harveypearce, Author at SEO Derby

Adwords Standard Vs All Features – Be Sure to Optimise Wisely

Posted by | adwords management | No Comments

Having blogged recently about Adwords Mistakes, I thought I’d blog about basic Google Adwords setup and optimisation, and especially the difference between standard and all features campaigns. Time and time again, accounts that I audit accounts seem to be set to standard rather than all features. Take a look at the following screenshot of campaign setup where you can clearly select either standard or all features.

Adwords Standard V All Features

Go and check you Adwords account now, and if any of your campaigns are set to standard, and you spend any amount over £500 per month on Adwords, then you most likely need your account to be professionally optimised. All you need to do to check is click on any campaign, and then select the ‘settings’ tab. Go to campaign type and click edit, and you’ll see the following screen.

Adwords Campaign Type

You’ll also see that standard campaigns are highlighted as ‘not recommended’, and there is good reason for that. I see so many accounts that spend significant amounts of money with this problem. Adwords is one of the most complex advertising systems known to man. It is an auction where you win or lose based on how much you bid and how well your account is optimised (by Quality Score). If your account isn’t even set to give you the option of advanced optimisation features, then you have a big problem. In fact, you’re likely throwing money in the bin every month!

I also hear all the time from prospective SEO clients that they’ve tried Adwords before, it didn’t work, and they think it’s a waste of money. I always immediately ask, so why do you think that ranking organically with SEO will be any better? After all, it’s the same people searching for keywords and they’re not less likely to buy/convert just because they clicked on an ad on the Google results page rather than an organic listing. The searcher doesn’t care. They’ve searched for a solution to a problem and the page they land on needs to help solve that problem.

So here’s a fact, and although it sounds self promotional, and it really is not. I’ve never seen and audited an Adwords account that can’t be substantially improved. Never. So as Adwords is competitive in its nature due it to being an auction, you’re never going to have huge success unless every single optimisation strategy is used where it makes sense. This leads me back to the discussion of standard V all features. If your account is on standard then you’re losing money hand over fist. You’d expect that the most successful of your competitors have mature well run adwords accounts, and until you at least equal the quality of their campaigns, you will never be able to compete.

I’m not going to cover all of the extra things that you can do with all features campaigns, and they’re covered briefly by Google here, but I will cover the most basic ones in more detail than Google does. These are important as they literally burn money if not set up correctly.

The Google Adwords Idiot Tax

This is a great one, which I always describe as the Adwords idiot tax. You know, when you go to a casino and you’re playing a card game and they always have a side bet you can play. They’re the sucker bets that cost you lots more than the main game in the long run even if they look like a good idea. In Adwords, the idiot tax is the ad delivery settings.

Adwords Advanced Delivery Method

The image above shows a setting which isn’t even visible when you’re set to standard rather than all features. You can see that even when visible Google encourages advertisers to use the standard delivery option. This is a huge mistake, do not do it. The correct and only option that any certified professional optimising a client’s campaign is “Accelerated: Show ads more quickly until budget is reached.” Yes, there are a few limited arguments for using the standard delivery option, but these are very few.

It makes sense to spread your ads out throughout the day rather than spending your budget as soon as possible. That is, until you really think about it. If you are running out of budget by showing for your keywords all the time then either your budget is too low or your bids are too high. If your campaign is profitable then you should increase the budget, assuming there aren’t cash flow reasons to not do so. If you can’t increase your budget then you should lower your bids. In this scenario your bids are too high for your budget.

Reducing your bids will place your ads in lower positions and get you less clicks. However, the clicks you do get will be cheaper, and because you’re limited by budget, you’ll actually get more clicks in total! Thus, when budget is the limiting factor, lowering your bids and still showing all the time will get you more value from your budget. Spreading your budget throughout the day is therefore a terrible option. This feature alone is worth looking making this change for, and making sure that you’re set to all features in campaign settings.

More Advanced Adwords Options

Adwords More Advanced Options

Above are some more of the advanced options that are available on all features campaigns. I’m not going to talk about all of them, such as experiments or IP exclusions, but I will cover the 2 most basic advanced options, which most companies should definitely be using.

Ad Scheduling

This one is a no brainer. Perhaps your business relies on Adwords to make the phone ring during office hours. If so, why would you want to be paying to advertise your keywords outside of office hours? The answer is you probably don’t, but you might do. You will need the all features setup to enable ad scheduling, which is shown here:

Adwords Ad Scheduling

The more astute will notice on the above screenshot that there is a message saying that ad scheduling bid modifications are unavailable. Most likely you won’t see that on your account. I can still edit the times that this campaign runs, but I’m not able to change bids dynamically at different times of the day because I’m using target CPA 1 per click bidding on the campaign from the screenshot, rather than bidding per click on keywords. However, this is a relatively advanced setting that you’re probably not using.

By clicking ‘view ad schedule’ and following through the screens you’ll be able to select exactly when you want your ad to run and when you don’t want it to run. It’s all relatively easy to do. Maybe you don’t want to run in the early hours of the morning, or perhaps you only want to run Monday to Friday. The choice if yours, but only if you’ve got your campaigns set to all features. Otherwise you’re stuck advertising 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no bid modifiers. With advanced settings you can modify your bids for times of day or days of the week. Perhaps you do want to run in the evenings and weekends, but you think your campaigns won’t be as successful. That’s no problem, you can just add a bid modifier. You might decide that you want to reduce your bids by 50% out of office hours on weekdays and reduce them by 70% on weekends. That’s no problem, and if you don’t ask the question of if that might be a good idea, you’re likely wasting  lots of money.

Adwords Rotation Settings

I’ve spoken at length about split testing ads and rotation settings before so I’ll be brief here. It is fundamental to correct Adwords optimisation to split test everything in your account. By testing 2 ads against each other, for example, you can quickly find out which ads and messaging resonates better with your customers. So you need to have 2 ads in every ad group, and set the ads to display each one evenly so that you can quickly know which ad is the winning ad. Then you delete the poor ad and create a new one which might be better. Over constant iterations you can easily double the CTR of your ads, which is an immeasurably large benefit, given that the biggest factor affecting your quality score is CTR. Also given that your ads appear higher (your ad rank as Google call it) based on the combination of both your bid and your quality score, it is vitally important to always be testing.

Adwords Rotation Settings

As you can see from the image above I often use ‘rotate indefinitely’, even though Google say it’s not recommended for most advertisers. It absolutely is recommended if you want to optimise your account and improve the most important metrics. At the very least you should be looking at your ads in each AdGroup once a month and deleting the worst performing ad. Just be sure that each ad has at least 50 clicks in that period before you delete one. That of course is still not perfect, as you should be looking for statistically significant results, but as a good rule of thumb you should be ok.

Conclusion

Make sure that your account has all features setup, and have a very good think about:

  • When you want your ads to run
  • What your budget should be
  • Split testing your adverts to find better performing ones

 

Alternatively, if you want all of these basic optimisations and many more advanced ones, just get in touch for a completely free and no obligation Adwords account audit. I’d love to talk with you. Just fill out the contact form on every page of this site, or call the office and ask to speak with Harvey.

See you next time!

Outsourcing SEO abroad – It May Just Cost You Your Business

Posted by | seo-scams | No Comments

As an SEO and PPC company we still get sent spam emails on a regular basis offering us higher positions in search engines and telling us that they can help us to rank better. Still we’re in good company, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of web spam, has said recently that even Google regularly gets emails saying they don’t rank high enough in Google and these companies can help them!

I thought I’d write a quick blog post today talking about outsourcing SEO abroad to places like India or the Philippines. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some good SEO’s in such places, and those good SEO’s definitely won’t be sending you spam emails. Jason Acidre comes to mind as an excellent SEO in a country well known for offering, shall we say, the lower end of SEO services.

SEO spam is definitely not limited to far flung places. I’ve sat it in as a client at an SEO pitch before from a UK SEO company, and what I saw was shocking! The point of this post I guess is that this crap has to stop and as SEO’s we’re not educating people enough about our industry.

I wondered after reading Matt Cutts email post – what exactly do you get when you reply to these spammers offering to rank me (and Google) higher in search engines. So I replied to a few to see what kind of SEO they offer, and how they deal with potential clients. So, here’s a few email interactions and what happened.

 

The first one is the lovely Cathrine. She was very pleasant, not very demanding at all, and very knowledgeable about SEO – i say in jest…….

Her initial email:

 

Hey there,

We have been reading the articles on your website and are very impressed with the quality of your information.

We have a team of copywriters who specialize in writing articles on various topics and would like to write an original article for you to use on your website – this article will not be used anywhere else on the Internet.

