author picture

Mike Fleming

Mike Fleming specializes in Analytics and Paid Search for Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @SEMFlem. Mike enjoys playing, writing and recording music along with playing basketball to get his workout in. He resides in Canton, Ohio with a girl who threw a snowball at him one day…then married him.

Mike and the team at Pole Position are available to help clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Contact them via their site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

The Scientific Case for Online Marketing That Doesn't Get Results

We've become spoiled.  Before the Internet, marketers had a very hard time quantifying the ROI they got from their advertising efforts.  But they still did it.  They knew that advertising worked, they just didn't feel like they had a solid grasp on how, why, when, and where it worked.  There wasn't much that was highly measurable in those days, so directly tying ROI to marketing spend with any level of significant confidence was hard.  Enter digital.  It's the wonderful land of accountability.  Now we can (for the most part) know exactly how many of what action comes from what channel or...

Planning a New Website? Don't Launch It Until You Do This

Can you imagine how happy your website users would be if they were always able to complete the tasks they came for easily and efficiently? Can you imagine how your bottom line would be affected? A major problem with the way a website is planned and built is that it typically starts with decision makers and web developers/designers looking around at industry & competitor's websites - reacting favorably or unfavorably, creating their own version, suggesting changes and repeating until all decision makers are happy. Then comes site launch. This seems reasonable and normal....

Avoiding Website Navigation That Makes Users Never Want to Come Back

In my experience, grocery stores are one of the most frustrating places I go. I really try to avoid going at all costs. Why?  Because when I go, I'm usually looking for unusual ingredients for something special my wife is planning to make. She sends me there for things like ground red pepper, evaporated chicken broth, rare beans or chopped green chiles.If I were going there for some milk, then no problem, because I know they always put the milk in the back corner of the store. But when I (the non-frequent grocery store user) go for unusual items, I...

Improve Your Website By Getting Beyond Who's Right and Wrong

In my efforts to help businesses improve the conversion rates on their websites, I hear objections ALL the time. Behind the objections, I have observed fear (about how the changes will perform), offense (because they think I'm implying their work isn't up to snuff) and procrastination (because they want to avoid the scary world of testing).A few factors that I've seen contribute to this include:>  Stakeholder's opinions about what will work best for a particular site or page within a site are usually strongly held, whether it's because it's what they like themselves or what they believe as a professional.> ...

Less Is More When Writing for Landing Pages

Yes, I know why you include so many words on your marketing landing pages. It's because you really, really, REALLY want your visitors to get it. You want them to understand all that it is you have to offer them and how choosing to do business with you is really going to change their lives. You want to use all of the information you can to persuade them to stick with you, to continue on the journey to being your customer. Problem is--they don't read them. I know you worked hard on it, and I'm sorry.So, what do you do...

Website Usability Tips for How People Use the Web

Last time I shared here, I established that a major problem affecting your site performance is that (because you designed or contributed to or commissioned and approved the site) YOU don't have to think when YOU use the site because YOU know what everything means, how everything is supposed to work, where everything is located and where every click is supposed to go. Your visitors are left to interpret things that you already know the interpretation for.A second major problem affecting your site performance is that you designed it for people who use the web in a similar fashion to...

How to Make Your Website Easier to Use (and Improve Conversion Rates)

Web usability expert Steve Krug starts off his popular book on the topic with these words:People often ask me: "What's the most important thing I should do if I want to make sure my Web site is easy to use?" The answer is simple. It's not "Nothing important should ever be more than two clicks away," or "Speak the user's language," or even "Be consistent." It's "Don't make me think!"This exposes a common problem. YOU, the person that designed or contributed to or commissioned and approved the site don't have to think when YOU use the site because YOU know...

Universal Analytics: A New, Free and Better Way to Work With Data

Google's Universal Analytics (UA) is a more flexible alternative to a standard Google Analytics account; making it easier to customize account settings and providing a new opportunity to collect data that a standard account doesn't automatically collect (like data from any digital device).Do it now, or have them make you do it laterGoogle just launched a two-step process for upgrading your existing properties from Classic Analytics to Universal Analytics (called the "Upgrade Center"). It's starting to roll out in the Admin section of all accounts. Once you see it there, you can go ahead and complete the upgrade. Apparently, any...

The First Step to Better Homepage Design

It's common knowledge that in general the homepage of any site is the most important page. Usability professionals have called it the "beachfront real estate" of any website. The big obstacle we run into with this though is that, of course, everyone wants a piece of it! Because this is the case, your homepage design just might be overrun with content competing for user's attention. If you can find it in yourself to admit it, this is probably limiting its ability to allow your customers to service themselves with it--which is costing you money. After all, the homepage is many...

