Google Adwords

Should I Speak with a Google Rep
Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

I’m From Google, and I’m Here to Help

“You Could Benefit from a Free Consultation with a Google Representative”

If you use Adwords you may have seen or heard something like this by now. Either an alert in your account advising how you can beat your competition by reviewing your account with a Google rep, or maybe you had one call you directly offering to help. Either way, what sounds like a fantastic opportunity to get some truth right from the source isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

That isn’t to say it won’t be helpful. Reviewing your account with someone trained in all the system’s capabilities may provide insights into using the various tools at your disposal. You might even learn a new way to use features already deployed in your campaigns. Which can certainly be considered a positive thing. At the end of the day, I’d recommend that you do it, but…

So What’s the Problem?

First let me set the stage by letting you know that since I manage multiple client accounts I’ve fielded many of the calls with Google representatives. And since they rotate out every six months I receive a minimum of 2 calls a year, multiplied by all the accounts I manage, every year.

Now, you can say Google’s efforts are well intentioned, or you can say that it is Google’s job to get you to spend more money and this is one way of doing it. Both views could be correct. But that isn’t the primary issue at hand.

“I’m from Google, and I’m Here to Help”

Words that are supposed to fill you with a sense of confidence should make you stop and think for a moment. Who, exactly, are you speaking with at Google? And what, precisely, is their experience in running profitable Adwords programs?

Are they a new employee just out of training? Have they served in an advisory capacity for years? I recommend asking these questions before you get into any serious discussion about your programs. Yes, these employees are trained in the various tools of the Adwords system. But that is where their experience usually ends. The sad truth is that I have yet to speak with a representative that has run a real world paid search marketing program profitably. Not one yet. Period. Full stop.

In addition to that, they have zero idea of why you might be deploying certain settings or tools in any given campaign. They have been told that using X setting/tool/method will make you more successful, because Google told them so. So it must be true!

They may not understand you’ve made a choice to forego call extensions because you prefer to have more tractability even if it might result in a slightly lower conversion rate. Or that you want to receive leads only during business hours because your live contact rate increase results in more sales. Or you are using manual bid strategies to muscle your ads into the top 3 to see how you perform against the top competition.

Context is incredibly important when discussing something as complex as Adwords. Combine that with the fact they rotate every six months so even if you did manage to educate one representative you find yourself starting all over again, twice per year.

In my experience these Google reps have zero real world experience running active campaigns with their job on the line if it isn’t profitable. They are trained in the tools of Adwords and their job is to call clients and get them to use tools that will increase the amount of money Google extracts from your wallet, without any idea of if they will truly work or how to best deploy them visit our website.

A great example of this is the enhanced CPC that focus on conversions. Things may have changed, and every client is different, but so far everywhere I’ve tested this setting it has resulted in higher cost per conversions and lower conversion rates. The exact opposite of what they tell you will happen. Interesting, no?

What Should I Do?

As mentioned above, I would schedule the call and review your account with the representative. However, do not change anything in real time. Take good notes, then have some deep internal discussions about the pros and cons of each recommendation to make sure anything you implement matches your ability, tracking and goals.

Then, should you decide to implement a recommendation, be sure to do it in a way that you can test and track to an outcome. If the outcome is positive, you now have a new tool in your tool box to deploy throughout your program. If the outcome is negative, you can quickly revert back to your previous state.

The golden rule of using Google Adwords is first, do no harm. Implementing too many changes that negatively effect your performance is a recipe for disaster. So be smart and skeptical in your interactions with Google. And always remember, they have Google’s best interest at heart, not yours.

If you have experienced a call with a Google rep, we want to hear the good, the bad and and the ugly in the comments below!

 

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Click to Call Extensions in Google Adwords
Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

Should You Use the Google Adwords Call Extension?

Want an easy method to increase your Google Adwords conversion rates? Here is a quick and easy suggestion. Try adding a call extension to your ads.

Why Should I Add Call Extensions?

Because the mobile revolution has come and gone. According to a Search Engine Land report in August 2017, 57% of traffic is now from smartphones and tablets. That is one heck of a lot of opportunities to get in front of your prospect at the moment they can take action.

From my testing call extensions with various clients, I can confirm that in most cases, including a phone call extension to your Adwords ad will indeed increase conversion. A side benefit is an increase in live contact rate achieved if you are answering the calls in real time. There is something to be said for saving time chasing down a prospect that filled out a form to get live contact. You can also qualify prospects faster and push them further into your funnel before the competition does.

Setup only takes a few minutes. You will need to go into your campaign to the extensions tab and add a call extension. That is the easy part. But let’s not forget the tracking. To track calls as conversions you will need to go to tools and select conversions. Then set up a click to call conversion and apply the settings that make most sense for your goals. Once you’ve finished that, go to the account/ad group/keyword level (whichever you want to see the call conversion data for) and add the phone conversion column. But beware, from my conversations with Google the best way to track them accurately is to look at the clicks on the extension, or the click by device segment.

Too Good to Be True?

So it’s all good, right? Well, not so fast. There is a downside to call conversions that you need to know.

First, for what you gain in conversion and live contact you will lose in tracking down funnel. Using a custom phone number or call conversion tracking gets you the top of funnel information you need. But when the call comes in how will your sales team identify it is from Google Adwords? Will they input the lead into the system tagged to the right lead source? Manual intervention always results in tracking errors so training is important here. But even if you create a fool proof system, there is still a big hole.

That hole comes in the shape of knowing what campaign generated the lead. With all but the most sophisticated setup, you simply won’t. Seeing overall contribution by channel is important, but ROI based marketing means knowing exactly which campaigns are generating ROI positive production. You can’t focus your budget or efforts around something if you don’t know what is happening.

So what should you do? Well, it depends. We have clients that forgo click to call in favor better tracking, and others that add click to call knowing they will be missing part of the down funnel performance data. I certainly recommend using it if you have the right training and systems internally. I also recommend that you figure out a baseline of Adwords performance and apply it to the call volumes you receive. If you convert X percentage of Adwords leads for X sales dollars or profit, apply that to the calls and add it as a line item on your performance tracking to give yourself some sense of the click to call contribution to your ROI.

Want more information regarding click to call tracking? Below are some quick links that can help navigate through it. For running ad’s you might need money, here is a link knightfinance.co.uk/payday-loans-direct-lender-only/ where you can get finance .

Search Engine Land: Mobile Traffic Report

Google: About Call Extensions

Google: About Phone Call Conversion Tracking

Google: Track Calls to a Phone Number on a Web Site

 

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New Adwords Interface 2017
Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

Holy New Adwords Interface Batman

In case you haven’t heard, Google is force feeding us a new interface with the roll out now at full steam. There is so much to unpack in this update that we want to provide new information over time. For those of you that want to dive right in, there are some handy links below to get you up to speed. 

The most important thing to know is that at this time you can still roll back to the old interface. Something I’ll be doing since I have so much client work and don’t have the time to trip around in it for now. Look for the three vertical dots at the top right of the interface, then look for the ‘Return to Previous Adwords’ link. More information here https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/7035891?hl=en.

New Adwords Interface Switch 2017

Now, on to the links to help you navigate all the changes.

Good luck! Let us know how you like the new interface in the comments below!

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Google Adwords New Quality Score Data
Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

New Adwords Quality Score Data Available, Time to Rejoice?

 

Last week I caught word of some new quality score information coming to Google Adwords. This new information was cause for major excitement, after all, information is power and what improving our paid search marketing programs is all about. I just couldn’t wait to log in and take a look. Here is an outline of the new information, straight from Google.

“Quality Score is based on past performance data

Quality Score is an aggregated estimate of how well a keyword has performed overall in past ad auctions. Based on this data, each of your keywords gets a Quality Score on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is the lowest score and 10 is the highest. 

Null Quality Scores, designated by “—” in the table, appear when there aren’t enough impressions or clicks to accurately determine a keyword’s Quality Score.

Quality Score status columns

These status columns show you the 4 Quality Score values: Quality Score, Landing page experience, Ad relevance, and Expected clickthrough rate (CTR).

These optional columns can be added in your keyword reports. You’re also able to see these scores in the text that appears when you hover over the keyword status icon speech bubble “(Ad disapproval bubble)”.

Historical Quality Score columns

These historical columns let you see past data for all 4 Quality Score columns: Qual. Score (hist.), Landing page exper. (hist.), Ad relevance (hist.), and Exp. CTR (hist.).

Historical columns will reflect the last known score for the reporting period. If you apply the “Day” segment to your keyword reports, AdWords will report daily values that reflect what your score was at the end of each day. Note that historical data won’t be available in these columns for dates earlier than January 22, 2016. However, if you previously used a third party or scripts to download historical Quality Score data, these should remain unaffected and this data will still be available.” (source: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/7050591?hl=en).

