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.

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Tips for finding Niche Keywords Part 2

More on keyword research

With my first tip, I’m going to use an American example (It’s still more than relevant for the UK and European search marketer)… it was a quick sample page I’ve taken from a previous client.

1. If you are a Realtor, instead of using an obvious “logical phrase” like “real estate” (with 323 million competing pages on Google), or using a keyword acronym such as MLS (over 40 million competing pages on Google.) Try a researching a single “root word” term like “listing” just all by itself, leaving Wordtracker to do the hard part. Here are a few examples – each with under 1000 competing pages – which I grabbed in under 3 minutes of Wordtracker research:

* “house listings parry sound” – 90 competing pages for this exact phrase.
* “Wyoming MN home listings” – 197 competing pages for this exact phrase.
* “michigan real estate listing” – 197 competing pages for this exact phrase.
* “Wisconsin Home listings” – 697 competing pages for this exact phrase.
* “Central Virginia land listings” – 95 competing pages for this exact phrase.
* “north oaks minnesota home listings” – 233 competing pages for this exact phrase.

2. If you are an affiliate marketer, avoid researching the exact product that you want to promote. For example “candlestick holders.” Try using a single word like “holder” to determine exactly what type of “holders” are in highest demand with lowest competition. You may discover many other products – that you hadn’t thought of – with better windows of opportunity. Here are a few examples using the root word “holder.” Each phrase has under 10 competing pages. My research time, a mere 90 seconds -

* “motorcycle wheel holders” – KEI 676.0 – Competing pages on Google – 1
* ” southwest pot holders” – KEI 768.0 – Competing pages on Google – 3
* “hanging vine holder” – KEI 924.5 – Competing pages on Google – 2
* ” folbe fishing rod holder” – KEI 1156.0 – Competing pages on Google – 9
* “.30 Remington shell holder” – KEI 1444.0 – Competing pages on Google – 1

3. Try working with descriptive verbs, instead of researching a specific product. Using comprehensive search, try researching words like “new” or “old” or “rare” or “limited” or “reconditioned” or “polished” or “bronzed” or whatever. Use any type of descriptive terms to explore all kinds of interesting data.

Tune in for the final post

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Banners for (SEM) Dummies Part 1

Banners for (SEM) Dummies

I used to work for  mainline consultants. We were very specialised and very good at what we did. We all drank the “search” elixir and laughed at the poor click rates and conversion rates that our counterparts at the online display (banner) agency were getting. Search is still (and probably will always be) one of the strongest online vehicles due to its “double opt-in” nature–a user has to not only type in a relevant keyword to trigger your ad, but read the ad copy and click it before you are charged. The ROI and ROAS of that delivery method has proven itself…thus, most online marketing budget allocation has a huge portion going to Search.

I remember one distinct marketing meeting with a large client where all of the various agencies were reporting their numbers; the print folks had their presentation, then broadcast, then online display, etc. When they got to us, everyone in the room was amazed at our success rates. I left that meeting vowing to never, ever, ever run display campaigns. It was all Search for me!

Only later did I realise I had been doing display for years!

When I set up Summit Online Marketing a full-service digital agency last year, it dawned on me that I had been doing display advertising all along via Content campaigns in Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. DUH, right? Because Content (and later Site [Placement] Targeting) was offered by search engines, I had rolled it all up to Search. Big mistake!

Now that I’m a fully integrated digital marketer (my agency manages search, display, mobile, email, digital out-of-home, analytics, affiliates, etc.), I truly believe in the value of display/banner marketing… not only for direct response, but especially for branding and reaching users at the front end of the buying cycle. Remember, search relies on users to actively be querying a search engine to trigger ads. If no one knows to type in your keywords, then your Search efforts are sunk. Thus, banners can be a SEM pro‘s best friend!

With the news that Google will be expanding the features of its Content Network, I thought it might be good to share some banner insights to SEM pros that are using Content now so they know what the future might hold for this kind of targeting. Google has already begun to open up their Content offering to allow advertisers to use third party ad servers and these tools have important features that will change the landscape of Content.

(More to follow on Monday)

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Advanced Business to Business Marketing

This week at SEO Liverpool we’ve had a discussion this about how best to leverage b2b marketing. Have a look at our tips.

