Search Engine Optimisation and Link Building in 2018

Let’s face it, SEO is considered by many to be a ‘black art’, by others to be a waste of time, whilst those who do agree that SEO is worthwhile will endlessly debate about what is good and what is bad, what tactics are ‘white’ and what are ‘black’.

“If you ask six SEO experts a question you will probably get 7 answers….”

Then again, if you turned to Google to ask them about SEO, they appear to suggest that they disagree with the concept (wanting their results to be natural and not manipulated), whilst at the same time knowing that without someone to help all the website owners ‘understand’ how to set up their sites so that Google can read them properly, they (Google) would be lost.

The Death of Link Building Announced Again (and Again and Again)

When it comes to the thorny topic of Link Building, not only do we see Google denouncing the process because it is not natural, we also see them desperate for some help in deciding what sites to list and what ones not to bother with. Like it or not Google needs links..

BUT, not all links are equal and there is definitely a way of gaining Google’s displeasure when it comes to building them. Do it the wrong way and your site is doomed, that is one of the known Google rules and is put into play all the time.

Turning to the Experts

This is why many businesses turn to the experts, as here they can rest easy, knowing their site will be built in a way that Google can read and the content will be created to suit the Search Engines and their readers alike. They will also know that the links built to their site will be created in such a way that it will not be penalised by Google. They will then expect that their site gets better rankings and more traffic. In many cases this is exactly what happens, but in some it does not, and sometimes it is impossible for anyone to discover just what has gone wrong, what appears to be working in one area, fails to do so in another…

Either way, you can be pretty sure that the website owner will not really be aware of what is going on and that there are many ways of creating a ‘buzz’ and the boost of (relevant) traffic that all website owners want.

The Key to Top Class Traffic

If you own a business which has a website, you will, I am sure, have been inundated with telephone calls and emails promising you top rankings on Google, sometimes for little cost. You will also have seen countless bits of software that will boost your site, often, they say, at the touch of a button….

Some of these claims will be by bona fide companies and of the software – particularly research software – can be useful, but what few of them will tell you is that it will be the CONTENT of the site that will win the day, both for getting traffic and for converting your visitors to customers.

The True Power of Content

So why is content so very important? This may seem to be a strange question, but many site owners do not give it much attention. They spend a get deal of time discussing format and presentation, but often give scant regard to the content the pages are to hold. So doing things this way is simply not going to work because there is nothing for Google to get its ’teeth’ into, so the rankings are poor. When (and if) a potential customer arrives, there is nothing to ‘make’ them want to buy or at least to take the relationship any further.

The correct way of approaching any market place (and the keyword market place of the web is no different) is to see what people want. When it comes to Google, this means finding out what phrases people use in the market sector which relate to your products, and thus the pages of your site that will be selling those products.

Reverse Engineering and Latent Semantic Indexing

Then you can start writing content that uses those phrases (and similar words using a technique called LSI (or Latent Semantic Indexing) – this being vital as Google gets cleverer and cleverer). You can even reverse engineer the top sites in Google for a given phrase, therefore TELLING you what words to use.

Pages written this way will not only give Google what it wants, but will also give the visitor the information that will enable them to decide if your product is for them or if you can help them solve the problem that drove them to search for help in the first place.
This content ought to include images, videos, flow charts and anything else that will help them to make a good decision (which hopefully means doing business with you).

The OTHER reason for TOP QUALITY CONTENT

Saying all this, content has another VITAL job to do in the battle for traffic and sales. Having good content will mean that others will link to the site and mention it in their Social Media postings, after all they will have good reason to, they will have something WORTH SHARING.

content is king internet concept

content is king internet concept

But, it is not always easy getting people to notice how good your copy is. The whole thing is a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. After all, your fantastic copy can’t get links until someone finds it, and reads it. Without rankings or some form of Social Media chatter, no one will ever know it is there..

Priming the Pump (and keeping the pressure up too)

This is where SEO, Paid Search and Social Media come into play. By using all or some of these systems, website owners can start the ball rolling so that people can see just how good they, and their all important copy, is.

Great Copy Required

This is where the need for the top rate copy comes in, as even though the SEO and Social Media work above will bring in the visits, if there is nothing there to grip the audience, all the time and effort will have been wasted as no sales will be made and perhaps as importantly, no one will find anything worthwhile to come back for, mention or link to.

Without these mentions and links Google will not get the signals it wants to give the site repeatedly better rankings and thus more effort is needed to keep things going. If, however, there is something to ‘write home about’ then the links will come in, your site / product will be mentioned on Social Media, and what is more you will get repeat visits.

Are you Getting Returning Visitors?

This is just one area where Google Analytics can help. Just as having lots of New Visitors is good, a low percentage of Returning visitors indicates that you site is not delivering and people are not coming back for more.

 

Are you getting a high enough level of returning visitors?

Are you getting a high enough level of returning visitors?

If your site is one with a poor level of returning visitors, then a long hard look at the contents is a must…

The Different Processes of SEO

The term Search Engine Optimisation covers a host of things, usually divided (basically) into Technical, On Page, Off Page and Social Media.

Technical SEO

This covers the way a site is built, how fast it is, how easy it can be read and navigated as well as topics like Rich Snippets and Schema. Some of this is easy to do, some of it a bit more difficult, and not all website developers or SEO professionals cover all of these areas.

On Page SEO

Here we are talking about the words on the pages and the placement of the ‘target keywords’ in the important places on the page, all with a view of ensuring that Google finds what it needs in the ‘appropriate places’ on a sites’ pages. Of course this includes the copy / content of a site, but that is not SEO.SEO is how you make sure that the copy is found, not the actual copy itself (except that SEO will help you find out what to talk about in the first place via the Keyword / Market Research phase).

Off Page SEO

This area covers the issue of Links (and to a degree Social Media). It is these ‘signals’ that attract Googles attention and that will get the rankings and ‘seed’ traffic needed. Creating links also helps to keep the pot boiling while the site builds up its momentum.

