Are Google Changing The Rules Again?

As we all know Google is a money making machine. All the more surprising when their forth quarter earnings last year didn’t meet their forecasts. Especially when you consider that its core business, SEARCH, was at the core with an 8% cost per click decline!

Now perhaps advertisers are just getting better at their bidding..but bearing in mind that Bing, with less historical data at the disposal of advertisers, saw a 6% increase in cost per clicks, Google must be concerned.

So what are they doing about it?

Google plan to add to the existing broad, phrase and exact mach terms with near match, Near Match is designed to “enable you to safely extend the reach of your Exact and Phrase Match keywords to cover plural, misspelling, close rewrite, abbreviation and acronym variants only.” 

So what this means is that there is going to be a greater volume of keywords available to bid on, but with less data available on how to do it correctly. Unsurprising then that in some testing done  Google has suggested a 6.5% increase in click volume and a 9.8% increase in impression volume but also a 13% increase in click costs.

Could this be the perfect antidote for Google’s Fourth Quarter losses?

There’s nothing more that I can say, because quiet frankly google themselves aren’t saying anything at all except

“We actually haven’t announced anything on this and don’t have any more info to share at this time”

Google keeping quiet about new near match keyword term adwords





Display Network Marketing

Breakdown of time Spent on internet. Search. google. PPC. display

Despite Google being the most visited webpage in the world and its absolute dominance in the world of search, what this diagram reminds us is that in relative terms we spend very little time on their site. Out of the average hour a user is online, just over 2 mins of that is spent searching.

So what should we take from this? Despite PPC being a really effective tool to drive business, we need to focus as well on the other 58 mins int he hour. We do that through display advertising.

Display Network Marketing or Adsense used to be all about poor ad placement and targeting and really wasnt worth the hassle. But in recent years a lot of that has changed meaning its possible to get a great return on the money you put in to it.

The reason search advertising is so successful is that you target people when they are ready to buy. This is know as the value moment. But focusing in on the other two marketer’s aims is important too. First, people need to know who you are. they need to be aware of you in order to purchase. Second they need to be enthusiastic about your brand. Really they need to like you. Using Display network marketing (DNS) helps address both of these.

PPC Query stage ready to buy Value

The reasons to use DNS are similar to search which I talk about in my previous post. It gives you great control, you can vary your budget and there is an incredible ability to track. You also get to reach your market before they begin their search. When people are reading blogs, looking at news or videos, their intention isnt to search out information. But by being present there at those times, when they come to the first stage of the purchasing process, you have an increased chance of being part of their initial considerations. Studies show that people are more likely to click on search PPC ads when they have seen display ads too.

When you consider search advertising Google is the only show in town. They have such dominance that you can really focus all your efforts with them. However with display, its not as clean cut. Yahoo and AOL both have decent offerings and need to be considered.

What are your Goals?

  • Branding- in this case using pay per impressions is the better option (CPM) (i know those initials don’t really work out!)
  • Reaching a specific market. Cost per click (cpc) will probably work better. this is the default setting of a Google campaign
Who are where are you targeting?
  • Geography
  • language
  • Where are your competitors
Targeting choices
  • Content based ads. These will use keywords to target ads.
  • Placement Ads. You will chose specific sites to place your ads
Text and Display
  • Sizes and Styles of your ads. There are 7 different size options. It is advised that you make ads for all 7 because most websites only take certain ads, so not having the appropriate size will limit your options.

Tools ( I will follow up this post with a blog about these tools)

  • Google placement tool.
  • Double click ad planner
  • Google Display Ad Builder

When you set up a campaign as default your ads will be displayed on both search and display. It is advised that you change this. The behaviour of people you are targeting, the keywords you may want to use and the ads you use will all be different. So there for having different campaigns is a better idea.

Content Ads work by choosing a selection of keywords. Your ads will then be placed on sites that use these words. It is best to create a a bucket of terms similar to what you would do in PPC advertising. However it is often the case that you will need less terms as you want the ads to appear on specific type websites rather than being more vague if you choose long tail words.

Placement ads work by selecting the specific sites or the type of sites you want your ads to appear. You can use the double clicker ad planner tool to find out info about a site in advance. This is a real useful tool that tells you traffic to the site, type of visitors and even other sites that they have visited.

