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

For more information like this, please also see

A Video on Google’s Latest Big Change – Hummingbird

Google updates are always the cause for some concern, and as ever, there are a number of different ‘takes’ on what they mean, how they work and what might be next. I do know that the impact of Penguin 5 or 2.1 seemed to greater, two sites I know of (not ours) being badly hit in early Oct.

That said, if Hummingbird does do what they say, it will have a profound effect in the long run, with web owners having to concentrate more on answering peoples questions that just writing about what they do, filling it all with lots of keywords in the process.

If I am right here by the way, then SEO will also be more about ‘helping’ Google than ever, and here i think that Semantic Markup will become a must. More on this later, but in the meantime, this post might also make useful reading:-

Google Hummingbird Explained and its Impact on SEOGoogle Hummingbird Explained and its Impact on SEO
Google gathered yesterday in celebration of their 15th birthday and told the world about their latest search algorithm update: Hummingbird. The impact of Hum…



See the above video or this link for the full story:-
Google Hummingbird Explained and its Impact on SEO

Ten Steps To Building The Perfect Infographic

Infographics are one of those ‘things’ that people have an SEO (and Marketing) bee in their bonnets about these days, and indeed they can be very powerful in driving links and traffic, BUT only if they are done correctly and that, I can tell you, from experience is not easy at all…
This post covers the whole area in a great deal of depth, and is well worth reading, but I reckon it will take at least 3 reads as it contains a huge amount of very important data, perhaps it would be better done via an infographic…..

10 Steps To Designing An Amazing Infographic

Hyperakt’s Josh Smith takes us through the process of transforming data into a visually compelling graphic.

Information can be useful–and even beautiful–but only when it’s presented well. In an age of information overload, any guidance through the clutter comes as a welcome relief. That’s one reason for the recent popularity of information graphics. Infographics are visual designs that help to explain complicated data in a simple way (mental-health emergencies at Burning Man, anyone?). But how are they created? What can we learn from the designer’s process? And what does an infographic designer know about storks delivering babies?

For the full story, please click here

Landing Pages and your website..

One aspect of websites that should not be neglected is the importance of the landing page. Landing pages are what your visitor sees and is their first impression of you, your website and your business, get it right and you could be onto a winner. But, get it wrong and you will drive visitors away faster than picnickers caught in a rainstorm. So, what makes a good landing page? The landing page must be relevant, engaging and what the visitor is expecting. There needs to be a purpose to the landing page so that it gives both the visitor and the site owner what they want. Landing pages need to have a good layout and depending upon what the purpose is, they should resemble the main site. Website design is important and having a landing page that converts visitors is key.

As promised, today we’re going to dig deeper into creating effective landing pages, but only for you Internet Marketing for Smart People subscribers. I’ll also give you a few hints about our upcoming landing page software for WordPress called Premise.

Before we get into making landing pages better, let’s make sure we’re using landing pages in the first place, and understand why they’re so important.

Why use landing pages?

“Landing pages are the new direct marketing, and everyone with a website is a direct marketer.” ~Seth Godin

A lot of people don’t realize that before all of his fantastic books about online marketing, Seth Godin founded an online email marketing firm called Yoyodyne in the 90s, and sold it to Yahoo for a bundle. He then wrote Permission Marketing, the most important book on marketing for me when getting started back then.

A huge part of email marketing is where you send traffic, also known as a landing page. In 2006, Seth named the 5 total purposes of a landing page, and they still hold true today:

  1. Get a visitor to click to go to another page
  2. Get a visitor to buy
  3. Get a visitor to give permission for you to follow up by email, phone, etc.
  4. Get a visitor to tell a friend
  5. Get a visitor to comment or give you some sort of feedback

You’re probably already using online content marketing in your blog posts and articles, to get people to comment, tell a friend, or subscribe (hopefully all three).

But you can take it much further. The next step is to use specifically-designed pages that focus on clicks (for affiliate marketers), buying (for people with products or services), or permission (to get leads and build your email list).

It’s all about action from traffic, not traffic for its own sake. Click here for more

Further information

Understanding landing page experience

How to make a landing page that converts

Getting started with video marketing

Video content marketing is on the rise and as videos are very popular, this makes sense. Just think about some of the recent videos that have gone viral and have been viewed around the world, being able to harness even a little of this power could help your business branding. Video can be used for many purposes and having a specific message for each one is important so that the purpose is clear and not muddled. This does not mean that you need to be using hard sell tactics, that will just put people off, so prepare a script and read it in front of the camera so you can view it and see how it looks. It always looks better if you look as if you are just talking rather than reading off a script, so perhaps learn it well beforehand. Popular ideas for videos include blogs, how to…, product reviews and interviews. These can be as serious or as fun as you want them to be but remember, you are promoting not only yourself but your business as well so being able to portray the image that suits both is important. Here is some information to get you started:

Video is taking over the world, with more than 4 billion hours of video viewed each month. In fact, YouTube is now the second most used search engine, right behind Google (market domination much?).

Unfortunately, integrating video into your marketing campaign isn’t as easy as simply creating a video and putting it up on YouTube. Creating a video that is effective, relevant, and successful can offer big rewards, but how do you integrate it successfully?

