Our President & CEO, Mark Kelly, was recently asked by Avvo.com, the Web’s largest legal Q&A forum, directory and legal marketplace, to present tips to its community of 125,000 attorneys on how to optimize pay-per-click advertising.
This short video quickly gives attorneys the information and perspective they need on pay-per-click advertising, but also has great tips for any business doing or thinking about using pay-per-click advertising to drive leads and sales.
Here’s a summary of some of the key topics covered in the video:
How can attorneys quickly evaluate if pay-per-click advertising is working for their practice?
Top 5 Magic Questions Attorneys Should Ask About Their Pay-Per-Click Advertising:
1) How many leads is your pay-per-click advertising generating each month?
2) What is the average cost per pay-per-click lead?
3) What are the top 5 search engine search phrases people are typing into Google and then clicking your ads and visiting your Website? Do these phrases synch up with your key practice areas you want to be marketing most?
4) What are the top 10 cities those ad clickers are coming from? Do those cities match up with your marketing targets in terms of where you want to be attracting clients from?
5) Missed Opportunity – how many more leads could your practice have driven with pay-per-click if your daily ad click budget had been higher?
Chair 10 Marketing helps law firms and other businesses effectively drive leads through Pay-Per-Click and Search Engine Optimization.
Contact Us today for a Free Consultation.
So I need to upgrade our iPhones. We’re with AT&T now, but I like the network quality of Verizon in Seattle. So I’m close to switching to Verizon.
I was ready to buy, but just didn’t want to pay activation fees.
What struck me below as hilarious was how when I said I’d be staying with AT&T, the customer support person said “Wonderful!” It seems like that is a standard keyboard shortcut she uses in her chats. I can think of worse responses, but “Wonderful!” just didn’t seem to fit.
From an Internet marketing standpoint, losing at least $3,750 in revenues from me over $70 in activation fees is not the right call (pun intended) for Verizon Wireless. They should give their online salespeople more latitude in order to close a sale.
It’s no surprise that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a critical role in helping to rank your website higher in search engines, thus bringing traffic and revenue to your site. With successful SEO techniques come several mistakes that can affect the overall success of a website and its rankings. Here are 10 common SEO mistakes that should be avoided:
1. Not targeting any keywords (or the wrong keywords)
Keywords are often known as the single most important SEO element. Internet users enter keywords into a search engines whenever they search for information on the web. If your website’s page text, URL, HTML page title tags, and headlines contain those exact or closely similar keywords, search engines will be more likely to index your page text and return them as search results. You will first need to brainstorm an initial list of phrases you think your customers use to find your business. Make sure to steer clear of one-word terms, and instead focus on keyword phrases between 2-3 words in length. Expand your list of target keywords by utilizing online keyword tools such as the one offered by Google Adwords.
2. Ignoring Page Titles
Another important SEO aspect that is often overlooked are page title tags. Page title tags, also known as HMTL title tags, appear at the top of the browser window within the specific browser tab. A page title tag is meant to clearly communicate the content listed on a webpage. Every page on your website should have a unique page title tag. As this is one of the most important elements that search engines use to decipher and rank your webpage, it is equally as important to include your target keyword phrases within the page title tag.
3. Building your Website entirely in Flash
Adobe Flash, a piece of software oftentimes used to display animated or visually appealing, attention-grabbing content, may seem like a good idea for creating a appealing website. But building your website entirely in Flash will make your site unreadable to search engine crawlers. Google has become more advanced, and can extract some data from flash animations; however, it is best to avoid Flash as the sole structure for a website. Flash does not need to be completely avoided, but if used, needs to be surrounded by text-rich content to help search engine crawlers easily read and index your website content.
4. Having a navigation menu that search engines cannot get through
To allow search engines easy access to your website’s content, the top navigation menu should be developed as text so that search engine crawlers can easily follow the menu links to your deeper pages without getting blocked. A navigation menu created with images will often block search engine crawlers from being able to easily get to and index the content within deeper pages. There are some exceptions to this, for example if the menu is built using CSS.
5. Not using keywords in headlines
As headlines are typically used to describe the overall content or theme of a webpage, search engine crawlers use the headline content as a crucial part of their indexing and ranking of webpages. Therefore, it is important to include target keyword phrases within the headline of a webpage.
