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The Dirty Little Secret of Conversions, Part 3: Give Customers What They Need

While it’s great to know what people want, when you give them what they want, you only give them a partial solution. The want is the symptom. But, when you address the need, you are addressing the underlying problem and providing a much more holistic solution.

In Part 2 of this series, I started discussing a customers wants versus their needs. I continue this list here.

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Who Needs Profits…When You've Got Good Rankings?!!

Search engine marketing is an intense game of strategy, analysis, and patience. But, it’s also a game with multiple, sometimes even conflicting, goals. Depending on who you talk to you, some will tell you SEO is about rankings, while others will tell you it’s about conversions. It’s a classic political struggle trying to answer the question, “what will bring in the greatest profits?”

You need exposure to get the traffic that leads to new business. But, you need to be user friendly in order to convert the traffic you’re getting into new business. Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

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Why You Should Never Duplicate Your Competitor's SEO Strategies

Engaging in competitive research before and during your SEO, PPC, Social Media, and Link Building campaigns is smart business. As they say, “information is power.”

But, too much information can also cause a handicap. It’s not too difficult to be so inundated with info. that you get information overload or conflicting advice. That leads to decision paralysis. You don’t know the right course of action to take, or you can wind up using good information to make bad judgment calls.

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Telling the Story of Your PPC Ad Tests With Time

Chad Summerhill wrote a nice post recently about something you should be doing if you manage your own PPC account and something you should be showing your clients if you manage accounts for others – visual statistically significant ad test results by time period.  Check out the “how-to” in that post.

I did this exercise and can see how important it is to look at your ad test segmented out by time period (day or week, whatever is most appropriate).  The main reason for this is that if you simply report the final results of your test, you won’t tell the whole story.  Most of the time, we look at the results of tests like this…

Why is this imperfect?  Well, we know cumulatively that the challenger performed better, but does that mean we should delete the champion?  Maybe, maybe not.  You don’t really know until you look at the data in time.  There could be a scenario where the champion really struggled out of the gate in this test, but has actually been beating the challenger in the last week.  If so, how would you know?  Again, by taking a look at the results in time to view the trend.  With this particular ad test, here’s how it turned out…

This way, you can trend out how the winner actually became the winner.  In this test, we can see that the challenger was consistently better over time, which now gives us supreme confidence when we hit the delete button for the champion.

One other thing.  See those trend lines in the graph?  Not only does it show you which ad was better (by the gap between the two lines), but it also shows you the overall trend, meaning you can see if this metric is getting better or worse for you.  In this example, the ad group is performing better over time regardless of what ad is running.  This shows that whatever optimization efforts have been performed are working.

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15 Questions That Will Change The Way You Think About SEO Forever (Q's 11-15)

As much as the title is vastly overstated, these questions will at the very least help you ponder SEO in a way you hadn’t pondered before. At least that’s my theory.

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PPC News and Notes – Mobile and the Future of Display Advertising

Recent news and notes that every PPC advertiser should be aware of…

Mobile ShopAlerts

Wow, mobile is evolving fast.  AT&T introduced location-based “ShopAlerts” in NY, SF, Chicago and LA.  People can opt-in to receive offers and promotions via SMS or MMS when they physically enter a designated area defined by the advertiser (e.g. a mile from their store).  This can help drive in-store traffic and reach mobile users in very specific markets.  This is even more targeted than web-based and app-based advertising, but it is opt-in.

New Ad Setting: Optimize for Conversions

Last Wednesday, Google announced a new ad targeting setting that optimizes ad serving by conversion rate.  Google will monitor the ads in your ad group and over time will favor serving the ad with the highest conversion rate.  The ad with the best click-through rate doesn’t always generate the most ROI or profit; especially when advertising on broad keywords where search intent can vary greatly.  Just make sure you don’t turn it on when data is skewed.  For example, if you already have an ad that has accrued a history of performance and then add a new one to your ad group, Google will automatically favor the ad with the conversion history over the new ad that has a 0% conversion rate because it hasn’t run yet.  So, let the new ad run on rotate until you feel there’s enough information for Google to make a decision.  This is probably only a good feature for those advertisers that pay little attention to optimizing their accounts because if you have to wait until you have enough data to turn on the setting, you could just make the decision yourself based upon the data that’s accrued.

