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

 

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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.

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Re-defining Success with a PPC Brand Awareness Campaign

As an Online Marketing Company, we know the dynamics of an acquisition campaign are fairly simple. You bid on keywords, users click on your ads, and then do one of the following: complete the call to action, become a lead, make a purchase, or move on. Given that, it’s fairly easy to define success and justify the spend, whether it’s click through rates, cost per clicks, cost per leads, or return on ad spend.

However, when you use paid search for branding, rather than Web SEO, things are not so straight forward. Yes, you give users more freedom to interact with your site. However, it comes with a price: inability to track pure conversions. This can be scary territory for most search marketers. That’s why it is so important to redefine your success metrics. Not only will it help you accomplish your objectives and justify the spend, but it can also help eliminate the risk of not getting the campaign off the ground, or getting your budget cut due to either tough economic times or a less-than-convinced boss sceptical about the investment.

Successful branding PPC Campaigns: 6 key steps

1. The first step towards re-defining success is to segment your keywords into different buckets, depending on the intent of the user. To do this, you first need to put yourself in their shoes. Then, based upon the queries they conduct, think about how familiar they are with your brand. You can have several buckets, but in its basic form, you want to divide the keywords into groups of branded and non-branded terms. As you do this, try and assess what action or meaning the words denote. For example, with the non-branded terms, does the query indicate that they are a prime candidate to become a lead or make a purchase, or does it demonstrate that they are too new to the company to be ready to convert yet? You’ll need to take a close look at the branded keyword list as well, only here you’ll want to assess whether they are actively seeking what you have to offer, or if they are simply looking for information about the company or its products or services.

2. Once you have your keywords bucketed, start thinking about what would be important to know about your users. Fortunately, there’s a veritable goldmine of data available at your finger tips. Not only can you tap into data from the engines, but your Web analytics program should provide interesting data as well, and then there’s still more data available — though you may need to do some digging for it.

3. You should also examine what’s going on with your site. And while onsite metrics seem simple on the surface, most companies’ analytics packages are not set up to track these effectively. Given that, here are a few metrics to consider: the clicks your ads receive, page views, the bounce rate, and the percentage of returning visitors as compared with new visitors. In addition, you’ll want to track certain elements of your site that you deem more valuable than others, whether it’s a specific area, or a type of interaction such as downloading a whitepaper or starting a shopping cart. Remember, often the set up for such tracking will take some heavily lifting from your analytics. Also, aim to track each of the above metrics by engine, keywords, and channel. However, don’t mix-up your total site or organic efforts in this new tracking.

4. Next, you should consider looking off-site to track and monitor your competitors’ PPC activity to understand your share of voice for particular keywords or groups of keywords. Doing so will help you understand your brand impression share. Fortunately, there are some offsite metrics that are easy to track and use. For example, impressions and average ad position are two of the most basic, but Google now has a way for you to track loss of impressions.

5. Then there are conversion metrics that you can use to help guide the branding success metrics. For example, if you have an acquisition, add that into the mix, cost per lead, return on ad spend, call tracking, increased sales, or interactions at physical locations. This gives you data about how many times someone may visit the site from the branding campaign before they convert, or the downstream value of a user that does click on certain keywords.

6. Once you’ve decided on the data you want to track, start thinking about the best combination for the different buckets of keywords you have, and the weights you want to assign to each. Remember, no metric should carry equal importance in the overall definition of success. For example, visits to certain sections of the site, or increased pages views might be more important to you than the percentage of returning visitors. Then test. Tracking a PPC branded campaign takes a lot of effort and will require you to test the various combinations and weights in order to get the most out of your budget.

Putting it all together

To make the above work, you need to be creative; try different combinations and weightings of the vast amount of data available to you. And keep in mind that you get to define success metrics here, so it’s up to you to go and be successful.

Overall, a PPC marketer looking to leverage paid search for branding purposes needs to take the time to first redefine success. Not only will it help you accomplish your objectives and justify the spend, it can also help to eliminate risk, and instill the value.

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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

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Basic Search Advertising Part 1

Apologies, it’s been a while since our last post. It’s no excuse but we’ve been very busy recently, we’ll make sure we post at least every other week.

Anyway, we’re getting plenty of enquiries for our web marketing services, but equally, people just wish to know the basics of search advertising. I’m happy to help.

I’m usually discussing Google SEO issues or updates, but PPC advertising is a hot topic in Liverpool at the moment.

Firstly our advice would be to take the time to look at the help and training from all of the search engines, and read each search engine’s blog regularly for updates.

Find webinars, Google are running workshops in Liverpool, If the campaign isn’t working very well, you may get a call from a Google PPC manager

Remember that if you love data, you’ll love PPC.

