Wow, if you have no calls to action then you don’t have a business. I’m a great believer in the psychological triggers associated with buying behaviour. A simple large buy button, one click ordering or even an email form to harvest data is a must.

Copy

Having good solid copy is vital. Lots of businesses write copy based on the product, saying how great it is, what they’ve achieved and how it can enhance your life. We think you should write your copy to these guidelines…

Feature – What are the killer features? We only care about those that relate to customer.

Benefit – How will these features benefit the client.

Experience – An example of how this product has helped, made life simpler or revolutionised a client process. You need a real world example.

Simple Shipping Instructions

Companies spend thousands of pounds making things simple. Don’t have lots of complicated instructions, keep it basic. If you need a popup to establish trust, or explain a little more then do so. Complex shipping instructions can lead to high shopping cart abandonment, even if you take a hit… remember 85% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

Maximise Trust

When we say trust, we’re talking web-trust. How can a prospective client differentiate your business from a 16 years olds bedroom enterprise.

Simple accreditation’s are quick and easy, but make sure you use high resolution images. If you’re industry has them, make sure you do.

Testimonials are a powerful trust indicator.

You should try and anticipate any part of the process where a prospective client may need trust. If they fill in this email contact form, are they going to get spammed, will you sell their data. All such issues have simple resolutions, just look at other established e-commerce landing pages.

Hope this post was useful

 

Did you like this? Share it:

Lets Talk About Microsites

Microsites, What Are They Good For?

SEO Liverpool have had a fair few meetings in recent weeks relating to this subject. Clients want to know why microsites or mini-sites have been used for different SEM (search engine marketing) strategies. Let’s examine the possible reasons to create a microsite.

1) You’ve a new product/offer you’d like to promote.

  • You’ve a new product or offer you’d like to promote. You don’t want to change your website just yet, and you may feel that this offer or product is outside your normal remit of business.
  • Changing a website and moving elements around can be difficult.  Maintaining a cohesive structure alongside your user experience design principals could mean you’ll potentially harm sales.
  • You may be forced to tuck away valuable information as adding new content requires a massive investment to recreate the site with the new product/s in the appropriate placements.
  • Sometimes, with the amount of internal teams having a vested intest in a large website e.g. webdesign, web-development, SEO and marketing, creating a microsite is often a quick and easy short-term solution.
  • The offer might be a limited addition, or may only be available or tailored to another market/country.

2) You’ve a new product/offer and you don’t wish to cannablise your own market

  • If you’ve an updated version of a product that could decimate your current market. E.g. Gillet are the masters of upgrading their razors and blades… whilst still selling older versions of their products.
  • You may want to create an offer in a different market and therefore wouldn’t want to upset your current customer base. Special introductory offer microsites are becoming ever more popular.

3) To maximize your PPC revenue in relation to quality score.

  • The most common reason for a microsite that we happen upon. If you want to reduce your PPC costs, quality score is key. Creating a microsite that displays all the relevant information and has the appropriate conversion points are key.
  • Measurement and multi-varient testing can also be much easier using a microsite. You can change and update pages and gather strong data about how customers interact with the brand in relation to keywords and information they want.

Hope this information is useful, as we’ve a lot of clients that either set them up for the wrong reasons, or don’t understand why you would ever need a microsite. If you want to discuss microsites with our SEO agency Liverpool, drop us an email.

Did you like this? Share it:

Page Speed Loading Times

As I’ve mentioned many times here at SEO Liverpool I get lots of questions via email. A frequently asked question and something I’d like to talk about today, is the importance of web page loading speeds. Basically, page loading speeds can be important!

Just for clarity, we’re talking about when you click on a website and it takes longer than expected to bring all the elements to the page. This isn’t a broadband problem, you may end up with a page that has no real elements and lot’s of white space.