Social Media

This is included here because even though this is nothing to do with SEO per say, it is important when considering the process of getting the site, brand and product noticed and talked about in a way that will enhance the site in Google’s eyes and extend the reach of the site beyond that of the Search Engine Results.

The Basic SEO process

In all cases it is necessary to carry out the keyword research so that you can target the phrases that are relevant to your market place AND are being used today.

The site must then be built the right way (the technical SEO bit), and then the copy created. This should be of a high quality, but does not have to be as good as it has to be for ‘Top Notch SEO’, for reasons that will be apparent later. Things such as internal linking should be carried out of course, but basically this is a ‘quick’ method of SEO.

Then the link building starts. These are built in the right way at the right speed, using techniques like ‘Power Link Structures’. Social Media signals are also created using this method. In some cases the pump is also primed by actually creating a small amount of traffic to some of the articles and posts that form a part of the linking structure.

Guest Posts Are Used in the quick method too

Guest posts are included in the ‘quick’ method too of course, but they are used differently. As you will see later on, the ‘proper way’ of placing Guest posts is to find a top Infuencer site, chat to them and get them to accept the post (or pay an lot of money for the privilege). However, this process is a LOT more expensive than just placing an article on a relevant site, so for those clients with limited budgets this is the way we go. Basically, these Guest Posts are ‘link vehicles’ and as long as they are well written (no article spinning here at SOM) and contain links that are not going to trigger a Penguin penalty, they do help, we have many examples  the prove the point.

Carrying out SEO in this manner DOES work and is the way the majority of SEO companies work.

The Top Quality SEO process

If you talk to those SEO professionals who practice only the whitest of white SEO, then they will say this is the only way, everything else being a waste of time. Well I disagree with that, but there is no doubt that this process is superior and offers a greater chance of success, BUT, it is a lot harder and thus more expensive in time and money.

This process includes all the On page SEO that Basic SEO requires, including things such as having explanatory ‘Category Pages’ for Ecommerce sites. These are needed as most sites of this type have lots of product pages that (a) often use the same words as a host of other sites and (b) are also often far too short. Thus these Category pages allow the owner to present the products they sell, with links of course to the product pages themselves. These pages can be much better at getting rankings and thus their use should be seriously considered for all levels of SEO.

Power Pages

Remember, this whole process is based on having TOP QUALITY content on your site. Such pages are often called ‘Power Pages’, their contents varying from ‘How to do something’ to a great infographic, anything that would be interesting to visitors and has not been done before (or at least as sufficiently).

Text based Power Pages need to be around 2,000 words long and contain images, videos and links to other authoritative content on the web, PLUS of course the areas in your site that you want people to see and the pages that will result in conversions and sales. Infographics can be just that, but having some words on the page as well can help in my opinion (just as having a transcript of the words used in a video can).

What to Create the Power Page About

The Keyword Research for the site would of course have been carried out first, so the target phrases are known and understood. Using these words, the bulk of the site, (the ‘normal’ pages) will be written and optimised, this including interlinking relevant pages (Google likes this).

Power pages, however, have a different mission. Their job is to get noticed BIG TIME, to become a fount of knowledge and a ‘go to’ source of information on a particular subject (relevant to the products and services of the hosting website). With this in mind it is easy to see that the very first thing you have to know is what subject to write about.

Research into Trends (or try to start one yourself)

This is where checking on trending posts and web pages can be a great help, as it allows you to see what people have become interested in over a period of time (which you can set). You can then have a look at these posts / pages and use them as a basis of your own works, all in the knowledge that people are INTERESTED in the topic.

finding trending topics

 

Of course you can also plough your own farrow, choosing a topic that is relevant to your market place, for instance ‘What is the History of Plastering’ or ‘How to choose the right lawnmower’. There are countless topics to choose from. Besides Kudani, you could also use Buzzsumo.

Writing the Page

Either way, you can start your research into what to talk about, and that will mean looking not only at the trending sites, but also at all the top INFLUENCER sites, in this instance the ones that are at the top of the Search Engines’ results for some top terms.

All the while it is vital to make sure that the page will be ‘entertaining’ and fulfil one of its main purposes, that of being WORTH SHARING.

Note, for a great definition of what an Influencer is, click this link.

Supporting Guest Posts

One important part of this SEO process is to make sure that there are links to the Power Page from trusted sites, but as it can take some time to get an INFUENCER to mention the page or allow a Guest Post on their site, the first thing that needs to be done is to place a well written ‘taster’ post on a High Domain Authority site.

Thus one post (perhaps more) is written and placed on some relevant sites. In most instances this means paying a ‘publishing fee’. Here I must state that there are some SEO’s who think that placing a post on a site that is known to take money for the privilege is worthless. However when you know that high profile sites like the HuffingtonPost take money for Guest posts, you can see that their argument holds little water.

Converting the Influencers

This starts at the website level, where some selected sites are contacted with a view to them mentioning the Power Page or by having a Guest post placed on their site. It need not contain a DO FOLLOW link as we are after traffic as much as link juice, but if they will allow a FOLLOW link then all the better.

It is best if these influences have been contacted and nurtured for some time before you make a request to place a guest post on their site (this also being the case with Social Media Influencers).
Hopefully one of the sites you contact will allow the publication and thus provide you with a link and the potential for a lot of relevant traffic.

Create a Press Release

Press Releases are a well known way of creating a ‘buzz’ in a manner in which Google approves. All the posts are the same of course, but as the links are always NO FOLLOW this does not matter. Google, it is said, really loves press releases and so one pointing to your power page and telling all about how interesting it is and how they should not miss it, is a good idea.

Posting on your Own Social Media Channels

Presuming you have some Social Media accounts, now is the time to start posting about the power page, (although maybe you have been talking about it coming for a few weeks already – another neat trick). Remember that you will have to post again and again here, Social Media posts being, for the most part, short lived, as they are soon replaced with the next tweet and thus scroll off peoples screens. This makes choosing the right time to post important too.