In exchange all we ask is that we can have one or two links within the body of the article back to one of our sites.

If you are interested in having us write an article for your website please just let me know and we would be more than happy to have one written for you within a week.

 

You can see quite quickly that she’s obviously been learning (little) about outreach as her communication skills are terrible. My name is plastered all over my website, so it’s not hard to contact me by name. Of course there’s no personalisation and it’s a flat out spam request. Her conversion rate must be terrible, but obviously some idiotic webmasters do agree to this rubbish otherwise she’d be out of a job.

So I replied in a way which should make sure that she knows my intentions.

I said…..

Outreach FAIL

 

To which I got a very polite reply.

 

can you post here article ..

i have uniqe article seo related

http://www.seo-derby.co.uk/blog/

 

Well seeing as she can’t uniquely spell unique, she made a huge effort to communicate with me after I told her that her outreach was a FAIL, and that she hadn’t even understood my 2 word response, I thought that I should see what she has to offer. So I replied:

 

Sure – what kind of content will you send?

 

and got this reply in 2 minutes – obviously it had not exactly been written with my audience in mind:

 

Hello,

Please see attached one article and publish here.

http://www.seo-derby.co.uk/blog/

Thanks,

 

Oh great – She’s sent me this wonderful content which is going to help my SEO, and all I need to do is post it on my blog. I won’t post the full article, but below is a short excerpt. Don’t forget that this is an article about SEO (apparently) which is going to go on an SEO’s website. God only knows the kind of people who actually post such rubbish thinking it helps them. This post is entitled – SEO tips that take 20 minutes or less – a clearly riveting title and premise:

 

While the continuous efforts toward SEO will pay you something big, but there are some of the SEO tips which are the quick tasks and that tips can turn your needle. There are many webmasters who desire for the success in SEO, but they have never achieved because of the resourced time or the budget of SEO vendor.

To some extent, it is true that SEO campaign involves lot of activities like SEO designs, information architecture, link building activities, creation or development of quality content and many more. All these tasks take lot of time and the thought of this insist the companies to throw SEO in dustbin.

For those who fit into this group, read this article or post about the quick tips for SEO which will help you gain organic traffic to your site in search result.

 

Now really….. as if I’m going to post this on my site! It is unique (I checked) but it’s of course total rubbish. It’s not even proper English, the advice itself it poor, it adds no value, and the entire thing is a waste of time. This crap ‘aint going to fool Google!

As I’ve said it amazes me that people must actually agree to this stuff. These people would be out of business if they couldn’t ever find anybody to accept their crappy articles.

So after reading this low quality article (that I wouldn’t have posted anyway) I didn’t reply to Cathrine initially, and she was keen to talk…..

 

I am waiting your reply.

 

And then (would you believe it)……

 

hello
please don’t post my article your site DA low.

 

Now excuse me…. But now she’s decided that MY site isn’t good enough for her utter bottom of the barrel content and she doesn’t want me to post it. She must be so busy posting her crap around the internet that she can afford to refuse links from good quality relevant sites from SEO companies no less that have natural organic link profiles. I did bite at that point, I must admit!

 

Oh, what do you mean?

 

And she sends me this:

 

friend your site Domain Authority low.

 

Now I REALLY want this amazing article on my low quality site:

 

Hey Cathrine

So what’s the deal?

I was going to post the article as I learned a lot from it, and thought it was excellent.

Shall I post it now?

 

No,  sorry please don’t post my article on your site friend you have other site

 

But I don’t understand!

Why can’t I post your article?

Will it be bad if I do?

Also, what other site?

 

Hello,

can you connect my article on your home page then post my article on your site friend.

 

Oh so now my site is OK for her, but only if I link to her crap from my homepage. LOL.

 

Well I’m not sure I could do that Cathrine, but maybe.

I don’t understand why you sent me your great article and then told me you don’t want me to post it because of the DA.

Can you explain what DA it should be and why my site isn’t high enough for you?

 

relevance and quality content and will benefit the website.

and please post my article on your site and connect my article on your home page.’

http://www.seo-derby.co.uk/blog/

 

I’m very glad of course to be getting an SEO schooling here. I never knew that relevance and quality benefit a website, and what was offered was indeed that!

 

I reply

 

Ah I see.

So the more of your articles I post on my low DA site, the better my DA will be, right?

Can you send me more to post on my site?

 

And she replies

 

first post this article,…

SEO tips that take approx 20 min or less

 

Oooh so now I have the promise of more amazing free content.I’m getting such a good deal, if only I can persuade her to write me more amazing articles!

At this point I get bored with it and ignore the requests over the next few days (she must have changed her mind about the quality of my site at this point).

 

ok post my article

how much time will you post my article?

Then

Are you post here my article.

http://www.seo-derby.co.uk/blog/

i am waiting your reply.

Then

can you post my article on your blog page…
http://www.seo-derby.co.uk/blog/

Then

how much time will you post my article on your blog page.

i am waiting your reply.

Finally

not find my article here….
http://www.seo-derby.co.uk/blog/

 

So the lesson here is a very simple one, and that’s you should never deal with these spammers. I understand the tough economics of life in such places and I don’t personally have any animosity towards these spammers, but it only makes life harder for all of us by offering such low quality versions of what SEO’s do – which is excellent outreach.

As SEO’s we have much lower conversion rates on our outreach because people’s email inboxes are full of this stuff – and our efforts are ruined because we’re perceived to be in the same camp as the full on Spammers. Perhaps its our own fault, and we don’t market our industry, and what it’s really about, well enough.

I’ll finish with one more quick example.

 

This time a company looking to do SEO for me! They don’t want me to post their crappy spun article, they want to go and SEO my site. Great! That will save me some hassle as I don’t know anything about SEO….. So… what would I get with these guys….

 

This was the initial email – which actually has Bruce Clay in the email address who is an excellent well known SEO from the US, and not these guys!

 

Hello Sir/Madam,

 

I want to remind you that had you got  our previous sent mail so Please let me know if you are interested our services so that we can move ahead.

 

Hope you are doing well

Wondering why your search engine rankings have dipped suddenly?

 

Watch out! You may still be unaware of the latest version of Google update named “Penguin” & Panda Series update!

Each year, Google changes its search algorithms innumerable times. While most of these changes are minor, every few months Google rules out a ‘major’ algorithmic update that affects search results in significant ways.

 

In short:

Old Link Building strategies are passé. To stay ahead in the game, you need to be in tune with these ever changing prerequisites.

If you thought your website could get away with:

 

• Links from pages having no content

• Poor quality links from irrelevant sites

• Links from sites crammed with advertisements

• Same content for multiple submissions

• Absence of SMO in the overall SEO plan

• Content farming with low value articles and blogs for Google/users

• No site moderation

 

Your rankings will suffer!

At Curix, we keep a track of all these unpredictable Google updates for you and cannot just explain but also tackle these changes before they start to hit your rankings and organic website traffic.

 

Our SEO Service strategies are attuned to the latest Google Panda update and include:

• Incorporating links only from sites that have good quality content, good traffic and social sharing

• More relevant and thematic linking with high-quality content and sites

• Steering clear of deceptive, ad-heavy sites

• Using unique and top quality, content, every single time

• Incorporating SMO as the best way to genmosaic123erate traffic

• Focusing on local search that helps local business listings

 

Doesn’t Let the Panda Devour Your Rankings! Come to Us!

Contact us today, to know more.

 

Thanks & Regards

Arvind *****

 

Now I never emailed these guys, but I thought I’d ask what I can get!

I got a quick reply which I won’t repeat here as it’s long and boring with an attachment telling me what they can do for me:

 

It was 4 pages long also and I won’t repeat it all – but here was the off page SEO section:

 

Off page SEO Services (Link building):-

Our off page SEO services to increase the link popularity include but are not limited to:

Article creation and submission

Directory submission

Forum posting

Press release creation and submission

Guest blogging

Blog commenting

Review posting

RSS feed submission

Video submission

PDF creation and submission

Social media optimization

 

Now that is a FAST track to a penguin penalty!

If I wanted to negative SEO someone (I would never do that of course as I have ethics) I’d do all of the services they offer to try and give someone a penalty and move my client above them.

It really is frustrating that people still buy this rubbish as it’s only going to harm them in a big way. Millions of businesses are destroyed by such practices.

So even these low quality SEO spammers must know that what they’re doing will harm their clients in the long run! I’ve spoken to lots of small business owners who have been burnt by this stuff – and it needs to stop. However as long as there will be buyers – there will be sellers of this crap!

So I say……

 

So you’ll submit my website to all the directories and search engines?

