We’re officially a Premier Google Partner!

Were a Premier Google Partner

We’ve been a Google Partner for some time now (2 years+) and if you’ve been following us for a while then you’ll probably remember us shouting about it as if it were a brand new Bugatti. Now our hardworking team have pushed the boundaries once again and we’ve just received our Premier Google Partner Badge. This means now more than ever, Google has recognised us once again for our skills in Google Advertising. We’re so proud that we just have to shout about it! After all, if you’ve got it, flaunt it, right?

Premier Google Partner Badge

What must you do to qualify as a Google Partner?

Some of you are probably already aware of this but if you’re not as geeky as us lot then you might not know what this means so, let us explain. To become a Google Partner you must reach certain requirements put in place by Google themselves. These requirements are based on the company performance, the amount of money that goes towards ad spend & the number of employees who are certified in Google Adwords (for us that’s the entire team).

How do you become certified in Google Adwords?

To become certified in Google Adwords you need to pass the Goole Academy exams. Each exam is a little different to the other but they include: display, search, shopping, mobile & video. To pass the exam, the user must score at least 80% of the 70-100 questions right. These questions are based on real-life scenarios about the subject chosen to really test our knowledge in realistic situations.

Google Partner vs Premier Google Partner

How does Google make this decision and chose which companies become a Google Partner? Well, they look at aspects such as the overall ad revenue and growth, along with maintaining and growing a customer base.

As a Premier Google Partner, we have had to exceed the usual requirements put in place but when you’re a search engine as big as Google (with 3.5 million searches per day) why wouldn’t you set high requirements? This hasn’t phased us though because we love a good challenge at Rare Digital Marketing!

What does a Premier Google Badge mean for our clients?

A whole lot of benefits, that’s what! As one of Google’s few top companies with a Premier Google Partner Badge, we get better access to a lot of their newly developed features. This means we’ll be the first to know of any beta programmes or updates, and we don’t mean they’ll tell us a day earlier. Sometimes Google will give premier partners access to these applications up to a year before they’re announced to the public so we will have access to things our competitors haven’t even heard of.

Not only will we get better access, but we will also receive quicker and improved support. Not that we’ve ever had many issues with Google but should something occur we can contact our personal Google rep instantly instead of waiting on the support hotline. For our clients, this means we can have any campaign and website issues resolved very quickly, without the risk of deactivated campaigns and loss of money.

Keeping our Premier Google Badge will require us to continue developing as well as maintaining ad spend and conversions. Thankfully, as a Google Partner, we also have access to a range of free training courses to ensure we never take our eye off the ball.

If you’ve thought about investing some of your marketing budget into Googles advertising platforms then give us a shout! We’d be more than happy to speak to you about the options available and help you devise a strategy that will benefit your business the most and receive the best ROI.

We’re so confident that we’ll even offer you a free PPC audit, without any obligations to go ahead.

Find out what Google advertising can do for you now.

e-Commerce Lead Generation: Sales Boosting Strategies

Proven Methods for Generating Leads for Your E-commerce Business

In order to run a successful e-commerce business, you’ll need a steady flow of customers. However, if you’re an e-commerce marketer, you’ll know it takes more than setting up a few ad campaigns to achieve this.

The first thing to understand is that not every visitor to your store is there to make a purchase and more than likely the ones who are, won’t purchase something right away. This is where a lead generation strategy comes in. After all, yesterday’s leads are today’s customers.

By creating a lead generation strategy you’ll be able to attract quality traffic to your e-commerce site. In this article, we’ll demonstrate some best practices you can use to increase the lead generation for your e-commerce business.

SEO

We all know the importance of SEO in digital marketing and it’s no different when it comes to generating leads for an e-commerce business. After all, lead generation tactics won’t work if there aren’t any visitors to your store.

No matter what type of content you’re writing if it isn’t correctly optimised, you’ll potentially lose valuable leads. Think of targeted Keywords, product descriptions and meta tags as lead generation magnets.

PPC

Pay Per Click or PPC is a digital marketing tool, that allows marketers to bid on Keywords relevant to your business. If done correctly, your business can instantly appear on page one of a search engine and be in front of millions of people who are searching for products relating to your business.

Below we’ve highlighted some of the ways PPC can help generate your e-commerce leads:

Attract potential customers who are looking for what you offer.

Keyword ranking and traffic.

Grow your audience insight – learn more about your leads and their behaviour.

See what potential leads are searching, and craft your message to suit their needs.

Track ROI down to the penny.

Grow your lead database to optimise marketing platform to reach them.

Content

Before you ask, yes, e-commerce marketers do need to create content, especially if you’re dealing with products that are highly competitive. Take a closer look at the established e-commerce sites, you’ll notice they concentrate on creating content related to their target audience.

By keeping a blog or vlog section on your website, you’ll be able to drive leads automatically. All that’s left to do is create informative, valuable content for your visitors, (it’s not a scary as it sounds).

Cookies

Unfortunately, I’m not talking about the warm gooey type, no I’m talking about website Cookies. Although, these are just as delicious when it comes to e-commerce lead generation.

Every visitor to your website is a potential lead, with the help of website cookies you can retarget these visitors on Facebook, Instagram and Google Ads, based on nothing more than the cookies they received from visiting your site.