Contacting the Social Media Influencers

Now is the time to start contacting the Social Media Influencers. There are various ways the leaders in a field can be found and once found the ‘nurturing process’ needs to be continued. This process needs to have been started before the power page is posted, the SEO Agency in question having to have commenced this process some time before.

The idea here is to mention that they may be interested in the Power Page’s contents, perhaps also mentioning the Guest Posts that have already been posted and the Press Release. All of this with the aim of getting them to ‘add their weight’ to the campaign.
This is important, as if they can be convinced to mention the power page on their Social Media accounts, the ripples will build and build, all resulting in more traffic and higher rankings.

Monitor and Interact

Hopefully you will have had some comments on your Social Media channels and on the Guest Posts (where the sites allow). It is VITAL that you monitor these and respond as that will only strengthen the whole campaign.

In Conclusion

So there we have it, a brief summary of what SEO is, and how the two main types differ. Hopefully you can see the differences between the two approaches and can understand why SEO carried out ‘by the book’ is such a long, complicated and thus expensive process.

The good news for businesses with shallower pockets is that the ‘basic SEO’ does work in most markets, you just have to choose to approach any highly competitive areas in a cleverer manner, and not try to charge headlong in to get top rankings for highly competitive keyword phrases.

Why PPC Is Still Relevant In Online Marketing – Making The Most Of Everything

There will always be challenges involved with online marketing and even when you think you have got the perfect system in place, things change and you find yourself back to square one – searching for effective ways of reaching your target audience. In other words, you have to stay current with the “here and now” if you want your online marketing campaign to produce a solid return.

However, some tactics have a longer lifespan than others. For example, word of mouth is still one of the most effective ways to spark interest in a business or product. That’s because people have a tendency to follow, and history has shown it’s a trait that will probably never change.

But, it’s definitely not the only example of marketing that remains effective, PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing is also still relevant in online marketing, and if you haven’t found success with it yet, you are maybe not using the PPC campaigns in the right places. Granted, many users have developed a sense of banner blindness and they use software to block ads, but that doesn’t mean PPC has lost its edge, it only means you have to customise your tactics.

Using another example, search engines like Google will help your PPC campaign reach the front page of search results, and statistics show this is incredibly effective. Why? Because people trust search engines. In fact, more than 80 % of people online will use a search engine to find whatever they are interested in and if you bid on the right keywords, your ad will show up right at the top.

But what about investing in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) instead? Won’t it be more affordable? Essentially, SEO is more affordable, and it brings about great long-term results. But you are also going up against some tough competition, seeing as most website owners who are serious about their sites will also be investing in SEO. Plus, you have to take into consideration the amount it takes to reach higher rankings through SEO. There is no reason why you cannot include PPC in your SEO strategy as this will give you benefits from both. With a strong PPC campaign, you can reach the top almost instantly, while SEO as a long-term approach.

However, not all PPC campaigns are the same and some advertising spaces are just going to waste your time. Assuming for a moment that you pay a company to run a few PPC ads for you and they run those ads on sites where users love to click but they don’t convert. Or they run them on sites that have no connection with what you are selling, can you really expect to make money? Of course not, having a proper plan of action is essential so that you get a return on your investment.

Make sure that you hire a company with connections to authority sites and organic traffic. Google is a great place to start if you want to see some substantial traffic, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t or can’t try other channels. If the site running the ad has a strong online presence, you are bound to get clicks that typically turn into profit.

 

I believe artificial intelligence (AI) will be a key driver of change in PPC in 2018 as it leads to more and better PPC intelligence.

So far, I’ve discussed the roles humans will play when PPC management becomes nearly fully automated and six strategies agencies can take to future-proof their business. In this final post on the state of AI in PPC, I’ll cover the technology of AI.

Why AI took years to matter to PPC

AI has been around since 1956, and PPC has existed since the late 1990s. So why did it take until now for AI’s role in paid search to become such a hot topic in our industry?

It’s because we’ve recently hit an inflection point where, due to the exponential nature of technological advances, we’re now seeing improvements that used to take years happen in weeks.

What’s driving this is the exponential growth explained by Moore’s Law, the principle that computing power doubles approximately every 18 months. The outcome of exponential growth is hard for humans to grasp, so let me give an example that doesn’t involve computing speeds since those can be a bit too conceptual. Instead, let’s apply this doubling of speed to cars, where we can more easily understand how it impacts the distances we travel and how quickly we get somewhere.

Imagine if the first car, invented by Karl Benz in 1885 with a top speed of about 10 mph, was doubling its speed every 18 months. In 1885, we could have driven that car across a typical town in an hour. After 27 times doubling its speed (the same number of times the microchip has doubled its speed since it was invented), we could have gone to the sun in about 4 minutes. And less than 18 months later, it would take just about 2 hours to travel to Neptune, the farthest planet in our solar system. (Voyager 2 did that same trip in about 12 years.)

Because computing speed has already doubled 27 times, every extra doubling leads to new capabilities that are beyond imagination.

What exponential growth means for PPC

So, if we’ve reached the point of PPC automation today where humans and computers are about equally good, consider that the pace of technological improvement makes it possible for the machines to leave humans in the dust later this year. That’s why it’s worth thinking about the roles humans will play in the future of PPC.

And just like the first car is not the right vehicle for a flight to Neptune, the tools you used to manage AdWords a few years ago may no longer be the ones that make sense for managing AdWords today. So let’s take a look at what AI is doing to PPC tools.

The technologies driving PPC intelligence

Just like you want to know what your employees are capable of by interviewing them before hiring them, you should understand a technology’s capabilities (and limits) before adding it to your toolkit. So let’s see how artificial intelligence works in PPC.

PPC intelligence through programmed rules

Before the advent of AI as a research field in 1956, you could make a machine appear “intelligent” by programming it to deliver specific responses to a large number of scenarios. But that form of AI is very limited because it can’t deal with edge cases, of which there are invariably many in the real world.

