How To Set Up A Successful Google AdWords Campaign

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Thu, May 21, 2015

Although every Google AdWords campaign has a different strategy, the framework for most successful campaigns is the same. No matter what your business is or your market, you essentially begin with many of the same settings. Here are some things you need to do when setting up any successful Google AdWords campaign.

Keyword Research
Use Keyword Planner to develop a keyword list. This should be your first step so you know how the campaignWhat_Goes_Into_An_Ad will be set up. Depending on your business, the keyword list could be quite extensive. I won’t go into all what is needed here, but assume you have some understanding of how to find phrases. Once you have your list group the words into Ad Groups that have a similar theme. It seems obvious but don’t put dog clothes and cat clothes in the same ad group. Or emergency plumbing and sewer line repair. It helps to plan all this out before you begin your campaign. This way you’ll know how to set up the Ad Groups in your campaign.

Landing Pages
Now that you have your list of phrases and have grouped them according to theme, determine where you’ll send them. Ideally you’ll be able to take prospects to landing pages designed for each ad group. If not, determine what pages on your current site would work best. Too often people use the home page, but this seldom is the best idea. Most likely your home page is designed for a number of types of visitors and people who’ve clicked on your ad may not see what they’re looking for right away. If your campaign starts to show a good profit, however, then begin to invest in landing pages, especially for your big ticket items. It will help tremendously with conversions.

Campaign Settings
This is where you determine where your ads run and when. If your market is national or a small radius in aCampaignSetup community, it’s imperative you put this right when you set up the campaign. Except for your time zone and type of campaign, most of this can be adjusted later. Choose Search only and not Search and Display. One thing to remember to do is to click All Features, so you can take advantage of all the features AdWords offers. After this under advanced location settings look for Locations options. Then click People in my Targeted Market. This will avoid people from other areas seeing your ad and who might not really be in your market.

Another important setting is under Ad Rotation. Especially starting out you want to be testing your ads so you want them to Rotate Evenly. This way you’ll be able to test the ads you create. You can always switch this to one of the other options when you have some data with which Google can work with.

Ad Groups
By the time you’ve gotten to this step you should have a good idea of how the Ad Groups are going to be. Copy and paste the words you’ve assigned to each ad group. Then incorporate the main phrase from each Ad Group in the ads you’re creating. Create two ads for sure, possibly three, but no more than that.  This way you can get data on each ad to see which has the best click through rate. After you’ve been running them awhile begin pausing the lower performing ads and create new ones to compete against your best ad. Hopefully these will overtake that one.

Match Types
Provided you have enough keywords in your list, make sure to put them in as phrases match, modified broad match or exact match. Only if you have a very small list should you use broad match. This could help you to develop a larger list, but this should only be a temporary solution. With broad match you’ll most likely get a lot of words that don’t apply.

No matter the match type you use, there are almost always going to be words that don’t apply to your campaign. For example, people might be looking for a career in your field. So Chicago lawyer might be a targeted phrase, but Chicago lawyer salary most likely wouldn’t be.  When you’re doing your keyword research you’ll most likely notice a few words that don’t apply. So add words like careers, jobs, etc. to your negative words list. This will prevent your ads from showing for these phrases.

Bids
You set the bids at the Ad Group level, although you’ll quickly find each word may require its own bid adjustment. The Keyword Planner will have given you suggestions on what the average bid is for a word. This can be helpful, but you’ll find it’s not entirely accurate. Still it will give you an idea on what to bid. I bid low to start out just to see what placement each word has. You’ll get data rather quickly on where the words rank so you can adjust. But by bidding low you don’t overspend.

Ad Extensions
What makes Google AdWords so successful are the extensions they provide businesses. These are features that help to further make your business stand out, from call extensions to sitelinks and call outs. Incorporate any of these that seem to apply to your customer base. Sitelinks especially are an effective way to add more information about your business and take them to more appropriate pages depending on their needs.

Most businesses fail with their Google AdWords campaign because they set it up quickly and didn’t put any thought into their objectives. Then after a few weeks they wonder why they’ve blown through their budget with little in return. Then they give up.  Avoid their mistake and take some time in developing a strong campaign from the beginning. Knowing what goes into a successful Google AdWords campaign will help you eliminate wasted spend and provide a better opportunity for successful conversions.

If you don’t have the time or someone on your staff to be responsible, then consider hiring a professional. Their costs will be more than offset, by their getting business for your company. There is no better way to market a business today then Google AdWords.

