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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Google’s announcements last week held some very interesting points for digital marketers, their announcement featured a sizeable list of changes to Analytics and AdWords, with mobile being the primary focus at the Google Performance Summit.
Google revealed ‘the next generation’ of local search ads, as well as the new Google AdWords user interface, Expanded Text Ads and lots more. We’re going to run through some of the essential facts and changes to keep you clued up and in the know.
What do the changes to Local Search Ads involve?
The changes are geared towards increasing visibility at instances where customers are actively searching for somewhere to eat or purchase something. With a major focus on mobile devices, these changes are aimed at increasing footfall and displaying in-store promotions, local inventory searches and bespoke business pages.The overall intention is to make ads more helpful, and useful, rather than potentially obstructive and irritating.
Where will you see the new ads?
The Google Maps apps will be home to the new local search ads, with ads appearing on Google Maps desktop, tablet and mobile sites, as well as on Google.com Expanded Maps results.
How come Google are bringing these changes in?
Commanding statistics were revealed in the summit that reveal the potential depth in this market area.
Three quarters of people searching for a nearby product use their smartphone, and of those searches, 28% result in a sale
84% of shoppers utilise local searches
90% of sales happen on the high street, in actual shops, rather than online
Maps now boasts over 1 billion users
Google searches provide directions for 1.5 billion queries yearly
The fact is, if your business has a physical location, these stats should be very important to you. They, in essence, prove the potential value of Local Search Ads, and illustrate much they could help your business.
So what else is going on in Google Maps?
Everything is gearing up towards increasing footfall in your shop, this includes revamping local pages. For example, when a local page accessed, the consumer will be faced with a page customised by the advertisers and the business. This page will feature key information like opening hours, the shop address, phone number and directions. One of the most useful new way businesses can use local pages is for promotions and offers, and for showing shops local inventory. Obviously this could prove to be very useful to business and consumer alike.
When do we get to play with Local Search ads?
While still in beta testing at present, it’s a pretty sure thing that we’ll be seeing some definite dates from Google in the next three months. It’s an exciting time to be in online advertising!
This post covers the topic of split testing ads, and how PPC text ads testing can be related to the beautiful game of football.
For all the passionate football fans out there we all know that the champion’s league is a competition, a competition of all the elite clubs in Europe fighting for that number one spot. Now 32 teams are split into 8 groups, with each team fighting to top each group. Competition is extremely important when split testing ads. Comparing and setting up a type of elimination system, between your ads similar to the champions’ league group stage with all adverts fighting for that number one spot (ie: better conversion rate or other KPI). Okay here’s how you go about split testing ads. Write two similar ads but change something small, like a call to action or even as little as an exclamation mark, or change something in the headline. Proceed with split testing ads against each other, and once you have collected enough data based on your key performance indicators. You can decide which text ad is your winner. The winner of this ‘split testing ads’ match then moves onto the next round to face a new opponent, perhaps the same ad but with a slight variation, a price or something of that nature. Over the season you will eventually find out your split testing ads champions league winner is.
Barcelona Team (dream team)
At Firstclick digital, we work very close together, I mean literally lol but jokes aside, we all pitch in when it comes to coming up with new landing page ideas, ad ideas, split testing ads and writing text ad variations. Even as a fairly experienced PPCer myself, it sometimes become repetitive with some text ads, sometimes using the same calls to action and phrases. When this happens I simply call on my team to assist me in finishing the race. They lend me a fresh set of eyes. This is a good way get some ideas for split testing ads, in order to find out what might convert best. We often pair up to look at each other’s campaigns and see if we can come up with ideas to beat the current top performing ad text. This is a good way also to improve ad text and the cohesion of the team. Remember teamwork makes the dream work, does the Barcelona team of 2010 – 2011 come to mind?