You’ll do blog commenting and article submissions and more, and do it all safely so we don’t lose our jobs and can still feed our kids?

 

I wondered if I told them that feeding our kids depended on not getting penalised by doing all these crappy submissions, maybe they’d back off…. Of course I was wrong….!

 

We will submit your website  in your related business  directories!!  and also submit  in major search engine.

We will do all submission through Google guide line and white hat SEO. also doing blog commenting all work! you never loose your job! You are in safe hand don’t get worry about it!

 

I reply (happily realising that they will submit my site to Google no less!)

 

You will submit to Google right?

And duck duck go of course!

 

Got to rank well in Duck Duck Go! Otherwise why bother lol! 😉

 

Yes ..sure!!

 

How much does it cost?

 

$250/ Month for 10 keyword!!

 

Then I finally get the money shot of the pricing – with an incredible looking list of completely worthless looking services for between $250 and $550 per month

 

SPAM SEO

 

Our minimum charge is around £300-400 per month, and whilst this is a very small budget we can do some quality stuff for small clients. Clients won’t get a lot of links (or citations) for that money but they will be – genuine authentic links given on merit (after a bit of pushing).

 

So if you’re thinking of using these kind of services – please think again. You’ll be paying an SEO company to remove their links in the future – and it will cost you more to get them removed than you paid to get them. That’s the best case scenario. More likely you’ll no longer be able to use your website and you’ll have to close your business and sack your staff. So do think of the true price of cheap SEO. It’s VERY expensive potentially!

 

You can’t outsource giving a shit – and I hope this article shows that. If you want to do SEO, then use people who understand how to actually do it!

5 Beginners Adwords Mistakes to Avoid

Posted by | adwords management | No Comments

 

Avoid these mistakes and make more money from Adwords

 

Today I’m going to give 5 quick tips on mistakes to avoid with your Adwords account. Whenever I take over an account ran by a business owner there are always many issues to be fixed. Of course some accounts are better than others, but in the main I see these 5 mistakes (and many others) in most self run accounts.

Hopefully you’ll be able to compare these to your account and if you’ve made any of these mistakes then you can fix them quite quickly. Of course these are only basic optimisations and if you’re looking to really enhance your account then I’d of course suggest hiring me as your Adwords Consultant.

Here are 5 Adwords mistakes to fix which will save you money.

 

Opting out of the Display Network

This is the biggest and most common mistake I see all the time. By default when you create new campaigns you are opted into ads on Google search and the display network. The GDN (Google display network) if you don’t know about it is a huge network of sites with advertising blocks. The sites range from high quality sites such as national newspapers, to low quality sites made by spammers.

Unless you are a sophisticated advertiser you won’t want to use display, and even if you are very sophisticated, then you will want to keep display as a separate campaign. Either way the golden rule is to never to mix search and display.

If you’re going to create a new campaign make sure you select ‘search network only’ as shown in the image below.

Search Network Only

 

If you want to check your existing campaigns then just click on the setting tab for the campaign and you’ll see the following screen

Edit Campaign Settings

 

You need to make sure that ‘search network only’ is selected and also it would also be a wise idea to have all features selected while you’re there so that you have access to every feature Adwords has to offer.

So that’s the how you change it, but the why is very important. I’ve seen so many accounts that get most of their clicks from display when they think they’re getting them from Google search. You signed up to Adwords to have your ads show next to relevant keywords on Google search, right? So for the love of god, make sure that you are actually getting what you ‘think’ you’re paying for!

 

All keywords in one AdGroup

This is another very common mistake that I see all the time. Most accounts I see have one campaign and one AdGroup with all of their keywords in that AdGroup. This is a huge mistake and is definitely something that you’ll want to fix for multiple reasons. Let me explain……

KeywordsAn AdGroup is a group of ads connected to a group of keywords. Having a list of hundreds of keywords connected to 1 group of ads is never going to give you the best results. It’s all about relevancy. If you sell shoes and you have the keywords, tan shoes, black shoes, leather shoes, men’s shoes, and women’s shoes, all triggering the same ad, then it’s pretty obvious that your ad is going to be less relevant than other advertisers who have organised their adgroups more efficiently.

Our shoe seller will need to have ads talking about leather shoes when people search for leather shoes, and an advert talking about suede shoes for keywords for suede shoes. That’s the essence of how to structure adgroups. You could have 1 ad for every keyword so that each ad is super relevant, and that does sometimes happen in a professionally optimised account, but you can often have a mix of keywords which are very similar. As a rough rule, try to have no more than 10 keywords in each adgroup.

Making these changes in the long term will have a huge impact on your Adwords account. You’ll find that you get higher CTR’s for your adverts, which means you will get more clicks. CTR is the most important factor for Quality Score (QS) for your keywords, so you’ll also find that your QS’s will increase. Why should you care? Well for a start higher QS’s will reduce your average cost per click (CPC), increase your average positions bringing you more traffic, or a combination of both.

 

Not using negative keywords

I see so many accounts that don’t have any negative keywords. Without them you are literally throwing money down the drain. Many accounts I see just use keywords without any [brackets] or “inverted commas”, which is known as broad match. For these keywords you can show for many variations and unintended searches that are just not relevant to your business.

I recently audited an account and found over 300 keywords that the advertiser had been getting clicks on, and paying for, that he didn’t need to be advertising on. By adding these 300 negatives I saved him 100’s of pounds per month. For other clients I’m sure I’ve saved them thousands with this simple technique.

Not only this, but it also saves impressions that never had any clicks. Although these aren’t directly costing you money, indirectly they can cost you even more. By appearing for irrelevant searches your CTR will be lower which reduces your Quality Score, and as already explained, this costs you money by higher costs and lower traffic.

So what was the difference for the account that I recently added 300 negative keywords for? His impressions decreased by one third, his CTR increased by fifty percent, and he maintained the same amount of clicks. Wasted impressions and clicks were cut out, and more of his budget could be spent on more effective keywords. Over time his QS will increase and this will bring long term benefits.

 

Keyword Details

 

The image above shows how to get a keyword report. Just go to all of the keywords in an AdGroup, and click details > All, as shown.

Take a good look at all the clicks you’ve had and money you may well have wasted. Make a list of all the irrelevant keywords and add them as negatives to the AdGroup. All you have to do is scroll below the keywords and there is a link at the bottom to add them as shown here:

Add Negative Keywords

If you’d like to know more about this topic, I’ve written about negative keywords in more detail previously.

 

Not using relevant ad extensions

So this one is also a biggie and I almost never see people using ad extensions on accounts I audit. They are very easy to set up and make a huge difference to account performance. EVERY professionally run Adwords account will use them, so if you are in even a semi-competitive niche, then you are losing money as your adverts just aren’t as good as your competitors adverts.

There are lots of ad extensions that you could use, but as a minimum, almost every Adwords account should have Sitelinks extensions, Call Extensions, and Location Extensions.

Why would you not want extra links on your ad to other pages of your site, your telephone number, and your address?

Exactly, it’s a no brainer. Of course you want them, so hit the ad extensions tab as shown below, and set them up. The process is really easy and self explanatory.

Ad extensions

 

Once you’ve done this, you’ll now have better ads, which should increase account performance.

 

Not using conversion tracking

Conversion tracking is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to have on e-commerce adwords accounts. I’ve spoken about conversion tracking before here and also here.

If your website is a brochure style website and your conversion goal is to get somebody to phone you, then conversion tracking isn’t so important. You could, and perhaps should, use telephone conversion tracking of course, but here we’re talking about conversion for e-commerce websites.

Quite simply, if you sell products online and you don’t track conversions/sales in Adwords, then you will never be able to compete.

With conversion tracking you can directly track the value of sales compared to costs on an individual keyword basis. You will know exactly how much you can afford to bid on every keyword to continue making a profit. Conversion tracking is the very heart of adwords management. All professionally run accounts use conversion tracking, and if you’re not using it, you’re not going to have an effective campaign.

 

Contact UsSo there we are, that’s my 5 simple tips to improve your Adwords account. Making these changes will improve your account and make you more money. They are of course literally the tip of the iceberg compared to what can be done. Hopefully these tips will help, but I’d strongly suggest that you get in touch and get a free no obligation Adwords audit.

I can guarantee that almost every account would benefit from being professionally managed. Fees start from just £150 per month, and if you’re spending £500 a month or more on Adwords, then I promise that we can save you far more than our service costs.

If you’d like to know more – then just fill out the form below or at the top right, or give us a call. You won’t regret it.

