Showing posts with label Cost-Per-Click. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cost-Per-Click. Show all posts

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Google Study: PPC and SEO for Branded KWs is better than Just SEO

It used to confuse me before, why would I add my brand keywords or keywords that I am already on top of SERPs for in my PPC campaign? I was thinking that people are going to click on my links automatically because they are already on top.
But I still ran the camapigns with those KWs, just to prevent competitors taking them.
Then I found an inetresting study to justify the paid clicks on branded and organically ranked KWs:

The study which was conducted by Google concluded that 50 percent of clicks generated by paid ads are not replaced by organic clicks when the ads are absent and the website has a first position organic search ranking. The study also shows that as the organic search ranking decreases, the percentage of clicks not replaced by the paid ad increases. This implies that organic search alone cannot drive as much traffic to a website as organic search combined with paid search.
Here is the Abstract:

Impact Of Ranking Of Organic Search Results On The Incrementality Of Search Ads

Abstract: In an earlier study, we reported that on average 89% of the visits to the advertiser’s site from search ad clicks were incremental. In this research, we examine how the ranking of an advertiser’s organic listings on the search results page affects the incrementality of ad clicks expressed through Incremental Ad Clicks (IAC) and as estimated by Search Ads Pause models. A meta-analysis of 390 Search Ads Pause studies highlights the limited opportunity for clicks from organic search results to substitute for ad clicks when the ads are turned off. On average, 81% of ad impressions and 66% of ad clicks occur in the absence of an associated organic search result. We find that having an associated organic search result in rank one does not necessarily mean a low IAC. On average, 50% of the ad clicks that occur with a top rank organic result are incremental, compared to 100% of the ad clicks being incremental in the absence of an associated organic result.

Impact Of Ranking Of Organic Search Results On The Incrementality Of Search Ads

Friday, 3 October 2014

20 Reasons why Localization is Important to Website Conversion

Thanks to the global reach of the internet, website localization is one of the best things you can do to increase website conversions. By creating a culture- and language-specific version of your website for each demographic market you target, you become a truly international business. All businesses, even small online retailers, can benefit from localization. In fact, you can’t afford not to have localized websites, and here are 20 reasons why.

1. It offers global expansion and increased reach.

Although English is still the predominant language online, other languages, most notably Chinese, Spanish, French, and Arabic, are quickly closing the distance. Offering web content in additional languages and cultures helps you increase your reach and become a respected international business.

2. Localization helps you appeal to multicultural audiences.

Translation helps international visitors find and buy from you, but it doesn’t consider cultural differences and sometimes doesn’t convey your message or brand very well. Localization includes both cultural and linguistic concerns, helping you reach audiences in different cultures much better.

3. It increases web traffic.

Search engines rank websites with localized versions or pages higher than non-localized websites and return your website as a result more often. On top of that, local sites are more likely to link to you when you provide information in the local language. Increasing traffic is one of the three most important things you can do to boost revenue, and more traffic means more sales.

4. You get more traffic from regional and language-specific search engines.

These smaller search engines have much less competition because they’re small and most businesses don’t have localized websites to appear in results. This means it’s much easier for your localized websites to rank higher than your English website. The higher you rank and the more often your website appears in search results, the more traffic and sales you get.

5. Localization increases brand recognition.

When you translate your website into the language and culture of your target market, you show that you respect and value your audience. They in turn are more aware of your business than your English-only competitors because they see your website more often and more easily understand your message.

6. Localization increases website stickiness and sales.

Having a strong localization plan boosts your presence and sales in a targeted area, such as localizing in French and German to increase sales in Europe. Multiple studies have found that when users are presented with a website in their native language, they stay on the site twice as long and are four times more likely to make a purchase from it.

7. It increases overall ROI.

Increased traffic, conversions, and brand awareness also leads to increased trust, credibility, customer loyalty, and satisfaction, in turn leading to more conversions. Localization is also scalable for both your audience and your budget, delivering huge benefits for only a marginal additional cost.

8. Localization maintains low printing and content distribution costs.

Localizing your website increases reach without raising these costs a few ways. First, you can reuse much of the same content across multiple languages; second, translating your website into a new language and culture is scalable; finally, having a web presence costs the same no matter what language or culture. Having a localized website may also eliminate the need for direct mail such as catalogs and brochures in various languages.