As we all know and I’m not being biased, even though I am English wink! wink!, that the English premier league is the best league in the world, with the best football players from around the world coming to England to play there trade to help enhance the premier league. Here at FirstClick Digital, we are responsible for writing ads targeted to different countries around the world and in an increasing number of languages, which makes the process of split testing ads just that little bit harder. Relying on Google translator or another form of direct translation of your English text ads can be risky, a quick example would be something like, ‘’because’’ and “because of’’ are translated differently into Spanish, and the English word ‘’since’’ often means the same as ‘’because’’ but doesn’t always, if you get my drift. This is where you get that special player from another country to assist your striker, in older to enhance your team. In other words a translator or native speaker, to go through your text ads and write their own edition, in order to right any wrongs, for example spellings, idiosyncrasies and calls to action that might be unique to that particular language that can make all the difference to the Click through rate when split testing ads. And we all know that in Google, a better CTR contributes towards a better quality score.
In the football game you want your best players to perform but sometimes due to bad management, some managers fail to give their young prospects a chance to perform. The same goes for split testing ads, having been in this text ad writing game for quite some time, I have made many mistakes and one of these mistakes was letting a poor performing ad be shown the same amount of times as a top performing text ad. Which can lead to us missing out of a chunk of clicks and conversions for our campaign. In Google Adwords, I used to use the ad setting ‘Optimise for clicks’ and just left my ads to ‘optimise’ on this setting. I have noticed a lot of people do the same, but the only thing is, they don’t set it up to ‘optimise for conversions’, which I now do. And let’s face it, we want conversions not just clicks. Providing you have a good number of ads variations, you will soon have the top performing text ad, scoring the most goals in your split testing ads competition!
FirstClick Digital is a London based digital marketing agency with a wealth of search marketing experience backed up with the technology and valuable knowledge needed to deliver a healthy ROI for any campaign. Feel free to give us a call on 0207 289 3218 or fill out the contact form and see how we can help your business grow!
This guest post will discuss the topic of brand bidding – that is allowing Affiliate ads to appear against your own brand in the search engines.
It goes without saying that no online marketing effort should be considered in isolation. And the beauty of online is the fact that most traffic generation can be tracked, right from the source and cost of an ad, to the end result of buying. Meaning marketing spend can be allocated to a revenue stream, and therefore easy to work out the achieved return on investment.
Sounds a little too good to be true doesn’t it? And of course in fact it’s not always as simple as that for a typical online business, with a number of marketing channels and an inevitable multi touch point journey from initial ad to final conversion.
Search is typically a key feature in most online marketing plans, and usually is seen to be a high ROI driver partly because a search ad is often the last touch point of a visitor before visiting a site and converting, but also because of the high number of customers starting with Google to find the products and brands they want. But tracking search, and its part in the conversion process is important to gaining a clearer understanding of how other channels are interacting and effecting search traffic. And ensuring affiliate marketing activities are featured in this tracking is too often forgotten – simply because of the different way spend is attributed. For affiliates, because of the performance based approach, often the reduced risk this brings to marketers gives them comfort in leaving the channel to return and track on its own, when perhaps they are paying an affiliate for a sale they actually could have generated themselves through brand search.
Brand bidding (ie bidding in search to appear against your own brand term) is a perfectly strong strategy for ensuring maximum coverage on the SERPs, and it often can be proven to achieve incremental sales above those gained only through having high organic brand positions. But giving away your brand term to allow affiliates to engage in brand bidding is potentially a risky and wasteful strategy. Brand CPC’s are usually low, and if you have other marketing activities that are driving people to search for you in Google, you might simply be driving customers to click on a PPC brand affiliate link.
You may be prepared to allow your trusted affiliates to commence brand bidding, to help them afford to gain additional sales through the long tail which may cost them more. But if you do this, make sure you are keeping a view of the full purchase journey, and attributing your sales across your ad touch points to fully understand the distribution of your ad spend, including any commissions paid to affiliates.
Paul Reynoldsis Director of Insight & Analytics at digitalbox – an online performance marketing company, specialising in LeadGen, Email Marketing, SEO and Analytics.