 

 

How to get accurate keyword search volume data for SEO

Posted by | adwords management | No Comments

 

Understanding keywords is fundamental to SEO. There’s little point ranking at number 1 for a keyword that hardly anybody searches for. We can’t know how often a keyword is searched for, and so in most cases we use the (soon to be retired) Keyword Volume Tool for Adwords.

If you’re reading this and you’re an SEO, skip to lower on the page where I talk about the correct settings in Adwords to get accurate keyword volume, as you have to be careful to get the settings right. For non SEO’s, I’ll talk about why you need to use Adwords to get accurate data.

The keywords you think your customers use are not always the ones they do use

I’ll tell you a quick story. I built a website about 3 years ago targeting a specific keyword. According to Google’s keyword tool, the keyword had 1200 searches a month in its plural form and 900 a month in its singular form.  That’s not a huge amount of searches, but with an average CPC of around £30 for these 2 keywords it should have been insanely profitable. Assuming I could get to number 1, get a 20% CTR, and get a value from my traffic of at least the Adwords cost I should have made the following amount of money:

2100 (searches) * 20% (CTR) * £30 (value of clicks) = £12,600 per month.

That’s nice money if you have the skills to rank a site in a (clearly) competitive niche, and you can monetise it effectively.

So what actually happened?

I got the site to number 1 in Google for the singular and plural forms of its keyword. So I should have been quids in, right? ……… WRONG

I had made the fundamental mistake of relying on what Google told me the search volume was. These keywords had almost no searches at all. I should have made a lovely £12,000+ per month, and in reality all I got was 1-2 clicks per month!

This is (unfortunately in my case) an extreme example, but my mistake was not creating a campaign in Adwords, and actually testing to see if it was worth me building a site around those keywords. This not only applies to micro sites but to SEO campaigns in general. I think as SEO’s we’re all too quick to rely on Google’s tools when we know that they’re not always as accurate as we’d like to believe they are. We should ALWAYS test keyword volume for clients if we’re planning on the type of campaign that goes after specific keywords.

Another example

One of my oldest and best friends is a very talented voice over artist based in London (yes I did mean to give him a nice anchor text citation – he’s really good at what he does – and deserves to rank well). We wondered if more people search for “voice over artist” or “voice over artists”. Google says that about double the amount of people search for the singular and that about half search for the plural. This is what Google’s tool says:

Voice Over Artist

My friend (and I) thought that Google’s tool was wrong and that the plural would have the most searches. So this time we ran a campaign in Adwords. The results showed that Google was actually right. The singular voice over artist keyword had double the searches of the plural. Well done Google!

After 1 month:

Voice Over Artist – 576 searches (impressions) – Google estimated 390

Voice Over Artists – 241 searches (impressions) Google estimated 210

So we can see that in this case Google was pretty accurate with the ratios, although (for this month at least) there were more searches than expected.

Hopefully you can see the value of testing this before paying for a campaign going after specific keywords. This is even more the case if you decide to go about building a micro-site around a specific keyword set.

So, how do I test accurately in Adwords?

It’s pretty simple to test in Adwords, but there are lots of pitfalls to avoid that will give you inaccurate data if you miss them. I’ll show you here how to conclusively test real search volume using Adwords.

This may well be useful for SEO’s who are excellent at what they do – but they don’t get to play around with Adwords very much.

The process:

Step 1.

Firstly, hit the new campaign button, being sure to select “Search Network Only”

Search Network Only

 

We don’t want that pesky display network messing up our data!

 

Step 2.

Make sure you select “All features”

All Features

 

Without “All Features” we won’t be able to set Adwords up with the correct settings to get the data we need.

 

Step 3.

Be sure to unselect “Search Partners”

Search Partners

 

We only want to know how often a keyword is searched in Google, not in every site that Google has a relationship with!

 

Step 4.

Select your desired location in “Location Options”

Location Options

 

We only want to know how often our keyword is searched in our country (in most but not all cases). If you want to know how often a keyword is searched in multiple countries I’d suggest setting up a duplicate campaign for each country – although there are other ways to do it.

 

Step 5.

Hit the link for “Location options Advanced” and select “People in my targeted location”.

Location Options Advanced

 

The more astute amongst you will realise that as we will only be using exact match keywords this particular setting change doesn’t really matter, but it’s always best to give the correct settings when possible.

 

Step 6.

Hit the link for “Delivery options advanced, and select “Accelerated: Show ads more quickly until budget is reached”.

Delivery Method Advanced

 

This is one of the most important settings as we don’t want Google deciding when our ad shows. We want it showing 100% of the time so we can accurately know how often a keyword is searched.

Notice that Google gives a warning saying “You may miss traffic later in the day if you choose accelerated delivery. Standard delivery is recommended for most advertisers”?

This can safely be ignored, and in fact is often bad advice, but that’s a whole other blog post. I call that setting the “idiot tax”. If you are so limited by budget that you need to NOT show sometimes, then you are bidding too much for your keywords and need to reduce your bids. For this example we need to show all the time, so go with my recommended settings.

 

We’re now going to move on to “Advanced Settings”

Advanced Settings

 

Step 7.

In schedule – make sure that your ads are running all the time and it says “Show ads all days and hours”.

Schedule

 

If Ads are only running at certain times of the day, the test won’t be accurate.

 

Step 8.

In Keyword matching options, select “Do not include close variants”.

Keyword Matching Options

 This option is VITAL, so don’t miss it. We DON’T want to show for related keywords, only our chosen exact match keywords. This option will negate us using exact match keywords and will ruin our test, if we get it wrong.

So select “do not include” and click “save and continue”.

 

Step 9.

Now you’ll have to create an ad.

Create an adYou have 2 options here. You could write a bad unrelated advert as you might not care about getting clicks – as we just want the impression data. I’d suggest that doing that is a bad idea. Write a great ad – you’ll get clicks and hopefully some sales. You can learn more than just about keywords from running Adwords!

 

Step 10.

Input your keywords below the ad, as I’ve shown

keywords

 You MUST make sure that you use exact match keywords. This is done using square (not curly) brackets around the keyword that you want to test [done like this]. We don’t want to show for any variations on the keywords we’re testing.

We’re almost done now, we just need to make sure that we’re bidding enough that we’re always going to show for our chosen keywords. So create the adgroup and click on the keywords tab.

Step 11.

In the keywords tab, select columns > customize columns, as show below.

Customize columns

 

Step 12.

Click attributes and then add “Est. top page bid”

Estimated top page bid

 Knowing what we need to bid for each keyword to make sure we always show is important. It’s no good bidding enough to show ‘most’ of the time. So if we bid based on the estimate for a top page bid we should be in good shape.

 

Step 13.

Now we can see the estimated top bid for each keyword as shown below.

Estimated top page bid-2

 

Adjust your keyword level bids to be the same as the estimated one. Again, the more astute would realise that we could automate this using automated rules, but this article is focused on keeping it as simple as possible.

 

Step 14. (bonus step)

You’re already done and steps 1-13 will give you the info you need. All you need to do is leave it a few weeks and you’ll see exactly how often your keywords are searched.

It’s important to also know “how” they are searched. It’s great info to know how many searches are from a computer or a tablet or a mobile. Here’s how you do it.

In the campaigns tab (you can however do this right down to the keyword level in the keywords tab) select “Segment” and then “Device”.

Segment

 

Now you’ll get the following data (I’ve blacked out the name of the clients’ campaign)

 

Devices

 

You can now see not only how many searches your campaigns or keywords get, but what devices are used. For example, are your keywords top heavy with mobile searches? Then maybe you need to look carefully at how your website converts on a mobile and how you can improve the mobile experience.

 

So there you go – that’s the complete guide to accurately finding out how many searches individual keywords have.

If you need any help with this or are looking for an Adwords consultant, then why not get in touch?

See you next time.

 

Google Adwords Help and Tips Part 6

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Today I’m going to go back a bit in this guide. We covered conversion tracking with Adwords in the last post and soon I’m going to cover the importance of telephone conversion tracking specifically. However I want to talk a little bit about match types and specifically the use of broad match in Adwords. I already covered match types in adwords previously but now you’ve hopefully got conversion tracking set up I’m going to explain in more detail how to use broad match and how it helps with conversions.

Adwords Tip Number 6: Broad Match with Conversion Tracking Can Equal a Big Win

Big WinI’ll give you a quick recap. Broad match targeting is where the words don’t have inverted commas (phrase match) or brackets (exact match). I advise making sure that you use exact match in many cases as well as phrase match, as broad is… well….. Very broad.

