Search Engine Marketing
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
Recently, Experian Marketing Services issued its 2013 Digital Marketer Report, which has provided search engine marketers and small businesses alike with some interesting information. In short, the report essentially says what we’ve known all along, if you can’t climb the rankings, no one is going to click on your site. However, the report pounds the point home using some eye-opening statistics:
- For every Google search made, the odds are one in five that the searcher will click on a link leading to Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, or Wikipedia.
- Approximately half of the time someone searches, they click on one of the top 500 ranked sites in the world.
- About three-fourths of the clicks go to the top 10,000 websites in the world.
What We Can Learn From the 2013 Digital Marketer Report
So what exactly does that mean to you, the small business owner looking to get his head above water in the land of Google? Well, there are a few key takeaways here.
Friday, November 9th, 2012
Generally speaking, humans don’t like change. We tend to get stuck in our routines, and when things break schedule, frustration often ensues. People despise change so much that they will often hang on to their old ways even when newer techniques come about that are much more efficient. In fact, an entire niche exists for consultants who companies hire to come in and help enable employees to deal with major corporate changes such as the introduction of new software.
And when it comes to SEO, it’s no different. In all of my dealings with people in the SEO sector, I’ve found that SEO guys fall into two major groups:
- Those who are constantly changing what they do to try and keep up with what Google’s doing.
- Those who are still doing what they were doing 5 years ago, hoping they’ll see improved rankings.
Group 2 is who I’d like to focus on. This group is suffering for a couple of reasons. First of all, their inability to change is stifling their rankings…that’s obvious. However, there’s more to it than that. What they don’t realize is how much time they are wasting doing things that may not necessarily hurt their rankings, but instead are just sucking up their time. That said, I’ve come up with a list of outdated SEO techniques that it’s time to just give up already.
Thursday, November 8th, 2012
It’s safe to say that most of us have a classic love-hate relationship with Google. On one hand, the behemoth search engine is our lifeline for internet traffic. On the other hand, it’s constantly changing, and over the last few years it hasn’t exactly made search engine optimization easy. The Panda and Penguin updates have SEO practitioners reeling as they see their old link building tactics becoming useless (and in many cases, harmful)… which leaves many of us wondering what to do next.
But recently, Google has done something to make our lives a little easier. They’ve given us a little early Christmas present, and I’m here to tell you how to use it and why you should be thankful for it.
The Bad Link Problem
In April of this year, Google made an algorithm update that may have affected most of your websites. This Penguin update began penalizing sites for links of low quality. Well, if you are one of those who once subscribed to the “get as many links as you can” philosophy, odds are you have at least a few links out there pointing back to you from websites that Google has now deemed to be spammy. The result? Lowered rankings.
Monday, April 30th, 2012
Writing pay per click ads isn’t as simple as you might think. If you want to get targeted clicks that have the highest chance of converting, you have to craft powerful, eye-catching ads that your target audience can’t help but want to click.
Remember, mistakes in writing your ads will result in fewer clicks and possibly lower-quality clicks as well. The latter is especially problematic as it will cost you money as you throw it away on clicks that don’t bring business.
That’s why I’ve come up with this basic guide of dos and don’ts for writing PPC ads. After you’ve read my tips, leave your own by commenting below.
- Do include the keyword you’re targeting—Make sure you include the keyword you’re targeting in the ad’s headline and body. This is important for a couple of reasons. First, it reassures the searcher that your ad is relevant to their query. In other words, it tells them that your page will give them the information they’re looking for. The other reason to do this is that Google will bold the keywords in your ad. This makes your ad really stand out, increasing the odds that it will get noticed and clicked.
- Don’t use keyword-only headlines—While you do want to include your keyword in the headline, that shouldn’t be all your headline is comprised of. Your headline needs to have a strong hook. It needs to be benefit-driven, and it should be interesting enough that someone feels compelled to read the ad and click the link. Be creative. Be clear. Be compelling.
- Do focus on a benefit—Your ad needs to be benefit-driven. It should speak to your customer’s needs and wants. It should address a pain point. Your ad shouldn’t be all about you. It should be about your customer, and it should present your product or service as a solution to their problem.
- Don’t try to do too much in a single ad—PPC ads are pretty small. You have your headline and a couple of short lines of supporting copy. In other words, you don’t have room to do too much. You should only focus on a single benefit, problem, product, or service in your ad. If you try to do too much in a single ad, you’ll end up with a confusing mess that doesn’t attract any clicks.
- Do include a call to action—Like any other type of ad, to get the best results you should include a call to action. Whether that action is to click the link to take advantage of a special offer, call your company now (I like including phone numbers in my PPC ads so visitors can take action directly from the search results page), or request a free consultation is up to you. Just make sure your ad gets the visitor to take some sort of measurable, valuable action.
- Don’t stop testing ad variations—You should always be testing different ad variations and completely new ads to see which changes get the most clicks and conversions. It sounds crazy, but sometimes, changing a single word in your ad copy can take your ad from ineffective to immensely profitable. Never stop tweaking, testing, and tracking.
What are your best tips for writing a PPC ad? Share them by leaving a comment below.
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
The holidays are here, and shoppers are already placing online orders at a feverish pace. Wondering why you’re not seeing increased activity on your website during the holidays? It could be due to one or more of these 4 reasons:
- You aren’t optimizing for seasonal keywords—During the holiday season, certain keywords related to your products and services may suddenly see a huge spike in search volume. This is quite normal. These are called seasonal keywords. For example, during the winter, the search volume for “sweaters” will obviously increase as the cold weather is on people’s minds. Use a keyword research tool that gives insight into search trends so you can optimize your website for all seasonal keywords.
- You haven’t invested in PPC—Pay per click marketing is great all year round, but it can be particularly effective during the holidays. Consumers are using the internet to shop for gifts, and if you have a strong paid search presence, you can draw in lots of traffic. To get the best results during the holiday season, update your ads with holiday-themed copy. This makes your ads timelier and more relevant, thus making them more appealing to shoppers.
- You aren’t increasing your email frequency—Now is a good time to bump up the frequency for your email marketing campaign. Everyone else is doing it, and if you don’t, you run the risk of having customers forget about you during the holiday rush. Now, that’s not to say that you should be emailing often just to do it. You need to still make sure you’re sending value-driven content each and every time.
- Your offers are weak and irrelevant—Shoppers are pickier now than at any other time of the year. They want to make sure they stretch their holiday gift buying budget as far as they can. That doesn’t mean you have to be the cheapest in town, but you do need to make the best offer. Show your customers that you provide the best overall value. And don’t forget, offering great deals on shipping can be especially attractive during the holidays.
What are some other common reasons for a lack of holiday website traffic? Share your thoughts in the comments.