Cookies are by no means perfect. Lots of users block cookies, plus cookies eventually expire. However, cookies are a valuable tool in lead generation that allows you to take advantage of the e-commerce sale cycle.

Email list

A great starting point of any e-commerce lead generation is email marketing. This is because email marketing is one of the most effective ways of communicating and nurturing leads.

Convincing leads to sign up to your mailing list is only half of the battle. Once they’re through the door you’ll need to use the tools in your marketing strategy to convert these leads into clients.

Think strategically. For example;

Incentivise your mailing list sign-ups by offering leads a % off their first order. If your business is just starting out, MailChimp is a great email provider, allowing up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month, for free!

Social media

Like all areas of digital marketing, social media can play a big part in lead generation when it comes to e-commerce. With social media followers already showing an interest in what you have to offer; it’s simply a case of converting these people into leads.

Content – Social media content is just as important as web content. It shows your audience, what you’re all about as a company. Make sure you tailor your content to speak to your audience.

Soft sell – While it’s important to avoid hard selling in your organic social posts, don’t be afraid to include links to your website.

Social Ads – Social ads are a great way to generate leads while collecting information about your audience. Social ads allow you to target specific audiences and demographics. For example, fashion retailers can create different ads for men’s and women’s fashion, as well as age groups and even interests.

CTA – Just like any form of advertising it’s important to include a CTA within your social media content. This might include a buy now button or a link to your website or specific landing page.

Social media taking up all your time? Take a look at our 7 Free Social Media Tools for Your Business which has plenty of tools that can save you time and money.

We Can Help!

Generating e-commerce leads can sometimes feel like a difficult task, however, the more work you put into understanding you audience and their needs the better results you’ll seem. If you’d like more information on how Rare can help you improve your e-commerce lead generation click the link and get in touch.

Google Ads Guide (Part 3): The Perfect Landing

Landing Pages

Should You Be Using Landing Pages?

In short, yes! You may think your website covers everything your customer needs and it may look the absolute business, so why bother building extra pages? With landing pages you can deliver an even more targeted site offering to your search traffic; basically, matching your page content exactly to a users search term.

Think about an online shoe shop as an example; their site will understandably cover their entire collection, from Brogues to Sandals and everything in between. However, if a potential buyer is searching ‘white tennis trainers’, why show them anything else?

Tie your landing pages to your Adgroup theme and you won’t go far wrong, as the content users land on will generally match their search!

What Should Your Landing Page Include?

Title & Subtitle

Your title and subtitle should give customers a quick, punchy idea as to what your page is all about. In most cases, it is the make or break of whether a user will stay on your page or immediately jump straight back off, so if you get it wrong, it means poor performance and wasted budget.

To keep your site visitors interested, make sure the title relates directly to their search. Again, avoid trying to ‘entice’ people to your landing page, only to try a ‘bait and switch’, continuity from search, to ad, to landing page is key to a successful Google advertising campaign.

A great way to make sure you’re landing page hits the mark is to incorporate your keyword from your Google Ad (i.e what you specified users would search in order to find your ad), this ensures you are 100% on target every time. Likewise, a landing page subtitle can often be made up of the second line of your Google ad (providing you’ve put your ads together properly).

Service Description & Benefits

Obviously you need to let users know what it is you do and why they should pick you to do it for them. Normally, your website would do this and in great detail, that’s fine, but the nature of a landing page is to deliver the optimal information, as quickly as possible. Keep your descriptions light and stick to the key elements.

If you have already made a list of your service benefits to help create your ad copy then you’ve got one less job to do here! We often use benefits in list form on landing pages to give customers a quick overview and grab their attention.

Trust Marks & Testimonials

If you want people to trust you, they’re going to need proof. Add your industry trust marks and and logos for associations you’re a part of to give your customers confidence in your business.

Even better, add in some testimonials from your previous clients; there’s nothing people like better than knowing how much money you can make them, save them, or how you can make their life easier.

A Call to Action and Contact

We can’t stress this enough; a call to action and means of contact should be front and centre on any landing page! If potential customers can’t get in touch with you via your landing page, then all your hard work leads to precisely zero.

Make sure your landing page includes a contact form at the very least (this should also be your main conversion to track, giving you clear figures on how well your campaign is performing; no contact form fills = no good). We also recommend adding intermittent options for people to revert back to the contact form and ‘convert’ throughout the entirety of the page, don’t expect site visitors to scroll all the way back to the form on their own; people are lazy.

In most cases, link text with anchors will be your best bet; add a link in each section of your landing page which automatically scrolls back to the form on click.

If possible, you should include other forms of contact, such as a telephone number or live chat. Some people are apprehensive about getting calls back from ‘pushy salesmen’, or they may be reluctant to request a callback (especially if they’re looking at your landing page whilst at work; naughty!). Live chat can allow customers to connect with you ‘silently’ on their terms.

In some industries, a telephone number is a must. Think about ’emergency water pipe repair’, would you want to fill a form in and sit there getting soaked waiting for a callback, or pick up the phone and get straight through to a plumber?