9. It is a cost-effective virtual branch office or satellite location.

Instead of building a brick-and-mortar store or renting an office in an international location, your localized websites become those virtual stores by offering information, products, contacts, and everything else you can deliver digitally.

10. Localization lowers customer support costs.

By answering questions and providing information in a target market’s native language and culture, you give customers what they need online in the best format for them, which reduces the need for multilingual phone and chat support.

11. It allows you to target minorities in your own area.

Many countries have large subgroups with their own languages, cultures, and skyrocketing purchasing power, such as the Latino market in the USA. Creating localized websites for these groups helps you solidify your presence and boost sales in your own area.

12. Localization maintains brand image and voice across cultures.

The problem with straight translation is that it doesn’t consider cultural differences and doesn’t always maintain your branding message. Localization is better than translation because it considers communication, sales incentive, design, layout, and programming specific to each culture and area, so you don’t lose the integrity of your brand across languages.

13. You become a local business.

Localizing your website turns you into a local business, which boosts conversions because many people want to buy locally, you get more traffic from local keywords, and you have an easier time building brand awareness.

14. Localization makes your local marketing stronger.

When you have a website specific to a certain area’s language and culture, your local internet marketing efforts (including search engine optimization, directory listings, and social media) benefit from having a local resource to point visitors to.

15. It makes you more trustworthy and credible.

By using the area’s local slang, idioms, metaphors, and figures of speech, you can communicate with your target customers more easily and directly, reducing confusion and boosting your own reputation.

16. Localization appeals to more customers.

Most web users don’t buy products online in a language other than their own. By offering them that option, you attract more prospects and close more sales.

17. It means fewer abandoned carts.

Programming can be as much a barrier as language or culture. Localization includes proper programming to prevent backend problems such as forms that make it difficult to input personal and payment info. Fewer problems means more closed sales and higher average order value.

18. Localization makes payment easier.

When you enable local credit cards, shipping and tax codes, and buying practices, your localized websites attract customers that would shop elsewhere otherwise, boosting your ROI, conversions, and revenue.

19. It increases local sales.

Offering products, support, FAQs, and other information in your customers’ native languages makes them more likely to buy from you because they have all the information they need in a format they understand to make an informed purchase.

20. Localization increases revenue.

Most consumers care more about language than price. So even if they know they can find a product cheaper somewhere else, they are more likely to buy from you at full price if you have a localized website for them.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

How OutBrain Amplifying Content Works?

Dreaming of seeing your article featured on the CNN, USA Today, NY Times, or many other big names? for amplifying content is offering an exciting PPC advertising method, not for ads like Google, Microsoft, and yahoo are doing, but for actual content titles.

So, how does Outbrain works?  

Here is what they say about themselves:

Outbrain is the only content discovery platform dedicated exclusively to the distribution of high-quality content.
With Outbrain Amplify, links to your content appear as recommendations on the web's largest content publishers including sites like Wall Street Journal, Reuters &
Plus, Outbrain optimizes on engagement so the more interesting your content and the more traffic you drive, the more you will be recommended around the web.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Email Marketing Tips Newsfeed

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Thursday, 30 May 2013

Traffic Generation Strategy for Websites:What I learned from 5 Years of SEO

I asked myself what 5 years of experience in SEO has taught me to answer this Ultimate Question: 

How to Generate Traffic To a Website? 

To generate Traffic to any website, that is of course offering a good fresh and uniqe content, one needs to invest in:
  1. Onsite SEO
  2. Offsite Seo
  3. Social Media
  4. Link baits
  5. Traffic bank
  6. PPC and PPM for a specific Exact Match List of Keywords and Placements
  7. Brand Reputation Management (BRM)
  8. Monitoring and Analysis

1- OnSite Seo Tactics:

The Onsite SEO tasks vary between already developed and running websites and New Websites that have not been created yet. But the first thing that should be studied before doing anything is to identify a List of the Strategic Keywords and Phrases.

For Old Websites we need to fully audit the website and make a list of all onsite tasks to fix with the help of the website developers. These tasks include but are not limited to:
  1. Sitemap
  2. Broken Links
  3. 404 Navigation
  4. Site speed
  5. Meta tags (Titles, Description, Headers, URLs, Alt image, Microformats, etc.)
  6. Interlinking (and Anchor text)
  7. Mobile Optimization and Responsive Design
  8. Social Media buttons
  9. RSS feeds and newsletter subscriptions
  10. Contact us page (for Local Business)

 For new websites, the developer should have the previous list to make sure that the website is SEO’ed then whoever is responsible of the website content should create it witrh respect to the Meta Elements.

