Why The Search Term Report in Google AdWords is Required Reading

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Thu, Nov 03, 2016

If you’re running ads with Google AdWords there is one report that is required reading, the search term report. If you’re not reading it regularly you could be missing out on opportunities, and more importantly wasting a lot of money. Even if you have a specialist or an agency running your campaign I’d still recommend reading it regularly.

If you’re not familiar with the search term report, it’s the words people are actually typing in that trigger your ads. So for GoogleSearchReportReview.jpegexample, your targeted keyword phrase is pizza, you could find in your report your ad was shown when people typed in pizza delivery, pizza recipes, and tombstone pizzas. If you’re a restaurant that specializes in pizzas, then only one of these phrases is likely of value to your business.

To Access the Google Search Term Report

To see the search terms log into your AdWords account and then go to keywords. You’ll see three tabs under keywords, negative keywords, and search terms. Click the final one and you’ll see the phrases listed. With each phrase you’ll see information such as the number of clicks for a particular word, the number of impressions it received, the cost per click, etc. You can also see the total spent for a particular phrase.

You can look at the report when you first log into your account or in individual campaigns, or even in a specific ad group. When you log in the date range by default will be the last 30 days. You can adjust the time frame by clicking on the date in the upper right hand corner.


Product Listing Ads

Since keywords aren’t used for product listing ads, you might assume that you don’t have search terms. In fact, there are. When you look at the keywords in product listings you’ll see just two tabs, negative keywords and search terms. Because a number of elements can trigger a product listing ad, you really want to monitor the phrases here. You’ll likely see products or brands you don’t offer and which you want to block.

Find New Keywords To Target

If you see terms that are slightly different than what you’re currently targeting, but that seem relevant, then you want to add them to your keyword list. Yes, the report shows your ads are being triggered by the phrase, but by adding it to your list you can target it more successfully. For example, you could incorporate the phrase in its own ad group. Again to use the pizza example, perhaps you find a number of searches for pizza delivery to a nearby suburb, Collegetown, for example. Since you do, an ad that says Pizza Delivery to Collegetown which will likely do better with that market then a simple generic pizza delivery ad.

Avoid Wasted Spend

One of the main reasons to read the report regularly is that your ads are likely being triggered by phrases that have no value to you. For example, say you’re a plumber in San Diego and notice that your ads are being triggered by the phrase San Diego plumber jobs. Since this is likely someone looking for work or a career, you want to block it. By adding jobs to your negative list, your ad will no longer appear when this word is used in a search. Not only does this prevent you NegativeKeywords.jpgwasting money on the click, but by eliminating these searches you’re lowering the number impressions your ads receive, which is also good.

An impression is how many times your ad is shown. Your click through rate is the number of clicks out of the number of impressions received. The better your click through rate, the better it is for your Quality Score. Because of the way Google’s AdWords algorithm is, the better your Quality Score, the lower your potential cost could be. So even if your clicks don’t increase, by lowering your impressions you improve your CTR.

Search Term Reports in Bing Ads

Bing Ads also reveals the search terms people used to trigger their ads, but in a different format. To access it, you have toSearchTerms-BingAds.jpg click the keywords tab. You’ll see a series of columns with keywords, ad group, bid strategy type, etc. Click the box to the left of the keywords column, which will put checks in boxes next to all of the words. Then look for Details slightly above the columns. Click the drop down there and then click all. You’ll see the search terms listed then.

How Often To Review Search Term Reports?

If the campaign has just started then I recommend checking it every few days, perhaps even daily if your budget is large and your keyword list extensive. Over time you can cut this back to weekly, perhaps even biweekly or maybe just monthly. Part of this can depend on what type of keyword match types you have in your account. If you have a lot of broad match, which is never a good idea, then you’ll need to review more often. If most are phrase or exact match, you might be able to go longer between reports once you’ve had the campaign going for a while. Either you way you want to have a regular time frame to review it.

If You’re a Business Owner, Take an Active Role

Even if you have an agency or consultant assisting you I’d recommend reviewing it yourself. With many of my clients I send them a monthly search term report for them to review. Most likely, I’ve caught most of the phrases we either need to target or block. Yet, it doesn’t’ hurt to have a second set of eyes review the list, particularly someone from the company. Occasionally there are phrases that are listed that only a person from the company might spot. If your current agent doesn’t send you the reports, then ask them to. It’s also a way to see how active they are with your campaign.

If you’re doing AdWords yourself or noticed that your agency hasn’t been active with your campaigns, then consider hiring a Google AdWords specialist such as myself. Reviewing the search term report is just one of many ways I get the highest ROI for my clients.

Tags: Google AdWords, Google AdWords Specialist, Quality Score

Google AdWords New Features - How To Take Advantage of Them

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Tue, Aug 30, 2016

With little notice, Google AdWords rolled out some major changes to its pay per click platform this month and if you’re not taking advantage of these changes your missing out. A lot of businesses still seem to be unware of them, but those that have are seeing significant results.NewGoogleAdWordsFormat.jpg

The changes to Google weren’t unexpected, but the timing was.  Google had announced these changes and some others with major fanfare in May. Yet, what had been implied at the announcement was that they most likely wouldn’t be rolled until the end of the year or even the start of next year. So nearly all agencies were caught off guard when they were abruptly released, with almost no fanfare.

Here are some of the biggest changes to AdWords and how you might want to take advantage of them.

Longer Text Ads

The biggest change is to text ads for search and display, which now have an additional 50 characters to work with. There are now two headlines and extra longer descriptions. In fact, they are now about what you’d find in a Tweet. With the new format, you go from having a 25-character headline to having two headlines that are 30 characters each.

