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Blog SEO Tips

5 Tips for Creating Irresistible (Yet SEO Friendly) Blog Titles

Do you know the difference between website developers and website designers?

Bear with us for a sec.

From a distance, they look like one in the same. They are not.

While there are some uber-talented folks who can effectively do both, it’s far less common. Designers focus more on appearance and appeal while a developer’s job is making a website functional.

SEO is like that. You can create content that is tech-speak heavy and make search engines happy, but lose the humans. You can also make the content delightful for humans, but useless to search engines. It’s important to strike the balance between form and function when writing blogs and crafting blog titles. 

Here are five simple steps to writing irresistible yet SEO friendly blogs and blog titles to grab the attention of both search engines and your audience.

Step One: Keyword Research

First things first, head to Google to do some quick and dirty research. Type in keywords for the topic you want to write about. Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive build-your-entire-SEO-strategy-level search. This is to help you find topics people are searching for most often so you can craft your blog title around what your audience wants.

Step Two: Pick Strong Keywords

Strong is a relative adjective, so let us clarify. Specific keywords are great if you want someone who is ready to move forward now. For example: “Best SEO Services Near Me”. 

However, if your service or product requires some education, strong keywords could be more solution-focused: “How Can My Business Get Found on Google More Quickly?” Be discerning when choosing keywords for your blog titles.

Step Three: Write Multiple Headlines

Writer and entreprenuer Marie Forleo suggested this trick. Write multiple (like, 20) headlines. It seems like overkill and it isn’t. Sometimes you need to work through your thoughts on the page before they’re ready for the world. Avoid industry-speak when possible. 

Examples:

  1. Your Guide to Great Blog Writing
  2. Five Steps to SEO-Friendly Blog Writing
  3. SEO-Friendly Blog Titles 
  4. Four Tips for Great Blog Titles 

Phrases like “Your Guide”, “Five Steps”, “Three Tips”, are key for a couple of reasons. It’s an easy way to slip in a keyword without it feeling forced and it gives the reader an idea of how much mental energy they need to commit: Five tips? I can handle five tips. Let me read this blog real quick.

Step Four: Write the Post

Be natural and educational. Don’t focus on squeezing in those keywords in your first draft if it feels forced. Say what you want to say and then add keywords during editing. It’s important to offer helpful information without selling. People change their thinking when they feel they’re being pitched. Be breezy, not salesy.

Step Five: Change Your Permalink

Most of the SEO nerds we know love WordPress, and with good reason. If your blog is on WP, we’re gonna nerd out for a moment, but stick with us and it will help!

WordPress allows you to change your permalink/slug URL. This is simply the actual URL for your blog post.

 www.yourwebsite.com/your-blog-post

You will want to edit this permalink (you’ll find it at the top of your post, right underneath your blog title in WordPress).

Your permalink :

  • Should contain your keyword
  • Be short–no more than seven words if possible
  • Be descriptive and relevant to your post
  • Can be different from your actual blog title

Click “ok” to save and you’re ready to hit Publish on your blog post.

Are You Ready to Create Excellent Blog Titles?

When writing blog content, keep keywords in mind, but don’t sacrifice your audience. Whatever your headline, make sure it’s interesting and relevant enough to be clickworthy.

Insider secret: The amount of actual humans who read your blog impacts your SEO results. Google tracks search behavior and pays attention to how many clicks your post gets and if people stick around to read it. Big Brother is absolutely watching, so give ‘em a good show.

Need more assistance with jump starting your content strategy? Book a strategy session with GoBeyond SEO today.

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Blog General Marketing

Track Your Trends to Optimize Your Marketing

Your customers change their behavior depending on the season, which impacts the content they interact with and the keywords they use for search. (Hint: this also means how, when, and what they decide to buy will change.)

Before you click away thinking that seasonality doesn’t apply to your business, stick with us. You may think you don’t have a season. Although buying trends can be harder to see when your business isn’t centered around a commonly recognized season (such as the holidays), the truth is that every industry has some version of a season. 

However, business owners are often at a loss when it comes to adapting their marketing strategy to the seasonal shifts in buying behavior. Which is why it’s crucial to track your trends for more insight.

Yes, You Have a Busy Season–Trust Us

At this point, you may be thinking that you’re in an industry where people will always need what you do with some minor peaks and valleys. It’s true that you may not get all of your business exclusively during your busy season, but you definitely have one.

Here are a few examples of businesses that you would not traditionally associate with seasonality:

  • Divorce lawyers. More people file for divorce right after the holidays. Why? They didn’t want to ruin the holidays with divorce discussion or the holidays confirmed their decision to end the marriage.
  • Emergency vets. Emergency vets will see more dogs the first week of July. Why? It’s super hot, fireworks scare pets into unsafe behavior–including running away–and big parties are an opportunity for pets to eat dangerous foods and objects.
  • Plumbing companies. The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for plumbers. Why? Food scraps and turkey grease can clog sinks. In addition, several guests staying at a home can overwhelm the plumbing system, leading to problems.

