PPC and SEO Working Together with Joanna Lord (@joannalord) #seochat

On Thursday, March 31, 2011 Search Marketing Weekly will be hosting an #seochat on Twitter. Joanna Lord (@joannalord) will be our guest answering questions about PPC and SEO working together.

Details:

Starts at 7:00 pm Mountain Time
About 1 hour long
Use hashtag #seochat
Host: Dan Patterson
Transcript

Questions Answered:

  1. How do the overall strategies for SEO and PPC differ?
  2. In your experience, are SEO & PPC complimentary or cannibalistic? Why?
  3. Should you use the same landing pages for PPC & SEO?
  4. What insights can you gain for SEO from PPC, and vice versa?
  5. Tell us how tracking PPC campaigns aligns/differs from SEO.

About Joanna Lord

Joanna LordJoanna Lord is the Director of Customer Acquisition at SEOmoz.org, a leading SEO software company out of Seattle, WA. While she currently heads up SEOmoz’s paid search, affiliate, and acquisition marketing efforts, she is also a well-known social media enthusiast and frequent conference speaker. Her diverse experience in data analysis, paid search marketing, search engine optimization and content creation enables her to provide tactical acquisition strategies that work.

Convert Your Customers with Google Product Extension Ads

Google has mainstreamed Product Extension ads for online marketers as a hybrid of Google AdWords PPC and Google Product Search.  By using PPC merchandising through Product Extension ads you can convert your customers into paying customers who return time and again for repeat business.

How Product Extension Ads Work

If you are unsure what product extension ads are, they are listings for your products that appear when your target market uses specific keywords in a search query.  The product extension ads contain an image of the product, the title, and the price on the search engine results page (SERP).

If you have a Google Merchant Center account with a product feed in addition to your AdWords account, you can connect the two together so AdWords will pull data from your feed to highlight your products when your pay per click ad appears in the search results.  When you click on the plus box located below the PPC ad the images of your products appear which increases the click through rate for your PPC advertising campaign.

Tips for Using Product Extension Ads to Convert Customers

You use the Product Extensions feature to connect Google AdWords to your Google Merchant Center.  You must also have a product feed set up in the Merchant Center to take advantage of Product Extension ads.  Once you have established the connection to use the Product Extension ads feature there are a few other steps you should do to ensure that your ads are converting customers.

  • Monitor the Plus Box: Google provides you with a feature that helps you to monitor how many times your target market clicks on the Plus Box to view your products.  Make it a point to use this feature and use it consistently.  Doing so will help you make the necessary modifications to optimize your campaign for the best results.
  • Control Product Displays: There is a feature that allows you to control your product data feeds and how they integrate with AdWords.  You can also designate what keywords you want to match to the product image.  These are keywords that your target audience uses to find your product in organic searches. You can also designate a landing page where you want the traffic to arrive after clicking on the ad. The customization settings allow you to test and track different aspects of the Product Extension ads to optimize for maximum outcome.
  • Highlight Your Brand: You can display the name of your company next to the Plus Box by configuring it in Google Merchant Center.  This is a great way to get your brand established and associated with quality.  Also, if you have acquired a trademark it helps to display this next to your company name.  If your visitors have a choice between you or your competitor, they will be more likely to click on the name that has a trademark symbol next to your brand.

There are more opportunities that Google Product Extension ads offer when it comes to PPC merchandising but hopefully this information will help you to get started with a basic understanding of this nifty feature for pay per click advertising.

Debra Leitl is the Mentor in Residence at eMentormarketing.com you can find her on twitter@MentorMarketing. Her specialty is interactive marketing with a focus on ecommerce and online marketing strategy. She has over 15 years of professional work experience in retail business management, strategic management consulting, and new business development.

PPC Is Not Voodoo

Pay per Click advertising is not voodoo. There isn’t a secret sauce that magically makes it work. What drives success in Pay per Click is a combination of knowledge and experience along with constant attention and optimization.

At PurePPC.com we encounter many businesses that are running a PPC on their own or contracting with a company to run it. As a result, we’ve seen all manner of management tactics and pricing.

