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Archive for October, 2013

30
Oct

PPC is way of getting targeted audience to your website by publishing ads on search engines. It is an effective way of generating when you don’t highly rank for your top keywords. But unlike SEO, you will have to pay a price for visitors coming through those published ads.

Top 8 things to do before starting a PPC Campaign

Top 8 for PPC campaign

In order to have a successful PPC campaign, you will need to take care of few important things.

1. Understand your business/brand

  • What is your brand/business all about? What are your services/products?
  • Study your competition. How are your different than your competition?
  • Go through your successful and failed marketing strategies so you can learn from them and not repeat them.

2. Know what your goals are.

  • Different businesses have different set of goals. It can be anything based on the nature of your business like of you own a blog your goal is to get more visitors or may be more subscribers, if you are a online shopping website you want more buyers. You goal can be anything based on the nature of your business, so determine your goals early.
  • Make your goals realistic. Say if you advertise for $200 you cannot expect to get 200 new leads. But a more realistic goal might be getting around 30 leads. New leads don’t mean new buyers/customers to your products or service but they might possibly turn into one.

3. Determine your budget

  • Managing a PPC campaign is exciting and yet overwhelming. You can end up wasting more than whats on your budget if you don’t keep a close eye on your spending. You don’t want to go crazy on an advertising campaign which is not paying off.
  • Based on the industry and the keyword you opt-in for, your cost of advertisement varies. For example if you are a cake shop owner you keyword might cost you around 30 cents while if you are a auto care center you might end up paying 5 dollars to 8 dollars a keywords.
  • Study your ppc campaign on a regular basis and keep and eye on your ROI. Study how much is your one customer worth. If your spending is around $20 per customer but you are just making $10 on one customer, its not worth carrying that campaign.

4. Who is your targeted audience

  • Who is your audience? Figure out the targeted age group, gender, etc. If you are a Bridal store your targeted audience are females.
  • What is their location? If you are a cake shop owner in Los Angeles you don’t want to target audience in Seattle.
  • What are they looking for? If you are trying to sell an iPhone to a user looking for ringtones it will not turn into a lead. But instead if you are offering a ringtone to audience looking to buy iPhone it can turn into a lead.

5. Work on your keyword list

  • Make a list of all important keywords related to your services or products. The success of a PPC campaign mostly depends on the right keywords.
  • Finalize your targeted keywords using keywords tools – keywords planner tool (by Google Adwords), Google trends, Wordtracker, etc.
  • Bid on the keywords that aptly describe your business.
  • Eliminate the keywords that don’t generate leads.

6. Attractive ad Campaign

  • For your ad campaign to be successful, your audience has to find your ad attractive.
  • Make your TAG line appealing and catchy. Putting right keywords in the campaign is not the only thing about tagline.
  • Create different ads for multiple keywords.
  • Try not to mislead your audience with your ad campaign. If a visitor come to your website and doesn’t find what he/she is looking for it negatively affects your business.

7. Homepage is NOT your Landing page

  • When users are redirected to home page instead of landing page they can get overwhelmed with the content.
  • Design a new landing page if you don’t have one.
  • Landing page should have a good call of action. If it doesn’t have a call of action the visitor leaves your site, increasing your bounce rate.

8. Most IMPORTANT – monitor your campaign closely

  • Check your ROI.
  • Redesign your ad if its not generating enough leads.
  • You need to track the success of your campaigns and ensure if its getting you right audience.
  • Redo points 1-7 based on market changes and change your campaign accordingly.

In general, it is advisable to work towards increasing your ROI by drilling your Adwords spending up and down based on trends without losing the track of your monthly spending. SHare your views with us on this.

26
Oct

Any new client I am consulting always asks me: “What approach should we start out with first?”

So the first thing I would like to say is that there is no first, second or last approach. SEO and PPC are the standard and most powerful traffic generating approaches for your online marketing campaign besides other marketing strategies like social media marketing, video marketing, content marketing and so on..but lets not get into it right now and carry on with our discussion on how to choose between PPC and SEO.