However, keep in mind that seasons are not limited to holidays. For example, spring can bring hail storms, leading to a surge in calls to windshield repair companies, roofers, and exterior contractors. When these businesses run ads around this time, they can optimize their busy season.

How to Adjust Your Game Plan for Your Season

Once you’ve taken the time to track your trends and identify your busy season, here are some ways to adjust your game plan to fit your season and make it convenient for your customers to hire you or purchase from you.

Busy Season

  • Google Ads. Ads show up when someone searches for what you offer. They are looking for you. Don’t hide from them!
  • Facebook Ads. Ads show up based on demographics and self-proclaimed interests. They told you they love animals. Show them your animal-related services or products!
  • Email marketing. Give them a reason to choose you over your competition by being visible, available, and easy to buy from. Touching on their most important reasons to buy in your email will encourage them to buy from you.
  • Direct mail. Depending on your industry, this can be one of the most effective ways to connect with your audience during your busy season.

Slow Season

  • Upsell and cross-sell existing clients. Slow season is a great time to upsell or cross-sell your current clients to help maintain your revenue. 
  • Work on getting referrals. Contact satisfied clients and ask them to refer you to someone else who might want your services. You can offer a reward for referrals, such as a gift card.
  • Grow your online reviews. Ask past clients to review your business online. Make it easy by emailing them a link so all they have to do is click and type. Then, be sure to pay attention to your reviews and deal with any negative or fake ones.
  • Promote early payment specials. To keep cash coming in, try offering discounts for early payments for next season.
  • Educate your clients. Teach clients how to make the most of your products or services. Focus on low-cost marketing methods like in-person networking, email, and social media. Stay in front of them even when they’re not ready to buy. They will be soon enough. Create the association with your brand, even if they aren’t looking for you right now. 

Learning when to mitigate expenses and maximize ROI can vary, even for businesses within the same industry. For example, some companies use Google Ads during their busy season so they are visible when people search for them, but use Facebook Ads as more of an awareness or educational tactic when people are not yet in need. 

Get More Insight Into Your Long-Term Marketing Strategy

Following the trends within your industry and examining your own peaks and valleys are the best ways to know when and how to adjust your marketing efforts. If you’re ready to take a more advanced approach to your long-term marketing, set up a strategy session with GoBeyond SEO. It’s free, customized, and informative.

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Blog Business Blogging Search Engine Optimization Tips SEO Tips

Top 3 SEO Tips for Click-Worthy Headlines

Are you a reader or a skimmer? We’re going to guess you’re a skimmer. After all, in a world overrun with information, who has time to dissect every detail?

But what if you need your clients or potential clients to read? You’ve written a blog or published an article and the information you’ve included would actually help them, but alas, they don’t think it’s worth their time. 

There’s one way you can increase the chances that people would actually read your content: your blog titles and article headlines should be both obvious and promise a pay off.

Vague or off-beat titles may be fun to write–and you may even call yourself clever for writing them–but those titles do not get clicked on. Headlines are read six times more than the article itself is. You have a split second to get your reader’s attention and about two seconds to keep that attention. You’ve got to give it your best shot. 

With that being said, here are three tips to help you draw readers in with your headlines.

Tip #1: Keep Character Length to 70 or Fewer

Unless you’re trying to be funny and you know your audience will get the joke, don’t name your blog post like the new Kristen Bell show on Netflix. If you’re unfamiliar with it, here it is: 

The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window

If you want a click-worthy headline, make it clear and easy to read in under two seconds, preferably 70 characters or less–unlike the above example.

Tip #2: Bait the Hook Early

Tell your readers the most important thing they need to know first. Not only does this help with SEO because the “bait”, or most important thing to your reader, is most likely a keyword, but it makes them want to read more.

Example: Which of these two titles would you click on?

Bad: Digital marketing practices are helpful to most businesses.

Good: 67% of businesses experience business growth using SEO.

While both statements are helpful, the second cuts to the proverbial chase more quickly and is therefore more effective.

Tip #3: Use Numbers, “W” Questions, or Reveal a Secret

Nobody wants to feel ignorant. Pull in your readers by using information that they want or would feel foolish not having.

This includes information that you can use to answer “W” questions, such as who, when, where, what, and why. It also includes numbers, as people tend to focus on what stands out in an article or title–aka numbers in a sea of text.

Examples:

  • 5 Tax Write-Offs You Could Be Missing
  • What Does Q2 of 2022 Have in Store for Family Law Practices?
  • Why SEO Is No Longer ‘Nice to Have’ for Small Businesses in 2022

Bonus Tip: Act Like You’re Writing to a Real Person

When writing content for clients or potential clients, write like you’re writing to a person.

Not to people. Not to search engines.

To one singular person.

It may feel weird at first, but the writing connects better with your audience when you act like you’re writing it to one person. 