A Few Things to Consider

Don’t Neglect the ‘No’s’

Depending upon your industry or market, there’s a strong chance that many site visitors, even after searching and clicking through, wont fill in a contact form, give you a call, or start live chat; that’s just the nature of the internet. Don’t give up! With Google display remarketing, you have a second (and third and fourth and fifth) bite of the cherry when it comes to pushing those potential sales over the line. We’re covering everything remarketing next time, keep your eyes peeled.

How to Build Successful Social PPC Ads

If you’re thinking about jumping on the social PPC (Pay-per-Click) bandwagon you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll be exploring what social PPC is and how it can help drive your business as well as demonstrating some of the best practices, so you can optimise your social PPC to get the most conversions.

What is Social PPC?

Social PPC is a form of digital advertising solely displayed on social media platforms. These Ads can be targeted to groups of users based on demographics, interests and topics. Ads are typically shown in a user’s “feed” or “timeline” with some platforms allowing advertisers to select their ad placement.

For the majority of platforms, advertisers will be able to utilise two bidding strategies; CPC (Cost Per Click) or CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions), with other platforms allowing for things like CPA (Cost Per Acquisition). Traditional PPC goal-based metrics such as CTR (Click Through Rate), Conversion Rate and Impressions are used to measure the success of these Ads.

Keys to Success

Identify Your Audience

Defining your audience is critical in the success of social PPC. Unlike search (where anyone who searches using a specific Keyword or words is shown your ad) a lot more thought should be put into your audience in order for your campaign to be successful. Are they consumers? Business owners? Where do they work? You should also consider their age, location & interests.

By taking the time to identify your audience you ensure your Ads are shown to the correct people.

Test Images

Image content is a massive part of social media and as such can play a big part in the success of your social PPC, and with good reason. The image is the first thing potential customers will see. If your image attracts their attention, they’re more likely to interact with your ad.

Don’t be afraid to test multiple images across your ads. It’s the only way to know for sure what works for you.

Tone of Voice

Similar to ensuring your ad uses the most effective imagery, TOV (Tone of Voice) is also important. For example, if your target audience were teenagers, you’d want to ensure your messaging speaks to them directly.

TOV can take a little practice so don’t be afraid to look at business similar to yours for inspiration.

Call to Action

Your CTA (Call to Action) is probably the most important part of any PPC ad and social is no different. The CTA tells the customer what you want to do, whether that’s a Buy Now Button, Learn More view a particular page. Make sure your CTA is clear and relevant to your service or product.

Consider Your Budget

Depending on which of the social media platforms you decide to focus your attention on you’ll need to carefully consider your budget. Platforms such as LinkedIn have the highest CPC in comparison with other social networks.

How to Measure Social CPC

How you measure the success of your campaigns will depend on your objective. But there are a few methods we find particularly valuable when it comes to measuring Social PPC campaigns.

  • Return on Ad Spend, just like regular PPC measuring your revenue, the number of leads and the CPA are all excellent ways to track the success of your social PPC.
  • Determine Additional Actions, aside from sales and leads you’ll probably want to track the number of Likes, Follows or Fans you receive from your Ads and derive a CPA from these actions.
  • CPC, it sounds obvious but CPC matters. If you’re able to tap into additional audiences or targeting that can drive customers to your site for less, you can begin to maximise your ROI (return on investment).
  • Landing page engagement set goals for engagement with the landing page. Whether that’s time on site, the number of page views or loyalty. Don’t forget about measuring the value of customers beyond social media.

 Why You Should Use Social PPC

While you may have noticed that “everyone” is turning to social media to advertise their business it isn’t always the strongest argument to why you should do the same.

Social PPC should be thought of in the same way display advertising, you’ll be able to determine who see your ad and when, as opposed to being led there by user’s search terms.

Unlike standard PPC, Social PPC has the ability to create a deeper engagement with users e.g. Like, Follow, Share and Check-In. Not just that but Social PPC is a great way to grow brand awareness, meaning that every click that doesn’t convert into a sale isn’t necessarily lost.

Google Ads Guide (Part 1): Setting Up Your Ads

So, your business is doing well, and you’ve decided to invest a percentage of your marketing budget into Pay Per Click (PPC) using Google Ads – previously known as Google AdWords So, where do you start?

In this article, we’ll be looking at the initial steps in setting up a Google Ads account.

What are Google Ads?

Even if you’re completely new to Search Engine Marketing (SEM) It is likely you’ll have heard of Google Ads. Google Ads is Googles very own advertising service, which allows you to place ads for your website on search engine result pages.

Google Ads campaigns

Once you’ve followed the initial set of your Google Ads account it’s time to create your first campaign. Before setting up your campaign, you’ll get the chance to select one, of several predefined goals.

These goals will help you when it comes to selecting the type of campaign you wish to run. E.g. If you select the goal Sales, Ad’s will advise you on the best campaign types for driving sales online, in App, by phone or in store.

Your campaign will sit within your Google Ads account and should be made up of multiple different Ad groups (we’ll explain these later). The idea of each campaign is to separate your products and ads. E.g. If you own a clothing store, ‘shoes’ could be just some examples of your campaign title with ‘heels’ and ‘trainers’ being their own Ad group.