Local SEO for Real Estate Agents - Getting Found Online

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Sun, Mar 22, 2015

For a real estate agent Local SEO is crucial to getting new clients.  According to one report, 9 out of 10 people looking for real estate at some point look online. And over half begin their search first online. It’s not enough to be listed on the company website. They also need to be found in a number of other sites, including social media. Many Realtors thinks this means having their own site, and while this can help, it’s not imperative.
Having a strong presence online helps you reach prospects searching online for Realtors, as well as those who know your name, but want to see your experience. If you have a website, you want to optimize it for your community and your services, while having testimonials from satisfied customers. Yet, even if you don’t have a site, there are still many ways to be found when people search for Realtors in your market, including directories specific to real estate.Local SEO Services for Real Estate Agents

Here are some things a real estate agent can do to be found online, none of which cost any money. Follow these steps to improve your presence on the web.

Agency Site

The first place to begin is the main agency site. Find out what the site allows you to add for a bio. At the very least you should be able to add a photo and a short biography. Depending on the amount of text allowed, create as in-depth a bio as you can. Don’t just say you enjoy selling real estate. Give specific reasons you’re in the business. And think about what your clients say about your work. These can often be features to include in your biography. Also include any connections you have to your community, from membership in the Rotary club, to coaching a youth sports team.

Google+

Google+ was meant to compete with Facebook, but it’s never caught on with people the way they hoped. Yet, as a local directory it’s one of the first places people go to when looking for services in a community.

First set up a Google account if you don’t already have one for YouTube or Gmail.  If you do you should see your first name in the upper right hand corner with a plus by it. If there is no name there, then either log into your account or set up a new one. In both cases click the blue sign in button and then either log in or set up a new account.

Once logged in then click your name at the top. The screen will change to Google+ and you’ll see a button that says home on the left. Click the drop down menu and it will bring up a navigation bar. Look for the button Pages. After clicking for this look for Get Your Page.  I’d recommend choosing store front if you have a realty office. Use this for the address. For the number, however, use your cell number or office number, not the agency number.

For the categories make sure to have real estate agent as your primary listing.

Realtor.com
With Realtor.com you can set up an account by clicking on login at the upper right corner.  Make sure to click where it says login for Realtors. You’ll need your mls id and have to create a password. Include your photo and add a lengthy description of your background. Many agents just have a line or two, which doesn’t really give that much insight into their experience. Make sure to fill in all the fields they have available. Real Estate Agent SEO

Zillow

Look at the upper left hand corner for sign in or join. If no account then click join and provide an email address and password. You’ll receive a confirmation email that once you click on the link, allows you to log into your account.  Fill in everything that applies including the optional things like year started. Make sure to include links to your LinkedIn accounts, Facebook page, and website (either the companies or your own).

Trulia

Go to http://www.trulia.com/agents/ to create an account. Look for signup in the upper right corner.  Once you’re set up, then log into your account and fill in all the categories including your online accounts such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Also add listings. They’ll ask you to search for the property first to see if it’s listed. If so, then add it to your account. If not, create it.

Facebook

For Facebook you have to have a personal account first. Then look for pages along the left. There you can create a page. Click Local Business as the category. For the name, I suggest using your name and then adding Realtor behind it or real estate agent. Once you’ve created the page you want to get people to like it. Facebook makes it easy to do this by allowing you to contact everyone you’re already friends with. Once you have 25 likes customize the url for your page. Often the page will have your name and some letters behind it.  Go to https://www.facebook.com/username/ to customize it eliminate the excess words.

LinkedIn

To first create a LinkedIn account, look for Join Today along the upper right hand corner. When signed up, add your background just as if it were a resume, going from your present position back. When adding your current position, make sure to link to your current agency, instead of just typing it in. Once you’re set up, then start developing connections. The more connections you have the more likely someone seeing your bio will be impressed.

Reviews

Once you’ve set up all your accounts, you’ll want to get reviews or endorsement from satisfied clients. Try to make sure you spread these reviews around. If the person has a Gmail account, then ask them to leave a review on Google+ since they won’t have to set up an account. Trulia and Zillow make it easy to ask for reviews for their sites, by just having you input their email addresses.

A comprehensive Local SEO program for real estate agents will also involve pay per click, content marketing, and getting listed in numerous other directories, but this list is a good place to start. If you’re a Realtor and would like assistance with your online presence then feel free to contact me.

What is Local SEO and Why You Need it For Your Business

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Thu, Mar 12, 2015

I still hear from a number of business owners that have no idea what local SEO is. They know they need for their business to be found online, they just don’t know what that means. To them it means being found on Google. That is a large part of it, but Local SEO is so much more. And its much different than just regular SEO.