So, in summary, Google is now offering insight into quality score, landing page experience, ad relevance and expected click through rate plus a view of historical performance in these four areas. My cause for celebration is that we can now see our historical performance and current performance in one view to see what effects our changes are having in these areas. Awesome, right?

That’s what I thought, until I logged in and added these columns to my dashboard. Before I get into why, here is where you can find and add the new quality score information to your keyword view. Simply go to your keywords tab, then click the columns drop down and select modify columns. On the modify column screen click on quality score. You will find all these new categories available to add and save into your view. Below is a screen shot highlighting the process.

 

New Google Adwords Quality Score Information

 

In addition to viewing this information on your dashboard, you can dig into movement in the metrics by segmenting by month, week and day to give you a picture of what direction your quality scores are moving.

OK, now that we’ve covered what and how, let’s dig into how my excitement turned into disappointment. First, where they got it right. Quality score, as we all know, uses a grading scale of 1 to 10. This makes looking at movement a somewhat precise exercise. If we have a keyword with a quality score of 3 and we make improvements that move it to a 5 we know we are moving in the right direction but have more work to do. In the same scenario if we move from a 3 to an 8 we know our changes had a major impact and we need some additional massaging. This is very powerful information when grading our improvements and their impact on quality score. Perfect!

However, that is where the good news ends for the most part. Below is a screenshot, see if you can figure out why I’m so disappointed.

 

Google Adwords Quality Score Information

 

In case you missed it, Google decided that instead of a 1 to 10 scale for grading your ad relevance, landing page experience and expected CTR they will utilize a 3 tier scale of below average, average and above average. Now don’t get me wrong, this information is still helpful, but how are we to know if we are at average but very close to above average and a change we make brings us to just outside of below average if the result is still just average?

Google is most likely using a different scale then the one they are showing here so let’s pretend it is a 1 to 10 scale. If average is a 4-6 we could be at a 6, make a change that drops us to a 4, and Google will simply report us as average. We have no idea the change we just made had a negative effect due to the way they are presenting the information. In my humble opinion this is a huge mistake on their part.

So what can we learn from all of this? Well, more information is certainly better, and I for one am happy to have it and will use it as I can. The additional quality score information is the best and should provide us with insight into smaller movements better or worse. The rest of it will be nice to have and something we’ll use when it is helpful, but with only larger movements in performance changing the scale I doubt this will be as useful as it could be. Your mileage may vary.

Have some thoughts on the new quality score information, how you plan to use it or how it is working for you? Share your feedback with the community!

 

 

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Google Adwords Ad Extensions
Bing Ad Center - Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

This is Why You Need to Use Google Adwords Ad Extensions

 

 

If you’ve been advertising using Google Adwords for even brief time you’ve probably heard of Ad Extensions and why they are important. In the event you haven’t, ad extensions are additional information and links you can use to enhance your messaging, provide more direct web page links, click to call capability, social proof like reviews and more. They will display with your ad at times when you hit the top of page positions. (note: many of the same ad extensions are available in Bing AdCenter as well)

They are important for a variety of reasons, most notably because they take more visual real estate, offer more messaging opportunities and have been shown to result in higher click through rates. But today, we have another reason why you want to be using ad extensions; Mobile.

We’ve recapped the fact that the mobile revolution is here. So it’s not so much that more prospects are using mobile devices to search for products and services. That is a given. But it is about a change in the way that Google displays ad extensions on mobile search listings. Here is an example of a search I performed today.

 

Paid Search Marketing Adwords Ad Extensions

 

Direct your attention to the blocks below the main advertisement. These are ad extensions, specifically site links. Notice how Google not only gives these the same height as the ad. What you may not have noticed is that you can scroll horizontally to display more of the site links and therefore your marketing messages. Users can click any of these to load up a specific page. In this case, if they want a quote or to get right to applying for financing.

Next, move to the call block below that. That’s right, what you are seeing is a big fat click-to-call button a prospect can use to get you right on the phone. Boom, Instant contact from a prospect conversion right to your sales team.

These are huge click through rate and conversion drivers that also provide an enormous presence that can’t be missed when you are the top of page listing in mobile.First analyse whats new in digital marketing? and then analyse what are the necessary extensions to promote your ad. Deploy the ad extensions that make sense for your company and watch your mobile performance improve!

 

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Mobile Paid Search Marketing
Bing Ad Center - Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

5 Things You Should Know About How Mobile has Changed the Way Prospects Use Search Engine Results Pages in 2017

Longest title for a blog post ever. Nailed it. Anyway, moving on to the important topic of the day…

2016 brought many changes in the search engine landscape. We recapped a lot of them, including the arrival of mobile as the dominant search device and the 5 big changes Google brought to mobile search in 2016.

With a new year comes new changes to the search marketing landscape. Today we are going to focus on the search result pages themselves, and how mobile search is changing the ways your prospects interact with them.

Without further delay, here are the 5 things you should know about how your prospects are using search engine results pages!

#5) Mobile Devices are Reconditioning Users

I’ve been around digital marketing long enough to remember the time when making a user scroll in any direction was just bad design. My how things have changed. The advent of Facebook style feeds and the increasing adoption of mobile devices has resulted in a significant alteration in user interaction. So much so that Google removed the right side ads from desktop search results pages last year to mimic its mobile design. In fact, I know people whose entire online experience is driven primarily through their mobile phones and applications.

As you might have guessed, this means fierce competition for the top spot on search engine results pages, both mobile and desktop.

But, it also means that businesses positioned lower on the SERPs, especially around spots 2 to 4, are seeing more click activity than several years ago. This makes it critical for you to be testing and measuring performance at each position. With solid keyword quality scores and a second or third position bid you may reduce your cost per click and cost per lead while increasing your click through rates.

Just be sure not to be listed too far down the page. As the study also found that 7.4% of clicks were below the 4th organic listing on mobile versus 16% on a desktop. And only 62.9% of the mobile searches even resulted in a scroll-down at all. (source: Moz.com)

#4) People Are Viewing More Search Results Listing During a Single Session, but Spend Less Time Viewing Each One

Another side effect of the mobile experience, social media and mobile applications is a shortening attention span of users. As if that weren’t already a problem, it seems these are turning us into a society of attention deficit disorder sufferers. If you haven’t heard the reports on mobile and digital addiction like drug addiction (florida woman brings drugs to jury duty arrested for bringing drugs to jury duty) and its effects on people, you soon will.

In short, paid search is more important than ever. Why? The Moz.com study, when looking at mobile SERPs that included paid listings, local listings and a knowledge graph found the following:

  • 5% of test subjects looked at the top organic listing, versus 99% on the organic only pages. A 20.7% reduction.
  • 2% of SERP clicks were to the top organic listings, versus 40% on the organic only pages. A 17% reduction.
  • 57% of SERP clicks went to the top 4 organic listings, versus 75% on the organic only pages. A 24% reduction.

(source: Moz.com)

They didn’t specify exactly where the clicks went when the results page had organic listings, paid listings and knowledge graph but the implication here is clear. Using paid search to be present into the top 3 paid listings will siphon users away from the organic listings on mobile devices.  

This is incredible to note because…

#3) Sponsored Results Earn About Twice as Many Clicks as Organic Results…

…for keywords with high commercial intent, an important distinction. In fact, according to the WordStream study for keywords with high commercial intent (meaning the prospect is looking to make a purchase) paid ads received 64.6% of clicks. Meaning in these cases the click is much more likely to go to the paid ad versus an organic listing.

Let that sink in for a moment. I know many companies that spend a fortune of time and money on SEO efforts. When it comes to searches with commercial intent, they are investing significant resources to keep up, for apparently diminishing returns.

I used to recommend that clients employ a 70% SEO and 30% PPC effort. Due to the changing landscape over the years I’ve completely switched. I now recommend 70% to paid search and 30% to SEO. There is a variety of reasons for the switch, but this is certainly one of them. (source: Wordstream) . For creating Adwords you might need to pay some money, here is a website who provides loans for 10000.

#2) Mobile Users Click the Top 2 Paid Listings More than Desktop Users

I would file this under things that we already “knew” were happening, but are now proven to be true.

The mobile experience brought with it smaller screen sizes that severely limit our ability to include the same amount of information we used for desktop pages. It also meant that there would be no more divided real estate on the page. No more multi column layouts. It is a vertical experience, with users starting at the top and scrolling down, viewing the content in a tighter sequence.  As 3 paid search results become more common at the top of mobile pages, it makes perfect sense that the top two would garner more clicks in our increasingly lazy culture.

So how much more likely are you to get that click in the top 2 positions in mobile, 32.4% more than desktop according to this MOZ study. Capturing that traffic would provide a nice incremental lift to any campaign. (source: Moz.com)

#1) The Top Sponsored Ad is Seen by 91% of Searchers Using a Mobile Device

I saved the best finding of this study for last. Because it is a whopper. Ad Rank, based on your bid and quality scores, has never been more important. The same goes for mobile usability (not to be confused with responsive design).