In PPC, this would be akin to using Automated Rules to write rules for every possible scenario an account might encounter. Rules are great for covering the majority use cases, but the real world is messy, and trying to write rules for every scenario is simply impossible.

PPC intelligence through symbolic representations

Between the 1950s and 1980s, AI evolved into using symbolic systems to be able to take heuristic shortcuts like humans do. By framing problems in human readable form, it was believed the machines could make logical deductions.

Here’s a PPC problem: you’re adding a new keyword, but you don’t know the right bid to set because there is no historical data for it. By teaching the machine concepts like campaigns and keywords and how these relate to each other, we are providing it with the same heuristics we use to make reasonable guesses.

So the system can now automate bid management and might set a similar bid to other keywords in the campaign because it knows that campaigns tend to have keywords that have something in common.

Read more here: https://searchengineland.com/technology-behind-ai-ppc-289777

 

Getting the Most From Google Adwords

Google Adwords can be a really effective way of bringing in traffic to any site, but it does not always work as well as you might like?

Adwords_ePIoZS
Public Domain from pixabay

Of course the main thing you have to do is to carefully monitor your Adwords account, making sure that you are actually bidding on the right terms (the ones that convert and don’t have a high bounce rate) and are using the right matching system and the right negative keywords.

The part about choosing the right keywords is obvious, but there is a lot more to it than that (which the article covers in depth).

It should always be born in mind that you can end up spending too much on Adwords if you are not careful, so if you feel out of your depth here, do seek advice. 

Google are helpful themselves of course, but as they have a vested interest I’d suggest that you contact an Adwords Expert for help.

You know that a certain keyword is performing really well for you, but you’re only getting so much traffic. Columnist Tom Demers shares tips for wringing more visitors out of a profitable keyword. The post Paid & Organic Approaches To Dig Deeper With An SEO Keyword That’s Working…

For some lucky businesses, there are a wide variety of great, relevant, frequently-searched-for terms that they can easily marry to engaging content assets and drive lots of great traffic. If a business is fortunate, there are more great ideas for profitable terms than there are resources to create related content.

That may not be the case for your business, though. Some businesses have a relatively limited universe of keywords they can target through organic and paid search, and when they finally find a great term that drives significant traffic and actual leads and sales, they want to expend whatever resources they can on getting more of that traffic.

But what if you’re already ranking number one? Or what if a term that you know works very well in your AdWords account just isn’t something you can seem to squeeze any traffic out of in organic search listings? What if a few super authoritative sites (maybe even Google itself) are outranking you and the SERP is shrinking, for instance?

My company does a lot of work with B2B SaaS companies, and we’ve found that enterprise-oriented solutions frequently have this challenge, as only a finite number of folks are actual prospects (and so a fairly limited set of terms can actually drive qualified leads).

In this post, I’ll walk through several ways that you can leverage your knowledge about a specific profitable traffic-driving keyword to generate more of the same kind of traffic.

This will allow you to capture more leads and sales without simply bidding more for your target term or banging your head up against the wall trying to rank better for a search term even though you’re actually “dead on arrival” to the SERP in the first place.

Five Ways To Use Pay-Per Click To Squeeze More Value Out Of Your Target Term

There are a variety of ways you can use pay-per-click to capture more of the good traffic you’re getting from a specific term.

To help demonstrate each of the different options for digging deeper on a profitable keyword in this post, let’s imagine we sell very expensive, complex point of sale systems specifically to food services companies.

Because our systems are specifically designed for these folks, a lot of different terms we’ve tried have driven irrelevant leads, but the term “food service point of sale systems” drives lots of traffic for us, converts well, and drives lots of profitable leads.

Let’s go and get more of that traffic.

1. Test Your Ad Copy & Landing Pages

Assuming we’re already bidding on this term in our AdWords account, two important levers we want to pull are:

  • Ad Copy Testing — This is a pretty simple concept, but one many advertisers seem to overlook: If we get more clicks on our ad, we’ll get more of this traffic. An important bonus here is that an increased click-through rate will help us to improve our quality score, which in turn will make the cost of each of these clicks cheaper. That might mean we can bid even more aggressively and get even more of this traffic.
  • Landing Page Optimization — Similarly, if we can get more of the people who are coming to our site to actually convert, we get more of these searchers to turn into leads. This would mean we could bid more aggressively for our keyword without blowing out the cost-efficient cost per acquisition that we’re enjoying.

These may seem like fairly obvious options out of the gate, but when was the last time you created a new ad copy test or landing page variation for your core keyword?

Do you have a system in place for cycling through new variations that may generate more clicks and higher conversions? If not, it’s something worth adding to your list.

Additional Ad Testing & Landing Page Optimization Resources:

If you’re not sure of what or how to test these elements, there are a number of great resources that can help:

  • WordStream’s Guide to Ad Text and its big list of A/B testing resources
  • PPC Hero’s 20 ad copy tests for improved PPC performance
  • Boost Media’s Ad Text Tips category, where it features a number of actual ad copy split tests and analyzes who won (and why)
  • QuickSprout’s guide to landing page optimization
  • Unbounce’s guide on the same topic
  • And Conversion XL’s guide on landing pages

2. Turn Searchers into Display Targets with Display Select Keywords

The second tip for getting more out of a keyword that’s driving profitable traffic is a simple AdWords setting that I find not many people are aware of: It’s called display select keywords.

Basically, with display select keywords, you can create a display audience in much the same way you would with remarketing. But, rather than targeting an ad specifically to people who have come to your site, you can target your ad specifically to folks who have searched for a certain keyword on Google, even if they’ve never interacted with your site.

And then looking at the display results (which will be solely from display select traffic if you’ve set up the initial campaign properly) to be sure that traffic is converting the way you want it to:

Unfortunately the options to split this traffic out within AdWords aren’t great yet (it may eventually be updated), so you want to be sure that your standard ad copy works, and, if you incorporate image ads into the campaign, you want to make sure those work as well.

3. Bid More Aggressively on Return Visitors with RSLA Campaigns

I think of RLSA or “remarketing lists for search ads” as the inverse of display select keywords (and like display select keywords, it’s a feature I find not many people know about).