SEO comes down to one basic idea. To get a website found when people search for a product or service. With local SEO, however, the intent is a slightly different. It’s to get a business found when people search for products or services in a specific community. They might find a company’s web site, its listing in Google’s local pack, or their listing on Yelp or any of another dozen directories people might use. A business doesn’t even have to have a website to generate business, although it helps greatly for them to succeed.

While it’s not necessary to have a website to succeed in local SEO it is crucial to have a place of business. It could be an office, a place of business, or even a home. An address is necessary and this address is at the heart of local SEO. But if they’ve had a previous address, it could be this location they find.

One of the driving forces for local SEO is that much information about local businesses is in inaccurate. According to Yext, 21% of listings are inaccurate and even more surprising that another 49% are missing listings. This means that %70 of searches will result in either the wrong information or no listing at all, Local-SEO-meaning this is a lot of missed business opportunities. These searchers are going to competitors instead of the actual business they are looking for.

Why is Local SEO important? Here are some figures that show it’s importance.

  • 73% of activity online is in one way or another “related to local content”
  • 86% of all online searchers use local search to find businesses
  • 3 billion searches each month are for local-based keywords
  • 1 in every 3 Google searches from mobiles are local

Now that you know what Local SEO is, and why it’s important, here are a few things to be aware of.

Local Directories Allow Much More than Name, Address, and Phone

Most directories pull their information from a number of sources, but often this is little more than the basics. Yet, the major directories allow for a business to put in a wealth of information on a business, from links to a website to photographs and videos. Once you’ve taken control of these listings, usually through some sort of verification process, then you can build on your listing. This can make it stand out from competitors.

Having control of your listings can also correct any misinformation out there on your business. If you’re like me, you’ve used your smartphone to contact a business only to find the number is wrong. Or plugged a destination into your GPS, only to arrive at the wrong location. Things like this can cost a business money.

Telephone Directories part of local SEO, But A Small Player

The telephone phone books were surprisingly late to online marketing. While they were still selling businesses on full page ads in a phone book, consumers were turning to the internet to find businesses. When they finally came onto the market, they attempted to bundle prints ads with online marketing. They convinced businesses that had web sites to pay for new sites. And while the directories they sell businesses on might generate a visit or two, they are seldom the first directory a person turns to when they need a plumber, chiropractor, or a dentist.

When they pitch an offer, be wary of what they are asking for. If they’re looking to take over your online marketing as they boast of special relationships with Google, take a pass. And read carefully their reports. Is the traffic being generated in your market? I’ve seen reports where most of the traffic wasn’t even in the country, let alone in businesses’ community.

Google Doesn’t Call You

Most often people don’t realize they have an issue until Google calls them to let them know there is a problem with their listing. Unfortunately, it isn’t Google calling you. It’s a scam. Whatever you do don’t engage with the person on the other end or call them back. There is a way to contact Google and have them call you back, but that is the only time they call.

If you know that you need help with Local SEO, then contact a professional such as myself. Someone that doesn’t start out deceiving clients, but instead is looking to get them found by the prospects.

Tags: Local SEO

When The Weather Turns Bad, Can Your Business Still Benefit Online?

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Sun, Feb 22, 2015

This winter has been rough on a number of states, particularly those in the Northeast. It seems like each week another foot of snow is being dropped. It’s hard on the people living there and it’s been hard for the businesses that service that area.  There are a number of times when the weather can play havoc with a business location, but with online marketing there are things that can be done to keep your business going even when the weather has seemingly put a stop to it.

Take Advantage of Pay Per Click
Two main advantages of pay per click is that you can start a campaign almost immediately and target very specific locations.  This means you can start a campaign right away that is designed to reach the people in your market who you can still serve. For example, your drivers may not be able to get out to deliver food in vehicles, but you can still service people directly around you. Hand deliver pizza or Chinese to people that you know are within walking distance of your establishment. SnowStorm

People need to eat, and drink, no matter what is going on and if they aren’t venturing out too far, then run a neighborhood promotion. If everyone is getting cabin fever, you’re eatery or tavern make be very appealing.

There are always people who seem to get caught off guard by inclement weather and suddenly will be looking for rain gear, snow blowers, shovels, or better tires. Run campaigns that tout what you have in stock and maybe even run a special. People may not travel as far for some of these items as they would under ideal conditions, so let them know you’re in the area and offer competitive pricing. With things like shout outs and locations you can let them know you’re neighbors to them.

