Posts tagged ppc
How Many Keywords with a Limited Budget

Google AdWords is more than just a little overwhelming for businesses just starting to advertise on the Google Search network. When we begin with clients who are new to PPC, one question that is more difficult to explain is how keyword volume and match type per ad group should be built out given the allotted budget. I’ll approach this question here as though the client has a limited budget but moderately wide array of services or products to advertise. Limited BudgetFor a company with a smaller budget or a company just trying to test out the waters in PPC advertising, there are a few key factors to consider:

1. Build the Most Important Campaigns First

The issue you face with a limited budget is that it won’t spread but so far across all the campaigns you want to run without nullifying the value of some campaigns. By focusing the budget on the most important campaigns first, you’re more likely to see the full scope of impression share available to you and how well you can compete in your market.

2. Focus on Exact Match Keywords

With a small budget, broad and phrase match keywords are a bit of a budget gamble. It’s important to start by stocking your ad groups full of every medium-to-high traffic exact match keyword that you believe is most likely to drive conversions. From that foundation, branch out into some phrase and modified broad keywords that are most specific to your service or products so that the matched search query report can show you what people are searching for besides the exact keywords you’re bidding on.

3. Review Matched Search Queries

Limited budgets leave no room for wasted clicks. Check the matched search query report, which you can find both in AdWords and Analytics, at least a couple of times each week to see if there are any irrelevant keywords leading to clicks on your ads.

Essentially, a limited budget means a compact account. Once you carefully plan out your company goals and priorities, you’ll be well prepared to carefully choose the most relevant keywords for your business.

What The Wire Can Teach Us About SEM - Part 2 of 2

(In case you missed it: Part 1 of 2)

“All in the game, yo. All in the game.” - Omar Little

Omar Little - All in the Game, Yo

At the end of the day, SEO is a kind of game. It’s a very serious game with billions of dollars riding on it, sure, but it’s a game nonetheless. There are rules and strategies that work - that have been proven to work for years. Even when the rules change (aka Google gets a big idea), smart players simply work to familiarize themselves with and exploit the new playing field.

There will be bumps in the road (there may also be a few boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios and bags of cash dropped from on high), but dogged and intelligent pursuit of organic power using the rules that search engines created and SEOs have trail-blazed is a surefire route to success.

“I want my corners.” - Avon Barksdale

Stringer Bell believed in a new kind of game - the game beyond the game as he memorably put it - and he stopped believing in the importance of territory. It was a classic case of vision becoming unmoored from reality. Yes, in a perfect world Stringer’s strategy might have worked, but in the real world it was always going to be a flop. Owning the corners was a fundamental building block of the drug trade in Baltimore - you couldn’t divorce them from the rest of your strategy. The same idea can be applied to SEM; you’ll never get anywhere unless you execute on fundamentals. You’ve got to have your corners.

There are dozens of aspects of SEM that all contribute to a better organized and optimized web presence. There are a hundred ways to make your online presence more visible, more effective, and more profitable. But there are a few rock solid fundamentals that absolutely every SEM effort will fail without.

  • Content
    • Without it, you don’t exist to search engines.
  • Site Structure and Speed
    • Without it, you don’t exist to Google.
  • Analytics
    • Without it, you are flying completely blind.

Without those basic building blocks in place, nothing else you do is going to work the way it should, or the way you want it to. There is a game beyond the game, there surely is - but you’ve gotta have your corners.

“‘Failure to properly identify myself as a police officer.’ Sounds like what I was guilty of most of my career, actually.” - Detective Roland Pryzbylewski

Prez was not natural police. He got on the force because his father-in-law was a higher up in the department, he was unable to control his fear in the field, and he consistently failed to take his situation as seriously as he should. He just wasn’t a good cop - he wasn’t cut out for it.

But he was a fantastic teacher. After being drummed out of the force he ended up working in Baltimore public schools and making a real difference. It was a match for his skill set - it was his calling.