2- OffSite SEO Tactics:

A dedicated Team or member should manage the website Seo through “submissions”:
Such Submissions should be natural and only through sites with quality pages and high authority.
Types of Submissions are:
  1. Article Marketing (Eg: Alltop, technorati, Ezinearticles, Squido, etc.)
  2. Video Submissions( Eg: YouTube, Vimeo, metacafe, TubeMoguletc.)
  3. Infographic Submissions
  4. Wikis and How To sites
  5. Directories submissions (with PR 3 at least)
  6. Forums participation
  7. 3- Link Bait
  8. It is simply about creating that kind of content that other blogs or sites like to share like:
  9. How To articles
  10. Guides
  11. Top lists
  12. Trends
  13. infographics
  14. Short Animated Videos
  15. Reviews
  16. Comparisons

4- Traffic Bank:

Investing in a traffic bank is a must do strategy for any online agency. Such bank is simply a network of websites or even a Big website that is well-invested in through content, design, and advertising (online and offline).
This website (or network) will be used to support new products and clients through mentions, ads, blogs, or links. Ergo, drive them direct organic traffic.

5- Social Media

Social Media is divided into three main tactics:
  1. Social Bookmarking submissions; which is the same task done in offsite seo bu on Social bookmarks like Reddit, Pinterest, stumble upon, delicious, dig, tweetmeme, friendfeed, diigo, scoop it, Socialmaker, etc.)
  2. Community Management: A community manager is an online representative who comes with ideas, games, competitions, promos, new catchy stuff to share, to grab the social media fans to the page and make them interact. Such a representative will be a trusted source of information and can easily drive traffic to new content pages.
  3. Social Channels Update: It should be out of question that any created content should be live on the main social media channels (facebook, twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, and Tumblr) either by an individual or automatically through RSS.

6- PPC and PPM

Although Pay per click and Pay Per impression is money consuming but if it is done wisely, it will be profitable. The best way to do it if you don’t have any special events or products is to select a very narrow set of keywords and placements (websites ad spaces) and target them. Try to be noticed every now and then.  

You do not necessarily have to use Adwords or Bing Ad Center, there are tons of other Ad servers, or you can even contact any website and have your banners on their pages for weigh less than you will pay for Google and Microsoft)

Use Remarketing and Ad Exchange, if you are selling products and want to target clients who have visited you before and showed some interest in your business.

Investing in Press releases also pays off. So, when you have a valued content don’t hesitate to let the Professionals talk about it (there are PRweb, market wire, etc.)

7- Brand Reputation Management

Finally, you cannot run an online Business without BRM.
  1. Add a review to your site, service, or products
  2. Watch out your mentions on search engines and Social media through Brand Monitoring (there are tens of tools to do that)
  3. Watch out your competitors mentions and don’t let them grab more attention over you.

8- Monitoring and Analysis:

All the Above efforts will cost you a lot of time and money and you need to know which tactic is profitable to you and which is not? Which channel is driving traffic, leads, or conversions, and which are blocked? And above all, which properties (sites) you have deserve to be maintained and which need to be executed to focus on more valued one.

How to Calculate your ROI for Online Advertising campaigns?

3 Years ago, a Sales Manager at Google Adwords, and a friend too, told me if you know the power of Online Adverting, you will keep your campaigns "Always On". Because if for every 1000$ you pay on advertising you gain 1300$ revenue, then why limit your budget if profit can be unlimited?

So, to be more convincing we need to Calculate the net profit by subtracting your costs from your AdWords revenue for a given time period. Then divide your net profit by your AdWords costs to get your AdWords ROI for that time period. 

Here's an example:
($1300               -
$1000)        /
$1000        =
Your revenue (measured by conversions)
Your overall costs
Your AdWords costs
Your ratio of profit to advertising cost is 30% -- this is your AdWords ROI.

always on marketing

Sometimes your ROI may require a different formula. For example, if you're interested in calculating the ROI for a page view or lead, you'll have to estimate the values of each of these actions.