Take To Social Media

If you’ve been on Facebook, in particular and have a decent number of followers, start posting updates on your business on what is going on inside, while the weather is bad outside. It only takes a few people to start commenting, or better yet, checking in when they arrive at your location, to give other people the urge to venture out.

Don’t just rely on Facebook. Use whatever social media type you’ve developed a good following on and use that. Do whatever you can to get the word out that you’re open for business.

You don’t have to be a place of entertainment, a retail store, or service shop for you to generate word about your business. If you’re a roofer, for example, advise people on what to do to prevent snow from damaging their roof. Or if you’re a chiropractor, remind them to be careful shoveling and what they can do to lessen the strain on their back. It only takes a few minutes to post something of value that people will either share or comment on. And it only takes one person to later remember you’re business because of these postings and call you when they do need help to make that few minutes very profitable.

Take the Time to Write a Blog

If you’re kept in by the weather and yours is a business that isn’t presented with opportunities because of the storm, you can still work on your business. Take this time to write a new blog. This is what many business owners just can never find the time to do. I work with a number of small businesses and for some I write content, but for others they do the content themselves. Yet, even with my constant prods, they don’t seem to get more than a single entry every 2-3 months.

Be Mindful of Not Seeming to Take Advantage of Disaster

In the past a handful of businesses were criticized for seeming to take advantage of a disaster such as Hurricane Sandy. When well established brands such as Gap, Urban Outfitters, and American Apparel released emails and tweets that seems insensitive to the tragedy, the public responses was immediate and fierce. American Apparel was especially criticized for its Sandy Sale, when they told customers that “In case you’re bored during the storm, 20 percent off everything for the next 36 hours,”

If you’re offering a service or product that will benefit your customer during a storm then make sure the message reflects that. Don’t attempt humor or sound glib when doing any type of marketing. You want to build relationships with people not alienate them.

Don’t let the weather completely dampen business. You might now be setting records for business, but at least you’re generating some while the weather outside is frightful.

Why Mobile Must Be Part of Your Online Marketing Campaign

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Fri, Jan 23, 2015

The time to think about getting a mobile site is yesterday. If you’ve been putting off having a mobile friendly site you can’t keep putting it on your list of future projects. Yes, there is a cost for a mobile site, but it doesn’t have to be as bad as you think. And each day you go by without having one, loses more of your business to your competitors. Bad Mobile Site

Consider these statistics
• 67% of users are more likely to buy from a mobile friendly site
• 52% of users said that from a bad mobile experience they're less likely to return
• 7 out of 10 consumers look online first for local business information.

It’s not just consumers that are relying on mobile more and more. The search engines, in particular Google, are paying a lot more attention to mobile. 

Google's Push For Mobile

Google is now sending out reports from their Webmaster Tools to sites about issues they find with sites related to mobile. They offer suggestions on improving mobile usability issues they’ve found related to problematic pages and design issues. They also offer a free tool in which to examine a site from a mobile user’s perspective.

The importance Google places on mobile friendly sites carries over into its search results. Listings that go to mobile friendly sites are designated as such. It’s assumed this means they give it more importance as part of their algorithm.

If Google thinks you need a mobile site shouldn’t you listen? After all, they represent the vast majority of searches done online.
mobile friendly
Depending on your type of business the need for mobile might be greater. Restaurants, Realtors, travel destinations, have seen greater increase in mobile traffic. Yet, it’s very few businesses anymore that don’t have some portion of business that is from people on their mobile devices. The first step is to look at your analytics data if you’ve install any such software. And don’t just look at current data, but look at how much it’s changed over the last two years.

While looking at your data, look for the differences in people behavior based on device. Is your conversion rate lower on mobile and if this data isn’t available then look at time on site and number of pages viewed.

When doing research don’t just concentrate on your own site, but take a look at your competitors. Have they made the switch to mobile?

Types of Mobile Sites

There are basically two ways to have a mobile site. One is to have a site specifically for mobile. So when someone does a search your server detects their device and shows the appropriate version. With a responsive design you have a single site that conforms to whichever device is being used. There are advantages unique to each type, but in the end I prefer the responsive design. And so does Google.

"Responsive web design is Google’s recommended configuration when creating a #mobilefriendly site. With responsive web design, all devices get the same code and the same URLs, but the layout of the page changes based on the device."

If you do choose a responsive design take this in mind when creating each page. Too many photographs or too much text may create issues with a person looking on their phone. Forms can also be a problem, particularly if they’re long. Whittle them down to just the information you most need from prospects.