It takes a minute to get the hang of headline writing, but when you’re a small business owner, learning on the fly is what you do–you got this!
Find out more about how you can enhance your content marketing for the better by booking a free discovery call with GoBeyond SEO today.

Categories
Blog How We Can Help SEO Services Small Business Marketing Small Business SEO

How To Get More Business Using Search Console: Our Best Google Search Console Tips

Search Console is a free tool from Google designed to help you understand how Google views your website. It provides insights into the health and overall performance of your site on Google. 

If you’ve never used Search Console then the description above probably sounds really boring. But don’t worry, it gets more interesting! Search Console is an incredible tool for getting more high quality traffic to your website. And that translates into more sales with less effort.

Google Search Console Tips

In this article we’ll unpack 4 ways you can use Search Console to improve your visibility in Google. And outperform your competitors for high value search terms. And as you already know, the stronger your site performance, the more business flows your way.

1. Page Level Optimization

Search Console can tell you how many organic searches every page on your website received, and how many people clicked through to that page.

This is powerful information! And here’s an easy way to put it to good use.

You know your top pages are already getting lots of love from Google. And when you think about it, it’s a lot easier to boost a page that’s already doing well than it is to boost one that’s way down in the search results. So with just a few minutes of effort you can potentially get your top pages to drive even more traffic to your site.

First, find the keywords that are generating traffic for your high performing page. You can do this by opening the Performance Report and setting the date filter to 3 months. 

In the Performance Report select the Pages tab and click on your top performing page. 

Next, click the Queries tab. You should see what keywords are driving your results for that page. More often than not, your top 1 or 2 keywords make up the bulk of your search clicks. 

Finally, optimize your page around the phrase that is driving the bulk of your results. Since you know what Google thinks your page is a good fit for your keyword, you can slip related phrases into your text. Google can process natural language, so write naturally around your target phrase.

As long as you are careful not to over optimize your content (ie keyword stuff) then you should see significant gains in your search results for your target keyword. Be sure to save a copy of the original text. If you experience a decline in your ranking you can simply revert to your previous copy.

2. Directed Links

Optimizing your best pages around high performing keywords works great. But sometimes your competition is just too strong to beat the easy way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t win.

One of Google’s top ranking signals is backlinks pointing to your website. When someone cites your page as a positive influence on their own work, Google attributes more authority to your content. 

Search Console has already given you two key pieces of information. You know exactly what pages are performing well on your website. And you know what keywords are driving the results for that page.

This is gold!

Use this information to build additional backlinks to these high performing pages. Good backlinks can only drive your search results higher. Link building isn’t always easy, but Search Console improves your chances of getting backlinks to the exact pages you want to promote.

In the left side menu select Links. Then in the upper right side of the report click to Export External Links. Now you have a list of companies that are predisposed to support your brand. Send the list to a b2b data company and they’ll prepare a list of names and emails so you can reach out. Thank them for their previous support and see if they’d be open to a guest post or infographic. Since they’ve supported you in the past there’s a good chance they’ll do so again.

When you create your links use variations of your target keyword as the anchor text. This will further reinforce to Google that your page is the best result for that particular query.

3. Optimize Your Paid Campaigns

It’s worth noting that Search Console can be linked to both Google Ads and Analytics to extend the utility of both platforms.

If you are using Google Ads then you are almost certainly using Google’s Keyword Planner to select keywords you want to bid on. But what if there was a better way?

Keyword Planner shows you popular search terms related to your topic. 
Search Console shows you the ACTUAL phrases people are using to search for your solutions. And that’s SO much better. You can see what phrases potential customers are using. Add those terms to your ‘exact match’ keyword lists. This will reduce your bidding costs, and help you find customers you otherwise would have missed.

4. If It Ain’t Broke… Check Anyway

The easiest way to gain market share from your competitors is to have a website that fully complies with Google’s best practices. After all, the better Google likes what you are doing, the more likely they are to send search traffic your way.

But how do you know what Google actually expects from your website?

Great question! And fortunately it’s one that Google has already answered. In Search Console, on the left side menu you’ll see two important tabs. The first is Experience and the second is Security and Manual Actions

The Security And Manual Actions tab is exactly what it sounds like. You’ll see if Google has identified any issues that prevent them from sharing your pages in the search results. For example, if they think a link on your page leads to a suspicious page they won’t want to risk searchers having access to that link. And your page or whole site could get blocked.

The Experience tab has three sections – Page Experience, Core Web Vitals, and Mobile Usability

The Page Experience and Core Web Vitals reports are available to help you improve your website experience for your visitors. The reports summarize how your pages perform in real world visits. For example, are your pages secure or loading quickly. Overall experience is important because if Google believes your website has a poor user experience they’ll deprecate your search ranking. Note that smaller websites don’t have enough visitors to generate enough data for a report to be created.
The Mobile Usability tab works for all sites. Google will tell you if there are any issues that need to be fixed for mobile users to have a good experience on your site. This tab is SUPER IMPORTANT because Google has moved to a ‘mobile first’ approach. If your site performs well on small devices then you’ll outperform sites that aren’t as well optimized.

