Earlier this year, Facebook broke some bad news. Organic reach is officially being choked, making it harder for brands to reach the audiences they’ve worked so hard to build.
Because of this, I believe marketers will look to SEM (search engine marketing) to recapture lost attention. The problem is, there’s already so much competition. How do you get past the noise and generate PPC (pay per click) results, and which KPIs (key performance indicators) should you be tracking to measure success?
Optimizing conversion rate (CVR) is one of the fastest ways to improve AdWords efficiency. It allows you to test new approaches and boost ROI without having to expand target keywords, campaigns or budget.
Here are five approaches to PPC that will help you generate more conversions and better results in 2018 and beyond.
1. Optimize keyword quality score
Google’s entire business model relies on providing searchers with relevant results. This goes for organic results as well as AdWords.
To do this, Google assigns your target keywords a Quality Score (QS). This QS, along with your CPC (cost per click) bid, is what then determines your “Ad Rank.”
The three elements that determine your QS are:
- Ad relevance (in other words, how relevant the keyword is to the ad copy you serve).
- Landing page experience.
- Expected CTR (click-through rate).
Many PPC experts consider CTR the most important factor when determining QS. Therefore, when looking to optimize your QS, start with CTR.
Analyze the keyword relevancy of your campaigns. Is your ad copy aligned with the search intent of the keyword?
It’s good practice to create separate Ad Groups for each of your keywords. Also known as Single Keyword Ad Groups, this is where you cater to the intent of specific searchers rather than a larger group.
In the example below (courtesy of ConversionXL), ASDA is the only advertiser for the term “womens red dresses” with copy tailored to that search term.
As well as relevancy, your ad copy should quickly sell the benefits of the “click.” In other words, why should the searcher pay attention? Make your headlines relevant, focusing on the desires and pain points of your audience.
By optimizing CTR, and therefore quality score, you’ll generate more qualified traffic. And high-quality traffic delivers better conversion rates.
Once you’ve optimized CTR, your landing pages should be the next target. Dynamic text replacement (DTR) can provide some quick wins. This “swaps” specific copy in your landing page based on the keyword the user searched to find you. DTR can improve quality score and therefore contribute to a higher CVR.
2. Intelligent remarketing
When it comes to AdWords, high bounce rates are a fact of life. Users who come to your landing pages are at various stages of the customer journey. For example, a call-to-action (CTA) for a demo won’t work on a searcher who is still educating themselves on different solutions.
To capture these missed opportunities, use remarketing to cross-sell and “down-sell” bounced visitors. Let’s start by expanding on the example above. If you’re offering a demo of your software to someone who is still in the awareness phase, this approach won’t be as effective as something that answers their questions.
Therefore, an e-book that teaches prospects how to overcome specific challenges is an appropriate down-sell. It would educate them on the options available to them while providing information about how your product makes the process easier.
Of course, these challenges will vary depending on personas and customer segments. Therefore, you must personalize your ad creative where necessary.
Retargeting in this way allows you to capture lead information that would have been otherwise lost, boosting the CVR and overall ROI of your campaigns. The mistake many marketers make here is to “re-sell” the demo request. Use it as an opportunity to educate them and add more value instead of forcing them further down the funnel.
Here are some tips you can apply to your remarketing ads to capture the attention of lost leads:
- Test different lead magnets: Different personas and customer types respond to different forms of media. Split-test your remarketing ads to offer an e-book and webinar. See which generates the highest conversions and double down on those formats.
- Name-drop influencers: If you work with well-known influencers in your space, consider including them in your remarketing ads. This association adds an element of trust like no other.
- Use dynamic targeting: Serve specific ads to different audience segments. More on this later.
The point of remarketing is to capture lost users and retain customers. Don’t waste the opportunity by serving the same messaging. Look for ways to add value up and down the funnel.
3. Tap into the power of machine learning
AI and machine learning bring the promise of higher-performing marketing at speed. From an AdWords perspective, this would mean automated bid and budget management, using more data than a human can handle to make adjustments in real time.
To find out exactly what impact machine learning has on PPC performance, we analyzed 32,858 paid accounts using the Acquisio Turing platform to uncover the truth. Here’s what we found out about conversions and machine learning:
- An average increase in conversions of 71 percent.
- A median increase in conversions of 22 percent.
Discussions of landing page quality aside, the huge difference between average and median is explained by the fact that a certain number of accounts saw extremely high increases in number of conversions, which skews the average in a meaningful way. If we wished to exclude those extremes from the discussion, we would look at the median score, which tells us the percent increase in conversions that was observed for the 50th percentile.
The plot thickened because this increase in conversions came with an overall decrease in cost per acquisition (CPA). In fact, the median CPA had a decrease of 18 percent, with 64 percent of the group enjoying a decrease in CPA overall.