If you can optimize your way into the top listing in a way that keeps your cost per click reasonable, and you can convert prospects well, you have a chance to reach 91% of your search audience by ranking for the top paid spot on mobile searches.

Ninety. One. Percent.

Remember that statistic the next time someone recommends you focus all efforts on search engine optimization and none on paid search marketing. (source: Moz.com)

Do you have something to share about the changes in SERP use due to the mobile revolution? Share with the group below!

Sources:

  • https://moz.com/blog/eye-tracking-2016-how-searchers-interact-mobile-serps-desktop
  • com “How to Compete in Adwords” eBook
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SEO Versus PPC Keyword Quality Score Optimization
Bing Ad Center - Facebook Marketing - Google Adwords - LinkedIn Advertising - Paid Search Marketing - Remarketing - Social Media Marketing

SEO Versus PPC Keyword Quality Score Optimization. Fight!

One of the great things about collaborating with fellow digital marketers is the variety of perspectives you encounter. When competing opinions arise in the process of creating successful programs for a client it forces you to really think about why you are making a recommendation and to defend your position with facts and reason.

This very thing happened recently regarding a client that hired us to create and manage their paid search marketing campaign, while a second company was hired to build a new web site and handle the search engine optimization efforts.

The discussion boiled down to the following case for using native web site product pages as paid search landing pages.

  • We believe that building quality pages is the key to a proper web site.
  • We will optimize the site to rank for relevant keywords and optimize the product pages to be the best they can be.
  • We believe that paid search marketing is a temporary strategy and that landing pages are not necessary as our product pages will be awesome.
  • A couple of the paid search landing pages have 85% duplicate content and we believe that will hurt our SEO efforts.
  • We should instead take the time and effort to improve quality score using the native product pages instead of using landing pages.

Are They Wrong?

No, and yes. Certainly we agree that the sites product pages should be optimized for keywords the client wants to rank for organically. And of course they should be the most usable, awesome pages anyone has ever seen (defined by their success in converting visitors of course). And yes too much duplicate content can get you penalized by the search engines. The problem is the web company, being specialists in SEO, were looking at paid search marketing through SEO colored lenses.

Paid Search Marketing is a Temporary Strategy, You Say?

Let’s start with the premise that paid search marketing is a temporary marketing strategy, presumably because your goal is to get ranked organically for your keywords in the search engines.

The short response to this is that if your paid search marketing program is profitable, why would you ever turn it off? With such a tractable, repeatable marketing channel you can plan for and rely on every year, why on earth would you every abandon it? I suspect some believe that if you can get ranked for your keywords organically, you shouldn’t need to run redundant paid search marketing campaigns. Here is why I believe this is wrong.

  • Organic rankings take time to achieve. A lot of time. And they can be wiped out in a second during a search engine algorithm update.
  • It’s hard to rank organically for hundreds, or even thousands of keywords depending on your goals. It’s also very time consuming to generate the content needed to achieve top rank for high volumes of keywords.
  • Even if you were to rank organically for all your desired keywords, with paid search ads you can double or triple the amount of search engine results page real estate you ‘own’, making it more likely you will win the click.
  • With paid ads you can control your messaging, even testing variations of your ads in real time. Organic results might draw from your meta tags or match up on-page content with a prospects search phrase. And by the way, consumers will search in many different ways that rarely match your targeted keywords exactly.
  • Paid search is tractable and linear. We can draw a line from cost to results in a way you cannot with SEO.

In addition to these important points, Wordstream reports that “Sponsored results earn about twice as many clicks as the organic results” and “Searchers looking to buy a specific product are much more likely to click the sponsored ads.” The notion that searchers click on organic listings in higher volumes, or don’t trust paid ads is simply not true. (Source: Wordstream’sCompete in Adwords eBook)

SEO Versus PPC. Two Different Animals.

Let’s take a step back for some perspective about optimization in regards to organic rankings versus paid search marketing. On one hand, with SEO, you are working to get your keywords ranked in the search engines. On the other hand, with paid search marketing, you are optimizing to improve keyword quality score. If you aren’t familiar, keyword quality score is used by the search engines to determine how much you will pay, and for what position, in each online ‘auction’ (i.e. search). (We go into depth about quality score in our Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords)

These are two very different, and in some ways competing goals. And here is the major rub, you simply cannot optimize one product page to rank all the variations of keywords you will want to rank for organically and all the keyword variations you are targeting in paid search. 

Let me give you an example. If I have am a company that only sells a handful of products I may have 5 product pages at our online store. Realistically I can target 25 or so keywords to rank for organically for each page and will optimize the page for that goal. But what if searchers use a variety of variations and slang to search for my product? What if I also want to target groups of keywords in various stages of the buyer’s journey? I’m looking at a few hundred or more keywords we want to target, and there is no way we will get one page optimized for them all.

In this particular example the product is used to maintain a snow mobile. Also known as a sled, or a snow machine. And the part the product works on? It’s known as a runner, or carbide runner, or ski, or skeg. And for those that aren’t looking for this specific product but want to improve their snow mobile’s handling or traction or are looking for a new part, but we want them to know they can repair the part they have with our product instead? Now we can add traction and handling plus snowmobile, snow machine and sled plus runner and ski etc. Plus every brand of manufacturer of the part they are looking to replace. I suppose we could replicate the product page, but then we’d have multiple product pages for the same product in our online store. Doesn’t sound like a solid usability strategy to me.

But What About the Duplicate Content Penalties?

First let’s talk about the concept of a winning ‘pitch’. Once you’ve found a page content formula that converts like a champion why would you abandon that just to be sure you don’t have duplicate content? In fact, landing pages tend to have duplicate content by design. Keeping the main formula in place, but micro optimizing for the subtle variations in the keywords you are targeting. Think snow mobile versus snow machine. Or equipment financing versus equipment loan versus equipment lease. Or retirement home versus retirement community. The message will stay the same, but the variations of the keywords you are optimizing for will change.

Yes, the search engines are on the lookout for sites using duplicate content to rank for keywords organically. But does this mean they don’t believe there is ever a use for duplicate content? Of course not. In fact, Google addresses this in their support documentation. While you can instruct the search engines not to index your landing pages if there is duplicate content, Google provides the following preferred solution.

“Google does not recommend blocking crawler access to duplicate content on your website, whether with a robots.txt file or other methods. If search engines can’t crawl pages with duplicate content, they can’t automatically detect that these URLs point to the same content and will therefore effectively have to treat them as separate, unique pages. A better solution is to allow search engines to crawl these URLs, but mark them as duplicates by using the rel=”canonical” link element, the URL parameter handling tool, or 301 redirects. In cases where duplicate content leads to us crawling too much of your website, you can also adjust the crawl rate setting in Search Console.” (Get the full details at https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66359?hl=en)

If duplicate content penalties are holding you back from creating highly optimized landing pages for your paid search marketing campaigns you can now put that aside and create the pages you need to optimize for keyword quality scores.

Paid Search is Also More Fluid

Another reason that landing pages provide us with the tools we need for success in paid search is due to higher frequency in optimization. What does this mean? Quite simply, a search engine optimized landing page is generally edited very little once the main keywords are selected and the initial optimization is complete. Perhaps a small tweak here and there is necessary based on ranking results.

With paid search landing pages, we might have a group of keywords we are optimizing for and once data starts coming in we realize we need to break some of the keywords out into their own campaign. We’ll start that new campaign with a new landing page and re-optimize both for the narrower set of keywords.

There are many instances where the campaign structure or keyword grouping in paid search will change and we need to be diligent in creating or adjusting the assets we need to optimize for keyword quality scores. If we were to edit the main site product page every time we needed to optimize for keyword quality scores we would end up affecting the SEO efforts in unintended, and often destructive ways. Since we don’t care if our PPC landing pages are organically ranked, we are freed from that constraint and can optimize for quality score to our heart’s delight.

But What if the Native Web Site Product Page Performs Better?

Great question. I believe in letting the data drive your decisions and highly recommend split testing your landing page format against the native product page format. However, even if the native landing page wins the day I still recommend duplicating the format using an individual landing page for your paid search campaigns for all the reasons we’ve reviewed in this article.

In closing let me be clear on one thing. Both agencies are talented and looking to create success for our client. So I view these conversations as positive and constructive so long as we can reach a mutually beneficial resolution. And that is what happened here.

So what do you think of this discussion between SEO and PPC agencies? Have you had experience in the debate between SEO and paid search landing pages? How did you solve the challenge? We want to know, so feel free to share in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

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6 Costly Rookie AdWord Mistakes You'll Want To Avoid
Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

6 Costly Rookie AdWord Mistakes You’ll Want To Avoid

We’ve all been there. When we were handed our first AdWords account to manage we said, “I got this! I’ve been reading about all the best techniques and optimization strategies, and I have my Google AdWords certificate. Piece of cake.” In which I promptly spent half of my budget overnight on an ill-conceived broad keyword. Whoops.

