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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.

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Local SEO Marketing Small Business Marketing Small Business SEO

Word of Mouth Has Gone Digital

Word of mouth (WoM) has gone digital. It’s no longer good enough to hear from one or two people that a movie is good or entertaining. We won’t consider a hotel that doesn’t meet our own health and safety standards. We now rely upon a consensus of reviews before we make our decisions, even if it is something as simple as choosing a movie from our couch.

In 2022, this kind of feedback crowd-sourcing is ubiquitous. From restaurants to law firms, or  from pet groomers to industrial cleaning companies, reviews are (or should be) a big part of the marketing strategy for businesses, large or small.

Many business owners feel that their best clients come from word of mouth. And they’re probably right.

If only there was a way to have those sweet, positive, and wildly influential words used to describe their business immortalized in some way so that future prospects and potential clients could hear them–oh wait, there is! It’s called Google reviews. And if you’re not prioritizing Google reviews, you’re setting yourself up to fail.

3 Ways Google Reviews Affect Your Business

Online reviews are the closest thing we have to WoM in the digital realm, and they absolutely matter for your business. Here are three ways Google reviews can impact your online visibility and reputation.

  1. Reviews impact SEO. You read that right. Getting more of them, especially positive ones, improves your digital visibility and conversion rate. That means more clients for you. (Psst: Dealing with a fake or negative review? We’ve got you.) 
  2. Google trusts the power of WoM marketing. It factors in the quantity and quality of reviews to evaluate where and when your business should show up in search engine results. Just as customers use online reviews to validate their purchase decisions, Google and other search engines take a similar stance when showing results.
  3. Users and search engines have a similar objective. Google wants to weed through the vast web to deliver the right information, service, or product to you in the fastest way possible, and this aligns with our goals as searchers. In fact, reviews pretty much work as crowd-sourced WoM recommendations.

If you’re already prioritizing Google reviews and reviews from other sites, good for you. If you have a system or process in place already, even better. 

However, if you haven’t been able to net enough positive Google review to impact your business, it may be time to consider setting up an automated process to make getting reviews simple, painless, and effective.

GoBeyond SEO works with business owners to implement an automated process to make it easy for customers to write and submit reviews and to give businesses a cringe-free way to ask for them. Find out more by booking a free discovery call with us.

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Search Engine Optimization Tips Small Business Marketing

Are you Missing this Important Opportunity to Get More Clients?

Word of Mouth (WoM) will always be the best form of advertising, but it’s gone digital. If you’re not prioritizing your Google reviews and actively managing your digital reputation, you are missing an important opportunity to be visible and vetted by more clients or customers. Keep reading to learn more about online reviews and how they affect your rankings in Google.

How Google Reviews Can Bring You Clients

When you enter a local search term into Google, three main factors will affect the ranking of each site displayed:

  • Relevance
  • Distance
  • Prominence

The first two ranking factors are explanatory–Google will attempt to present the most relevant options within your immediate vicinity. Makes sense, right?

Reviews, however, fall into the category of prominence. If you searched for “dog groomer” and found one with hundreds of highly rated reviews, that groomer may outrank a closer local competitor if they have fewer, less positive ratings and reviews.

3 Simple Steps to Get More Reviews and Boost Your Rankings

Let’s say you’re one of the many businesses that doesn’t have a ton of reviews. Here are three steps you can take to bump those review numbers and, consequently, your SEO results.

 1. Fix Your Listings 

“Near me” searches are growing exponentially year after year. With the rise of voice search, they’ll be even more important. It’s estimated that 22% of voice searches are location-based. That’s a big number and growing by the minute.

If you haven’t done so already, claim your Google My Business (GMB) profile. This is your most visible listing, since it will show up every time someone does a search for your business.

It’s incredible how many businesses don’t take this simple step to boost their rankings and online visibility. Some of these businesses still have their old business address and phone number listed and then wonder why they don’t get more phone calls!

If you want to make sure your Google listing (or Yelp, Bing, or any other listing service) is correct, Google your company and see what pops up. If you think you need help fixing it, give us a shout. We update and optimize Google My Business (and other) listings every day.

2. Send Review Requests 

Customers trust reviews. The more reviews you have, the better. That’s why it’s important to ask your customers to leave reviews. This is the kind of social proof that future customers will trust and can ultimately encourage them to convert. 

To get the best results, make sure you’re sending review requests via text and email. This makes the process easy for the customer. They don’t have to spend time looking for your business or where to post the review. All they have to do is click the link and write about their experience.

Also, there’s no need to feel weird about asking. Happy customers love to help out. Asking can feel awkward, but more for you than for them. Make it easy for them and you’ll get more reviews. If asking directly is still too much for you, GoBeyond has a cringe-proof process in place to get you those reviews without making you blush.

3. Respond to Customer Reviews 

Lots of business owners don’t respond to online reviews. That’s a big mistake. A study by Harvard Business School showed that responding to reviews leads to a higher overall star rating. 

But the benefits don’t end there. Genuine responses help build loyalty with your customers. A simple “Thanks a ton, we hope to see you soon!” can leave a positive impression in the mind of your customers and encourage them to come back for more. 

Google has confirmed that responding to reviews can help your business rank higher on search engines. What’s not to love about that?

Don’t Stress About Getting Reviews

Word of Mouth will always be a factor when it comes to decision making. We’re social creatures and the opinions of others dictate everything from how we behave at the dinner table to how we make our laws. Word of Mouth has not and will never go away, but how we access those opinions has changed permanently.

Don’t stress about the review process. These days, having the occasional bad review is not a business death sentence. The far worse outcome sounds more like this: “Acme Products and Services? Never heard of ‘em”.

Want to automate your review process to make it easier and less painful to get more reviews of your business? Contact GoBeyond SEO to learn more about our process for getting reviews without the hassle.

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How to Hire the Best Digital Marketing Company

An appealing website is a great start for establishing an online presence, and the website may even be worth the investment, but the right digital marketing plan can help potential clients find you online.

If you’re going to outsource Digital Marketing (SEO, PPC, Social Media) follow these steps and hire the best company.

1. Know Your Needs Before Choosing an SEO Company

Understanding your needs is the first crucial step. Do you just need SEO or graphic design, social media, and/or paid advertising. Take an audit of your existing online presence, see what’s missing and what you need moving forward. You can’t hire the right company if you don’t know what you need.  The right company can make recommendations of course, but in the end it’s up to you. No one knows your business better than you do.

Draft a budget, and be realistic about the services you’ll get.  SEO costs can vary so your budget may need to be flexible, but have a good idea on what you want to spend.

2. Use the ‘Two-way Interview’ Approach

In a one-way interview, the potential SEO company will submit a proposal for you to review. It’s hard to learn about a company with this type of approach, and SEO is not a one-size-fits-all approach.  The company you’re hiring needs to know specifics about your business as well.

Two-way interviews make the recruitment process more engaging, and help you explore multiple aspects of your marketing operations.  Maybe you’ll discover that Google Ads or social media is a better strategy for your type of business.  Either way, an in-depth conversations should happen so your money is well spent.

The potential SEO agency should always inquire about your company’s unique selling point (USP).   Expect to share the goals of your website, your current means for attracting customers, your CPC, current budget, what’s working, and what’s not.  Keeping this information private only makes the agencies job harder.  If needed, have them sign an NDA but in my experience I’ve found that the more thorough and open the process is, the faster you can hit the ground running, and start generation positive ROI.

3. Do Your Own Research

As a client you need to be researching SEO companies before hiring them.

At the very least visit the potential agencies website to see if there are clients listed, biographies or addresses listed. The firm shouldn’t be hiding anything from you if it wants to have you as a customer.   At the very least you’ll be able to tell what type of business they are i.e a small agency with a few people or a huge organization with a huge sales team.  Working with either can have its pros and cons but know what you’re getting into.

4. Verify References

References help determine if a company has an impressive track record, and gives you insights on the types of clients they’ve worked with.  Even if you don’t call the references there’s value in asking.  Do they push back or are they glad to provide them?

Ask each digital marketing agency for at least three customers you can reach, and ask about the results generated from the SEO and digital marketing efforts.

Use the references to identify the pros & cons of each SEO firm.  You’ll learn about quality of work, customer support and many other things you won’t get directly from the agency.

5. Credibility

Review sites are a great way to determine an agency’s credibility. Check Google My Business, Yelp and other industry listings for positive & negative reviews.  Negative reviews may not be a deal breaker but check and see how the company responded to those reviews. Did they do it in a professional manner?

Check whether the company is listed on BBB. See if the agency’s employees are members of any groups or associations.

The agency should also have a nice website and a solid online presence. Visit the agency’s social media pages to see whether they feature quality content.

6. Request an Audit for Your Site

Any reputable online marketing agency will audit your website and be able to tell you where your short comings are, but it also takes a little homework on your end as well.

If they ask give the agency access to your analytics data and let them know what online resources you’ve used already. Having several candidates perform the audits helps you compare the results and choose the best company for you.

The SEO company should evaluate your website’s rankings in the search engines, and identify what issues may be preventing your website from ranking higher.

Website audits will help determine your businesses relevance on the web. The reports should suggest ways to make your content easier to find, and they should list SEO strategies that suit your budget and needs.

7. Involve Your Team When Making the Final Decision

SEO can help your site draw larger audiences, increase conversion rates and have positive ROI. An SEO company should offer you and your team strategies to make these goals achievable.  Depending on what your goals are that will determine who in your company they’ll be working with.

If they’ll be working heavily with the sales team then you’ll want their opinion.  Respect their suggestions and use them to guide your final decision.

The Right Digital Marketing

Our company targets businesses like yours looking to use digital marketing services to optimize their online presence. Our digital marketing portfolio includes web design, SEO, PPC and social media marketing.

Talk to us about how we can help you outsmart your competition with our Predictable Leads System.

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Charlotte Law Firm Marketing Lead Generation Local SEO PPC Search Engine Optimization Tips SEO Tips Small Business Marketing Social Media Marketing

Law Firm Marketing 101: An Essential Guide for Family Lawyers

These days, it’s not enough that you have an office to meet clients. You have to have a strong online presence. Check out this guide on law firm marketing.

Every lawyer who ventures out on their own has a vision of a bustling practice and nailing one case after another. In reality, most find themselves with less action and more thumb-twiddling, than they’d like to admit.

The field of law, including family law, is a saturated and competitive industry. Why are your competitors getting more business than you are? What are they doing that you aren’t?

One of the most effective ways to build your practice is to have the right digital marketing strategy. After all, 85% of people hit the internet when they’re looking for local businesses, so a strong online presence goes a long way.

For a more effective and revenue-boosting strategy, check out these law firm marketing tips.

Family Law Firm Marketing Tips for Your Digital Strategy

Using the online world to gain business requires a few elements. You need people to know who you are. You need them to find you. And you need to be able to convert them to clients. Start with these steps.

1. Make It Easy

Before you jump headfirst into trying to get more visitors to your site, make sure your site has what it takes to convert those visitors into clients. Your key goal should be to make it easy for clients to make that conversion.

First, you need to guide clients toward taking the next step. Every page of your site should have a call-to-action. For instance, maybe you have a page about custody arrangements in divorce. At the end of the page’s content, invite users to contact you about their own custody case. Display a button they can click to do this.

Next, make it as convenient as possible for them to get in touch with you. The days of instructing clients to call you during hours of your convenience are over. Offer a way for them to contact you online with their questions. With that information, you or your staff can call them when you’re in the office.

2. Know How to Use Social Media

Every marketer talks about the importance of social media marketing today. They’re right, it is important, but it’s not just about whether you have it: it’s about how you use it.

On your social media pages, you should focus on spreading information. Your posts shouldn’t sound like sales pitches, because readers will tune out in a heartbeat.

Instead, your goal on social media should be to establish yourself as a trusted expert in your field. If you do this, you’ll be the one people will turn to when they need a lawyer.

3. Get Your Speed Up

It’s not just the content of your website that matters but the technical performance as well. After all, do you stay on a site that isn’t loading or one that doesn’t work well? Neither will your clients.

One of the key statistics you need to check is your website speed. If your site doesn’t load within two or three seconds, about half of users will head elsewhere.

When users leave your site so quickly, it raises your bounce rate which hurts your search engine optimization, or SEO. Even those users who stay are already starting to get frustrated, so they won’t have the best impression of your site.

4. Blog and Blog Well

Blogging is an important way to improve your digital marketing. The frequent updates and valuable content will improve your search engine optimization, and each blog post is providing content for your social media pages.

Those are just the benefits you get from posting each blog. When people actually read them, your articles will display your knowledge as an expert and will establish a connection with the reader and a growing trust.

Of course, not all blogging practices will give you the same benefits. Make sure you post blogs on a consistent basis and that the content is valuable and well-written. Focus on topics your clients really want, like tips for negotiating a custody agreement.

6. Get On Camera

If you don’t already use videos in your digital marketing strategy, now is the time to start. Videos are an engaging medium that users love, and there are so many ways to use them to market your firm.

You can start with simple “talking head videos,” in which you’re sharing your knowledge about a particular subject. You could also use videos to share a tour of your office or to discuss your recent interesting cases (with confidentiality of course).

After you have a video ready, post it everywhere. We’re talking about YouTube, your own website, and your social media pages as well.

7. Get Help from the Past

There’s a lot of trust involved when a client chooses a lawyer, and especially a family lawyer. One of the best ways for new clients to see that you’re trustworthy is to hear it from your past clients.

Encourage your happy clients to post reviews for you on Google, Yelp, and other sites. You can even ask them for a brief testimonial that you can post online. In many cases, reviews and testimonials are a client’s deciding factor when they choose their lawyer.

8. Prioritize Local Search Engine Optimization

One of the most common mistakes local businesses make is forgetting about local SEO. For instance, they optimize their site for keywords like “family lawyer” and “family law firm” rather than “Charlotte family lawyer” or “family law in Charlotte.”

As a law firm, attracting site visitors in California might help your statistics but it won’t bring you clients. Be sure to incorporate local SEO into your digital marketing strategy.

Building Your Client Base

Many lawyers think that if they do good work, the clients will follow. That’s not often the case. As you build your reputation as a great lawyer, you still need to spread the word about your business. The law firm marketing tips above are a great start.

If you’re ready to really jumpstart your growth, contact our digital marketing experts for a more comprehensive plan.

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Charlotte Law Firm Marketing Lead Generation Local SEO Search Engine Optimization Tips SEO Services SEO Tips Small Business SEO

Why SEO for Lawyers Can Make or Break Your Case

As an attorney, you’re well aware that the legal market in the digital age is more competitive than ever before.

You’ve created what you thought was a strong website for your Charlotte-based law firm, but your traffic hasn’t increased — and neither has your client volume.

In this post, we’ll tell you why SEO for lawyers is something that your firm can no longer afford to do without.

We’ll also let you know where you can connect with attorney SEO services that will increase your conversions and give you the kind of results your firm deserves.

Poor SEO Will Cost You in the Rankings

One of the biggest reasons why you need to take legal SEO as seriously as your next client’s case, is because it directly affects where your website will land when it comes to the search engine result pages, or SERPs for short. About 75% of online consumers say they never bother to go past the first page of search engine results.

Even if you’ve worked hard to create a website that’s easy to navigate and informative, if it’s not designed with SEO in mind, all of your hard work will be for nothing. Additionally, SEO for law firms is all about outranking your competitors. You want to be certain that your law firm’s website shows up in the SERPs before your biggest competitor’s site does.

But it’s not just about choosing the right keywords and hacking your way to the top of the first page of Google. Remember that a strong SEO strategy is also influenced by your website’s loading speed and design.

It’s obvious that a user won’t bother to spend much time — less than three seconds, to be exact — on a website that’s slow to load. A potential client also won’t think much of a law firm website that’s full of spammy pop-ups, broken links, and aggressive, unprofessional graphics.

You won’t just lose a client — a poorly-designed website also impacts your site’s dwell time. This is the average length of time that a user stays on your site.

Sites with higher dwell times are recognized by Google and other search engines as providing useful, relevant information. So, they rank higher than those that have lower dwell times.

Remember, it’s not just your law firm’s reputation that’s on the line. It’s also about how SEO affects your site’s overall visibility.

The Right SEO Strategy Puts You in Front of Your Target Market

Another reason why SEO for lawyers directly affects your firm’s success?

Because the right keywords and link strategies can shorten the time it takes for your target market to find you online, and without a proper legal SEO strategy that target market might not be able to find you online.

There are currently more than 1.5 billion websites on the Internet — and that number is increasing every minute. And while all 1.5 billion of them might not be related to the legal industry, a good portion of them will be.

Keywords, or what people type into search engines to help them find what they’re looking for online, are an essential part of SEO for law firms.

First of all, your keywords should include references to the specific type of legal work that you do. For example, if you specialize in divorce law, you might choose a high-ranking keyword like “divorce attorney” or “hiring a divorce lawyer.”

But something is missing from those keywords — your location. Location-based keywords are the bread and butter of legal SEO. They don’t just help you find people who need your services. They ensure that the people who need your legal services and live within your practice area end up on your website.

Including location-based keywords like “Charlotte NC divorce attorney” or “Divorce attorney Myers Park” will get you exactly the kind of traffic you’re looking for.

SEO Establishes You as an Authority in the Legal Industry

As a legal professional, you’ve spent years earning your degrees, creating your network, and establishing a reputation in the courtroom.

Now, you need to make sure that your SEO strategy is working to effectively translate that reputation and work to the digital world. Superior legal SEO helps you to establish yourself as the go-to legal authority within your niche and service area.

It does this by allowing you to join the digital conversion, whether that conversation is taking place on your blog, your YouTube channel, or even on a third-party site.

Remember that an effective SEO strategy isn’t just about what’s on your website.

It also includes your social media profiles, any guest posts that you write for legal websites and online journals, and even third-party review sites where past clients can discuss their experience with you.

In other words, to get attorney SEO done right, you need seamless integration between all of your different online accounts and presences.

Looking for Professional Guidance on SEO for Lawyers?

We hope that this post has helped you to understand why SEO for lawyers is such an important part of your overall marketing strategy.

Remember that SEO doesn’t just help you to outrank your competitors and show up in front of the right people. It also creates a sense of authority and trust between your firm and your target market.

To get an even better understanding of how not just SEO, but our services can help your law firm to grow, check out our case study.

When you’re ready to put the right kind of legal SEO strategy into place for your firm, reach out to us to chat.

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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.

Categories
Lead Generation PPC Small Business Marketing

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising Part 1 – What is Pay-Per-Click Advertising & Why Should You Use It?

Part 1 – What is pay-per-click advertising?

Fundamentally speaking, pay-per-click advertising is a form of online advertising where an advertiser is charged when their ad receives a click after appearing in search engine results pages, rather than paying for an ad impression, or when the ad is shown or seen.

Digital marketing and advertising is notorious for having its own language and agencies tend to try and create their own terms in an attempt to stand out from the competition; for example the terms “retargeting” and “remarketing” essentially mean the same thing.  Cost per click (CPC) refers to the amount, or cost, an advertiser pays each time their ad is clicked on. The advertiser sets a bid price called the Max CPC and the price the advertiser pays is the Avg CPC. CPM, on the other hand, or cost-per-thousand, is the marketing term for buying per 1,000 impressions, wherein ads are purchased on a cost-per-thousand basis and advertisers pay when their ads are shown in search engine results pages.

To a certain degree, search advertising has been coined as PPC since it was introduced by search engines and has since been adopted by a variety of different sites, such as Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others. These sites offer advertisers the option to purchase social, video and display ads, to name a few.

In this three-part series, the focus is specifically on the paid search area of PPC where text ads appear in search engine results. While the three major search engines, whether it be Google, Yahoo or Bing, each has its own, individual options for advertising, this series will specifically target Google. Google is the goliath of the search industry, constantly updating and innovating to remain the top contender in the world of search.

Why PPC advertising?

While PPC has developed immensely over time, there are still many reasons companies, large and small, spend billions of dollars a year on this keystone of search advertising.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising Provides Immediate Results

PPC advertising delivers instantly. As soon as your campaign is approved, your ads can be seen by millions of searchers. The ability to create and implement a campaign and reach a target audience so quickly makes PPC an optimal choice for contributing to business goals.  Examples could be brand exposure and recognition, product launches, event marketing, seasonal promotions and more.

PPC Is Measurable & Trackable

Everything about PPC is measurable and trackable.  Google Adwords reporting features include high-level details about impressions, clicks, and conversions. When it comes to the performance of your PPC campaigns, Google Adwords provides real-time statistics, including the type of traffic and how those results are influencing your budget.  PPC’s measuring and tracking capabilities make it a valuable tool for experimenting with different variables, such as campaigns, landing pages and strategies. Pay-per-click advertising allows you to better understand specifically what your target audience is searching for as well as what you spent and what drove that spend in terms of your end goals.

PPC Targeting Options

The beauty of targeting options through pay-per-click advertising is reaching an audience you may not have known you had as well as those who may already be exposed to your brand.  Google Adwords targeting options include, but are not limited to:

Audience Targeting

Demographics:

Target based on age, gender, location and even device types. Let’s say you are a small yoga studio promoting a new class best suited for women between the ages of 25 and 45 and you know your current client base doesn’t travel more than 20 miles to your studio: your ads will be delivered to users matching these demographics.

Similar:

Target based on similar interests to your existing audience. These targets may not be precisely searching for your company’s product or service, but by targeting based on similar interests, their searches may place them in front of your ads.  Using the same yoga studio as an example, you may include pilates, zumba, physical fitness, etc. as similar interests.

Remarketing:

Target based on visitors who have already been engaged with your website, app or ads so your ads will be placed more frequently in front of these individuals. They may be in any stage of the buying process, but if they have visited your website, landing page or clicked on your ad before, it’s likely they will return and perhaps to complete a purchase.

Content Targeting

Placement:

PPC placement targeting is essentially an online auction.  Advertisers can choose managed placement, or choosing only specific sites they wish their display ads to be shown; or automatic placement, when sites are chosen for you based on the targeting you have set. The biggest difference with placement targeting is it is not reliant on keyword selection like contextual targeting.

Display Expansion for Search:

Display Expansion can be used in search or display ads.  Adwords will find your ideal target on your behalf, combining automatic bidding and smart targeting, while targeting high-traffic occasions to deliver you the most optimal results.

Content Keywords:

By choosing content keywords relevant to your business’ products and services, you target individuals performing searches using that same search criteria. You can also modify a group of keywords in order to manually target specific demographics or reach certain business goals. For example, you can tailor your keywords to market a new product or service or to promote an upcoming event.

Where do PPC ads appear?

While in this series the focus is on traditional text ads, it’s worth sharing the other ad formats you may see in search engine results pages. The following illustrate how and where the different ad types would appear on Google:

PPC Text Ads:

These can appear at the top or the bottom of the organic search results on desktop or mobile devices.  Note there are only four spots for ads to potentially appear above the search results. Ads can also appear in the local pack of listings with a map; this data is pulled from Google My Business.

Source: Google Ads

Local Ads:

Local Ads appear in the local pack of listings and Google Maps for businesses with physical locations.  The green pins indicate a business with an ad and when a user hovers over it, an Ad label appears.

example of local Google ad
Source: Google Ads

Shopping Ads:

Shopping Ads, or as Google calls them, Product Listing Ads (PLA) are delivered differently than text ads.  They are image-based ads and include the company name, price, any current offers, and more. Shopping ads are not based on keywords, but rather on data Google collects from the Merchant Center, set up by the merchant, enabling Google to deliver higher quality leads.  For instance, if someone were to search for “mouse pad”, they would know what they look like right away because of the pictures shown and what the cost of each is before even clicking on the ad. After clicking the ad and being directed to the website, this prospect is already further along the purchasing path. The ads are shown at the top of the search results page in a carousel on desktop and mobile devices; they are shown on the right side in what Google calls a knowledge card or graph.  Here is an example of the previous search for “mouse pad” showing both appearances:

example of mouse pad shopping ads

How does PPC work?

Search engine results don’t necessarily display ads for every search query, but if that query results in a potential profit, an “auction” begins at the onset of the search.  A couple of different considerations go into determining whether or not an ad is qualified to appear in the auction, what order the qualified ads will show and the amount each ad will be charged should a user click on it.

First, advertisers set the maximum bid (Max CPC) or the most they want to pay for a click. These bids can be on an individual keyword basis or applied to an entire Ad Group. Next, an ad is assigned a Quality Score (explained in further detail below).  Once an ad is qualified to enter the auction, an Ad Rank (also explained in further detail below) is calculated by multiplying different variables of the Max CPC by the Quality Score, which is then the ultimate decider what position the ad falls in.

Quality Score:

The Quality Score refers to Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of your ad copy and keywords.  Although advertisers don’t see what their Quality Score is, they can see a ranking between 1 (bad) and 10 (excellent) within the Adwords platform.  With a higher quality score, your ads may get a lower cost-per-click (CPC) or appear higher in an auction. When calculating your Quality Score, Google looks at the odds of your ad being clicked on, the correlation between the search query related to your ad copy and the landing page to which the user is directed; does that landing page provide the user with what they searched for in the first place?

Ad Rank:

Ad Rank refers to the positioning of an ad relative to other ads shown in the same auction.  As mentioned above, it is calculated based on the Max CPC and Quality Score. Essentially, the formula would look like this:

Max CPC x Quality Score + other details, such as the terms used in the search query, what device the search is made on, the influence ad extensions may possibly have, and more.

CPC:

Cost-per-click (CPC) is affected largely by Ad Rank with its formula looking like this:

CPC = The Ad Rank of the Advertiser Below/Quality Score + $0.01

This isn’t to say the advertiser below should bid $0.01 more; this is just part of Google’s secret sauce, to say.  CPC’s will fluctuate a great deal since Adwords pricing structure is partly due to the Ad Rank of the next competitor.

Conclusion

While the Why, Where and How of PPC may seem a bit daunting, it goes without saying pay-per-click advertising can be a very beneficial and cost-effective method of advertising for businesses, large and small.  Join in on Part 2 of this series to read about what you need to get started, more grueling details on measurement and tracking and guidance on setting up an account.

Read More:

Part 2: Pay-Per-Click Advertising Setup

Part 3: Tips & Everything Else You Need to Know

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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