While the report above focused on the increase in conversions made possible by machine learning, our most recent study examined 50,000 campaigns to determine Google AdWords Industry Benchmarks and looked at conversion rate (CVR) with and without machine learning by industry. Here are the CVR findings segmented by business category:
Conversion rate (CVR) by industry with and without machine learning
Machine learning martech helps PPC marketers scale and optimize marketing activities efficiently, but it’s also a serious contender for conversion boosts.
Here’s the thing: Machine learning technologies get better the more they learn. In other words, results will improve as machine learning algorithms react to new findings. Check out The Marketer’s Field Guide to Machine Learning for more information.
4. Test new ad extensions
To cut through the noise, you must capture as much SERP (search engine results page) real estate as possible. This means not only standing out with your creative but also expanding how much room your ads take up.
To do this, test different ad extensions on your top-performing campaigns. Ad extensions, as defined by Google, “expand your ad with additional information — giving people more reasons to choose your business. They typically increase an ad’s click-through rate by several percentage points.”
Ad extensions come in several forms, the most popular of which are:
- Sitelink Extensions: Provide links to other relevant pages on your website.
- Callout Extensions: Additional information on what you’re offering, e.g., limited stock and free delivery.
- Structured Snippets: Allows you to highlight specific elements. For example, if you’re selling “Italian vegan leather boots,” you can include a list of shoe sizes.
- Location Extensions: Include your business address and telephone number in your ad copy.
As you’re well aware, mobile user behavior is very different from desktop users’. Indeed, 61.9 percent of all PPC clicks were from a smartphone during Q3 of 2017.
Google has reacted to this shift in behavior by adding additional extensions for ads that appear on mobile devices. These are:
- Message Extensions: Allow users to send an SMS to your business directly from the SERPs.
- Call Extensions: Similarly, users can dial a phone number provided within your ad copy.
As always, test different extensions on a small scale before applying them to all of your campaigns. Keep the customer’s journey and intent in mind. Are they searching for a term with several possible outcomes? Consider using a Sitelink extension. Does it look like they’re searching for your retail store on a mobile phone? Include mobile extensions.
5. Advanced segmentation with in-market audiences
Facebook Ads are popular among marketers due to the advanced targeting available. But many are still unaware of AdWords’ functionality to do the same.
Google collects a tremendous amount of data on their users. So it was only a matter of time before they allowed marketers to use it themselves.
That’s where in-market audiences come in. By using in-market audiences within your display ads targeting, you can target users based on their consumer behavior, as well as the content they have expressed an interest in online.
The data available is sorted into several market categories, including real estate, travel and telecommunication. You can then set targeting on a granular level, all the way down to specific interests and brand names:
So, how does it work? According to Google, data such as sites browsed, the proximity of visits, relevant ads clicked and conversions are all taken into account to categorize users by intent.
This means that, while this is limited to the Display network only, you’re able to serve hyper-specific ads to those who have expressed an interest. From persona segments to product categories, the options are many.
This Thanksgiving, you’ll probably hear someone say that the chemical tryptophan that’s found in turkey makes them sleepy. Although this holiday delicacy does include an amino acid that can help you relax, it’s not the only food that contains tryptophan. Cheddar cheese has a lot more of the chemical than turkey, but you never hear
your aunt saying she needs a nap after eating a grilled cheese.
According to experts, turkey doesn’t make you crave a post-Thanksgiving nap. Instead, the high amount of carbs, the general size of your meal and an increase in alcohol consumption are what cause you to doze off after dinner.
What does this have to do with PPC, though, you may wonder? Well, surprisingly a lot. In the world of paid digital marketing, there are three PPC myths that you’re mistakenly falling for. You, and nearly everyone else, take these myths as fact—like the idea that your holiday bird makes you crave some shut eye—but they’re not.
It’s time to put an end to the most alluring PPC myths, misconceptions and inaccuracies.
1) PPC is a set-it-and-forget-it tool
Starting a new PPC campaign is often a time-consuming process. Your company needs to determine what copy you’ll use, the best image for your message and then you need to launch and monitor the campaign.
At first, the time you put into your campaign seems necessary and helpful. However, once it’s been running fairly successfully for a period of time, it’s easy to forget. It’s normal to get distracted by other channels and projects and neglect to update and check on your PPC campaign.
Unfortunately, this is a huge mistake. Companies think they can just set up their PPC accounts and forget them, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The entire time a PPC campaign is running, you should be looking for optimization opportunities. Could your copy benefit from a little more creativity? Would a/b testing help you secure better results? There’s a lot of untapped potential when it comes to updating and improving your PPC campaigns.
According to Rory Witt, owner of San Diego-based digital marketing agency DigiMar, one of the best ways to increase a PPC campaign’s success is simple—use your audience list and remarket to your existing customers.