What it allows you to do is set a unique bid for the folks who have visited your site previously when your ad shows for a specific term.

You can create a new, mirror campaign and ad group targeting just the folks who have visited your site and are searching for your target term.

4. Use Similar Audiences & Remarketing for the Landing Pages Driving Traffic for Your Keyword

One of the most successful marketing strategies that helped my former employer WordStream drive leads and sales was to pair content creation with remarketing campaigns. My old boss outlined how the company did it, step-by-step, in this detailed blog post.

You can use remarketing as a holistic marketing strategy, but you can also use it to simply make the targeted keyword traffic you’re driving from profitable terms work harder for you.

I can create a custom remarketing list just for traffic to those pages that hasn’t converted (by including people who visited those pages, and excluding people who viewed my thank you page).

Then I can show those folks very specific ads for very specific offers (e.g., a “How to Evaluate Food Service Point of Sale Systems” download or “X Mistakes Companies Make Evaluating Food Service POS Systems & How to Avoid Them,” or just the offer that I already know is converting).

Beyond that, I can also target similar audiences with a specific offer, and see if Google can do a good job of helping me find more people like those qualified folks who are searching for “food service POS system.”

5. Use Bing Ads to Get Incremental Traffic for Your Keywords

Don’t forget about Bing! While the search traffic here won’t be as dramatic as what you’ll drive through AdWords, you might be able to capture incremental traffic at a significantly reduced cost-per-click and cost-per-conversion.

 

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

via Paid & Organic Approaches To Dig Deeper With An SEO Keyword That’s Working

 

PPC can really boost traffic to your site

All businesses need to attract new customers and most will these days, have a website to promote themselves. Virtually all websites will use SEO to get listed on the search engines but it takes time, effort and patience to get there. Pay per click or PPC, is a form of advertising that when used carefully can bring in a lot of new business. It can be measured so that you can see what is working, what is not and what your return on investment is. So, what is PPC and how does it work?

PPC is a form of online advertising that is used specifically to drive traffic to a website. Adverts are created which contain relevant keywords or key phrases pertaining to what the business is offering. These adverts are then loaded onto the search engine along with a bid or maximum price the business owner is prepared to pay for each click. For some niches this can be hideously expensive however, if you have completed a thorough keyword research project, you will have many options open to you and you may be able to choose searched for keywords that are not so expensive. You only pay when your advert is clicked and you can set a daily budget so that you don’t end up with a huge bill.

The adverts have a title, heading, description and web address. Once the advert has been written and you are happy with it, you need to set the bid price. You will be bidding for the keyword and as I’ve already said, some niches are very competitive. The more competitive the niche, the higher the costs however, this should not put you off using PPC completely. When your ad has been approved by the search engine, it will run in accordance with how you have set it up. This will include things like the frequency, bids and budget.

PPC has been used very successfully to kick off an SEO campaign and get a website noticed. It might take around 6 months for a site to rank on the search engines however, using PPC, your site can be generating traffic within one day. The thing is, although pay per click is fast, you can easily get carried away and spend rather a lot of money before you even realise it, so be aware of what you are spending and set sensible budgets that you can afford. It is also important to review your PPC from time to time so that you keep everything current and that your campaign is still offering good value for money.

 

 

A lot of money could potentially be wasted if a PPC campaign is not set up and managed correctly, but when done right they can be extremely lucrative.

Here are 9 ways to work out whether or not PPC is working for your business:

1. Impressions and clicks

Firstly one way to see if your campaigns are working at all is to see if they are getting impressions and clicks, and a good level of impressions and clicks.

Obviously budget is going to have some bearing on the amount of clicks and impressions your ads can receive but if you are not seeing the levels that you would want for your chosen budget, ie. you are spending a lot less than you wanted to, then there could be scope to add additional keywords and increase traffic levels and customers to your site.

2. CTR

It is also important to have a good ratio of clicks to impressions, or click through rate (CTR). This is something Google looks at to determine the quality score of your keywords so it’s important to get this as high as possible.

Depending on the type of campaign, display or search, a ‘good’ CTR will vary, but anything over 0.5% for a display campaign and around 3-5% for a search campaign is something to aim for.

3. Average position

To get your ads noticed in the search results they really need to be appearing in the top 3 positions on the page, otherwise they are at risk of getting lost within the noise of the rest of the page.

If your ads have a low CTR then it may be due to the average position so consider increasing bids where appropriate to achieve those top of page slots and you should hopefully see your CTR improve.

4. Conversion rate

The main reason most businesses use Google AdWords is to get more customers, so achieving a high conversion rate is important.

You can use Google’s conversion code to track things like sales or completions of an on-site enquiry form to relate those conversions back to keywords and ads to see which ones are working and which ones are not. You should be aiming for as high a conversion rate as possible, because that means that a high proportion of people coming to your site are carrying out your desired action whilst they’re there.

Conversions can be softer than actual s

5. Sales / leads

It should all boil down to getting more sales and leads! If you own an ecommerce website and your ads are not generating sales then there’s something wrong with your campaigns and/or site.

You also need to factor in ROI. If sales are coming in, are enough coming through to ensure you are seeing a return on your investment?

6. Bounce rate

Another softer metric you can look at to try and establish the quality of traffic coming from PPC ads is bounce rate. This can be done in AdWords itself or within Google Analytics.

ales or leads. You could set up a conversion for an email sign up or pull in engagement goals from Analytics to gauge the quality of the traffic coming via PPC.

Read more http://www.browsermedia.co.uk/2015/01/19/9-ways-determine-whether-not-ppc-campaigns-working/

Further reading

Site speed & PPC performance

Have you considered running PPC and SEO together?

Consider SEO and you probably think about organic search strategies and/or methods of increasing your visibility in the SERPs. On the other hand, PPC is paying for high visibility. Looking at both of these strategies, you might be looking at them as 2 separate entities however, they can be successfully used in tandem. By doing this you can actually enhance your online marketing campaign and increase your results.