With the two headlines, that can run concurrently on a line, the new ads look similar to organic listings, which is probably no coincidence. Yet, they can also run on top of one another so while you might be tempted to make the two headlines run as one sentence, that might not always look right.GoogleAdWordsText.jpg

The additional text offers a number of new opportunities for advertisers. I for one, have always found it limiting to keep within the character limits of the old AdWords ads. Yet, don’t just add text for the sake of filling out the character limit. It’s better to tighten the ads and focus on the important elements of your offer or service. As in the past, if the keywords they use in their search are in the ads, then they will be bolded.

If you’ve taken a set and forget approach to your ads or think you’re doing fine with your current promotions, you might want to reconsider this approach. Beginning October 26 the old ads will be discontinued. How this will be done is still to be determined.

What to Do with Your Old Ads

While Google will eliminate them in October, there is no reason to stop them all now. Continue running your best performing ad in each ad group and run this against your new text ad. Most likely you’ll need to get used to the new format so don’t lose out on leads as you adapt to it. In October when your old ads stop running, you’ll be a lot more familiar with what works in the new format.

Incorporate Your Keywords into Your Display URL

With the news ad format, you’ll notice that you have line for your url and then you’ll see that you can add two keywords to it. Actually you can add two keyword phrases, either of which can show up when your ads are displayed. If you add two words, they’ll both be included with an underscore between them. You don’t need to include these, but as always with many of Google’s features, if they offer it, then you ought to use it. At the very least test it out.

The End of Mobile Ads

Part of the reason for the change to ad format was the increase in mobile use, as well as tablets. In the past you could create mobile specific ads, but this will no longer be the case. So consider mobile when creating your ads. And also don’t forget the landing page that they’ll point to. Make sure it’s mobile friendly, as well.

Target Devices Through Bids

Although you can’t create ads for mobile, you can at least control how often your ads show across devices. In the past system, you could adjust bids for mobile, but computers and tablets were lumped together. Finally, tablets have their own bid adjustment. Depending on your business and your market, you might want to bid higher or lower on a specific device. This is where an analysis of your analytics is crucial to learning how your site does on various devices.

Update Ad Extensions

Although they’re not changed by the new format you’ll need to revise some of the other extensions you are using. For example, some of your site extensions or callouts might be incorporated into the new ads, so no need to repeat this information in extensions. Use the extensions to incorporate additional information.

Bing Now Offers Similar Ads

As with most features that Google AdWords offers, Bing has followed suit and also offers extended ads. And as always with Bing, they've made it easy to transfer over your campaigns to Bing. They usually require a little tweaking, but it still saves a lot of time.

Get Help With Google AdWords and Stay Ahead of the Competition

These changes are significant and you need to start incorporating them now.  Hopefully your competitors aren’t aware of the changes yet and you might want to get a head start. As a Google AdWords Specialist, I’ve already seen a significant increase in click through rates with some of my clients.

Nor are these the end of changes to AdWords. More changes are coming so keep an eye out for them. If you don’t have time to monitor AdWords or to incorporate the new features, then it might be time to bring in a professional. As a Certified Google AdWords Partner I can take a brief look at your campaign and let you know if I can assist you with your campaign. To drive more leads and keep you ahead of the completion.

Tags: Googe Adwords Partner, Google AdWords

Why Isn’t My Ad Number 1 on Google AdWords Anymore?

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Thu, Jul 14, 2016

If Google AdWords were a simple auction format than getting the top ad position would be relatively simple. Outbid your competition and you have the number 1 spot every time. Yet, just as it does with its search results Google has an algorithm to determine where your ad is placed. It’s why one day your ad could be number 1 and the next day dropped a few spots.  Even from my own clients I often get calls asking “why isn’t my ad number one on Google AdWords anymore.”

To understand how your ads get positioned, you first have to understand Google’s reasoning for its system. Google only makes money if someone clicks on your ad. So it doesn’t matter if you’re bidding 10 dollars or 100 dollars, Google won’t make a cent if your ad isn’t clicked on. So while you’re bid is part of their ranking process it’s only one element. If you’re bidding significantly higher than your completion, it won’t matter if no one clicks on your ad.GoogleAdwordsBid.jpg

For the advertiser there is also a benefit to this system.  You don’t always have to outbid your competitors. If you have a strong ad and a relevant landing page your ad could appear above your competition, even if they’re outbidding you.

While that explains how Google AdWords work, it doesn’t necessarily answer the initial question of why an ad that was number 1 is no longer in the top position, even for a campaign that has been successful.

Here are some reasons your ad may have dropped out of the top spot.

You’ve been Outbid

Although it’s not strictly an auction, if a competitor has raised their bid and has an effective ad, then they’ll jump ahead of you. It could mean you just need to increase your bid. Keep in mind though that you don’t want to go too high that it’s no longer cost effective. In this case you might want to focus on other keywords that aren’t quite as expensive, but still relevant to what you offer.

There Are New Competitors On the Scene

It’s easy to become stagnant with your ads, particularly if you’re doing them yourselves and running your business at the same time.  You might not even notice that a new entrant is on the AdWords scene.  It could be business new in your area, or an old competitor who is just starting to advertise online. Suddenly they’re ad is more creative and seeing better results. This means you might have to come up with a new ad to beat them. This could take time as you might have to test a variety of ads before becoming successful. And increasing your bids could also help, in this case, as well.

Your Ad Sucks

This is often the case for a campaign that has only recently started or an ad that was just created. Your ads may have a strong history and when you created the new ad, Google simply gave you the benefit of the doubt and put it number 1. Then in a few days or even a few hours, depending on the number of searches, it might drop a few spots. People aren’t responding to it and so you’re click through rate has dropped significantly.  This means you need to go back to your old ad, or better yet, try to create a new ad that improves even on the older one.

By the way you should always have 2 ads running anyway as part of your test. The better one that you’ll keep and a new one that you’re testing against it.