Campaign types

It’s now time to select the type of ad campaign you wish to create. Campaign types determine where customers will be able to see your ads,

The current campaign types available in Google Ads are:

  • Search – search campaigns allow you to reach customers who are interested in your products or service via text ads. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focussing on Search Campaigns.
  • Display – display campaigns allow you to create visually compelling ads across the Google Display Network.
  • Shopping – You can create shopping ads which can help you drive online and in-store sales. Shopping campaigns are great for E-commerce businesses.
  • Video – video campaigns are just that. If your business uses visually compelling video content you’ll be able to use video campaigns to target potential customers via YouTube and across the web.
  • Apps – App campaigns help you drive app installs across Google’s networks.

Targeting & audiences

Targeting is a great tool to help ensure your ads reach the customers you want. The Location setting in the campaign builder allows you to target geographic areas, where your ads can appear. From this tool, you can target different geographical locations.

Example – Let’s say your business is based in London with much of your business being generated in the South. However, you’ve decided you’d like to generate more business in the North of England, such as Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester. From this function, you’ll be able to target these specific locations and tailor your ads to reach more customers.

Using the audience tool within Google Ads allows you to target specific groups of people with your ads. You can target audiences based on interests, intent, demographics as well as remarketing to customers who have visited your website in the past.

Campaign Budgets

Your budget is an amount set for each individual campaign and represents the average amount you’re willing to spend per day in your campaign. Your budget should be an amount you’re comfortable spending per day.

(If you prefer to think of your budget in monthly amounts rather than daily, you can singly multiply your average daily budget by 30.4)

Due to the daily fluctuation of traffic online, Google may allow you to spend double the amount of your daily budget. However, you’ll never be billed for more than your average monthly budget. (One tip to remember when setting your campaign budget, it to start small, Google recommends starting with a daily budget of £10 – £50 if you’re a beginner).

Bidding

When many of us think of bidding, we think auctions. With the prize going to the highest bidder. However, unlike a traditional auction, googles ad auction takes both the quality of your ad and the cost of your bid into consideration when determining the position of your ad.

Put simply, if a competitor sets a higher bid price than you, but your Keywords and ads have a greater quality score you can still win the higher position and pay less.

Understanding CPC

CPC or cost-per-click bidding is the cost you’ll pay each time your ad is clicked. During the setup of your campaign, you’ll be asked to set a maximum CPC (max. CPC) this is the highest amount you’re willing to pay for a single click on your ad so, be sure to set your max. CPC at a rate you are comfortable with.

Mastering Your Ads

Once you have defined your audience and set your budget, it’s time to put your ad copy together. Part two of our Google Ads guide explores everything ad copy, read all about it here…

Google Ads Guide (Part 2): Better Ads. More Clicks

Google Ads

Ok, so you’re ready to grow your business using Google Ads, you’ve set up your ad groups, done a bit of research on what your customers will search and know who you want to target, now what? Why aren’t your ads converting?

Unfortunately, identifying your keywords is only half of the job, you might attract a good amount of searches, but if your ads aren’t up to scratch, those audiences will count for nothing.

In this article, we’re looking at the ‘second step’ to Google Ads (the new name for Google AdWords); structuring your ad copy and setting up extensions. You’ve lead the horse to the water, now let’s make it drink.

What are the different Ad types?

Google Text Ad Block Image

Google Text Ads

The most common of all Google PPC ads is the ‘straight forward’ text ad.

Using headlines and descriptions, you can show your customers a brief listing of your business and services related to their search.

Responsive Search Ads

The new kid on the block, Google’s responsive search ads give you the opportunity to include multiple messages and let Google determine which ad combo (headlines and ad copy) will work best.

Although Google Responsive Ads can save busy businesses a little time; effectively letting Google do the work for you, you should always keep an eye on your campaigns! As Google state; ‘Make sure to regularly monitor the performance and status of your ads.’

Another thing to keep in mind, make sure each line of your responsive ad works on its own and in series, otherwise, you could end up with nonsensical ad copy.

Call Only Ads

Using call only ads is an ideal solution if you want to generate business through phone calls, without sending traffic to your site.

In search results, Google will display your telephone number, with no URL, so users only have the option to call; you can even monitor these calls, to determine how well your call only ads are performing.

Call Only Ads are a little misleading however, as you do still need a URL to get the campaign live! Don’t have a website? No problem, Google My Business offers a free (albeit incredibly basic) ‘website’ which can be used as the holding URL to get your ads live.

How to write Google Ads that get clicks

Stay on topic

Ideally, each ad you write should be targeted to a specific search term (a highly targeted keyword and ad group structure will help with this), don’t be tempted to shoehorn every service or product you have into each ad. For instance, if someone searches ‘X’ show them ‘X’, they aren’t interested in Y & Z too.

A good rule of thumb with headlines is to stick with one of the following;

  • Search Term & Location
  • Search Term & Business Name
  • Search Term, Business Name & Location

Keep things concise

On PPC ads, headlines are limited to 30 characters, with descriptions limited to 90; so there’s no room for War & Peace. To keep your ad copy concise, write a list of the key selling points of your business or service and rank them in order; thinking about which would make your customer buy or use them the most, this will be the basis of your ad copy.

