Google Adwords Call Metrics Effectiveness and Billing Changes


If you haven’t already been using Google’s Adwords Call Metrics feature then you really need to look into it. Let’s first take a look at the functionality and the value that it adds, excluding the cost initially.

Call Metrics & Its Benefits

If you’re driving traffic through any form of internet marketing campaigns you are always looking for ways to track its effectiveness and justify ROI for your ad dollars. This is a great way to justify the offline conversion of your traffic and add value to your clients by letting them know the real effectiveness of a campaign if you are ultimately driving sales leads or calls over the phone.

Call Metrics works by assigning and placing a toll-free forwarding number next to your ad text on Google search pages. When a user sees your ad and calls the number, AdWords registers the call and forwards it to your business. So far, we’ve connected over 5 million calls for thousands of businesses. And calls generated from ads using Call Metrics last six minutes, on average.

How To Setup Call Metrics

  1. First, go into your Adwords campaign under the Ad Extensions tab and add a Call Extension to your campaign.
  2. Establish what the phone number you want those calls redirected to.
  3. Check the box to use Call Metrics and you’ll be able to establish whether you would like a toll free number or a local area code number associated with your tracking that will be displayed. This brings up another factor of marketing and the local spin of your business if this applies to you. Users love to see local phone numbers and know that they are talking to someone local, so if you are a local business then I would recommend using a local phone number. Even if you need to start separating out campaigns for different geographic areas to achieve this the extra effort is worth it.
  4. Either way now Google will use its Google Voice platform to assign you a phone number and they will handle the forwarding and tracking of that number. Another thing I want to mention with this is there is also another feature I have skipped over. The Call-Only Format is only possible to use if your device is capable of making phone calls. This could be any mobile phone or computer with Skype or a VOIP system. This will disable the functionality to click the headline of the ad and go to the website, and give the user only one option to interact with the ad and that is using the Click To Call functionality. If you’re trying to drive sales through a phone number then who doesn’t love a 100% conversion rate. Also, if you haven’t broken out your PPC campaigns and separated out a mobile strategy then you need to do that as well.

Google also announcing a few other changes with this launch:

1. More detailed reporting. In March we enhanced Call Metrics reporting to show the time, duration, and caller area code for each call. Based on advertiser feedback, we’re now making reporting available at the ad group and campaign level for manually-dialed calls (subject to minimum volume). And you’ll still be able to segment reports to compare how many calls were received from mobile clicks-to-call and how many were manually dialed after the ad was shown on a desktop, notebook, or tablet computer.

2. New pricing for certain calls. A $1 USD (or equivalent in CAD) charge applies to manually dialed calls completed to your Google forwarding numbers. These calls occur when a potential customer on a desktop, notebook or tablet computer sees your ad and dials the number shown.

Pricing for mobile clicks-to-call remains unchanged, whether you use Call Metrics or not. They continue to be charged as regular mobile search ad clicks.

3. Call Extensions replace Phone Extensions. To reduce possible ambiguity, we’ve renamed Phone Extensions to Call Extensions.

To get started with Call Metrics, sign into AdWords and click on the Ad Extensions tab. Select Call Extensions in the shaded View drop down box. Select your country, then enter the business phone number where you’d like to receive calls for this campaign. Finally, select the check box for Call metrics.

Reporting On Your Call Details

An extra feature that makes this even more valuable is the way in which we are able to report on this data. If you go into your campaign and look under the Dimensions tab you’ll want to view the Call Details information. This will give you:

  • Start Time Of The Call
  • End Time Of The Call
  • Status – Received or Missed Call
  • Duration In Seconds
  • Caller Area Code

This information is very valuable because it gives you very valuable information regarding the effectiveness of your PPC budget. Also you should be using this data to setup your Day Parting strategy to further target your ads to drive the most ROI.

‘Top vs. Side’ Ad Performance Segmentation


A report published by Google, AdWords report segment revealed notation of a big divide between the performance of #1 ads based on their position. The report suggests, that the #1 ads that appear on the top of the search result perform better, or, end up getting more clicks and more conversions, as opposed to the #1 ads on the right.

This report follows the announcement made by the Chief Economist at Google, Hal Varian, back in April about Understanding the Average Position metric where he explained “there is a big difference between when your ad appears in position #1 above the search results and when your ad appears in position #1 on the side.” Hal further explains, “This distinction is important, since, on average, ads that appear above the search results tend to get substantially more clicks than ads that appear on the right-hand side.” This distinction is clearly highlighted in the report.