Your Daily Budget is Nearly Depleted

If it’s near the end of the day or sooner, depending on your budget, it might be finances that are keeping you from being number 1. If you’re bidding 10 dollars for a term, but your daily budget is down to 9 dollars than that 10-dollar bid isn’t feasible. Google will go over your budget a slight amount each day, but it always makes sure. So if your ad isn’t showing see if it’s because your account is depleted. If you’re seeing a good return on your investment, then consider increasing your daily budget to keep from losing potential customers.

You’ve Changed Your Landing Page

This is less common, but I have seen it where a client redesigned their website and now their content doesn’t relate as well to the ad they’re running. Landing page is an element of your Quality Score, part of the algorithm Google uses to rank ads. If you're considering changing the content of a landing page, make sure it's content is relevant to the issue that prompted a prospect to click on your ad. Google will let you know if they think your landing page, like your ad, is below QualityScorePreview.jpgaverage.

To learn more about creating a successful landing page, read my article on 10 Elements of a Successful Landing Page. To learn more about Google's ranking method for AdWords, then read my article on Quality Score.

Use Googles Tool To Determine if There is a Problem.

One thing you don’t want to do is to be constantly going onto Google to check your ad. This can negatively affect your WhyNotNumber1.jpgcampaign, albeit in a small way. Your search will count as an impression against your keyword and thus impact your click through rate. It’s a small impact, unless you check regularly, but still a negative impact. It’s better to use the Ad Preview Tool inside of your Google AdWords account. This not only doesn’t count as an impression, but if you’re ad isn’t running for a particular keyword, the tool will tell you why.

Don’t Be Focused on Being Number One

I have clients that tell me that they want to be number 1 for a specific keyword or for all their keywords all the time. While this is a good objective, it shouldn’t be the main objective of your campaign. Your goal is to generate business, either leads or sales. So if you’re reaching your daily spend and getting a high return on your investment, then being number 2 or 3 might be more cost effective.  The goal of your campaign should be to generate as many relevant leads for your business as you can. It’s not about being number 1.

Let a Professional Run Your Campaign So That You Can Focus on the Business

If you’re not getting the results out of your campaign that you wish, from where your ads rank to the return on investment you’re seeing, then consider bringing in a professional. As a Google AdWords specialist I will examine your current campaign and give a brief assessment on your missed opportunities and wasted spend. Contact me today.




Tags: Google AdWords, landing page

How to Get Your Business Ranked on Google Local According to Google

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Tue, May 31, 2016

For almost any business to be successful today, they need to be found on Google. If your business serves a specific community, then it’s even more important that your found in the local listings on Google.  Getting found on Google Local involves a different strategy then regular SEO, as even they admit. Recently Google published an article on how to Improve Your Local Ranking on Google

Ranking on Google isn’t just about showing up on the search results page, but also on Google Maps. If you’re business is a destination, this is incredibly important.GoogleLocalListings.jpe

The first step is to get control of your listing through Google My Business. This involves a verification system that shows you’re either the actual owner of the business or working on their behalf.  In most case this is done through a phone call in which an automated system provides you with a pin number that you enter into the account. If it’s a new listing, you might have to use their mail system in which the pin is sent through snail mail. It often shows up in your mailbox within a week or two of having been sent.

Optimizing Your Google Local Listing

Once you have control of the listing then you can begin to follow the steps that Google provides in order for your listing to show up in the search results for the products or services that you offer in your market. Here are the steps that they provide:

Enter Complete Data

This involves making sure your telephone number, hours, address, and website address are all correct. In many cases some of this information might even be missing. Fill in anything that is relevant to your business.  if you have seasonal hours you can also include these, helpful to businesses that have summer hours or extended hours at Christmas.

One of the most important choices to make is the categories that you choose. You can add up to 10 categories, but stick to those that are most relevant. If you’re a dentist don’t choose categories that involve services, you don’t offer.

While Google has hundreds of categories their listings are by no means comprehensive. For example, I work with a junk removal company and there is no such listing for them. They have the seldom used garbage collection service. For lawyers there are a number of law practices not available. Find the best available category and hope that eventually Google does provide a category more relevant to your business.

Another step to complete is to add photos for your business. Google provides a number of categories to leave pictures on such as team photos, exterior photos, interior photos, etc. Here is a link to the categories they have for various businesses and the number they recommend. It can be hard to get photos for some businesses, but do your best. If Google’s recommending it, then its best to pay attention to their advice.

The final suggestion for improving your information is to manage and respond to review. Reviews are becoming more and more a crucial element for Local SEO and this is particularly true of Google. Responding to reviews isn’t just about responding to negative review. While this is important and should be done in an appropriate manner, I recommend and so does Google, responding to all reviews and to do so in a timely manner. According to Google, “responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.” So if it’s a positive review, then thank the reviewer.

How Google determines local ranking

In the second half of the article, Google reveals some of the elements that cause a listing to show for a person’s search results. In the past, Google used to show 7 listings, but now they’ve weaned that down to three. For many markets this means a lot of local businesses are competing for less than a handful of spots.

According to Google the businesses that show up are listed because of three criteria, relevance, distance, and prominence.

Relevance relates to how much your business meets the requirements of the searches. So that they show restaurants that offer pizza when someone types in pizza delivery and not show a Chinese restaurant.

Distance is about how close your business is to the searcher. So that if you’re a dentist and the prospect is two blocks away, then supposedly your listing would show if there are not many closer. If you’re at the other end of the city, unfortunately, your listing wouldn’t likely show.

Prominence is the most obscure of the three criteria. According to Google this relates to how well known a business is. If your business is a famous landmark or a well-known brand, then you presumably have an advantage over a business that few outside of the area know about.

Prominence refers to how well-known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands that are familiar to many people are also likely to be prominent in local search results.

More importantly, they state that “prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business's local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.”

