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Archive for the ‘pay per click’ Category

Pay Per Click Search is Harder Than it Seems

Today while I was doing a search to check the rankings of a client, an AdWords ad caught my attention. The reason it did was because it was not related to the business I was searching for, so it made me realize that whoever was running that campaign did not know how to set up their campaign (let’s hope it’s not someone charging to manage a Paid Search account – but that does happen).

Not wanting to spend their money, I typed the link into a new browser window and to my shock, their English ad lead to a site that was written in French (yet another failure).

This confirmed why people have a belief that some forms of online marketing do not work. If this person was targeting terms related to something not even remotely related to their business and doing so with a website in the wrong language, the chance of them doing business through paid search is simply nowhere in site.

Paid search is a marketing strategy that needs to be understood on many levels. There are many ways to target your paid search campaign such as:

– Location
– Language
– Related keywords
– Time of day ads are shown
– Where your ads are shown (mobile devices, Google partner sites, etc.)

These are kind of the basics but doesn’t even take into account the strategies for setting your bids which can rack up some serious charges if not appropriately managed in conjunction with the right targeting.

If you are serious about making your website profitable, contact me to see how my team and I can help you.

Why Pay Per Click Search is Like Poker

Yesterday, I had a chat with someone who was asking me how my company aligned our goals with that of our clients with regard to Pay Per Click (PPC) Search Marketing. The first step is to establish what those goals are specifically and make sure that the client has at least a basic understanding of PPC metrics. Most people would assume that the clients goal is just to make more money. While this is usually the case, the road to profitability comes with establishing some benchmarks along the way. As these improve, the campaign will see profitability.

Here are three primary benchmarks to keep in mind.

1. Profitability. If it will cost $100 to get a customer and that customer makes a $25.00 purchase with no upside potential, then PPC is not going to work well for this client.

Research needs to be done in order that the client understands the cost of acquiring a client vs. the lifetime value of the customer.

Also, effective keyword research can help to discover lower cost keywords that might make an otherwise unworkable PPC campaign affordable.

2. Conversions. In relation to profitability, the challenge of increasing the conversions needs to be closely looked at. Anyone can set up a Pay Per Click account (like Google AdWords) and spend lots of money, but it takes an expert to effectively implement PPC and get high conversion rates that attract targeted customers that make buying decisions. This is where PPC is like Poker. It has been said that poker “takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master.” Maybe a lifetime is a stretch for PPC, but if you have no successful track record with managing PPC, why would you think it made sense to gamble your hard earned money on it. Many companies (including our clients) have seen huge improvements in PPC profitability by hiring a professional to manage their PPC Search Marketing.

3. Tracking. Again, this might seem basic, but there are lots of methods to track the effectiveness of a Paid Search Campaign. For one, Google Analytics does a great job of allowing you to track clicks from your ad to a target destination on your web site such as a completed sales page. For those that have larger PPC budgets (in excess of $10,000 per month), it might make sense to employ another tracking tool in conjunction with Google Analytics to get more granular data.

The more closely you can track your sales to your PPC spending, the more accurately you can determine the return on investment (ROI) of your PPC campaign.

If you are considering running a PPC campaign and would like a complementary analysis, or if you are currently running a PPC campaign and want to see if there are any opportunities to improve your ROI, you can contact me at anthony(@) or 800-453-9290 to discuss how my team and I can help you accomplish your business goals. We have a solid PPC practice group, a 12 year track record with PPC, and currently serve clients spending from $300 per month to over $50,000 per month.

We Guarantee Top Search Engine Rankings AND Targeted Web Traffic

Many have disputed whether or not a search marketing firm should guarantee search engine rankings and I have often been on that bandwagon. I think what people mean to say is that no one can guarantee organic search rankings because there are so many factors involved, most of which are beyond anyones control.

I have obtained, and continue to obtain and hold several organic top 10 search engine rankings for multiple websites across all of the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, and MSN). What I tell my clients with regard to ranking organically is “a top ten listing is the goal, but we certainly can’t make any guarantees up front”. While I fully understand what the search engines are looking for, what I cannot control is the competition and how aggressive they will be in employing the exact same strategies as I so. Once we begin the campaign we can see what the results are, know more about the competition and what they are doing, and know what strategies to focus on.