We see this happen a lot with e-commerce sites. They can get carried away chasing rankings and traffic for terms that aren’t their real strengths. If you’re a company that makes vacuum cleaners, then focus on selling vacuum cleaners! Don’t waste time and money trying to rank for other items that are insignificant in the larger scheme of things, and which are inferior products to your main offerings. Know thyself, and do what you do when you do what you do.

“A man got to have a code.” - Omar Little/Bunk Moreland

Perhaps the most quoted line from The Wire. It expresses the moral center of the entire show - that a man must have a personal code of conduct that transcends the law, and any traditional or makeshift authority or set of rules. It’s an acknowledgement from Omar that there is indeed a “game beyond the game” - but it’s not about what Stringer thought it was. It’s about integrity.

We would argue that’s the primary value of an SEO company as well.

At Delegator we don’t do black hat SEO - while it may pay off in short term results, we know it’s a losing strategy in the long game and a threat to the businesses of our clients.

We track and keep our clients apprised of their organic and PPC results at all times - good or bad. That keeps us accountable.

We assign an account manger for each client so that communication never breaks down, and there’s always someone looking out for your best interests with skin in the game.

We believe in comprehensive packages that keep us flexible, rather than monthly draws on your bank account for services you might not need anymore or that may have become less important to your business.

It’s all in the game, yo. All in the game.

What the Wire Can Teach Us About SEM - Part 1 of 2

The Wire is everyone's favorite show for a reason. A deep well of characters, a sprawling narrative that felt intimate and alive, a searing critique of the drug war and a top to bottom post-mortem on the heart of a once-great city. It could only be described as, well, "Dickensian." Sorry, Gus! The Wire was one of those shows that kept you on the hook with long-developing plot lines (investigations, mergers, a series of major news reports) that typically extended over an entire season. It also delivered incredible quotes and moments of drama and comedy on a weekly basis - sometimes both in the same scene. It's what gave the show its weekly entertainment punch to go along with its historical level of sophistication and "reporting."

Here at Delegator we're big fans, and we even started using some of those quotes around the office to reference some of the things we were doing for clients related to AdWords, SEO, Analytics, and more. With a recent upswing in attention on the show (thanks Grantland!) we thought now might be a good time to share with our clients and readers what we've been talking about for years. Search Engine Marketing - As Explained by the Cast of The Wire. Sheeeeeeee...

“When you take a shot at the King, you best not miss.” - Omar Little

Omar Little

Taking aim at the number one Google ranking is a formidable task. That’s especially true when you happen to be going up against another entity that a) has a clearly more relevant relationship to the keyword than you do or b) can spend you under the table. Unfortunately for most companies, it’s not a realistic goal.

Now that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn't try, or shouldn’t at least set it as your goal. Sometimes toppling the king is easier than you thought (just ask Marlo). But more often than not, as Wee-Bey found out, you end up eating chicken salad across from Bunk and McNulty. What is realistic for most companies is getting a few corners of their own - corners the big boys  might not know about. The way to do this in SEO is by investigating and then investing in long tail keywords. Maybe Huge Company X has the market cornered on "The Wire Posters," but you could get a real foothold in "Michael K. Williams Posters," "Omar Little Wire Posters," or "Omar Little Season 5 Posters." You won't get quite as much traffic as you would for a generic term, but the traffic you do get will be specific, and motivated to convert.

The only way to achieve a ranking like that for a competitive keyword is perfect preparation, determination in the form of time and money, and luck.

“Look the part, be the part.” - Proposition Joe

Proposition Joe

Joe came in for some ridicule from Avon when he showed up to the annual East/West showdown in full “Pat Riley” suit and tie regalia, but his commitment to looking like a “real” basketball coach helped him coach with more authority and confidence. In other words, getting the look right helped him get the job right. That, and a hired ringer. This is a lesson that can be easily applied to SEM.

Everything starts with your site design. A newcomer to your site should immediately be able to understand what you’re about and trust that you can deliver the goods. Building that initial trust element and creating a homepage that effectively funnels users to the pages you want them to hit is a complicated, multi-faceted process, but it’s a time and design investment well worth making. When you look like a “real” site, you’ll see yourself start to perform like one.