Information Is A Revenue Catalyst

Search Console is valuable because it tells you everything you need to know to improve your search traffic.

You’ll receive insights about what Google thinks about your site. For example, any mobile compatibility issues or security problems. And what pages on your website are indexed, and which are being ignored.

Even better, Search Console provides detailed information about how people are interacting with your site. You can export a list of search terms that are driving visitors to your site. And also see what phrases people are looking for in your niche.

All this information is there to help you make better decisions about your website. The better you apply the lessons Search Console has to offer, the more traffic and subsequent sales you’ll enjoy.

Matthew Murray is the director of Sales Higher, a B2B lead generation firm. Sales Higher grinds through the data so you can focus on landing deals.

Categories
Blog How We Can Help SEO Services Small Business Marketing Small Business SEO

Digital.com Announces Best SEO Firms in Charlotte

Digital.com, a leading independent review website for small business online tools, products, and services, has announced the best SEO (Search Engine Optimization) firms in Charlotte. The top companies were selected based on multiple service lines, size of the firm, industry focus, and customer feedback.

Researchers at Digital.com conducted a 40-hour assessment of over 75 companies across the web. To access the complete list of best SEO firms in Charlotte, please visit https://digital.com/seo-firms/charlotte/.

Categories
Blog Search Engine Optimization Tips

Could SEO Marketing Save Your 4th Quarter Sales

The Top  Marketing Strategy to Optimize Your Business’s Performance Through Coronavirus and into 2021

As the year 2020 is approaching it’s 4th quarter, businesses small and large are crawling toward the finish line. With lock down restrictions beginning to ease and only 3 months left in the year, it is time to take your business out of hibernation and take stock of your company’s visibility.

You’ve seen it everywhere. Scare headlines declaring that the economy is falling apart, big name businesses are having to close and small businesses struggle to survive as the coronavirus forces customers to avoid public places and limit shopping. Despite closures of non-essential business, restrictions and embracing social distancing, the patron shoppers of this world have not retired from their consuming habits. The means by which they are buying just look a little different. The buying journey for Americans has shifted and the business world must follow. 

The Trends You Can’t Ignore: Online Shopping Craze

seo marketing for ecommerce

Research shows that Coronavirus has turbocharged a shift to e-commerce business for many Americans.  In total, consumers spent $211.5 billion online during the second quarter of 2020 alone. Increasing the average dollar spent online by 10-30% more. Market trends predict that these numbers will increase in the future. Looking ahead as a business, it is important to know how you can build relationships with customers and close deals with prospective clients via the digital world. A smart start would be to identify and focus on the platforms by which your consumers are searching and doing business.

We’ve done the dirty work…

Here are the top buying journeys by which consumers are looking for goods and services:

Mobile Devices & Smartphones 

seo marketing for etailers

Ah, yes. The portable computer that lay in the hands, pockets and purses of over 3.5 billion people. Roughly half of the world’s population. Forget the desktop! This device gives you the power of infinite information in a total of milliseconds at the palm of your hand. It would only make sense that the masses are using this platform to surf the web. And that is a trend that is not about to change anytime soon!

Disagree? 

Here are the stats

  • 51% of smartphone users have found a new company or product when searching on mobile.
  • 60% of smartphone users have contacted a business directly after finding their website through search results
  • The first organic listing on mobile receives 27.7% of clicks, versus 19.3% on desktop.
  • 87% of smartphone owners use a search engine daily. 
  • 85% of internet searches are conducted on the mobile phone

Video Advertisements

seo marketing with video advertising

There was no doubt that online video was growing rapidly pre- coronavirus, but ever since activities were limited to non-risk, video streaming has gotten bigger. Going to bars or public events with curfews in place before midnight we’re out of the question. Thanks to corona this meant most nights were spent streaming Hulu or Netflix and searching Youtube for DIY projects around the house. 

Did you know that the second largest search engine behind Google is Youtube? Perhaps it’s time you invested your marketing campaign on video ads. 

Disagree? 

Here are the stats

  • 78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% online every day.
  • 72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video.
  • 64% of consumers will make a purchase after watching a branded video on social platforms.
  • Nearly 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product before visiting a store.
  • Including a video on your landing page can boost your conversion rate by 80%.
  • Blog posts containing a video have a 53x higher chance of ranking on the first page of google.
  • Video content has 6 times higher conversion rate than non video pages. Pages with video content are 60% more likely to rank .
  • 92% of users watching video will share it with others.

Local Searches

local seo marketing

“Shop Local” is more than just a jingle; it is an image of unity amongst the marketplace during the pandemic. After observing the trends of consumer habits during coronavirus, buying and shopping locally has seemed to become the new essential. Consumers see their neighborhood business struggle, and want to help out. Shifting dollars from big- box stores to small businesses is becoming not only popular but the trend. 