As well as this, think about what makes you stand out from competitors, do you offer a free audit? Are you the biggest or the most trusted on TripAdvisor? These are all key elements to include in your ad copy too.

  • Headline two can be used for a call to action or business tagline
  • Make sure each line of ad copy makes sense on its own, not all lines are displayed 100% of the time!
  • Add key selling points and differentiation aspects where possible

Read our handy guide to ad text testing.

Ad Extensions

What are Google Ad Extensions?

Ad extensions are a series of extras that you can include on your Google Ads, which offer more information such as contact details, website pages, offers and prices to enhance your listings and customer experience. If you’re not using extensions at the moment, you’re seriously missing out!

Ultimately, the decision of which ad extensions are shown is left up to Google, you can’t really decide for yourself. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, Google uses its own algorithm to determine the best extensions to show, for which user and when; ideal really.

As a rule of thumb, you should use as many extensions as possible; giving your ads the best chance to generate clicks, if nothing else, using ad extensions will make your ads more visible!

What are the different types of Ad Extensions?

Call Extension

Call extensions let you add a telephone number to your Google Ads, giving users an opportunity to call your business straight from the search results page. This can help increase your conversions, particularly if customers know exactly what they’re looking for; a user searching ’emergency plumber in Sheffield’ for example will more than likely just want to call and get someone out straight away.

One thing to remember; unless you’re willing to answer your phone 24/7, you may want to consider scheduling your call extension to only run during your business hours.

Call extensions can have their own goal conversion tracking, so you can even monitor when customers make a call to your business, directly from the call extension.

Callout Extension

If you’re ads just need that extra little push to get people clicking, the Callout Extension is for you. Adding extra bits of information such as ‘Free Shipping’ (as Google suggests), ‘Buy One Get One Free’ or ‘Free Quotes Available’ can mean the difference between a customer clicking your ad and someone else’s.

You can even use the Callout Extension to increase your CTA (Call To Action), by including directives such as ‘Book A Valuation Now’, gently nudging your impressions into conversions. (Note: Avoid ‘click now’, it’s frowned upon by Google).

Location Extension

Using Google My Business (which is used for registering your business location with Google), you can add your location to ads; perfect if people are searching for businesses in a specific area.

These days, an increasing number of Google searches are SiL (Service in Location), such as ‘Taxis in Leeds’ or ‘Where to buy flooring in Doncaster’, this makes the location extension all the more important; showing your potential customers that you’re close by and ready to help.

Price Extension

Using the Price Extension is a great way to give potential customers your pricing, straight from your ad. There are multiple options, including ‘services’, ‘brands’, ‘events’ and ‘product categories’ so there will more than likely be a choice that works for your business.

There are a few key benefits to the price extension; firstly, if you’re using a price leading marketing campaign, a price extension can help highlight how much better value you are over your competitors.

Secondly, you can effectively reduce wasted clicks; customers will know in advance if they are willing to pay your prices, without clicking your ad! If they’re not, you’ve just saved yourself a few pence (or pounds in some cases).

Be warned though, don’t be tempted to put false, eye catching low prices. Although this may seem like a sure fire way to generate some traffic, it won’t result in extra sales (customers hate nothing more than being told one price, then being charged another) but it will result in ramping up your advertising spend.

If you’re considering a full eCommerce campaign, consider using Google Shopping instead as an alternative advertising stream.

A Few Things to Consider

Testing, Testing

Do we have all the answers? Does anyone? No. Everything you’ve just read is down to years of testing and refining. Keep a close eye on your ad campaigns and always monitor the performance of your keywords and ad groups. People searching a particular keyword that’s not lead to any sales? Ditch it! Got an ad group that brings in more revenue? Increase its budget!

Using marginal gains (make small changes at a time, you’ll see your ad campaigns generating some major leads and revenue; every 1% increase in impressions, clicks and conversions is money in your pocket.

It Takes Time

There isn’t a single ad campaign that’s made money overnight. For all the planning and perfecting you put into your campaign set up, the chances are it won’t have 100% impression share, with 100% click through rate and 100% conversion rate (if it does, come and work for us!). Be patient, have faith and keep on top of your spend to make sure you’re working on a positive return.

 Perfect Your Landing Page

There’s no point maximising your click through rate, only to send your traffic to a poor quality landing page. A bad on-site experience will never make you money. The next installment in our Google Ads Guides is all about the perfect landing page experience. Keep your eyes peeled.

What is PPC?

If you’re a new business, operate in a highly competitive industry or find optimising your website for organic results difficult, there is a way of getting your product or service in front of potential customers. Pay per Click (PPC), or Paid Search allow you to show your ads in results for relevant searches.

How PPC works

Brands bid on specific keywords and phrases based on an auction model in order to show their ads in search results. As the name suggests, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.

According to data, 30% of users who complete a search on Google click on the paid link. Although the other 70% click on the organic (non-paid for) ads, getting your brand into the top positions organically takes a lot of time and work.

Google Ads (previously known as AdWords) is the primary PPC platform, with Bing Ads; Microsoft’s own paid search platform, taking an increased share of searches. Both Google and Bing Ads allow you to find relevant keywords (using a keyword planner tool), build campaigns and create ads.