“Our job is to report the news, not manufacture it!” - Gus Haynes

Gus Haynes and Scott Templeton Season 5 of The Wire was about the breakdown of professional ethics within the main character, Detective Jimmy McNulty, as well as the august offices of the Baltimore Sun (where series creator David Simon began his career as a journalist). McNulty, frustrated with the lack of institutional support for his wire investigations, (SPOILER ALERT) fakes the presence of a serial killer by “adjusting” bodies post mortem. Scott Templeton, a hotshot up and comer at the Sun, began his career making up innocuous stories about wheelchair bound children going to Orioles games, but he eventually begins to stretch the truth about the serial killer case - he is the only reporter the “killer” ever contacts.

In the end McNulty loses his badge and Templeton wins a Pulitzer.

When you go with “black hat” SEO - SEO that attempts to get around Google standards and practices through any one of a dozen illicit strategies - you’re taking the same chance. Maybe it will work, you won’t get caught, and your business will go up, up, up. But maybe you’ll get caught, blacklisted, and penalized indefinitely in the organic results, crippling and even killing your business. Is that really a chance you want to take?

At Delegator we only do “white hat” SEO. Be very careful before getting in bed with any firm that doesn’t, and make sure that if you’re running your own SEO operation you don’t cross the line. It’s not worth risking your entire business.

“If Snotboogie always stole the money, then why did you let him play?”

“Got to. This America, man.” - McNulty and Man on Stoop

Anybody can play the AdWords game. Doesn’t matter if they don’t understand it, try to cheat it, or run their accounts into the ground. Because it depends on the quality of your site much less than the value of your dollar, it’s as open as it gets in the land of SEM. The only thing you need to play is money - Google allows you to set up your account and start spending faster than you can run down to your neighborhood game of bones (though your ROI is likely to be higher with Google). You will almost certainly need an expert to guide you through the weeds with no pain and plenty of profit.

Active AdWords management is the best way to navigate the choppy waters of paid search. Active management means going in every day and making changes, re-organizing, raising and lowering bids, and identifying and exploiting new best practices. That's the only proven way to consistently stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the wide open AdWords game.

Come back for more Wire action next week!

Part 2 of 2.

Top New AdWords Features of 2012

It is no secret that AdWords is the cash cow of Google’s operation. Fortunately for businesses and firms involved with PPC advertising, that means a top priority for Google is to make sure that the AdWords system is efficient, powerful, and constantly improving. To keep you up to date, we’ve compiled the top 3 AdWords features added by Google in 2012:

1.  Enhanced Ad Sitelinks

Sitelinks are a useful extension available for AdWord accounts that gives your ad more visibility by providing additional link options. They look like this:

With Enhanced Sitelinks, Google combines the other ads in your account with your existing Sitelinks to create a much more attractive ad:

To be eligible, you must rank in the top 3 ad positions on Google search and your account must contain active ads that are closely related to the Sitelinks in your campaign.

2.  More Automated Rules and Ability to Undo Changes:

Google listened to feedback from their AdWords users that Automated Rules needed to be more flexible and robust, so they rolled out two improvements:

  • Increased Rule Limit to 100
  • Added ability to undo changes made by a rule

Automated rules is a feature that lets you save time by scheduling automatic changes to your account.  With the increased rule limit and ability to undo changes, you have much more control over your account and can run a more efficient operation.

3. Automated Rules Now in My Client Center

In keeping with the Automated Rules theme, another great feature added by Google is the ability to create automated rules and functions across multiple accounts.

This feature allows users managing multiple AdWords accounts to set automatic rules that affect some or all accounts simultaneously.  While there’s significant risk involved in setting up automatic action across multiple accounts, we can’t deny the potential for saving time that this feature may have for AdWords users.

Delegator.com’s New Years Resolutions! (This time we’re really going to do it!)

1. This year, I will stop focusing on the numbers on the scale. I will stop focusing on keywords only when I write SEO content.

2. This year, I will do something active and physical every day. I will regularly add to and refresh the content of my site.

3. This year, I am finally going to get organized - my house, my office, and my life. I am finally going to start utilizing Google Analytics - to track and analyze my traffic, my users, and my conversion statistics.