When creating Ads for placement it is important to use action words. However these call to actions will be different than those used in search ads. Your targets are in a different frame of mind so using phrases like “learn about” “discover” “find”, are all less aggressive and shown to have better results.

Call to action action words

It is also important to envision your ad on the content page. It may look great on its own, but once it is surrounded by text and other content it may appear too busy. Make use of white space. Your ad must also be less than 50k in size.

When starting a campaign, start small and then commit more resources as you learn. Use conversion tracker to see how many click throughs each ad is receiving. Obviously this will be most important for CPC campaigns but by having this function switched on it also allows you to enable view through tracking. This is an incredible feature that allows you to tell if some who has come to your website, has seen your ad before. it works by enabling a cookie one the ad has been displayed to them, and you will be notified if they come to your site within a specified time period after that. This really helps to hammer home how effective your cost per impressions branding tactics are working.

You should use analytics to see which sites are driving the most traffic to your website and also which of them stay the longest on your site. You will quickly then be able to see which sites are worth focusing on and which sites you can specifically omit

Pay Per Click Advertising. John Barron Webinar Summary

I was able to watch a recently archived Techspectations Webinar that John Barron Hosted, so I thought I would do a brief summary.

Why Use Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising?

There is lots of talk about social these days, but in reality lets be honest, who heads straight to facebook when they are looking for information. Search is still King

According to a study done by Engine ready people who arrive at your site via a PPC link as opposed to an organic link are 30% more likely to buy. The conversion rate stands are about 2% in comparision to 1.26% for organic.


Obviously it is vital to have a site that is built with SEO in mind. But by have a dual SEO and PPC tactic you can turn up on search results pages more than once. This helps you appear as a leader.

  • PPC allows you a lot of control of your the experience that will be had. By having having specific landing pages for different keywords and ads, you can decide what you want your potential customer to see.
  • PPC also provides the ability to do fantastic analytics. As I have mentioned before in previous posts. Tracking is king. By knowing what is working and what isnt you can drill down on the tactics that work best for you and increase conversions and sales.
  • PPC also allows you to have a varying budget. Whether this is for seasonal sales, days of the week, times of the day or general location you can alter your budget to suit your needs.

The search landscape is evolving and PPC is changing with it. More emphasis is now being placed on local and mobile search. PPC offers things like directly clickable phone numbers which are hugely important for local businesses targeted local traffic.

When a search is entered now results can contain shopping pages, local searches, images, videos, reviews. As the information that is available in organic search improves, it is harder for PPC ad to stand out. Therefor is is vital to make your PPC campaigns count.

  1. Define your goals :  What do you want to achieve? Leads, sales, promoting a product or event? These will then become your Key performance indicators (KPI’s) which will in turn help with your tracking.
  2. Tracking : Tracking is key. at the very minimum you should be tracking leads and sales. Other useful indicators are bounce rates, page views and time on site.                         Tracking phone calls clicked on directly from ad will become more prevalent. Right now there is no Irish company doing it. Perhaps displaying a unique phone number not displayed anywhere else will help measurement.

Building a Campaign

Create Buckets – these are groups of 30 – 60 keywords which can be used for ad groups.

  • Use Google Keyword Tool
  • Ask customers
  • See what your competitors are using.
  • Use common misspellings
  • Competitor names. By law you cannot use their names in your ad typebut you can use them as keywords. You may receive a lower quality Score for the Ad from this, but if conversions are good, then its worth it
  • 4 words plus works best. You may get less traffic but you will get a better conversion rate
  • Negative Keywordsbuilding a ppc campaign

Ad Copy and Landing Pages

  • Use Keywords in your ad. This will help to improve your ad quality score as well as standing out.
  • Use specific landing pages
  • Use compelling language
  • Highlight your key selling points. Bear in mind though that you may have to prove your claims to the Google editorial board.
  • Think outside the box slightly. For example John gave the example of using keywords of funeral homes for his florist client and making purchase and delivery there easy.

Track Early And Often

  • Dont set your budget to high at the beginning. You can always ad to the budget later.
  • Test your searches. Do manual searches for keywords and see where you turn up.
  • Make sure your keywords are targeted enough. If your terms are too broad you are going to get low conversion rate.
  • Make sure your metrics are working. Is Google analytics tracking your page properly.
  • Add to your keywords for phrases that are bringing the wrong traffic.
  • Cut out words that are not working
  • Use tools like Conversion Optimiser that helps you optimise your bidding.
  • Use multiple ads so you can test which ads are clicked on the most.