Says Witt, “To get started with this technique, look no further than Google’s Remarketing. This option enables you to show ads to people who’ve visited your website or used your mobile application. After they abandon your site or app, remarketing will help you reconnect with them by showing them your advertisements across their devices.”
For example, say you own a pet boutique. You run an awesome advertisement for winter dog jackets, and it has a lot of success. Instead of letting the revenue increase end there, follow up with the people who purchased a dog jacket from you and offer them dog booties or other seasonal dog apparel items.
2) PPC = short-term; SEO = long-term
Many people mistakenly think PPC is a short-term strategy. They want to inform customers about a sale or other time-dependent event, so they advertise. If their ad gets 30 clicks at $2 each, they simply want to ensure that they receive one or more $60 sales as a result. Some businesses will even stop running their PPC campaigns if they’re breaking even—but this can be a big mistake.
Although PPC can increase your revenue overnight, it’s not a short-term tool. To stick with the Thanksgiving theme, pretend you’re a honey baked ham retailer. Each one of your hams sells for $100. You run a PPC campaign this holiday season, and you break even. Every customer that results from your digital marketing efforts has a $100 cost per acquisition, and each one buys one ham from you.
You could look at these results and deduce that your PPC campaign was a waste of your time, but it may not be … If you have sound customer relationship management techniques in place, this campaign could turn into a goldmine for you.
In 10 months, you can send an email out to the campaign’s customers. Remind them that it’s time to buy another honey baked ham, and then offer them a discount or incentivize them to make another purchase. Convince customers that it’s worth their while to buy a ham for themselves and an additional ham as a gift. Before long, you’ll become the go-to vendor for individual and gift-giving holiday hams.
3) Money is the ‘be-all’
There’s a common myth that suggests you will rank better if you spend more money on your advertisements. If only it were this simple … Having a bigger budget doesn’t necessarily ensure your rank will improve.
According to Matthew Tyson, marketing strategist for WideNet, “The success of your ads is determined by multiple factors—such as relevance, targeting, and quality score.” If you want to give Google more money, it may improve your relationship to an extent. Their business is publicly traded, so of course they want to make money. However, at the end of the day, the platform needs user trust, too. If your advertisement takes Google users to irrelevant or harmful content, it’s not worth the money.
To ensure that Google is making its shareholders happy and maintaining user trust, they assign advertisements a Quality Score. This is where things get good for advertisers … If you can design ads that help Google’s business objectives, you’ll be rewarded—monetarily. Google will actually provide you with a lower cost-per-click rate if your advertisements gives them money and keeps their users happy.
It’s easy to confuse money with success. When it comes to paid advertising, money is important, but it’s not everything. Your company needs to think about a campaign’s relevance, quality score, targeting and much more in addition to its financial backing.
Don’t rush to conclusions
The human mind likes to know where things come from. It loves tales, stories and simple explanations. Humans remember and share myths, origins and creations.
To an extent, these preferences are harmless. After all, isn’t it fun to take a big winter’s snooze after November 23 and blame it all on something you ate? Of course it is! Myths are all fun and games, until they cause a detrimental result—like decreasing your company’s bottom line.
If you want to stay on the enjoyable and laughable side of myths, remember the three PPC misconceptions above. When they come up, remind yourself that they’re not based in reality, and steer your company in another direction.
If you really want to improve your Google AdWords’ results, perform these three maintenance tasks and watch your CTR skyrocket.
There are three crucial Google AdWords checks you should do regularly that ensure your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns remain healthy.
1. Ongoing management: checks.
This part of managing accounts is relatively easy to carry out and is essential if the rest of your AdWords work is to be effective. There are three things you want to measure in this step:
The first step to any success in any business system is deciding what measurement is going to tell you that your business is, in fact, running like it should. Setting up conversion tracking is simple, but it’s also easy for things to break down. If you’re using code on key pages to measure conversions, check regularly to be sure the code is still present and installed correctly.
Also, check the conversion process itself to ensure no glitches have cropped up. Working tracking code on your “thank-you” page is pointless if the lead-capture form is broken. Make sure these pieces of your funnel are installed and functioning.
The settings inside your AdWords account aren’t likely to change without your noticing. But, don’t take this for granted, especially if you’re not the only person administrating your campaign. Keep a written record of your settings and occasionally check them to be sure nothing’s been moved, adjusted, paused or unintentionally reset.
Start by looking for obvious glitches such as broken formatting or dead links. Then take a high-level view and ask whether you’re matching the right landing page to the right ad copy. Does what you promise in the ad get delivered in the landing page? Is the connection between the two obvious to the visitor? Is there a better landing page you could be using?
2. Ongoing management: optimizing.
“Outliers” is a term made popular by Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success. It refers to fringe elements that, in some way, behave differently than everything else. The “outliers” in AdWords are the campaigns, ad groups, keywords, ads or placements that perform significantly better — or significantly worse — than everything else.