Search engine marketing is a term that has many facets however, it does include both SEO and PPC that can be used to improve your online profile. It is important to balance the 2 so that both your long term and short term goals are achieved. Both can be used successfully to convert visitors and that is what it is all about.

Running a PPC campaign without supporting it with SEO will not be very successful because your landing pages won’t be as relevant to your adverts and visitors will not hang about. The one aspect that both SEO and PPC share is the need to conduct a comprehensive keyword research project. It is those keywords that will lead visitors to your site by either clicking on your ads or finding you via the organic search results. These keywords will also be used in the content that appears on your site.

The ideal PPC keywords offer high search volume but are low in competition but of course this is not always easy to do. It all depends on your niche, competition can be fierce and this is why keyword research is so important.

The thing about SEO is that it is a long term strategy so requires planning for the long haul. Using PPC as a short term strategy in order to obtain front page visibility can give you a leg up while you are setting up your SEO campaign.

You should remember that PPC is not only beneficial in the short term, there are many businesses who continue to use it year on year as it offers a good return on investment. If you can find the magic key where your investment gives you a good ROI, it really does make sense to use it.

Looking at the similarities in approach and how the 2 strategies complement each other for both long and short term campaigns. Instead of using a scatter gun approach to online marketing strategies where you try to run lots of different things at once, concentrate on PPC and SEO to run in tangent and you could find your site rising up the rankings.

 

As 2015 kicks off, it is important to take stock of the bounty available to online marketers. Every year brings more tools to engage prospects, data to inform best practices, and hacks to improve ROI.

Unless, of course, that insidiously negative and cold-hearted Oscar the Tool Trashing Grouch darkens your door-step. For those of us following trends in online marketing and product innovation, one can’t help but notice PPC has been celebrating surplus harvest for the past few months, while SEO can’t seem to shake the Grouch of algorithm fluctuations.

It is important to point out this bounty/trashy trend only pertains to transactional SERPs and commercial keywords (informational searches still represent a strong use-case for focusing on SEO), and I thought nothing would kick-off the new year better than a review of the presents we in PPC have received, while SEO enviously looks on.

Focus on Remarketing

While remarketing isn’t “new,” the tools available for marketers have become substantially more robust and easy to implement. The GDN (Google Display Network) traditionally has lower conversion rates, but at the same time allows advertisers to entertain and convey brand-centric messaging that can be hard to achieve in text ads.

Remarketing bridges the conversion-centric text ad with the brand-happy GDN by allowing text ads to find users who have already shown interest in the brand/product because of a click on a display ad or visit to a brand’s domain. The best part about remarketing is you can target IP’s in the campaign at proven points when conversion is most likely to happen. While there is still lots of uncharted territory in the remarketing space, a major victory for marketers comes in being able to craft campaigns that can retain users after they’ve become customers. By editing the product offering, discount, or even creating a lull in how often a user is exposed to a brand, marketers are able to create dynamic engagement with tangible data to support performance

Both Bing and Google offer meaningful remarketing solutions, but there’s no question Google has more historical data to help make informed decisions on how to structure campaigns. Additionally, Google now allows text ads to be part of a remarketing campaign, while Bing’s remarketing is strictly on its display network.

Actionable take away: Don’t take no for an answer in online marketing, especially since ad networks offer polite and brand-relevant ways to engage users through remarketing.

Google Shopping

E-commerce marketers, rejoice! Google Shopping is an improved version of PLA’s (product listing ads) and offers advertisers the chance to engage users with images as well as promotions. One of the big benefits of Google shopping is Google loves sharing promotions since they’ve been proven to have a higher CTR. Any product offering at least 15% off it’s normal listing price will rank higher in the SERP, as well as have a bold call-out of the promotion. This also applies to site-wide promotions.

 

– See more at: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2015/01/08/#sthash.E3VlBW4Q.dpuf

How to build the perfect landing pages for SEO or PPC

 

Audit Your PPC Campaign For Maximum Effect

Pay per click can be a very useful tool in your online marketing armoury and there are many ways to make use of it. It can be used particularly well when targeting local markets and also for launching new lines. Selecting the keywords is one of the most important aspects when planning a PPC campaign. Choosing the right keywords will mean the difference between success and failure so doing enough research to give you a good spread is vital. Once you have your keywords, writing an eye catching advert is next on the list. As with any advertising, make sure that your advert sounds inviting and that it is relevant to the products or services you are selling. Having a PPC campaign is all well and good, however, it is quite important to look at how it is doing and to analyse data and results so that you can see what is working and what is not. This will allow you to change things that are not working and streamline your campaign. It can be a very economical method of marketing when done well, so read on to find out how to audit your pay per click campaign.

Whether you’re building your own PPC campaigns or working with a PPC vendor or agency, it’s important for business owners to understand how to evaluate their AdWords campaigns. To help you ensure you’re getting the most out of your campaign, and provide some guidelines to assess your efforts, here are the six most important steps of conducting a PPC audit:

Campaign Structure

A well-structured campaign enables you customize ad copy, landing pages, keywords and bid strategy to effectively reach each segment of your target demographic. Campaigns should be differentiated based on service lines, products or current promotional activity. Utilize ad groups to further narrow down groupings within those segments. Separate out an ad group for “blue shoes” so that you know you won’t be targeting people searching for “red shoes”.

Keywords and Negative Keywords

Use your search details report to discover expansion opportunities or cut words that are not converting as well you’d like. Create new ad groups and expand your account or build your negative keywords list to ensure that your ads don’t show for irrelevant searches. Are there some keywords that perform much better than others? Make bid adjustments to increase your chances of appearing on the first page for these words more frequently.

Examine Ad Copy

In Google, you can use the Ad Preview Tool to see if your ads are showing up for the keywords you are bidding on, in your targeted locations. If you are happy with the position of your ads, take a look at your ad copy and see which versions of your ads get the most clicks and conversions. Swap out ad copy that isn’t as enticing or contains outdated promotional text for newer versions.