Finally, the article warns that there is no way to request or pay to show up in the search results. That they do their best to keep their algorithm secret.

What Google Doesn’t Say About Their Local Rankings

As the last line of the article states, Google has an algorithm that ultimately determines which businesses appear in their 3 pack. I’ve actually been in the office of a business and searched for their service category, only to find they weren’t listed in the results. One would think that being in the actual business would be enoGoogle Local Rankingsugh to meet the distance criteria, but that isn’t always the case.

There are factors that Google doesn’t reveal in its articles that ultimately help determine which businesses show up in their results. They mention reviews, for example, but the number of reviews, especially if the majority are positive will influence results. If a business has 20 reviews and nearly a 5-star average, they have a better chance of showing then a business with few reviews or mostly negative comments. This is why it’s best if you’re constantly getting more review and hopefully they are mostly positive.

As the article intimated, they rely on data from other sources. The majority of these are online directories that people use that are similar to Google Local. This is why you want to get control of these other directory listings and make sure the information with them is also accurate. There are literally dozens of other directories and sites that Google pulls data from. Many of these have more detailed categories so while Google doesn't have junk removal as a category, they still list this category in their directory, because of other directories. GoogleLocalListingFactors.jpg

Surprisingly missing from Google's article is the introduction that you have for your Google local listing. This is one of the best ways to optimize your listing by including services or products they don't offer as categories. I recommend taking the time to create a detailed introduction that serves to help introduce prospects to your business, even they might not see it. Because it could influence for when your business shows up.

Finally outdated or misinformation can damage your listing. For example, if you had other locations that are no longer relevant or a phone number that is no longer active, then you want to correct them. Search on Google and see if they have more than one listing for your business. you want to get control of them if for any other reason to avoid any confusion Google or a prospect might have You don’t want a chiropractic patient driving to your old location and you don’t want Google thinking that is still where you treat patients.

These are only a few of the factors that determine how your business ranks on Google local listings. Each year Moz releases a very detailed article on local search ranking factors.

It can take a lot of work to ultimately get your business to ranked on Google Local. If you don’t have time to get the work done yourself then consider bringing in a professional. I’ve helped hundreds of businesses to be found online and most likely would be able to help with your business. Contact me today to learn how I can assist.

Tags: Local SEO, google local

A Successful Pay Per Click Campaign is Like a 3 Legged Stool

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Sat, May 07, 2016

I was one month into working with a new client when they asked me why after all the changes I had made, the campaign still wasn’t converting. I reminded them of what I said when I first reviewed the campaign. I could drive traffic to their site, but if they didn’t make changes to it, all my work wouldn’t really matter. I had pointed out issues to them even before I officially began. Issues with the website that even with all my work, we might not overcome.

A successful pay per click campaign, whether it’s on Google AdWords, Bing Ads, or Facebook only works is if all the right elements are in place. In this case, the client went another month before finally taking my advice. We didn’t do more than just create a couple new landing pages for the campaign. Almost immediately we started to see a significant increase in leads. Not only this, but we also started to see the cost per click go down.SuccessfulPayPerClickCampaign.jpg

If you’re doing a pay per click campaign and not seeing results than start to look at is if it were a 3 legged stool. If any part of the stool isn’t correct, then the chair will either wobble or worse fall down. This is why you need all three parts of your campaign to be solid so your campaign succeeds.

Just as it can be a mistake to dismiss a pay per click campaign because your landing page doesn’t work, the opposite could also be true.  Your landing page might not be the problem and in fact, could be quite effective. It’s just that the words you’re targeting or your ads create the wrong expectations.

Before going into the three legs of the stool, I’m going to preface this that first of all you have the campaign set up properly.  That you have your location set correctly so that you’re only showing up in your market and that your only doing search with this campaign.  These are relatively easy fixes so if not, you can remedy this pretty quickly.  The three elements of a successful campaign might take longer.

Leg Number 1 – The Keywords

The first step of creating your campaign is deciding what keywords you want to target. For some businesses this can be relatively easy. If you’re a pizza place in Chicago, then you want to focus on phrases related to pizza. If the ads only run in Chicago, then you can simply target pizza place or pizza restaurant or pizza near me.  It you’re targeting people soon to travel there you target Chicago pizza.

If you’re service or product is a little less common, then you’ll need to so some keyword research.

Google Keyword Planner is the best tool to begin your research. I’m assuming if you are doing pay per click, then Google AdWords is part of that plan. Even if it’s not you can still utilize the potentialKeywordTool.jpg of the keyword planner by signing up for an account, even if you don’t plan to use it. Bing has a similar tool, but I prefer Google’s.

If you have just a small budget, then don’t get carried away with the number of words you target in your campaign. Focus on the words that seem most relevant to your market. If your budget starts to increase, then begin to add words to your campaign. Whatever you do, don't use broad match keywords. You'll get a lot of terms that don't apply to your business. There are other keyword match types that are better.

Once your campaign has started you need to constantly monitor it. There are bound to be words that people use that don’t apply to your particular business and because of this you must block them. So monitor your search term report and each month and look for words that won’t generate business. For example, it could be for services in another market. Or it could be someone looking for a job in your field. Any words that don’t apply you add to your negative keyword list to prevent future wasted spend.

Leg Number 2 – The Ad

You can have the best keywords in the world, but they won’t matter if no one clicks on your ad. The biggest mistake here is to put all your keywords into one ad group.  You want to break them down by theme or similarity.  This way the ad you develop will be more relevant for the keywords you’re targeting in a particular ad group.

Here are some things you can do to improve your click through rates.

  • Include The Keywords Your Targeting in the Ad Itself. They will be bolded if they match the search terms people are using.
  • Create Mobile Specific Ads – Shorter text lines and different calls to actions such as call today. And take them to a page that works better on mobile, meaning less text and smaller images.
  • Use Ad Extensions – This allows for more information on your business, including a number they can click to call. Utilize as many that seem appropriate as possible.
  • Have a Call to Action in The Ad – This could be as simple as call today or redeem coupon or download now.