There is a big difference in performance when an ad appears in position #1 at the top of search results and when an ad appears in position #1 on the side.

To help advertisers capitalize on that, Google last week announced its new “top vs. side” Adwords report segment. Advertisers can use the report to see how ads perform above and to the side of Google search results. While there may come a time when top vs. side targeting or bidding options are available, for now it is useful just to segment the data to help make bidding decisions and analyze comparative performance before and after changes.

The report will help you note how well your ad is performing be it on the top or the right hand side of the search result. This is done in Google’s bid to help the webmasters perk up their search optimization campaigns. The main aim seems to be to help you evaluate the relationship that exists between the location and the clicks and conversion of your ads. In addition to that it will also aid brand advertisers to get a transparent views of the location and the times their brand terms are being placed above the search results.

How to make use of the data:

Perhaps you must be wondering, “Okay all of that sounds good, but how do I actually use it?” Andrew Truong, from Google explains “To segment your performance data by where your ads appeared on Google and Search Partner search results pages, you simply need to add the “Top vs. Side” segment to your data table. Here’s how:

1. Select the Campaign, Ad groups, Ads or Keywords tab of your AdWords account.
2. Click the Segment button in the toolbar above your data table.
3. Select Top vs. side from the drop-down. Results will appear in rows beneath each of your ads.”
So, follow these simple steps and avail the services that are on offer by Google AdWords. The report sounds very productive. This report it will help you make better bidding decisions.

Google Presents The +1 Button!


Google has rolled out one more feature to its social search. The +1 button is a button that will allow you to recommend search results, ads, web pages etc., to your friends. This feature is currently available for search results page. Google will add the +1 button feature to ads and also pages, you can sign up for e-mail updates for the same.

Google says that, “We expect that these personalized annotations will help sites stand out by showing users which search results are personally relevant to them. As a result, +1′s could increase both the quality and quantity of traffic to the sites people care about.” The +1′s will also be considered by Google just like it uses social signals from other services to determine a page’s relevance and ranking. It works quite like the Facebook ‘Like’ option.

How it works

When you run a search, with your Google account signed in, and find a quality page in the organic search results, you can click the +1 button and recommend it (the site or page) to your friends. The next time your friends sign in to their Google account and run a similar search, he/she will find that you have recommended a particular site or page. Your friend can then quickly follow the recommended link knowing it is worth a visit as it has been recommended by someone he/she knows and trusts.

The +1′s, according to Google, will make search even more personal and relevant. Users can recommend the content, ads etc., that are of high quality and the site or pages that has the quality content gets human recommendations and can expect better ranked for their quality. Here is a video of the +1 button released by Google. You can visit the Google Webmaster Central Help Center for any further +1 related queries.

 

Getting Started with Automated Rules


Earlier this year, Google launched Automated Rules, a feature that lets you save time by scheduling automatic changes to your account based on criteria that you specify. Since then, tens of thousands of advertisers have created rules to manage their accounts more effectively and even deploy more advanced strategies.

Google outlined some of the most popular examples of rules that AdWords users have created to help you take better advantage of the feature.

Click here for details on how to set up these types of rules. You’ll need to adjust them to meet your business needs and goals.

Scheduling ads

  • Turning on/off special ads for a promotional event
  • Turning on/off certain ads on a repeating basis (e.g., every weekend)
  • Turning on/off a special ad campaign for a promotional event

Pausing low-performing ads or keywords

  • Pausing low-performing keywords based on success metrics (e.g., high cost per conversion)
  • Pausing low-performing ads based on success metrics (e.g., low CTR)

Bids and bid scheduling

  • Adjusting bids for keywords based on cost per conversion
  • Changing bids to reach a desired average position
  • Raising bids to ensure ads show on the first page
  • Bid scheduling (e.g., a higher bid during certain hours of the day)

Controlling budgets and cost

  • Increasing budget for campaigns that convert well (using cost per conversion)
  • Budget scheduling (e.g., higher budget on certain days of the week)
  • Pausing campaigns that have spent a certain amount partway through the month
  • Pausing campaigns that have received a certain number of clicks partway through the day

General examples

  • Understanding how to make a rule work on one, several or all campaigns
  • Excluding keywords from a rule

To learn more about Automated Rules, please visit Ad Innovations. Happy automating!

From Google

7 Simple SEO Tasks to Complete for a New Site


I have assisted countless websites in launching a new or redesigned website. Regardless of the business or the industry, there are a number of tasks you should perform to make sure your SEO gets off on the right foot. The good thing is, these tasks can take no more than 30-60 minutes to complete and are well worth it.