A Yellow Pages ad for your business may cost $1000 per year and result in 100 leads. Ten of those leads become customers, and each customer provides a net profit of $120, after taking your business costs into account. So the value of each lead is $12 ($1200 net profit/100 leads), and your ROI for the Yellow Pages ad is 120% ($1200 net profit/$1000 advertising cost) x 100.
Here's the formula used in this example: (Total revenue - Total cost)/Advertising costs x 100 = Advertising ROI %

A simple alternative to estimating values for your leads and page views is to use a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) measurement. Acquisitions are the same thing as conversions: they're actions your customers take that you think are valuable, such as completing a purchase or signing up to receive more information.
Using this method allows you to focus primarily on how your advertising costs compare to the number of acquisitions those costs deliver. Using the Yellow Pages example again, your ad may cost $1000, resulting in 10 sales. So your CPA for that ad is $100. Here's the formula for CPA: 

(Costs/Sales) = CPA

Your CPA shouldn't exceed the profit you made from each acquisition. For your Yellow Pages ad, the CPA is 20% less than the profit the acquisitions provide.

Formula to calculate Cost Per Acquisition

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is calculated as:

ad campaign cost/[number of impressions x CTR x CR]. 

Example: an advertiser pays a CPM of $10. For 20,000 impressions the advertiser has 5 percent click-through rate (CTR) to the landing (destination page). 30 percent of those 5 percent convert to paying customers(CR).

The calculation is: ($10.00 * 20,000Impressions / 1000)/(20,000*0.05*0.30) = $0.67. That is, the cost per acquisition is $0.67.

See Also:

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

All Keywords Match Type Generation Tool for Adwords and Adcenter

Yesterday I stumbled upon a simple, yet handy, Keyword tool for PPC campaigns called Keyword Wrapper.
You insert a list of all your keywords as a broad match type and you hit "wrap". The tool will generate 4 lists of keywords with all the match types. (Phrase, exact, and Broad Match Modifier).

Here is how it looks like:

keyword wrapper tool screenshot

A Simple Way to Write Effective Ad Copies

  • Headline – Use your main keyword
  • Line 1 – Promote a benefit
  • Line 2 – Show your USP (unique selling proposition)
  • Display URL – Use Capitalization in your domain & add your keyword after the /. You can also remove the www from the Display URL if you need the extra room.

A Simple Way to Write Effective Ad Copies

What to Check in an Adwords PPC Audit? And How to Manage Adwords?

What to Check in an Adwords PPC Audit? And How to Manage Adwords
If you want to audit an Adwords account for your company or for a client there are some areas, or if you want to manage a currently running account, there are few areas that most people skip , but managing them will increase your accounts efficiency, increase your Quality score and ad rank and decrease your cost per click.

1- Search Terms A Gold Mine

You may have added a long list of keywords to your ad groups (let’s say 1000 keywords for all the campaigns) and you left them running for a couple of weeks, your audience will trigger your ads with different keywords variations (about 100,000 variations). So, do you know where these variations are? And what to do with them? Go to the Keywords tab, selected click “See search terms” and select ALL.

This will show you the actual keywords your Ad is being shown for, their CTR (click through rate) and even conversion rates (if you set the conversions tracking).
This report is highly important because you might think that your conversions are coming from specific keywords, but running this report will show you that actual conversions were coming from more specific variants of their main keywords. Once you identify these keywords you have to either add them to their right ad groups or create new campaigns (or ad groups) for them.

2- How long is your Negative Keywords List?

After you run your report, scan the keyword list it gives you for phrases that don’t match your product or business. Add those keywords as a negative search term for that Ad Group or Campaign.

3- Use Match Type to separate Important Keywords

If you have specific ad groups for brand keywords, competitors, industry related keywords, strategic exact match keywords, etc. you may need to exclude all the targeted keywords in one ad group from the rest ad groups to be able to know precisely how your keywords and ad groups are performing. For example, if you have an ad group for your exact match keywords [buy Samsung S4 online] and [buy iphone 5 online] you will have to add these phrases as negatives to the rest of your ad groups. Or if you have an ad group for your competitors, you will also add them as negatives to the rest of ad groups keywords lists. But be careful with this method because you might add a very important keyword as a negative keyword in a top campaign level without adding it as a positive keyword in the right place. If you are not sure of what you are doing, it is not important to use the above method as it won’t affect your campaigns performance. It is only helpful if you are savvy for accurate data.