Location targeting settings

Pull a geographic report to determine if there are new areas to expand into and where you should limit spend. If you’re spending a lot of money in areas where there are no conversions, it might be time to pull out of that location and reallocate your budget to an area with higher conversion rates.
Read more at http://www.business2community.com/online-marketing/6-tips-auditing-businesss-ppc-campaigns-0939073#t5IeddhPYrTIfhEv.99

Further information

10 ways to get the most out from ppc

Mobile ppc tips and tricks

Don’t dismiss PPC as part of your strategy

You might think that there is no place for pay per click or PPC in your online marketing strategy and this may well be true. However, do not discount it as means to rapidly increase valuable traffic to your site. It is important to identify and understand your audience before you begin so that you are targeting the right people from the start. There are now many channels you can make use of, from the traditional search engine PPC to social media and this is why it is important to understand who you are aiming your campaign at. There is no point in setting up a campaign on a channel where your target audience is not likely to subscribe to, this will be a complete waste of time and effort. When you have chosen your channels, make sure you measure everything as this information will tell you where you can make adjustments to improve return on investment. Here is some useful information to help you set up a winning PPC campaign.

Creating and managing a pay per click advertising strategy for your business can be a truly daunting task.  While pay per click advertising, or PPC, is one of the best ways to increase traffic to your website, it can also be risky. Without a properly managed strategy, you can end up paying more than your potential return. Fortunately, there are methods proven to optimize your PPC strategy. Here is a brief pay per click definition, along with the five basic principles of any PPC strategy.

What is Pay Per Click Advertising?

Pay per click advertising is a type of online advertising where the advertiser only pays when a web user clicks on an ad. In search engines, PPC ads can be differentiated from regular search results by their prominent placement, which is typically above or to the right of the search results. Often PPC ads will also be marked as “Sponsored Ads” or “Sponsored Links.”  Advertisers place bids on keywords or phrases designed to match search queries of your target audience. The rates charged for a PPC ad vary depending on the popularity of the keyword or phrase.

Track Measurable Conversions

Unlike other forms of advertising, PPC does not scale. As you get more traffic, you will continue to pay more money because your cost per click will stay constant. The best way to avoid losing money is to track conversions. A conversion can be defined as any useful action a visitor to your website takes. While it doesn’t have to be a sale, it needs to be measurable and valuable to you in some way.

Crunch the Numbers

While PPC can be pricey, it is worth it if you are profiting from all those clicks. Generally, the amount you spend per click needs to be less than the total profit earned per click. While your initial direct profit from your PPC campaign may not meet this guideline, it is important to consistently crunch the numbers in order to know if your PPC campaign is a success.

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/online-marketing/5-basics-ppc-strategy-0777682#r50RYKoIYPbwo60M.99

Further information

Getting creative with PPC campaigns

3 important considerations for mobile PPC

How to generate awareness with PPC

Google PPC – The Different Bidding Strategies

Came across this blog after getting an email, and while not being that new, it does cover the ground here very nicely and is well worth a read.

It may also be of more interest to businesses these days as using Adwords is the only way of getting true keyword info back now on Analytics, and for some businesses, because of Hummingbird and Penguin 2.1 may also be the only way of getting back their lost page 1 rankings…

For our part at SOM, I must admit that we are not overally keen on PPC in the first place, it often not being cost effective. However, for some it the right (or maybe the only) option. Anyway, this blog is worth checking out.

While bidding strategies have evolved over time, there are several core bidding types available in Google AdWords. Now with Flexible Bidding Strategies it may be a bit confusing as to what type of bidding is available and how it works. Cost-per-click (CPC) bidding has never been so advanced – and so complicated.
Manual CPC

This is the classic setting for having total control over bids with a focus on driving click traffic. AdWords will take the ad group default bid first, unless a different bid is manually specified at the keyword level.

Select “I’ll manually set my bids for clicks”.

Manual CPC
Automatic CPC

In this setting, advertisers focus on driving click traffic but give AdWords control over individual CPC bids. Set a daily budget and AdWords automatically adjusts your bids with the goal of getting the most clicks for the budget. With automatic bidding, AdWords does all the work to get the most clicks.

There is also the option to set a CPC bid limit. Setting a limit can help control costs, but might also potentially limit clicks.

Select “AdWords will set my bids to help maximize clicks within my target budget”.

Auto CPC
Enhanced CPC

This bidding option is for the conversion-focused advertiser. Conversion tracking must be enabled, so that based on conversion tracking data, AdWords will automatically increase or decrease CPC bids to drive most conversions.

Bids can be raised up to 30 percent for clicks that are more likely to lead to conversions. Bids are lowered for clicks less likely to convert.

Enhanced CPC
CPA Bidding

With a focus on conversions at a specific cost-per-acquisition, use CPA bidding. This is also known as Conversion Optimizer.

Advertisers who want to target a specific cost per acquisition/conversion must have at least 15 conversions in 30 days to use this. The conversions history allows AdWords to predict future conversions.

Because Conversion Optimizer automatically applies its own bid adjustments, it isn’t compatible with the new enhanced campaigns bid adjustments across days, times, locations, and devices (except for mobile opt-out at -100 percent.). Display bids also don’t work. If you turn on Conversion Optimizer with existing bid adjustments, they will simply be ignored.

There are two advanced options for this bid type: Max CPA and Target CPA. The Target CPA is the average CPA you are willing to pay, and Max is the maximum per conversion. The Maximum CPA is scheduled to be discontinued in 2014.

Google recommends a CPA, based on history, which can be used or advertisers can set their own.

CPA Bidding
Flexible Bid Strategies

Allows automated bidding strategies to be more customized and flexible. Automated bid optimizations can be applied to campaigns, ad groups, and keywords.

More options compared to enhanced CPC and Conversion Optimizer options that were previously available and also allow you to mix and match bid rules across campaign and ad groups.

