Friday, May 28, 2010

Capturing Qualified Clicks with Paid Search

Last week’s post discussed the importance of keywords and their effect on the visibility of your website in search results. This week we want to focus on paid search advertisements in particular, and ways to improve clicks and conversions. Paid search advertisements are those that appear along the top and on the right side on the search engine results page (SERP). Online ads allow you to reach prospects at the exact moment when they are searching for your type of service or product. When you create an ad using a product like Google AdWords, you control how much you spend for each click, and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. This is sometimes referred to as pay-per- click. The elements that make up an ad are the headline, descriptive text, the display URL, and the destination URL.  

When using paid search advertisements, there are several elements that you need to include in the ad to be more effective. First and foremost, you want to make sure that the keyword that you are paying for is actually in the advertisement itself. The keyword should usually be in the headline of the ad and in the description. The ad needs to be compelling enough so that prospects will click on it, and also descriptive enough so that you are not getting unqualified leads on your site. Unwanted traffic on your site will not lead to conversion and you will have to pay every time they click on your ad. The advertisement should also include a call to action with some type of incentive to motivate prospects to click. To many marketers, this may seem like a no brainer. However in a recent study conducted, out of the advertisements that were examined, 66% did not provide a call to action that conveys urgency and a reason to click the given link. [1] An example of an effective advertisement would be as follows: 

If a consumer is looking to purchase a Phillies jersey, your ad should read something like, “Phillies Jerseys for Men, Women and Kids. Save 15% off your Jersey Now”.  This has a clear incentive in the call to action, and it also specifies the product that the website will sell by including the keywords in the ad copy.  

Are you using online ads as part of your marketing strategy?


[1] Internet & Marketing Report. “A 5-pt. test that will improve conversions and clicks”. April 23, 2010

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Keywords: Search Engine Optimization Basics

When designing a website, search engine optimization needs to be a top priority. Search engines such as Google, rank websites using specific algorithms which consider keywords, relevance and popularity. The higher the ranking, the closer to the top a website will appear on the results page. Keywords play a significant role in ranking a website, no matter what search engine is used. When designing or updating your website, it is important that you are selecting relevant keywords or phrases because they will help to determine the visibility of the site when a search is performed.   

When trying to determine which keywords or phrases to select, it is important to be as specific as possible to the content on your site. Once you have a list of keywords generated you can use utilities such as the Google Keyword Tool to evaluate the popularity of the term and how frequently it is searched. Where many companies are missing the mark is in their organic search results. Billions of dollars are being spent by Fortune 500 companies on paid search term. However these keywords are not landing these companies’ websites high in the natural/unpaid search results. Over 52% of Fortune’s 500 largest companies have no organic search visibility when their keywords are queried. Organic search rankings are important because studies show that 80% of users’ clicks occur on the natural search results rather than the sponsored links.[1] 

Not only are the keywords themselves important, the location of the keywords is also a significant factor to a website’s rating. Keywords should be located in the domain name, page titles, headlines, links, copy, meta tags, etc. The specific algorithms used by search engines give different weights to the location of the keywords, and this helps to determine ranking.  

Many companies have found it useful to diversify their selection of keywords to help cut costs and to stay ranked higher than competitors. This expansion includes bidding on keywords that may be misspelled or mistyped. If a word is commonly misspelled, it might be in the best interest of the business to bid on that keyword in order to be assured that they will still appear in the generated results.  

Search engine optimization is an on-going process. Websites, specifically e-commerce and those that want to attract high traffic volume, need to make sure that their keywords and phrases are frequently monitored and updated. 

[1] The Internet and Marketing Report. “When Fortune 500 flunks, you win”. March 5, 2010

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