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Thursday, January 12, 2012

 

Google’s algorithm changes over the past 2-3 years are making it harder to directly influence search engine rankings.  Factors such as the Google ‘trust’ factor (which gives preference to older domain names) are impossible to influence, leaving many businesses with sub-optimal organic rankings.

With many businesses being disgruntled with SEO results there is an ever-increasing trend (as Google had hoped) towards paying for search positions.

Yes, with pay-per-click advertising you need to continually spend to get a result.  However, these 7 key reasons may have you reconsidering your marketing mix to include pay-per-click advertising.



1. Paid Clicks are from Hungry Customers

Common sense suggests that people clicking organically are early in the buying cycle, whereas those clicking on paid ads are more ready to make a purchase.  Paid ads often contain special offers, discounts, pricing examples, and are directly targeted towards what the searcher is looking for.  E.g. see the compelling offers that appear when ‘carpet cleaning’ is searched on Google – '3 Rooms for $65', '10% off' etc. Compare this to the first 4 organic listings which have minimal marketing appeal.

 
 Click to Enlarge


2. Search Engines have Shareholders

Organic results are being bumped down the list in favour of paid ads, in an attempt to maintain share prices of the search engines.  Ads can now include a business location and links to other pages within the website (see examples below).  As a result, the paid ads are getting clicked on more than ever before because searchers don’t like having to scroll.


   
 Click to Enlarge  Click to Enlarge


3. Organic = Watching Grass Grow

It can be frustrating watching and waiting for your website to improve organically.  No one knows how high it will reach and how fast it will get there.

Pay-per-click advertising gives immediate visibility.  Ads can be shown to a searcher in a specific location for a specific keyword, within as little as 10 minutes.  This sure beats sitting around hoping/praying for your website to improve organically.



4. Pay-per-Click Covers 1,000’s of keywords

It is difficult to get a website ranking organically in the top 3 for 100’s of popular keywords without the website having literally hundreds or thousands of pages.  Many older websites will rank well under a select few popular keywords but they could be missing out on customers who search for variations of these keywords.  Pay-per-click lets you actively pursue all keyword variations, without having to write additional content!


5. Greater Control

The description used in organic search results will be the meta description of the relevant page, or in some instances, an extract of text from the page.  Whilst you can alter the meta description, it isn’t guaranteed that this will be displayed, and any changes that you make won’t be reflected until the search engine re-crawls your website (which could be hours or months – no one knows exactly). By comparison pay-per-click ads can be changed almost instantly and are reflected generally within 10 minutes online.


6. Make use of Landing Pages

1-page websites, also known as ‘Landing Pages’ or ‘Squeeze Pages’, are renowned for having higher conversion rates than full websites.  Landing pages work well for businesses whose customers are making a time-sensitive decision (e.g. pest control), the customer can get the same or a similar service elsewhere (e.g. mortgage broking), and credibility can be quickly conveyed in a few key bullet points.

1-Page websites generally don’t rank well organically in competitive areas due to the website having insufficient content.  However, pay-per-click advertising can have these pages ranking high in any keyword category, and driving quality targeted traffic that converts into leads.  It is not uncommon for a good landing page and pay-per-click campaign to convert 25% of visitors into leads.

These statistics are from a test comparing the conversion rate of a full website (SEO Landing Page) with a 1-Page PPC Landing page –


  Conversion Rate 
SEO Landing Page  15.1% 
PPC Landing Page 26.9%


7. You Control your Rankings

By bidding on keywords you can control your rankings with pay-per-click advertising.  Note however that your bid is only one of a number of factors search engines look at when determining how much you pay per click.  A good quality landing page with relevant keywords will help keep your click costs to a minimum.
Friday, October 07, 2011

The Truth about Google AdWords

AdWords is a phenomenal marketing tool if used correctly. Our clients have generated millions of dollars worth of sales and achieved a positive return on investment where their campaigns have been correctly architected and managed.

Google AdWords is designed in a way that encourages businesses to spend money using campaign settings they think are beneficial, but can actually be detrimental to the performance of a campaign.


A typical day in the life of an Australian small business owner...

So you’ve just received a Google AdWords voucher in the mail for $75 worth of free advertising credit – how exciting!

You login to Google’s website, setup your campaigns, enter your credit card and voucher details, then wait for the phone to ring.

But somehow nothing happens. This brilliant advertising service that everyone talks about just spent $75 of Google’s money with no result. 

Speculating, you spend a little more of your own money, tweak some keywords, re-write your ads, and then your receive a call from someone claiming to be looking at your website.

It must be working! You spend some more, this time increasing your bids because you notice your ads are too far down the list. Your cost of clicks increases and you’re now sitting in the top 3. The phone rings a little more!