The more you can improve your click through rate the lower your costs can be as it helps with your Quality Score.


Leg Number 3 - Landing Page

Once they’ve clicked on your ad, you’re still not guaranteed they will be prospects. What motivated them to click on the ads, must be carried over into the page they land on. A simple example is if the ad refers to red tennis shoes and your landing page is all about black dress shoes, they’re likely to be disappointed. And if your landing page has a variety of shoes then you don’t want them to have to scroll down the page to find the red tennis shoes. If the page is all about red shoes they’re likely to be more satisfied and in the mood to buy.

One of the main benefits of having dedicated landing pages is that you can retain the interest of the prospects who clicked on your ad. If you send them to your home page, for example, they could be lost in all the options they have and most importantly, not see anything related to the issue they’re interested in.  They’re not going to search for what they want. They’ll simply back out and go to the competiton.

Having a dedicated landing page can be an additional expense. For some it means they have to contact their webmaster about adding pages. For many businesses the site they’re using hasn’t been updated in years and they are no longer in contact with the original designer.  This mean hiring someone, but be forewarned. If your current site isn’t mobile friendly, then don’t throw any more money at this site unless you’re planning a complete redo to make it more accessible on phones.

If using your website isn’t an option, then consider an option like Unbounce that allows you to create landing pages. unbounce.jpgAgain there is a cost to this, but if a landing page is going to convert more visitors into prospects, then this money will be recouped relatively quickly. This is why so many campaigns fail. They’ve done the first two legs well, but they’re done in by the third leg. It's crucial to have a successful landing page.

Once you have your landing page, don’t simply assume it’s the final piece of the puzzle. That will only be decided by your visitors. This means monitoring your analytics to see how effective the page is. If everyone is filling out a form, then you’re lucky, and to be honest

Whatever decision you make about where to send visitors from your ad, you’ll want to monitor what they do once they’re on your site. With Google Analytics you can see what is happening with non-converting clicks and learn from it. Does a user react differently with your site because of the call to action in your ads? Are they leaving immediately without doing anything? Use the data to evaluate your campaigns effectiveness. It could be that one of your legs isn’t as strong as you thought.

Not sure why your campaign isn’t effective. Then bring in a pay per click specialist such as myself to review your campaign. The cost of hiring a professional is made up by the higher ROI you can see and also the amount of time you free up for yourself to concentrate on other aspects of your business.

Tags: Pay Per click specialist, Google AdWords Specialist

Why Google AdWords Is Critical for Local Businesses Getting Leads

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Thu, Apr 21, 2016

When Google AdWords stopped having ads along the right side of search results, much of the talk was how it would affect cost per clicks. Yet, the change might be more important for the effect it’s had on Local SEO.  With 4 ads now showing at the top and the Google Local Pack just below it, it’s left little room for businesses to rank for their services or products.GoogleLocalSEOPPC.jpg

As you can see in the search results at the left, the number 1 ranking on Google shows up at position number 8.

This only reinforces what has been evident for a while, that businesses serving local markets need to use pay per click to generate leads.

I’ve worked with businesses in a number of industries from real estate agents to carpet cleaners and junk removal companies. And in nearly every case, pay per click has been one of the best ways to get their telephones to ring consistently.

Here are a few examples of how Google AdWords can help generate leads in a way that SEO can’t.

Ads take up the first position on Google, especially on mobile. As mentioned, the first four listings on Google are ads, so they dominate the screen when people first complete a search. The is even more evident on mobile devices where nearly the whole screen are ads. You have to scroll down to find the organic listings. Some will do that, but if they’re motivate enough, such as having a leaky roof, they’ll simply click on the ads.

Ads have features that the lower listings don’t have – Ads at the top stand out with features that tell prospects even more about your business, thanks to site links, phone numbers, addresses, and call outs. Combined all of these features can attract the attention of prospects.

Ads can be started in minutes to take advantage of current events – SEO takes time to show results so while they work for generic phrases such as leaky roof, you can’t take advantage of topical events or sales. You can change an ad to focus on a spring sale, or something that has just occurred.  Red Roof Inns began running ads near airports that only went on when a flight was cancelled and thus reached stranded passengers who suddenly needed a place to stay for the night.

You can target a small radius or a much larger area. Whether your service area is a few blocks or a 100-mile radius, with AdWords you can target all of your market area. While you might be able to rank in your entire service area, there is no guarantee of this.  With AdWords you can.

You can track your ads to see which words produce the most conversions. With SEO you can target a number of keyword phrases and while you can see which produce traffic, you can’t see which produce conversions. With pay per click you can track your campaigns and see which words convert the best. This information should also influence your SEO, as well. It should also influence your website. If a phrase isn’t converting, it might be that your site lacks crucial information that is preventing visitors from converting

You can target the competition – if you’re competing against a major franchise, you know that many people simply competitionLocalSEO.jpgsearch for their name when they have a need. So if you’re a plumber you can target the phrase Roto Rooter with your ads and potentially poach some of their prospects. Maybe this seems slightly unethical, but it’s actually a standard practice. Type in Midas and you’ll see ads for Meineke.

You Can Control More of Your Real Estate On Google – Just as you can bid on your competitors, they can bid on your business name. If they are, then you want to bid on your own name, as well. Studies show that running ads on even pages that your site shows up on, can increase click through rates, even for your organic listings.

People aren’t typing in actual locations, but assume Google knows where they are. People are typing “in near” me more and more. Looking at the data for many of my clients I’m seeing people typing in restaurants near me or plumbers near me. The number of near me searches has doubled over the previous year and will continue to grow dramatically.