Sounds easy but you have to consider that if you are in a competitive industry you could be competing with companies with far larger budgets, profit margins and historic data against which a PPC campaign can be optimised. You have to consider how much you can spend and how much a lead or sale is worth to your business.

You should also be aware that setting the highest bid will not always guarantee you the top spot. Both Google and Bing use a ‘Quality Score’ to help determine the placement of your ad, and the actual cost per click. The quality score is based on a number of factors, with the ads click through rate (clicks/impressions) being the main metric to consider. Other factors include the relevancy of the text ad and landing page to the keyword.

Why is Paid Search Important for Your Business?

PPC is effective if you want to reach people who are actively searching for terms related to your business. With thorough keyword research, well-written ads and efficient bids you can get good returns for your efforts. PPC is measurable and trackable too so you can constantly update your campaigns to get the most from them.

Top Benefits of PPC

Page Position

As we have already mentioned, PPC ads give you the top spot on the first page of a search engine’s results (or top three, depending upon quality score) without having to dedicate time and resources to creating, implementing and maintaining an SEO strategy. What’s more, the search results above the fold (results you can see without scrolling down the page) are more likely to be seen than the results further down or on the second page.

Reach a Targeted Audience

As with any marketing campaign, if you don’t know who your audience is or what they’re looking for, your campaign is likely to be ineffective. Before embarking on a PPC campaign, research your target audience and the keywords and phrases they’re searching for online. This will allow you to reach the people who are searching for your products and services with targeted ads.

In addition, if you have a store or want to target a specific location with geo-targeting to ensure that only people in specific locations see your ads. For example, if you own a store in Birmingham and you want to increase footfall, you wouldn’t want people in Edinburgh to see your ad because it’s a waste of your budget!

You can also schedule ads to show at specific times of the day. If you own a shop or restaurant and you want to target people during your opening times, you can schedule ads during your prime business hours or the times that your customers are most likely to be looking for product or service. You can also increase or decrease bids based on how your website performs at different times of the day/week.

Quick results

In contrast to SEO which can take time and resources to maintain a position, PPC can ensure you’re at the top of search results quickly. This is particularly useful if you have a new website that has yet to attract organic traffic. Although PPC can get you quick results you should still consider it as part of a longer term strategy.

Launching your Campaigns

Now that you know what PPC is and how it can benefit your business, you might want to know more about where to start when setting up your campaigns. Here are a few of the factors you will need to consider before investing in PPC.

Goals

Before bidding on specific keywords or phrases, as with any other marketing activity, it’s important to know who you’re targeting in order to get the best results from your campaigns.

Knowing more about your customers and their background, goals, challenges and how your products or services can solve them will set you on the path to success. Knowing what questions your audience will be asking when searching for your product or services will help you find the right keywords and set the most efficient bid.

Ad Groups

Ad Groups help organise your keywords (the terms which people type into search engines) and determine which ads are shown in relation to those searches.

By breaking up ad groups into different segments you can refine your advertising and maximise conversions, by delivering highly targeted ads to a customer’s search.

For example, if you’re shoe retailer, you would create ad groups for each of the different types of shoe, sandals, trainers, boots etc. This helps you to create more targeted ads and make sure that relevant landing pages are included.

You can also assign different landing pages to different ad groups. This is important as, not only does the relevance of your landing page contribute to your quality score (therefore affecting the cost per click), but it also gives your business the opportunity to deliver highly targeted site content to your potential customers.

Imagine a customer searching for ‘Trainers in Birmingham’ and clicking your ad, if they suddenly end up on a page for ‘High Heels in Leeds’ they will quickly click back away from your site! Worse still, you will have paid for the click in the first place!

Ad Rank

Every ad is given an ad rank which will determine the position of your ad on the page or even if it’s displayed at all. Your ad rank is determined by your CPC bid and your quality score

Google Quality Score

Quality Score

Although the amount you bid for your ad plays a role in whether your ad displays for a particular keyword, your ad’s Quality Score is also taken into account. Google uses the quality score in order to evaluate keywords and provide users with the optimal experience and the most relevant searches. The ads displayed in the top results have to be relevant to the terms being entered into the search box, firstly to provide searchers with the information they’re looking for and, secondly to drive high quality clicks to your website. Even if you bid less than your competitors, you can still have your ad shown if it’s more relevant than theirs.

 

Find new keywords.

Google and Bing Ads are great platforms for finding new keywords for your business. Whilst your campaigns are up and running, the platform generates a ‘search term’ report displaying all of the keywords and phrases for which your ad has been displayed. This is extremely valuable information for both your PPC and SEO strategies because it provides you with a list of keywords that you know people are typing into the search bar.

Budget

Campaign budgets can help you manage your spend; however it is not advisable to totally rely on these budgets as Google does allow overspend. If your budgets are tight you can use the ad scheduling feature to ensure that your activity is live at the most important times of the day. Also, Google allows you to spread your budget out throughout the day.

If you have highly relevant or popular keywords in your campaigns, you run the risk of blowing your budget within a few hours.

Keeping Up with Google; Your Guide to Algorithm Updates

If you’re managing an SEO strategy for your business, you’re going to want to know how Google ranks your site and the factors that could help or hinder your success. If you want to understand the traffic patterns for your website and follow best practice for SEO then it’s vital to keep up-to-date with the changes to Google’s algorithm.

Algorithms can change up to 600 times a year as Google consistently strives to deliver the best results for their searchers, changing the information they’re looking for and the way they look for it. Although the changes are usually minor and won’t cause a drop in your rankings, every now and again, Google rolls out updates (Panda and Penguin) which have a significant effect on search results. Here’s our cheat sheet to help you understand each update and how it may affect your rankings now and in the future.

Panda

Google panda update

When? February 2011

How does it work?

Panda is designed to penalise websites with low quality or sparse content. The Panda update officially became an integral part of their ranking algorithm in January 2016 and gives the pages on your site a quality score based on the content of that page. This update looks for duplicate, low quality, spammy, thin and keyword stuffed content.

Believe it or not, the Panda algorithm update is now able to take user experience into account when it comes to ranking your website. This might mean that you need to run an audit of your site to make sure the content is as user-friendly as possible.

How do I optimise my site?

If you’re constantly updating your site with content, always make sure it’s high quality and provides value to your website visitors. Avoid keyword stuffing too! It doesn’t make for interesting content and the days of tricking Google into showing your website higher in the SERPs simply by adding keyword after keyword into your web pages are long gone. Google has become far too clever to be fooled in this way.

Other factors the Panda update looks for are duplicate content and plagiarism. So, make sure all of the content on your website is original and run regular audits to make sure nothing’s duplicated. You should also make sure other websites are not copying YOUR content because this can harm your rankings too.

Penguin

 

When? April 2012

How does it work?

The Penguin update scans your website for unnatural link profiles. So, if you’re using manipulative link tactics to build authority, Google might be on to you! Here’s the factors we mean when we say manipulative tactics:

  • Links from poor quality, ‘spammy’ sites
  • Links from sites created purely for SEO link building
  • Links from irrelevant sites
  • Paid links
  • Links with overly optimised anchor text
  • Keyword stuffing

How do I optimise my site?

In order to avoid being penalised by the Penguin update, you should remove as many spammy or low-quality links from your website as possible. Any ‘black hat’ SEO techniques you’ve been taking part in may leave you with a drop in rankings AND traffic so, when it comes to link building, stick to best practice to keep your site on Google’s good side. If all of your links are high quality and you’re not spamming the search results, you’ll have no problems!

Run through your content and make sure your keywords are mentioned naturally and do not affect the flow or readability of the text.

Hummingbird

 

google hummingbird update

When? August 2013

How does it work?

The Hummingbird update looks at user intent when they’re searching in Google rather than the keywords within the search query. This allows Google to show their users even more relevant content when they’re searching. Although keywords are still important, this update looks at each individual word in the query, taking the whole phrase into account rather than just the keywords, this is known as ‘conversational search’ and takes into account voice search when people are searching on their mobile phones.

You might have also heard of an update named RankBrain too which is integrated into the overall Hummingbird algorithm.

How do I optimise my site?

As long as you follow best practice in your SEO strategy, produce high quality content and make sure everything on your site is as user friendly as possible, your site should remain unaffected by Hummingbird. Its main purpose is to remove spammy or irrelevant content from the search results and give industry leaders and influencers a better chance of appearing highly.

The use of long-tail keywords has also become more prevalent with the Hummingbird update. So how to guides are likely to see your content be more successful.

Pigeon

When? December 2014

How does it work?

The Google Pigeon update is tied to local search results and aims to provide better local search results. The update rewards local businesses with strong organic presence with better visibility in traditional search results.

How do I optimise my site?

Factors causing problems for local businesses after pigeon:

  • Poorly optimised pages
  • Lack of quality backlinks
  • Improper set up of a Google My Business page
  • NAP inconsistency
  • Lack of citation in local directories

Mobilegeddon

google mobilegeddon update

 

When? April 2015

How does it work?

In another bid to move with technology and people’s searching habits, Google recognised the importance of mobile-friendliness in their algorithms. The mobilegeddon update ranks pages which are optimised for mobile devices in mobile searches over those which are not mobile friendly.

As more and more people move to searching on their mobiles, this will become increasingly important.

How do I optimise my site?

The mobile-friendliness of your site now impacts greatly on your site’s rankings. So, make sure all of your pages are as mobile friendly as possible and they load quickly.

If you want to find out how mobile friendly your site is, Google provides a free tool which will run tests on your site and show you the results. Click here to use the tool.

If you’re confused by these updates and how they effect your website, please contact us for more information.

The Ultimate Guide to Conversion Rate Optimisation

What is Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)?

Channels such as SEO and PPC are great methods for driving traffic to your website. However, once visitors are on your website, how do you lead them to take your desired action? The answer is Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). CRO helps you to work with the visitors you already have on your site and make them more likely to convert. In order to do this, you must first understand how they use your site, the actions they take and the elements that might be preventing them from completing your goals.

If you have an overall digital marketing strategy, it’s likely that you’re paying in some way to drive more traffic to your website and CRO will help you to get a much better return on investment for your efforts. Whilst PPC and SEO help to drive more traffic to your site, more traffic doesn’t always equate to more revenue. CRO helps you to boost revenue from existing website visitors, making it a much more cost-effective strategy.

Remember that a conversion doesn’t always have to equate to a sale straight away, you might be offering a free guide in return for contact details, a free trial, downloading an app, creating an account or any other goal you’re looking to get them to complete.

Why is CRO important?

Imagine you have hoards of customers visiting your site every day but very few, if any, ever take action on your site. You know that your ads or organic search results are working because they’ve clicked through. This is when you need to look at your website, make sure it’s clear and there are no sticking points.

It’s much more effective to convert a higher percentage of these existing visitors than it is to try and attract new visitors who have no awareness of your brand. Optimising your website helps to counter the effect of the limited attention span of your average visitor by giving them the information they want and need before they move on to your competitor’s website.

What will CRO provide for my business?

1. Make data-driven decisions

Before CRO, when making decisions about changes to your website, you would probably make changes based on feelings or on some customer’s feedback. CRO allows you to A/B test your web pages and find out for sure which elements work best and which need to be changed in order to drive more conversions. By evaluating results form A/B testing and analytics accounts, you can make data-driven decisions rather than basing them on gut feeling or guesswork.

2. Outrank your competition

Did you know that CRO can help to boost your SEO rankings? Whilst improving and testing your website, you will also be increasing the amount of time visitors spend on your website, decreasing your bounce rates. Search engines now take the user experience and bounce rates into account when ranking your website. So, by improving, you might also find that your search engine rankings start to improve and help you to outrank the competition!

3. Get a better understanding of your customers

Continuously analysing and updating your website will help you to understand your customers and define exactly what they’re looking for. Testing your website helps you to learn more about what your customers are looking for and the information they want before purchasing from you, this means that you can communicate more effectively across your whole marketing strategy too.

4. Get more customers

Doubling your conversion rates means cutting the cost of gaining new customers by 50%. By continuously updating your website, you create a better overall user experience, therefore turning more of these visitors into customers. So, you not only get more customers out of the visitors you already have, it also costs you much less to acquire each one.

5. Builds Trust

The better and more professional your website looks, the more customers will trust your website and see it as a secure place to enter their information and payment details. The more professional your website looks, the more likely your customers are to make a purchase.

6. Better overall experience

Finally, CRO results in a much better user experience for your customers, builds trust, provides a better ROI on your marketing spend and helps you to win more conversions. Not only will CRO help to improve your website, it helps you to create more refined customer personas and improve your overall marketing strategy.

If you’d like to know more about CRO and how it can help you to improve ROI, please contact our experts today.

PPC Myths Busted

It’s no secret that PPC can deliver great results for your business and is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your website quickly and cost-effectively. However, there are still many misconceptions about the PPC platform and how it can work for business so we thought we’d tell you all about the most common PPC myths and our thoughts!

1. High SEO Results Mean I Don’t Need PPC

You might be in one of the top positions of the search engine results organically but SEO and PPC can be extremely effective when used together. Remember that it can take multiple mentions of your brand for customers to remember and engage with you so if you can appear more than once in the search results, even better! If you buy ad space for the keywords you already rank for organically, it provides you with even more space on the search results page.

Although 53% of searchers click on the first organic search results, you’re still missing out on the other 47% of people who do not click that result! PPC helps to increase your odds of being clicked and driving qualified traffic to your website.

2. PPC can be set up and forgotten

It might be quick and easy to set up a PPC campaign and many business owners think they can set up their campaigns on day one and leave them to tick over in the background. However, if you don’t regularly check in to your account and optimise your keyword list, ad copy, landing page and other elements, you could be missing out on traffic and conversions and you could be letting your budget burn through with very little return on investment.

The more effort you put into monitoring and analysing your campaigns, the more you will get out of them.

3. No one clicks on PPC ads

This simply isn’t true! PPC might be seen as more of a traditional, interruptive marketing technique but it’s still highly effective. You might be able to tell the difference between a PPC ad and an organic search result but up to 55% of internet users cannot tell the difference between ads or organic listings. So, if you’re not utilising PPC, you could be missing out on 55% of internet traffic!

4. The more you spend, the higher you rank

This myth is also part of the misconception that only large brands with big budgets can run PPC ads due to the competitiveness of certain keywords. And, it is true that, with a larger budget, you can generate clicks and conversions in a much shorter time frame than you can with a smaller budget. You can also bid higher for keywords which can boost your position in the search engine results.

However, high bids do not factor into your quality score which is how search engines dictate the relevance of your ad, keywords and landing pages to each other. So, if your keywords and ads don’t match the pages you direct them too, Google will score you lower and, no matter how large your budget, you’re not going to appear top of the results.

5. PPC is too expensive and not worth the investment

Yes, PPC can be expensive…but only if you let it. One of the biggest advantages of PPC advertising is that you can set the budget to a weekly or monthly limit which means that you will never run over so you don’t have to worry about being out of pocket. The results you get from your PPC campaigns will depend on how well you monitor and optimise them.

6. I won’t reach the right audience with my ads

The opposite is actually true here. PPC is one of the most targeted advertising platforms you can use. PPC allows you to target keywords directly related to your products and services so your ads will only show when people search for those terms. In addition, you can target by location, time of day and so many more factors to drill down your audience and make sure you’re reaching the right people every time.