Cost Effective Mobile Sites

Hiring an agency to do your site can bGood mobile sitee costly. Yet there are other options that can significantly reduce the cost of a mobile site. Many hosting companies such as GoDaddy and 1and1.com now offer site builder programs the produce templates that are easy to customize. You don't need a site that is flashy or particularly unique. The content of your site, no matter who does it, should be the content. What makes your business beneficial to prospects. I've used these programs for clients and the cost to create a site is just a few hundred dollars. Less if you're willing to do the work yourself.

Either find the time, or the money, to create a mobile site. Like a decade ago when it became imperative a business have a web site, they now must have a mobile friendly site.



How To Know When A SEO Agency Can’t Be Trusted

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Sun, Dec 21, 2014

 

I sat in a client’s teleconference a few weeks ago when they were talking with their web design company. They’d done a nice job with the website, but now they were offering to do their SEO work for them, as well. It wasn’t long before I could tell that much of what the agency was offering was BS.SEOAgencyRisks

The problem was that for those not as familiar with SEO, the presentation sounded good. They showed results they’d had with other clients and implied they had a special relationship with Google that allowed them to do things other agencies couldn’t. Yet, it wasn’t just that this agency was overpromising what they could do. It’s that some of what they were planning to do would put the business at risk, if discovered.

For a business needing help with their online marketing, it’s not just what services an agency offers that is important. It’s also how to know to when an SEO agency can’t be trusted and thus be avoided. You can’t plead ignorance later if something they go gets you penalized. Google, Bing, or Yelp won’t care if you were unaware of what was going on. They’ll only know that your company violated their policy and as a result needs to be banned.

Here’s some warning signs that the agency you’re either working with, or considering to hire, can’t be trusted.

They approach you dishonestly

There’s nothing wrong with an agency or consultant contacting you, offering their services. It’s when they mislead you that you need to worry. Have you ever received a call saying its Google and there is a problem with your listing. Google doesn’t call unless you schedule a call first.  It’s a way for the agency to make contact with you. Even f they do good work, do you want to start a partnership with a company that deceived you to get your attention.

Another tactic is to mention issues with your site. I recently received an email that started out saying “I was analyzing your site and it seems that some of your website rankings have dropped. It is due to non-optimized techniques/errors.” Nice gobbly gook. How do they know my rankings dropped when one, they don’t know the phrases I’m looking to rank for. And two they don’t know what those ranking were in the past. They’re sending out a standard form letter in the hope that someone believes they legitimately know about their company’s history.

They Promise They Can Get You Positive Reviews


Reviews have become a key element of online marketing, whether it’s on Google, Yelp, Facebook or dozens of other sites. As a Local SEO consultant I advise my clients on how to approach reviews, both positive and negative. This includes encouraging them to ask customers to leave comments on their business. Yet, I never promise them that I can help them get reviews. And this is where I differ from those that can’t be trusted.

If an agency is working behind the scenes to get you reviews, take a look at the names of those they get comments from. If they don’t seem familiar they could be creating fictitious accounts and then posting the reviews themselves. This can work for a time, but often Google or Yelp can catch on to it. Then the positive reviews could not only disappear, but so too your listing.

I recently caught an agency in a lie when I looked at one of the businesses they were serving. There were 8 comments on their Google+ page, but when I looked at each profile of the persons leaving comments it was obvious they were fake. All the reviewers went to a dentist in one city, a veterinarian in another city, a daycare in a third city, and a bank in a fourth location. They were creating fake profiles and then leaving comments for each of their clients.

Fake reviews can not only get you in trouble with the site they’re posted on. There have been cases when a government has fined a business or an agency for the practice.

They talk about a Special Relationship with Google


This can be hard to discern if you’re not familiar with Google operation. I’m a Google Partner and I have a logo on my site to prove it. Yet, being a Google Partner relates only to the AdWords platform and nothing else related to their divisions. It has nothing to do with Local SEO, or SEO in general.

If an agency starts telling you that they have a special relationship with Google, one that allows them to do things most other agencies can’t, then end the conversation then. One agency that I heard a pitch from boasted they’d been partners with Google since 2004 and had an email to prove it. Unfortunately the department that sent the letter had long since gone defunct.

They Hide Their Address Or Company Name

Many of the emails I receive have an email to respond to, but never list the company website, phone number, or address. This should raise a red flag right away. Even when they list an address, it doesn't mean it really exists. I love to type in an address from an email I receive to see if there is an actual location. More than a few I've searched for return results that show a location that doesn't exist.


It’s all right to have high expectations when searching for a SEO agency. Yet, don’t let your desire to get ahead of your competition cloud your mind as to what the agency promises. Do the due diligence to ensure that the work they do has a lasting impact on your business in a positive way.

