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ppc-icon-300Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is still relatively new and many business owners are still hesitant about investing their limited resources into an advertising system they are unfamiliar with. But, there are countless reasons you should make the jump.

PPC advertising has proven itself time and time again as a means of driving real results for all types of brands across all industries, but it also offers several other benefits lacking in other ad formats.

Compared to other ad formats, PPC gives you a whole new level of control and visibility. That means you can finally feel like you hold the reins on your online advertising. Combine that with a professional to help guide you through the dangers of PPC and you have a surefire combination.

If you still aren’t sure, consider these five reasons PPC advertising is worth your time:

  1. You only pay when real people show interest. One of the best parts of PPC is being able to always know exactly where your dollars are going and you only pay when an interested party clicks on the ad. That’s starkly different from most traditional advertising strategies, where you spend money with the hope your demographic engages with the ad.
  2. You set the budget and control the costs. PPC is amazingly flexible and can be made to suit your needs, no matter what they are. You can set the budget to your needs, including putting a cap on daily spending. Of course, the more you invest the more you get back. But, you can at least get your foot in the door and see some engagement with limited investment.
  3. You reach your target at the best time with the right ad. PPC allows you to target a certain type of person in a specific place at a specific time with a specific ad in a simple and easy to manage manner. With full customization of who you are reaching out to, you get to decide who sees your message and when, allowing you to deliver specific messages to your consumers at just the right time.
  4. You can see results in just a short time. Traditional optimization and other organic online marketing can have a huge impact, but they take lengthy periods of time to gain momentum before their effect is obvious. In comparison, PPC is downright speedy. You can see results beginning to take shape the day after your ad runs and make changes to your strategy as soon as problems pop up.
  5. You can use PPC to improve your other marketing channels. The information you get from PPC can inform all other aspects of marketing, such as which keywords are improving, which products are getting the most response, or to promote niche events that often wouldn’t gain attention on other platforms. If you want to refine your marketing, chances are you will find useful data in your PPC reports.

Merlin2525_Paid_Business_Stamp_2As online optimization and marketing become more and more essential to the success of smaller businesses, many small businesses are trying to manage as much online marketing on their own as they can manage with limited time and resources.

Most often, this results in the company taking on relatively small SEO responsibilities which can give a slight boost to their online visibility and performance while missing out on the larger benefits of hiring professionals. With limited resources, this may sometimes be the best option, although it doesn’t pack anywhere near the punch.

One of the biggest problems with trying to pickup SEO as a part-time strategy for your business is that SEO is only a part of the equation. These days online marketing is only truly effective when you use a holistic approach that combines social media marketing, SEO, paid search, and even traditional marketing.

Many smaller businesses employ someone savvy enough to even contribute to social media marketing efforts, but typically the do-it-yourself approach results in paid search getting neglected and you missing out on some of the most successful parts of a successful online marketing strategy.

You don’t have to leave all your pay per click (PPC) efforts to the professionals however. If you can’t afford to hire someone to take on your paid search marketing, you can still gain some humble improvements and increase your conversions with some beginner level SEO. Huffington Post shared a list of 8 things anyone can do to improve your PPC efforts, and you might be surprised at what you can accomplish by just sticking your toes into the pool.

If you are pleased with the results, it might even be the push you need to invest serious resources into a strong online presence in all areas.

This is pretty big news.  Google’s just released (on 9/9/10) a new site, called the Google AdWords Small Business Center.  This is a site dedicated to helping people learn more about how to use AdWords or how to improve existing accounts.

There are several lessons here, with tips and even a link to the AdWords Beginners’ Guide.  It looks to be a good place for people to learn about AdWords, although the site by itself doesn’t appear to be fully comprehensive.  However, they do include links to other pages, including a link that allows you to search for an AdWords Pro (such as myself, yes, I am an AdWords Pro) to help take care of all of the work involved in managing your AdWords account.

At any rate – if you’re having trouble with your AdWords account in any way, I recommend checking out Google’s new Small Business Center.  It might give you the help you’re looking for.

I got an email from Microsoft adCenter promoting the new alliance between Yahoo and Microsoft.  They’re calling it “Search Alliance“.  The aim is to have their online paid advertising fully unified before the 2010 holiday season, although they did say that they’ll wait until 2011 if they “determine this will be more effective”.

Microsoft bought out Yahoo, so now the primary tool behind both search engines will be Bing, and behind the pay per click (and other paid online advertisements) will be adCenter.  The Search Alliance has stated that each company will “continue to have differentiated consumer search experiences”.  Not sure exactly how they’ll pull that off with the same search engine for both, but they may just mean the search interface.

The support will be broken apart, Yahoo supporting the bigger advertisers, and Microsoft will provide support to “self-service” advertisers.  They are combining their platforms for the advertising audience, so ads put together under this new alliance will reach consumers using either search engine.  The Search Alliance brags that advertisers of all sizes will now be able to have access to a combined audience of nearly 577 million worldwide searchers.