Disagree? 

Here are the stats

  • Over 65% of online searches are for local business.
  • After searching on a smartphone for something nearby, 76% of people end up visiting the business within 1 day.
  • 28% of local searches result in a purchase.
  • 72%  of people surveyed say they will continue to support post-coronavirus.

Voice Search 

Last but not least, this should come as no surprise. As developers are expanding the power and tools of technology, it only makes sense that voice search would be added to the list. Voice searchers are starting to replace traditional, text-based searches. Voice search is easy, faster and something we can do while prepping for dinner, cleaning the house or walking the dog. 

Disagree? 

“Hey Siri, show me the facts on voice search statistics”

  • 2019, 25% of searches were voice over google- 2020, 50% of all searches were done by voice
  • 41% of adults use voice search at least once a day
  • 62% of smart speaker owners will make a purchase using voice technology in the next month
  • 27% of the global online population is using voice search on mobile

How Your Business Can Benefit from SEO Marketing

seo marketing more leads

The future of buying, selling and building customer relationships has moved online. Whether your business is plugged in or not will determine its fate. As shown above, studies have indicated the vehicles by which your consumers are searching and buying. It would be considered malpractice if any company large or small did not take advantage of moving their sales process online!

However, a business can not stop there. Now and evermore, it is simply not enough to just have an existing website. There are over 1.95 billion websites on the internet! A website without a masterful presence will be consumed, engulfed and spat out in an instant. If a company wants to succeed in this market, their online platform must get in front of the right consumers, appeal to their right wants and needs, and have the right message that showcases the brand they represent. 

Here is everything you need to know about how to optimize your online services.

The SEO Marketing Tool That Will Help Your Brand Stand Out

SEO marketing is an effective marketing strategy that ensures your company’s visibility to the target audience of your desires. Search engine optimization (SEO) enhances your online content by using keywords that are linked to high click rankings or organic traffic commonly used by the searcher. When a website’s organic traffic has a high ranking, Google, the number one search engine in the world, rewards the website by  identifying it as a top result, landing it a 1st page position in search results. 

Why is this important? 

Well if the evidence above showing that your consumers are turning to search engines to find business isn’t enough…

Here are the stats

  • On a given day people conduct more than 3.5 billion searches.
  • 75% of all searchers start their searches on google.
  • The first five results of google get 67% of all clicks.
  • Studies show that 75% of people will never scroll past the first page on a google search. 

Invest Now in SEO Marketing 

seo marketing success

If your business is still not convinced that you ought to invest in SEO marketing for the 4th quarter of 2020 and beyond, here is my final point. 

SEO marketing is the most cost effective online marketing strategy and return on investment. It is a continual non paid exposure to your brand. Paid advertising for other social media platforms can generate traffic to websites, but as the studies have shown, the majority of online traffic is brought by search engines! 

SEO is the only online marketing channel that, when implemented correctly, can supply cash flow gains over time. When a solid piece of content uses the right keywords and ranks high, traffic will continue to flow through over time, unlike other areas of advertising where continuous funding is needed to send traffic to your site.

GoBeyondSEO specializes in SEO marketing for all size businesses across the United States. We have a team of SEO specialists who KNOW how to optimize a website for maximum visibility.

There’s no better time than now to start investing in SEO marketing. You will thank yourself when you see all of the rewards it provides over time.

Click here to learn about the PLS (Predicable Leads System™).

Categories
Blog Charlotte Law Firm Marketing Lead Generation PPC Small Business Marketing

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising Part 2 – Before You Begin: Measurement, Tracking and Setting Up Your Account

Although PPC has been a very successful and profitable means of online marketing for a wide range of industries and business sizes, it can also be very costly and have zero results. Prior to beginning your first PPC campaign, here are a few things to help with your preparation:

PPC Campaign Goals

All marketing efforts begin with some type of goal in mind and PPC is no different. Actually, goals are directly related to the structure of your PPC campaigns, making them especially important. For example, you can structure your campaigns to target your ideal audience based on where they are in the buying cycle. What is it you want to achieve?  Are you a new business wanting to build awareness or drive traffic to your website? Are you trying to generate leads or increase revenue? Perhaps you want to increase in-store visits or get the phone ringing. Whatever your goals are, be sure to define them first before beginning your PPC Campaign.

Sufficient PPC Budget

Without a sufficient budget, your ads won’t show often. There are many ways to control spend in AdWords, but doing it by limiting budget is just about the worst way to do so. It also means you won’t get enough clicks or conversion data to learn from and to optimize your campaigns, let alone meet your business goals.

Landing Pages

No matter how good your ads are, how you structure your Adwords campaigns or how many optimization tools you utilize through the Adwords platform, if your landing page isn’t great, your campaign can’t be. With mobile devices accounting for the majority of searches and clicks, the mobile version of your landing page has to load fast, provide the user with results relevant to their query and give a clear call to action.

