Category Archives: Paid Marketing

5 Reasons why you should outsource PPC

1. You’re not an expert.
Let’s face it — if you’re an attorney pretending to be a PPC analyst, you’re losing very valuable billable hours when trying to run your own PPC campaign.

2. You don’t know all the tricks of the trade.
Most large and specialized agencies have a direct pulse on the industry as well as knowledge of trends and other forces affecting the PPC landscape. They’re in the know on landing page design and functionality, copywriting, and keyword selection and deselection.

3. Google is only in the business of selling clicks.
If you rely on Google to manage your campaign, you’ll end up buying *a lot* of clicks. That’s not to say they don’t help with conversion, but their business model is based on selling as many clicks as your budget allows. Most business owners I know would rather focus on getting new customers, not more clicks.

4. You don’t have all the tools.
PPC managers have the best, cutting edge tools available for automated account creation, bid management and ongoing optimization.

5. It’ll cost you more to manage the campaign yourself.
I know what you’re thinking — you’ll save on the campaign management fees. But are you really saving money? A campaign that’s not optimized spends more per conversion over time. If you even get conversions!

When outsourced, and the end of the budget arrives, you’ll have accountability from your vendor for the performance of the program. On your own, you’ve probably just bought a lot of clicks!

Note: This article was first published May 30, 2012 in its entirety on the Search Engine People Blog.

3 reasons to use PPC (even if you have great rankings)

cash in walletI’m often asked at client development presentations and seminars a question like this: “Why should I use PPC? I already rank well with SEO.”

I love these questions, because it gives me an opportunity to talk about my favorite topic — paid marketing. For nearly every business, paid marketing must be part of your mix.

Here are my top 3 responses to the “why should I use paid” question:

 

  1. Control the page. Even if you had the greatest SEO team in the world, the best you can get for any given search is two organic listings. So what better way to dominate the page than with a paid result as well? In most cases, you’ll have two, if not three links (think “chances”) to capture a potential prospect. And when using the same keywords for both paid and organic, you should see far better results overall (for both spots).
  2. Control the message. The snippet and URL shown for your organic search results may not be the best possible place for your prospects to visit. Instead, support this listing with a paid result. Within reason, you can say what you want to say in the ad, and direct clicks to the page on your website which converts the best. From another perspective, if you’re facing negative or less than desirable organic results, use paid marketing to level the playing field.
  3. Expand your reach. The only way to expand your reach organically is to create content and links which support your additional keywords. But try doing this for more than a few dozen terms, and you’ll never make progress. If you want to be found for hundreds, even thousands, of potential keywords, the only way to get this type of reach is through paid marketing.

With the given change in Google’s search page, organic results are getting further and further down the page. These three reasons apply in all situations, and for all businesses. To borrow a page from politics, you’ve got to pay to play, and the only guaranteed way to get traffic from a search engine is to buy it.

Photo credit by Penny Matthews.

Pay-Per-Click vs. Search Engine Optimization

There are few websites online today that don’t crave more attention from search engines, more views and purchases from customers, and more inbound links from other sites. However, getting to the point of online rock stardom takes more than simply wishing your way to the top. It often takes a ton of work optimizing pages, a few dollars spent on advertising, and an ounce of good luck to seal the deal. Two very different approaches – Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO), have been known to produce favorable results in increasing a website’s visibility, but the key to success online is in understanding and taking advantage of the strengths and weaknesses of both.

Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of following best practices in order to gain better position in a search engine for one or more keywords or phrases. With SEO, visitors use a search engine to find sites that are relevant to the keywords and phases they provide. The most common search engines used today (Yahoo!, Google and MSN) are relied on by over 90% of web users to find what they are looking for online, but most only view the top 30 results produced by search engines. These factors make getting to the top of a search engine’s results for specific keywords an absolute online necessity for websites.

Search Engine Optimization has several advantages which make it appealing to those looking to be online for the long run. Its most noted advantage is that, when using sound practices, its results are realized for the long term. Another major advantage of organic SEO comes in its cost, which ranges from free to minimal as the only costs incurred, if any, are those paid to make website changes. SEO methods that focus its keywords on the products, service and information provided by the website also have a better chance of delivering repeat visitors and customers that are ready to act.