A few days later you check your ads and you’re sitting 5th of the list for your #1 keyword – how dare your competitors outrank you! You then start to wonder if they’re clicking on you.

So you increase your bids a bit more but notice your ads are receiving less clicks, and you start wondering ifAdWords is all it’s cracked up to be.

Then...you read your credit card statement and nearly faint at the charges from Google!


Case Study – 82% of a budget wasted!

When we added the keyword ‘advertising perth’ to a trial campaign it triggered visits for keywords including ‘how to study advertising in perth’, ‘personals adverts perth’, ‘quokka advertising perth’, ‘transperth advertising’.Of the $162 spent in 7 days, $134 was spent on clicks that were totally irrelevant!

Click on the thumbnail below to see the full list –

This click wastage is prevalent in almost all AdWords campaigns and is a moving target.

This is only one of over 10 different ways Google encourages businesses to spend more on AdWords than they need to (last quarter they generated $9.03 billion in revenue from this service). It pays to have any AdWords campaign professionally managed to obtain the best possible result!


Are You Bronze, Silver or Gold?

If you are running Google AdWords or are considering launching a campaign to promote your business, PositionMEonline provides three levels of Google AdWords management to ensure your campaigns are run most effectively. 

Starting from $130+GST/month for the Bronze service we will review your campaigns every month and provide you with an update on your campaign performance. This small investment often pays for itself as a result of substantially reduced click wastage and a higher return on investment.


Find Out How Much You’re Wasting - FREE

If you have a Google AdWords account that is currently not managed by us and would like to know how much you have spent on unwanted clicks, we provide a complimentary campaign review and will reveal the finite dollar value of your wasted click costs. This offer is valid until 31 October 2011.


Not Running AdWords Yet?

You could be missing out on an excellent source of high quality traffic to your website. All new campaigns are created by PositionMEonline’s AdWords Qualified Consultants and are highly refined to ensure minimal click wastage.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Every business owner should be aware of a recent change in Google’s search results.

Over the past few weeks many businesses have noticed a change in their search engine rankings. Google is now using a mode of advertising called ‘Google Places’ to influence the way searchers find information about local businesses.

What has changed?
You will notice the following 6 major changes on Google when you search for something by location (e.g. ‘mechanic Perth’)

  1. The organic search results and the Google Places listings are now combined, displaying the phone number and street address of businesses beneath their organic listings.
  2. Businesses that once ranked well in the organic search results but did not have a Google Places listing are now positioned towards the bottom of the page, and will generate minimal traffic.
  3. The map that once appeared on the left hand side of the screen above the organic search results is now often on the right hand side, just above the paid ads – this makes the organic search results appear higher on the page and gives increased prominence to the paid ads.
  4. Businesses that once had multiple keyword focused Google Map listings are now confined to just one ‘Google Places’ listing for their business – this makes it harder (but not impossible) to rank in the map section for a broad variety of keywords.
  5. A preview of each website in the organic search results can be seen by clicking the magnifying glass – this means searchers may make decisions to access websites based on a snapshot of your Home page, hence the importance of an aesthetically pleasing website.
  6. Directories of local businesses are being out-muscled by the individual businesses themselves, as Google is giving more power to the individual business to control its information on Google.
What are the major ranking factors for Google Places?
You need to ensure the following factors are addressed to maximise the probability of your Google Places listing ranking well –
  • Completeness – bulking out your listing with opening hours, payment methods, photos, videos, an accurate description, and coupons, will help give your listing more weight.
  • Accuracy – Google will verify the accuracy of your listing against other sources on the web (e.g. White Pages), so ensure your business name, address and phone number are accurate. 
  • Reviews – ask your customers to rate your business and write a review about their experience in dealing with you, as Google Place listings with more reviews (not necessarily better reviews) will tend to rank higher.
  • Citations – being listed on prominent industry-specific directories can add additional weight (e.g. association websites) as it helps confirm how established your business is based on the number and quality of these references.
This article provides a more detailed description of each factor

The next step...to ensure your Google Places listing is properly optimised
PositionMEonline has launched a new service called Google Places Optimisation (GPO) in which we:

  • Claim your Google Places listing on Google (if it hasn’t been already)
  • Ensure the information on your listing is complete & accurate – i.e. we bulk out your listing
  • Add up to 10 images and 5 videos to your listing
  • Provide you with a 1-page step-by-step instruction manual for getting customers to review your business on Google Places
The service is $195+GST once-off – probably the best money you will spend on your Google rankings ever. To have our team optimise your Google Places listing, simply reply to this email with ‘Yes please proceed’ and we will arrange this for your business.