6. Having dynamic URLs for pages instead of static URLs
A website address is developed as either a static or dynamic URL. Dynamic URLs are identified with parameters at the end of the URL, which are generated from a unique query to a site’s database. A static URL, or one that does not change or doesn’t have parameter strings, is recommended for SEO purposes. In general, search engines navigate static URLs more easily than dynamic URLs and provide several other benefits that make them more search-engine friendly and provide greater usability. If you are using WordPress or another type of blog software, you will need to turn the ‘search-engine friendly URL rewriting’ on to avoid this.
7. Using unreadable images as headlines/text
Using images on your website can be very beneficial for your brand and its aesthetic appeal. However, if using images as headlines or within page text, you will need to optimize these images to be SEO-friendly. There are several ways to optimize an image to be readable by search engine crawlers; by using target keywords in the image filename, creating alt text or tags to describe the image’s content, and ensuring that these optimization techniques match the content and theme of the entire page. Even better – don’t use images for your headline text.
8. Not enough text content
Though there is no ‘magic number’ for the length of a webpage’s content, it is crucial to have enough text to adequately describe the content or theme of a webpage while integrating your target keywords. To avoid “keyword stuffing” practices, you will need to have enough page text to allow for the content to read naturally, but have your target keywords inserted throughout at a high enough density to clue Google in to what search phrases you want the page to rank high for.
9. Not obtaining inbound links
Inbound links are links from other websites that link back to your site. These links act as “votes” for your website and are a very important driver in taking your unpaid search engine rankings higher. Inbound links can come in several different forms including natural links that are found in blog articles, links from website directories, blog comment links, and links listed in relevant articles.
10. Not having a sitemap
A sitemap on your website that contains links to all of its webpages is strongly recommended for SEO purposes. Sitemaps help with unpaid search rankings because they help search engine crawlers find and index all of your website pages. A link to the sitemap should be included at the footer of every page.
It’s very easy to make small mistakes that create huge problems for SEO. By being aware of these common mistakes made by website developers and owners and by following these important guidelines to optimizing your website, your search engine rankings and website traffic will generate positive results for your business.
Last year, Google Adwords (Google’s pay-per-click advertising network) welcomed a new sibling into the keyword matching family. Up until then, there were only three distinct matching types available: exact, phrase, and broad match.
So what does this relatively new match type mean for pay-per-click advertising, and how can you reap the most rewards from its most recent addition?
In short, a broad match modifier (BMM) allows you to be more targeted than broad match keywords, but have greater reach than with phrase or exact match. To reach your target audience you may find that using only broad match may produce irrelevant search queries and costly ad clicks, which can quickly add up. Using broad match may therefore require more time and resources spent adding negative keywords to your campaigns in order to reduce the amount of low quality ad clicks. Using phrase or exact match, on the other hand, may decrease your ad visibility to relevant search queries. Adding broad match modifiers can be a huge asset in refining your keyword targeting.
Adding BMM’s to Your Campaigns
To add a modifier to an existing broad match keyword, simply add a plus symbol (+) in front of each word that you want required to be present in the search query in order for your ad to show.
- This will show your ads for queries such as “exercise fitness class” and “local exercising classes”.
- This will show your ads for queries such as “classes for better fitness” and “workout class”.
Broad match modifier can help to keep costs low while improving conversion rates. It works well alongside of existing broad match keywords, or in replacement of them if you currently experience a number of irrelevant search queries.
When properly implemented, successful BMM’s offer more precise and refined targeting while keeping your scope wide enough to capture relevant clicks and drive high quality leads. Test these for yourself to see how broad match modifier can improve your campaign results!
QUICK TIP ~ Adding Broad Match Modifier Keywords in Adwords Editor
If you’d like to add broad match modifier keywords to existing broad match keywords, here are some quick tips for using the Adwords Editor.
To add a Broad Match Modifier to the beginning word in a keyword phrase:
1) Open Adwords Editor. Under the Keyword tab, highlight existing broad match keywords.
2) Click “Append Text” on the bottom left.
3) In the “Add” drop-down menu, enter “+”
4) Select “Before existing text.”
5) Check the box “Duplicate selected rows and append text to duplicates.”