  • The most successful PPC managers are highly analytical.
  • Microsoft Excel is your friend. You can have expensive tools, but it does a lot for you.

Progression

  • Start small
  • Test, measure, adjust, test it again
  • Expand on your successes

Pre-flight checklist for building campaign.

  • Good tracking software. At least install Google Analytics. You’ll need two pieces of code, from both Google Analytics and from Google AdWords. Might take some time to get this set up
  • You need to establish KPIs (Key performance Indicators)
  • Set Values (What is each action worth)
  • Establish baselines (The starting point)
  • Strategy (goals)
  • Money
  • Rules

Setting base values and goals

  • Conversion: This can mean many different things, work out what a conversion is for you
  • Absolutely required homework
  • What are your target goals?
  • What are the actions you value?
  • What Pound values can you set? You can even do something like value an email lead at 32p, as that’s the cost it saved you for a stamp.
  • It’s OK to guess. Use your gut if you’re not sure. You can always modify your assumptions.

Conversion funnels are a little complex at this stage.

Finding Keywords

  • Where?
  • Your site.
  • competitors (a quickly, is to view their page source)
  • trade literature (this maybe to industry focused)
  • vertical sites (other associated digital assets)
  • lots of other ways that i haven’t time to detail.

Brand names are typically best performers if you have a known brand. You can control the message this way, much better than in organic SEO. You’re taking up more real estate on the page.

  • Find “negative keywords” during this phrase as well. Use lots of negative words to filter out random impressions which hurt your quality score.
  • Start with “free” “cheap” and “naked”. Look in your referral logs to see what is bogus traffic.

How many?

  • If you have a low budget, don’t spread yourself too thinly across a billion “tail terms”. Start with just a few and get them working well then expand from there.
  • 80/20 rule. 20% of your keywords will drive 80% of your traffic (and budget!).

Next time we’ll discuss building the ads

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Why A Conversation?

The next part of our SEO Liverpool series on changing the PPC mindset to Pay-Per-Conversation.

When you think about online marketing strategy, you think of PPC and organic. I don’t think PPC should stand for pay per click, it should stand for pay per conversation. The purpose is not the clicks, but rather the goal is to turn them into business. We are also going to change SEO to searcher experience optimization, rather than search engine optimisation so the searcher has the best experience leading them to convert.

What matters in terms of getting the sales is communication. The biggest challenge is that most of people’s budgets are focused on just driving traffic – not doing anything except for getting people to the site.

There is a huge discrepancy of driving traffic vs. analytics, testing, etc. the budgets are almost none, so people are not getting the returns they are expecting. Think about your typical customer. I think of them as toddlers with money. What do toddlers always ask… why? Your customer does not have as much patience. We need to address the issue of why conversations are failing. It’s because users don’t have confidence. So getting through trust is a big thing. The second thing is relevance. People will look for something very distinct – if we don’t give it to them the second they want it, they leave the site.

10% of traffic drops off after the first click to your site. OK, that’s untargeted. But say 55% drop off after the second click! Something is wrong – the user got distracted, lost confidence, lost relevance, lost the scent. This has not changed since the early to mid 1990’s! So we must focus on scent. Nielsen has said that people are so goal oriented that they ignore everything except what they are looking for – so that’s what costs you money.

Example: “pink roses” – the first site landing page shows red roses! So the searcher leaves. The second and third ones – also no pink roses! So I finally go to the fourth ad – and there are finally pink roses. So the first 3 out of 4 failed. People are missing the basic point of conversions. They are missing the landing pages. Over half of customers leave a site because the site does not provide enough information. It’s because we are not continuing the conversation, and just burning the money.

Marketing is about understanding people’s needs. So we must re-think the conversation, the path of conversion. Different people come in with different needs. Our job is to figure out what needs to be in that conversation in the moment they come to you. Start thinking about optimisation in a conversion point of view.

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Pay Per Conversation

An SEO company knows that for marketers to become successful in their Search engine marketing efforts, PPC can no longer stand for “Pay Per Click” — it must stand for “Pay Per Conversation.” Many marketers agree that the current state of the economy is having an impact on their marketing plans.

That’s why every pound and click matters. Every click is a potential customer trying to engage you; will you continue the dialogue or have them bounce off your landing page just moments after they arrive? What you want to do is engage and persuade your visitors to keep taking the next click, all the way through the purchase funnel. To achieve that, you must demonstrate the value of your products and services in all your marketing, especially when sales are decreasing. You do that by planning content to improve relevance and test continuously until you have the best conversation.

The next series of posts will show you how to identify missed conversations and what you can do to improve them and your PPC ROI.

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A B2B Paid Search Success Equation Part 2

Quality of visit: assessing the value

Now, let’s turn our attention to the quality of a visit and how it factors into your paid search success equation.