Yeah, But...Our Site Converts Just Fine

Really?!?! How do you know that? Did all of your "yeah, butter" competitors all share their conversion rates with you? Even if they did, how do you know what's good and what isn't? If by "fine," you mean you're making a profit, then great. But, is that all you want, just to be "fine"?A 100% conversion rate just doesn't exist, no matter what you do to your site: Some will say yes, some will say no and then some will say maybe. It's that last category of site visitors that can have a major impact on future business growth....

Yeah, But...It's So Easy to Run PPC Campaigns

We hear this going through business owners' and marketing executives' minds a lot when presenting the idea of managing their PPC campaigns for them. Many of them seem to have a fear of allowing someone outside of their organization (or maybe even someone on the inside) to take over control of something they may feel they already have control over. This is an understandable feeling, especially if their campaigns are making a profit.They most likely feel that since they've built something that's working, why risk having someone else mess it up? Combine this with the fact that PPC platforms have...

A Simple Overview of AdWords Enhanced Campaigns

The advancement of internet usability on mobile devices, combined with more people getting their hands on them, has led to rapid growth of mobile search usage. When you factor in technology like AdWords, you can see how advertisers have more opportunity to deliver--and consumers to receive--targeted advertising messages that are relevant for more specific devices, times and locations than ever before.Yet, not many advertisers were creating AdWords campaigns for mobile devices, simply because the campaign structure was difficult to discern and hard to manage. This, of course, was costing Google money in ad clicks and costing advertisers conversions from prospects...

A Simple Overview of Product Listing Ads

You have an e-commerce site? Are people searching online for the products you have on your site? If you answered yes to both, there is no good reason why you are not running Product Listing Ads (PLAs) on search engines (Google now, Bing soon). The fact that PLAs can show images of the exact product a searcher is looking for with an exact title and competitive price gives them a distinct advantage over other listings in the search engines. Namely, if the searcher typed in the exact product name, these ads are serving them the exact result they're looking for....

A Simple Overview of View-Through Conversions

A view-through conversion is a measure of the number of online conversions that users complete after they see--but do not click--a display ad on a website. How a view-through conversion is tracked, recorded and analyzed will affect your conclusions about the effectiveness of your ads. Here are some things to keep in mind when collecting and analyzing them....

Get a Sense of How Your PPC Ad Compares to Your Competitor's

You've written what you perceive to be a good ad (or let's hope you wouldn't have written it). But, what you perceive doesn't matter. It doesn't matter to the search engine (Google in this example), and it doesn't matter to the searchers. What matters is what the searchers think of your ad compared to the motivation that sparked their search, in relation to all of the options in the results they have to choose from.But, this information isn't readily available to you. Sure, you can see what your click-through rate (CTR) is, but you have almost no idea if it's...

2,000 Words of Insight from Only 2 PPC Competitive Metrics

When managing PPC campaigns (or any marketing campaigns for that matter), analyzing, testing and adjusting given information about your competitors can be extremely helpful and necessary. Knowing what they may be doing better and/or what you may be doing better, when they're spending their money, what's working and not working for them, etc. can give you strategic advantages that can help you make profitable adjustments.Here are two metrics trended over the last 6 months for the top 5 advertisers (for Impression Share) on a keyword. These were found in the Auction Insights report in an AdWords account. Following these charts,...

Why Communicating What a Customer Is Losing Works

There's an old adage that says "The pain of losing is twice as strong as the joy of winning."This principle can help your business if you use it wisely.  Even the threat of potential loss creates agitation in people that plays a powerful role in their decision making.  Psychologists call this the principle of scarcity.  It says that humans hold more appeal for things that they perceive will become less available in the future.  This is why you see scarce items get valued at ridiculous prices.  For example, a baseball card might be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars simply...

Why An Authoritative Website is So Important to Your Business

The truth is, your website is your digital sales rep.  It's the go-to "person" in the online world for customers looking for your solutions.  In light of all the activities you may do online, this is your digital home.  It is THE preeminent piece of your digital existence.  Kinda makes you think a little more about what you do with it, right?!?...

Why Testimonials Are So Important To Your Customers

When people shop, whether online or offline, there is always a measure of uncertainty throughout the buying process.  Typically, the uncertainty fades as the buyer journeys through the process of researching their purchasing decision.  They gather facts about what they need, look at features, benefits, quality, pricing and so on.  A brand that is really good at selling will be one that is really good at helping the potential customer to navigate through their uncertainty to confidence that they've chosen the right product or service for themselves.Much of the sales process, after all, isn't the product or service itself.  Much...