Lets start with a brief understanding of both these approaches. Both these approaches work towards the same goal (generating more traffic) the only difference is the way of achieving it.

SEO VS PPC

SEO VS PPC

SEO – Search engine optimization is building your website traffic using strategic approaches to have a higher ranking in organic search engine results page (SERPs). The major investment in using SEO tactics is your time (of-course money is involved too), and since it takes time for your SEO methodologies to take effect and have higher rankings, SEO is a long term effect. You will need to keep on following the new approaches (changing your in-page and off-page methodologies) towards your SEO marketing to maintain your higher rankings. The higher your SERP rankings high is the number of leads your business is getting and you will realize your efforts are well worth the investment.

PPC – Pay per click marketing is paying directly to the advertiser to display your digital ads on the search engines result pages. CPC – as the name says cost per click is what you will pay every time your ad is clicked. Advertisers bid on the keywords they want to target on their niche to get a spot on the sponsored results. The most common platforms to have your sponsored results displayed are Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Bing.

Comparing both the approaches:

SEO

PPC

Position on SERP

Displayed with all the other organic listing on the main body of the page. There will be a lots or related search results (mostly your competition) displayed based on the search engine’s algorithm, the search query and your strategic SEO approaches used.

These results might not be filtered based on the location until and unless specified. There may be no guaranty on the position/ranking of your website.

Displayed on the top or the right of the search page’s body with “Sponsored Results”, “Ads” or “Promoted” written.

The background color will be different from the background color of the body to make them stand out. There will be no guaranty for top ranking on PPC either, but the results displayed here might be filtered out based on the keyword bid for, location, timing selected.

Budgeting

The ongoing cost of SEO consultant (if you are hiring one) which can include your initial website setup, implementing SEO strategies and continuous maintenance of those strategies. There is no cost associated with choosing targeted keywords by SEO.

Spending around a $1000 per month on your SEO approach, getting higher rankings in SERPs will keep on generating lots of free to your website. But you need to keep in consideration that more leads will pop in only if you have higher rankings, websites with lower SERP positions can only manage to get very few leads.

The ongoing cost of PPC consultant (if you are hiring one) plus the cost of the PPC campaign which you will be paying to the ad platform based on the number of clicks and the price of your keywords.

Based on the industry and your keyword your cost on maintaining that campaign may vary.

If your keyword is “Truck Insurance” your average CPC according to Google Keyword Planner tool is $11.22. On average for 100 clicks your cost would be $1122.00. Taking a realistic conversion rate of 5% your cost of one lead is $224.40. Keeping your profit and your cost per lead in consideration, decide if its worth spending this much every month and don’t forget to add the cost of the consultant to this budget.

Expecting Results

With SEO you have to expect at least 3 months for your leads to flow in with regular organic results. If you are a startup business you would not love to spend on advertising while just waiting for 3-4 months for your first online lead to show up.

You might need to keep up with your SEO approaches to maintain higher ranking and have new leads flow in.

With PPC, all you need to do is sign up with a ad publishing platform, chose your industry keywords and have your ad designed (1-2 days). You will have your first ad published as soon as you are done with these simple steps and can expect leads to flow in.

Once you remove your campaign your PPC leads stop (except if your leads have turned in your returning customers – you expect them as your direct leads now)

 Maintenance

Maintaining SEO is maintaining your website and your code. It will be more complex if you don’t have much knowledge about how to manage the code and what to change when needed.

Here you will need to keep up with the new search engine updates and follow the strategies accordingly to maintain your higher rankings.

Maintaining PPC campaign will be easier (easier and not easy) compared to maintaining a website. All you have to manage here is your ad campaign and your keywords.

Here you will not need to keep up the new search engine updates, all you will need to do to maintain higher rankings in sponsored results is to bid higher on your keywords and you stay on top.

