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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Keep visitors engaged with Site-Search

Some websites do tend to be more difficult for visitors to find what they’re looking for!

Perhaps it’s because things don’t always fit neatly into more intuitive consumer categories. Perhaps it’s because B2B sites are often filled with so much diverse information. While site owners can engineer enhanced usability, better optimise and structure content, or create better organic landing pages, none of these options is a quick fix.

I’ve worked with a large knowledge management company, who’s product involved extracting information from vast online content and bringing the desired relevant information to the forefront. This technology was extremely expensive but created massive efficiencies for clients.

Google’s Site Search offers a quick, inexpensive way to keep visitors engaged and (hopefully) get them quickly to their destination on your site.

With SEO PPC, we’ve all clicked on promising organic search results and been quickly disappointed that the landing page doesn’t contain what we’re looking for. In many cases I’ll often land at a site I’m fairly certain contains what I want, so I’ll take a few clicks through the site’s navigation. But if I don’t find what I want in a few clicks, I don’t have the patience to keep searching. I’ll go to another site. All of us see these visits in our analytics, too. A four-page, 20-second visit. Then, they’re gone.

Site search functionality offers a way to keep visitors engaged a while longer. If visitors don’t quickly find what they want through navigation, they may try the site’s search tool. Many B2B visitors will go to the site’s search tool right away as an alternative to navigating to find an answer.

While many larger sites have already have site search functions, more often than not I’ve been disappointed with their search results. When I’m looking for a specific product or service, I’ll get hundreds of search results, but the first 30 results will be investor news releases or obscure technical articles. The results aren’t relevant to my quest. Not only do I leave without my desired answer, I’ve also formed some negative perceptions of the company and its website.

But then I tested Google Site Search. I think it’s a good answer for many B2B sites. It doesn’t cost much. Pricing depends on the number of pages indexed and the number of annual queries. For a site with less than 5,000 pages and less than 250,000 annual search queries, the cost is $100 per year. Pretty reasonable.

Getting all of your content indexed by Google can be a challenge, especially with large B2B sites. Google Site Search offers the opportunity of deeper site indexing for site-specific search. While this deeper site indexing won’t get more pages indexed by Google or help you in your Google rankings for web searches at Google.com, it will help you ensure all of your pages are reflected in the index of your site’s Google Site Search. This means searchers will get different (and likely better) results using Google’s Site Search on your site than if they used Google.com to search for information on your site (e.g., incorporating site:www.yoursite.com into the Google query).

Google’s site search also gives site owners the opportunity to “bias” the search results in a couple ways. For sites in which new content is typically more important, site owners can ensure search results are more heavily weighted to newer site content. Site owners can also bias search results to reflect certain sections of the site more than others, e.g., product-related pages more than company-information pages. This can help drive searchers more quickly to revenue-generating pages. This has been so impressive, under our search engine optimization training, we recommend this for our e-commerce customers.

If you don’t have search capabilities on your B2B site, it makes sense to spend £100 to try it. There’s not much you can do for $100 these days. So try it out. Then watch your analytics. Notice what visitors search for. That alone is great information. Also, see if your bounce rates decline, or if the average time on your site goes up materially. And watch your conversion rates.

If you already have search functionality on your site, you still may want to test out Google Site Search. Set it up and do some comparative searches. See if you think the search results are more relevant or if the user experience is better. I’m not sure if Google’s Site Search will be better than what you already have (and I’m not trying to sell Google’s Site Search), but again, for $100, it’s worth a test.

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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!

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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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