Like any new talent, mastering Google AdWords is something that takes time and practice. It’s a hard skill to teach without hands-on practice.

Are you still trying to navigate the complex maze that is Google AdWords? Learn from those who came before you, and avoid making these six costly rookie mistakes.

Mistake #1: Blowing your budget by using the wrong keyword match types

Oy, there’s nothing worse then setting up your account, feeling confident, only to wake up to a drained budget that got sucked up by one or two keywords that were set too broad. It’s an easy trap to fall into. Broad keywords can be so appealing to add into a campaign because of the traffic volume they bring in, but that doesn’t mean they’re always right.

I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding the differences between the various keyword types and how they actually affect your account and your budget. For the novice AdWorders out there, here’s a breakdown of all the match types you can choose from:

screen-shot-2015-10-28-at-10-49-14-pm

Choose your match types carefully! Broad keywords can be helpful to funnel in lots of traffic if you have a healthier budget. As long as you keep an eye out on your search terms and add in negative keywords to block irrelevant traffic (see next point), you can make broad keywords work.

If you have a tighter budget or if you want to optimize your existing account, you’ll want to focus more on exact, phrase or modified broad match keywords. These keyword match types are great at capturing the right leads for your business, because they match the search intent much more closely than a broad match.

For instance, if you were an eCommerce t-shirt clothing store, you might bid on a keyword like “buy t-shirts online.” As a broad match, your ad may trigger for search terms like “cool t-shirts” or “red t-shirts boston.” If you make the same keyword a phrase match, your ads would instead trigger for search terms like “I want to buy t-shirts online” or “buy t-shirts online now.” The second targeting method finds prospective leads that are much more valuable for your business.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should go and add every variation in only exact phrase matched keywords. These match types can be very limited with small search numbers. You could end up severely under-spending on your budget and not seeing the results you were hoping to see.

I often recommend a healthy mix of all keyword match types, which takes some continual optimization to get right. A good technique that you can use to find the right mix of match types is to test an important keyword as a broad, phrase, and exact match. This way you can compare them against one another and see which are the most successful for your campaigns.

Mistake #2: Not knowing how to use negative keywords

Want to really shock someone? Show them the keyword search terms for any given AdWord campaign they’re running without any negative keywords added. This is often the first place I point to when someone is just beginning with AdWords to show them how much wasted ad spend can happen when negative keywords aren’t being used and traffic isn’t being funneled correctly.

When first setting up your campaigns, it can be very hard to anticipate which search terms might trigger your ads. For instance, if you are a jeweler and you add the broad keyword “engagement rings,” Google may show your ad to any search term it deems relevant, like “mood rings” or “discount rings.” A quick way to stop your ad from showing up when these terms are searched is by blocking them with negative keywords.

There are some universal negative keywords that you should always add no matter what your business is, like free, cheap, porn, youtube, sex, etc. Then you’ll want to go into your keyword search data and pinpoint any phrases that have incorrectly triggering your ads in the past. You may be surprised what you find! Add these into your negative keywords, either on a campaign or ad group level, and you’ll be one step closer to seeing the results you actually want.

Mistake #3: Forgetting to bid on your own brand terms

Here’s a thing I didn’t know know when I first started with AdWords – if you don’t bet on your own brand terms, chances are one of your competitors will! This means that when someone is Googling your brand name, one of your competitors could show up first before your own website is listed. Pretty crazy right?

One great thing about Google is that it rewards you for bidding on your own brand. Chances are that someone searching for your brand wants to find your business and will interact with your ad and website in a positive way (not bouncing as much, higher click-through rate, etc). Your cost per click will be extremely low and your competitor’s will be very high. Not only will your brand terms will be cheap for you to bid on, but it also doesn’t hurt to have two links to your business page at the top of the Google results page. It’ll be a quick win for your business.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-9-04-12-pm

Here’s another tip – you’re probably better off not bidding on your competitor’s brand terms as well. When I first took over an account for a luxury retailer, they had been bidding heavily on competitors’ brand terms without knowing how much money they were throwing down the drain. The costs per click were extremely high because the quality scores were so low. People were bouncing from the page almost immediately when they clicked on the ads, probably because they felt deceived being led to another retailer. Keep this in mind if you decide to bid on your competition’s brand terms. It’ll cost you a lot, and you’ll probably piss off a lot of people in the process.

Mistake #4: Only looking at one metric and not seeing the whole picture

If you have a low performing keyword, the correct solution may not be to just immediately remove or pause it. There may be much more to the story then meets the eye.

For example, the keyword could be connected to an ad that doesn’t quite fit or leads to a landing page that doesn’t really make sense for that specific ad or keyword. If this is the case, then Google will assign the keyword a lower quality score to that keyword which may result in a higher cost per click and a lower average position in search results. While it may be easy to just remove the low performing keyword, the actual root of the problem is how the campaign was originally structured.

You could try breaking out that specific keyword into a separate ad group to make the ads or landing page more relevant. Or, you could work on fixing the keyword match type. A keyword that is too broad may be triggering for irrelevant search results. This could be fixed by changing the match type to be more narrow or adding the appropriate negative keywords.

Simply put, beginners tend to think of AdWords as black and white instead of considering the whole picture. If something isn’t going well, it’s easy to point a finger at what is causing it. However, what you should really do is take a step back. If a keyword is dragging an ad group down, look at all the data to try to see what’s really going on.

Mistake #5: Not knowing how to use ad extensions correctly

Ad extensions were completely foreign to me when I took on my first AdWords account. I kept noticing that some brands would have these fantastic looking ads pop up that seemed to take up a significant portion of the Google search results page. They looked so professional and commanded your attention. I soon learned that these brands were using ad extensions throughout their Adwords account.

Ad extensions allow you to take up more real estate on the Google results page, and they’re completely free to add onto any advertisement you’re currently running. You can see in the below example that Lands’ End utilizes ad extensions in a few different ways. They are using structured snippet extensions with their “Legendary Service + Easy Returns,” review extensions with “Elite Customer Service Award – StellaService,” and sitelink extensions with “Sale, Shop Holiday Gifts, Shop Outerwear, and Shop Holiday Stockings.”

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-9-24-51-pm

 

Ad extensions are an absolute must for any brand using AdWords. They are easy and free to set up in your account, and they will instantly help you achieve higher click-through rates on your ads. Ad extensions do only show up when your ads are displayed first on the page, but when this happens, you’ll be able to push the competition even further down on the page. This is an easy win for your account.


Mistake #6: Only running one ad variation or not knowing how to choose a winning ad

One of the best ways to improve the click-through rate of your campaigns is to optimize them by testing more than one ad variation per ad group. Testing can help fine tune your strategy, and you can identify the messages that really resonate with your audience.

The key to this strategy is to stick to small changes that might make a large impact. Try changing things like the headline or the URL to see which might lead to higher click through rates for your ads. You can also test different landing pages with the same ad to see if one converts at a higher rate than the other. By making smaller changes, it allows you to see which variables actually caused a change in click or conversion behavior. If you try to change everything about the ad, it’ll be almost impossible to know which part of the ad led to better results.

Make sure to let your ads run for long enough to test the significance of the two versions against one another. For running ad you can get no credit check loans instant decision from our partner bank.One of my favorite online calculators to see if one version is significant in my tests is this one created by Get Data Driven.

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7 Creative Ways To Track AdWords Conversions As A Retail Business
Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

7 Creative Ways To Track AdWords Conversions As A Retail Business

Managing an AdWords account for a retail business can be tricky. When your boss wants to know the ROI of your AdWords account, the last thing you want to start spitting back is the impressive click-through rate of your ads. What he or she really wants to know is how much business these ads are actually generating.

Tracking any retail sale from beginning to end proves to be much more difficult when it starts online. So much happens after that initial ad click! But with some careful planning and strategic account setup, you can really start to paint a much clearer picture of how clicks are translating into actual qualified leads. 

For starters, not all of AdWords conversions can or should be valued the same.

Not all conversions should be treated equal. The key to getting a more accurate understanding of your AdWords ROI is to assign values to each conversion type. A store visit will always be way more valuable for your business than someone who subscribes to your blog; therefore, they shouldn’t each be assigned a conversion value of “1.”

When setting up the conversions in your account, make sure to assign a number to each that indicates the value of that lead, in dollars, for your business. This will allow you to focus less on how many conversions you are getting and more on the overall value of these conversions.

7 Creative Ways To Track AdWords Conversions As A Retail Business

Next, plan out how you want to measure conversions. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to optimize your current account, check out these seven creative ways to track conversions for any retail business:

1) Store Visits

Historically, retail locations have had a very hard time tracking in-person conversions. But Google is finally tackling this issue with a new conversion metric called store visits. Store visits track people who have clicked on your ads and then later visit your retail location. It helps close the loop and track visitors from first click all the way until the time they step foot into your store. This new technology is one of the best and most effective ways to track conversions for retailers.