Some strategies are in the best interest of the agency, some fall within the best interest of the business and a few are great for both. Some of these include:

  1. Creating a basic campaign or two, targeting the broadest keywords, setting them live and letting them run essentially on auto-pilot.
  2. Same as Option 1 but a more extensive campaign targeting a wider range of products and/or services.
  3. Creating good, extensive campaigns, setting them live and then attending to them only when the client makes a request.
  4. Option 3 plus semi-regular optimization along the way.
  5. Extensive, meticulous keyword research, competitive review including ad text and landing pages, targeting as many services/products as are offered (budget limited, of course), careful optimization and testing along the way.

If your PPC account falls under Options 1-3 then your scenario most likely benefits the agency, but not you. If you wonder why running a PPC account on auto pilot is bad then next time you drive somewhere just set the car on cruise control and take a nap at the wheel. Let us know how that turns out for you.

Option 4 can work for both agency and business. Option 5 is the best scenario for your business and usually the agency. It’s in an agency’s best interest to keep you as a long-term client and so if the agency is proactive about improving and optimizing a Pay per Click account then both parties should be satisfied and a working business relationship develops.

So how can you determine what is a good price? Every company feels that they have the “best pricing.” The better question to ask is “what do I get for that price?”

Pricing can vary wildly. Some agencies charge a percentage of monthly spend. Others charge a flat rate. Others lump PPC together with a variety of other services like web, SEO, and social media.

If your price is lumped together with the other services I mentioned then most likely it’s a bad setup for you. We’ve rarely (if ever) seen that scenario be in the best interest of a business because you most like get Options 1, 2, or 3 from the agency.

We recently reviewed a company’s PPC account that was spending $50,000 – 75,000 per month. Their agency was charging them $8,000 – $10,000 per month. We found that the agency had performed only 1 or 2 minor optimizations in the previous 6 months while collecting nearly $60,000 from the business during that time. The account was fairly well set up but had been on cruise control for quite some time.

When confronted, the agency offered to reduce their agency fee to $1,000/month. Both of these scenarios are bad for any business. It’s obvious that the agency hadn’t done any work for the business and when push came to shove they offered to reduce their ridiculous high fee to an equally ridiculous low fee. Either way, no work was going to be done to improve the PPC account.

Excellent Pay per Click management is a partnership between an agency and a business. A one-sided arrangement is not a long lasting solution. Transparency between both parties is essential. When an agency is open about their practices and strategies it becomes evident for a business that PPC is not voodoo. Rather, it’s a strategic process that requires experience, constant attention, and optimizing; the very same needs of running a successful business. Funny how that works out.

Google Website Optimizer – PPC Landing Page Testing Checklist

If you have not yet put Google’s Website Optimizer to work, you are leaving money on the table.  Website Optimizer allows you to test and track your landing pages to ensure you are getting the most out of your landing page design as well as your pay per click advertising campaign.

Website Optimizer allows you to test your landing page from the headline right down to the point of sale (POS), so you know exactly where the leaks are in the page to make the necessary improvements.  The nice part is that you can test everything from the same location and if you are not technically savvy the help section is very user friendly and easy to follow.   Once you are all set up you should use a landing page checklist to test the necessary elements of your landing page for optimum conversion science.

√ Test Your Page Headline

The headline of your landing page should contain keywords that you used in the PPC ad and should tell the visitor that they are on the right page.  If you are using pay per click advertising the headline of your landing page is part of your overall Google Quality Score.  The headline must follow through with what is promised in the ad the visitor clicked on to arrive on your page. You can also split test the same landing page with two different headlines to see which one produces the best results.

√ Test Landing Page Copy

The landing page copy delivers what was promised in the pay per click ad and the headline of the page.  To write effective copy you must know your target market and some of the reasons for their search.  The copy should clearly state the facts, benefits, and speak directly to your target audience.  If you have two pages of copy you can use two different landing pages to see which copy produces the best result.  This is also known as split testing copy.