It is also worth noting that certain things are set as default on PPC campaigns. for example broad search is automatically used. It may get you better conversion rates by using exact term searches. Also your ads will be displayed both in search and display (various websites participating in Google display network). John suggests that you change this to just have search ads, as the ad type that works best for the GDN is different and should be done separately.

Ad extension allows you to extend out the size of your ad and take up more real estate on the page. This allows you to stand out more. Ad extension can be used for

  • Location – the address takes up an additional line
  • Site- menu items from your site appear on an additional line.
  • Phone number
  • Specific productsAd extensions PPC Google Adwords

You can get more of John at presentation is available at

Optimising Your Landing Pages

Ok Last post I spoke about Sensible Google  Advertising and what I had learnt from a session we had with Google themselves.  What I am going to go over today is how to optimise your landing pages.

Optimize your landing pages

Optimise your landing pages to get the most from your advertising. The golden rule is tracking tracking and more tracking. Use the tools that are available to see what works. A bounce rate of less than 25% is solid. Anything over 50% and you have a problem.

These are the areas you should focus on

  1. Confirmation – When someone lands on your page do they know immediately that they have reached where they want to be. You can’t help the inevitable bounces that are always going to occur but you can keep the people who want to be on your page page making it clear to them that they are on your site. Branding, colours, logos are all key here.
  2. Speed – How fast does your landing page load? G to to see how fast your page loads. Anything over 2 seconds is not acceptable. You will lose business.
  3. First impression – You only have about 10 seconds for some one to decide if they want to stay or not so make the first impression count. Make sure you bring them to the right landing page.
  4. Design – Use your space wisely. Do not have the page cluttered. White space also draws peoples attention. We also know that people look at certain areas, such as the top left of your page, the most. So use your page real estate well and make what you want people to notice the most, the most prominent.
  5. Visuals – But place them in the right places. No point having your most important area taken up with a picture. Also be wary of SEO. Any images should use alt text titles.
  6. Text – Tailor your text to your audience. Say the right things in the right way. Make use of headlines.
  7. Call to action – tell people very clearly what you want them to do.
  8. Value proposition – Tell people why you are better. Whats your USP
  9. Persuasion -Which is made up of the following
  • Reciprocation – give them something in return – discount for signing up
  • Commitment – Reduce the risk for them. For example money back if not satisfied
  • Social proof – Show that other people have been happy
  • Scarcity – Put urgency into it
  • Authority – Be Credible, trustworthy, secure



Sensible Google Advertising

We had a gentleman Google come in and talk to us recently to give us some advice on search engine marketing. We have covered organic search so this was to focus on paid advertising through Google.

I can’t even attempt to cover the whole area, and this is a very simplified version.  The basis behind Adwords is

Bid price x quality score = position

Google’s aim is to display the most relevant ads to searchers. Quality score applies to both your key words and your account and is affected by a whole range of things including

  • The click through rates of your ad. The more people are clicking on your ad, the more relevant that google deems it, meaning the click cost will reduce. A click through rate (CTR) of 3% is considered good.
  • The load time for your landing page can also effect your quality score.
  • How closely does your ad copy reflect your keywords
  • The use of Keywords in the Ad title will effect quality score
  • Whether the landing page contains the keywords searched.  Every time someone does a search, they are looking for an answer. Does your page help them find that answer?
  • The overall account quality score. This will be affected by the history of the account.

His stand out advice was that tracking is key. The more tracking you do the better success you will have. You need to focus on where you are doing well and realise where you are not, and then remove your efforts from that area. Makes sense really. Particularly with all the tools that made available to you.

Tracking your adwords progress is Key. Use Google tools

Using tests to optimise your landing pages is really important. Amazon do so much testing on their pages that they know that having some one with a blue jumper will effect click through rates over some one wearing a green one say. Now this is just an example, but what is fact is that orange encourages the most click throughs out of any colours. It stands out like red, but its not as aggressive! Ah so thats why amazon is so orange! When your talking about the volumes that they deal with these things can have a huge impact.  But even on everyday websites making little changes like these can help.