Broad match is very untargeted. If you have the keyword ‘service Derby’ and you’re a car garage selling yearly car services then you have a problem. With broad any of your keywords could be searched for in any order with any keywords inbetween.  So you could appear for:

 

  • Service derby
  • Derby service
  • Car service in derby
  • Limo service derby
  • Carpet cleaning service in Derby and Nottingham

 

Hopefully you get my point that there you have to be very careful. Most accounts that I audit or take over only use broad match which is a terrible mistake. As you can see it’s very powerful as one keyword can actually be 100’s of keywords. There are however some excellent uses, and used correctly you can get some great wins.

A quick word about modified matches

You can take it even further and have modified broad match where you will show for keywords related to your keyword. I’ll give an example from one account I manage, although I can’t remember exactly the specifics. The client is a car trye sales business in Derby. I think the keyword was tyres derby although I can’t remember for sure. When mining search term reports for new keywords and negative keywords I noticed that I was showing up when people were searching for a local gallery in the area. That’s clearly unrelated to tyres and there were no gallery keywords in the account, so I was a little confused.

Whitewall TyreThe gallery was whitewall galleries in Derby. Then of course it all made sense. We don’t really see whitewall tyres here in the UK. I guess it’s a USA thing so the penny didn’t drop at first. Google’s algorithm obviously thought that the keyword whitewall was synonymous with tyres and so showed me for a completely unrelated search. This one wasn’t even close! It was easily solved though, I just added whitewall to my negative keywords list and never appeared for that keyword again.  Hopefully this example shows the power of modified and normal broad match. The truth is you don’t know exactly what you’re going to appear for! That’s the reason why I don’t recommend using it if you don’t know what you’re doing. However its greatest problem is also its greatest strength and that’s the main point of what I wanted to discuss in this article.

How and why to use broad match keywords

OK so I’ve covered why broad match can be a bad thing. It’s used (incorrectly) by most self managed Adwords accounts I see as there are no inverted commas or brackets and people think that’s how to set up a campaign. In reality there are 2 main uses of broad match keywords although they are very inter-related.

  • Account expansion to appear for more keywords
  • Keyword discovery – to find and use more successful keywords.

 

Account expansion is pretty obvious. If you appear for more keywords then you’ll get more clicks and impressions. Of course many may be unrelated and of no use which is why exact and phrase match are usually more profitable. The biggest mistake you can make with adwords management is to not mine the search data from your broad match keywords. This is where you learn things that can take your account to a higher and more profitable level. There are a couple of ways to get at the data but the simplest is to look at your keyword and select the ones you’re interested in and click ‘keyword details’, as shown in this image.

Keyword Details

 

There are 2 main things you want to be doing here to make the most if this simple strategy

Find Negative keywords

You need to cut out all of the wasted impressions and clicks. Look through the report and any keywords you find that are unrelated and unnecessary can simply be removed by adding them as negative keywords. You won’t show for them again which means you won’t get wasted clicks and you won’t get impressions for unrelated keywords. Unrelated keywords are likely to have very low CTR’s, so this should help with Quality Score too.

Find great keywords for account expansion

This is the most important use I want to talk about. In your keyword details report you’ll quickly see every single keyword that you’ve appeared Good and Bad Keywordsfor and got clicks from. After you’ve weeded out the negatives you need to focus on the positives. Hopefully there will be a lot of positives to use. You will have appeared for lots of different keywords, good and bad. The best use of broad match is to discover the good ones. It’s impossible to know everything that someone might search for to find your product or service. This should give you all that data.

You’ll find great keywords that you may never have thought of that you got clicks on. You’ll also have all the Adwords data on them. You’ll have a good idea of how many impressions you might get, what kind of CTR you might get at a minimum, and (hopefully if you’ve been taking my advice!) you’ll know which of these keywords have actually converted into sales through conversion tracking.

The thing to do is to take all of these new great keywords you’ve found and create new AdGroups for them. More advanced tip – You could also add them as negative keywords in their existing campaigns to ensure that they will only show up in their new AdGroups. So now you’ve discovered new keywords that you already know perform really well for you. They got you high CTR’s and/or conversion rates and now they have their own AdGroups. They should perform even better as your new Ads will be much more appropriate than the previous generic ones for broad match ad groups giving you even higher CTR’s and even higher conversion rates.

Why the conversion rate side of it is so important

ConversiGet More Conversionsons equal sales, right? Using broad match you’re not only able to find new keywords, you’re able to find new converting keywords that make you money. If it had enough impression volume and led to sales then it needs to be in your account in its exact match format. You will get even more conversions if you do this and that means you make more money.

Having that conversion data on new keywords is invaluable. As I’ve said I often take over new accounts that didn’t previously have conversion tracking and were self managed by the business owner. When I find new keywords that convert at very high rates I’ll bid these keywords up very high, often way above the historical average CPC for the account. The business owners often freak out when they see that I’m bidding 2-3 times higher than had been done before. They’re focusing on costs and think that I should be reducing the CPC’s on the account, not increasing them.

Of course, this is done because the keyword has been shown to be insanely profitable and I want to get as many clicks as I can to get more conversions (up to a point). Without conversion tracking you’re essentially blind and have no idea which keywords are good and which are bad. You may be making money overall on your account, but think how much more you could make if you spent more on the good keywords and less on the bad ones! Broad match is best when it’s used to find new keywords that can go on your super high converting (and profitable) list.

To summarise

  • Don’t even consider broad unless you plan to use the data you get from it.
  • Use broad match to expand your account and find new keywords which can later be used in the exact match format.
  • Make sure that you’re working very hard on pruning out the negative keywords as quickly as you can, otherwise it will get expensive and lead to poor account performance.
  • Take those lovely new keywords you’ve found that have great click and conversion performance metrics and add them to your account in new AdGroups.
  • Make more money.

 

OK, that’s it for now. If you don’t know – my name is Harvey, I am the owner of SEO Derby, and as an Adwords consultant I personally manage all of the accounts for clients within the company. Your account won’t get sent to a new trainee. If you engage our services you get me optimising your account. If you’d like to know more, then please get in touch.

 

Google Adwords Help and Tips Part 5

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Conversion Rates

Today I’m going to talk about one of the most critical parts of an Adwords management campaign, conversion tracking. Of all the accounts I audit this is the most common problem I see. Many accounts don’t have conversion tracking set up, and this fails to use one of the most valuable tools in Adwords.

Adwords Tip Number 5: Set up Conversion Tracking

So firstly let’s talk about conversions. There are 2 main types of conversions, macro and micro conversions. Micro conversions are small actions that visitors may complete on your website that add to or assist sales. An example micro conversion might be subscribing to a newsletter or navigating to an important page in the sales funnel.

Macro conversions are generally the things that add to the bottom line and drive revenue. For e-commerce this is usually a sale or in the example of lead generation websites it would be submitting a contact form. For this article I’m going to focus on macro conversions. If you’re reading this you probably don’t have conversion tracking set up, and this really is one of the most important first steps I take as an Adwords Consultant.

Why is Conversion Tracking so important?

Within Adwords it’s likely that you have many AdGroups and many keywords. Each keyword costs you money every time somebody clicks on one of your adverts in Google search. I have some accounts with tens of thousands of keywords. Your account may or not be so complex but I’m sure you can see where I’m going here.

With conversion tracking you can actually know down to the keyword level, which keywords are driving sales (conversions). At its very simplest level once you know which keywords make you money and which ones don’t, you can cut the ones that are wasted money. Not only this but you can spend more and bid to higher positions for the keywords that are great converters. So in effect you get a double benefit. You save money by cutting the waste and make even more money by spending that saved money on the best performing keywords.

It sounds complicated to set up, how do I do it?

I’d guess that a lot of people don’t set up conversion tracking because they think it’s really difficult to do with lots of coding on the website. The reality is that in most cases it’s pretty simple. There are a few exceptions to that but in 95% of cases it’s really not too difficult. I’ll give you a quick guide on how to do it.

Firstly click on conversions in the tools and analysis tab.

ConversionsThen click on new conversion to get started.

Setup Adwords Conversion Tracking

On this screen there’s not much to do really. All you need to do is to give the Conversion a name. Name it something descriptive rather than Conversion 1 etc. Let’s say that your website sells a service with a 30 day free trial. A great conversion to get data for would be a trial signup. So you could name this Conversion Free trial signup. The location in most cases will be a webpage, so just leave that bit checked. Then you need to click ‘save and continue’.

Now you get to the screen shown below.

Generate Adwords Conversion Tracking Code

 It looks a little bit complicated but it’s actually really simple. Firstly choose the conversion category. It’s not that important which category you choose as it’s just used to help you organise accounts with multiple conversions. The options available to choose are shown here.

