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PPC/Local SEO

Pay Per Click Specialist

Scott Salwolke is a Pay Per Click Specialist with over 10 years' experience in SEO and search marketing. He is certified by both Google Adwords and Bing Ads. He also provides Local SEO services.

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Why Mobile Must Be Part of Your Online Marketing Campaign

 

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

 

 

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

 
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

 

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

 

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.

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

 
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.

10 Classic Mistakes People Make With Their Pay Per Click Campaigns

 

In evaluating hundreds of pay per click campaigns I've often seen the same mistakes over and over again. Even with the clients I’m working with, they do things that often loses them money, either in wasted clicks or missed opportunities.Mistakes

Here are the 10 most common mistakes I see clients make in setting up their pay per click campaigns.

Not Setting a Realistic Monthly Budget

When someone is attempting to develop their campaign, they often imagine what they want their budget to be and then divides it by 30 to set a daily budget.  There are two problems with this. First it’s better to begin lower until you’ve determined what the cost per click will be for your targeted keywords.  Second, Google can over as much as 20 percent each day so your total budget for the month may be 20 percent higher than anticipated.

Sending Everything to The Home Page

Ideally its best to have landing pages you can tweak for an AdWords campaign, but for many businesses this isn’t practical. Still, to simply send everyone to the home page isn’t practical either. If you sell a variety of products than develop ad groups based on each product or category and then have the ads link to these pages instead. By getting prospects as quickly as possible to the product or service their looking for, the better the chance for success.

Not Adjusting For Mobile

Another problem with many web sites is that they aren’t mobile ready. Yet, advertisers with no mobile sites have bids set to the same level as for desktop. This could be a lot of wasted clicks if prospects go to your site on their mobile phone and can’t navigate it or worse, it takes forever for it to load. If having a mobile site isn’t an option (even though it should be), then lower your bids for mobile.

Not Using Site Links

If your ads consistently run in the top of the page and you’re not using site links, you not only missing out on opportunities, but also most likely cost your company money. Sitelinks are calculated in your Quality Score and because of this not having them lowers your Quality Score. This means you could be paying more for clicks then necessary.

Not Using Negative Keywords

In almost any campaign there are going to be searches that occur that don’t apply to a business. It could be someone looking for a job in your industry, free products, or maybe it’s from someone looking for something in a city in another state that has the same name. Look through the search terms people used to trigger your ads and single out the words that don’t apply. Chances are others will perform similar searches unless you use negative keywords to prevent this from happening again.

Checking Often To See If Ads Are Running

Nervous business owners often worry that their ads aren’t running, especially if they’re not getting results. So they perform a search on their laptop or their cell phone. This adds to the number of impressions that your ads accumulate and will lower your click through rate (unless you make the mistake of clicking on your ad, which I’ve also seen).  Instead use Google AdWords Preview Tool. Not only will this not count against your campaign, but if your ads aren’t running it will tell you why.

Letting Your Campaign Run on Autopilot

Even the best designed campaigns need tweaking on occasion. Simply setting up a campaign and then leaving it to run on its own is a mistake. Some of the reason’s I’ve already listed, but Google and Bing are also constantly rolling out new features.  Many of these can improve a campaign and not taking advantage of them gives your competitors an edge.

Bidding on Broad Match Keywords

In the beginning there might be some value to using broad match keywords in order to generate more keywords to target.  Yet, you should make the transition pretty quickly to either modified broad match or phrase match. With broad match you’re going to see a lot of searches that are totally unrelated to your business.

Getting Attached to One or Two Words

Many business people have a pretty strong idea of what search terms their prospects are using.  The problem is that it’s often a one or two word term.  This means it can be very broad. I have clients all the time tell me to focus on words like these and while we can incorporate them into a campaign. It’s almost always better to have longer phrases that might contain these particular words. Many advertisers like these words because they appear to have a lot more searches.  Yet, it’s very rare anymore that a searcher types in one or two words.

Putting All Words into One Basket

Once people begin setting up a campaign, they begin to add words to it. Google has might even suggested some terms. The problem is they begin to put them all in one ad group. It might not be long before they have dozens, then hundreds of keywords. Keep an ad group to 10 to 20 words at the most. If you have more than that begin moving some out to new ad groups.

Targeting Search and Display

There can be value in advertising on display, but almost no value in ever putting them together. Even though Google AdWords has made improvements with the targeting options on display, it’s better to have two separate campaigns. As the name implies people are searching on one format, but with display it like a billboard that people come across. They're not expecting it, but if you do display right you can capture their attention. Just remember they're two different formats.

Many of these mistakes can seem like simple fixes and often are. But not doing them costs you money and business.