4- Use Tightly Themed Ad Groups

When you start a new Ad Group Do Not Overload it with Keywords! This is a major mistake that many people make. You need to keep your Ad Groups very targeted.

  • Digital Cameras
  • DSLR Cameras
  • Compact Cameras
  • Telescopic Cameras

Those should be 3 unique Ad Groups. Resist the urge to pile them into one Ad Group because they are all cameras.

5- Play with the Quality Score rules:

If you do not have Quality Score enabled, click on the Keywords tab and select Columns. Make sure the Quality Score is checked. Try to get 7/10 and above for all your keywords. Try to improve any score lower than a 7 and anything lower than a 5 is a serious issue.
Usually Quality Scores can be improved simply by doing a better job of grouping your keywords and writing ads with the specific keyword appearing in the ad at least twice.
If you are doing that and still getting a low score it could be that your CTR is too low or your landing page needs to be more relevant for that keyword. As a last resort simply delete the problem keyword. This is much easier to do if it is a low traffic keyword to begin with.
Sometimes Google will give you a low Quality Score for seemingly no reason at all. You may think you are doing just about everything right and still get a lower Quality Score. In these cases you may want to use a high Quality Score broad match or phrase match keyword combined with a HUGE list of negative terms to get Google to mainly only show your ad for the keyword you’re having issues with. Hopefully you will not have to go to that extreme.

7- Split Testing

You need to be split testing ads against one another. Every Ad Group you have should be running at least two variations of an ad at all times in an effort to find a better performing ad.
However, after you have been split testing ads for a while you will find it harder and harder to beat your best ad. This is where split testing can actually hurt you because 50% of your clicks will be going to an underperforming ad.
The solution is to duplicate your best ad 3 times (or more) and run it against 1 copy of your new ad. This will keep your CTR steady while you test. You can play with the mix to get a percentage you are comfortable with.
Remember to go into your campaign settings and set your ads to rotate more evenly so you can get an accurate split test.

Source: 10 Details Tips for managing Adwords campaigns 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Advanced SEO techniques for e-Stores (infographic)

SEO techniques and Best practices for e-commerce and online Stores

  1. Use the semantic mark-up (rich snippets) to identify the specific content of the leaf and immediately give the user, since the SERP, information about the content of the ad, therefore maximizes the chances of clicks useful.
  2. If an item is no longer available instead of sending the user to a page completely useless, create a special that gives an indication of the possibilities offered him, maybe similar products or other alternatives. 
  3. Feedback: the ratings are low and you do not even produce them, will be the users will do it for you. Certainly will not be optimized, but since people are talking about naturally, most of passage.
  4. Use the filters and the pages tag: optimizes only the first page-level tags and filters, so as to avoid duplication
  5. Fill in the title: use generic keywords monetization. A good title can be: price / review / sale / Economic + product name.
  6. Geolocation allows not only to succeed in the SERPs, but also with users. If I live in Italy, even if I buy online, I will hardly offered in America. This speech is even more important when it comes to a store that sells both online and live. The watchword today, thanks to the development of the mobile is geolocation.
  7. Recent additions to the homepage post a direct link to the new arrivals. A user who frequently visit your site or search the news would appreciate because they do not have to dig into milel categories and filters to find new products.

Also, Do not forget:

  1. Pagenation
  2. Using USPs (Unique Selling Propositions) 

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Google Display Network and Bing Content Network Media Buying

If you want to Buy Placements on Specific websites, you should master both Google Display Network (GDN) as well as Bing Content Network (because you do not want to miss sites like (Journal, CNBC, and FOX Sports.)

But since both Google and Microsoft are Rivals, you will find some differences between the two giant networks. Here is a comparison between the two of them:

If you know exactly which websites you’re targeting, and even which ad unit within that website your banner will be, then you’re going to be better off than the hordes of advertisers who blindly release their banners into the Display Network like a pack of hound dogs

Conversions from Mobile Search: New Research - Infographic

Google and Nielsen have conducted a new research that all marketers should consider seriously:

77% of mobile searches happening at home or at work

and half of mobile search conversions happen in one hour

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Facebook Conversion Tracking and OCPM for Direct Response Advertising

Last month, Facebook launched a new conversion measurement and optimization system for direct response marketers. Facebook conversion measurement allows advertisers to measure the ROI of their Facebook ads by counting relevant user actions, such as registrations and shopping cart checkouts that are driven by people seeing an ad on Facebook.