FirstClick Digital is a London based digital marketing agency with a wealth of search and social media marketing experience backed up with the valuable knowledge needed to deliver a healthy ROI for any campaign. Feel free to give us a call on 0207 289 3218 or fill out thecontact form and see how we can help your business grow.
For this post we have decided to cut straight to the point and give you (what we consider to be the top 5 tips) for launching a successful/profitable pay per click advertising campaign.
1. Keyword research: It is important to target the most relevant search terms when building a keyword list. After all, keywords are at the root of any ‘search’ pay per click advertising campaign. Negative keyword research is just as important as positive keyword research. Tip: use Google’s Keyword Tool or Word Tracker to start generating your keyword list.
2. Account Structure: Create separate campaigns for different products/services. You can set a separate budget for each campaign which allows different sets of keywords to ‘express’ themselves without having to share a budget with thousands of other keywords. Create laser targeted Ad Groups for sub level products/services. Don’t put 100’s of keywords in one Ad Group, try to limit your keywords to 1-3 per ad group (this helps with optimisation of the pay per click advertising campaign). Unless the keywords are extremely similar, we usually place no more than 3 keywords per ad group. If you want to expand your reach, then learn to use your keyword matching options (i.e.: broad, phrase, exact, broad match modified, advance match, etc). Tip: Use AdWords Editor to arrange your account structure with ease.
3. Conversion Tracking: It is important to set up some type of conversion tracking before you launch your pay per click advertising campaign. This way you can see which keywords are yielding conversions and which ones aren’t. Google AdWords offers free conversion tracking capabilities as well as Microsoft AdCentre (Bing), Yahoo Search Marketing and Google Analytics.
4.Landing Pages: A good landing pages can help increase your ‘quality score’ and increase your conversion rates. Most PPC networks (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc) use automated systems to check landing pages, but then again keep in mind that Google employees periodically review landing pages in person as well. If they don’t think you have a great landing page their likely to smack your quality scores or your website –we have seen this happen many times (it is often referred to as a ‘Google Slap!’). Try to create landing pages that are as relevant as possible to what the user is searching for. Naturally, this makes sense as it will also help with conversion rates and therefore yield a better ROI. Tip: Networks such as Google now want advertisers to be very ‘transparent’. Therefore, make sure your website/landing page conforms to all of the guidelines for whichever network you intend to advertise on.
5. A / B Testing: Aside from keyword/bid optimisation, this is the most important form of optimisation that you should do. Pay per click advertisers should always A / B test their ads along with landing pages. Don’t be lazy – just do it. Too many advertisers overlook this (small changes can make huge differences).
Implement these 5 tips and you will be well on your way to a successful and rewarding pay per click advertising campaign.
Want to launch a profitable per click advertising campaign but don’t have the time or resource to do it in house effectively? Then drop us a line, here at FirstClick Digital we have years of experience in launching and managing successful pay per click advertising campaigns. Visit here for more information.
The topic of the week is the ever on going task of optimisation!
In order to increase overall ROI of any particular campaign, optimisation is the key. The term optimisation can refer to a number of regular steps taken in order to increase overall volume (sales, leads, sign ups, etc) while also reducing the cost per acquisition/sale (CPA). Below is a brief outline of what is involved in optimising keywords and ads.
Optimising keywords, bid management and ads to increase ROI
Optimising Keywords – this involves pausing keywords that have reached a certain threshold (eg: 100clicks/£30 but NO conversions), adding new relevant keywords (derived via a search query reports OR external keyword research). As well as bid optimisation (explained further below). And analysing when to use; broad, phrase or exact match based keywords. Click Here for more details on match types – as well as the new +(plus) broad match modifier.