4. This year, I will quit smoking once and for all. I will stop using Flash to create large or important sections of my website.

5. This year, I’m going to put myself out there and try to meet some new people. I’m going to kick my AdWords campaign into high gear, try some email marketing, and optimize my site every chance I get.

6. This year, I am going to start saving money. I am going to let professionals actively manage my AdWords account, and stop over-paying for keywords that are too competitive or that aren’t going to get me the customers I’m looking for.

7. This year, I am going to be on time wherever I go. I will use Google Calendars to give me reminders about important dates, deadlines and meetings.

8. This year, I am going to learn something new. I am going to try a different online marketing tactic to see if I can improve my results.

9. This year, I am going to indulge my artistic side. I’m going to create banners for my site and start using Display Networks to attract and re-target users.

10. This year, I am going to give some time or money to charity (This is one that should stay on the list). Check out Causeway.org if you need some ideas in the Chattanooga area!

3 Ways To Improve Your AdWords Text Ads

1. Use the ® and ™ symbols when appropriate

In recent months, we've seen a significant increase in ad clickthrough rate (CTR) when using the registered or trademark symbols in our client's ads. If your company is registered or you own the trademark on your company or product, I highly recommend using this in your ad text. This instills confidence in your company or product, and the symbol especially stands out when used in the ad headline.

2. Include punctuation at the end of first description line

We want to do everything we can to ensure our ads are the most appealing ads on the page, and this tip can help set you apart.

Google recommends treating each description line as its own sentence. By adding punctuation at the end of your first description line, your ad headline is expanded when in one of the top positions.

You'll notice the top ad looks more like a search result now and gives searchers more insight into your business and what you offer. Unless your ad is showing up in one of the top ad positions though, your ad will appear on the side in the typical ad format.

3.  Use keyword insertion when ad groups are tightly themed

Keyword insertion is one way you can make your ad more relevant to the searcher. Keyword insertion uses a short piece of code and basically inserts the keyword that triggered your ad into the ad text. This makes your ad increasingly relevant to this particular searcher and can help improve your CTR.

In Google's example, keyword insertion is used in the headline of the ad. Depending on the keyword that triggers your ad, the phrase "{Keyword:Puppies}" could be replaced with your keyword. So the headline could read: Buy Yorkies. If a keyword is too long (character limits for ad headlines still apply), then the codes dictates what the default headline will be: Buy Puppies.

Of these three AdWords features, keyword insertion is by far the most advanced. For more information on how to use keyword insertion and more details about the example shown here, please see Google's tutorial.

A Look at Google AdWords' Call Metrics

Last Tuesday, Google announced Call Metrics would be rolled out to all AdWords advertisers.  If you're like us, you're always looking for better ways to track what's happening with your AdWords and Analytics data.  Google's Call Metrics provides a missing piece of the puzzle that allows advertisers to track when someone manually dials the phone number listed under an ad without clicking on it.

While Call Extensions data (visible from the Ad Extensions tab) can show you when someone clicks-to-call from a mobile device, Call Metrics tracks phone calls by "assigning and placing a toll-free forwarding number" next to your Google AdWords ads that forwards to the number of your choice.  Each of these manually-dialed calls cost $1 each, while clicks-to-call using Call Extensions relies on your bid.

To enable Call Metrics, you'll need to set up a new Call Extension and check the box to enable Call Metrics.  Once you've enabled Call Metrics for one or more of your campaigns, you can view the data from the Dimensions tab.  Make sure you've selected "Call Details" from the drop-down View menu.

As you can see from one of our accounts below, Call Metrics tracks the start time and end time of the call, status, duration and caller area code.  Based on your lead and sales tracking processes, advertisers now have the ability to attribute specific phone calls to an AdWords campaign in their account.  Being able to attribute these calls to AdWords will be valuable when trying to calculate the most accurate ROI for your ad spend.  For more information about Call Metrics and how to enable it on your current campaigns, read the AdWords help section for step-by-step instructions.