If someone really presses me for a guarantee, I will do explain to them how it can be done knowing that I can make good on it 100% of the time. It’s often costly, but here is the secret (ok, it’s not really a secret)

If a client wants to “buy” their way to top-ten listings on all of the search engines, I am more than happy to assist. It’s not difficult to estimate the average cost per click for each search engine, and then just determine either the total search volume, or base it on how much traffic they want, or how long they want to be in the top ten.

The reality is that no one should ever employ this strategy exclusively. It can be costly and with the growth of online advertising, it will only get more expensive. There are far too many effective ways to obtain organic traffic to not include organic search in your overall search marketing strategy. This is a common error I often see site owners or rookie Search Marketing Practitioners make.

Many people get hooked on Paid Search because of the ease of entry combined with the ability to see immediate results – namely targeted web visitors that convert. My advice is not to get hooked on Paid Search and lose site of the fact that it is a component of overall search marketing, not the end all. Even if your business model works well driving paid search traffic and converting a percentage of it, wouldn’t you rather increase your profit margins? Keep in mind, that most of us have competition and the good times may not always be what they are today (just ask anyone in the real estate business).

We are in the process of fine tuning our “SEO Starter Package” which is a search marketing campaign designed for new web launches and combines the elements of organic search (keyword research, site coding, directory submissions), with paid search, and includes PPC & directory fees and ongoing link building and Pay Per Click Management. For sites and business that qualify, the cost is $18,500 for a 12-month campaign – which includes $6,000 in Pay Per Click Fees and roughly $1,500 in Search Engine Directory Fees. It is designed to reduce the often high up front costs by spreading all of the fees out over a one year period. As well, it allows for immediate generation of targeted prospects, with the goal of increasing revenues from the start and giving you an immediate return on investment. Every website is different, and not all will qualify for this package. Some sites that do not need directory submissions will only need certain services such as link-building, and others who already employ strong SEO, may just want to add Paid Search Services, or enhance their current PPC campaign. whatever you need, we have a solution – and a guarantee!

OldSchool SEO offering SEM Services

This really isn’t news other than I have not posted any specific information on SEM consulting services on this blog prior. As far as SEM services, I am a one man operation however I utilize the services of two firms in particular to handle my overflow work. I also work with a designer who handles any web design needs that may arise. From time to time I consider adding additional SEM staff and building Web Traffic Team into a larger entity, but I did that once already and I just don’t think it’s the direction I want to go in. There is always the possibility of partnering with one of the many SEM firms that I respect and trust, but for now, I am very content working as I do.

I will be focusing on a few niche industries, mostly related to financial services and offering a host of services including:

– Tele-coaching
– One on One Coaching
– Full Service SEM
– Social Media Marketing
– Link Building
– Pay Per Click Search
– General SEM Consulting.

For more information on SEM service offerings and pricing, please visit the Search Marketing Consulting section of my blog.

Beware of Yahoo Search Marketing

I had not used Yahoo Paid Search for some time, but I recently signed up for a new account based on a promo offer that I received. Anytime anyone wants to offer me free traffic, I am all ears.

I paid my $5.00 activation fee and got free credit ($30) on my account. Here is where the problem came in. I had set my daily spend to $10 per day for a certain campaign and had just under $30 in the account after a few days (I was taking it slowly). I then received an email saying that I had been charged $30 to add funds to my account. I was told that if I wanted to reduce the frequency of these messages and charges to increase my charge amount.

Here is my problem with this. Unless you write to them and change this, you are not in a position to now be able to stop the charges because every time the account gets below three days worth of charges, your credit card will automatically be billed. Sure, you can turn the account off, but they still have your money.

I don’t recall if there was a prepay-deposit feature when I set the account up, but if there is, this would be the option to choose if you want to control your spending. I am just glad I didn’t set my daily limit to $100, or I would have been charged $300.

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