Bid Management – this is very important and must be done correctly in order to yield the best results for any given campaign. It involves increasing or decreasing bids of particular ad groups or keywords depending on performance with the objective of increasing overall ROI. By changing the bid of a particular keyword you will be directly affecting two variables: number of impressions AND position of ad in the SERP’s (search engine results pages). You have to strike a balance when setting a bid of an adgroup or keyword so that your ad appears in the most profitable position (may take some testing). This will vary depending on the type of product/service being advertised. As a general rule of thumb positions 3-6 will work best for direct response. Positions 1-2 will be good for branded terms and positions 6 – 11 will be good when you want to aggressively reduce CPA (though you will sacrifice traffic volumes). Doing this manually can be a time consuming process and needs to be done on a minute level every few days (depending on traffic/spend levels). There are paid for tools that automate bid optimization based on rules that you set – eg: DC Storm, Acquisio, kenshoo, etc. Google AdWords also has an in built auto bid management system.
Optimising ads – This involves working on the actual consumer facing adverts. When looking to optimise ads, it is important to do so based on relevant KPI’s depending on business/campaign objectives. Examples of the key performance indicators are CTR (click through rate), CPA (or cost per conversion/sale), conversion rate, etc. In most case, the primary one will be CPA: therefore it is always good to test at least 2 different ad variations running per ad group for A-B/split testing (it is best practice), and after a pre defined number of clicks go in and see which one has a statistically significant lower CPA. You should then keep that one live and pause the worse performing ad and create a new one that is very similar to the top performer (with a few minor changes). And this process needs to be repeated on a regular basis. Note: Google AdWords has two options that auto rotate your ads and show the better performing one (based on lower CPA or higher CTR). The above is also applicable to banner creatives for display and retargeting campaigns.
This is the very first post on the new blog since we migrated and updated the site. And today’s topic covers Google’s quality score and how to improve it.
Ok, so you want to improve your quality score? And you are also wondering why yours is so low?
Firstly let us understand what quality score is.
When you embark on a Google AdWords campaign used for paid advertising on Google (PPC), you will have to upload your keywords, and create ads.
Google gives your keywords a quality score from 1 – 10 based on relevancy and a number of other factors, which will be explained below.
So it is effectively like quality control, but more a higher level of technicality to it. Let us now take a look at the main factors taken into consideration when a quality score is given.
In no particular order
1. Keyword relevance – based on the keywords you have set to trigger your ads, how relevant are they to what the searcher is actually looking for. Of course if you are using an ‘exact match’ term, you will not have to worry about this. But the majority of people will use the ‘broad match’ setting, which allows your ad to be shown when any combination of your keyword is typed (eg: if I was bidding on the broad matched term green tea bags – my ad could appear for the search terms: tea bags, green bags, green tea, etc.). Yes you get more exposure, but at times the relevance completely goes out of the window. So keep that in mind.
2. Ad relevance – this is crucial, how relevant is the text/image in your ad to what the searcher actually typed in Google? This can be determined my your click through rate or CTR, the higher it is, the better and more relevant your ad is .If it is not that relevant, then of course your quality score will be negatively affected. One way to overcome this is to show the exact same keyword as was searched, in your ad title and/or body. This can be done using dynamic keyword insertion. But use with caution, if you are using broad match terms then it is likely that your ad will contain the terms that the user actually searched, even if there was a spelling error.
3. Home /Landing page relevance – another factor that greatly influences quality score is how relevant your home page or landing page is to the searcher based on the keywords he/she typed in to Google. The way to make your page as relevant as possible is to have that particular keyword appear on your page between at least a few times. Of course this can be difficult if you have a long list of keywords, so it needs to be done tactfully. Another aspect that affects quality score is the landing page load time. I tis essential that your landing page loads fast. Simple.
Another thing that always helps (but is not a major factor) is the domain name relevance. So if you have a site selling green tea, it could help if your domain name had the keyword ‘green tea’ in it.
Based on the above tips, you should be able to get your quality score to a respectable range of 7-10. Any keyword with a quality score below 5 needs to be improved.
Check back for regular posts, or why not subscribe to our RSS Feed. Thanks for reading.