Conversion Categories

You just need to pick which one is the most suitable. It might be a sale or a lead for example.

The page security level can be chose between http and https. The tracking code will go on the page which a site visitor ends up at after they’ve completed the conversion. If you’re an e-commerce site selling products online and the conversion is a sale then it’s likely that the conversion page will be https. Otherwise it will be http, which is the case for most conversions. Check with your web developer if you’re not sure, or check yourself by navigating to your confirmation page and looking in the address bar of the browser.

Conversion value can be left blank in many cases. It will then record in Adwords that a conversion has happened but it won’t assign a monetary value. If you want to assign a value then you can do, just remember to just put in a number rather than using £ or $ signs as they’re not needed. If you’re a lead generation company and each lead is worth £50 to you then input 50 into the conversion value section.

Tracking indicator is there if you want to have an icon saying that you are tracking conversions on the site. I don’t normally use it, but you ought to make a mention in your privacy policy that you track conversions with Adwords. Click ‘Don’t add a notification’.

Finally there are advanced options. Leave those as they are. The advanced options are about view through conversions. That’s a reasonably advanced topic and most advertisers aren’t going to need to use those unless they have quite complex campaigns.

Click save and continue. You then get taken to a page where you get the tracking code. Click that you make changes too your website, and copy the code to notepad on your PC. Then click done and that’s it you’re done….. Well almost!

Pasting The Conversion Tracking Code

The final step is to paste the code you saved onto your website. I know a lot of people get scared at the thought of pasting code but it really is literally as easy as copying and pasting into a word processing document like Word. If you want your web designer or your SEO Company to do it, then just email it to them and they will take care of it.

If you want to do it yourself all you need to do is this. Access the web page for the conversion either through cpanel or through FTP via a client like FileZilla. If you don’t know how to do this then maybe it’s best to get your web team to do it.

Once you’ve got the code open press control F (Find) and search for </body>. This indicates the end of the body. Paste in the code just before this </body> tag. That’s it, you’re done.

If you don’t know what to do with conversion data

Congratulations, you now have Adwords conversion tracking setup. It does take up to 24 hours for conversions to show up, so wait until the next day and you should start seeing conversion in your account and you can now start optimising for conversions and having a much more successful campaign. You will need to wait to get some conversions before you change bidding model. Of course the fun only now begins. If you can’t optimise for conversions and do nothing with the data, then all you have is data. If you are insistent on managing your campaign yourself but you don’t know how to improve with conversion data then you should make one change to your campaign settings. Please note I’m only recommending this if you really don’t know how to make use of the data.

Optimise For Conversions in Adwords SettingsClick on settings for each campaign and find delivery method (advanced) and click on edit.

Once you’ve done that you will see the following options.

Click optimise for conversion and then click save. You’re done.

You now have conversion tracking setup and you’re letting Google optimise your account for conversions. Letting Google optimise for you is a hands off approach and isn’t really the best way to do it. In previous editions of this guide I talked about split testing adverts and making sure that you rotate ads evenly. That’s still best practice but if you want a hands off approach then this is the simplest way. In my post on split testing ads by rotating evenly I showed how you can improve your account by testing which ads perform best for more clicks. If you want to get more advanced then you now can find which ads drive the most conversions! If you want to know more, check out Google’s guide to tracking.

So there you go again, now you know why you should setup conversion tracking in Adwords and how to do it. It’s not as hard as it looks, and I hope you can do it. If you have any issues then just send me an email and I’ll happily try to help.

If it all seems like too much hassle then why not get in touch so I can help you with Adwords Management Services. I feel confident that no matter if your monthly budget is £500 or £50,000 I can save you much more than my fee. When you think about it, it’s a no brainer to have an expert manage your accounts.

Next time in part 6 of my ongoing Google Adwords Help Guide I’ll be delving even deeper into conversion tracking. I’ll be looking at how to optimise for conversions and how to use the data gained from setting all this up. That’s of course the most important thing.

Thanks for listening.


adwords 3

Google Adwords Help and Tips Part 4

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So here we go with part 4 of my Adwords guide. This time I’m going to talk about basic account and ad group structure. We’ve already talked about ad rotation, split testing ads, and keyword types such as broad, phrase, exact, and negative match types. So we know how to test ads by rotating them properly and split testing them, as well as the different types of keywords we can put into Adwords ad groups. The next piece of the puzzle is to organise your keywords into ad groups and campaigns in the most effective way. As an Adwords Consultant one of the first tasks I do is to look at account organisation for new accounts.

Adwords Tip Number 4: Organise Your Campaigns and Ad Groups Wisely

A Google Adwords account is structured with the following hierarchy:
• Account
• CampaignAdwords Account Organisation
• Ad Group
• Keywords

I see a lot of the time in accounts I take over that the full structure isn’t used properly. I often see clients having 1 campaign which is their entire site and then their ad groups. Sometimes on the really bad accounts they also only have 1 ad group. Doing it that way is not taking advantage of the ability to really focus your campaigns and ad groups to be as specific as possible and to allow lots of cool segmentation of campaigns that I will discuss later in this Google Adwords help guide.

Keyword Intent in Adwords

It’s easier to explain acKeyword Intentcount organisation from a bottom up perspective rather than a top down point of view, although when it comes to setting up your Adwords account it’s always best to start from the top and plan from the campaign level down to the keyword level.

Keywords in your account trigger ads. At its simplest level that’s what Adwords Management is. You select keywords that you wish to show an advert for in Google and hopefully people clicking your ads after searching that particular keyword will buy from you or convert in whatever way you wish them to. So in essence you are matching the intent behind a keyword to your product or service.

If you run a building company and somebody searches for ‘house extension company’, it’s pretty clear that the keyword intent matches your ability to connect with that potential customer. However, if that person searches the keyword ‘home improvement’, they may be looking for DIY or decorating services, or many things that you are not able or willing to do. Thus keywords are the building blocks of any campaign and each one is very important. As marketers we want to understand the intent behind the keywords and assess them for the suitability to be a match with your services or products.

Organisation into Adwords Ad Groups

Once we have selected suitable keywords all with matching consumer intent and meaning, we need to focus and organise them into ad groups. Whilst it would be great to have unique adverts for every single keyword in your account in most cases this is not possible. I run some accounts with over 5000 keywords for example, and I couldn’t write 10,000 (2 ads for each ad group) Adwords ads! Therefore to make things easier we need to create groups of keywords which will all show the same ads if any of the keywords from the group are searched. These are of course known as ad groups.
The most important thing to remember is that the same advert(s) will show for all keywords in the ad group.

All of the keywords in each ad group need to be very similar and related to each other. If the keywords are very different and have different intent then your advert will not be the most suitable for every keyword in the group. This means that you will get lower click through rates (CTR) and lower conversions. Ultimately this will mean lower quality scores, as CTR is such an important metric, and your entire account will be dragged down by poor performing keywords and adverts.

Organisation into Adwords Campaigns

Organise Adwords ProperlyOnce we’ve divided our keywords into Ad Groups, we should divide our Ad Groups into Campaigns. There are far too many reasons for this to go into here as it would need a massive article in itself to explain all of the reasons. Suffice to say that lots of basic and advanced optimisation tactics can be used at the ad group level, and some at the campaign level.

Sitelinks is one great example of this. Sitelinks are where you have extra links to your site beneath your advert. These are nearly always best practice, but they only work on the campaign level. It would be amazing to have ad group level sitelinks, but currently that’s not possible. If your entire website is structured through just 1 campaign in Adwords then you will have to have the same sitelinks triggered for every single keyword. If you have a diverse range of products and services then this is often far from optimal. If you are an online retailer and someone searches for washing machines, having a sitelink for men’s shoes is not going to be a good idea!

Account Structure Example

Here is an example of how to structure an account. There are various ways to do it depending on the objectives and the actual set up of the business. I’ve organised accounts into campaigns targeting different geographic areas, or targeting different types of product, for example. There is no set way to do this and the key is to understand the business and how it functions and then to make a plan based on that. Let your business be the guide for setting up the account structure.

Let’s say that you are a shoe retailer, you only sell online, and you sell to the entire country. This means that you are unlikely to segment by location (although you still might!). Perhaps you may have an Adwords account structure something like the following:

Example Campaigns:

Let’s say we decide to segment campaigns by sex and age, so we have a number of groups for men, women, boys, and girls. We may end up with 4 campaigns in the men’s category. Note that purchases of trainers or formal shoes will have different intents, uses, wants, and desires in their choices. So we could end up with the following Campaigns for men.