There are five types of flexible bid strategies:

Maximize clicks: This is a flexible version of the Automatic CPC bidding strategy.
CPA bidding: This is a flexible version of Conversion Optimizer used in the target CPA (average CPA) capacity.
Enhanced CPC: Flexible version of the existing enhanced CPC capability.
Search page location: AdWords will increase or decrease bids to target a top-of-page or first page position with ads. This bid strategy works with keywords, ad groups, and campaigns targeting the Search Network only. This doesn’t specify a position on the page (e.g., an advertiser can’t choose to be in third position on the page).
Return on ad spend (ROAS): AdWords predicts future conversions and values based on conversion values advertisers set up. To target ROAS 30 conversions in 30 days is required. Used for Search Network only or the Search and Display Networks. AdWords will try to reach the ROAS targets across all keywords, ad groups, and campaigns.

AdWords’ shared library houses and provides reporting for each strategy in detail.

How have you been navigating through bidding strategies? Have you found a strategy that has proven itself to your business?

Original is at searchenginewatch.com/article/2303776/Google-AdWords-Bidding-Strategies-The-Complete-Guide

For more information like this, please also see http://searchenginewatch.com

Running a successful PPC campaign

Pay per click or PPC is a useful tool to have in your online marketing arsenal. It can be used as and when you want it and for whatever you want to use it for. Setting up a successful PPC campaign begins with selecting good keywords. Doing a thorough keyword research will pay dividends and will give you a good perspective on what is being searched for in your sector. This information gives you choices for the wording in your ads so that you can cover whatever  bases you want. Another benefit of PPC, is that you can see what is working and what is not very quickly so you can make changes as and when you need to or want to. If one thing is not working, you can change it very easily and this gives you the chance to find something that does work.

Pay Per Click (PPC) such as AdWords and Facebook are one of the many ways of promoting your website online to drive traffic to your site. At the end of the day it will result in making more profits due to promoting your business online.

One of the main advantages of PPC campaigns is that you can rank in search results more or less instantly without any problems and you only have to pay for what you use – its like pay as you go service. If no one clicks on your ad you don’t get charged, but I’m sure that will defeat its purpose. Now by setting up an ad and getting it up to the top results doesn’t necessary mean that its going to be a successful ad and you’re going to get loads of people clicking on it – sorry to sound harsh, But its the reality, just like any other ad offline such as a newspaper or magazine ad, you don’t get instant results and the cause of this is normally because your advert is not good enough, or its not in front of the right person at the right time.

The same applies to the online world, if your ad is not attractive don’t expect your ad to be a big hit and do wonders for your website. But lets not lose hope, I’m going to outline below how you can create a killer PPC ad, and what factors to consider in setting up successful ad.

Let’s start with the basics

The first thing one needs to understand is how exactly PPC works, especially if you’re new to the online world (welcome to Cyber World!). So PPC is a campaign where you create an advert that gets displayed in the sponsored sections of search results (normally on the right hand side of Google and across the top) and also it gets displayed on users running Google AdSense programs on their sites. You only get charged for your advert when someone clicks on it.

Below you can see the areas on Google’s Search Results page where the sponsored adverts are displayed.

Why choose PPC over other marketing

There are many reasons why you would choose PPC to promote your website online. One of the main reasons is that your site becomes visible to searchers more or less instantly after you’ve created your advert, there’s no waiting around for your site pages to be indexed. This works very well if you’re new online and just launched your website and your waiting for your site to be fully indexed and reap the full rewards of SEO. As SEO takes slightly longer then creating an advert, PPC is a perfect way to put your site up there in front of others in less time.

As your site starts to rank well you can start to reduce the amount you’re spending on your PPC campaign and invest that in other marketing methods online and offline. Click here to continue reading

Further information

How to create PPC ad campaigns for local business

3 big PPC mistakes and how to avoid them

Setting the bids for your PPC ads

Pay per click or PPC can be used very effectively to kick off a new online marketing campaign or to target an existing one. It takes a little time to decide upon suitable keywords and then to construct the adverts and set the bids. Each stage needs careful consideration so that you will get the best possible value for money and that each click has the potential to become a sale. Knowing your target audience is also a crucial factor because if you can understand this, you will be well on your way to success. So, how do you work out how to set the bids? Take a look at this

“Customer Lifetime Value” is a critical metric that enables you to optimize the long-term profitability of your pay-per-click advertising. CLV answers the simple yet powerful question, “How much is a new customer worth over the long-term?”

It’s an important concept that almost every large retailer uses. Smaller retailers should use it too. It enables you to calculate your maximum PPC bids analytically, rather than arbitrarily. That alone gives you a big advantage over competitors who don’t make similar calculations.

Take Wag.com for example, a subsidiary of Amazon. It sells pet food and related products, which consumers tend buy repeatedly throughout the year.

Wag.com invests time in understanding the lifetime and long-term value of its customers, which enables it to know exactly how much revenue and profit to expect from each customer, on average.

Wag.com knows the lifetime value of a customer.

Wag.com knows the lifetime value of a customer.

 

It can also differentiate between the value of customers based on what they buy, which helps Wag.com determine optimal PPC bids. Dog food buyers may be worth more than cat food buyers, for example, and would thus justify higher bids.

Armed with this CLV data, Wag.com can approach its PPC bidding strategies much more strategically than other retailers. It knows the precise value over the long-term of the customers it acquires through PPC, which allows it to calculate exactly how much to bid to maximize PPC profits over the long-term, not just the short-term.

Here is a three-step approach that shows how Wag.com, or any other company, can calculate CLV and maximum bid per click by product category.

Step 1: Calculate Average Revenue per Customer for a Product Category

For instance, imagine Wag.com knows that of 200 new customers acquired through PPC who first purchased dog food, it subsequently received 800 orders over 12 months, generating revenue of $48,000. It can calculate $240 — $48,000 divided by 200 — in revenue from each new dog food customer over the course of a year, on average.  Click here to continue

Further information

PPC: FAQ

Best practices for Google enhanced PPC campaigns

How to produce more effective content marketing with the help of PPC