10 Tips for business-2-business marketing

1. Reach prospects early in the buying cycle
2. Advertise in “the tail”
3. Include non banded keywords
4. Pre qualify clickers
5. Focus and align ad copy
6. Create very specific landing pages and microsites
7. Test pages continuously
8. Offer multiple action options
9. Simplify registration forms
10. Turn web inquiries into sales leads

Advertising in the tail

Example is software: the tail would go to software…. enterprise software… business enterprise software and so on

Include non banded keywords

  1. Use adcopy to pre-qualify clickers
  2. Address your specific target audience

Pre qualify clickers

  1. Align ad copy with search query
  2. Modify copy across buying cycle
  3. laptop computer -> laptop information -> laptop user reviews -> ibm laptop models -> ibm thinkpad t61

Microsite

  1. Typically between 3-10 pages.
  2. Focused on a solution or client type.
  3. It eliminates the political stuff that comes with changing a corporate website

Test page elements – landing page testing

  1. Run a/b or multivariate constantly on microsites.
  2. Pick items to test.
  3. Page layout.
  4. Action triggers.
  5. Images.

Registration form placement.

  1. Names and descriptions of downloadable assets
  2. Registration form fields

Track & improve results

  1. Get some decent metrics into a chart of 60 days

Secondary actions

  1. Allow for more than just one action
  2. Registration forms

*Scour the internet and look for great examples of these*

For more information contact SEO Liverpool

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Some Excellent Search Marketing Advice

Some quick tips for budding SEO company or in-house SEO’s

Strategy deployment and competition

Check your competition… simply try and have more content rich pages than them. Assuming you have the same amount of content and same amount of links. Treat it like a head to head race. Then improve your navigation and architecture to get the edge.

Assume we all have healthy marketing budgets to allocate towards these strategies. What do we do? We allocate a % towards each strategy. Because we know it works, and have demonstrated this. That’s what the bigger firms do. Implement as many strategies you can within that budget. Choose the ones based on looking at your competition. Not hard to find out the strategies they’ve deployed already. If you conduct good research, you won’t need to deploy all these strategies. Implement as many as you can afford and make sure you have conversion processes.

A bit about conversion.

Create a measurable goal for each page. Lots of pages have great filler and content, but don’t compel readers to take action. Capture an email, lead, sale, etc. Have a clear call to action at the end of the page to get to the next step. Put an phone number on there, or a simple a link that advances the process. Don’t make users search for the call to action.

When collecting personal info, make people feel secure about it. Get a security certificate. Some laws require it. Make the contact page have multiple mechanisms of communication. This is your opportunity to increase conversion rate.

Your ideal SEO team:

Designer
Web Developer
Content Writer
Marketing Manager
Wiz Technical Manager
Expert SEO Specialist
Expert Strategist that’s done it more than once

SEO Liverpool would appreciate your feedback

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7 Proven Tips That Will Get You To Number 1

Some SEO tips from the offices of SEO Liverpool company Summit Online Marketing.

Now everyone has heard that content is king. It’s really all about the text, video, images in a keyword rich environment.

* Tip 1: Get good copy to support the keyword research. If it’s an appliance part – find images and text to support it. Video too.

* Tip 2: Navigation and architecture. Ability to choose structure that the engines can index. Be careful of certain types of Javascript and other non-indexable navigation.

* Tip 3: Blogs. Another form of content. Pictures, text, images served in a slightly different manner. It’s a strategy. You don’t need to use all these strategies to dominate, but in a competitive arena, you need to deploy more and more to compete.

* Tip 4: Quality and keyword rich inbound links. Utilise keywords in link text – avoid using your company name. Helpful resources at Google Webmaster Central, and on the Thinkprofits website. Yahoo! Site Explorer is a great tool to measure inbound links. The bottom line is you want links from other websites to your own.

* Tip 5: The database you install is important. Make sure the engines can index the content in your database. It’s well worth the investment to get the right database in place.

* Tip 6: Electronic press releases. There is so much we can do with PR to get sites on Google often within 24 hours.

* Tip 7: Domain name strategy. We do find many people are missing out on this. When the opportunity arises to purchase a keyword rich domain, although not always possible, if the opportunity is there – set it as primary domain. Get extra points for that e.g. LuxuryYachtCharters.com will help rank. Register your domain for a long term, because it may give you more points. Another idea is to register your keyword rich domain, and forward it to your primary site. Also assist in getting more traffic by address bar navigators.

Hope you enjoy these quick search engine optimisation tips

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The Secret to Getting Projects (Even Big Ones) Done Fast Part 2

Professional Copywriters Never Get Stuck!