I’m going to tell you why it’s important from two important perspectives

Human point of view

0.1 load speed – this is instantaneous a 1 second load will also seem very smooth. If you take between 5-10 seconds then you’ll lose potential visitors who’ll click off. There is not a definitive number as some of us are ‘children of the dial up’ and may have more patience. Another person may have less patience or assume the webpage is broken.

Search Engine point of view

About 4 years ago online marketing consultants became aware that page load speed is a part of the Google algorithm. This is important, but I wouldn’t get to hung up on it.

If you use Google Adwords for your PPC then page load speed takes on a more important role. In fact a very important role! It will be part of the landing page (web page) quality score.

This means that you could reach the positions you want and conceivable pay less per keyword.

Factors that may be detrimental to page load speeds

  • Masses of Java, CSS or Flash
  • High resolution images
  • Hosting your own videos
  • Frames – if you’re still using frames then you need a website update

 Next Steps

If you look at the Google webmaster central blog, it has a selection of tools that will help you determine problems and provide help.

 

Did you like this? Share it:

Basic Search Advertising Part 2

Here at SEO Liverpool, we offer virtually all web marketing services. Having said that, I always seem to be discussing PPC with clients, and thought I’d go over some points and FAQ’s.

We all agree that it’s very important to understand all the steps if you’re starting you own SEO PPC campaigns. Here’s the second part of our post.

Building the Ads

  • Because CTR  (click through ration) affects your position , do NOT get lazy. Don’t use one ad for everything. You do need to put the effort into writing your ad, you want your quality score to be high.
  • Use keyword in title and/or description. Users follow scent trails.
  • Remember, you must pass an editorial review.
  • Choose appropriate landing page URLs (Usually NOT the home page) you may want to A/B Test.
  • Use dynamic keyword insertion – this is a little complicated to explain here, so check out tutorials on each site. The usage is different between engines.

NoteSearchers prefer uninterrupted logic. Make sure that the ad text and the landing page all talk about what the person is searching for.

Schedule

  • Don’t just set it and forget it.
  • Map out a calendar in terms of;
    • Campaign roll-out.
    • Reporting/analysis.
    • testing periods(s).
    • Other promotions (offline, online, trade shows, etc., like an editorial calendar).
    • Budget changes (e.g. overspend on Google during kickoff).
  • Schedule promotional and seasonal messaging.
  • Day-parting – time of the day – days of the week. If you are only open during the week, you may not want to advertise at the weekends.
  • Schedule quarterly ‘housecleaning’.

Budgeting

  • Daily budgeting technology isn’t perfect, so engines usually under-deliver or over-deliver. Set it for a little more than you want to spend, so the engines don’t under-deliver. So do look at your spend.
  • Put your high-traffic or high-pound words in their own campaign, with their own budget.
  • Start out with a bang, so you can lock in a high CTR which will help your quality score – then pull back
  • Google has different ways to manage budgets;
    • Conversion Optimiser.
    • Budget optimiser (most clicks for a defined budget).
    • Preferred cost bidding (set average CPC preferred).
    • Manual bidding (you control it).

Managing Bids

  • Bid management software can help.
    • Popular tools: search engines’ tools, Atlas, Keyword Bidmax, Omniture, SearchRev, Performics, Clickable, Adapt.
    • Note: “bidding rules” don’t work well on hybrid auctions.
    • Low volume keywords won’t have much data to optimise automatically against ROI or other projected values.
  • People are still required!
  • Paying too much? Improve your CTR and landing page.
  • Delete low performing keywords, or pause/isolate them so they don’t bring down the overall campaign. Don’t have pity, get rid of them if they don’t help you

My Final Thoughts

  • Don’t be afraid to start small and grow your success.
  • Build a risk portfolio for yourself – set aside some budget for experiments and branding. Be creative, try some things, see what you can figure out.
  • Reinvest a portion of  ‘profits’ back into the budget.
  • Leverage the engines for knowledge, but don’t believe everything they tell you.
  • Provide enough resources to support the campaign.
  • Strive for integrated strategy across all media.