Why Micro-Conversions Are So Important For Your Brand

Everybody wants the online sale.  But are you relating to your customer in ways that make it easier for them to buy?  You might be thinking, "How can it get any easier to buy from us?  All they have to do is click add to cart, fill in some boxes and hit checkout!"  Sure, it might be easy for them to physically buy from you, but how about psychologically?  How easy is it for them to make the decision that you are specifically the right choice for them?They can go to any one of your competitors and hit a few...

How Giving Away Free Stuff Online (and everywhere else) Can Work

There are many cultural forces built into every society that has ever existed on the planet.  Some are stronger in certain societies than others.  One of them is called the rule of reciprocity.  It says that a person (or group) should try to repay what another person has provided.  More simply put, if someone does something for you, you have a natural tendency to want to do something for them. ...

True Professions of an Inbound Marketer

A few years ago, I went ahead and got myself a nice liberal arts education.  You know, the kind that's supposed to "prepare you for the real world" by affording you the opportunity to take courses in communications, science, budgeting, psychology, etc.  I must say that it's a good thing too, considering I landed in the profession that I did.  I was recently working on something and feeling a bit "stretched" out of my comfort zone when I realized just how many hats inbound marketers are called to wear throughout the daily trappings of their careers....

Frustrations of Becoming a Serious Twitter User

When I decided to become a serious Twitter user, I figured the first thing I had to do was search for people and/or conversations that I could follow and get involved with. So, I decided find people in the marketing field that were within a 2 hour drive from my hometown. Why? Well, a few reasons......

Your Biggest Mistake in Measuring Social Media Success

You think social media is a channel that it's not, because you want it to be.  All those people right there for the taking with all their interests laid out for you in their profiles.  All that talk that lets you know what they're thinking.  It seems like the perfect place to make perfect customer matches.  But, it's not.  At least not initially....

Search Retargeting: Grow Search Marketing Beyond Search Engines

In my last post, I talked about why people who search on your site keywords but don't visit your website aren't necessarily lost forever.  It is possible to have a second chance to make your first impression by doing search retargeting and showing display ads to those users after they have searched.  This is huge because, even if you rank first and/or have multiple listings (organic, PPC, shopping, etc.), only a small portion of those searchers make it to your site.  This is a huge pool of prospects that you can re-engage....

Redeeming Customers that Bypassed Your Search Results

First, I'll state the obvious... You do search engine marketing because 80% of web activity starts with a search.  You know the more you can appear in front of your target audience based on the search query they perform, the more customers you will acquire (assuming your company and website do their jobs).You also know the higher you rank for those search queries, the more you will show up, as searchers typically aren't patient enough or don't have the time to deep dive with search engine results.  Even if you are the best solution out there, if you don't show...

Keep Your Online Marketing Budget Accountable

There seems to be a new online trend.  Businesses are jumping into online campaigns and throwing money at different marketing channels because "it's the thing to do."  They set a fixed marketing budget aside for the year and that's it.  It's in stone until we talk about it again next year.  A big reason for this kind of practice is that these companies don't actually know what kind of return they're getting on their investment. ...

Build Trails for Customers that Don't Dead End

You see it all the time: web marketing that fails to satisfy customer wants and needs in the buying process from first exposure to conversion.  The problem is that it's so easy to simply leave a buying trail that you're on with the web.  All it takes is a click.  This puts buyers in total control and makes them uber-sensitive to what they engage with online.  The challenge for us as site owners and marketers is to build trails from exposure to conversion that customers won't want to leave....

Things Your PPC Manager Shouldn't Say

When it comes to online marketing, I see and hear about way too many companies that don't take the paid traffic channel seriously enough. They either don't do it (huge mistake), or they do a less-than-professional job of it. Maybe they do it in-house. Or, they have an agency do it, but one that doesn't have a dedicated paid traffic specialist. While Google, Bing and others continuously refine their systems to make campaign management "easier" than ever, many changes that are made to make management "easier" come at the sacrifice of ROI.  Also, there are strategies that professionals use that...

Building Confidence (and Profit) with Website Testing

Not testing your website is like telling your investors, shareholders, employees or other stakeholders that you already make enough profit and you'd really not like to make any more in the foreseeable future.  Crazy, right?  So, why don't marketers do it?  Typically, they don't know what to test, how to get approval, who needs to be involved and how it will affect their site.  But, it must be done or you will fail to do your job correctly - which is to provide an online environment that will optimally meet your customers needs....

Make Enough Profit? Warning: Don't Test Your Website!

Most companies don't test their sites.  Their main justification for this tends to be that they don't have the budget to take it on.  But, this is clearly a misunderstanding because free tools (like Google's Content Experiments) make it VERY cheap. When you put that together with the logic that testing is just going to help you improve conversion on your site, not doing it is costing your more than doing it. Not doing it is like telling your investors, shareholders, employees or other stakeholders that you already make enough profit and you'd really not like to make any more...