You could spend your time optimizing every last element of your PPC campaigns, but that’s not smart. Go for your outliers first. The goal is simple: Increase the good outliers, and decrease or fix the bad ones. If you have a particularly high-performing keyword, for instance, you might want to raise the bid and get more impressions, clicks and conversions. If you have a poorly performing keyword, try lowering the bid or even removing it from the campaign altogether.
Before you reach for the “nuke” button, however, ask whether you can improve the bad keyword by writing a better ad or building a better landing page for it. Sometimes your worst player can turn into your star player.
3. Ongoing management: expansion.
Once your AdWords account is well-optimized, think expansion: more impressions, more clicks and more conversions. With PPC, you can never have too much of a good thing.
There are a number of different ways you can expand an account.
- Start with new keywords. The search query report is a goldmine for this information. (To access this, look under the Dimensions tab, and in the “View” drop-down box, select “Search Terms.”) This shows you the actual search terms people typed in that Google chose to show your ad for. Look for common phrases that aren’t yet in any of your ad groups. Add them in.
- Look in the Opportunities tab for Google’s list of additional keyword suggestions. This section is useful for finding new ideas, but beware: Don’t be too quickly sucked into Google’s insistence that the best thing you can do is increase your maximum bids. There’s a time and place to raise bids. Don’t do it in kneejerk response to Google’s pestering.
- Pay regular visits to Google’s Keyword Planner. We also recommend third-party applications like SpyFu, SEMrush and WordStream. Go digging there on a regular basis to find new keyword ideas.
- Try aiming for the top positions. When your ad moves to the top of the page above the organic results, the positive difference in click-through rate (CTR) is massive. Use your “Top vs. Other” report to see this spelled out in hard numbers.
Display campaigns with vibrant ads that show everywhere
- Never assume that the performance of your display campaign ads has hit its ceiling. Keep testing new ads, especially image ads and try to beat your best CTR. You can often get a quick win just by testing a vibrant new image or a new headline.
- If you’re using a managed placement campaign, look around for new sites where you can feature ads. If you’re using contextual targeting, look for new keywords or topics you can introduce that will expand the range of sites where your ads can show.
- Experiment with different targeting methods. If you’re only using managed placements, give contextual targeting a try and vice versa. And if you’re not using remarketing, this should be at the top of your idea list.
For most businesses, the summer season means a slow-down in industry events — but for digital marketers, there is no rest! My company was out in force at both The Turing Festival and BrightonSEO this year, both of which represent fantastic forums for knowledge-sharing and networking.
Reflecting on what were hugely insightful conferences, I’d like to run over themes that stood out to me — and how digital marketers can put insights drawn from them into practice.
Attendees of both conferences were spoiled for choice: Speakers from the world’s largest and most inspiring companies, including Google, Moz and Skyscanner, headlined stages. Members of our paid search team were particularly wowed by the session delivered by Wil Reynolds, the founder of Seer Interactive.
Breaking down silos
Wil Reynolds’s background commanded the audience’s attention from the get-go with a story that is still relatively unusual in the marketing world. Originally an SEO expert who turned to PPC, Reynolds suggested that the notion of switching between elements of search marketing shouldn’t be unusual in 2017, but that it unfortunately still is.
Typically, search professionals specialize in either paid or organic search and rarely move from one to the other. However, combining these skill sets can strengthen a marketing team and add value to the services it delivers to its clients.
I think that’s an important lesson for marketers, whether agency or client-side. Integrated marketing strategies are more effective than siloed efforts, and we have no shortage of case studies to that effect here at QueryClick.
Describing how he broke out of his own silo and combined SEO with PPC, Reynolds highlighted how the two areas of search complement each other — a message that resonates with me personally as a marketing professional who recognizes that an integrated approach delivers the strongest results.
A holistic approach
In a modern digital marketing world, however, the merging of skills goes far beyond mastering both SEO and PPC. The way people consume content has drastically changed over the last decade. The rise in mobile media consumption has led to a diverse range of content platforms, and marketers now have extensive opportunities to tailor their messaging and reach their target audiences.
To ensure consistency across platforms, today’s brands demand an integrated approach with a cross-skilled team that breaks down silos, produces more meaningful data and offers them more bang for their buck.
Running organic and paid search campaigns simultaneously (with a single point of truth in reporting) allows integrated marketing teams to define the keywords that have the highest conversion rate and therefore determine the themes that will optimize a brand’s overall digital marketing strategy. To work effectively, however, it must be rolled out across SEO, PPC, social media, PR and conversion rate optimization (CRO), with each team working closely together in order to achieve the brand’s end goals.
Bridging the gap
Of course, there are risks to adopting an integrated approach. There can be a huge disconnect between PPC and SEO campaigns, for example, and work must be done to bridge the gap between both disciplines. Ensuring that the work of the SEO and PPC teams complement each other, and that they can yield valuable data and insights for that work, should result in campaigns that are more targeted and relevant to the brand’s audience.