To add a Broad Match Modifier to subsequent words in a keyword phrase:
1) Highlight existing broad match keywords.
2) Click “Replace Text” on the bottom left.
3) Replace the blank spaces ” ” in the selected keywords with a blank space and plus sign ” +”.
4) Check the box “Duplicate selected rows and append text to duplicates.”
We’ve been doing a lot of SEO services for Canada clients recently.
A lot of people don’t realize that when you are physically in another country, and you try to do a search on Google.com, Google redirects you to that country’s version of Google.com. So for example, if you are in Canada, and do a search on Google.com, it will redirect you to Google.ca (Google Canada) and display the Google.ca results.
Why is this important? Well, it may seem obvious but as a Canadian company, to measure the success of your SEO efforts you have to measure your organic (i.e. unpaid) rankings on Google.ca not Google.com, and, moreover, the organic results on Google.ca differ significantly for most searches that the organic results on Google.com.
Through our SEO work for clients in Canada we’ve found the following steps to work well to bring their search engine rankings higher in the unpaid Google Canada rankings:
1) Set Geographic Target to Canada in Google WebMaster Tools
Google’s Webmaster Tools Website is a great tool for Website owners – it provides excellent information on how Google sees your site. Within Google Webmaster Tools you can also tell Google the geography you are targeting with your Website. For Canadian businesses you need to set this to Canada – this is very important if the client’s site is a .com and not a .ca site.
2) Get Canada on Website
Seems obvious again, but get Canada on the Website. Get it into page title tags, get it on the pages itself.
3) Get Business Address on Website
Related to this, and very important to local businesses, get the physical address of the business on the site pages – often putting them in the footer and on a Contact Us page works well.
4) Build Site Pages That Talk About Canadian Locations
If your business is targeting several different cities or regions in Canada, create different pages on your Website that talk about these different regions in Canada. Google doesn’t know to rank you high for cities unless you talk about them on your site.
5) Build Links from Canadian Websites
Probably the toughest step – don’t just get more inbound links to your site from other sites, get them from .ca Canadian Websites. This takes a lot of work, just like link building in general, but pays big dividends.
With some site optimization and link building, you’ll see your Google.ca unpaid rankings go up in no time.
The long-awaited transition of pay-per-click ads on Yahoo.com being served up by the Microsoft AdCenter pay-per-click platform was completed this week.
Given the enormous amount of data and accounts that had to be dealt with and coordinated, we would say the the Microsoft/Bing and Yahoo transition teams did a very good job.
However, the transition has not gone off without its problems, and we wanted to enlighten people about a few of them we have dealt with so far for our pay-per-click clients.
> Billing Issues Leading to Paused Accounts
Many clients have their Microsoft AdCenter accounts set up to bill their credit cards in order to pay for their ad clicks. We have found that since the transition this functionality within AdCenter is not working reliably. In two instances, one client’s AdCenter account has been completely paused even though a credit card is on file and the account is set up to be auto-billed once the balance is at zero in order to keep the ads running non-stop. To resolve the problem, we had to go in and initiate a manual payment on the credit card. So if you are having your AdCenter account paused and you can’t figure out why – check on this billing issue first. Hopefully AdCenter will fix this bug soon. For now, we are having to monitor our client’s AdCenter accounts very carefully.
> Reporting Delays
Today (10/29/10) we are experiencing very long delays in AdCenter pay-per-click information being reported within the Microsoft AdCenter account itself. As an example, for one client Google Analytics is showing they received approximately 1,000 clicks from Bing pay-per-click thus far today. However, so far today the reporting data within Microsoft AdCenter says that client has only received about 100 clicks. So this data in AdCenter today is very, very delayed. We haven’t seen this talked about yet but would imagine it is affecting other advertisers as well.
> Ad Impressions Drop Bug
Microsoft AdCenter, as part of this transition, has also introduced a new way that they are categorizing ads. They have a new “Medium” variable, and they are categorizing ads as part of their Search or Content network within this “Medium” variable. If you go to your ads within your AdCenter account you will see this. It looks like this new feature may be causing some issues for some advertisers, resulting in some ad impression drops. Search Engine Roundtable has more information about these potential bugs.
The transition of all Yahoo pay-per-click ads being served up by the Bing/Microsoft platform is still in its very early stages, and there are sure to be more issues to be figured out. In addition, lots of opportunities for advertisers to take advantage of in this new combined pay-per-click network (with LOTS of traffic).