In the new Google Adwords interface, there is now a Landing Pages report providing a “mobile-friendly click rate” and “valid AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) click rate” to give advertisers more insight on how their landing pages perform on mobile devices. Google’s test tool also lets you check how mobile-friendly your landing pages are.

If your advertising goal is to generate leads, but your landing page doesn’t have a clear call to action or even a lead form, you’re probably not going to achieve good campaign results, not to mention, you’ll be sending unfavorable signals to the search engines based on user behavior and experience.

Let’s say you sell shoes and your ad for a search query “men’s shoes” directs that user to your home page versus the men’s shoes page.  Most people aren’t going to navigate around your site to find what they wanted in the first place, but instead, hit the back button and click elsewhere.  This is one of those factors from the first part of this series about Ad Quality Score, which will certainly suffer if your landing page doesn’t provide a good user experience.

An Experimental Mentality

Your AdWords campaigns may not immediately deliver optimal results. The most successful search campaigns require constant testing, analyzing and optimizing.  Performance relies on many strategic factors from bidding to targeting to ad copies to landing pages. Additionally, search engines are always testing and making changes so the learning curve is constant and there will always be an opportunity to try something new.

Resources

Since it’s easy to waste money on an Adwords campaign, making sure you have dedicated people and resources in place is essential.  Your budget size and how complex your campaigns are will help determine how much time and talent you should expect to devote to managing, testing, analyzing and optimizing your paid search efforts.

Measuring and Tracking

All you need is a primary contact and a credit card to create a new AdWords account, but prior to starting a campaign, it’s imperative you take some essential steps first, making sure you get all the reporting and tracking needed in order to measure and optimize your campaigns.

There are several metrics you’ll need to understand when running and analyzing PPC campaigns.

Impressions: The number of times your ads were served in the search results.

Clicks: The number of times users clicked on or engaged with your ads.

Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of people who clicked on your ad. It is calculated by dividing clicks by impressions. CTR is a very important indicator of how well your ads are performing.

Average CPC: The average cost per click paid for the clicks received.

Average position: Where your ads appeared on the search engine results page (SERP.) The higher the position, the greater the visibility you’ll have. Average position also indicates how your Ad Rank compares with other ads.

Conversions: The number of conversion actions your ads have generated. The actions to be tracked are set up at the account level.

Conversion rate: The percentage of people who clicked on your ads and ended up converting.

Quality Score: Reported at the keyword level on a scale of 1 to 10, Quality Score is an indicator of how relevant your ads, keywords and landing pages are to the user. A higher Quality Score can mean lower CPCs and better ad positions.

There are literally dozens of additional reporting metrics available in AdWords and you can even create your reports with custom columns.

Conversion tracking: What can you measure?

Conversion tracking allows you to understand how effective your ads are in resulting in valuable customer activity.  The setup process is different, depending on what type of conversion you want to track, so first, you must choose a conversion source.  A conversion source is where your conversions come from like phone calls, app downloads, newsletter sign-ups, website purchases, etc. There are four main types of conversions you can track in AdWords:

  1. Website Actions: This is the most common type of conversion tracking, so it will be covered in more detail below. Google provides these five categories for types of website actions you can track: Purchase/Sale, Sign-up, Lead, View of a key page, and Other.
  2. App installs and in-app actions: If you are promoting an app, you can track app conversions through your app analytics platform.  Additionally, AdWords integrates intrinsically with its own Firebase app analytics platform, the Google Play app store or from third-party analytics platform.
  3. Phone calls: If you’re a business whose goal is to generate phone calls, there are multiple ways search engines have developed to drive phone calls from search ads. On mobile devices, there is even an option to create a “Call-only” ad where the number pops up when the ad is clicked, versus redirecting the user to a website or landing page.  AdWords gives three options for setting up phone call conversion tracking:a) Calls from ads using call extensions or call-only ads.  This tracks when someone calls you directly from an ad. This option requires you to use Google forwarding numbers.b) Calls to a phone number on your website.  This tracks when someone clicks on one of your ads, then calls your business from a phone number on your landing page or website.  This option also requires you to use Google forwarding numbers as well as adding a tag to your landing page or website.c)  Clicks on your phone number on your mobile website.  This tracks when someone clicks a phone number link on your mobile website.  This option does not require the use of a Google forwarding number, but does require you to add a tag to your mobile website.

What’s a Google forwarding number?   A unique phone number provided by Google displayed in your ads.  If a potential customer calls or messages this phone number, AdWords will route the call or message to your business phone number. With this information, you’ll have detailed reports about calls or messages generated from your ads.

  1. Import: This option allows you import conversion data from another source.  AdWords integrations options are Google Analytics, Firebase, Third-party app analytics and Salesforce. Aside from these four options you can also upload conversions in a file or with the API by choosing the fifth option: Other data sources or CRMs.  Under this option you choose whether to track conversions from clicks or calls.