This new tracking method is incredible. It uses a combination of signals to measure these store visits including Google Earth, Google Street views, and GPS location signals, just to name a few. The not-so-great news about all of this? It’s brand new and not readily available to every retailer just yet.

Right now, store visit conversions are only available to retailers that meet these qualifications:

  • Have multiple physical store locations in eligible countries.
  • Receive thousands of ad clicks and many store visits.
  • Have a Google My Business account linked to your AdWords account.
  • Create each of your store locations in your Google My Business account.

Don’t meet all these requirements? Right now, you’re out of luck, but keep reading for other suggestions. Meet these requirements? Great! You’re on your way to having a more clear and concise understanding of your AdWords ROI. If you meet these requirements, you’ll have to reach out to Google AdWords rep to get this set up.

2) Appointment or Consultation Requests

Apart from tracking store visits, appointment requests can be one of the strongest indicators of intent to purchase for a retail business. While you don’t have to require appointments to be made, strongly encouraging appointments can be an incredibly helpful way to track your AdWords ROI. Depending on the nature of your business and your sales team’s ability to close, an appointment request can be a powerful tool to closing leads at a high rate.

One retailer that is really doing this right is BHLDN, a bridal boutique created by the popular clothing brand Anthropologie. You can see here that BHLDN leads some of their AdWords visitors right to this appointment page where they can essentially choose their own appointment path. Not only is BHLDN offering a store appointment as a way to capture qualified leads for their business, but they are also encouraging “stylist consultations” that position the appointment as less sale-focused and more education-focused. This gives them two opportunities to track highly qualified leads.

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3) Quote Requests

Based on your retail business model, a quote request may be another great alternative for tracking AdWords conversions. This works great for salons, mechanics, pawn shops, etc.

To get the best results from this method, test various ad messages in order to find the right hook. You can test subjects like, “Get a free quote today!” or “Instant quotes over the phone!” Generally what I’ve found is that easier and simpler along with instant gratification will entice people to click and convert more.

Get creative! One of the best quote request landing pages I’ve seen is this one below from Cash Co Pawn Shop in City Heights, CA. It’s incredibly personable, and the paper is simple and clear of any other distractions. 

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4) Calls – 30 Seconds or Longer

Calls can be another significant indicator for your business that someone is ready to buy or at least willing to learn more about your company. Call conversions are even more powerful today than ever before with so few people taking the time to place phone calls. It can be conversion gold!

Make sure to turn on call extensions on all of your ads to make it as easy as possible for a prospective customer to get in touch with your business. Google will help you set up this feature with a Google forwarding phone number.

You’ll also get the opportunity to track calls of a certain length. Consider how long a typical phone call lasts for your business. Quick phone calls less than 30 seconds may not be a great conversion metric, but longer phone calls often indicate stronger interest and curiosity in your business. You can even set up various phone call length conversions and values if you are seeing longer phone calls closing more sales than shorter ones.

5) Blog Subscribers

The next few examples are good ways to track top of the funnel leads, but most likely will have a much lower customer conversion rate than the ones listed above. Blog subscribers are conversions that you’ll probably want to assign with a lower value, but they still may be important for your business.

If you have a blog that allows for people to opt in with their email addresses, this could be a solid business lead for you. You could focus your marketing strategy towards setting up a powerful email nurturing campaign with your top blog posts to help move that person further down the funnel. These leads could also be added to your general marketing database to receive special promotions or announcements in the future. Regardless of what you end up doing with these leads, they can still prove to be valuable depending on the steps you take after they sign-up.

Salon Vason, one of the top salons in Miami, entices visitors with a pop-up when they first arrive to the site, encouraging them to join their database. These leads can and should be nurtured with an email campaign designed to inspire them to take action and make an appointment in the future.

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6) Newsletter Sign-Ups

Do you have a weekly, monthly or quarterly newsletter that you share with your database? Track conversions through newsletter sign-ups. These may be low quality leads, but they may have some weight on your business in the future if you target them correctly.

7) ebook And Guide Downloads

Writing eBooks and buying guides can be a helpful way to educate your leads and position yourself as a content expert. It’s also a great lead generating tool if your content is strong enough to be gated behind a form (a still highly debated but important topic today). 

Yale Appliance is an example of a local business that does a really great job capturing qualified leads with their content. They have an extensive library of buying guides designed to help consumers purchase expensive and complex appliances. Yale Appliance has strategic AdWords campaigns set up that lead directly to these beautifully optimized landing pages (like the one below).

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Tracking leads from eBooks and guides like the ones from Yale Appliance could be a great way to measure qualified leads for your business, especially when you use these leads strategically in the future. It can be a great indicator of which pain point your customer is trying to solve so you can target your content and lead nurturing efforts more specifically. Get best online payday loans no credit check for spending money on adwords.

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Enter to win our Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords
Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

Win Our Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords

Are you a paid search marketer using Google Adwords? Do you want to be the hero of your company by driving your return on investment to new heights? Now is your chance. Simply register at the Paid Search Society and you’ll be entered to win our monthly giveaway of our Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords, a $200 value! 

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Google Adwords Expanded Ads
Bing Ad Center - Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

Google Adwords Expanded Ads Have Arrived!

Ever get frustrated because you just can’t fit your awesome ad title due to the character limitation in Google Adwords? It happens regularly to me. But before we get to the exciting news, let’s step back to a time before the last enhanced ad update in Google.

In the days before the enhanced ad and device targeting update I employed a strategy to isolate mobile performance from desktop by separating them into their own campaigns. I wanted to easily see the difference in performance, and be able to apply budget accordingly.

When enhanced ads came on the scene Google required users to roll these ads into one campaign and specify ads for mobile. It made sense since the mobile revolution was arriving and mobile performance was on the rise. And even though we could create shorter mobile ads, I never used them due to the even more limited character real estate available. Looking back, that was the right move, since the mobile ads continued to perform well, and in many cases better than their desktop counterparts.

Fast forward to 2016 and Google has now rolled out expanded text ads, providing a second line for the headline. Pretty exciting right? My opinion is YES! And NO!

Let me explain…

Being able to create a more detailed message to separate my clients from the competition is indeed a welcome improvement. With the two headlines, description, site links and callouts our ads can convey a more complete message to prospects searching for us on Google. This is a huge plus for marketers that know how to take advantage of the increased ad real estate.

However, I’ve noticed two things in testing that give me pause.

First, when using the expanded ads, I can’t specify one version for mobile, and one version for desktop. Over the years I’ve noticed that the same ad text may perform differently across devices and optimize accordingly. Having ads specified for mobile right in my ad view gives me a very clear and easy way to see how my mobile ads perform relative to desktop. With the new expanded ads, the ability to specify an ad for mobile is going away. And I believe this is a mistake on Google’s part. To be clear, you can get to the information by digging deeper into device targeting statistics. But you will never be able to tell Google that this ad is ONLY for mobile. It will be used for both, whether you like it or not. The result is ad sets that are more homogeneous between devices, instead of optimized per their performance by device.

Standard Ad with Mobile Targeting Option

Standard Google Ad Text

Expanded Text Ad with No Mobile Targeting Option

Google Adwords Expanded Text Ad

Second, also during our initial testing, I’ve noticed that some of the expanded ads that contain the original standard champion ad text do not perform as well as their standard counterparts. Counter-intuitive I know, but this is why we test our way into everything for our clients instead of jumping in without looking. In the instances where the standard ads are still performing better we will continue to test new expanded ads to find a new champion. The problem is that Google is phasing out the standards ads in 2016 altogether, and soon. For this reason I strongly recommend you do a lot of testing now while you can, before the standard ads are gone altogether. Not having the option to keep a standard ad champion that the expanded ads aren’t beating is a bad thing in my opinion. But it’s something that is coming, like it or not.

As a side note, I had a discussion with a Bing Adcenter rep last week, and they report that expanded ads are coming to Bing soon.

Have you used expanded ads yet? What are you seeing as you roll out the new format? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!

Update 9/14/16: We just received word from Google that the end date for standard ads has been moved to January 31, 2017.

*image credit Austin & Williams

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Google Adwords Device Targeting
Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

Highly Anticipated New Bid Adjustment Coming Soon to Google Adwords!

In parts one and two of our overview of the new Google Adwords paid search marketing changes announced at the 2016 Google summit, we covered the mapping of in store locations and ads embedded on Google Maps. Today we will cover one of the most exciting announcements that all of our segmenters will love.

In case you weren’t aware, these five new improvements for Google Adwords mobile search marketing are…

A huge contributor to the success of your paid search programs is the ability to segment and target. Simple things like time of day or geographic location can make a huge difference in campaign performance.