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure leading a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Internet Marketing session for the team over at NPower Seattle.
NPower has a unique mission – to help Washington state non-profits use technology to better serve their communities. I was really excited to speak to the team because I believe so strongly in what they are doing. And they do it well. I am really impressed at how the NPower Seattle team is leveraging open source technologies, such as the Plone Content Management System, to build fantastic non-profit Websites at a low-cost. Plus, they “get” SEO and the sites they build are very search engine-friendly. NPower Seattle also offers non-profit technology training, non-profit network support, and non-profit database and CRM consulting.
As a FYI, NPower Seattle is the original organization that led to the creation of the larger NPower Network, which provides non-profit technology consulting across the United States (Washington D.C., Atlanta, Charlotte, New York, Austin, etc.).
Google Analytics is a great service. It provides a ton of information about your Website visitors, and, best of all, it’s free.
However, it provides SO much information, that for people who don’t use it everyday, it can be difficult to sort out what is important and what isn’t within the Google Analytics reports.
We’re not going to provide a detailed Google Analytics tutorial, instead we want to highlight what we feel are the most important Google Analytics reports and metrics to look at on a frequent basis.
#1 Traffic Sources Overview Report:
This is by far our favorite Google Analytics report – the one we live in when analyzing client sites.
To get to the Traffic Sources report, log into your Google Analytics account, and then click ‘Traffic Sources’ in the left navigation menu. This gives you the Traffic Sources Overview report. This report is very helpful, it tells you where your Website traffic is coming from.
A few definitions of what you see on this page.
> Direct Traffic: Visitors that either typed your Website URL directly into their browser, or had it bookmarked.
> Referring Sites: Visitors that clicked to visit your site from another Website (other than a search engine).
> Search Engines: Visitors that came to your site from a search engine.
The rest of this overview page is pretty self-explanatory.
The one other thing that will help you quickly answer questions with Google Analytics is to become very familiar with the date range drop-down box in the upper-right corner of the Google Analytics page. With this box you can examine specific date ranges, but more importantly after you click the date range drop-down box you will see a check box called ‘Compare to Past.’ Clicking on this will enable you to select two date ranges. After you select the two date ranges and hit the ‘Apply’ button, Google Analytics then presents your data for each date range, and compares on a percentage basis the differences between the data in each date range.
This is really helpful, for example, when you are trying to determine why your Website traffic spiked up so much on a particular day. Just select that day, and then compare it to the same day of the week in the week prior, and you can then look for what traffic source drove the big increase on that particular day. Maybe a particular site wrote a review of your product, maybe your pay-per-click manager bumped up the pay-per-click budget a lot on that particular day. Using ‘Compare to Past’ you’ll have a great chance of figuring it out.
#2 All Traffic Sources Report
The Traffic Sources Overview report is great, but where we really spend time is the All Traffic Sources report. To get to this report from the Traffic Sources Overview report, click the ‘All Traffic Sources’ link in the left navigation menu.
By default when you go to this report, it starts in the ‘Source Medium’ view. This lists the visits you have obtained to your site, ranked in descending order by the source of the traffic. Sources such as: Google, Direct Traffic, Yahoo, Bing, etc. Next to the name of each source, you’ll see a forward slash and then another word – this will be what Google Analytics calls the ‘Medium’ – this is basically the category of source that it is. So, for your Google organic (or unpaid) traffic source, you’ll see it listed as ‘google / organic.’ For any Google pay-per-click traffic you get, you’ll see it listed as ‘google / cpc.’
We also like to look at this traffic source data broken out by the category of traffic it is. To do this, find the ‘Show: source / medium’ drop-down menu and click it and change it to ‘medium’, then you can see your Website traffic summarized into categories of traffic source types or “mediums” as Google Analytics calls them.
There are of course many other Google Analytics reports, but those are the top 2 that we by far spend the most time in on a day-to-day basis.
One final note – if you haven’t set up Google Analytics Conversion Goals, you are missing out on the true power of Google Analytics. More on that in a later post.
It’s official – Microsoft and Yahoo announced today they’ve received regulatory clearance from the U.S. and European Union to combine their search engine efforts.