1. Setup Webmaster Tools

Using a service like Google Analytics is great, but you really should verify your site with each of the search engines webmaster tools. These services allow you to diagnose and analyze things on your site, that a website analytics solution can not. Submit sitemaps, find error pages, diagnose slow loading pages, and tons of other neat tools are provided by the webmaster tools.

2. Install Analytics, Setup Your Goals

There is no reason why you should not be tracking your website visitors. Google Analytics is free, easy to install and provides a wealth of information about your website and your customers. Sign-Up for a free account and install or pay someone to install the javascript code on your website.

Also go the extra mile and track key actions on your websites. Things like contact form submissions, downloads, video plays, and purchases should be getting tracked to understand your conversion funnel better and improve your conversion rates.

3. Fix Canonical URL Issues

Something that I would say 90% of all websites never do, it fix the www vs non-www duplicate content issue. This is such a quick fix, but so many websites overlook it. Going with either the www or the non-www, will solve the issue of having multiple URLs for the same web page. Also make sure your internal links are going to the / and on index.html or similar.

PHP Sites: Add to .htaccess file

Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain.com
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.domain.com/$1 [L,R=301]
RewriteRule ^index.html$ / [R=301,L]

ASP Sites: Done through IIS

4. Add Your Robots.txt File

Go through your web files and identify directories that you don’t want the search engines to index. Things like your administration files or miscellaneous files found on your server, restrict them from being indexed.

Upload robots.txt file with below text. Make sure you replace “/folder name/ with the folder(s) you want to restrict.

User-agent: *
Disallow: /folder name/

5. Submit XML Sitemap

Once your website is 100% completed, use an XML sitemap generation tool to crawl your entire site and create an XML sitemap that you can submit to the search engines. Each search engine allows you to submit your sitemap right from within Webmaster Tools. This will help get your new site crawled faster and make the search engines better able to find ALL of the pages on your site.

6. Setup Your Local Business Listings

As you may know, Google, Yahoo, and Bing all have local business centers that allow you to add a free business listing that has the chance to show up in the local results when a user performs a local query in one of the search engines.

I would suggest going to GetListed to help manage all of your local business listings. This free service will help you manage and check to make sure you are properly submitting and verifying your local business listings in Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, BOTW and Hotfrog.

GetListed will cover the main local business directories you should submit to, but a service call Universal Business Listing will help you syndicate your listing to all of those 2nd tier local directories like InfoUSA, YellowPages.com CitySearch and Superpages.com. Instead of manually submitting your listing to lots of other local directories, pay $30 and have UBL submit your listing for you.

7. Add 301 Redirects

If you are redesigning a website, try to keep the same URL structure if possible. This way you will reduce the risk of losing any organic search engine rankings and traffic. However if for whatever reason the URL structure needs to change, identify the key pages that are ranking well and gaining traffic and 301 redirect them to the most relevant page on the new site.

If a client has purchased multiple domains and has mirror sites up, direct those sites over to the main site. There is no point in risking a duplicate content penalty for having multiple sites with the same content.

ASP Sites – 301 Redirect

<%@ Language=VBScript %>
<%
Response.Status=”301 Moved Permanently”
Response.AddHeader “Location”, “http://www.example.com/keyword.asp”
%>

PHP Sites – 301 Redirect

<?
Header( “HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently” );
Header( “Location: http://www.new-url.com” );
?>

5 Ways To Improve Your PPC Marketing Campaign on Google


Pay-per-click advertising can be very effective channel for increasing your brand’s reach but PPC branding campaigns are often cost prohibitive. Bidding to top positions for your industry’s core terms is an excellent way to expose your brand to new audiences but the “short term ROI be-damned” strategy is usually risky business. Below are 9 strategies to help you build your brand without burning through your spend.