Mad Gravity Chooses Delegator.com to Manage Strategic Web Marketing Goals in 2011

Delegator.com Will Manage, Measure and Optimize Web Marketing for Yaptap.com

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Delegator.com and Mad Gravity announced today that Delegator.com will provide web analytics, search engine optimization, paid search, display advertising, and social media consulting services to Yaptap.com, an enterprise group messaging application that helps organizations with group communication.

“Delegator is pleased to be working with the talented team at Mad Gravity,” said Stephen Culp, CEO of Delegator.com. “Like Delegator, Mad Gravity wears innovation on their sleeve, and understands that the best innovation is the kind that helps customers solve a problem or achieve a goal,” Culp added.  “Yaptap is just such an innovation, and Delegator looks forward to accelerating the growth of its customer base.”

“Yaptap will help a wide range of groups --from churches to schools to businesses-- to be more connected, more informed, and more productive,” said Andrew Scarbrough, Vice President at Delegator and Project Lead.  “Such a great product deserves great marketing, and Delegator is excited about the opportunities and potential of our partnership with Yaptap.”

To lead the effort, Delegator will manage, measure and optimize Mad Gravity’s web marketing strategy and execution.  Delegator will focus on creating quality content, white-hat search engine optimization, and creative pay-per-click advertising.  At the same time, Delegator and Yaptap will cater to Yaptap’s quickly expanding user base through improved performance and web analytics.

“We selected Delegator because we were impressed with the results they’ve been able to consistently achieve for their clients,” said Jeff Cole, Chief Marketing Officer, Mad Gravity. “We needed a top caliber interactive firm to extend our brand message and help drive sales. We believe there is no one better suited for the job.”

About Mad Gravity Mad Gravity developers of Yaptap –  the leading enterprise web and mobile group communications and messaging software, and Youth Assistant the leading youth ministry software solution for more than 10,000 churches across the U.S. and Canada.

About Delegator Delegator.com was born of necessity, as a growing company designed for growing companies.  Founded by a team of successful entrepreneurs, Delegator manages critical on-demand business services like SEO, PPC advertising, social media, local search, web development, video production, ecommerce and web analytics. Delegator’s mission is to help growing companies focus on their mission, and confidently delegate the rest.

Join Us Tuesday: Web Marketing Strategies That Work

Delegator will be presenting at the Chattanooga Chamber’s Business Building Blocks 2011 Seminar Series this Tuesday, February 22 at 8:00 a.m. in the Chamber Board Room. Presenters T.J. Gentle (CEO of SmartFurniture.com) and Delegator team members, Andrew Scarbrough and Heather Ewalt, will focus on how both large and small companies can develop a web marketing strategy that works and the best tactics for achieving their online goals. Topics will include how to build a website that converts, search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, email marketing and social media. Interested? Find ticket information for the event on the Chamber’s website.

Goals in Analytics: Does Your Site Measure Up?

Recently, I wrote about Google Analytics and claimed that it is a must-have for any serious website. Hopefully some of you took heed and installed Analytics on your own site. With Analytics in place, you can now rest assured that a lot of important information is being tracked. The trick now is making that vast amount of information useful for your business. The easiest way to do this is through Goals. Goals provide a simple, intuitive way to get a lot out of your web data. After all, every webmaster  has goals for their website. Why not track them? In Analytics, we can even go a step further by assigning relative values to multiple goals. Say a blog subscription is worth half as much to you as a lead form submission, but it is worth twice as much as an order form download. Use these numbers as your goal inputs, keeping in mind that they should reflect some economic value to your business.

Goals in Analytics

This opens up a new stream of data in Analytics - and one that should be quite useful for your marketing efforts. Now you will be able to see what kind of value you are getting from your organic search marketing, paid search, and social media. If you notice you get $50 of value for every $20 you spend on AdWords, then consider spending more on AdWords. If you only get $10 of value, then you may need to optimize your paid search strategy.

Analytics Goal Values

For more information on how to set up goals, check out a primer from the Official Analytics blog. And it will be worth your while to read the Godfather of Analytics, Avinash Kaushik, detail his obsession with economic goal values.