Or Save Yourself $195 and write us a review!
If you would like the Google Places Optimisation (GPO) service for your business but would rather not pay for it, simply write us a review! To do this click on this link and review our Web Marketing services then find the link called ‘Sign in to rate’. You will need your Google Account login details (if you haven’t got a Google account you can click on ‘Create an account now’ and create one in less than a minute).
Friday, September 10, 2010

Google has just rolled out one of the greatest advancements in search techology in a number of years.  It's called 'Google Instant', and will revolutionise the way we search for and find information online.

What is Google Instant?
Google Instant is a new search technology that causes Google search results to be displayed on screen in real-time as the searcher is typing their search phrase.  As each word of the search phrase is typed, the search results change to display results relevant to that phrase.

How will this impact the search experience?
Google claims this will save the average searcher between 2 and 5 seconds for every search.  When you consider how many searches are being performed on a daily basis, this is a massive productivity gain globally!

This new search experience has the potential to alter searcher behaviour as they refine their search phrase. 

Consider a normal search for "BMW speaker E46 replacement" - when you type this into the search bar and click Enter this would take you directly to the relevant search results for this phrase.

With Google Instant the results will be different.  When you type in "BMW" you will most likely see www.bmw.com.au listed in the search results, then as you add "speaker" to make the phrase "BMW speaker" you may see search results for new and used speakers, or even about spokepeople from BMW.

Will our behaviour change as a result of Google Instant?
Most likely it will.  In the example above, the searcher may be tempted to visit the BMW website, or even buy a whole new set of speakers for their car through a website that appeared when they had only typed the first part of the phrase.

What about Google AdWords?
The same applies for Google AdWords - the ads will dynamically change as the searcher is typing.

What impact with Google Instant have on SEO?
Greater importance will need to be placed on ranking for generic phrases.  A website that specialises in replacement speakers for BMW's will need to also optimise for 'BMW speakers' or similar to ensure their website gets is visible as searchers start off with a broad search phrase and narrow it down with additional keywords.  As a result, websites will become even more reliant on their Link Popularity as it can be tough to rank for generic phrases in competitive industries.

We also anticipate that this will further decrease the likelihood of searchers going to page 2 and beyond to find what they are looking for.  Instead, they will alter their search phrase and see the results change dynamically before their eyes - without the need to even move their mouse!

When will it be rolled out in Australia?
Google Instant is currently being rolled out in the US and is anticipated to hit Australian shores before the end of the year.

Yet another amazing advancement from the search industry leaders!

Watch this video to see Google Instant in action!



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How Much Money is Google Making?

Any business who has ever run a Google AdWords campaign to drive traffic to their website for a minimum of 3-6 months will have experienced a rise in the cost of traffic at a rate greater than inflation.

We have experienced this first hand - in June 2009 some of our Google Ads were costing around $5.25 per click. Nine months later these same keywords are bordering on $18 per click - not per enquiry, but per click! However, in this article we share with you some useful strategies for keeping your click costs to a minimum with Google's powerful advertising tool.

Why such a sharp increase in click costs?

With Google AdWords being a real-time bidding machine the click costs are largely driven by supply and demand. There is a limited supply of top or first page positions on Google, therefore those that want to be there have to pay a premium.

Click costs in certain industries have plateaued due to profit margins being eroded - e.g. the average cost per click in the florist industry is unlikely to go beyond $5 because if it takes an average of 10 clicks to get a sale, it is costing $50 to obtain the customer - on tight margins this is prohibitively expensive.

Does this mean my website is correspondingly more valuable?
Yes! If you have a website that generates organic/free search engine traffic, this traffic has a worth that can be equated to what you would otherwise have to pay Google in click costs.

Example:
If your website was generating just 20 'free' visitors a day as a result of its organic search engine rankings and your industry average cost per click is say $3, your website could be valued at - 20 visits x $3 per click x 365 days = $21,900 per year!

This is what a competitor new to the industry might have to pay direct to Google to generate the same amount of traffic. With this in mind you can see that apart from the business a website can generate, the potential worth of a well optimised website in considerable for any business.

How does Google establish the cost per click?

Interestingly, the bid or click price is not necessarily the most important factor in Google's AdWords ranking algorithm.

Other factors aside from 'price' which can have a major effect on the click costs include -

  1. Age of your Google AdWords Account - Google gives preference to businesses that have been advertising for a longer period of time. Like most businesses, they look after their long term customers and are wary of doing business with new customers with whom they have no trading history. We have seen some click costs drop by 50% in the 2nd and 3rd month of being active yet top positions were maintained.
  2. Your Keyword Quality Score - in every AdWords account next to each keyword is a tool that provides an arbitrary 'quality score' out of 10. This is measured by calculating the correlation between the chosen keyword, the ad that gets displayed when a searcher looks for that keyword, and the landing page of the website the visitor is taken to. If there is a good correlation (e.g. the keyword, the ad and the landing page all mention 'discount widgets') Google will assign that keyword a higher quality score and give it a corresponding increase in its ranking position.
  3. Click Thru Rate (CTR) - this is a measure of the percentage of searchers that click on the ad when the given keyword is searched for. E.g. a CTR of 3% means 3 in every 100 searchers click on your ad. A high click through rate is good news - searchers like clicking on your ad. Correspondingly, Google gives your ad a boost in the rankings because it may be making more money from your ad than your competitors because it is worded more attractively.