For all the advantages of Google AdWords, if you serve a specific community or communities it should be just part of your campaign. Local SEO is about reaching prospects in your market at the moment they need you the most, whether it’s through an ad, your listing on Google or Yelp, or because your website does rank.

And also keep in mind, that the advantages of AdWords only occur if you’re doing pay per click correctly. If you’re spending a lot of money on Google AdWords and not seeing the results you expect, it might be time to bring in an expert. As a Google AdWords Specialist I offer a free review of campaigns and can do a quick assessment to see if I might assist your business.

Tags: Local SEO, Google AdWords

Why Trying for the Perfect Website Could Cost Your Business Money?

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Sun, Apr 10, 2016

A few months back, eight to be exact, I was having my regular meeting with my Google rep to review some of my clients AdWords accounts. For two of them she suggested I add call forwarding numbers to their websites to help track their conversions. We were already using call forwarding numbers for their ads, but this would incorporate the numbers on their actual site to tell us more about which ads were converting.

After reviewing this with my clients, both thought it would be beneficial. I started one right away, but the other revealed he was going to have his site redone to make it more mobile friendly. Since the new webmaster was promising a quick redesign we thought it would make sense to wait, as the new design would corrupt the conversion data.

This new site will go live soon, we hope. In the meantime, the other client saw a dramatic improvement in their conversions on AdWords because of the data we had. His cost per acquisition dropped dramatically and he’s getting a lot more for his marketing dollar. If we had known the redesign would have taken so long, we’d have done the conversion tracking with the other site, as well. PerfectWebsite.jpg

The problems causing the delay on the redesign were many, from decisions over how the new site would look to getting the form to work properly. The irony is that if we had gone with a less than perfect design, flaws and all, my client would have made much more money with his business. Thousands of dollars to be more precise.

Web designers often want the perfect website. And that is great. The problem is that can often take a long time to reach that goal. If it’s the first website for a business, then this delay keeps them from generating leads online. If it’s to get a business a site that is mobile friendly, then a long delay results in them losing business from people logging in on their smart phones. And if it’s simply to give the business a new look, then in the time lost waiting on the new design, might have been time creating new content for the old site.

If you’re thinking of getting a new site, here are some things to consider.

Don’t Spend All of Your Money on the Design.
This is the biggest suggestion I could make. A professional looking website is important, but if all your money goes toward the website and not to SEO or PPC, then what does it matter. Decide what your overall marketing budget is, then determine what you can allot to your web design. One report estimates that the cost of websites being anywhere from 15,000 to 80,000 dollars. If it means you can’t have all the bells and whistles you want, then table some for later when you have more to spend.

Don’t Have Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
Getting feedback from multiple people can be helpful, but trying to please them all can be a time killer. One person will look one background color and someone else a color totally different. One likes a specific font, while another might want larger text. Have someone that can eventually make a decision and not let it come down to being a political convention.

The Site Doesn’t Have to be Complete Before Going Live
Again the site should look good, but there are bound to be things that need to cleaned up along the way. If they’re minor and won’t interfere with a visitor’s experience, then go live and then continue with the changes.

The Site Should Be a Work in Progress Anyway
One really big mistake is assuming once a site has gone live that the work is done. That’s its can be put on the back WebConstruction.jpgburner until some new service is offered or the staff changes. Even if you love the new website that doesn’t mean your market does. Examine the analytics, especially if it’s a redesign. Does the data improve, validating your love of it, or does it worsen, suggesting potential problems? Look for pages with high bounce rates, when they shouldn’t or that don’t rank for phrases you thought they should. A website is not a catalog published once a year. It should be fluid to meet the needs of your market.

The Photos Need to Be Professional Quality
This might not be something holding up your site, but don’t think you need professional quality photos for your site. I had one client wait for over a month for a site to go live, simply because they wanted professional photos of all the staff and couldn’t coordinate everyone’s schedule. Using photos taken with your cell phone may be good enough and can be done relatively quickly. You can always swap them out later.

A website should be your best marketing tool, but to be effective it has to be live and then tested. You want to constantly tweak it if you can, just as you tweak your ads. Get your site up as quick as you can. This is why a growth driven website might be an option to consider. With many of my clients I start them with a template driven website that is cheap and then build it into their top salesperson.

Tags: Local SEO, Google Enhanced

6 Red Flags That A Pay Per Click Agency Isn’t Right For You

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Fri, Mar 04, 2016

Choosing an agency to help you with your pay per click campaigns can be a stressful decision. Not only are you investing money in them to perform the work, they’re also spending your money. If you make the wrong deBadPPCAgency.jpgcision, you’re not just out the money, but the potential business that money might have generated for you if it had been handled right.

Even though my main business involves pay per click I’m still contacted on a daily basis by “agencies” that can help me do better with Google AdWords. Often I’m amazed at how obvious it is, that they’re not legitimate. Or that they are going to do more harm than good with a campaign.

If you’re in need of a pay per click agency, here are some red flags to look out for when you talk to them or visit their website that will help you to at least eliminate those agencies that either are illegitimate or at the very least suspect.

1) They have fake certifications on their site.

Google has a Partners program that lists agencies that have met their requirements to be certified. These requirements include taking a series of tests each year on various subject, that their total client spend is a certain amount, and that they follow best practices for AdWords. Bing Ad also has a similar program, although not quite as intense as Google. Either way agencies or consultants that meet the requirements can put a logo on their site that links to their listing with Bing and Google.

Unfortunately, many businesses put this logo on their site and have no certification. On the site below neither links works on the site of an agency that contacted me. And if you search both directories for the company name, they’re not listed. A legitimate agency will either link to their profile or at least be readily found in the directory.


Now many excellent agencies aren’t part of the Partners program or certified for their work. Yet, they don’t have fake certification on their website. If an agency is lying about their credentials, then what confidence can you have in them to run your campaign.