Men’s Trainers, Men’s Work shoes, Men’s casual shoes, Men’s formal shoes, Men’s ‘Other’

In Men’s trainers there will be a wide variety of styles, choices, colours, and needs etc. So for that campaign we may end up with the following Ad Groups:

Nike Trainers, Puma Trainers, Black Trainers, Running Trainers

You can see here in my example that the keywords that should go in these different Ad Groups should all be very different. So, in the Nike trainers Ad Group we may have the following keywords:

Nike Air Max, Nike Tailwind, Nike Trainers.

Therefore we can see that in the account we end up with one campaign having:

(Campaign) Men’s Trainers. (Ad Group) Nike Trainers. (Keywords) Nike Air Max, Nike Tailwind, Nike Trainers.
This is nicely structured and organised, and all of the keywords should have an advert which is highly relevant, likely to be clicked, and more likely to make sales and profits.

You also have to remember that the destination URL on the ad will be the same, so for this example the ad should point to a category page for Adwords Account StructureNike trainers. I intentionally left some issues here, so that you could see what could go wrong in this case. It may be that someone searching for air max would convert better if they ended up on a page solely about air max trainers. In my example this searcher would arrive at a general Nike page, and this may infact be a bad idea (but better than arriving at your homepage of course!). It’s important to know that every single keyword in an Ad Group will send traffic to the same landing page!

You can see here that even when a lot of thought goes into account organisation, it can sometimes be wrong and need some changes. The key is that the keyword, advert, and landing page (destination URL) should ALL be related! My example account structure is likely not optimal and would need some changes to be more effective. Hopefully though, you have got the point that a lot of thought needs to go into this stuff. Adwords allows you to slice and dice data to a highly granular degree which is massively powerful but requires a strong structure to take advantage of this.

A quick mention about negative keywords

I discussed in part 3 of this guide about match types and negative keywords. It’s possible that you may have keywords in 1 campaign that could trigger an advert in different ad groups from within that campaign.

Say you have a Nike trainers ad group and a blue trainers ad group. What happens if somebody searches for blue Nike trainers. This could trigger the broad match keywords ‘Nike trainers’ or ‘blue trainers’. In this case an advert could show from either Ad Group and Google will show which one it feels is best, most probably by which ones has the best Quality Score. You need to be in control of these things and not Google!

You can use negative keywords to control this difficult behaviour. If you want any Nike related keywords to use only that ad group and not any other Ad Group then you can use the negative keyword Nike in your other Ad Groups. If you add Nike as a negative to your blue Ad Group, then if someone searches that keyword you will know that the correct advert you want to show will infact do so!

In Conclusion

I hope I’ve shown you that account organisation is not a waste of time, and is infact critical to having a successful account. You need to plot out the entire structure of your account in excel or on paper before it’s all set up, otherwise you’ll find that you’ll be making lots of ongoing changes trying to deal with the issues caused. The best way is always to think in advance and optimise accordingly.

If you’re having issues with Adwords account organisation then I’d be happy to work with you and manage your account for you. Why not get in touch and talk with me about taking your Adwords account to the next level with my help. Don’t forget we also offer a guaranteed SEO service.

Adwords Account Organisation

Google Adwords Help and Tips Part 3

Posted by | adwords management | No Comments

 

So here we go for part 3 of my guide to Adwords management with the correct fundamentals. We’ve already covered making sure that adverts are evenly rotated and split tested, so today we’re going to look at using match types and negative keywords in your campaigns as part of our Adwords help and tips series.

Adwords Tip Number 3: Use Negative Keywords and Correct Match Types

Match types can often sound confusing, but actually they are pretty simple to understand. There are 3 match types you can select within Google Adwords. There are:

[Exact]

“Phrase”

Broad

Exact Match

Exact match is where you only want an advert to show if the search term is exactly as you have specified with no alterations. If you select a keyword of ‘service derby’ you would input the keyword as [service derby]. Let’s take as an example an advert for a car garage that advertises on Google Adwords for their yearly car service. Their advert would only show if a Google user typed service derby into Google with no other words used and in that exact order.

Phrase Match

Phrase match is slightly wider and will get you more clicks and impressions than exact match. If you input “service derby” into your Adwords campaign, then your advert will show if the words ‘service derby’ are present in the search term in that order, BUT there can be any other words before or after the phrase. For example this keywords will activate an advert is somebody types in ‘best car service derby’ or ‘service derby in the city centre’.

Broad Match

Google Adwords Match TypesBroad match is the widest match type and will get the most clicks and impressions. It is very broad and is a way to catch the many varieties of keywords people search for online. There are multitudes of permutations of what people might type into Google when looking for a particular busines and broad match helps to cover all of these easily. Broad match types are selected by just typing the words with no brackets or inverted commas. Service Derby will be entered just like I just did it. Adverts will show when somebody searches any phrase that contains service and derby in any order with any other words. An advert would show for example if somebody searched ‘service for motorbikes in derby’. If our hypothetical car servicing garage doesn’t service motorbikes, then this could be a problem!

Broad match is very powerful and you have to be very careful with it. Although it will get you lots of impressions and clicks, you won’t always know what keywords your adverts will be showing for. Your advert may show for lots of completely irrelevant searches. This is a really bad thing for many reasons.

1)      You may end up paying for people to click your ads who are not looking for your business service and so be wasting lots of money

2)      Your ads won’t be relevant for many searches and so less people will click your adverts giving you a low click through rate (CTR). Google punishes adverts and accounts with low CTR’s with low quality scores and higher over bid prices. An irrelevant ad can push up the costs of all of your (other relevant) adverts.

Negative keywords are one of the tools used by Adwords managers to try to deal with adverts showing for irrelevant ads showing up in searches, which I’ll explain now.

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are keywords where you don’t want your advert to show if these are used when a user makes a search on Google. This Use negative keywordsobviously sounds a bit counter intuitive at first, as surely you want your advert to show as much as possible. However I explained above how it is often the case that it’s important to control what search phrases your adverts don’t show for as well as which ones it does. Let’s go back to our car garage example and their keyword ‘service derby’.

Hopefully you can already easily see the problem with this particular keyword. The garage sells car services in the location of Derby. Lots of people may well make a search using the words service and derby, and will genuinely be looking for a car service. However there are lots of other types of services in Derby and the broad or phrase match keyword would show up for all of these searches.

Postal service derby

Limo service derby

PC repair service derby

Training service derby

It’s clear that if the car garage has the broad or phrase match keyword ‘service derby’, then their advert will show for all of the above searches and many more. These irrelevant keywords will absolutely kill their campaign as they will be wasting money and getting terrible CTR’s, quality scores, and ultimately higher overall costs.

Luckily there is a solution, and that solution is negative keywords. The image below shows where you can input negative keywords into Adwords.

negative keywords

In this example we clearly want to use the negative keywords, postal, limo, PC, repair, and training. This will prevent adverts being shown for the above searches, will save money, and help with quality scores and bid prices. The problem is that for some keywords there are a huge number of potential variations on what people search for. We know in this example that PC is excluded, but what about the keywords computer or computers? Once you drill down into keywords you realise that a lot of thought needs to go into what searches your advert could possibly show for.

One of the weekly Adwords management jobs that PPC professionals do is to check search query reports and actually see which clicks or impressions you got for your keywords. Quite often you see that you have had clicks on keywords that weren’t relevant to your advert or business. Brainstorming for negative keywords before a campaign is launched is very important, but it’s impossible to think of all of the possibilities. Search query reports help you to continue to optimise by weeding out all of the ‘bad’ keywords that you don’t want to be showing for! This image shows how to access these reports for search queries. They are available in the keywords tab under keyword details.

Search Queries

The key to Adwords management is relevancy and these reports are an absolute goldmine and should always be checked on a regular basis. They will show exactly what clicks you got for a specific keyword and then you can quickly work out which irrelevant and wasted clicks you got and then add those keywords as negative keywords. Once you’ve done that, those irrelevant wasted clicks will never happen again. Also your advert won’t show for people searching those keywords and so over time you should get a much higher CTR overall which greatly helps with account health, quality score, and overall costs. As an adwords consultant I know the power of greater relevancy, and so should you.

Other uses of Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are also very useful for organising ad groups within adwords to make sure that the right ads show for the right keywords. I’m not going to explain this in too much detail as part 4 of this guide will be about ad group organisation, and negative keywords are a really useful way to do this.

Quite simply you can find that adverts for different ad groups within your own campaigns can compete against each other with sometimes unexpected results. Negative keywords can ensure that the right ads show for the right keywords and that ad groups don’t cannibalise each other.

Don’t forget your match types and negatives!