Hope this helps

Did you like this? Share it:

Adwords Quality Score Help Part 4

Cheap search engine optimization is as subjective as the best SEO.

SEO SEM and Web design companies have a habit of boldly claiming they offer both and are all things to all men.

This final part of our look at quality score takes search back to the basics, back to the fundamentals. Providing the user direct access to finding the content they want at the time they want it.

5 basic steps:

Keywords.
Organisation & Structure.
Match Type.
Creatives.
Landing Pages.

Keyword building: Most people bucket them and go off on the long tail. You should have several different groups and categories of brands. It will really improve your quality score. They are not necessarily tail terms, they are product specific. Don’t chase every keyword, chase the right keyword. If you can build out your campaign you can really lower your CPC – if your keyword is profitable, make it more profitable.

Structure: Don’t build thousands of useless keywords. Be organised when you put this together. Some limit you to 10,000 ad groups. If you have not reached that limit you are not working hard enough!

Match types: Every keyword you run should be on every single match type. Every keyword should be running on exact. When you break it out, you will start to see a decline in your phrase match spend. Put in your negatives.

Creatives: Go down to the specifics where you are not even using Dynamic Keyword Insertion any more. Be so specific. We use colour type, size, etc in every creative that we do. Let the user find the exact creative that they are looking for. It will increase your Quality Score and lower your CPC.

Landing pages: In some networks your ad could/will be disapproved if you do not have great landing pages. Everything in your landing pages should be in your ad copy and everything in your ad copy should be in your landing pages.

Simple

Did you like this? Share it:

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:

B2B Paid Search Success Part 1

A successful online marketing strategy, paid search campaign is contingent upon three fundamentals: Keywords, Ad copy, and Landing pages. Together they equal success. Right?

Wrong.

The fact is, those fundamentals are only part of the equation. There is another key component entirely. Namely, Analytics. Or more specifically, tracking, and understanding the quality of a visitor. In fact, not only are these other elements fundamental, they also take on increased importance for the B2B set. Why? Because of the complexity of buying cycles for this market.

Let me explain.

When it comes to web seo and search, there are many similarities between marketing to consumers and marketing to businesses, such is the need to understand your audience and speak their language. However, when it comes to buying cycles, the similarities end.

In fact, B2B buying cycles are inherently complex. Consequently, marketers need to be mindful that prospects can be in very different phases within the buying cycle. And because it’s your job to put yourself in the prospect’s shoes and think about what they need, tracking and understanding the quality of a visitor can be instrumental in helping you do just that.

Tracking: why digging deep on keyword data matters

To be sure, tracking offers marketers a myriad of benefits, not the least of which is keyword data. It’s a rich source, and analysis of it can yield highly valuable information that is both immediately actionable, and has the potential to significantly impact campaign performance. It can also help marketers avoid shooting themselves in the foot.

For example, many web marketing services providers, hastily ditch keywords that appear to be non-performers. This is a mistake. Instead, they should take a closer look at their tracking data. Here’s why.

A few years ago, comScore conducted a study that quantified the number of searches leading up to a purchase, by category. For example, the research revealed that computer hardware buyers searched an average of 4.9 times before ultimately making a purchase.

The implication of this finding should be obvious. Just because a keyword doesn’t yield immediate conversions, doesn’t mean it’s not contributing. It could very well be highly effective at moving a prospect through a particular phase of the buying cycle.

To capitalise on this behavior, marketers need to leverage tracking to better understand their customers and prospects. The first step in doing so is to make sure you don’t discount the keywords with a sub-par conversion record. In fact, before you remove a keyword that isn’t producing conversions, or reduce a bid, thoroughly review the query reports that are available through the search engines and/or your search vendor.

Regularly reviewing these click chain reports will help you understand the searches your customers actually conducted, and that ultimately led to their executing the call to action. Then use this data – whether manually or with a bidding agent – ensure that certain keywords maintain their positioning regardless of their direct conversion value.