Another thing to keep an eye out for are fake Better Business logos. A legitimate client of the BBB will have a link to their listing or at least can be found in their directory when you search it.

2)They boast of having a special relationship with Google.

As mentioned, Google does have a Partner program and in fact, I’m a certified Google AdWords Partner. Yet, that doesn’t result in any special relationship with Google. What it does allow is for agencies to learn about the latest features of Google AdWords and upcoming changes. Yet, anyone following the Google AdWords blog will learn the same thing. And some agencies will try to suggest that this “special relationship,” will help with SEO. Google AdWords and Google search are separate entities.

3)They have no command of English.

This doesn’t mean that you have to hire an American agency or consultant. There are many fine agencies throughout the world that might be able to assist you. The problem is if they have a command of English. Look at this excerpt from a letter I recently received from a company that wanted to assist me.

The ability of Google AdWords to deliver on the promises is something that you should decide to walk with. SEO seems to take much timeand you be ending to do a lot of work in as far as optimizing your website is concerned and it is because of this you need to choose Adwords camapign services. Adaptability is one of the principle reasons why there are many individuals who frequently wind up going to the AdWords campaing when contrasted with SEO.

Why we?

Our complete Adwords professioanls has broke down billions in paid searches. We're trusted specialists, committed to getting you deals and leads. Whatever your needs, our group of AdWords-guaranteed specialists can help you achieve your objectives. We've spared our clients a large number of dollars till date!

If they have this many grammatical errors in an email sent out, then how can they be relied on to write ads, or worse, develop landing pages. And this is one of a number of emails that I’ve received from a variety of agencies that would make an English teacher cringe

4) They have no staff on their site.

Nearly all reputable agencies have someone on their site, even if they don’t list all their employees. They even have a photo of them. I’m always amazed when I go to a website and its loaded with stock images of culturally diverse people smiling at one another. There are no names on the site and nothing to reveal who is behind the agency. Similarly, if you get an email from someone offering to review your AdWords campaign and they don’t list a website or a mailing address, then send that to your spam folder.

5) They ask for your login information.

It’ important for an agency to review your account, but that doesn’t mean you need to give them your login information. With legitimate agencies they have a Client Center with Google AdWords or something similar with Bing Ads. This means that this allows agencies to temporarily link to an account in order to review it. You grant them permission to link to your account to complete a review and then unlink when you want.

6) They guarantee a first place position

No agency can guarantee this, particularly if they don’t know the keywords you’ll be targeting and what your monthly budget will be. For example, if you’re a plumber in a large city, the cost per click for some of your words could be 50 dollars. So how can they keep you in first place for that phrase. How they’ll get around this guarantee is to get you number 1 for a word that most likely wont generate leads, but is only a few cents to bid for.

You want to take some time to talk to an agency representative or specialist before you hire them, and ideally you want to talk to a couple. Yet, by recognizing the warning signs of a potentially bad agency before you schedule a talk you can weed out the bad apples and not waste time on them.

If you’d like to talk to someone about your pay per click account and want someone with actual experience, feel free to reach out to me. All my information is on my website and readily accessible by anyone.

Tags: Googe Adwords Partner, Google AdWords

What are Google AdWords Impressions and How They Impact Your Costs

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Mon, Feb 22, 2016

Impressions are like a double edged sword. You want to have a lot of impressions for your ads, but they can hurt you if they’re the wrong kind of impressions. One of the questions I’m most often asked by clients is what are impressions and how they are figured. What they don’t often ask is how they can cut down on their impressions, which is often just as important.

First of all, you need to understand what an impression is. An impression is whenever someone is exposed to an ad you’re running on Google AdWords or any pay per click platform.  Say for example you’re targeting the word Boston locksmith and 5 people type in the phrase, then the number of impressions is 5.  Your ad will be triggered every time someone types in your keywords, provided you still have money in your daily budget. ImpressionsGoogleAdWords.jpg

The problem with AdWords is that, depending on the type of keywords your targeting and how you’re targeting those keywords, you can be getting a lot of impressions for words that don’t apply. Or in locations that don’t benefit you. For example, you serve the Boston market and target the phrase plumber. But you haven’t set your location properly and someone in Georgetown sees your ads, then that impression is worthless. And if they click on your ad, then you actually out money.

And having a lot of impressions can negatively impact your bottom line, even if you're not getting a lot of clicks on your ads.

How Impressions Impact Costs

As I wrote about in a previous article on how to improve your click through rate,  CTR is determined by the number of clicks out of the number of impressions you received for your ad. The better your click through rate, the better your quality score is likely to be, which in turn helps lower your cost. So limiting the number of impressions is one way to improve click through rate. Google gives preference to ads that get clicked on more, even over competitors who might bid higher, but that aren't being clicked.

One of the best ways to limit your impressions and lower your costs is to monitor your search term reports. These are the words that people actually typed in on Google that triggered your ad. In most cases more than a few of these words don’t apply. For example, Boston locksmith is a valuable phrase for a locksmith, but not if the phrase being typed in is Boston locksmith as a career. So someone typing that in Isn’t a prospects and its cost you money. Adding career as a negative phrase will prevent this from happening again. Not only will you not be charged anymore, but all phrases that contain career will be block form even showing, thus cutting down on your impressions.

Improving click through rate helps lower your costs as Google will begin to show your ad more, as will increasing your bids. Showing up in a low position will still generate impressions, but likely not very many clicks.

Your Impressions Count Too

Another mistake many business owners make is to search for the own ads on Google. They’re curious to see if What are Google AdWords Impressionstheir ads are running and so type in one of their keyword phrases. It seems like a small thing, but even this search has added to their overall number of impressions. Their need to know is understandable, but there is a better alternative. Under tools in their Google AdWords account is Ad Preview and Diagnosis. This is how to search for your ads. Not only will it not count as an impression, but if your ads aren’t running it will tell you why and what to do to change that.