But a change has been taking place. As the years have gone by our phones went from dumb to smart, our laptops from computers to tablets to…laptablets? and tablets/phones became phablets. What was a predictable user experience of desktop/laptop suddenly became the fragmented nightmare of seemingly limitless screen sizes and resolutions and with that, user behaviors.

As we adapt to this new reality with responsive sites and mobile optimized user experiences on the web side, Google phased in the ability to different create ads for targeting desktop versus mobile on their end. Although a step in the right direction this solution never addressed the large scale user experience differential of smart phones and tablets. As a result, we had to treat mobile and tablet the same, even though tablet screens can be as large as a laptop. Personally, I always thought a purely smart phone optimized page was never a good user experience on a tablet.

Google seems to have agreed, announcing a major change to device bidding. Soon we will have full control of device bidding by desktop, mobile with full browsers and tablets with full browsers. Why is this important? I’ve seen first hand how performance can vary from mobile to desktop. We can now target and adjust our keyword bids depending on performance on the three different devices, adding a layer of optimization to improve our ROI that was not previously available.

Adjustment ranges will be available in multipliers from -100% to +900% (previous ranges were -100% to +300% for mobile only, no tablet-only option was available). The change will also allow you to set the base-level bid using the device of your choice, instead of having to set mobile as a modifier of desktop. One added bonus, if you want to create a one device only campaign because performance is that much better you will have that option for the first time since enhanced campaigns were introduced. Our banking partners are ready to provide fast loans no credit check for people who wants to create Adwords campaigns.

What do you think of this new feature? How will you use it to squeeze more ROI out of you Google Adwords campaigns? Sound off in the comments below!

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Google Maps Local Search Improvements
Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

Local Search Ads on Google Maps are a Changin’

A few weeks ago we provided an overview of the new Google paid search marketing changes announced at the Google summit.

In case you weren’t aware, these five new improvements for Google Adwords mobile search marketing are…

In our first installment we talked about the mapping of store locations. Today we are going to dive into ads that will be embedded right onto Google Maps and how you can leverage them for your local business. Keep in mind, over 1 billion people have downloaded the Google Maps app. So this is no small thing.

The goal of this new feature will be to help local businesses be more visible at the moment a consumer is searching on a mobile device, perhaps for somewhere to shop or grab a bite to eat. The new features will include…

  • Promoted Pins that include brand logos
  • In-store promotions
  • Customizable business pages
  • Local inventory search

Why these changes you ask?

Perhaps due to these insane mobile statistics.

  • Nearly one third of mobile searches are related to a location
  • These location based searches have been growing fifty percent faster than mobile searches overall (in the past year)
  • Searches on Google Maps and Google.com guide consumers to their destination 1.5 billion times every year
  • 84% of consumers conduct local searches
  • 75% of users that search for something nearby using their smartphone end up visiting a store within a day. With twenty eight percent of these searches resulting in a purchase.

What Will These Look Like in Practice?

The new local search ads will appear on Google maps mobile & desktop, on the Google Maps app, tablet sites and of course on Google.com expanded maps results. This image from Search Engine Land gives us a glimpse of what that should look like. Notice the orange ads at top of page, and pins on the actual maps.

Google Local Search Map Ads

In this next example from A Day in Tech, we can see in store promotions from Walgreens on the map search and local listing.

Google Maps In Store Promotion

First let me just say, all of these improvements are fantastic and can be leveraged to drive customers to your business, especially since mobile search now trumps desktop. There is not better time to get in front of a prospective customer than when they are in-market-now for what your local business provides, and in or visiting your local area.

Promoted pins will be a great way to engage prospects with not just your business name, but a short message right on the map result. Brand logos will help you stand out even more next to the ordinary pins.

Savvy business owners can leverage these in combination with in-store promotions to incentivize users to take a chance and visit. All backed up by a business page that you can customize to attract your ideal customers that are in your area.

As always, a cohesive strategy to bring all these elements together will be a key to success. But overall we love the new features and think they are a great improvement over the current capabilities.

Do you currently use any local search marketing? How do you feel about these new features and how they can help your local business? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

*images property of their respective owners.

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Queen City Buzz Inbound Marketing Podcast
Bing Ad Center - Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

We’re “Live from the Hive” at Queen City Buzz!

This week I had the opportunity to sit down with fellow marketer Patricia Hammond, founder of the Queen City Buzz, Manchester NH’s Business & Tech Blog, to discuss Inbound Marketing, SEO, SEM and the Paid Search Society. Visit and listen to our podcast but beware, there are pro marketing tips ahead!

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Google Adwords Mobile Improvements 2016
Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

5 New Improvements Coming to Mobile Adwords in 2016

The recent Google Performance Summit unleashed a variety of interesting features coming to mobile paid search marketing. I’ve been silent on them to date, reflecting on what they all mean for the future of Google Adwords marketing.

In case you weren’t aware, these five new improvements for Google Adwords mobile search marketing are…

For today’s conversation, we’ll be starting at the top with the mapping of store locations and in store conversions. This is one of our top Google Adwords marketing challenges for local businesses. How are you supposed to demonstrate ROI when you can’t always tie a click or a call to an in store purchase?

———————————————————————

Diving Into Local in-Store Conversions

Google has been working on a solution to measure 90% of the mobile searches that result in an in-store conversion. They have been working hard to map millions of stores and their locations and use that data to determine a conversion, apparently within 99% accuracy, over billions of transactions that have been reported. Reporting that they even went as far as to call visitors to confirm their accuracy. As a result, they plan to add a “visit your business” goal type in Google Adwords.

Google Adwords Mobile In Store Conversion Tracking

This has long been a blind spot, and I am happy to hear Google is finally attempting to address the issue. Mapping out millions of stores is an impossible task, which is why I question if this will really help small local retailers. I suspect they won’t be mapping out every retail store in America, nor would they have access to, or solve the issue of tying an actual retail transaction back to Adwords for the small business market.

The solution is most likely more around Google making some assumptions based on a mobile search, and location activity of a mobile device, along with some assumptions about how long you might stay in store (etc) along with analysis from big data.

The main beneficiaries will be big businesses that operate physical stores in local markets. Franchises, chain stores, multi-location operators types that have the resources to better tie back in store purchase data.

BUT, if they  can glean enough from what they do learn, perhaps there will be a modeling formula that will at least provide some directional data for the small business market to give you a sense of the success, or failure of your mobile Google Adwords marketing campaign performance.

Part of me thinks this is a great step forward for the SMB market, part of me thinks I never believe what I can’t prove, especially from a source that wants more of my money. Models are nice, but actual data rules the day, every day.

Are you a local small business using Google Adwords? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this new Google Adwords feature in the comments!

*images sourced from whoopapp and drivingsales

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Google Adwords Bid Creep is Here
Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

Google Adwords Bid Creep is Real, and it’s Here

It has been a few months since Google removed the right side ads from search results pages. In case you missed it, we recapped the change and what that means for your business in our April article Google Removes Right Side Ads, What this Means for Your Adwords Marketing.

One prognostication I made at the time was that we may see costs increase, perhaps in the mid term, perhaps in the long term, as less position inventory is available. Well, I have to tell you, it’s real, and it’s happening right now.

At the end of May I performed a multitude of end of month reviews for a variety of client campaigns. Interestingly enough, there were notices from Google that minimum first page bids had increased in all of them. Now let’s be clear, we are not talking about incremental CPC bids requiring a small adjustment upwards to maintain or improve position within the first page. These were wholesale increases to the CPC to even show on the first page at all.

What Does this Mean?

Well, it means you need to buckle up because costs will be on the rise. Until some advertisers that struggle with ROI drop out of the competition, this will be our new reality.

What Can You Do About It?

Here are a few recommendations that you can employ to help fight bid creep. All related to assessing your Google Adwords campaign foundation and ensuring you are employing best practices throughout.

  • Check your keyword match types. Broad match keywords may need to be switched to tighter match types like modified broad, phrase and exact if you are not using them already.
  • Check your keyword quality scores. Attempt to improve QS through better ad writing and landing page optimization. If you can’t improve QS through optimization…
  • You will want to create more campaigns with tighter keyword groupings. If none of these work you may want to abandon some keywords altogether.
  • Check your keyword impression shares. If you have keywords that perform well with impression share available, ramp up your spend there first.
  • Cull your matched keywords and add more negative terms to keep you out of searches that don’t perform well.
  • Be sure you are testing ads that stand out from the competition to increase your click-through rates.

Are you seeing bid creep in your campaigns? We want to know! Comment below and share your experience and your recommendations. For Adwords campaigns get 12 month loans bad credit direct lenders  for improving your business.

Need additional help? Consider our Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords to help you fight Google Adwords bid creep.

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Paid Search Marketing Keyword Tips
Bing Ad Center - Google Adwords

Breaking the Keyword Limit Rules for Paid Search Marketing

Rules, rules everywhere! Ask ten different paid search marketing experts how many keywords you should have in a single campaign, and you’ll probably get ten different answers. All of which will likely be in a range of no more than fifty.

The question is, why would there be a limit on the amount of keywords you’d want to target in any single campaign? The answer comes in a few forms. So let’s look at them, and then discuss why sometimes none of it matters.

  • Manageability – Remember that you’ll be using a combination of match types for your keywords. This could mean 3 keywords for each term you wish to target. Stuffing a campaign full of keywords can make it more difficult to process the information and manage the campaign.
  • Budget – An oft forgotten practice is to be sure you have enough budget to cover a sufficient number of clicks each day. Only have a $10 budget? Makes no sense to have 100 keywords that require $5 per click to compete. You just won’t have enough money for Google to get your keywords into, and out of the auctions fast enough with such a low threshold.
  • Focus – Your keyword sets should be narrowly focused for a variety of reasons. Relevance being one, which heavily effects your quality score, which effects your bid for position and cost per click etc. Too many unrelated keywords can torpedo your effort.

With all this in mind, I’m now going to give you some examples of when you should break the rules. Having serviced a variety of paid search lead generation campaigns across various industries I’ve learned that there is in fact a time and a place to stuff that campaign full of keywords. Here are three for you to consider.

  • Testing – Sometimes you have some ideas of keyword sets to target that are loosely related, but making a bunch of campaigns to test them is time prohibitive. In this case it’s ok to load up a campaign full of these terms and see what rises to the top. When you’ve identified some winners, break them off into their own campaign.

One practical example of this is when a paid search client was targeting specific equipment they wanted to finance for other businesses. There is a limitless amount of industrial equipment out there. So it made sense to load a list into the campaign to see what prospects were in fact searching for and let the cream rise to the top.

  • Local Businesses – Local paid search lead generation campaigns can sometimes be the most difficult. Your market is smaller and user behavior is certainly unique. Many prospects will search using geographic qualifiers. Sure your broad or modified broad match keywords may pick them up. But if you want to reduce non relevant clicks and widen your net a little bit, it might be a good idea expand your keyword set using those geographic qualifiers.

A great example is the work we do for a local carpet cleaning company. The highest volume of search tends to be around ‘carpet cleaner’ or ‘carpet cleaning’. But the broad search picks up traffic from users searching for how to, chemicals, rentals and a whole host of terms that waste spend. Instead, modify the term by adding a location, just as users search, because it changes the intent. If I’m searching for ‘carpet cleaning manchester nh’ it is more likely I’m looking for a professional to do the job.

  • Heavy Qualifier – Similar to the above, there may be times when your main search term is pretty general, but something prospects do indeed search for. In these cases, create your keyword matrix using additional qualifiers to get in front the search intent you are looking for. Then pack your campaign to the gills with these terms and monitor performance.

In these instances it is not unusual for us to have two to three hundred keywords in one single campaign. But by keeping them both relevant and specific we are able to widen the net while tapping into traffic. For running campaign get low cost loans online and make your business converts and generates leads for your business.

Have some additional ideas on when it’s the right call to break the keyword limit rules? Let us know, we’d love share it with our audience!

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Google Adwords Removes Right Side Ads
Google Adwords - Paid Search Marketing

Google Removes Right Side Ads, What this Means for Your Adwords Marketing

It’s been quite a few weeks in the world of Paid Search Marketing. Google recently announced, and carried out, removal of their right side of the page pay per click ads. In the weeks that followed the interwebs were full of doomsday, the sky is falling predictions. We take a more measured approach, and here is what we think it means for paid search marketing in the near future.

A Little Perspective

The right side and bottom of page results only accounted for 14.6% of the clicks in January 2016. So we are talking about losing only a segment of those clicks. BUT added a listing up top, and are now showing more ad extensions in the results pages. (Stat via WordStream)

Non Technical Users are the Biggest Losers

There is still a large contingent of search engine users that aren’t aware that their are paid ads at the top of search engine results pages. It was much clearer that the right side listings were in fact ads. These non-technical users now have one more listing above the fold in most cases, and they probably still won’t notice the difference.So analysing paid searches needs to be organic finding the right audience is necessary for every successful business.For instance deluxe indianapolis maid agency needs to find audience from the state Indianapolis. But that might mean…

Paid Search Advertisers are the Biggest Winners

At least regarding these non-technical users. More ads up top, and less on the side, could mean more users click on our advertisements instead. And after all, that is one of our main goals. So this could be a net win.For example an action ac heating san Diego repair shop can easily place the ads like this and it favours them to get more clients.

SEO Becomes a Little More Problematic

As if the larger companies, national brands and directory sites weren’t making it hard enough to rank on the first results page organically, now there is one less spot available in the organic listings. Add to this the one additional paid listing at the top pushing organic results further below the fold and our jobs in search engine optimization just got a little bit more complicated.

Campaign Focus Just Got Even More Important

Targeting and campaign specificity just got more critical to running profitable paid search programs. If you haven’t been running more specific campaigns rather than fewer high volume general campaigns now is the time to make the switch. Better optimization means better performance. Time to get on the train.For eg these methodology is suitable for small scale industries like electric motor repair shop etc.

A Hidden Opportunity?

It’s certainly possible we’ll see an increase in cost per click across the board.Before the costs go up, get a loan for bad credit and create a campaign for your business and drive more traffic.  we might end up weeding out some of the less sophisticated competition that is currently driving up cost.  These exits from the competitive landscape could be just what the rest of us need to better break through the noise. So it looks like a mixed bag in terms of results. Hopefully we’ll see the fallout start to take shape over the next few months. If you see changes in your program that you think are related to the change, please let us know!

 

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Landing Page Optimization for Mobile Devices
Bing Ad Center - Facebook Marketing - Google Adwords - LinkedIn Advertising - Paid Search Marketing - Remarketing - Social Media Marketing

Is Your Web Site Mobile Responsive, or Mobile Optimized?

Nothing thrusts a topic into the main stream consciousness like a good old fashioned Google algorithm update. This time it was their announcement in 2015 that websites that weren’t responsive would be penalized in mobile search results. The increasing amounts of users searching on mobile devices continues to explode, and so the race was on for you to make sure your web site could be viewed on them. Great. But…

Responsive Does Not Equal Usable

Are you aware that ‘responsive’ does not mean ‘optimized’? In other words, just because your web site re-formats content by re-sizing, re-stacking or moving menu items around does not mean that it is easy and intuitive to navigate and digest information. The core focus of your digital assets for Inbound Marketing is to be sure they move visitors and prospects forward in your conversion funnel. A web page that re-formats for a smart phone, but becomes ten miles long will suddenly become a liability instead of an asset. That’s why mobile optimization efforts are critical for your lead generation and product sales.

To help put this into context, imagine you were running a lead generation campaign via email marketing, driving prospects to a customized landing page. As a prospect, I am out of the office and receive your email on my cell phone. I’m interested so I click through and open your landing page in my mobile browser. Instead of a shorter version of your page with the contact form quickly available, I run into a very long page requiring excessive scrolling, with the form hidden way down at the bottom. Chances are I don’t read and digest your pitch, nor fill out your form and convert. Instead, I just give up and move on with my day.

What Can You Do?

The first step is to analyze how your responsive instructions render your web pages, and decide if you need to take action. When it comes to lead generation landing pages, it might be worth the effort to develop mobile specific pages instead of using responsive coding to re-work the existing desktop web page.

This might mean using less information per page, offering quick navigation to the next page, refining your message dramatically, removing images or saving the form for a page of it’s own. It truly depends on how much information you need to ‘close the deal’ with your visiting prospect.

Remember, we only have seconds to reassure a visitor they are in the right place, and you are the right solution for them. Overwhelming a mobile visitor in those critical seconds can throw away any chance you have to convert them.

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Paid Search Marketing Reports
Bing Ad Center - Facebook Marketing - Google Adwords - LinkedIn Advertising - Paid Search Marketing - Remarketing - Social Media Marketing

3 Sales & Marketing Reports You Need to Support Your Paid Search Marketing Program

As marketing and sales managers we are increasingly responsible for the performance of our lead generation efforts. Our digital & inbound marketing agency is no different. Being able to draw the line from spend to return on investment is a critical activity not only for gauging current success but also for planning future activity and investment.  With that in mind I offer you three reports you should create, and monitor, right now.

Open Leads with No Activity Set and Not in a Sales Reps Name

Lead leakage is real, even if you have a sophisticated system of importing leads into your CRM, some will fall through the cracks. What better way to increase your ROI then by making sure you are getting the most out of the leads you have today. This report will offer you a way to manage leads that, for whatever reason, are not being worked. Hence they are open but not tagged to any sales rep, and have no future activity set.