I’ve written before about how you can integrate paid and organic search behaviour in a blended “Halo” report, and I think it’s just one example where integrating channels provides significant insight value to both channels.
Of course, creating an integrated strategy is an art form as much as it is a science, and without the appropriate tools at hand, it’s not always possible. Power BI, a data visualization tool which can pull deeper integrated organic and paid metrics together, can help marketers present a visual representation of PPC and SEO activity live, allowing both teams to move away from working and reporting in silos and allowing an instantly accessible “single point of truth.”
Get the full picture
During the conclusion of his session at The Turing Festival, Reynolds pointed out that it is important to recognize that SEO and PPC look at the world differently. He described PPC professionals as being akin to “creative accountants,” working to meticulous precision, and suggested that SEOs are more like “poker players,” keeping their cards close to their chest.
Although the skills and mindsets of these specialists are very different, combining both organic and paid results shows the full SEM picture and allows digital marketers to deliver stronger results to their clients. This, in turn, informs the strategy for the whole digital marketing team, from PR to social. If mastered, a data-led, integrated approach is the holy grail of modern search marketing.
PPC can be an incredibly cost-effective way to generate leads through search engines. The key is to look at the right metrics for the right situations and use that data to make the most meaningful changes to your campaigns.
There’s one thing nearly every potential B2B buyer does before buying a product or signing a contract for your services: search.
In fact, 77 percent of B2B buyers are said to research on Google before making a buying decision.
And while improving your organic search engine ranking is important, executing an search engine optimization plan takes time. It’s a long-game approach that pays long-term dividends.
For many businesses, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising through services like Google Adwords has become an incredibly effective way to leverage the keywords potential customers are using to search for your business or industry.
Here are a few reasons why PPC might be an incredibly valuable marketing tactic to increase traffic to your website and generate new leads.
1. You don’t have to wait to start generating leads
Because you’re paying for them, PPC allows you to get up and running with ads for the keywords you want to rank for pretty quickly. While an organic SEO strategy takes time, PPC allows you to get in the game for important industry keywords.
2. You only pay for what you convert
With PPC campaigns, you only pay for the clicks you generate. This means you’re only paying for the people who actually click through on the ad and visit the landing page you intended them to visit.
3. You can easily track conversions to measure ROI
By adding conversion pixels to your landing pages, PPC allows you to identify the exact cost-per-lead of your campaign, which can be a lot more arduous to generate with other marketing tactics. As a result, you’re able to continually tweak and optimize your ads to decrease the cost-per-lead.
How to measure PPC success
The truth is there are dozens of PPC metrics you can track. So, which ones matter most when it comes to reaching your business goals?
Rather than focusing solely on PPC analytics like clicks, impressions and click-through rates, here are some metrics that allow you to analyze macro metrics that speak to the ROI of your efforts:
- Cost-per-conversion. This helps you determine if the PPC clicks you’re generating represent quality traffic that’s actually converting into sales.
- Most valuable keywords. Being able to track which keywords lead to sales can help you zero in on where to give credit within your PPC campaigns.
- Lifetime value of PPC customers. Once you have an understanding of how much it costs to convert a PPC lead, compare that to the other cost-per-customer marketing tactics against the lifetime value of your customers.
At the end of the day, PPC can be an incredibly cost-effective way to generate leads through search engines. The key is to look at the right metrics for the right situations and use that data to make the most meaningful changes to your campaigns.
Having an online presence in the present digital world is very important for any business. This is because the internet is currently considered as one of the reliable sources of income for businesses, individuals and organizations across the world. SEO is actually an aspect of business that is quite popular since brands are working harder to get ranked higher by search engine. It is therefore crucial to understand what exactly is involved so as to boost the ranking of your business in search engine listings.
The following 8 points will help you get a better understanding about SEO and how it can help you to promote your business brand.
1. SEO is not an expense, but an investment
There is a common misconception that SEO is an expense that needs a huge chunk of money to get started. This is however not the case. Provided you stick by search engine rules and do the right thing, you will be realized that SEO is not that expensive. Nevertheless, the returns on investing in SEO are so encouraging that you need to think about SEO as an expense.
In short, SEO means delivering the best quality content to your target audience using the right keywords that are searched frequently among several other digital marketing strategies.
SEO helps in creating brand awareness through enhanced brand presence and visibility as your website gets ranked better by search engines. In this case, more traffic is experienced when your website appears on the top three spots of the first page, which can be converted into loyal customers in the long run. This way, you will be able to make more sales. The long term returns from investing in SEO is much greater than the onetime expense incurred in getting your business website search engine optimized.
2. The keywords you choose make a huge difference: prioritize long-tail keywords
In order to achieve success in your SEO endeavors, choice of keywords is one of the most crucial considerations to make. Apart from using single words as keywords, it is now advisable to use three to four keyword phrases that are specific to whatever you are talking about.