What is Facebook Conversion Tracking?

Conversion tracking helps businesses measure the return on investment of their Facebook Ads by reporting on the actions people take after viewing those ads. Advertisers can create pixels that track conversions, add them to the pages of their website where the conversions will happen, and then track these conversions back to ads they are running on Facebook. Conversion tracking also helps businesses leverage optimized cost per impressions (oCPM) to show ads to people who are more likely to convert off Facebook.

What are Facebook Conversions?

A conversion is an action that a person takes on a website such as checking out, registering, leads, Key page views, adding an item to the shopping cart, or viewing a particular page. Virtually any page on a website can represent a conversion. Facebook tracks conversions that happen within 1 day, 7 days, and 28 days after a person clicks on an ad, and 1 day, 7 days, and 28 days after viewing an ad.

Benefits of Facebook Conversion Tracking and OCPM:

Optimized CPM (OCPM) and Conversion Tracking tools are not only used to measure the ROI from Facebook PPC advertising, but are also used to deliver ads to people who are most likely to convert on their websites. Facebook’s Beta tests have shown that when conversion measurement is used with optimized CPM, ads reduced the cost per conversion by 40 percent when compared to CPC ads using the same budget. That is extremely valuable for marketers in e-commerce, retail, travel, financial services, and other direct-response industries that value actions taken on their websites.

How it Works?

Facebook ad manager will monitor which ads are generating more conversions and which users are more likely to convert from specific ad copies (e.g. Ad X drove Y sales). Then you can increase the CPC (or CPM), optimize the conversions page, adjust the ad copy, or even change the marketing strategy.  

OCPM conversion tracking facebook

Friday, 1 February 2013

Interactive Images Advertising for Publishers with Luminate

If you have an active website with pictures (photos) more than text content, and you choose to monetize these images, "Luminate" systems will review them and match the image to compatible advertising campaigns running.

Overlay advertising is available for all approved publishers and if your site generates a large amount of traffic, Luminate will contact you directly to set up Luminate premium advertising where their team of experts will tag products in your pictures.

The Luminate icon alerts consumers that an image is interactive. Consumers can access relevant content just by mousing over an image.

To set up the Luminate Image App Platform on your site, simply add one line of JavaScript to all pages that have images you would like to turn interactive. Within minutes of adding the code, the Luminate icon and sharing app will appear. You can then add additional apps, including apps that help you monetize your images, by visiting the app store.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Should I add and pay for my Brand name Keyword on a PPC Campaign?

What does it mean to have a PPC Campaign and you are already on top of Google's SERP?

Two reasons:

1- You don't want your competitor to take your name and fill your ad space
2- You want to cover the SERP with your presence 

Check this amazing example!

Friday, 18 January 2013

How to sell SEO Services to Hard Clients?

If you are a sales executive or a business Development Specialist, or an SEO consultant working for an Online Marketing Agency, you might have met that savvy client who has SEO background and cannot accept your “we will make your site better” speech, but needs professionally explained procedures and techniques without being too jargoned at the same time.

The language of an SEO consultant is different from that of the business decision maker buying SEO services. To more successfully sell SEO services, consultants can become more fluent in both languages. More directly addressing the points above will curry favor with business decision makers and likely result in more, and higher value, sales.

Hence, here are some statements, I read in article, you might hear from hard clients, when you are approaching them with your sales proposal or during your presentation’s meeting, to put in mind doing your SEO Sales Pitch

1.  SEO budget and SEO results

Please don't ask me my budget first thing in the conversation. If you can work with us to deliver ROI, I can deliver budget. If we can't work together to deliver ROI, I can't deliver budget. Since you're unlikely to discuss results this early in the conversation, I'm unlikely to discuss budget this early in the conversation.

While you are unlikely to guarantee results, you probably want me to guarantee payment. Let's discuss how we can structure an agreement that will work for both of us. Unless you've made a very strong case for results, I'm more likely to hire you on a project/deliverable basis than a monthly retainer basis, although various structures are possible.

2.  The SEO Mission and Vision

Ask me about my business goals and objectives. If you don't understand them, dig into them with me. If you have suggestions or recommendations about my goals, feel free to propose alternative business goals. But before moving on, let's make sure we're both aligned here.