Reading the above points you would have now figured out that SEO is more of a strategic approach while PPC is a more tactical approach. So talking realistically is not about deciding between SEO or PPC, instead its more worthwhile when both the approaches are incorporated in your internet marketing strategies.

Advise: If you are a small business owner and are trying to manage your own SEO or PPC, always keep a track of your approaches and your campaigns. If you realize your efforts are not yielding your expected results it never to late to hire a consultant.

25
Oct

You spend lots on money on marketing, advertising, hire a SEO company or do PPC and get a lot of traffic, is that traffic really converting? What is it on your website that your visitors come and go without buying or products or services? Some of your visitors are just bouncing off or not converting as you expected them to. That is when a good landing page comes into play.

Landing page is important when you want to direct your paid traffic to instead of your homepage. Homepage is a more generic page where you give your audience an overview about yourself, your service and other things. While your landing page talks just about the product, or service from which the target audience ended up on your page. You want them to convert and not just read and leave your website.

Here’s how an ideal landing page should be designed.

The Anatomy of a High Converting Landing Page
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

Anatomy explained:

  • Have a Head line which give a clear message about the page. It should explain your product or service in one or two lines
  • Include an image or a video that explains your service or product. “A picture says a thousand words” and for some audience that can be a converting point.
  • Write short points explaining your services. Don’t write a paragraph on it just short bullet points.
  • A compelling Call-to-action which would differentiate it from the rest of the page. Like a “Call Now”, “Download Now” or a “Book Now” button.
  • Provide navigational links to different pages of your website.
  • Now probably you have reached the page fold (the time when your audience would have to scroll to read other information on the page), you would like to describe your services or products which the visitor would like to read before buying or using your services.
  • Include testimonials from other users of your products and services. It helps your visitors have faith in you and your services. Also include the name, position and the company of the person writing a testimonial.
  • Include security seals and statements to build trust when taking their personal information to build trust with your audience.

There is no one rule that fits all, you need to keep on testing your page to see which one converts more than others. If you have any other information that you think we are missing here and might be helpful to share do comment below.

23
Oct

Want your website to have top rankings in the major search engine? Want to generate more leads for your business through organic search? But you are not sure what keywords to target or what keywords are your targeted audience using to reach you?

If you are managing an online marketing campaign – keywords research is a very important module that you want to focus more energies on to. Without optimizing right keywords you would not get the right audience for your website that would convert. Some of you might think that you have a lot of visitors coming to your website, but have checked if they convert or if they are spending enough time on you website. If your answer is negative, then you definitely need to do a thorough keyword research for your website.

Why is keyword research so important and why do we need to focus our time and efforts towards it?

Optimizing right keywords helps you get higher rankings on search engines and talking about the organic search results and number of clicks, 53 percent go to the top result. The second sees 15 percent of the action, the third 9 percent, the fourth 6 percent, dwindling all the way down to 4 percent to round out the top 5.

share of listing types and share of clicks

share of listing types and share of clicks

Image courtesy – @SearchEngineWatch

As you can see here in the image there is a huge difference between the position of your website on the SERP and the traffic you get. But does getting more traffic to your business mean more revenue? Its a YES and No answer based on what your goals are. Yes – when your website is a blog or publication and your revenue is based on the number of visitors, more the visitors more will be your revenue and No – when your website is about selling your products and service, more traffic doesn’t mean more revenue, revenue will increase only when that traffic is really interested in buying your products/services. When the right keywords are targeted it monetizes correctly.