To start, let’s get personal. What’s the value of a visitor to your site? (Play annoying game show music now). Okay, time’s up. The answer is, of course, that it depends.

Yes, it was a trick question‚ but the point is that there’s never just one definitive answer for this. The value of a visitor to your site should depend on the action they take while there.

Yet all too often, B2B marketers routinely identify a call to action, implement a tracking pixel, and plunge forward with their SEO PPC campaign with little regard to the differences in value.

Why is this? Especially considering the complexity of the buying cycle, and as noted earlier, that prospects are in different phases of it. For instance, some visitors may want to register for email updates or free white papers while they are researching their options. Others might want to look up product specifications or use product comparison widgets as they edge closer to making a buying decision.

Given that, each specific call to action on your site should have an assigned value, dependent on what it provides. Consider registrations – they actually capture user information, so naturally, they should receive a higher value than other actions where the visitor remains anonymous.

Essentially, what you want to do is create a quality index. Why? Because having a clear understanding of the value of a visitor (essential with all search engine marketing) can help you shift your marketing pounds away from the keywords that don’t perform strongly, to those that do.

To accomplish this, first identify all of the different actions a visitor can take on your site. And be thorough. Then rank them in order for the value they hold. Next, assign values to each action based upon what it delivers for your business.

Once you have your calls to action indexed, use a tracking system to capture these actions that occur as a result of paid search activity, and incorporate these values into your optimisation efforts. Lastly, use this information to inform your bidding strategy.

The bottom line is that while keywords, ad copy, and landing pages are fundamental to paid search, alone, they won’t add up. Tracking and understanding the quality of a visitor are also essential to your paid search success equation.

Unrelated Note

Please remember that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys, quality PPC and SEO agencies charge for the high standard of service their clients receive. Here at Summit we’re getting bored of clients asking for cheap search engine optimization and PPC.

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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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5 Tips for Driving Qualified Traffic With Online Marketing

Online marketing consulting firms often need to be creative when it comes to solving client web site traffic and sales problems. Inspiration from friends and family, movies, or even the smooth sounds of the local radio station can be useful.

Take this longstanding frustration: The efforts of a top SEO can sometimes produce an increase in website traffic that is not accompanied by a corresponding increase in conversions. While more traffic is almost always positive, it does little good if the majority of site visitors aren’t seriously interested in the products or services being promoted.

So how does one make sure the right traffic finds the right web site content? I recommend taking the advice of 80′s pop icon Lionel Richie by asking your site visitors the classic question, “Hello, is it me you’re looking for?”

While Mr. Richie may be directing his sentiments at a visually-impaired student (see the video if you don’t know what I’m talking about), this is a question whose answer is critical to every online marketer as well. In order to get conversions, you need to make sure the business you are promoting is being found by legitimate prospects. Ensure your site provides what visitors are looking for by following these five musically-themed guidelines:

* Know your audience – Should you be targeting a product’s end-users or distributors? What stage of the buying cycle are you targeting? A good online marketing team conducts the proper background research in order to fully understand who they are trying to reach, where they are in the buying cycle and plans content creation, optimisation and promotion accordingly.

* Book your prospect’s favorite venue – Once you feel you have actionable knowledge of your target audience, you can select appropriate places for reaching them. Research communities, influencers and behaviours of the target audience to establish a useful presence and content, be it on social networks, forums, blogs or the company web site.

* Give fans what they want – Make sure the offer and conversion opportunity are a good match for what the target audience is looking for. In some cases they will be looking to buy your product, but in others they may want more information like a white paper or a case study, or the opportunity to be contacted.

* Choose the right ‚”lyrics” – When selecting keywords to optimise your site content or pay-per-click campaign, keyword popularity is only a starting point. Choosing the most appropriate keywords to describe product or service offerings considering relevancy, context and intent are important. Research, consideration, evaluation and purchasing are different phases of the buyer’s search experience. Optimising the right content with the right keywords for each of these phases will help prospects find your site in a more relevant way.

* Sing it loud – The copy, images and overall design of your website and landing pages should be obvious cues to the type of product or service offered and consistent with search query that brought them there. Structure your site design and calls to action so that prospects immediately know that they’ve found what they are looking for. For example, sending PPC traffic from a specific product keyword to the company home page will alienate and confuse the searcher. Send specific traffic queries to specific landing pages. For SEO, optimise specific content for specific phrases to help searchers pull themselves to the right content for conversion.

Implementing these tactics can increase web site traffic specifically for people who are more likely to convert. When you pose Lionel Richie’s question to your visitors, more will respond with a resounding “Yes it is you I’m looking for!” And while you may not receive thanks in the form of a clay sculpture, the increase in your conversions should more than make up for it.

Please contact SEO Liverpool for more information about our SEO packages.

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