Step-by-step: Setting up website conversion action tracking:

Here is what the setup screen looks like for tracking website conversion actions. To access within the AdWords platform, click on ‘Tools’, indicated by a wrench in the upper right hand corner.  Under ‘Measurement’, click ‘Conversions’ and choose ‘Website’.

Follow these steps:

  1. Name the action.  Choose something as relevant as possible so anyone using reporting will easily be able to recognize it.  For example, website clicks lead forms.
  2. Choose a category.  As mentioned above, your choices are Purchase/Sale, Sign-up, Lead, View of a key page, and Other.
  3. Choose a value. The value depends on the kind of conversion you’re tracking. If your business or client has designated a specific value for an ebook download, for example, you can choose “Use the same value for each conversion” and enter that value. An e-commerce site, however, will usually want to use the value of the total sale value, which typically will vary by customer. In this situation, choose “Use different values for each conversion.” Keep in mind you’ll need to edit the conversion tag to track transaction-specific values. Third, you can choose not to assign a monetary value to a conversion at all, in which case you would choose “Don’t use a value”.
  4. Choose a count.  “Every” is recommended for purchases, where every conversion adds value.  If your business wants to count three ebook downloads by the same user only once, choose “One”.
  5. Choose a conversion window. This is how long you want to track the conversion after your ad receives a click.  For example, an insurance salesman may want to track a conversion for 5 days for a quote request, but 60 days for a policy sale.  If you’re not sure how long it takes for your customers to convert, you can segment your reports by “Days to conversion” to find out.
  6. View-through conversion window.  This is only for video and display ads, not search.  It counts a conversion when it occurs after a video or display ad impression, but is clicked on later.  The default is one day for this and in search you won’t need to change it.
  7. Include in “Conversions”. This lets you decide if these conversions should be included in your “Conversions” and “Conversion value” columns. If you uncheck it, data will still appear in the “All conv.” column.  AdWords uses the Conversions column for its Smart Bidding or automated bidding (which will be covered in part 3). If you want to measure an action, but not have your bids optimized against that action you can uncheck this box.  For example, visits to a specific page on your website.
  8. Attribution model. This setting determines how much credit each click receives for your conversions.  In the Adwords platform, you can set an attribution model for each conversion event you create. Currently the default is set to “Last Click”.  There is an attribution modeling report you can use to compare the different models to one another. Attribution models are covered in more detail next.

AdWords Attribution Models

Attribution models were created to help advertisers understand how their search marketing efforts directly relate to a user converting. How do you know exactly what keywords and ads contributed to a conversion?  Knowing this data is especially important as users perform research and make purchases across multiple devices and channels.

AdWords Attribution models only reference ad clicks and engagements for Search and Shopping Ads on google.com and are not available for app and in-store conversions.

Attribution models provide you with more control over how much credit each ad and keyword receives for your conversions, providing these benefits:

  1. a) Reach potential customers earlier in the buying cycle by discovering opportunities to influence them earlier on the path to converting.
  2. b) Match to your business by using a model that is best suited for how your target audience searches for your product or service.
  3. c) Improve your bidding by optimizing bids according to a better understanding of ad performance.

Example:

You own Simply Elegant Restaurant in Scottsdale, AZ.  A customer is directed to your website after clicking on your AdWords ads after the search queries “restaurant phoenix”, “restaurant scottsdale”, “5 star restaurant scottsdale” and lastly, “5 star simply elegant restaurant scottsdale”.

  • In the “Last click” attribution model, the last keyword, “5 star simply elegant restaurant scottsdale” would receive 100% of the credit for the conversion.
  • In the “First click” attribution model, the first keyword, “restaurant phoenix”, would receive 100% of the credit for the conversion.
  • In the “Linear” attribution model, each keyword would share equal credit of 25% each for the conversion.
  • In the “Time decay” attribution model, the keyword “5 star simply elegant restaurant scottsdale” would receive the most credit since it was searched closest to the conversion.  The “restaurant phoenix” keyword would receive the least amount of credit because it was the earliest search.
  • In the “Position-based” attribution model, “restaurant phoenix” and “5 star simply elegant restaurant scottsdale” would each receive 40% credit and  “restaurant scottsdale” and “5 star restaurant scottsdale” would each receive 10%.
  • In the “Data-driven” attribution model, each keyword would receive partial credit, depending on how much it contributed to driving the conversion.  You would only see this option if you had sufficient data in your account. Find out more about data-driven attribution here.

Setting Up Your Adwords Account

Each individual business or client will need to have its own account when you’re setting up AdWords. Within each is where important contact details, payment information and account access permissions are kept.

Google only allows one ad per website to appear in search results for text ads; this is to provide a better user experience.  Shopping ads are the exception because several related products from the same seller may appear in the results.