Using these long-tail keywords will guarantee faster and more access by the target audience to your brand based on the exact value you provide to them. many brands are now keen on personalizing their search engine experience using these types of keywords. A good example is where one brand uses a keyword phrase like “New York Doctor” and another uses “New York Orthopedic Surgeon”; in the phrases, the second phrase tends to be more specific and for that reason can guarantee generation of more quality leads unlike the first one which puts the doctor in direct competition with other doctors in the area.
Learn more on how to build your business through content marketing and how to improve your content marketing strategy to always stay ahead of your competition.
3. On-site optimization: so that the website receives acceptance from both viewers and Google
Onsite optimization is not quite known by many people. However it is quite essential as it ensures a specific websites achieves acceptance by both viewers and search engines.
In order to achieve this, right keywords, website pages’ tags and key phrases need to be considered. These are necessary for search engines like Google to determine how to rank various websites. According to the 2015 Business Buyer’s Guide to SEO, a majority of business leads come from internet sources; referral traffic, direct advertising or online searches. In the case of online searches, search engines need to know the subject matter of your website for it to be recognized using the various web pages finding the topics covered and keywords used.
4. Social media is an essential part of any SEO campaign
Many business brands today are taking advantage of various social media platforms to promote their content. Such platforms as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are commonly use to create a profile for brands.
It is crucial to consider using such platforms to boost online presence and promoting the content on your website. This way, you will not only be able to boost access to your brand products and services from your target audience, but also will boost search engine rankings. Use of a social media channel that is relevant or appropriate in your industry or niche will boost your business a great deal.
5. Fresh content is important: Content is the King
Long are gone days when quality of web content never mattered. Today, it is practically impossible to move your website to the top of search engine results without considering the quality of content published and the keywords used. Search engine algorithms are now smarter than before and you have to stick by the demands to get a better ranking. The quality of content is today considered as the ultimate and most crucial driving factor for top search engine listing.
You need to offer compelling content that even other websites will want to link with which also boosts further the performance of your website.
6. Off-site optimization: getting external links from other quality sites is key
This is basically the opposite of on-site SEO whereby you work on boosting search engine ranking by use of external methods. The more your website is considered as being “most authoritative” or “most important” the better it gets ranked.
The secret to achieving this is by enhancing the quality of content shared and keywords used. This way, other websites in the same industry or niche will tend to link to your website thus qualifying your site as an authoritative site. The more the links you get to your website, the higher it will get ranked by Google.
7. PPC has no effect on SEO
Many businesses are today inclined on to pay-per-click advertising because it is considered as one of the crucial parts of online marketing campaigns. However, this strategy has no direct effect on SEO listings! This is simply because SEO is concerned more by organic search results rather than the paid advertisements.
PPC is however worth the consideration especially during the launch of a website to attract more visitors to a website but not influencing search engines for better ranking.
8. Be aware of not indulging in black hat SEO
Due to a stiff competition in any industry, several businesses turn to various illegal techniques trying to get better search engine rankings. Though such techniques worked previously to some, it is no longer the case since search engine algorithms have become smarter over time. Using the techniques today amounts to breaking of Google’s rules of achieving top organic ranking.
You need to keep off from such techniques as;
· Using invisible texts
· Keyword stuffing
· Creating fake pages with the aim to get more back links
· Page swapping and
· Using doorway pages
Despite the fact that some websites used these illegal techniques some years ago, today, Google can easily get your website banned from organic ranking and this will be detrimental to your digital marketing campaign. Some people may boast of achieving higher ranking using the same techniques but the truth remains that the disadvantages of black hat SEO are too harsh you don’t wish to be associated with.
Any decision you make regarding SEO is crucial in determining the success or failure of your business. Employing the right techniques will enable you to achieve top rankings and enjoy the various advantages that come with it. Modern SEO is characterized by top quality content, quality back links and personalized long tail keyword phrases that are not spammed. This way, search engines are likely to find your content easily and ranking it higher than your competitors.
Performance marketing — especially PPC — is a powerful way for marketers to demonstrate their worth.
With PPC campaigns, we’ve carved out our place at the table. Now we’re producers of actual revenue, beyond more qualitative channels like PR and content.
This is good news for digital advertisers. But does Google have other ideas?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the new and ongoing changes to Google AdWords. We’ll also discuss how you might want to take advantage of them.
Ongoing Changes to AdWords
Earlier this year, Google announced changes to AdWords and the Google Display Network (GDN) for this summer:
Change #1: Ad Rank
The Ad Rank threshold change, revealed in May, is twofold. Ad Rank essentially determines the placement of your text ad. A higher Ad Rank means you’re more likely to hit the coveted Position 1 slot.
Ad Rank is calculated by through a number of factors. These include expected click-through rate (CTR), landing page experience, maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bid, and relevance.