√ Test Your Conversion Funnel

This technique is the method you use to funnel your visitors to the action you want them to take.  Your page should be designed in a way that naturally leads your visitor to take action.  If you fail to achieve this your visitors will leave at different points in your page.  Website Optimizer will tell you exactly where your visitors are leaving the page so you can determine how to make improvements.  If your visitors are not making it through your page they will never take the action you want them to take.

√ Test Your Forms

If the forms on your site where your visitor takes action are not working properly this could be costing you leads and even sales.  Website Optimizer will help you keep tabs on how well your forms are working and if it is necessary to modify them if they are an opt-in form.

As a general rule, test your landing pages consistently and frequently and remember to make only one change at a time so you can determine what is working and what is not.

Debra Leitl is the Mentor in Residence at eMentormarketing.com you can find her on twitter @MentorMarketing. Her specialty is interactive marketing with a focus on ecommerce and online marketing strategy. She has over 15 years of professional work experience in retail business management, strategic management consulting, and new business development.

Google’s Dynamic Keyword Insertion Exposed – PPC Tactic

Pay per click advertising is a great way to drive immediate traffic to your website while you are waiting for SEO efforts to kick in.  If you have already started a PPC advertising campaign and have become familiar with the process, there is a PPC tactic called Google Dynamic Keyword Insertion that you should be aware of.  If you are not familiar with Dynamic Keyword Insertion it is a part of Google AdWords that helps you to save time when creating multiple ads for a pay per click advertising campaign.

What Exactly is Dynamic Keyword Insertion or DKI?

If you run multiple AdWords campaigns Dynamic Keyword Insertion provides you with a way to insert keywords into ad headlines in an automated fashion without having to type them in by hand.  This can be a real time saver if you run more than one campaign or if your PPC campaign is huge.

Although Dynamic Keyword Insertion helps PPC experts manage campaigns easier, DKI can also be used to manage multiple campaigns when you have a small business.  Like anything that makes life easier there are also things that you must be aware of when using this tool for pay per click advertising.

AdWords Tips for Using Dynamic Keyword Insertion

The first thing to remember when using Dynamic Keyword Insertion is you must be original if you want your ad to receive click throughs.  Additionally, one of the aspects of a good headline is using the keywords and phrases your audience uses in their organic searches.  If you use the words your visitors use they will notice that the words are being used in your ad and click on it.

  • Consider the Character Length: When using DKI there is a 25-character limit for writing headlines in Google AdWords.  If you have a keyword phrase that is right at the limit you can use a few of the keywords intermixed with an original headline.  You should use extra words that emphasize a benefit such as “reduced,” “fast,” or “easy”.
  • Be Descriptive: Make sure the headlines you write clearly describe what the reader can expect when they arrive on your page after clicking through the ad.  “Make Money Fast!” is not going to do the trick however, “Discount NFL Tickets” tells the reader a little more about what to expect.
  • Keep the Letter “F” in Mind: Visual tests of Internet surfers have shown that most people scan the page in the form of the letter “F” looking down the left side and then across to the right.  If the headline of your ad is unique it is highly likely it will capture the attention of your target market based on this pattern.

Finally, make a point of testing and tracking all of your pay per click advertising campaigns.  More often than not, changing something as simple as one word can change the course of your campaign and testing ensures that you get the most out of your PPC marketing dollars.

Debra Leitl is the Mentor in Residence at eMentormarketing.com you can find her on twitter @MentorMarketing. Her specialty is interactive marketing with a focus on ecommerce and online marketing strategy. She has over 15 years of professional work experience in retail business management, strategic management consulting, and new business development.