In one organization with high lead flow from our Paid Search Marketing campaign, we caught 25 to 40ish leads per day that had fallen off the radar for a variety of reasons. Imagine how much we would have lost without this valuable report. Whether it was a failure to import, sales rep sloppiness, or employee turnover, we were able to identify potential issues in our sales process while at the same time ensuring each lead was worked and nothing went to waste.

Pro Tip: A report for open leads with no activity set that are in a sales reps name is also important for making sure leads that are claimed are being worked.

Sales Rep Performance by Lead Channel

Testing your way into new lead sources? Great. But you have an important decision to make. Distribute them evenly to your team, or put them in the hands of your most trusted sales reps? Either way, you need to identify the top performing sales people in every channel. Our solution, create a report showing performance by lead source by sales rep. Anyone that drifts below the average channel performance is removed and a new rep that is hungry for an opportunity is added to the lead flow. This will help ensure you are getting the most out of your lead sources, and giving each new lead source the best chance of success. Bonus benefit, keeping your sales team honest. ; )

Pro Tip: In my experience sales people are better at some lead channels than others. As odd as that sounds, it makes it very important to play to their strengths, and provide them with leads they are good at closing.

Acquisition and Retention Contribution of a Lead Channel

As a performance-based marketing agency, you can be sure we are always looking at ROI as the key metric to any marketing program’s success. Problem is, most reports only use your immediate ROI based off of the profits from customers first purchase in the calculation. Smart marketers know that it’s less expensive to keep a current customer (and keep them buying) than it is to find new ones. This means that all retention purchases are an important part of the puzzle and need to be accounted for when evaluating the overall performance of a channel. It just might be OK to break even, or even manage a small loss, on the first sale if we know that repeat business will be profitable down the line. It also allows us to track a lead channel’s performance based on overall profitability, in addition to immediate profitability, as a second method of evaluating where to invest marketing dollars in the future. Since digital & inbound marketing agency is digital, we all need to pay. so get instant loans no guarantor needed and improve the profit of the business.

Pro Tip: The importance of a lead doesn’t end at your first sale. Managing your leads once they hit the retention phase of your business can pay huge dividends.

Put these three reports in place and be sure to manage your efforts to them. I guarantee you will become a more profitable business going forward.

Have any questions or don’t know where to start? Contact me to schedule a free consultation and I’ll get you pointed in the right direction.

 

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Paid Search Marketing Lead Management Salesforce Tips
Bing Ad Center - Facebook Marketing - Google Adwords - LinkedIn Advertising - Paid Search Marketing - Remarketing - Social Media Marketing

5 Tips to Get More Out of Salesforce

Using Salesforce to support you paid search marketing lead generation efforts? Great! Salesforce is an incredibly powerful customer relationship management platform, not only for managing your contact database but for employing full prospect and customer life cycle activities, lead generation, nurturing & management and a whole host of related business and marketing activities.

This also means it can be an incredibly large and complex system to manage and run. That’s why Salesforce users get together throughout the year to share and learn tips & tricks from fellow professional Salesforce users.

A major focus of our paid search marketing advice is to be sure you are using a CRM system to manage your lead conversion process. This month we were eager to see what nuggets of Salesforce wisdom our community would teach the group. There was a lot of great information, and here we highlight five takeaways to help you with your own Salesforce programs.

1) Reporting a Negative

Ever had to prove a negative or quantify something that isn’t there? This example came in the form of finding out what accounts in your CRM have never had an opportunity. A great segment to study and target with different approaches in order to generate more leads.

The solution is to use Cross Filters. Located in reports>accounts>filters this solution allows you to add rules around the qualifier “without”. You can also expand this to include various types of information including opportunities closed lost, opportunities closed won etc. to further segment the data for targeting.

2) Where Your Opportunities Come From

Most of us are tracking where our opportunities originate from. It’s a critical part of Inbound marketing and for guiding budget allocation. It can also be a messy report to look at if you have a large amount of channels to track.

This tip will make it easier for you to get a fast look at where the action is happening. In your leads header drop down there is an option to “show grid”. Think of it as a summary. You can add and format charts in a way that groups the data and presents it in an easily digestible format. Bonus tip, add the charts to various dashboards so internal stakeholders get the information they need to guide their efforts.

3) Grouping Data for Easier Analysis

Let’s face it. Although Salesforce is a great tool, some base reports can be downright ugly to view in their standard format. Try grouping data to save the day.

In this example we were looking at a report that provided deal close dates. From this report you can select a drop down to summarize data for easier viewing and consumption. Take it one step further by clicking on the matrix view icon to provide yourself a feature akin to Excel pivot tables.

4) Using Formulas in Reports

As marketers and salespeople we are always looking at our sales pipeline and how prospects are moving through the buying cycle. But sometimes we need to be tracking ratios and not individual figures. For example, what is my close ratio?

To help answer this question you can go to Opportunities>Group by Owner. Summarize the amount field. Then do a Lookup>Closed Deals and filter by your chosen time frames. When you group data this way to can easily create formulas to display in your reports.

5) Cut Through the Clutter by Using Dynamic Dashboards

Internal company stakeholders need access to different information that matches their responsibilities. Creating one report that can be easily filtered for these individual user needs is a great way to maximize information dissemination while reducing the number of reports that need to be created.

Using dynamic dashboards allows you to create one reporting dashboard and customize it so the information that displays is dependent on who is opening the dashboard, and which role is assigned to them in Salesforce. One more reason why it’s so important to define and administer user management throughout your Salesforce CRM.

Have fun implementing these tips into your Salesforce strategy. Don’t forget to share them with peers that will find them helpful, and share your tips with our community.

**Special thank you and hat tip to our bank partner https://knightfinance.co.uk/payday-loans for providing loans and then our Salesforce user group host Scribe, organizing company Silvertech and sponsorship by Cloudbit, as well as all the presenters and attendees.

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Paid Search Marketing Landing Page Conversion Tips
Bing Ad Center - Facebook Marketing - Google Adwords - LinkedIn Advertising - Paid Search Marketing - Remarketing - Social Media Marketing

5 Tips to Increase Landing Page Conversion

All too often we end up spending more time and money on driving a prospect to a landing page, and not enough effort and focus on what it takes to convert that prospect into a lead. Imagine the increase in sales and revenue your company could attain if you could bump up your conversion rate while keeping to your fixed marketing budget.

Here are 5 handy suggestions for you to employ on your lead generation landing pages right away.

  1. Don’t Talk Too Much – In the digital world attention spans are short. Visitors take less than 10 seconds to determine if they are in the right place. If you can accomplish that first task, you have ten more seconds or so to try to convert them into a lead. If your landing page has paragraph upon paragraph of content in an un-scanable format then you are losing opportunities. Review your content, see where you can trim, reword and reformat into something that gets the point across quickly and in an easily digestible way.
  2. Talk Directly to Your Visitor – The adage that people do business with people is as true today as it’s ever been. Be sure you aren’t speaking to some generic somebody. Knowing clients reach out to you for something is nice, telling me how you will help me is what I’m looking for. Treat me like I am the only one visiting this page, that is was written just for me, and watch me convert in higher numbers.
  3. Solve My Problem – We’ve established that I need to know I’m in the right place within 10 seconds. Now that we have gone past that step in the process, don’t throw your services up all over me. I am here because I have a problem that needs solving. Address it and tell me how we can work together to get that done. And keep that theme going in your calls to action.
  4. Employ Icons – What you say is important, but can be augmented by providing visual cues. Icons will help your prospect travel your landing page while adding subtle context to your content. Ultimately this reduces the amount of time a prospect spends by boosting the comprehension process. These are especially useful in bullet lists.
  5. Use a Two Step Form – Are you battling over how many fields of information you need versus the friction each additional field adds to the conversion process? Try a two step form instead. Gather your critical information on the first step to keep it as short as possible. Then deliver a second page once the first is completed to gather the follow-on information that is helpful. Bonus tip: the mere fact that a prospect fills out the second step tells you they are a more serious lead. Double bonus tip: You can also employ a similar strategy with fields that only show up when prior fields are filled out should you need additional information.

We hope you learned something that will help improve your lead generation programs. Share it with any marketer you think it will help!

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Paid Search Marketing Reports
Bing Ad Center - Facebook Marketing - Google Adwords - LinkedIn Advertising - Paid Search Marketing - Remarketing - Social Media Marketing

How Do You Define Marketing Success?

Chris Haddad at HubSpot believes there are two kinds of marketers in the world – “those who get things done, and those who can prove they got things done.”

I’m not sure reality is that simple but his point has meaning for online marketing professionals. Not every program can be measured but we must do our best to tie our actions to outcomes. After all, our earnings often rely on it! Get familiar with your ROIs. Define what the life time value of a customer is worth. And visit this post at the HubSpot Blog for more information.

Tip > Dive into the comments. Chris didn’t get all the important metrics listed in his article.

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