  1. Start with the campaign structure and creatives. Separate your branded terms from your other terms so that your ads’ creatives can be more easily controlled. Searches for your branded terms should always trigger ads with strong brand-based titles and messaging instead of your more traditional ads for industry terms.
  2. Bid on your branded terms, slogans and all their variations. While most everyone bids on their own branded terms, few remember to bid on slogans, alternate spellings and typos. While correctly spelled brand searches may often lead to your company’s organic search listings, casting a wide net ensures you capture searchers who are actively interested in your brand but might otherwise not be able to find you. These bids are especially important for capturing word-of-mouth referrals.
  3. Bid on branded terms in your industry. Brand based search terms are a common method of navigation and often have very little competition. Even high-volume branded terms often have only a handful of competitors and are usually available with low minimum CPCs. Make sure you follow the advertising platform’s terms of service and avoid using anyone else’s branded or trademarked terms in your creatives.
  4. Bid on your domain name and variations. Domain searches are also a popular means of navigation and generally less competitive. Bidding on your own domain name makes it more difficult for your competitors to appear prominently and bids for variations of your domain name are a great way to ensure you capture all potential visitors. Just like misspelled branded terms, offering searchers easy access to your website, despite their challenges with typing or spelling, is a great way to start their visitor experience on a positive note.
  5. Bid on your competition’s domain name and variations. Select a few of your competitors whose products or services align closely with your own and present searchers your brand’s core messaging. Just like bids for your own domain, be sure to include variations like “domain.com”, “domaincom”, etc.
  6. Bid on tradeshow and conference names. If you company spends a great deal of time and money on industry events, reinforcing your industry presence via PPC is an excellent way to maximize your investment. Start by creating a nice landing page for each event that explains your company’s involvement and then tailor your ads’ creatives to include a summary. Ads appearing just before and just after each event are an excellent way to seed event attendees with your brand and reinforce your participation.
  7. Bid on the names of your company’s awards. Whether your company has just been nominated for an award or you’ve just won your industry’s most prestigious honor, drawing attention to your achievement is always beneficial. Be sure to create an informative landing page that also includes links to further background reading on the award or nomination.
  8. Bid on the names of your organization’s key employees. Running ads for the names of your key industry and customer facing employees increases the likelihood that a positive brand message reaches the searcher.
  9. Take the high ground. While it would be quicker and easier to only create a couple of groups to target several groups of terms, investing the time to create highly-targeted landing pages and ad copy is critical step that can not be overlooked. Don’t bother trying to run a pay-per-click branding campaign if you aren’t going to fine tune the details if you do you are just exposing your brand to more people, not building value.

Just as with any other channel you leverage for branding, PPC is also ultimately dependent upon the maturity of your message. If you can present searchers with a concise snapshot of your brand’s value, and then expand on their initial impression with , PPC offers a number of cost-effective opportunities to help you increase your brand’s reach. A wealth of 99 branding tips was recently published by Aviva Directory and is certainly worth a read if you missed it.

PPC Management Mistakes to Avoid


One mistake people usually make once they’ve started their PPC campaigns is they think they can just let the campaigns run by themselves. That kind of people usually ends up failing miserably. One thing to get straight here: PPC is EASY, but you can’t be LAZY. Certain degree of management is always needed when running a PPC campaign.

The market is always changing. Today you might be the only one advertising a particular business on search engines, by next month you might already have five more competitors, and six months later…you get my point. When there are more and more competitors bidding for the same keyword, the minimum bid for that keyword is most likely to increase by a significant amount. If you don’t keep an eye on your biddings regularly, your ads might fall to very low positions, and in the worst scenario, your ads will stop displaying once the minimum bid exceeds your current bidding.

This is just one of a million reasons why PPC management is important. If you have a small or home business, you can probably do the management in-house; and if you are a big company with hundreds and thousands of products, you can always contract a search marketing company to do PPC management for you as well.

If you are doing PPC management in-house or by yourself, one thing to avoid is making changes too often. Randomness in the market is almost inevitable. One ad may perform exceptionally well today, but crappy the very next day. If you make changes on a daily basis trying to counteract the fluctuations, you are more likely to hurt your campaign than actually improving it. Plus, there will a significant time lag between the moment you made the changes and when the changes starting to impact your campaign.

We’ve got requests from our clients in the past asking us to do “ad testing” on a daily basis. We simply told them “it’s impossible. We need time to gather accurate data.”

With each change that you make, let it run for a few days, a week, or a month if you have to. Make sure you have gathered enough information before you make your next move.

How to Promote Your Blog and Increase Traffic


Blogging is an enjoyable habit especially for those who love writing and expressing themselves to others. Many people even make a living out of it. However, gaining profits in writing blogs is not an easy task especially if you are just starting your blogging career. Other than writing relevant content, driving traffic to your website is also essential and it is not an easy task. It takes time and persistence to build online history and gain consistent traffic. No traffic, no money.

To increase traffic to your blog, you have to be effective in your website promotion activities. This may include your blog appearance, SEO, social media promotions and email marketing.