And as you review these reports, pay attention to your inclusion window. This is the time allocated for a click and the subsequent conversion event to happen in order for it to be considered a result of a particular paid click.

It is critical to appropriately set your inclusion window within your tracking solution, otherwise the learnings gleaned from the data will be faulty. For example, if someone types a keyword, and then sees your ad and clicks, but doesn’t immediately convert, and then comes back to the site 10 days later and converts, it would not count as a conversion against the originating paid search click unless your inclusion window was set to 10+ days.

Did you like this? Share it:

Banners for (SEM Dummies) Part 2

Basics: What is a Third-Party Ad Server?

In the beginning of display advertising over a decade ago, advertisers sent in their banners in the same way traditional marketers traffic ads to magazines or television stations. Publishing sites would “paste” these ads up and then deliver post campaign results. There were some obvious inefficiencies in this method. As the technologies and methodologies evolved, advertisers could send in “tags,” which aren’t actual ads, but rather “placeholders” which would pull these ads from the advertisers’ own tool call the third party ad server. This is a superior adaptation as now advertisers get real time data of their ads, can serve targeted ads each time the tag is pulled by the publisher, and can perform many other vital operations.

Here are some of the basic features that most third party ad servers can bring to a display campaign and now can be used for Content Campaigns in Google (via certified tools):

Rules: When a banner tag is “pulled” by a publisher site to load on a page, the third party ad server is passed limited anonymous user data such as the location of the user’s IP address, what language their browser is set for, whether they’re using a Mac or PC, etc. Rules can be set to send the appropriate creative every time. So, for example, you can serve a Spanish ad to Spanish speakers. You can also send a user in Liverpool a specialised ad vs. a user in Manchester. This higher relevancy generally increases CTRs and conversion rates.

Frequency capping/storyboarding: Not only is anonymous user data passed in milliseconds to the ad server, but also user cookie info. Using this information, the ad server knows if this user has seen your ad before and how many times. Over time, you can develop a strategy to frequency cap and not show anymore to users who don’t click your ads (thereby not wasting CPM purchased impressions). As well, you can storyboard, which means you can start serving different ads to users based on how many times they’ve already been exposed. So, for example, you could have general creative out there (example: “10% off), and then, if the ad server detects a user who hasn’t clicked after seeing your ad five times, you can start serving an ad with a stronger message (example: “25% off if you act now”) and so on.

Reach and frequency reporting: Provides insight into the number of people who have seen an ad campaign, and how many times, on average, people are seeing these ads. This is important in understanding how users are interacting with your ads and finding the ‘sweet spot’ to just how many ads you need to buy in order to get your message out to a good percentage of your target audience. As well, a Reach report may show you that buying on football Website A may not be needed because a high percentage of the same users are being exposed to your ads on Football Website B, which you are purchasing at a much lower rate.

View-through conversions: As stated above, once a user is served an ad, they are cookied. So, unlike search, if a user converts after seeing your ad (but not clicking an ad), you will have that insight. This is huge because you’re lucky to get more than a .3% or .4% CTR on your ads…that means if you run 1,000,000 impressions, you may only get 3,000 clicks. However, the other 996,000 ads do have an effect in the marketplace and you can measure that when those users come back and convert.

All of these features may not be immediately available to advertisers. However, Google Content is one of the largest (if not the largest) ad network in terms of volume and these tools are going to help you get the most out of them.

Totally Unrelated Free Tool: HTML That Every Online Marketer Should Know


Tired of “viewing source” of an HTML page and thinking it looks more like ancient Greek than a real language? Online marketers are always checking out web pages to see if their tracking tags are there, checking navigation/link structure, reading competitor metatags for keyword ideas, etc. Understanding HTML is a good skill to have.

Check out Dave’s HTML Interactive Tutorial for Beginners (find it using Google Instant). Sure, there’s a ton of spamvertising, but I’ve literally sent dozens of folks there and they’ve all come out the other end of the seventeen mini-chapter tutorial with a good HTML foundation. Check it out!

Did you like this? Share it: