Category Archives: Paid Search

Bing Relaxes Policy Restricting Use of Trademarks as Keywords

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On March 27, 2017, Bing’s update to their policy on using trademarks as keywords went live. This means advertisers and marketers are now free to use trademarks in their ads, with a number of restrictions of course. The new changes applied to 10 countries. These countries are Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, France, Italy, UK, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore.

In Bing’s official announcement made by their Program Manager of Search Demand Policy, Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo, the company made it clear that they would continue to disallow the use of trademarks in ad copy. They mentioned that fair use of a trademark in ad copy will continue to be allowed specifically for:

  • Informational websites such as product reviews.
  • Resellers of an authentic good or service.
  • Ordinary dictionary use of a term.
  • Comparative advertising, but onlywhen supported by independent research.

One of the factors the company seems to have considered before making the change is it will make it easier for advertisers to transfer their campaigns between the major search engines without having to optimise as much. The benefits are not restricted to the advertisers as the company expects that consumers will have a better experience. According to the official announcement, Bing had found that consumers often search for trademarked terms expecting to receive broader results.

Bing has always been stern with piracy, phishing, scams, scareware, misleading content, and other unethical practices. For instance, in 2016, their ad quality review reported that 130 million ads were rejected with 175,000 advertisers blocked. This is nowhere near Google’s 1.7 billion bad ads blocked in the same year but the company does its part. Bing’s decision to update their policy restricting the use of trademarks in keywords could place them on a level playing field with Google’s AdWords. However, Google is certainly way ahead of them, having allowed trademarks in keywords since 2014.

On the advantages of Bing’s update, Paul Smith of Search Creative points out that:

  • Advertisers will be able to optimise search engine results to their advantage by leveraging on trademarks that do not belong to them.
  • Enforcement of trademarks will become more consistent globally.
  • Advertisers will be able to transfer campaigns between search engines without having to tweak optimisation as much.
  • Consumers will benefit as they would begin to get a wider range of results, presenting them with more choices and improving the overall search experience.

Smith insists that while more advertising campaigns may be annoying, making searches broader can only yield better results. He advises that brand owners be aware of the development and consider focusing their efforts on retaining a strong online presence, especially through multiple search engines.

Google is Making AdWords Smarter with Exact Match Keywords


The days of having to enter loads of exact match keywords are soon coming to an end. Over the next few months, Google will effect a series of changes to the way AdWords processes keywords.

What happens now is if you sell children’s clothes, you’ll likely include “children’s clothes” in your list of keywords. For a potential customer to find you, they would have to type “children’s clothes”. If you want to ensure more people find you, you’ll add different variations such as “clothes for children”, “kids’ clothes”, and so on. Of course, this can get tiring and on many occasions, you may be unable to target all the possible keywords.

Because Google understands that this can be a difficult matter for advertisers, they’ve decided to expand close variant matching to help advertisers reach more of their customers. These are the changes they’re making:

Ignoring function words

Google is going to start ignoring function words as long as they don’t change the meaning of the keyword. Function words are prepositions such as “to”, conjunctions such as “but”, articles such as “an”, and other words that don’t alter the intention behind the user’s search. For example, the “in” in “restaurants in Vancouver” can be ignored because it doesn’t change the meaning. However, the “from” in “flights from Vancouver” doesn’t have the same meaning as “flights to Vancouver”.

Words can appear in any order

An exact match keyword will be matched with different queries even if the words are reordered. The only condition is the meaning must remain the same and retain the intent behind the user’s search. Using the same examples above, “restaurants Vancouver” is the same as “Vancouver restaurants”. However, “Vancouver to Toronto” is certainly not the same as “Toronto to Vancouver”.

These changes are to be effected over the next few months starting with English and Spanish, with other languages following through the rest of the year. Google expects to see up to 3% more exact match clicks.

What do advertisers think?

On day 2 of Search Marketing Expo (SMX) West, Mindstream Media’s Stephanie Cheek shared her thoughts on Google’s AdWords update. She explained that advertisers would have to retrain themselves to use and think of exact match keywords differently. Mindstream Media’s report from the panel discussion states that many advertisers were uncomfortable with giving up the level of control they have with exact match.

Scotty D on Google’s advertiser community believes the update is certainly a step in the right direction. He points out that 20% of searches in the US are now by voice, making it harder to pinpoint all query variations that may capture a user’s intent.

Location Extensions for your local business’ Google Display Ads. What good are they?

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Location extensions are a Google AdWords feature that allows for the adding of location data concerning a business into an ad. But why are these extensions important? And how can you use them to your advantage?

Location extensions assist people in discovering the location of a sought after local business with the aid of Google Maps and Google.com. Doesn’t matter what the business offers. As long as it’s listed and it has a physical location, Google will help you find it.

With the help of Google Display Network ads, a store’s photos, working hours, and location are automatically uploaded for the benefit of shoppers who are interested in what said business has to offer. A good example would be of an individual interested in limited edition sneakers browsing online and coming across local information of a little known store selling limited edition, one of a kind Nikes. This would mean thanks to local extensions, our friend with the sneaker fetish can visit this neighbourhood store he’s never heard of and maybe find something interesting.

To help users along, Google has started automatically adding location extensions to Google Display Network ads that are eligible when a user expresses interest in a certain kind of business and is in the locality of said business.

As a business owner, what you can profit from using Google AdWords location extensions is quite extensive. Such as, but not limited to;

  1. Acquiring extra ad space for communicating your business’ value: With local extensions, you’re no longer limited to only traditional costly methods of advertising or social media. Now you can reach potential customers who are in the actual vicinity of your business and are looking for your specific services
  2. Encouraging potential customers to walk through your store’s front door: Potential customers who would have never known of your business’s existence now have a higher likelihood of visiting you. This is thanks to location extension’s targeted approach.
  3. It also improves your Click through Rate by up to 10%, which in turn improves your Quality Score and reduces your advertising costs.
  4. With location extensions, customers have more ways to interact with your ad instead of just viewing it. The can click on the ad’s headline, or hit a “click-to-call” button, or better yet, get directions to your business’s location. This added functionality comes at no extra cost to your business because you’ll still be charged the same Cost Per Click regardless if the user chooses to visityour website or your local store, or call.

With this information you can now decide if location extensions are worth it to your business and how to go about benefiting from them. Up your business’ publicity by making the best out of this added feature from Google.

“Fred” Google’s Latest Algorithm Update

8-What-You-Should-Know-About-Google-Fred-UpdateSearch Marketers Beware

Successful search marketing has a lot to do with Google’s search algorithm. As a search marketer, developer or SEO expert, you must be conversant with the latest Google algorithm trends to pull off a successful marketing campaign because it relates directly with:

  • Search engine optimisation
  • Search engine ranking and
  • Organic website traffic

Optimising Search Marketing by Staying Up-to-Date with Google’sever Changing Algorithm

There is need for every search marketer, developer and SEO expert to understand the dynamics of  Google’s algorithm as it undergoes frequent major and minor modifications every often because it is essential to the success of their business. It is important you keep your ears tuned to these changes, especially the major ones which have a considerably weightier impact on the overall success of your business. Google Webmaster YouTube Channel is a useful resource that keeps you informed on latest trends in the SEO world.

The most successful search marketers, SEO experts and developers are those who do due diligence in keeping up with Google’s ever changing algorithm which does have a significant impact on search engine optimisation and ranking that translate into organic website traffic.

To be on top of your game as an SEO expert, marketer or developer, you must have adequate information on latest trends in search marketing and SEO best practices. Google was said to have made a major change in its search algorithm over the past few weeks, on March 8th to be precise.

Latest Google Algorithm Ranking – March 8th 2017 Update

It was reported recently on the 8th of March 2017 that there was a perceived major update in Google’s search algorithm known as Fred. Google’s Gary Illyes recently confirmed the update which was a mere speculation before now. There were, however, obvious signs that indicated there was a major Google ranking update before it was confirmed as it already had its toll on the SEO world with hundreds of websites recording between 50% to 90% decline from Google’s organic search.

According to Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Land, the sites that were hardest hit by Fred are sites that place revenue generation above user experience. These are sites which he claims are heavy on ads with low value content. Google’s recent major update Schwartz says is link related. Studies have it that there were significant changes in Google’s rankings in the first week of February which were link and content related. January 10 also saw a momentous change in the SEO world after Google warned against intrusive interstitials. “Fred” is, however, what SEO experts search engine marketers and developers need to be more concerned about now.

The safer thing to do is to go low on ads if your website is already heavy on this and focus more on quality content that will be useful to everyone who visits your website. The most important thing you should keep in mind is user experience.

New reporting features available in Bing Ads Accounts

Bing Ads

Entrepreneurship is the order of the day and everyone is take advantage of the new media revolution to cash in on the digital marketing space. This way, without hassles, products and services can be advertised for wider outreach, while bloggers can also drag ads to their blogs or websites.

The next dilemma is making the choice between google and bing for the ad space. Google surely has more popularity from over the years and has a majority of the digital marketing pie. However, Bing is gradually becoming a force to be reckoned with in the search engine online services war.

Several bloggers and online retailers have written thought pieces about the Superiority of Bing Ads over Google Adwords. Recent statistics have shown that Bing has grown to hold 20% of the search market share while google paid search clicks dropped by 11%.

Why go for Bing Ad?

The growth as mentioned above is by no mistake. Several innovations have set Bing Ad on this rising trend.

  1. It offers less competition. This is crucial for new users. No competition hassles since majority are still on google adwords. At same time, it offers cheaper Cost per click (CPC) compared to google.
  2. Better device targeting. Brings out features directed at individual devices. Sort of a personalisation.
  3. Better social extention
  4. Search demographics can be better controlled
  5. It doesn’t force close variants on you.

Even with these advantages, Bing is not resting on its oars as it brings new reporting features for better user experience regularly. I will be mentioning 3 of the major new reporting features:

Bing Ads Accounts

  1. Performance metrics. Many users have multiple accounts and keeping tabs on progress made becomes a major issue. Performance metrics are new reporting features that help assess the performances of your accounts and compare performances between periods, as well as changes
  2. Data splitting: New reporting features allow you split your data and analyse them in segments. This way analysis of performance can be scaled down to a particular day of the week, or quarter of the month. The data can even be split based on the type of devices clickers used.
  3. Data presentation: Performance metrics can be a lot of data, formulas and so on. For faster assimilation data presentation features have been added. Now the data can be presented as linear graphs, charts and so on.

More and more users are beginning to recognise the user friendliness of Bing Ads and as long as the digital marketing space gets wider and more competitive, Bing Ads will continue to add more attractive reporting features.

Best merge your PPC and SEO worlds and achieve cross-channel success

PPC SEO Cross Channel

Should we pay per click or should we just focus on search engine optimisation for our website? That is one of the questions business owners and campaign mangers ask themselves when they are looking to increase the traffic to their sites, as well as increase the conversion rate.

The answer to that question is that PPC and SEO both help you to get to a specific destination- just that they use different routes. It is not far-fetched to see that if the forces of the two combined, you would get to that destination quicker and in better shape. They complement each other.

Integrate SEO and PPC

When you combine your SEO strategies with your pay per click campaigns, you are able to share your search marketing goals between both options. They are different channels that when crossed, will bring you much success.SEO and PPC

There is no other way to say it. Ensure that you are integrating both channels and maximising the unique advantages they hold for your search marketing.

Things to note

  1. You will need to conduct keyword research to use both channels maximally. For either channel to be successful, keywords are the basis. In addition, keyword data generated from one channel must be shared with the other so as to make targeting better and more accurate.
  1. Share actionable data: Organic data from your SEO strategies is as important as the data you will get from your pay per click campaign. The data from both sources should be examined and used, to determine your actions going forward.
  1. With a combination of both, you are able to target the right people at the very right time in the right place and with the right organic content. That is too important to overlook. It is what you get when your pay to click campaign messages are right next to the organic listings of your website that you have achieved with your SEO strategies.
  1. If you are using the two channels, do not use them in a silo manner. Let both channels have shared goals that will guide their actions. They should not have separate goals.
  1. Budget: The issue of budget is always one of the top reasons why people are not excited about combining SEO and PPC. While the budget issue is indeed a legitimate concern, you can always custom create a combined SEO and PPC strategy that can suit your budget.

In conclusion, you can win at your search marketing by being open minded and flexible in your use of search engine optimisation techniques and pay per click campaigns. Combine forces.

Bing Ads Releases a New, More Advanced Campaign Setup Process

Bing Ads Advanced Campaign Setup

The second most popular search engine released its much expected upgrade for advertisers to set up their campaigns easily. In recent times, Bing Ads have been advancing rapidly with its new ad extensions, bidding options, targeting improvements, and a better, more optimised platform.

They have made the campaign set up process easier to reflect the qualities and optimisations advertisers need to succeed with Bing Ads.

The following steps show how advertisers can input their campaigns

  • Establish a business goal to direct the creation of your campaign

On the ad platform, it first asks you to select the goal for your new campaign. The options available include “visits to my website”, visits to my business location” and so on. This goal will be used to suggest different features or defaults to start off your campaign on the right note. Regardless of the goal users choose, the campaign will have access to all available features. The goals page also has new shortcuts to other campaign setup tools like File Import, Keyword Planner and Google Import.

  • Copy campaign setting & target particular location

The upgrade allows users to copy settings from a pre-existing campaign. Advertisers can also target specific locations where they want their ads to appear. For instance, users can now manage radius targets in the same view as other locations.

  • Use custom keyword recommendations to target the right searchers

Keyword research can be a handful, especially for long-tail key phrases. Bing now offers tailored keyword suggestions to assist advertisers in prompting the right search results. The keywords have been designed to reflect a URL from your website.

Each suggestion shows the popularity, cost and competitiveness of the keyword. The keywords are also placed in ad groups according to relevance, making it easier to target ad copy and bids to various search queries you want them to show for.

  • Include high-value features for your ads

Features like ad extensions make your ads more captivating and can drive clicks and conversions. There is an available library of ad extensions when you are setting up a campaign, and each ad extension suitable for the campaign goal is highlighted to make selection easier. Unlike before, advertisers are no longer limited to only one ad, but can set up multiple ads and manage them in one page.

  • Use performance estimates to set informed bids

In this last stage, the page has been optimised to enable you set your budget and bidding values. Depending on the campaign features added so far, Bing provides performance projections on what it believes your campaign’s clicks, impressions, ad spend, and average ranking position will be.

Bing Ads Advanced Campaign Setup Process

To get the hang of the new set up process, you can practice without taking the campaign live. Like Google AdWords, Bing Ads is optimised to help advertisers serve ad campaigns to prospective customers searching the internet for services they offer.

The product provides a highly controlled and measurable ad serving process for online advertisers, and will increase use of Bing Ads.

Keeping Up-to-Date with Google’s Latest AdWords Changes

Google Adwords

Google lately announced a number of important changes it made to AdWords at its last Performance summit in San Francisco. The modifications (6 of them) will allow advertisers close the divide between the digital and the real world.

Mobile was the main topic during the announcement, seeing as more than 50 percent of Google search occurs on a mobile device.

Not surprisingly, Google’s previous launches earlier in the year such as the Accelerated Mobile Pages was also focus on improving search on mobile. Others include removing the right-side ads on desktop search engine results and testing text advertisements with expanded fonts

Google’s 6 AdWords Updates are:

  1. Expanded search text ads

In the first quarter of this year, Google tried this feature with some marketers and observed a 20 percent increase in click-through rates where it was applied. The new ad characters are created to fit the screen size of popular smartphones, and provide more advertising space for brands to display more detailed product information.

  1. Mobile-responsive adverts for Google Display Network

AdWords native ad units will now easily be fit into different content types across the over 2 million publisher websites and apps. Pay-per-Click marketers only have to provide headlines, description of ad, photo and URL. Google will automatically enhance the ads to be offered as native ad components.

  1. Remarketing campaigns getting modified

AdWords will now allow you increase the reach of your Google Display Network remarketing campaigns by giving access to inter-change inventory. The ads will release new native inventory in apps and mobile sites on the content network. This is a boost for ads that have been depending on third-party networks to serve their native ads.

  1. Location search ads to be available on Google.com and Google maps

Although this new feature is still in the testing stage, these ads will help increase the in-store traffic of retailers. Almost a third of all mobile searches are from locations. This ad format will include promoted points for nearby businesses, and a new look for local business webpages.

  1. AdWords bid adjustments for specific devices

Google will offer the brands the ability to place individual bid adjustments for specific devices such as laptops, desktops, mobile and tablet. Advertisers will now be able to set keyword bids according to the devices their ads are displayed on. The feature will increase the level of control advertisers have for each product with respect to device promotion strategy.

  1. AdWords interface design

Adwords Redesign

The last update is a redesigned AdWords interface that will be launched in 2017. The interface is a minimalist, user-friendly platform that will be visible at the campaign, ad group and ad level categories.

Bing Ads Joins the Expanded Text Ads Train

Bing expanded text ads

Bing Ads

Bing has announced that they will start supporting expanded text ads (ETA) very soon and released a UI to show ads manager exactly how it would look like.

Clearly, the announcement is in line with recent developments in search engine marketing, coming on the heels of Google’s earlier announcement to start supporting expanded text ads.

Google tested the feature extensively with some advertisers and realized that there was a 20% increase in click-through rates once the new feature was applied.

Expanded text ads are designed to take advantage of the over half a trillion searches that happen on mobile phones. The expanded text ads are optimized to fit perfectly into the most popular smartphone screens.

Hence, it’s no surprise then that Bing modeled their expanded text ads with that of Google.

The increased texts will allow advertisers to display more information about their product. Advertisers can focus on optimizing their ads and engaging more with prospects before they click on their ads.

Apart from the increased click through rates advertisers will enjoy, prospects will be able to know more about their destination before clicking on an ad.

Here are the important changes advertisers should expect:

  1. Ad Title

The ad title currently has a restriction of 25 characters. However, the ad title will be increased to 60 characters once the new expanded text ads come into effect. The 60 characters ad title will be divided into two, separated by a hyphen.

Take a look at the screenshot below.

Bing text ads

Bing expanded text ads

  1. Ad Text

The text ad will be increased to 80 characters from 71 characters once the expanded text ads come into effect.

  1. Display URL

Currently, you can manually enter any display URL that you like. However, once the expanded text comes into effect, the display URL will be automatically generated by Google, from the final and customizable URL path.

Mobile URL

The new expanded text ads will no longer support separate mobile preferred ads. Advertisers will only be able to select a separate mobile URL. This means advertisers will lose the ability to customize a separate mobile advert. However, with the ability to bid separately on various devices coming soon, you can create a separate mobile campaign.

Seamless Integration with Adwords

Bing also announced that advertisers will be able to move ads seamlessly between their platform and Google Adwords’ platform to save ad managers time and allow them to get started faster.

The expanded text ad is expected to launch before the end of the summer this year (2016).

It Pays To Utilise Both SEO and SEM for Your Ecommerce Site

Ecommerce Shopping

E-commerce Shopping Site

When it comes to making sure your online marketing investments are paying dividends, you need to be sure customers have your online presence in front of them as frequently as possible. However, with the increase in the complexity of Google’s search algorithms, and the variety of online marketing options available to businesses, it really does pay to be in the know.

With both SEO and SEM being so similar, it’s crucial to understand the differences in functionality, cost and effectiveness. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is focused primarily on improving search results organically, with a big focus on tweaking and optimising websites to increase visibility, whereas SEM is more based around pay per click and paid searches.

Why Use SEO?

In terms of sheer returns, and an increase in revenue, SEO is definitely slower and less immediate than SEM. However, a key part of SEO involves making your website both more customer and search engine friendly, and through this organic method raises the ranking and visibility on search engines. Making your website more user-friendly is always a great thing for your business, with a definite link between sales and conversions, and sites being accessible and intuitive. SEO can be a great long term investment, but don’t expect to see massive results from day one.

Why Use SEM?

SEM is quicker and more effective than SEO, but this comes at the price of being much costlier. In order to consistently raise your sites ranking on Google, you’d need considerable, steady investment. In terms of conversions, PPC is slightly more effective, due to paid search results being 1.5 times more likely to turn in click-throughs from the search engine.

Through SEM, you have closer control of your sites visibility, admittedly at a cost, which can prove useful when it comes to timing advertising campaign pushes and the like. It also negates the necessary website optimisations crucial to SEO, making it a little easier and quicker.

Utilise Both

SEO SEM for Ecommerce

SEO SEM for Ecommerce

The fact is, you don’t want to neglect any potentially beneficial marketing options, and you want your marketing budget to cover a variety of methods that best serve your needs. When combined SEO and SEM can operate more effectively, as well as be cheaper than just throwing everything into SEM. Organic search results are statistically a lot more likely to be clicked on than paid search results, however SEM offers greater control of your brand visibility, and gives you more options.