3. Be a family member

Ask me about my existing results. These may be confidential, but I'll tell you what I can, or ask you to sign an NDA, and then tell you what I can. Plus, based on the questions you ask, I'll have a better understanding of how you approach SEO. And of course, knowing such confidential data will make you part of the family.

4.  SEO Services

Let's get clear on whether this is an SEO project, or an SEO/conversion/usability project. Although the teams need to work together, each of these areas requires different skills. I often have teams working on these other areas already, and I am looking to add specific SEO expertise into the mix, not broad web site optimization expertise. If you want to pitch me on these other areas, let me know early. In general, I'm looking to bring your SEO expertise into the mix and really want to focus on SEO.

5. No hats please!

I told you our numbers and stats. So please it is your turn to discuss your tactics. Don't tell me "it's a secret". Secret means black hat. Black hat means trouble with google. Trouble with google means I won't hire you. I'm not going to hire you because I hope you know what to do. I'm going to hire you because you've convinced me that you know what to do. Tell me which tactics you've had the most experience and success with and which will most likely be applicable to our situation. You'll qualify yourself by working openly with me and gaining my trust about your tactics. Once you've gained my trust, you have to show me you can operationally execute these tactics.

6.   SEO methodology

Discuss your methodology. Tell me what steps you'll be going through during the engagement. Bring samples of the reports and deliverables you'll use and provide during the engagement. You probably have planning and measurement reports that baseline current results, address keyword selection, plan on-page factors and track ongoing results, among others. A sample project plan would be nice too. If your only competitive advantage is your methodology, and you're unwilling to discuss it, I'm less likely to be convinced that you'll be able to deliver positive results, and less likely to be able to interally sell your capabilities. And I won't know if your methodology is better than the one we're already running internally.

7.  Who is the SEO team?

Tell me who is going to do the work on this project and put them in front of me. No sense in having the A-team pitches me, and delegating the work to the C-team.

8.   SEO in-house training process

Tell me about your in-house training process. This helps me understand that you (a) have a sustainable business that can withstand employee turnover and (b) have a method of keeping up with any of the latest changes in SEO tactics. It's okay if you're a one person shop — then only (b) is important.

9.  SEO speaks numbers

Without breaching client confidentiality, liberally use examples in your discussions. Statements like "we changed X on a commerce site, and that drove up traffic by Y, and we think a similar tactic could work on your site" helps me better understand the experience upon which you're building knowledge. Be specific about which knowledge is based upon your teams' testing, which knowledge is based upon reputable third party testing, which knowledge is based on accepted folklore, and which knowledge is an educated guess (that you think is worth testing).

10. SEO estimates

Estimate business impact. Let me know some of your initial thoughts or recommendations, and the upside we might get from implementing them. Tie this into past improvements you've seen. I know there are no guarantees — there rarely are. Google may change (a little bit). So, when you provide estimates, estimate low. Under promising and over delivering always makes everyone happy.

11. The SEO Cost Vs. Return Formula

Engage me in a conversation about our costs of implementation. Some high impact recommendations may be very expensive for us to implement. Some will be less expensive. I need your inputs on the return side; you'll likely need my inputs on the cost side.

12.          Seo Action Plan

Prioritize. Let's run through the ideas, prioritize those that have "big impact / low cost", and execute those first. Together, we'll create a top 3-5 list to help me see the fastest, largest ROI, up-front.

13.  SEO expectations and realizations

Tell me when you expect to see positive results. You might say some version of "I need to look at your log files to see how often the pages we are working on will be crawled; we'd expect to see results within 2 weeks of the pages being crawled, which may happen 1 month after the changes launch". Or you might say "With a previous client, we used a similar strategy and generated results of X within Y weeks of launch."

14. Criticize SEO wisely

If you point out shortcomings in our current SEO efforts, do it constructively. You're going to have to work with the people you're talking to. Good: "You guys have done really well with your in-house efforts. I have some ideas on how to build further on them." Bad: "I don't know how you missed these really basic things". You're selling not just your expertise, but also your ability to make friends with us and work with us. In the medical profession, they call this "having good bedside manner". All other things being equal, good bedside manner trumps.

15. When you talk about such shortcomings, please also share the results we can expect from addressing them. You may find that we already know these shortcomings exist, but have chosen not to prioritize addressing them because of poor ROI. Or, we may learn that you've identified some new areas that do have upside opportunity, which further bolsters your credibility.