Impressions Aren’t the End All

One pitch I’ve heard from other advertising platforms is their boasting of the number of impressions that a client will receive if they advertise with them. It used to be a tactic that sales people for Yelp will do and which the telephone companies do as part of their online strategy. What they didn’t tell you is how these impressions were generated. Are they by people actively looking for your service or does your ad happen to appear on a page someone visits.

Your ultimate goal is not to get a lot of impressions, it’s to get business.  This is why broad match is seldom a good idea for an AdWords campaign. Broad match can generate a lot of impressions, but by changing it to modified broad match you’ll limit these. If you are using home builder in broad match, then your ad could potentially be triggered by the word body builder simply because it has builder in it.

Impressions Just Became More Difficult on Google AdWords

Typically, when one thought of Google Ads you’d think of each page having 10 ads. Google recently changed that and ads only show up on the top of the page, thus limiting the number of ads to 4. This will drive down the number of available impressions and in the process drive up costs as businesses have fewer spots to bid for.

Should a Business Advertise in the Yellow Pages and What To Be Aware of

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Tue, Feb 09, 2016

It’s that time of year when local businesses are getting phone calls from their telephone book company and being told that it’s time to renew their listing in the phone book. And it’ that time of year wheYellowPages.jpgn business owners ask themselves, should I advertise in the yellow pages or put my money into some other form of marketing. They know that few use the phone book, but are there just enough to justify the monthly cost.

I’ve seen data that it’s about 5 percent of customer come from an ad in the telephone book. For some types of businesses, it could be much higher and for an equal number it’s much smaller.

I think if business owners were faced with just renewing their print ad, the decision would be pretty easy to answer no to. Yet, the phone companies have muddied with water by telling owners that the print ad is just part of their overall online marketing program. That digital is where most of their money will go to. And unfortunately some sales people for the phone companies have further muddied the water with practices and information that is deceitful.

I’m not going to name the companies involved, as I don’t know if the practices I’ve witnessed are the result of company protocol or just desperate moves by sales people needing to fill out the ads in a phone book.

What to Be Aware of Before Signing a Contract

I’ve sat in on meetings with a couple businesses as they’ve dealt with the phone companies and I’ve been surprised by some of what I’ve heard. The information they’re providing is inaccurate and some of the suggestions they make are unnecessary, and possibly a costly mistake.

That You need a Second Website

This has come up a few times with clients and has even cost me a client. They say part of their package is a new website even for businesses that already have one. They promise a website that is mobile friendly and can be used for promotion. The problem is that these sites are done for the use of the online directories and they want to show that this site benefits the business. So they use it not just for their directories, but also for Google and Bing, knowing it’s a large source of traffic. This is one reason they ask to claim these directories.

This pitch can work on business owners and I even had one client cancel my contract with them because they decided to go with the second site and couldn’t afford to have two. The problem is the site I had with them ranked high on the search engines and already generated a lot of traffic. I was fine with them canceling my service, but concerned at what the results would be. Sure enough they lost their rankings on the search engines with the new site and as a result a lot of new business.

If you need a site or have one that isn’t mobile friendly, then consider their proposal. But if you have a site that works, tell them no to their offer, no matter how low their bid is.  It’s best to build up one site than to have two which can confuse the search engines as to which to list.

That you Need to Be Listed in Hundreds of Directories

To justify the monthly fee a rep told us that they’ll be actively listing a business in new directories each month and that over 200 directories will be involved. This is a tactic that used to work for SEO and one I often did myself. Today, this strategy no longer applies. There are about 45 to 50 directories that you want to be listed in and which influence your results on Google local search results. With these directories you need to make sure that all your information is complete and accurate.  Spending money on these other directories is a waste of money.

Giving Up Control of Google, Bing and Yelp

Part of their sales pitch involves their claiming the main directories you want to be found in such as Google. That is fine if you haven’t claimed it and or have someone working for you.  If you already have done something with these directories, don’t relinquish control if you don’t plan to make future updates or your consultant does. You want to be able to respond to reviews in a timely manner and add photos and videos when you can.

That you Need to Have a Forwarding Number in the Telephone Book

This is one thing that makes sense from a marketing perspective, but which from a business owners standpoint is hard to swallow. This may be a generational thing for some owners as they think of the phone book as the place that people look for their number in. Yet, it’s about the only way for the phone books to show their being used. Yet, even with this data, this doesn’t prove the phone book has worth as a marketing tool. Are they looking for the number of a business they’re already aware of or looking in a category for some product or service? And if they need a healthcare provider are they looking in the telephone book at an ad or visiting a website that has a bio, testimonials, and images.TelephoneBookAds.jpg

Are People Using Their Online Directories

The telephone companies were late to the search market, but they’ve been aggressive in their efforts to keep up, especially with clients under contract. The problem is that how often do people actually use their online directories.  This is where reviewing your Google Analytics on a regular basis is important. Are you getting referrals from YP.com or Dex? If you’re in a major metropolitan area, then the numbers of users of these sites might be a small percentage, but still enough numbers to warrant their cost. For smaller cities, however, the number of prospects using these directories is not enough to justify their cost.

Would Your Money Be Better Spent Somewhere Else?

This might be the deciding factor.  The monthly fee for the telephone directories can be expensive. Would this same money be better off being used on pay per click or in building up your website? Thousands of dollars for a yellow page ad and their digital marketing program is a lot and could results in a significant number of clicks on Google AdWords by people actively looking for your products or services.

If you’re undecided about taking out an ad in the telephone book or looking for online marketing assistance, then contact me. We can discuss where the best value for your marketing dollars might be.

Tags: pay per click managment, Local SEO