Organic search engine optimization has two clear disadvantages, which are always outweighed by the advantages SEO methods provide. The first disadvantage is that SEO takes time – time in constructing pages to appeal to search engines; time for the search engines to find, index and “trust” the pages; and time to realize the positive ROI between customers and efforts spent. This disadvantage is usually minimal to those looking to be online for the long term. The final disadvantage with organic search engine optimization is that it does not deliver guarantees, especially for websites with lots of competition online. Keeping in mind that each website has the opportunity to “optimize” their pages as well should put the chances of success through SEO in perspective.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Both new websites and those finding it difficult to get their fair shake in the top of the search engines, may opt for Pay-Per-Click advertising to increase their visibility online. In short, Pay-Per-Click advertising allows you to select, bid, and pay for keywords that are relevant to your website’s offerings. In exchange, the Pay-Per-Click program offers a website guaranteed visibility when a searcher enters in the chosen keyword and when the searcher is on a website that is related to the keyword.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising guarantees that websites are put in the eyes of their chosen target audiences. When properly managed, the pay-per-click advertising costs can often times be recouped through the increase in sales that are driven to the website. In addition, the flexibility in keyword selection, the precise management of campaigns, the instant feedback provided, and the ability to budget spending make PPC appealing to most companies that do not appear in top search results.

There are several disadvantages to pay-per-click advertising which can be reduced or even eliminated with proactive PPC campaign management. One major disadvantage results from the bidding nature of PPC programs, which tend to list the highest bidder for a keyword ahead of lower bidders. This “bidding war” forces the lower bidder to increase their bid in order to regain position, and can squeeze out companies with smaller marketing budgets. Another disadvantage to PPC advertising comes in the improper selection of keywords which results in bidders paying for visitors that are simply “window shopping”, and have no intention of buying products. The final disadvantage to PPC advertising is the most obvious and the most painful – once the payments for keywords stop, so does the website’s visibility.

Which Method Is Best?
Websites with little or no visibility can easily change their circumstances by using Pay-Per-Click advertising to instantly gain web presence. And although the guaranteed visibility comes at a cost, those just starting out on the web can often time recoup their expenses through the building of repeat customers, word of mouth referrals and increased traffic flow. Also, keep in mind that paying to be in front of visitors has major disadvantages that good SEO should eliminate over time. So, our suggestion is to always use Pay-Per-Click advertising to get into the face of web surfers in the early stages of a website’s growth, but to also implement the techniques of Search Engine Optimization which will provide the website with long-term staying power. Used in conjunction with each other, your website will realize both immediate and long-term success on the web.

Photo credit by svilen001.

Popular Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Pitfalls

money jarWith each passing day, PPC engines grow more complex and feature rich. But even with these new enhancements, potential clients still believe that PPC doesn’t work. When I ask a few questions about their experience, these common pitfalls are often the reason between success and failure.

Here’s a short checklist of mistakes business owners (and some agencies!) make, and how to avoid them:

Bidding on irrelevant keywords.
If you don’t write about the broad category of keywords, don’t bid on them. Use Wordtracker to generate lists and permutations of phrases based on a root keyword, and then use Google’s Keyword Tool to get a suggested list of phrases based on the copy of your website or landing page.

Not segmenting ad groups.
Having few keywords, one campaign and one ad group is never the way to structure your account. To have the best relevancy, segment your ad groups based on your various landing pages. The search engines, and Google in particular, like to see clicks lead to a page appropriate for the query.

Not targeting your local market.
Make sure you target geographically both within the ad group’s settings and by including geographic place names within your keywords, ad copy and landing pages. For example, if you’re a divorce lawyer in Lubbock, TX, your keywords could be “divorce lawyer Lubbock” or “Lubbock divorce attorney”, etc.

Leaving content match on.
This is a default setting in nearly all PPC engines, and is designed for maximum profit for the search engines, not necessarily for the advertiser. Content match publishes your advertisements on non-search based pages, alongside relevant content (or within your targeted geographic location). Content targeting is best if you have “impulse” goods or services for sale. In your account settings, disable content match until you get a flavor for the types of traffic pure keyword-driven search brings. Only then should you consider expanding to the content network.

Sending all clicks to your homepage.
Unless the homepage is your only page, it’s almost never right for the first click, since it will require your visitors to navigate, search or do something before they can take your desired action, such as signing up for your newsletter, or requesting your whitepaper.

Poor account setup is very common, and is easily fixed. If you’ve made these mistakes, it’s never too late to restructure your campaign. In just an hour or so, you can be well positioned for better PPC success, save some money, and get more predictable results from your paid marketing campaigns.

Photo credit by spacey.