To set up your account, click on the “Tools”/wrench icon in the upper right-hand corner:

In Billing and payments, you’ll set up your contact and payment information.  Invoicing is available, but you have to contact Google directly to initiate this.

Under Business data is ad customizer data, ad extension, dynamic ad and page feeds.  Don’t worry about this in the beginning; you’ll return here after your setup is complete.

Account access is simply that; add users to your account and choose their levels of access.

Linked Accounts

Before you launch your first campaigns, you’ll want to link your accounts from other Google services in order to transfer data back and forth between them.

Currently, you can link to these Google services:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Firebase
  • Google Play
  • Salesforce
  • Third-party app analytics
  • Google Hotel Ads Center
  • Google Merchant Center
  • YouTube
  • Search Console
  • Ads Data Hub

Utilizing Google Analytics is extremely valuable as it allows for importing conversion goals and audiences from Analytics into AdWords. Through Google Analytics, you can analyze your AdWords campaign performance, compare it to other channels and most importantly, understand how users behave on your website after clicking your ads.

Google Firebase is great if you have Android and iOS apps.  Firebase shows you how your campaigns relate to app installs and in-app actions. You can create mobile app remarketing lists with Firebase audiences and view AdWords cost data in Firebase.

Also app related, with Google Play, you can learn what ads are driving action by tracking in-app purchases and can also create remarketing lists based on current users.

If you use Salesforce, link so you can import sales leads and funnel that data into AdWords.  After a lead comes from a click on your ad, you can use this data to optimize your campaigns.

Google shares signed-in user data across its services. Linking your YouTube channel to AdWords will not only allow you to run video campaigns on YouTube, but you’ll also be able to build retargeting lists of people who’ve watched your videos and measure engagement on your video ads.

Linking Google Search Console will enable you to import organic search results, compare your organic and paid coverage and see how your ads and organic listings perform together and alone.

Ads Data Hub is not available to all advertisers.  Linking to this makes campaign data available in a secure, cloud-based environment, to third party vendors and agencies for verification and/or analysis

Account Settings

After the account setup process is completed, it’s important you navigate to another Account settings tab.  Click “Settings” on the bottom left hand side and then click “Account Settings.”

Tracking:  If you’re using a third-party platform for analytics, this is where you can add tracking parameters that will apply to the account level, campaign level, ad group level, ad level or the most specific, the keyword level. You can also add Parallel Tracking which helps in loading your landing page quicker.  It sends users directly from your ad to the final URL while the click measurement occurs in the background. This can help improve ad performance and increase conversions.

Auto-tagging: Enabling this feature is necessary to import conversion data into Analytics or a third-party analytics platform, for example, your CRM.

Message Reporting: This must be on if you are using a messaging extension or the data collected from it cannot be captured in the reporting insights.  Extensions will be covered in more detail in the third and final part of this series.

Inventory Type: For video campaigns only.

Content Exclusions: This allows you to opt out of showing your ads on content that is not suited for your brand.  Digital content labels pertain to audience maturity; Sensitive content lets you choose specific websites, videos or apps, for example, that may not fit your brand; and Content type refers to excluding your ads from certain categories of content.

Ad Suggestions: New as of March 2018, Google automatically creates and applies ad suggestions in your ad groups, especially in ad groups that may only have one ad.  This setting is on by default and Google will automatically apply the changes after 14 days if you don’t dismiss them or apply them yourself sooner from the Recommendations page.

Conclusion

Hopefully at this point you’re more than convinced of the value of PPC as a means of online marketing.  It truly is transparent as you can see with all of the measuring and tracking options available through the AdWords platform.  Remember the importance of the steps before getting started as they are vital to a successful start of your campaigns. Next, in part 3, we’ll wrap up this series by covering campaign structure, ad groups, ad extensions, setting up your search campaign, ads automation and additional targeting capabilities.

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Kristy is an Assistant & Coordinator of Awesome. She has worked extensively in academic administration and brings a varied wealth of knowledge. As a self-starter, she is ready to take on news projects and see them through to completion. Always curious, Kristy is an avid researcher and delights in the challenge of learning new skills.

When Kristy isn’t organizing or researching something, you can find her listening to a true crime podcast, re-watching How I Met Your Mother or The Big Bang Theory and coming up with some crazy shenanigan for her family’s next adventure.

5 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT KRISTY

  1. Kristy prefers the Harry Potter books over the movies. Her favorite book is The Prisoner of Azkaban and her favorite character is Luna Lovegood. Ravenclaw house. She just started her 8-year-old son on listening to the books.
  2. Kristy has a nail technician license, esthetician license, medical assisting certification, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree. She didn’t get her full cosmetology license because she can barely do her own hair, she shouldn’t be trusted with someone else’s.
  3. She doesn’t know how to gamble but is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada. She moved to Colorado three months before her 21st birthday.
  4. Her high school graduating class consisted of only 20 people.
  5. Kristy loves gift giving. One of her great joys in life is finding the “perfect” gift.
Kristy Elias