What You Should Know About Your Google+ Local Listing

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Sat, Nov 08, 2014

One of the most important marketing tool foGoogle+ listingr a business, particularly those that serve a specific community, is a Google+ page. It’s become what your Yellow Page listing used to be, a way for your business to be found when your customers are searching for what you offer. Yet, a Yellow Page listing was a simple matter as you simply paid for space and dictated what was in the ad.  A Google+ doesn’t have to cost money, but you also can’t control everything about it. Yet, you can influence it.

There are some thing you should be aware of concerning your business listing.

Google doesn’t Call You Unless You Ask

Among the many annoying phone calls that I receive are ones that claim its Google calling about my local listing. Most likely you or someone in your company has received one of these calls. The automated voices claim to be Google calling and that there is a problem with your listing. The thing is, Google doesn’t call businesses, at least not without having first been requested to.

Who is calling is one of many SEO companies that hope to trick businesses into hiring them, thinking there is an issue with their Google+ listing. There very well could be an issue with your listing, but most likely this business hasn’t even checked your listing yet. They’re just hoping to get a foot in the door with a company and only then will they take a look. Are you going to want to do business with a company that deceived you to get your attention?

There Could Be More Than One Listing for Your Business

One of the most common issues I see with a Google+ listing for a business is that they have multiple listings for their business even if there is just one location. There are a number of reasons for this. More than one person in the company could have created one, an SEO agency you’re worked with in the past created another, and Google might already have had a listing before new ones we’re even created. Whatever the case you usually only want one listing for an address or Google won’t know which to show. You could have a great looking page, but people could be leaving reviews on a totally different one.

In some cases, however, you might want to have more than one listing. For certain professions, such as lawyers, doctors, and veterinarians, Google creates pages for not just the business, but individual practitioners. This is all right, but you’ll want to claim these listings, as well. And don’t forget to look for page of people who used to work at the company. Claim these so you can delete them.

The Description Is Important

Every aspect of your listing is important, from having the correct hours to have all necessary contact information. The description, however, is often overlooked. An owner will just provide a few sentences and leave it at that. Take time to write the profile and include links to your site. Even though the listing allows for a link to the site, it also benefits you to incorporate a few into your description. For example, you’re about us page or a page that focuses on specific service. Don’t get carried away though and have a ton of links though or it becomes spammy.

It’s Not Facebook and that Can be A Good Thing

Google+ was initially meant to be a way to take on Facebook, but its never emerged as a serious challenger. Businesses put all their efforts into Facebook and many still see some benefit to it. Yet, Facebook took most of the business opportunities away through changes in their algorithm.  Because of this postings on Facebook have a very limited shelf life unless a business sponsors it.

Listings in Google perform the opposite way. Many posts will go unnoticed as even people that do follow a business pay little mind to their postings. Yet these postings are indexed in Googles search engines, so they very well can be found later, particularly if hashtags are used.  For example a lawyers posting on a new law in a city could be discovered by prospects in his community, weeks, months, even years later.

Photos are also an important element, especially if people visit your location or you sell a product. They too are indexed and show up in the results. For businesses that don’t seem as photogenic such as accountants, it’s still a good idea to have photos. It’s a great way to make your listing stand out.

Reviews Are Important

More and more reviews are becoming an integral part of online marketing. This is especially true for Google+. They help influence how often your listing displays. While they don’t want you directly asking for reviews, there is no reason you can’t ask for clients to leave feedback on your business.  You also don’t want to accumulate too many too quickly, but getting a few at a time will benefit your business almost immediately. The first goal is to reach 5 reviews and then build from that. Once you reach 5 reviews you'll see a star rating next to your business listing.



In getting reviews, don't amass too many too quickly. Try to get 4 or 5 a month, but not more than that. Or it will seem unnatural and Google could take action.

 

The beauty of a Googe+ listing is that even if you don’t have a website, you can still be found online. In fact, even if you do, people not even have to visit a site. Your listing could be enough for them to make a call or visit your business.

Your Pay Per Click Campaign Not Converting? Check Your Landing Page

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Sun, Oct 19, 2014

There is one element of pay per click that is constantly overlooked in a campaign and which is often the main reason a campaign fails. I constantly hear from new clients that they are ready to give up on pay per click because they're not seeing results and blame the system. Yet, no amount of traffic to a page will convert if the the page they land on doesn't engage them.