Content Farms and PPC

Google just changed part of their search algorithm and it will affect approximately 12% of U.S. search results.  This change is aimed at punishing sites that contain numerous pages with low-quality content; what many call “content farms.”  This change will not only affect SEO, but also PPC because if you are running ads on the Google Display Network, it is likely your ads are showing on content farms.  If you get a lot of traffic and conversions from these types of sites, you could see a drop.  If not, you may see an improvement in performance from display campaigns.

The Future of Display Advertising

There’s huge opportunity in display advertising, especially when uniting it with mobile devices.  The technology has caught up with the promises that were talked about for so long.  Here’s Google CEO Eric Schmidt in a short video talking about this future…

Eric Schmidt on the Future of Display Advertising

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Using Paid Search Campaigns Correctly to Build Your Online Business

Last week, we talked about PPC trick #1 to building your online business for the long-term – using keywords correctly.  This week, let’s talk about another “trick of the trade” that will also help on the way to this goal.

Trick #2 – Using Campaigns Correctly

As the number of targeting options for PPC increases, so do the creative ways in which you can organize your campaigns to get the maximum effectiveness out of them.  As I mentioned last week, for example, you can create a “fishing” campaign and a “bucket” campaign in order to separately control budgeting, bidding and other targeting options to focus your efforts on dominating the locations (search queries) that really put food on the table.

The first thing we have to think about when deciding how to use each campaign is what the goals of each of them are.  As you move into being an advanced PPC manager, you will start to be able to use campaigns not just for the macro-goal of making sales and money, but for more micro-goals within each campaign that will contribute to making the lasting impact of the macro-goal bigger, better and more stable.  So, instead of just one goal (making leads, sales or whatever), your account may look like this…

Campaign #1 – Find search queries that work for my business

Campaign #2 – Maximize search queries that have worked for my business

Campaign #3 – Make search queries that aren’t working for my business, but should be, work for my business.

Why would you do this?  Again, it’s to make obtaining the different micro-goals that contribute to your macro-goal (making money) more efficient.  How do they become more efficient?  By utilizing the different features available for ad serving that are built for the different purposes.  Here’s a couple examples of what I mean…

Keyword Match Types

For example, the different keyword match types serve different purposes.  Broad match is a net that goes out and catches fish (search queries) to advertise on.  Then, you can see if these fish are worth keeping.  Phrase match is more like a fishing pole with specific bait on it to catch more specific kinds of fish.  But, still a fishing tool.  Exact match is the fish.  It’s the exact fish in the Search Engine Sea.


For fishing campaigns, the point is to go out and catch search queries to decide if they’re keepers or not.  So, you want to maximize the amount of search queries and clicks that you get on those search queries.  Remember, this campaign is not directly about ROI or profit.  Thankfully, AdWords has a bidding option called “Automatic Bidding” that serves just this purpose.  When you set your campaign on this bidding option, the AdWords system will maximize the amount of clicks it can get for your set budget.  By doing this, you are most efficiently accomplishing your goal for the campaign, which is finding search queries that will work for your business.

Then, once you find the search queries that work for you, you want to then bid differently because the purpose now changes.  It’s now about maximizing ROI or profit.  Different purposes, different bidding options; so different campaign.  In our “bucket” campaign, we’ll use Maximum CPC bidding or Conversion Optimizer (designed for those purposes) to test what bid levels will accomplish this while increasing performance through optimization.

So, here’s a very simple general layout of how campaigns could be organized differently because of their differing purposes…

There are many more features that make creating campaigns with different purposes possible.  It’s up to you to learn them and then get creative as to how they will help your account.  But hopefully, above and beyond the specifics, the couple of examples I’ve given here will enlighten you to the ways in which you can be creative with targeting/organizing your account to more efficiently accomplish long-term growth.

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Don't Let Duplicate Pages and Bad URLs Destroy Your SEO: Kill It Dead! (Part 3 of 3)

Don't let duplicate pages and bad URLs destroy your SEO. Kill it dead!

This series is pulled from a presentation given at SMX East. Part I of this series covered the problems duplicate content creates. Part II covered some of the causes of duplicate content. This post covers some of the solutions that will help you fix your duplicate content problems.

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