16. When is a good time to talk about cost?

Generally, you want to sell the business value you can deliver first, then talk about cost. Once I'm confident about the business results we are likely to achieve, I can start estimating value and ROI. Is (Probable Value of Results) > (Cost of Consultant + Cost of Managing Consultant + Cost of Implementing Changes)? I am responsible for allocating limited resources and money to areas that will deliver business results. Having discussed the above with you, I can start comparing the return Cost of Consultant will give me in SEO with the return I can get from other marketing or conversion generation activities. Now I'm ready to think about allocating budget and to talk about money.

17.  Catch the Small fish that can Catch the Big one:

Sometimes you will find yourself, as an Seo consultant, not addressing a decision maker, like CEO, CMO, or a marketing director. You may be pitching an influencer who could be a junior SEO technician, or a marketing specialist, or maybe someone from the technical guys who created the website or designed it. These guys might get interested quickly but unless you give them a strong reason focusing exactly on the benefits their websites will have if they recommended you and spoke on your behalf to their decision makers.


Setting Up Landing Page Experiments on Google Analytics

Landing pages are a crucial element of any PPC campaign, so it is important to test them regularly.
Google Analytics offers up a nice tool to help us testing some items on websites landing pages.
Formerly known as Website Optimizer (standalone product), Analytics Content Experiments is now integrated within Analytics and acts as a tool for testing changes to your landing pages. One of the best parts about this tool is the fact that it automatically reveals if a test is statistically significant based on the KPI you select.

1. Click on Experiments under the Content Reporting section as shown below.

2. Enter the destination URL of the page you’re trying to improve.

3. Give your experiment a name and enter the destination URLs for each page you want to test. If you want to test more pages, simply click the Add Variation link at the bottom, as shown below.

4. Specify your experiment options. First, you need to select a KPI that Analytics can use to determine the results. In the example below, I’ve selected Email Leads. You also have the ability to decide how much traffic you want to participate, setup email notifications and more.

5. Add the Analytics Experiment code to your control/original page. If you want to add the code yourself, simply select that option as shown below. You also have the option to email the code to your developer if you don’t have access to the javascript.

6. The last step in the setup process will check to make sure the code has been placed on your page. As shown below, you can see that the system has recognized the fact that my code hasn’t been placed yet. If you want to check this later, you can select the skip validation and continue link at the bottom.

You can learn more about Analytics Content Experiments and other features for improving conversion rates here.

THE Formula You Need For PPC Account Success

Top Landing Pages A/B Testing Elements

  1. Call-to-action buttons – Refers to the phrase that you use for the desired action (conversion) or the button that users click on to go to the next step in your conversion process. Items to test include size, shape, color, wording and more.
  2. Headlines - Should be relevant, timely and appropriate for your audience. Consider testing emotional vs. benefit-driven headlines or questions vs. statements, for example.
  3. Body Copy – Should also be relevant, timely and appropriate for your target audience, as well as sufficiently backup your headline. For example, you might try testing out shorter vs. longer text or paragraphs vs. bullet points.
  4. Images & Symbols – Images and symbols can also be nice compliments to a PPC landing page if used sparingly. Images should be engaging and help compliment the basis of the landing page itself. Symbols and certification badges are also helpful for building trust and credibility. For example, you might test different types of images or placements of your trust badges.
  5. Navigation – Adjusting the usability and navigational features of your website can also be worth testing. As a rule of thumb, it should be relatively easy to get around. If your mom can’t find her way around the site, there are probably others experiencing the same problem. Things to test include different placements of your navigation bar or the number of steps in your checkout process.
  6. Different Pages – After you've tested some of the elements on your page, it might also be worth testing different pages against each other. For example, you might consider testing your main homepage against a PPC-specific landing page or two different PPC-specific pages against one another.
  7. Promotions – Seasonal or time-sensitive offers are also worth testing on your landing page. These both create a sense of urgency that might help boost conversion rates. Whether it’s free shipping or 30% off all merchandise, benefits like these are attractive and can encourage visitors to take action.

Geo-specific Sitemaps for Local Business and increased Credibility

We've all heard of sitemaps, but geo-specific sitemaps are used far less often. These give latitude and longitude information to search engines, along with the NAP, in a structured code they can understand.

It might seem like repeating addresses and other location information is getting redundant, but it is important to make these small changes because they strengthen your credibility and lead to increased visibility.