At any rate, this is pretty big news – Yahoo and MS pulling together to battle the mighty Google.  I expect this may be an epic battle.

It appears that Fortune 500 companies on the whole have not caught up to the internet marketing needed to rank well for their primary keywords.  And many of them still don’t use pay per click marketing, even though the combination of the ones that do spend about 3 and a half million dollars daily for their keywords.

The interesting thing here is with those millions being spent, you’d think they would put the money into SEO to push their primary keywords to the top of the listings, but it appears that they are not doing this.  The companies are still improving on their listings, but it’s still a minority that are even breaking the top 50 in the SERP list for their primary keywords.

MediaPost has an article with details on the exact figures involved in the Fortune 500 SEO results, as well as their PPC figures.

As companies begin using more and more online marketing, SEO is only going to get more difficult to do well.  In some cases, businesses are worried spammers are going to get the organic listings more readily and are starting to look to PPC marketing for their search result answers.

This is something that’s come to notice mainly from Google’s real-time search results that were recently added.  This addition favors fresh topical content, over quality results Google’s algorithm can find.  This is something that spammers can get into very easily, and this is why more companies are starting to consider PPC and AdWords, where spammers are not able to get into at all.

HighPosition.net has more detail on this story.

It looks like holiday shopping this year has moved even more heavily online.  As companies are realizing that more people are actively searching online for their commercial searches, they’re starting to see the value of search engine optimization.

Because of this, the IT industry is starting to anticipate a high demand for SEO skills in 2010.  (Yay for us professional SEOs!)  In Great Britain alone, demand for SEO and online marketing skills went up by 40% last year.

The skills of SEO, pay per click management, social media marketing and web design are all being looked for, ideally in a combined package.  SourceWire has all the details in an article based on this story in the UK.  (And I have to add a little something something here – Tulsa Marketing Online does in fact do SEO, PPC, social media and web design.  Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)

Just a quick post.  I put a tip on DailySEOTip about Google AdWords’s Quality Score.  I tried to make it short and sweet, although you do need to understand all of the acronyms (CTR, CPC, etc.) to understand it fully.

I do think it’s worth understanding because of the fact it can make a difference between a $0.30 click and a $5.00 click (seriously).  So if you use AdWords at ALL, learn about it – if not from me, then somewhere else, but it’s definitely worth investigating.

Pay for link building?  What?  Yes, the different ways people do their link building vary from totally free to exorbitantly expensive, but one method a lot of people have not really considered is actually sending traffic that will build links to pages that deserve them.

There are different ways to use PPC to target your landing pages, but if you have good enough content you can use the traffic you attract to help create more links.  The cost will vary based on the keyword you choose, but in some cases this can be very beneficial for your SEO.

Julie Joyce at Search Engine Land has 8 tips to help you fine-tune this approach.

Brad Callen is an SEO guru and a PPC guru (as well as one of my heroes).  He’s released a new product for Google AdWords.  It plugs into Firefox as a plugin and allows you to do a few things.

It works any time you do a Google search, and it affects the “Sponsored links” results.  One nice perk he’s put in is an option to show the destination URLs for the paid ads.  Now not everyone realizes this, but every time you click on one of these ads, the person/company who placed that ad has to pay a certain amount.  Hence the term “pay per click”.  The option he put in lets you check out their pages without making the advertiser pay.  This is just polite, but lets you learn from other marketers who may be bidding on your terms, when you can check their landing pages.

But the nice thing, the huge perk of this tool is a little “View Keywords” button underneath every ad.  When you click this, it displays every keyword that that advertiser is bidding on.  I’ll let that sink in a moment.  Yes, every keyword – this means that you can see all keywords that any one advertiser is bidding on.  You can use this information to add new keywords to your own PPC campaign, use those keywords to test out for conversions in a particular ad group.  There’s a good chance the keywords that experienced advertisers are bidding on are converting keywords, and you can learn quickly from this.

Yes, it’s a little sneaky.  You’re taking all the work that the other advertisers did to do their keyword research and learn what keywords convert, and you’re just jumping past all that work and getting a list of keywords.  But it’s legit – and there’s nothing illegal about it.

Brad’s decided to go ahead and give this tool away.  I’ll go ahead and forewarn you, he does do an upsell, but the basic functionality of the tool are all present in the free version.  If you have Firefox and do any PPC at all (or just want to see what kind of things PPC advertisers are bidding on), it may be something you want to check out.  The name of Brad’s new plugin is PPC Web Spy.

If you do check it out, let me know what you think, and if it gets you new conversions.  I already got it myself, and I’ll definitely be using it to try advancing my own AdWords campaigns.