So there you go, I hope this quick guide helped you out and will improve the organisation of keywords in your account. Now you should understand about all of the different match types, how to use them, and how to use negatives to control your broad and phrase match keywords.

If you need some help and would like me to manage your Adwords account for you then please get in touch using the forms provided or alternatively contact me about our guaranteed SEO service.

 

cookie

SEO Derby Web Design and Cookies

Posted by | design | No Comments

 

Cookies and EU Law

CookiesI thought I ought to quickly write today about cookies, complying with the EU cookie directive and why it’s important to SEO, the web in general, and web design. It’s Friday today and by Monday morning all sites in the UK that use cookies to enhance the user experience need to have a cookie policy and clearly explain to visitors of their website what cookies are being used, explain how to opt out, and to obtain consent to use these. The fine for not being compliant can be up to £500,000!  Clearly getting this right is important although the ICO who are responsible for enforcing this have said their policy will be to help to educate rather than litigate. Phew… that’s a relief!

So what is a cookie?

A cookie is an incredibly small text file which can be put on your browser by a web server when you visit a website. When you visit the Cookies Onlinewebsite another time the browser will send the cookie back to the site. It’s all pretty boring really, but a cookie does allow the website to do a lot of things that may be useful for internet marketers.  One of the most common usages is for Google analytics. Analytics cookies allow the site owner to gain valuable information about how visitors use and navigate the website. They can also be used to show you adverts at a later time based on your visit to a website using a process called site retargeting. Of course all of this has created some privacy concerns and the EU has now directed that websites must be transparent about cookie usage. Sorry… I couldn’t resist the cat picture!

What do I need to do?

It’s an interesting question and it really isn’t totally clear. Lots of big websites are implementing this differently. It’s clear that most are NOT asking visitors to opt in. Most sites are providing information about how to opt out. Of course it’s much easier to just carry on surfing the net than to mess about opting out of cookies. Therefore the hope is that the vast majority of people will get used to seeing requests to use cookies and end up automatically accepting them. What is clear is that you need to have a privacy policy detailing how your website uses cookies and you need to direct new visitors to it so that they can opt out if they so desire.

What did you do at SEO Derby?

QuestionLuckily SEO Derby uses WordPress and there are quite a few plugins for this available. I tried about 4 different ones until I found the one that worked best for me. After testing these plugins I used the cookie control plugin from the nice people at Civic UK. It’s actually a fantastic piece of marketing from these guys as they are a web design and SEO company and when you use their plugin you’ll likely be consenting to allow them to market their products to you. If you have  a website you’ll be in their target market. Not only that, but they’ll probably get lots of people linking to them. I just linked to them and I’d bet I won’t be the only one. I wish I’d thought of it! It’s genius.

If you don’t use WordPress they make it really easy for you to set it up on their site using some simple code. You just have to enter some information and then they give you the code to put on your website. Simple!

Anything else that’s important?

Guaranteed SEONot really, I think it’s a bit of a non issue. Everybody needs to set their websites up for this if they use cookies, and then you can forget about it. I feel sure that most people won’t choose to opt out of cookies, and you’ll still be able to get your analytics data or use it for remarketing or retargeting needs. The point is that a cookie policy and strategy needs to be decided upon and implemented so that it has the least possible impact on your site. Once you’ve done this, you can get back to blogging or selling online and not worry about EU directives and the like. Clearly this is all an important part of web design and SEO. If you’re looking for some help with cookies, guaranteed SEOweb design in Derby, or adwords management, then please get in touch. See you next time (hopefully with a more interesting subject!).

web design

Web Design, Why it matters to SEO

Posted by | design | No Comments

 

I’ll come right out and say web design is absolutely fundamental to SEO. In of itself it’s not so important as you won’t rank higher in Google because your website looks prettier than your competitors. However there are many advantages to great web design which ultimately affect other things which do affect your rankings. Web design indirectly can massively affect your rankings. Our web design Derby page states that we don’t do web design here at SEO Derby, and that’s bang on.

It’s very rare that a web designer is good at SEO or an SEO is a great web designer. You’d think the skill sets are similar and there Web Design and SEOcertainly is some crossover, but it’s my belief that you should focus on what you are good at. If a client came to me wanting a newly designed website I would refer them to someone who I know can do a great job. In fact when it comes to design I’m totally unhappy with this website and need to get it sorted out, as in truth this website is far from finished and there are major changes I want and need to make. I guess life sometimes just gets in the way.

On page web design issues that affect SEO

There are so many issues here that there’s no way one blog post could cover them all. I’m going to cover the basics here, so please remember that this list is by no means comprehensive. It’s literally just a small sample of the things that need to be looked at. SEO is always a moving target and on page SEO changes often need to happen at different stages of a websites development. Luckily we offer a guaranteed SEO Service to help with ongoing issues.

Canonical URL’s

One of the simplest issues to fix that I see time after time is canonical URL issues. You’d be amazed how many websites I see with this most fundamental SEO mistake, and to be honest probably at least half the websites of actual web designers I see have these same issues. That’s a clear example of why you should leave SEO to an SEO.

When you see a website and you are on the homepage you may not notice the URL. Here are a few examples of URL’s that are all the same page.

www.mysite.com                      http://my site.com                          http://www.mysite.com

www.mysite.com/index.php                                 www.mysite.com/index.html

If you think it makes no difference that there are different versions of the same page, then think again! Search engines see all these pages as completely different pages. That still doesn’t sound like too much of an issue, but trust me it really is. Your homepage is usually the most important and powerful page on your website and basically you are splitting its ranking power. It’s far better to have just 1 homepage, and that’s pretty obvious. This issue is easily sorted by using 301 redirects or rel = canonical. Then you have 1 version of the homepage and no matter which (of these different) pages you click, your visitors and search engine spiders all end up on the same page.

Title Tags

The title of a page and certainly the title of your homepage is a huge ranking signal. Don’t leave it to a web designer to write the titles of SEO Page Titlesyour pages. The title should accurately reflect what the page is about and certainly should incorporate the results of your SEO keyword research for the best results. The web designer will have absolutely no clue about how to best write the title tag to achieve the best rankings.

Meta Description Tags

The meta description is a very short description of what each page is about. This is the information that is displayed in search results underneath the link telling searchers what the page is about. There is absolutely no SEO value in these directly. There used to be SEO value but after lots of grey hat SEO tactics used with meta tags it’s agreed that meta descriptions do not have any direct influence on SEO.

SEO PlanHowever SEO can be taken much further to really be SEM (search engine marketing) and to that degree meta descriptions can be one of the most important factors. How well written the Meta description is will massively affect the CTR (click through rate) of your result when it’s searched for. As I explained in one of our adwords help articles, CTR can be massively increased if the Meta description (or ad text in adwords) is compelling and well written. If your keyword gets searched for 1000 times per month and you get a 10% rather than a 2% CTR due to an amazing Meta description then you will get 5 times as many visitors for that keyword. It’s also argued (although not proven) that CTR is a ranking factor in Google and thus writing compelling SEO meta descriptions is probably one of the most important SEO jobs to be done.

Duplicate content

Duplicate content is a massive SEO mistake. So you’d think that it’s not possible as each page will be unique. In some cases that’s true, but in many cases websites have huge amounts of duplicate content. On many websites there are multiple ways to get to the same page. In the content management system WordPress for example there are tag pages, category pages, archives, author pages etc. These all carry the same content. Once you get down to e-commerce websites there can be thousands of duplicate content pages. Many pages will belong in lots of different categories and this will massive duplicate content. There are of course lots of solutions to this and a good SEO will work heavily on these.

Sitemaps

Again, this is such a simple issue that is often missed. It’s important to make sure that all of your pages on your website are crawled and indexed. One of the simplest ways to do this is to help spiders with an XML sitemap (and an html one). I have to admit I haven’t done the XML sitemap for this site yet, so I am being hypocritical and I do need to get that done. Don’t make the mistake I made, and make sure you get your sitemap uploaded.

SEO Web design

Guaranteed SEOWell as I said I’ve only covered a few simple aspects here but hopefully you’ve got the point that there are lots of issues when it comes to web design that aren’t part of how the website looks but are part of how search engines evaluate pages. It’s often on page SEO pages which can hold a website back, but luckily these are the easiest to fix too. Of course backlinks and social media marketing will always be massively important too, but it’s best to work on the foundations first.

If you’re looking for SEO it’s most often not required to rebuild the entire website. Some simple coding changes can make all the difference before off page optimisation is started. If you’d like me to help then please get in touch as I’d love to help you with your website. If it’s SEO you are looking for or an Adwords management service then just let us know. If you’ve had any Penguin or Panda issues then I know I can really help.

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