Sure — of course, everyone can have writer’s block, even a professional copywriter that is being paid £500 to write a hard-punching salesletter. But the professional copywriter won’t get stuck long!

You see, most Professional copywriters that write web copy and salesletters for a living will reach into their SWIPE file (a stash of old salesletters and headlines that were kept and filed away by the copywriter). Once the copywriter pulls out the stash of winning headlines and sales copy that had been filed away, it’s just a matter of time to review the material that will spark NEW ideas and bring the clarity of the project into focus.

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The Secret to Getting Projects (Even Big Ones) Done Fast Part 1

Here at SEO Liverpool we know that Starting a project, especially a big one, is probably one of the toughest things for people to do, including me! Sometimes all that is needed are some ideas to get your brain started in the right direction and overcome procrastination. But often times, entrepreneurs sit quietly in their desperation waiting for the stroke of genius to come to them… something that will start their project off on the right foot. I’ve been there myself struggling, literally pulling my hair out and I can tell you outright – there is NO reason for any of this madness.

Having been in the Legal field as an office manager and legal assistant for over in a previous career, I had the chance to deal with many legal forms and processes over and over again. This form here. That process there. After a number of years doing this, I began to notice a pattern. Everything had a form, a process, a structure. Even the solicitors I worked for — whenever they would see a legal paper that they really liked and admired the format, they would ask for a copy of it to put in their FORMS file to refer back to at a later time. Many solicitors operate on the premise of working from a FORM rather than having to re-create a whole entire document from scratch. And it makes sense because it’s a time saver!

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Duplicate Content Filters… Myth or Reality?

Here at SEO Liverpool I’ve spent a lot of the day chatting with various people about duplicate content filters… do they exist or not? Well, the answer seems to be yes. BUT, as far as I can tell, there are no penalties for using duplicate content. The only problem is that the page with the best PageRank, will be the one to appear at the top of the search engine results, for a search matching a phrase, which is found on multiple pages. When you think about it, it makes sense. Effectively it means, “sure, go ahead, use duplicate content, but be aware that unless you have the best PageRank for a particular page, that content isn’t going to do you any good.” … which effectively stops people who are slapping up sites with the same content everyone uses, but doing very little to promote their sites, from getting top search engine placement. … and also explains why an original article, when submitted to a high PageRank article directory, results in the article directory being listed at the top of the search engine results for a matching phrase, above your original page containing “your” article.

So… you have several options…

1: Use freely available content, and know that your site is unlikely to get good search engine rankings, unless you heavily promote your pages and get them good PageRank.
2: Use freely available content and re-write it extensively.
3: Write your own, original, content for every page.
4: Use articles that very few other people will be using… from sources such as Article Underground (http://www.scamfree.com/articles/) as I’ve been recommending. If each page you create has 20 similar pages out there on the web, do some promotion, use the Article Underground blogs as announcement services, get your page to PR3 or 4, and your page will be the one at the top of those 20 pages in the search engine results.

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Wikipedia (A good value link)

At SEO Liverpool we always try and help clients find ways gaining leverage in Google. About two years ago Wikipedia certainly was… it’s popularity as an SEO tool seems to have diminished in the past year (or maybe i’m wrong)

Why?

Ever notice – when you search for a person on Google – that Wikipedia entries often come up in the top 10 search results? Have you ever wondered how you’d benefit from such a listing, and the traffic it would bring? Herein lies the conundrum.Wikipedia links are a no follow but the benefits of a wikipedia page are really worth the SEO effort.

Now you’re not supposed to write about yourself, or your company, or edit the entries about you. So how do you get in? Why not get a friend to interview you and do it for each other. Better yet get five friends and make it a team effort. Provide your buddies with a complete bio and life history. Decide on a team captain to start the entries. Then each one of your team can enter additional info. Just remember that it’s online encyclopedia, not a social bookmarking site. Read their “What Wikipedia Is” and “What Wikipedia Isn’t” pages, to stay within their TOS and abide by all their guidelines. Try to remain objective, unbiased and maintain a neutral point of view. Be sure all info is verifiable and based in fact, not editorial opinion. And don’t go crazy with links and references.

Give it a shot… If you’ve done anything significant, like won a national award, written ebooks, spoken at seminars, are a CEO, or have done anything noticeable, or remarkable, ask a friend to make a Wiki entry for you. Then, if you’re lucky, and they accept your entry, maybe your name will start appearing at the top of the Google search results.

This is a quick win!

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