How do I combat rising click costs?

Many businesses lack the knowledge of Google's ranking algorithm for AdWords and as a result continuously increase their keyword bids in order to maintain their top positions. This is great for Google, but not for your hip pocket.

Here are 5 quick and easy ways to ensure you aren't paying a premium for your clicks:

  1. Link to the most relevant page on your website - this will improve your Quality Score for the given keyword
  2. Split your keywords into logical campaign groupings rather than one large campaign - this will also improve your Quality Score due to increased relevancy
  3. Ensure your ad is attractively worded - use digits in your ad, give pricing indications, and even include your telephone number - the digits will attract searchers eyes and result in more clicks
  4. Create ad variations that include the keywords you are targeting - if 'eco rainforest tours' is a keyword ensure 'eco rainforest tours' is mentioned in your ad
  5. Build a website specific to the campaign you have created - we did this for our websites that target specific strategic locations and noticed a 20-40% reduction in click costs!
PositionMEonline is a Google AdWords Qualified Company and has managed millions of dollars worth of spend with Google. We have an intricate understanding of how to get the best out of pay-per-click advertising based on our own experience and that of our clients.

For a free 30 minute analysis of your Google AdWords campaign contact our office on (08) 9313 2699 and we will schedule a video/web conference to review your account in more detail - obligation free.

Monday, February 01, 2010
Despite the financial crisis over the past 18 months many web-related companies have enjoyed strong growth as businesses become more savvy and cost-conscious about their marketing.  With traditional forms of advertising becoming less cost-effective businesses are turning to the internet as a reliable source of low-cost leads.

One particular recent situation stands out, highlighting the major differences in return achieved from traditional advertising when compared with website marketing -

A long-term client shared with us a full page press advertisement that their competitor had run in The West Australian (WA's leading local paper).  The advertisement was on page 48 of the newspaper, just before the stock prices. 

At $7,500 one might think twice about placing such an ad, but the value of this businesses services is such that around 4 new clients would need to be obtained in order to make it a worthwhile venture.

72 hours after running the ad we were told that the business had received 3 phone call enquiries and zero appointments - i.e. the return on investment was practically nil.  It was $7,500 wasted on something that had a shelf life of around 24-48 hours before the next edition of the newspaper was produced.

One might argue that there are other less tangible benefits (such as branding) and that further potential customers may have booked an appointment at a later stage, however the business was not of a substantial enough size to warrant a branding focus.  Hence, the purpose of the ad was to generate appointments, which it clearly failed to do.

What is different about web marketing?
A business that goes about its web strategy correctly will benefit from an asset that continues to generate a good source of leads or sales with minimal ongoing expenditure.

Using the example above, a $7,500 investment in a website that is professionally designed and marketed to be found on the major search engines will continue to reap rewards for many years.

Newspaper advertising, radio advertising, TV advertising and Yellow Pages all require an ongoing investment in order to be given "air time".  By comparison, a websites ongoing costs are generally hosting and domain registration fees (which are easily <$1000 per year).

Think outside the square
Before you invest in your next traditional form of advertising, consider whether that money would be better invested in a website designed specifically to market a particular product. 

Investing in more "salesmen whilst you sleep" will help generate a strong source of leads and sales - why have 1 salesman, when you can have say 3.  Likewise, why have one website trying to capture everything your business is about, when you could have 3 highly specialised websites targeting different divisions/products/services/angles of your business.

To discuss some creative ideas on how you can add more "salesmen whilst you sleep" to your team, call us on (08) 9313 2699 and we can demonstrate how other Australian small-medium businesses are benefiting from our innovative online marketing strategies.


Friday, June 19, 2009
A big misconception in the industry is that a ‘hit’ on a website equates to having a ‘visitor’. This is not true, yet many organisations like to inflate their marketing hype by claiming their website gets ‘millions of hits’.

A ‘hit’ occurs when a component of a web page is loaded. For example, if a person visits a web page that loads 3 photos, and 6 button icons, this would equate to at least 9 hits (despite being only one visitor). If this person then looked at 5 other pages on the website, this may equate to 50+ hits!

Website statistics programs are now sophisticated enough to know the difference between a hit and a visitor. Essentially, hits don’t matter. Knowing your visitors however will give you a more accurate perspective of how many people are looking at your website.

Google provides one of the world’s best website statistics tool for free – Google Analytics. This tool gives tremendous insight as to how visitors arrive at and react to a website.








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