Relevance is going to take a more significant role in determining Ad Rank. While base search terms may remain the same, queries may differ due to context. For example, a recent news story mentioning a product name might be more relevant to a query than a product review.
More importantly, depending on the query meaning, PPC bids “may” be weighted more heavily for Ad Rank. This means that higher bids for relevant queries could directly boost your Ad Rank. Bigger ad spends may ultimately win out.
Change #2: Enhanced CPC
AdWords is also removing the 30 percent enhanced CPC (ECPC) cap on audience and location dimensions. This doesn’t currently account for device dimensions, so you should still plan to add a mobile bid adjustment.
Google’s official line is that this change will help you drive more quality conversions so you don’t risk losing out on them because your bids were capped. But with ECPC uncapped, you may end up looking at higher overall spend. If you use ECPC, you should watch such PPC campaigns closely.
These changes to Ad Rank thresholds and Enhanced CPC caps have the potential to run up your spend. They may also increase competition from larger advertisers with bigger budgets. Still, not necessarily anything earthshaking here.
Ongoing Changes to PLAs & the Google Display Network
However, this was only for display in fashion and home decor websites. These brave early adopters will see their ads deployed there over the rest of the summer.
Effectively, with this limited, opt-in test program, Google is pushing more ads to display. And at Marketing Next, the company announced even faster AMP page load speeds for search and GDN ads. GDN ads now load up to five seconds faster than normal. You’re probably starting to see where this is going.
New Attribution Promotes the Changing Customer Journey
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The customer decision journey is changing.
In response to this, Google is now encouraging advertisers to stop focusing on “last-click attribution.” That is, focus more on upper-funnel clicks instead of tracking the last click a user makes before making a purchase.
After all, that early purchase research is valuable. Plus, if you can track insights on those earlier clicks, you should be better able to understand your customers. You’ll also be able to better direct them to purchase next time, right?
This is why Google is pushing alternative attribution models for PPC campaigns, such as time decay, linear, position-based, and its most prominent model, data-driven attribution (DDA).
In fact, Google has outright stated that “data-driven attribution delivers better results than last-click.” Google is promoting how its machine learning-based attribution system picks up not only on deep-funnel activity but also upper-funnel activity, leading to more overall conversions.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
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Chrome Moves to Ad Filtering
And now we move to arguably the biggest news in digital at the moment. Google recently announced a built-in ad blocker — or as the search giant prefers to call it, an “ad filter” — to an upcoming version of Chrome. This feature will remove “annoying, intrusive ads on the web.” This is a story so big, it has made its way outside of ad tech circles onto the pages of The Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine and Wired, to name just a few.
To be fair, Google’s claims do appear justified. There’s definitely no shortage of annoying pop-up and timed prestitial ads online. And they significantly detract from page load speeds and overall user experience.
Plus, the company has released, by way of DoubleClick, a full guide to making sure your ads are not “annoying” and will not be filtered out by the new version of Chrome.
Which ads are most likely to get through unscathed? According to DoubleClick, for mobile, “small ads that stick to the top or bottom of the screen,” and for desktop, takeovers. Presumably, we’ll see GDN standards converge with the ad filter’s guidelines.
So, What Do All of These Mean?
Google knows PPC continues to be a powerful, profitable category. PPC will generate significant revenue this year and next – that’s a fact.
But let’s be honest – Google is also a corporation. And like many corporations, it seeks to grow its revenue and profits with new opportunities. Given the growth in mobile and the lengthening of the sales funnel in so many verticals, analysts have already predicted that display spend would outpace search spend.
So why is Google moving in this direction?
Being a corporation that wants to grow its business, it’s simply following the money. Some of the changes to further monetize AdWords, such as the Ad Rank threshold and ECPC changes, are ways for Google to incrementally grow AdWords revenue from PPC campaigns.
However, the company is clearly going after bigger fish. That means gently nudging advertisers like you towards adding more display to your marketing mix.
Revisiting GDN: How Should You Approach This?
As you know, GDN is a huge display ad network that runs ads on over two million websites that reach more than 90% of the internet audience. GDN offers text, banner, Gmail, and in-app ad options. And for some time, let’s just say it has not always played nicely with traditional search campaigns for PPC. The most well-known option for running search campaigns in tandem with GDN is, of course, Search Network with Display Select campaigns.
Unfortunately, even Google does not necessarily recommend Search with Display Select for advertisers interested in running campaigns on both platforms. For one thing, these two channels often message to customers in very different funnel stages. Ultimately, this can often result in GDN campaigns eating up campaign budget with very few conversions from prospects who, being at the very top of the funnel, have little to no immediate purchasing intent.
So what should you, as a PPC advertiser, do?
What you’ve always done — focus on driving the best return on your ad spend. Stay focused on conversions, revenue, overall profits or efficiency, whichever suits your goals.