See below:

Blog Appearance

  1. Blog ApperanceBlogging Platform: There are several good and free blogging platforms available online. Most famous platforms are WordPress, Joomla, Blogger and Drupal. WordPress is the most preferred platform by many bloggers and it is also originally designed for blogging. But if you want to put some dynamic functionality like social networking and ecommerce features, you may consider using Joomla and Drupal.On the other hand, it is also possible if you want to create your own blog site from raw. Hence, it will take you more time unlike setting up a site using WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. Also, in using either one of these three options, several modules and plugins are already available for your convenience plus worldwide support communities that are willing to help you out with your platform issues.
  2. Color Theme: Your choice of colors is very important for your blog appearance. Through colors, you can trigger different emotions of your readers. Most blogs tend to use light colors for their backgrounds, and dark colors for the texts, (such as White & Black) this makes the content more readable for general users.
  3. Navigational Layout: Make your layout navigational. Organize your links and blocks well. Make your recent posts and most famous articles are accessible to your readers. Study and experiment well for your ad positions. Also, putting them in the right places can make your number of click through higher.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO

  1. Relevant Content for Your Focused Niche: When we say relevant content, it means content that is helpful to readers.The web is continuously being updated every day, where users are continuously looking for good content that relates to them, aim to publish new content on a daily, or weekly biases that will link to your audience.
  2. Link Building: The number of back links is essential if you want higher page ranks. Like voting system, search engines will determine your website relevance with the number of link presence you have on the web.. These links can be achieved in various ways, Submitting to bookmarks is an effective link building activity, or by writing guest articles, or even networking on social media websites.
  3. Public Relations: Public relations like press release and article submissions can also help you promote your site, increase back links and expose more your website.
  4. Ping: Submitting to ping sites like Ping-O-Matic everytime you made changes in your site can trigger the search engines to visit your website and index your new pages.

Social Media Promotions

Socail Media Promotions

  1. Twitter: Recently, Google started indexing twitter pages. Therefore, whatever you tweet in connection to your website will affect your online presence. Be creative with your tweets, add your keywords and link them to your website. However, re-tweet other helpful posts also to gain more followers.
  2. Facebook: Facebook is now the largest social networking site on the web. Everyday billions of users are interacting on this site, which is an enough reason to invest time and promote your websites on Facebook.
  3. Other Online Community and Blogging Sites: Aside from Twitter and Facebook, investing time to other blogging sites and online communities like forums and other social networking sites can gain more exposures to your websites. Prevent spamming, post relevant comments that would help others. With this, you are not only promoting your blog, but you are also building relationships to your peer bloggers.
  4. Commenting on other blogs: Create a list of blogs that you would read regularly, and which relate to your business. Aim to leave useful comments on articles that are published on these blog, be creative with your comments, by writing comments that would provide extra value to the post and readers.
  5. Forums: A good way of building your presence and getting users to your blog, is by using forums. Register with forums within your niche, and answer few questions that the users ask, do this regularly, over time you would build your brand awareness and start to drive traffic to your site. When answering questions, be as helpful as you can, and provide answers that would be effective and helpful to all reading that question.

Email Marketing

  1. Email MarketingPitch Page for Mailing List: Sending emails to people who do not give you any permission to do so is loud and clear spamming. Do not do this. Create a pitch page or pitch block in your website where your readers can submit their email address to subscribe to your newsletters. You can get embed codes for this by using tools like Aweber or FeedBurner.
  2. Good Layout and Content: Sending an attractive and corporate looking e-newsletter can prevent your recipients to hit the “spam” button. Be creative with your layout and give them good content. Put links directing to your website. Also, offering some games, rewards or other promotions can be a good call to action to your readers to visit your blog.

Guest Blogging

Guest Blogging

Last but not the least also, have a presence as a guest blogger on various authority and related sites of your industry. As guest blogging is more than writing a blog post for some other blog, it has got many benefits, which can improve your image as a blogger and also help you promote your own blog by reaching out to communities established by these blogs.

Best is to write guest posts for other blogs and also invite and publish guest posts on your own blog. This gives maximum exposure to your blog and helps you reach out multifold on the web by opening doors for other SEO and social media benefits attached to guest blogging. Hence, this can be termed as a win-win situation where the blogger and the blog both benefit in various ways.There are so many things that you may do to gain maximum exposure for your blog. Also, give time to research for useful tools to automate your blog sharing and make your promotion easier. Pursue the marketing and outreach of your blog keeping abreast with new ideas and methods on the web as internet marketing keeps evolving and every time you come across a new platform consider how you can portray your business.