Targeted keywords and your search traffic

Targeted keywords and your search traffic

This image give you a basic idea on what your website traffic results can be based on the keywords you chose to optimize:

  • First case – is when you don’t optimize your website for the targeted keywords you get nothing to 5% search engine traffic (that 5% might end up to your website if you are lucky to have a well-designed SEO friendly website). Of course we are not talking about the direct traffic or the referral traffic that you might get.
  • Second Case – is when you haven’t chosen the right keywords (keywords that your customers are really searching for) but have worked on some general keywords for your business which represent your major services and products. This means that your website may be attracting some search engine traffic – the visitor who come to your website, don’t even browse more than 2 pages nor spend any more than 1-2 minutes and bounce off. This is not the audience who would convert. They are just researching about the products and services and have landed on your websites. They are just the visitors and not your potential buyers.
  • Third Case – is when you pay good attention to your keywords and do a thorough keywords research on a regular basis. Being particular about your keyword research and find the target audience not only gets search engine traffic to your website but also increases your conversion rate. Because it is bring you the audience who are ready to buy. And that is what you want, revenue (buyers) and not just visitors.

Now that you understand the importance of choosing the right keywords for your website let focus on how to find them and have the buyers come looking for you. Here’s how we will proceed to do our keyword research.

1. Keyword Brainstorming

Go through your website and just simply think of what your core business is and what you have to offer your visitors. Think of words that describe your business and what you think your potential customers might search online to reach you. You might come up with tons of keywords (your services in words). It can be one word, two-word or long tail keywords. Note all of them down as you will have to do some work on it.

2. Identify the right keywords

You will be working on the brainstormed list to refine the right target keywords that will bring you’re the right audience who are willing to make a purchase and not just the irrelevant search traffic.

Make use of keyword research tools that help you with your homework. Some of the tools that will prove helpful are Google Keywords tool, Bing Keywords tool, WordTracker, wordpot and SEMRush. Lets work with Google Keywords Planner tool and show you how to use it.

Now let’s say your business is about “dry cleaning” and you want to find out the right keywords for your targeted visitors to turn into buyers. That can happen only when the visitor find the right information they are looking for. If you are targeting wrong keywords visitor will remain visitors!

3. Google’s keyword planner tool

To use this tool you will need a google Adwords account and you can use your gmail email for this. Once you open that tool choose the option “Search for new keywords and ad group ideas”.

Google AdWords: Keyword Planner Tool

Enter your keyword in the “your products or service” box, you can choose the category if you want. Enter one keyword at a time to get better keyword ideas. Change the target location based on your serving area. When your results are displayed, “Ad group ideas” will be displayed by default as this tool’s first priority is to support Adwords more than organic search campaign. To see the list of keywords organized by their average monthly search volume choose the tab “Keywords idea”.

Google keywords planner tool

The average monthly search displayed is for Adwords, but it is very close to the organic searches performed. It at least gives us a rough idea of the keywords to work on and find related search phrases. Sometimes we get keyword phrases which we are unaware that visitors search for. The competition displayed in not the keyword competition in search engines but instead its the adwords competition for that keyword. Download Your list in CSV format.

google keywords planner tool - 2

Now from your downloaded list, choose 10-15 keywords and enter them one by one in the Google Keyword Planner tool to get better suggestions for each of them. Entering individual keywords help get keyword ideas focusing around the core of the keyword entered. Download the list for every search. You can choose more than 10-15 best keywords to do if you want.

Remove all unwanted keywords (you can put that in a separate spreadsheet if you want). Combine all your keyword files downloaded and maintain one spreadsheet for all your keywords with their average monthly search volume. Sort them out to remove any duplications or unwanted keywords. For all the keywords in your spreadsheet note down the search results competition next to the keyword.

4. Bing’s keyword tool

In bing’s tool when you enter your keywords there is an option to choose search location, language and your date ranges. I usually go for 1 month and 6 months to check on averages. Export your keywords list for every separate search you perform. Once you get the volumes for these date ranges, choose the option Strict, and export the list again.

bing keywords tool

bing keywords tool

The Strict features provides us with the search volume of the exact keyword phrases displayed. This is helpful in finding Long tail keywords. Combine your results into one spreadsheet so you can work them out easily.