Every marketing operation is different. And you are the expert on the best ways to run your specific campaigns. Not Google. If this means you continue to focus on lower-funnel campaigns through channels such as search to drive the best ROI, so be it.
No one, not even Google, knows your campaigns or your specific business needs better than you do.
Some Tips for Getting Into GDN from PPC
That said, if you’re a digital advertiser focused on PPC, but considering GDN, I recommend the following:
- Focus on what works, but don’t be afraid to test. As an experienced PPC professional, you already have a strong sense of what works in digital. Continue driving revenue using the strategies that work best for you. But like with your AdWords campaigns, don’t be afraid to test new campaign types — including GDN.
- Be aware of quick run-ups in spend with low conversion rate. Display campaigns can quickly run through spend, often much faster than PPC. As discussed, because display ads tend to be awareness plays, expect to reach less engaged audiences less likely to convert.
- Differentiate messaging. At the risk of stating the obvious, customers finding your PPC ads through search are deeper in the funnel than those served a GDN banner ad. Resist the urge to copy-paste. Make sure you’re using proper messaging for intent-driven search customers. Use different messaging where needed for higher-funnel, lower-engagement GDN customers.
- Consider GDN for remarketing. One of the most powerful ways to use GDN is remarketing. You can use tactics such as in-market audiences (which targets audiences by the history of related searches) and Google’s newly announced life events feature (which targets audiences based on major life events such as graduations and marriages). Remarketing can be a powerful way to drive conversions of significantly higher quality. However, I recommend also instituting frequency caps to ensure you’re not inundating your audience with the same ad units.
- Be mindful of the guidelines for Chrome’s upcoming ad filter. As mentioned, a future version of Chrome will, in fact, filter out “annoying” ad units. Make sure your ads conform to the guidelines. And of course, stay on the lookout for any future additions or specifics.
That should more or less cover the direction that Google seems to be not-so-subtly nudging digital towards. In other words, to more top-of-funnel in general, and most likely GDN in specific.
This change is likely happening because Google is a company that needs to keep growing its revenue over time. But now that you’re forewarned, you may want to keep an eye out for future developments along these lines.
What is a landing page? A landing page at its most basic is any web page that a person can visit or “land” on when navigating the internet. They are stand-alone pages, distinct from your main website, that are developed for the purpose of advertising, and with a goal to generate conversions and leads.
Since landing pages are designed separately from the main site, there are usually no options to navigate, forcing users to focus on the copy or message that is tailored to the conversion goal of the page. Featured images, use of color, calls-to-action, and a lead generation form are all essential parts of a landing page that help to increase conversions.
For the purposes of this post, we will focus on the relationship between landing pages and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns; however, the following best practices can be applied to all traffic sources.
1. Landing pages improve paid search campaigns
If you have ever advertised on Google AdWords, you’ll be familiar with its grading system known as Quality Score. Your Quality Score is determined by the following factors:
- Your ad click-through rate (CTR)
- The relevance of each keyword to its ad group
- Landing page quality and relevance
- The relevance of your ad text
The quality of your landing page is an important factor that contributes to your Quality Score, and the better your Quality Score, the lower your cost-per-click will be—resulting in you getting more value from the campaign.
Google wants to show ads to its users that are most likely to solve their problems so they can take action. A landing page serves this purpose as it does not have excess navigation links and includes messages on the page that are specifically designed for advertising campaigns. The information, therefore, is very relevant, meaning there is a high likelihood that users will fill out call-to-action forms or call your office.
2. Landing pages increase conversions
Businesses that advertise through search engines are more focused on increasing their sales versus trying to increase brand awareness. As a result, their PPC traffic is psychologically different from their organic traffic and needs to be marketed to differently. A user who visits a landing page will either immediately take action by filling out a form, or will simply just leave the page, so the window of opportunity to convert PPC traffic is small. However, since limited information is presented on a landing page, visitors are not overloaded with extraneous information, and if they are the right audience, they will be more likely to take action.
Landing pages are set up separate from main websites, and with the help of online tools like Leadpages, Unbounce, or Instapage, advertisers can do split tests (also known as A/B tests) of the copy, calls-to-action, and other features to test and improve conversions without affecting the main site.
3. Landing pages generate data and insights
To find out whether Google AdWords is right for you or if you should advertise somewhere else (on Facebook, for example), a landing page can help identify the most efficient channel for generating leads. The insights generated by a landing page can also help to identify the right message or call-to-action that will increase conversions, which can then be used to increase user experience, resulting in a lower cost per lead.
Should you ask for users’ phone numbers on a landing page, or just names and emails? You can do split testing on your landing page to find out if adding a field for a phone number increases conversions.
In conclusion, landing pages are an invaluable part of a PPC campaign and will not only help improve ad performance, but will directly contribute to the bottom line of your business.