This Week in Search August 20-26

It’s been another great week of content online. Here are some great picks to read through:

SEO

WTF are rel=”dofollow” & rel=”noindex” – Andy Beard

How to Rescue Poorly Converting Web Sites – Search Engine Land

Showing more results from a domain – Google Webmaster Central Blog

Blekko: A Search Engine Which Is Also A Killer SEO Tool – Search Engine Land

E-Commerce SEO: Making Product Pages into Great Content – Whiteboard Friday – SEOmoz

28 New Link Building Resources: the “Dixon Jones Rocks” Edition (8/20 – 8/26) – Ontolo

PPC

When Is It OK to Have Low-Quality-Score Keywords? – PPC Hero

8 Crucial AdWords Reports For Measuring Success – Search Engine Land

What’s In Your PPC “Pre-Flight” Checklist? – SEM Geek

Social Media

How Gap’s ‘Groupon’ Went Crazy Viral – ClickZ

How To Calm Employees Into Social Media – Outspoken Media

This Week in Search July 31 – Aug 5

There were a lot of great posts across the web this week. Here are some of the best:

SEO

Bing Maps Launches New User Interface – Search Engine Land

Video is Now a Must-Have Feature for Competitive SEO – Search Engine Land

How to Not Fail at SEO – Search Engine Watch

Linking to Internal 404 Pages Can Cause Search Ranking Harm – Search Engine Roundtable

Google: The Robots Meta Tag Is Cumulative (First Come First Serve) – Search Engine Roundtable

3 Tips for Effective ‘Link Luv’ – Search Engine Group

What to do Once You Make Front Page – RhinoSEO

44 Local Link Building Queries for Citation Prospecting and Opportunity Analysis – Ontolo

Facebook SEO: Optimizing for an Audience of 500 Million – Online Marketing Blog

Using Excel for SEO – the Grand Collection of Tips – Search Engine Journal

Introducing Google Small Business Blog – Google Small Business Blog

Social Media

3 Less Known but Effective Ways to Share Your Facebook Page – Search Engine Journal

Is Spamming Twitter Good Google SEO? – Read Write Web

PPC

AdWords Myths – common misperceptions about keywords – Inside AdWords

Modified Broad Match — Broad Match  as it Should Be – Search Engine Watch

This Week in Search July 24-30

Here is what happened in search this week as reported on many sites around the web.

SEO

The Clueless, but “Whitehat”, SEO – Sugarrae

DemandMedia’s eHow.com Using Interesting Expired Domain Redirect SEO Strategy – SEO Book

Breaking it Down – Why Site Navigation Matters – Search Engine Journal

SEO is Not All About Technical Changes – Search Engine Roundtable

First Evidence: Yahoo! and Bing Have Merged Search Results – EZLocal Blog

7 Cutting Edge Web Design Trends (That Can Actually Improve SEO) – SEOmoz

Social Media

4 Steps to Social SEO Success – Online Marketing Blog

PPC

Is Google AdWords Advertising Itself Honestly? – Search Engine Journal

SMX East – Register By Friday To Get The Early Bird Rate

If you are planning on attending SMX East in New York City this October, you need to register by this Friday, July 30th to get the early bird rate. For $1,195 you will receive three days of amazing content, make great connections, and come away with the latest search marketing weapons.

The multi track program includes advanced, intermediate, and beginner level sessions. Each session is focused on some aspect of search marketing, such as paid search, SEO, social media, local, mobile, and conversion optimization. This is not a conference you will want to miss.

For those who are waiting to fill out a speaking pitch form, I guess we will just have to wait awhile longer. Although their website says that their speaking pitch form will open up the week of July 19th, it still hasn’t shown up and there have been no updates as to when it will.

To fill out a speaking pitch form (when it becomes live) you can do so here.

To register for SMX East, you can do it here.

This Week In Search July 19 – 23

Here is what happened in search this week as reported on many sites around the web.

SEO

Stuck In Link Limbo? How To Craft Real Business Metrics For Link Building – Search Engine Land

Yup, SEO Can Be A Competitive Advantage – SEOmoz

Calculating Your ROI On Internet Marketing – Vertical Measures

5 Useful Tools For Calculating International Keyword Research – Search Engine Journal

18 SEO Items Commonly Missed In Web Development – SEO.com

Want More Link Juice? Here’s An Easy Way To Get It – WordStream

Social Media

Social Media Marketing BlueGlass LA – BruceClay.com

Drilling Down – Where The Bloggers Are – New York Times

PPC

5 PPC Management Blunders That Will Burn Your Cash – SEO.com

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