Google AdWords puts a lot of emphasis on landing pages, even though they’ve already made their money from the click on an ad. A good landing page is one of the criteria for Quality Score, their formula which helps determines the cost of a click. In their guidelines they advise to create pages that includes relevant, original content; easy to use navigation; and portray a company's trustworthiness.Bad Landing Page

A landing page is often a visitor's first encounter with your business. It is your opportunity to sell them on your service or products. If they're not convinced, they'll simply hit the back button and leave. You most likely won't get a second chance to convince them. And you're out the cost of their click.

Here are some reasons your landing page is failing your campaign.

1)    You don’t have one. This is the most common problem with advertisers. They don’t have a dedicated landing page and instead send them to a home page or an interior page that might relate to the product or the service.  This seldom works. A home page is usually designed for a variety of visitors while an interior page is designed to focus on a service or product and not the business providing them.

2)    The page doesn’t relate to the ad. An ad promises a visitors something, either that they'll find a product they're looking for or that a service provider can solve a problem they have. If they don't find that promise is kept on the landing page they'll simply leave. For example, if they're looking for a particular television and reach a page that simply has a number of models, but not the one they're looking for they'll leave.

3)    Having too much on the page.  Most landing pages created by a business person have too much copy on them. They try to do everything with the page when in fact, they need to do just enough to get the prospect to perform some sort of action (make a call, fill out a form, purchase a product). Go through a page and start eliminating copy. Then go through it again and cut some more. In very few circumstances do people read a lot of text. They scan.  So use bullet points, bolded text, and subheads to draw prospects in. If they need more information, then other pages of your site can provide this for them.

4)    Forgetting to sell the company as well as the products or services.  You can be selling a product at one tenth of the cost of your competitors, but if your visitors don't believe you’re legitimate they won’t believe in your offer. Incorporate a testimonial and any other social proof such as Facebook likes, customer reviews, or endorsements from third party sites such as the Better Business Bureau.  

5)    The graphics look like everyone else’s graphics. Think about how many websites that you’ve visited where you see the staff as a group of smiling beautiful people of diverse ethnic origins. You know these aren't the actual staff. Or that handsome plumber holding a wrench over his shoulder isn't the plumber who'll fix your sink. Take photographs of your employees or products. Even those taken with a cell phone will work. Prospects will respond more to the legitimacy of your photographs and not worry about its aesthetic appeal.

6)    Results aren’t being evaluated.  It’s not your opinion that matters, it’s that of your prospects. No matter how effective your page looks to you or to others in the company, only one opinion matters. That of the customer who clicked on your ad and who is now on your page. Even for pages that convert, it doesn't hurt constantly test them to improve results.

As the name implies each click on your ad costs your business money. And each visitor to your site is a potential source of revenue. Even if you have to spend money to create the proper landing page, this cost will ultimately be recouped the improved revenue your site will generate.

If your company is struggling with pay per click then maybe it’s time to bring in a professional.

Knowing How Often Do You Update Google AdWords Campaigns

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Mon, Sep 15, 2014

One of the things I’m always shocked by when I take on a new client for pay per click is when I find they’ve done little to almost nothing for their campaign in months. Even more distressing is when I review a client who was previously working with another agency and that agency did little more than create some new ads and add a few new phrases.

Pay per click management isn’t about maintaining the status quo. It’s about ensuring a campaign is doing the most to generate new revenue for a business. This means taking advantage of all the features Google AdWords offers, and which Bing As will soon be offering. It also means looking for wasted spend.

How often to update a Google AdWords campaign will vary greatly by industry and budget. Yet even with the smallest budget in theRace smallest market you should constantly be monitoring your campaigns and paying attention to the latest changes in Google AdWords and Bing Ads. Otherwise you'll find yourself falling behind in the race for customers.

Here are 6 reasons why you need to be constantly involved with your campaign or have it maintained by a pay per click specialist actively working for you.

1) The Competition Constantly Changes - Maybe you’re content with having a campaign on auto pilot, but most likely many of your competitors aren’t. They’re testing their ads, their trying out new features, and their adding to the campaign budget. This means they’re constantly staying ahead of you unless you’re just as active.

2) Google is constantly revising the features of AdWords – in the past couple of weeks alone, Google has added a number of new features to AdWords and made revisions to its ad platform. A couple of these have already proven to be extremely effective for marketers. Not using these and other features Google offers is giving your competitors a significant advantage.

3) You’re wasting money with many clicks – Even with the most targeted campaigns there are often clicks that are wasted spend. This is why you need to review the actual terms potential prospects used to trigger your ads. Often there are phrases that have little to no value for a business. By adding these words as negatives will help to prevent that from recurring.