You can use split tests where people who click on your ads will be brought to alternate landing pages. This means you can makes changes and decide wheich works better A or  B.

Alternatively there is multivariance testing, which allows you to change a whole range of layout, fonts, colours etc. But this is complicated stuff and perhaps we should leave this to the amazons of the world…for now.

Because of the cost associated with traffic from Pay Per Click (PPC) it is important to discourage the wrong kind of searcher. If you aren’t going to be able to convert them to a set goal whatever you decide that to be, well then they are simply costing you money. It is important there for to use negative keywords.

Negative keywords are words and phrases that you do not want searchers to associate with your products and services. When you add negative keywords to your PPC campaigns your ads will not be served if those words are part of the user’s search query. For example if you are selling a high end luxury cruise, you dont want to attract people looking for cheap/low cost holidays. So by having cheap as a negative keyword, any one who includes that in their search query won’t be served your ad.

Putting a price in your search ad will increase conversion rates too, as people who are out of your targeted price range won’t waste their time clicking through.

Mobile Search worldwide is predicted to be US$3.3 billion in 2011 sky rocketing to $20.6 billion in 2015. Its surprising then that so few companies have adapted their websites for mobile usage.  Mobile search is different with 70% of queries being fulfilled within a few hours.

By including a phone number in your mobile ad and enabling lcick to call, you will increase conversion rates.

Google Display Network, or Adsense is different from Adwords, as you are targeting people who are not actively searching. Therefore the click through rate is going to be lower. There are some techniques that you can use though to help improve this.

Remarketing allows you to target people who drop off in the conversion process. Because Google can track people through cookies, it is aware if people begin a transaction and don’t complete it. for example, if you decide to purchase a book and place it into your shopping cart, but then realise that you don’t have your credit card and don’t make the purchase. You can then be directly targeted on other websites to encourage you to buy the book again. The cost of acquisition for somebody that has already demonstrated a desire to buy the book, is lower than someone who hasn’t.

Google also automatically scans your emails, using their content to target ads. You email your friend about going on holiday in France. Hey presto loads of ads start appearing about things to do it France. I know, I think its a bit freaky too!!

Google indexing your emails. Remarketing. Cookies

Some other techniques you can use for targeting on the google display network

  • Contextual – target people based on clusters of Keywords
  • Placement – put your ads on specific sites
  • ICM – target people who like certain topics. Type in to find out which area you are most interested in!
  • Topics – Target sites of a particular topic.

GDN ads can be pay per click or pay per impression (usually 1000). PPI is used more for branding, which in turn can positively effect your search numbers

In my next post which will hopefully be soon I will talk about  how to get the most out of your Google advertising

Our Google Chromebook Preview

We are getting the use of brand spanking new Google Chromebooks later on today. As far as I know we get to keep them for the year and we will give feedback as to how we found them and how amazing they are! I thought I would stick down a few thoughts regarding my expectations before I actually get mine, as it could be useful to look back on in the review stage! They are mainly presumptions and queries!

It seems like this is a whole new way of doing things that takes advantage of the buzz concept of the moment. The Cloud.

what is the Cloud all about? icloud. Chromebook

A lot of people think that Apple invented the (i)Cloud. But in reality a cloud is really just somewhere remote that you can store data. Gmail for example has been storing all our emails in a “cloud” for years.

But having an entire laptop run off a cloud is exciting. Its bound to be a lot faster. With nothing actually stored on your laptop and no memory taken up, there will be no need for  it to boot up?

All your information is a lot safer because even if you lose (or throw into a river) your laptop, your data will remain in the cloud. It also means that you could switch devices really easily. Say you were working on your Chromebook at work. You could then easily make changes to the same work via your phone.

It removes the need for an operating system like microsoft which is really interesting. I wonder what their response will be. I presume this is the direction that all computers are going now? That means there will be no updating of software, as everything will be ungraded automatically in the cloud. Presumably that means that there will have to be some kind of on going support charge?

I presume that it will come automatically connected to all of Googles products?

But does that mean that your laptop is going to be constantly connected to the internet? What if you have no internet? What does this mean for marketing? Are people going to be more reachable now?

Hmmmmmm I am excited!