How to Target Only People in Your Community with Google AdWords

 
LocalGoogleAdsFew marketing platforms allow a business to fully target their market like Google AdWords does. A billboard is effective for people driving by, but not for people who aren’t in the area yet. Telephone books are seldom used and almost never by tourists. Like billboards, newspaper and radio ads reach locals but not people who are making plans to travel to your location.

With Google AdWords and Bing Ads, as well, you can target people down the street or thousands of miles away who will soon be in your town. Or perhaps are researching businesses online in which their family members live, such as hospice care.

Here are some ways in which you can create ads that only those relevant to your local business will see, no matter where they’re logging in.

Target by zip code. Some people use zip codes to ensure they find places in the area they’re interested in. So target the zip codes that your business serves. Just make sure to use phrase match here as broad match could result in the wrong zip codes being targeted.

Incorporate landmarks in your keywords. Another way people search, particularly tourists unfamiliar with an area, is to use nearby landmarks in their search terms and ad text. For example someone might type in restaurants near Wrigley Field or hotels on Broadway.

Use location extensions. This is one of best ways to alert a prospect as to where you’re at. If you have multiple locations then Google will try to show the location nearest to where they’re located. The best way to set this up is to link your AdWords account with your Google My Business page (formerly Google Plus pages).

Run a national campaign that incorporates your city into all search terms. If someone types in just the word restaurant in New York City, they’re probably looking for something nearby. If they type in Chicago and restaurant it means they’re planning something for when they travel. Yet, if your business isn’t something a traveler is looking for, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use geographic modifiers. For example, someone in New York City could be looking for a dentist in Chicago, not for themselves, but perhaps for a relative there.

Use negative match to eliminate the wrong locations. There are a number of communities that have the same name.  If you serve a community that has a name the same as a city in another state, you want to make sure your ads not showing there. So use that states name, as well as its abbreviated form as negative phrases. There are 37 Greenville’s in the United States, 2 in California alone. So if you’re a restaurant in Greenville Illinois you don’t want your ad being clicked on by people in the other 36 Greenville’s.

Radius targeting. To target the people who are just typing in single words like restaurants or hotels in your area, then run ads that only those in your service area can see. Have a radius for your ads that incorporates the area you serve. For some business this might only be a couple of miles, but for others that offer something unique, it could be significantly larger.

The beauty of pay per click is that you can target prospects for your business while they are on their laptop in their home, on their mobile phone as they arrive at the airport, or on their tablet as they research their trip. Just make sure you’ve set your campaign right so you’re not missing out on prospects or reaching the wrong market.

How to Create Successful Ads on Google Adwords

 

It seems so deceptively simple to create ads on Google AdWords. After all, you just need to begin typing in some text and if you go too far, you’ll receive an alert. Once you’re done you ad will likely go live. Then you can sit back and wait for the calls or the business to begin rolling in.

The problem is, unless you have surprisingly good instincts, the phone won’t begin to ring. Unless you’ve put some thought and some research into creating your ad, it’s not likely to be very effective. A good ad will entice relevant prospects to click on it, while dissuading non relevant visitors from clicking it.GoogleAdwords

With an ad you have less than 100 characters in total to work with, including spaces and punctuation. This isn’t a lot to work with. There are ways to add to this figure if you utilize sitelinks, for example. I’ve already talked about how sitelinks help make your ads stand out, so with this article I want focus on the word and punctuation that will make up your ad.

Neither will I discuss keyword research, which must be done to determine which words prospects are using to potentially find your ads to begin with. I’m assuming you’ve already done this.

Include the keywords into your ad. A person is typing in some product or service they need so they’ll respond first to ads that have this phrase in their title or in the text. Google will bold the keywords from their phrase in your text so even if it’s not the title, it will stand out. This may seem obvious, but a surprising number don't do this or have too many different phrases in their ad group to do this.

Use punctuation to make your ads stand out from the competition. I’m not talking about using a lot of exclamation points (which is prohibited) or out of the ordinary punctuation. If your ads are showing in the top position, then adding punctuation at the end of the first line will allow this and the title to show as one long sentence. Likewise have no punctuation will make the second and third lines show together. Test which of these works best for your click through rate.

Use best or number 1 if you can back it up. If you sell a product for example that has been rated the best by a third party organization you can include this in your ad text if you have the recommendation on your landing page or within a couple of clicks to it.GoogleAds

Include pricing to eliminate prospects that aren’t viable candidates. If your fees can be an issue for some prospects than consider incorporating it into your text. It will help keep those who can’t actually afford your services or products to not click on your ad.

Write separate ads for mobile. For many businesses mobile has become a huge source of business. Yet, they don’t write ads targeting this market. You can create ads and then check the box below them to show up on mobile. Incorporate a call to action unique to them such as call us.