4) You need to improve on your ads - Many businesses see that their ads are being clicked on and assume they’re doing well. Yet, if they’re not testing these ads, they don’t know if these are the most effective ads. And by improving click through rates on your ads, you’re not just getting more potential leads. You’re also improving your Quality Score, which in turn can lower your costs per click.

5) How people search is constantly changing - It seems like a few years ago, people simply searched on their laptops. Today it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you’re seeing an increase in traffic from mobile especially. If your site isn’t optimize for mobile and you haven’t adjusted your bidding by device, you’re potentially wasting a lot of money. You’ll need to redo your site at some point, but until then you need to adjust your bidding.

6) Your promotions have expired - This to me astounds me and I've seen it with major players. They have online promotions and pay a lot of money to let prospects knPPC ADsow about it. Then the prospect finds the coupon has long since expired. I ran across this when I was looking to get some brake work done. The ad seemed to meet my needs and was a great offer, but when I clicked on the ad, I found the sale had ended months earlier.

For a successful marketing campaign you need to be constantly reviewing and tweaking it. This could be large actions such as site audits or simply tweaking an ad here or there.  If you don’t have the time or staff to properly manage a campaign than consider bringing in a specialist such as myself. The money spent will more than be recoupled through the eliminated of wasted spend and the discovery of new opportunities.

Tags: pay per click managment, Pay Per click specialist, Google AdWords

How To Do A Pay Per Click Audit Of A Google Adwords Campaign Quickly

Posted by Scott Salwolke on Tue, Aug 26, 2014

Whether you have someone working on your pay per click accounts or have been doing it yourself, an audit of your campaigns is something to be done regularly.  It saves you money and also lets you know that your agency has been doing its job.

When I’m first approached by a prospect I ask to link to their acsite auditcount so I can briefly look it over. This way I can at least point out some issues when we first talk. If I end up working with the prospect, then I’ll perform a more intensive examination of their campaigns. Yet, even the brief assessment that I do often reveals issues that are costing a company a tremendous amount of money.

Here are 5 things to do to audit your campaign. Some you only need to do one time, while others should be done a regular basis. They can save you money and maybe alert you to the fact that whosever responsible for your account isn’t doing their job. Even if that person is you.

Check Search Terms

The search terms are the actual phrase that people used that triggered your ad. Of all the things you do, this should be done a regular basis. Google has eliminated some of the data for this citing privacy issues. Still you can often find words that don’t apply to your business. For example a client sells rubber tracks for machinery and in the beginning we found phrase related to exercise equipment and athletic wear. To eliminate these phrases we simply inserted negative keywords into our campaign.

To find the search terms go to your keyword list and click the details tab. Then look for all under search terms.  This is something that should be done on a regular basis and which you should be a part of, even if you work with an outside agency or consultant. Often you might spot words that they could easily overlook.  

Check Change History

If you’re working with an outside agency or if you have staff that run your campaigns, then look at change history. You should see regular activity with the campaign such as tweaking ads or adding negative keywords. If you find that only a couple of actions have been done over the last month, then you need to address it.  I’ve seen accounts where an agency billed a client regularly a steep fee each month then did less and less work over time. Even though the fee stayed the same.  It’s easy to blame the agency, but you must take responsibility for not catching it sooner.

Is Your Account Linked To Your Analytics Account

Analytics provides a great way to monitor your site traffic and to judge the success of your campaigns, as well as the effectiveness of your site overall. Yet, if the analytics account isn’t linked to AdWords, then you’re’ not getting a full picture of your campaign. Linking the accounts only takes a few steps so there is no excuse for it not having been done. Until it's done your missing out on data you can never get back.

Check location settings

When people set up an account they must set where the campaigns run and think this is enough. Yet you should make sure this is set properly so only people in your market actually see your ad.  Check the target settings and it’s most likely set to people in, searching for or viewing pages about my targeted location. Set it to people in my targeted location.  For some businesses the first option might be important, but for many businesses it’s better to focus on the people actually in your targeted market.

Are Ad Extensions Being Used

Ad extensions are a great way to improve click through rate to your ads and is now even part of how Google determines Quality Score. Ad extensions are everything from click to call numbers to sitelinks and location extensions. No matter what your business is, there is bound to be an extension that applies to your business.  There is no extra cost to use extensions and no excuse not to use them. Have them incorporated into your campaign immediately.

There are a number of things that go into an audit and this is only the tip of the iceberg. Yet even doing these steps, which don’t usually require a lot of time, can help you avoid losing money on wasted spend and in, fact, help you lower costs.