5. Finding Long tail keywords

Long tail keywords are helpful in getting more targeted audience who are expected to convert better than visitors who end up on the website by searching generalized keywords. The difference in the numbers between the search volume with Strict checked and unchecked is the number of long tail keywords for that phrase.

google and bing keyword analysis

google and bing keyword analysis

As you can see the keyword “dry cleaners”

google search – 60,500
google’s competition – 28,000,000
bing’s monthly search – 8780
bing’s strict monthly search – 2587
difference between strict and broad – ( 8780 – 2587) = 6193

Analysis – it has a good monthly search volume with an acceptable competition volume. Also it has sufficient number of hidden long tail keywords which we can target. (Any keyword with a search volume of over 1000 and a competition volume less than 50,000,000 can be targeted)

6. Expanding your keyword list

The tool we are going to use now is Ubersuggest and the main purpose of this tools is that it gets keywords ideas using Google suggestions and other suggestion tools. Go to the website http://ubersuggest.org/

ubersuggest

ubersuggest

This tool is helpful as it works out most permutations and combination of your main key phrase entered plus the variations of word starting with every alphabet and number after it.

ubersuggest search results

ubersuggest search results

There are other keywords tools that are useful and each of them have their own pros and cons. So using them in combination can work to filter out the best keyword list for you. Some of the other valuable tools to use are SEMRush, WordTracker and Keyword Spy.

7. Geo-targeting

If you are a local business it makes more sense in targeting customer in your locality rather than targeting customers nation-wide or globally. Adding location to your keywords helps you get targeted traffic to your website based on the location you want customers from.

Eg – targeting “dry cleaners Dallas” can get you higher ranking in Dallas in turn more targeted traffic than targeting the keyword “dry cleaners”

8. Using plurals/singulars

Keywords would mean the same in singular or plural and expected to display same search results. But thats not the case with search engines. For search engines singular or plural can have different search volume and different competition. So it is important to do your analysis and research on both the plural or the singular keywords.

Eg – analysing “dry cleaner” or “dry cleaners” and then optimizing these keywords will be different based on their monthly search volume and competition.

For keyword “Dry cleaner near me” –
google’s search volume – 1,600
google’s competition – 9,630,000

For keyword “Dry cleaners near me” –
google’s search volume – 18,000
google’s competition – 1,300,000

It will be a smarter decision to choose “Dry cleaners near me” over its singular form.

9. Competition review

Check major search engines and see who are the toppers for your keywords. Analyze their websites and check what keywords they are ranking for. Work on those keywords and find out the statistics for them.
Note – if you see that the top ranking are taken over by the big corporations, it is nearly impossible to beat them. Its more advisable to leave those keywords alone and choose a different keywords in which those corporations are not the competition.

10. Final Note

Keyword researching can be a tedious job and and it is important to track the performance and and analyze the success of the optimized keywords. You can make use of the tool – SeoBook’s Firefox
extension – Rank Checker.
Success of keyword research is only measured by the improvement in the number of visitors it gets you. Check how many of the optimized are ranking well and what strategies you used for those keywords. See what keywords are converting better and compare their success rates. Rework your keywords every once in a while to meet your requirements.

Share your thought and ideas on this by commenting below.

15
Oct
SEO Checklist for new website owners

SEO Checklist

You started a new venture and are tied with lots of things currently going on in your life with the new start up – like budgeting, staffing, working out marketing strategies and much more. As a new business owner you want to make your market space, build your reputation and have as many leads as possible to come to your store/office. And to do that you need to add one more thing to your new start-up and that is your online location – your website. Website is as important as your physical location. Talking about the SEO measure for your website I have formulated a basic SEO checklist that will easily guide you in maintaining your SEO approach. These are basic changes that can give your internet marketing strategies a jump start.

1. Selecting your domain name

  • Go through your services and make sure that you select your domain name that has your basic service (keyword) in it.