What does this mean? It means by the 2010 holiday season (or by early 2011, MS and Yahoo are giving themselves some wiggle room on the actual date), when consumers do a search on Yahoo.com, the results will be delivered by Bing.com. They will be Bing.com search results.
Also, the pay-per-click ads that come up when a search is done on Yahoo.com will be delivered by Bing/Microsoft. For pay-per-click advertisers, if they want to run ads on Yahoo.com, when this transition occurs they will now manage those ads using Microsoft’s AdCenter platform (which advertisers currently use to only manage ads shown on Bing.com).
So the big Microsoft/Yahoo search engine deal has received regulatory approval, and it is full steam ahead for the folks at Microsoft and Yahoo working on implementing the transition.
Note: Microsoft and Yahoo have set up a Website to provide ongoing information about this transition.
You’ve seen it as you’ve done searches on Google – the Google Local box:
More and more, Google is inserting this box into Google searches. Typically it is inserted when someone searches for something locally, like ‘seattle pizza delivery’ . Because this box often contains 3 (and sometimes 7!) local listings, all of the other organic (i.e. unpaid) search engine listings get pushed down much lower on the results page. This means that even if you did everything right in terms of SEO, and got your Website into the #1 Google organic listing, you would still only be in the 4th unpaid position (or 8th!) on the Google results page. And believe us when we say, the site visitors you get from being in the 4th position on the page are way fewer than the visitors that would come from the 1st position – and if you get pushed down the 8th position on the page, you essentially will not get any site visitors from that search.
This is why, for local businesses, and also for businesses with many locations, Google Local listings are extremely important for your Website traffic.
And here is the tricky part – there are a whole set of SEO activities that you need to do to try to rank high in the Google Local listings – and they are very different from the activities that are used to rank high in the regular Google (unpaid) listings.
Here’s a Top 5 Google Local SEO To Do List:
1) Claim (or Create) Your Google Local Listing
Go to the Google Local Business Center and either claim the Google Local listing that Google has already generated for your business, or create a Google Local listing. During this process, choose categories for your listing that describe the business you are in. Also, in the description of your business (the paragraph you can write) include keywords that people typically use to find your business in the search engine, including your city. Enter the accurate address and phone number for your business. Once you’ve updated your listing, Google will ask you to verify it. This consists of telling the Google system to call you on your business phone number (they give you a PIN and you enter it back into your Google Local account) or Google sometimes will mail you a postcard with a PIN instead. Completing this verification process is key – it helps Google establish confidence that you are indeed the owner of the business and it is at the location and phone number you’ve submitted.
2) Put Your Business Address and Phone Number on Your Website
We have clients put their business address and phone number in the footer of every page of their site. We also have them put it on their Contact Us page. For businesses with multiple locations, the strategy is a bit different, but you want to make it easy for the Google search engine crawlers to get to the addresses of all of your locations. Make sure you have a search-engine friendly locations section.
3) Submit Your Business with the Major Local Data Providers
There are a number of companies who collect data on local businesses. It turns out the search engines rely on these data sources quite a bit in ranking the local business search results. Here is a great list from David Mihm of the key local data providers to have your business listed in.
4) Get Customer Reviews
Encourage your customers to post reviews of your business to popular review sites such a:
Look at your competitors who are ranked above you in the Google Local results and see what sites they have reviews from. They may have reviews from other sites like JudysBook.com or DexKnows.com – if they do then you may want to encourage your customers to post reviews of your business there.
Interestingly, the current thinking is that is doesn’t necessarily matter if your rev hadsiews or positive or negative, but instead that you have a steady, regular stream of reviews being posted. Use your home page, emails you send to customers, your Twitter/Facebook activities, etc. to encourage customers to post reviews of your business.
5) Add Your Location to Your Website’s Page Title Tags
Each page on your Website has what is called a page title tag. It is defined in the HTML code of your site. The page title shows up on your Web pages in the very upper left corner of the Web browser window, next to the Firefox or Internet Explorer icon. You need to get the city or neighborhood that your business is in into your page title tags. This is just a good SEO tactic in general, and is an important factor for Local SEO as well.
Chair 10 Marketing provides SEO and pay-per-click services for businesses, including local SEO. Contact us if you are interested in our services.