Here, we’ll take you through the basics of video as a media type, discuss issues you will want to consider when brainstorming video content ideas, and suggest some types of content that typically work well for video, using case studies to highlight these points in action.

Understanding video as a media type

The most common mistake made by companies creating video is thinking of video content as being identical to blog posts or infographic content, rather than as a unique and independent media format. Where blog posts and infographics may consist of text and image content, video utilizes text, moving images, and sound simultaneously, making it a more media format.

Video, then, is not an appropriate medium for all content goals. If you ever find yourself trying to “convert” content into a video, rather than developing the video idea organically, that’s an indicator that your creative process has gone awry. Click here to continue

Further information

3 things any video needs to go viral

Why online video is vital for 2013 content marketing objectives

Hummingbird May Just Give Google The Teeth It Has Always Wanted?

The Biggest Change May Not Be The One You Thought

Perhaps the biggest issue with the Hummingbird update is not the change from keyword matching to conversational / problem solving matching, but the fact that it is also increasingly going to be looking at user behaviour on Google, i.e what they did before and after finding a site in the SERPS.

Sites Rated for Usefulness (for a given search term)

I believe that they are doing this so that they can ‘rate’ a site for ‘usefulness’ i.e is it a good site in the view of the user (sites that are visited, with the user quickly returning to Google being given low scores and those where the user stays on the site / does not return given higher I presume). By the way, in case you did not know, Google get a LOT of data like this from Chrome users.

If the above is true (and I like most can only read what Google and other pundits are saying) then this also leads to another important area, one that is close to Google’s heart, that of site quality. Their ‘holy grail’ (so they say) is to make sure that the sites they list first are the best available, but they have struggled with finding a rule set that makes this happen, using the measurements above, together with improved Social Signal measurement may just bring them closer to their target.

Site Quality Will Become More Important

Again, IF the above is true, this means that site designers and owners (and SEO professionals) will be having to look far more closely at site quality in the future. This is not a new message of course, Google having been saying that content is far more important than the latest SEO trick, but now perhaps, they will be able to put some teeth behind their words. We will see.

For more info on this topic please see this interesting hummingbird article

It certainly makes interesting reading.

SEO for the modern site

Over the last few years there have been a number of changes regarding SEO which has left many wondering what they can still do or even if it is still worth the effort. After all, get it wrong and your site gets penalised by Google which means being dropped from the rankings and obviously this is very bad news for any business website. Many site owners don’t have the time to spend keeping up with every nuance of SEO as they are busy running their businesses. However, being aware of what can be done without fear of Google penalties is worth investing a little bit of time on. The tried and tested good old SEO techniques are still worth doing, for instance, doing comprehensive keyword research and implementing it in both the site content and the marketing strategy will ensure relevancy and assist in attracting the right audience to the site. Modern SEO methods include making use of social media and optimizing for mobile. The internet will continue to expand and evolve and website owners need to be aware of this so that they can adapt and evolve with it.

The only certainty in the SEO world — or, really, the digital marketing world — is change. And over the past two years, we have seen a whole lot of it. Both Google Panda & Penguin have severely disrupted what works for search marketers, leaving many rather confused about what they should be doing to attract more organic traffic. And not only that; it has left many unsure which best practices may now actually actively harm their organic search strategy.

As a response to this confusion, we decided to reach out to five of the top SEO minds in Europe to ask if they could share their expertise and secrets on what a successful SEO strategy needs to incorporate today. The result was not just one ebook filled with great information, but five whole ebooks full of SEO nuggets that cover important topics like keyword research, optimizing your site post-Panda, attracting links in the new Penguin world, and recovering from a Google penalty.

This blog post will cover some of the most critical tips from the ebooks so you get some low-hanging fruit taken care of right way for your SEO strategy, and also get a taste of what’s on offer when downloading the full free bundle.

1) Segment Your Keyword Research Into 4 Steps, From Richard Baxter (@richardbaxter) at

The SEO world loves to talk about link building. In fact, it’s easy to forget there is anything more to SEO. But keyword research is one of the most important parts of a successful SEO strategy. It’s the foundation upon which everything is built. In his ebook on keyword research, Richard describes a great approach that contains 4 different stages.


For example, in the “keyword gathering” stage your goal is to build a complete list of keyword ideas for your website. You can gather keywords from competitive tools like SearchMetrics, aHrefs, HubSpot’s Keywords and Competitive Intelligence, and use other keyword tools like Ubersuggest and HubSpot’s Keyword Tool. Another great tip for gathering keyword information is to use Google Insights for their related searches. It lets you look at both “top searches” and “related terms” for individual keywords. All of this information can be added to your keyword list. Click here to continue

Further information

What is SEO now that everything is (not provided)?

Using black hat SEO techniques in a white hat way

Do not neglect your landing pages

It is all very well having a wonderful online marketing strategy but if your landing pages are not up to scratch, you  may as well forget it. The landing page is the shop window and imagine looking into a shop window and not liking what you see or not understanding what you see, it is going to turn you off straight away. So, having landing pages that inspire and inform is key encouraging visitors converting into customers. As always, being relevant is very important and tying your advert with your landing page is a must. If your landing page does not match your advert, visitors are unlikely to hang around as they do not want to spend time searching for whatever it is they are looking for, they want to be taken straight to the relevant page. Use an attention grabbing headline and make sure you have a call to action in a prominent place. Getting the landing page right will give you the best possible chance for conversions and in the end, this is what it’s all about.

  Any savvy inbound marketer “gets” that once you’ve done all that hard work to get visitors to your website, the next big step is to convert them into leads for your business. But what’s the best way to get them to convert? Landing pages , that’s what! 

Unfortunately, there seems to be a major disconnect between the importance of landing pages and their use by marketers. According to MarketingSherpa’s Landing Page Handbook (2nd edition), 44% of clicks for B2B companies are directed to the business’ homepage, not a special landing page . Furthermore, of the B2B companies that are using landing pages, 62% have six or fewer total landing pages .

Landing pages are the heart and soul of an inbound marketer’s lead generation efforts, so why are they still so underutilized? MarketingSherpa cites that the number one reason businesses don’t use landing pages is because their marketing department doesn’t know how to set them up or they are too overloaded.

But let’s put a stop to this, shall we, marketers? Landing pages are much too critical to the success of your lead generation efforts to sweep under the rug, and here’s why.

What is a Landing Page?

First, let’s start with a simple definition:

A landing page is a web page that allows you to capture a visitor’s information through a lead-capture form (AKA a conversion form).

A good landing page will target a particular audience, such as traffic from an email campaign promoting a particular ebook, or visitors who click on a pay-per-click ad promoting your webinar. You can build landing pages that allow visitors to download your content offers (ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, etc.), or redeem other marketing offers such as free trials, demos, or coupons for your product. Creating landing pages allows you to target your audience, offer them something of value, and convert a higher percentage of your visitors into leads, while also capturing information about who they are and what they’ve converted on.

How Landing Pages Work

For a more complete understanding of how landing pages make visitor-to-lead conversions (and reconversions) possible, let’s talk through a hypothetical scenario that will help demonstrate the simple pathway of a visitor into a lead through a landing page. Click here to continue reading


Further information

5 essential landing page elements every page must have

The essential guide to landing page optimisation

More on the latest Google Animal – Hummingbird

As the other post here mentions, yet another update is hitting the Google world.Not had time to evaluate it fully yet, but one good thing that may be set to come from this is the fact that it may release the stranglehold the big brands have on the ‘keyword market’ place creating a more level playing field for smaller players.

“One beneficial result of Hummingbird should be that it creates a more even and fairer playing field for ‘the long tail’ of website publishers. Search keywords are dominated by large companies and brands who can afford to win the search word bidding war created by Google. Semantic search results are less predictable, and should enable small and niche website providers to gain a higher page ranking when a precise and complex search phrase is used.”

See if you want more

Google Hummingbird, what’s that all about?

Oh dear, another Google algorithm or at least that seems to be the general consensus out there.  This one however appears to be a bit different. Google’s Hummingbird algorithm is all about searches and how people are using language to look for things on the search engine. With more and more people using mobile devices to access the internet, the language they are using when performing a search is changing and is becoming similar to how they use language when they speak. This algorithm will benefit those who concentrate on local marketing and those who use long tail keywords as it is trying to work smarter in order to give the searcher what they want. Providing you have a website that is viewable on multiple devices and platforms, is optimised it correctly and is ranked, your site should appear in the search results. It is vital that businesses recognise the importance of mobile searches when planning their marketing strategy so that they do not miss out on valuable high quality traffic to their sites. Here’s what you need to know about Hummingbird.

Website and business owners are generally coming to terms with the fact that their sites must be mobile-friendly in order to be accessible and appealing to all types of website visitors. This has been hammered into reality with the release of Google’s latest algorithm update, Hummingbird, which enables Google to better understand and display results for long-tail search queries as well as natural-language (ie, spoken) queries.

Why? Because these are the types of search queries used by people on-the-go. Google is embracing the rapid advance of mobile devices, and businesses should be, too.

With Morgan Stanley analysts telling us that mobile will surpass desktop usage by 2015, website content must be mobile-friendly.

Business owners and marketers who are in tune with this trend are increasingly looking for ways to make their sites as mobile-friendly as possible; typically they do this in one of three ways:

  • Building a separate mobile version of their site
  • Creating a mobile app
  • Using responsive web design

What many haven’t considered, however, is if and how this trend towards mobile-accessibility affects their current content marketing strategy.

Do You Need a Separate Mobile Content Marketing Strategy?

Some experts argue that the trend towards the mobile web necessitates a complete re-working of an existing ‘non mobile-centric’ content strategy.

I would argue, however, that as long as you’re focusing on consistently producing high-quality, original content with a unique perspective (that’s accessible via mobile devices, of course), all that may be needed is some updating to your current strategy.

Aspects of your content strategy like creating an editorial calendar, developing your message and goals, and measuring outcomes will largely remain the same.  Click here to continue reading

Further information

Google’s Hummingbird update and the implications for video SEO

Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm is about queries