  • Don’t incorporate difficult spellings into your domain name. Lets say you want your domain name to be www.thatlasttree.com (just making up something..:D), its looks confusing especially when there are two consecutive “t”s. User might end up tying something wrong in-turn losing that lead.

  • Avoid punctuations in your domain name. Though hyphens are word separators it will confuse users when saying your website name. My personal suggestion is to avoid them. Lets say your website is www.myhomebusinessonline.com. A user will say it as www dot my business online dot com. But if you name it as www.my-home-business-online.com will your user say www dot my dash home dash business dash online dot com.

  • Make it easy to read, type and speak. If your website is www.usedbooksnreviews.com (in texting language we use ‘n’ for “and”) but its not a good domain naming technique instead it will be smarter to name it www.usedbooksandreviews.com. Verbally speaking “n” and “and” sound same misguiding the visitor (direct traffic visitor)

 

2. Keyword Research

  • Do your keyword research by noting down all the products or services that your business will be offering. Study your market and see what your visitors are searching for which your business has to offer.

  • Make use of free keywords research tools like Google Keyword Planner, Bing Keywords Research Tool, WordTracker, etc to study the keyword competition, monthly search and location based search terms to filter out your targeted keywords.

  • If your business is about serving local customers try included local geographical terms into your keyword. Eg if you sell cakes in Las Vegas, your visitor is more likely to search for “cake shops in las vegas” instead of “cake shops online.

  • Also target synonyms as your keywords. Taking the above example of the cake shop, use synonyms for cake stop like “cake store”, “cake shoppe”, “cake place” etc.

 

3. On-page optimization

  • Write relevant content for your website describing your business, services and other important details that customer would prefer reading before buying any product or services from you. Educate your user with your services. Also it is important for search engines to know your website so it can deliver it tot the right audience, without content even search engines would not be able to filter them out.

  • Include header tags (h1, h2, … h6) for your content based on the relevance of its placement. Header tags are like guides for search engines.

  • For all the images that you put up on your website related to your content, put ALT tags for them. Search engines cannot read the images for them what ever you describe in ALT tag is what search engines understand

  • Give your page a title using the <title> tag. Have a short relevant description and targeted keywords in your <meta description> and <meta Keywords> tags. “Page Title” for search engine is like the book title for you when you enter a library in search of a book. Imagine a library where all the books have same covers and no titles!! Don’t let search engines face that if you want a better ranking.

 

4. Off-page optimization

  • If possible start blogging, it builds your presence and your makes your visitors more familiarize about your services and would freely talk about it on your blog.

  • Build two-way links by mutual link exchange.

  • Do Social bookmarking, article submission and video submissions.

  • Submit your site to directories and local submission like yelp, yellow pages, google places, etc.

 

5. Account Setups

  • Set up your Google Analytics accounts. You can use your regular gmail account and go to google Analytics and setup your website in there. Keep monitoring it on daily basis.

  • Do the same for Google Webmaster tools and link your webmaster and Analytics account. Google Webmaster tool will notify you of any crawls errors, duplicate meta tags and other HTML errors.

  • Setup your website for Bing webmaster tool, you will need a hotmail or live.com email id for this.

 

6. Social Presence

  • Make your business’s online presence on the major social networking websites like FaceBook, Twitter, Google +. Social networking sites play a very important role in generating online leads.

  •     Create and share content on these social networking sites. It helps attract lot of visitors and encourages them to share your content among their network.
  • Interact with your audience regularly on social networking sites which helps build relations with them.

 

7. Competition Study

  • Keeping a close eye on your competition is the most important point of this checklist.

  • Study their website design, services provided, the keywords they target and other marketing strategies like what is their SEO strategy, do they do any kind of PPC marketing, content marketing or any other approach followed by them.

 

There is much more to SEO tactics than this checklist. But to start out with this basic things will give a jump-start to your SEO campaign. And with major search engines updating their search algorithm every once in a while it doesn’t harm in changing our approach as needed.

 

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