Do something to make your ad stand out from the rest. Ever look for an item and when you see the search results all the ads look the same. If this is happening with your own ads, then find a way to differentiate them. There has to be some benefit or feature that your can highlight that your competitors are overlooking.

Don’t get too creative with your ad copy. It’s one thing to make your ad stand out from the competition. It’s another to have something from out of left field that your prospects either will not understand or misinterpret. It can either lead to a lot of wasted clicks or none at all.

Test ad copy. Do you think you've created the perfect ad? Then prove it. Create a second ad and then see which ad has the better response. It could be the ad you expected or it might be the second. Either way, tweak the one with the lower click through rate to continue to improve its click through rate.

There are other things you can do to improve your click through rate from the previously mentioned sitelinks t tightly themed ad groups. Remember that your objective is not to get people to click on your ad. It’s to generate business. Each click costs you money and its important to remember that. Is each click closer to getting you business, or is it just eating up your revenue. If you’re not sure, then consider hiring a professional to help.

What Are Bad Links To Your Web Site and Why They're Dangerous

 

It wasn't that long ago that businesses were clamoring for links to their website. The reason was that Google's ranking algorithm was heavily influenced by links. Now, however, many sites are finding that the links they have to their site are potential threats. Companies as large as JC Penny have been negatively impacted because of their links and now many people wonder if their sites are at risk.

What many businesses are finding is that the SEO company thaBadLinkCheckt was generating links for them in the past used unscrupulous methods to generate links. To understand why these links are bad, one must first understand what Google was looking for in links. Ideally they wanted the links to be an endorsement of a site. That someone found value in something on a site and was linking to it because of it.

If the links were meant to be an endorsement, what many took them to be as a vote. And that the more votes you had to your site, the better it would do. Like an unscrupulous politician they didn't care how they got the votes and this became the problem. Suddenly these sites were caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Unfortunately, many businesses were naive politicians and didn't realize how their campaign managers were conducting business.

If you're concerned about the links to your own site, you need to begin review them and look at what type of links they are. The easiest way to find many of the links to your site is to look at what Google has listed in your webmaster account. This will only be a sampling, but its a very good place to start.

Types of Bad Links to Look For

1) Comments posted on blogs. This was a popular tactic a number of years ago and which eventually caused many blogs to use no follow on the comments on their blog. That doesn't mean this stopped companies from using the tactic. And saying that comments are being left is a misnomer. Often what unscrupulous companies do would either post the same comments on hundreds of blogs no matter what the subject matter. You'll see if the company you hired did this as many of the same comments will appear over and over again as your review different blogs. Even today I have agencies post on my blogs, hopeful that I won't delete it. I do. BlogComment

2) Blog Networks. Agencies began to think that if comments on a blog were valuable, then maybe the entire blog had value. They began to build a network of blog writers who would develop content for their blog, which incorporated a link in content specifically developed for that link. It often was poor content that no one read and which no one was expected to read. Today most of these blogs lie abandoned.

3) Link Exchanges - I'll admit I did this in the past for clients. In this instead of buying votes you exchange them with another business. You'd put their link somewhere on your site and they'd reciprocate. When I exchanged links I did so only when it related to the products or services of my client. So for an RV rental company I might exchange links with a campground or a tourist destination. Many agencies weren't so responsible and exchanged links with any site they could. The result would be a furniture company with pages and pages of links to all variety of sites.

4) Hidden links. Perhaps more than anything these type of links demonstrate an agency would use any tactic to develop links. If you go to a page that is supposed to have a link to your site on it and see nothing don't think it’s necessarily been removed. Look at the code of the page and see if the link is there. Agencies would make the link the same color as the page so it wasn't visible.

5) Paid links. For Google this was considered to be the biggest transgression a site could do, to buy links. This is also harder for the average person to detect unless they've received bills from them in the past. Many sites that sold links in the past are now trying to make money by being paid to remove them. Avoid doing this, but state that this occurred when later disavowing some links.

6) Link farms. This is probably the equal of buying links on a bad scale. Sites were set up for the sole purpose of links. These sites are nothing but pages and pages of links to sites with no rhyme or reason or assessment of quality. There are many directories that seem like link farms, but at least these have some sort of system. Whether or not it's from a link farm or a bad directory, it's not a benefit to be on either one.

These are only a few of the links you need to be concerned about, but most likely doing something to distance yourself these type of links will be a great start. Most likely if you have thousands of incoming links to your site you're going to need a professional to assist. Yet, it must be done or your website could become like a disgraced politician alone with no constituents.

If you find you have thousands of bad links, it might be time to bring in a professional. Part of my Local SEO services is to assist businesses with link management.

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