Save Time Figuring Out Site Performance Changes: Take Notes

You always hear good web analysts stressing that you can't stop your journey of finding insights for business improvement at the "what."  For example, a "what" would be "conversion rate fell by 20% last quarter compared to last year." If you stop there and bask in the doom and gloom...you're doomed (and maybe gloomed, but I don't know what that means). That fall might actually be a good thing. What?!? That's right. The answer to the question "why" will tell you if that's true or not.  Without that, you're taking stabs in the dark....

Metrics That Lie to You: Average Position (Part 2)

We're taking a look at how the "average position" metric lies to you (or more accurately, is misunderstood by you). In part one, we studied the reasons behind this and why distributions in Google Webmaster Tools is your sweet release for truly understanding your organic search position listings.Let me wrap this up by showing you how to examine distributions in your AdWords account, as well. This is really important because, if you believe campaign/ad group/keyword/ad performance equals "My click-through rate/conversion rate/cost per conversion is at an average position of 3," you're not getting the real story. Plus, an average number is...

Metrics That Lie to You: Average Position (Part 1)

I wouldn't call the "average position" metric pointless, but it's definitely lying to you.  Most people approach this metric with a natural misunderstanding. It's natural to think, "This is the average position that my organic listing or paid ad shows up at in a search for this keyword."  Sorry, but no.  How could a tool just flat out lie to you?  Well, the tool isn't lying to you.  It's your understanding of what that metric is communicating that is lying to you.  In a recent article titled, "The big lie of AdWords average position," light is shed upon this subject. ...

Under-rated Web Marketing Metric - Client/Agency Communication

For many businesses, a major benefit of outsourcing their web marketing strategy to a company like ours is the fact that they get the knowledge and skill of a whole Web marketing team for what most of the time amounts to the cost of one (maybe two) employees.  Depending on the nature of the business, that can be hard to beat. But, along with it comes a challenge - communication. We fought with this hard for a while. We sat in meetings and brainstormed realistic ways to communicate better with clients while balancing the hours we spend doing this with formulating...

Going Beyond Yourself to Optimize Online Messaging

I recently answered a question on LinkedIn with an ultra-cool strategy that we've recently implemented for our client's PPC ads that you may be able to benefit from.  Here's the question and my answer....

Your Analytics Tool May Be Lying to You

Let's say your site contains iphone app reviews.  Your goal for the 4th quarter of 2011 was to increase your website traffic and conversions by 8% compared to the third quarter.  The results?  +10%.  Time to do the happy dance?  Not so fast my friend!  This is a common point of failure of many site owners.  They analyze their data in the silo of their web analytics tool.  This can cause you to misjudge what is truly going on because you are lacking the context of your industry ecosystem....

Understanding the Real Story of Your Business on the Web

In the early days of the web, all interaction with a business online happened in one place - on their website.  Businesses would create content, put it on their site, and followers would come to the site and consume the new content.  Measuring success was rather easy at this point.  You simply tagged your site and one analytics tool would collect all of your data for analysis.  Of course, we know this has all changed....

Ways You Might Not Listen to Your Site's Customers

As every good website owner knows, collecting data and seeing what happens leaves out an all-important piece of the puzzle.  To truly take action on the data you've now collected, you need to know why it is the way it is...If you really want to know how to make your site experience better, you can't just look at your data.  You've got to get the voice of your customer....

So You Think Your Changes Will Help Your Customer? Prove It!

Two posts ago, I talked about the importance of laying a web analytics foundation for your company by measuring, valuing and analyzing the critical few visitor behaviors on your site that have an impact on your bottom line.  In my last post, I talked about the step after that.  That is to acquire the reasons the data you've collected is the way it is (the why?).  Once you've listened to why your customers couldn't complete whatever tasks they were trying to accomplish on your site, you should have a bunch of ideas on how to fix it....

Get Higher-Ups to See the Value of Your Online Efforts

It doesn't need to be said that the higher-ups mostly care about getting more of what they want to happen to actually happen.  If you can show that it is happening and that giving you more money will make it happen more, then you'll most likely get more money to make it happen more.  Getting the budget you need can seem like rocket science, but it's really not.  If may not be easy, but it is simple....

Quantifying Your Website's True Impact on Your Business

People that own companies or those in companies that make decisions on how to use a web marketing budget are shown, whether it's their fault or not, too much website data that doesn't directly relate to an impact on the bottom line.  What's wrong with this?  Only looking at visits and pageviews gives an incomplete story of how a site is truly performing for its customers and the company.  So when it's time to decide how to invest, there's nothing concrete that gives confidence in where to put money.  To combat this problem, there needs to be a fundamental mindset...

Don't Waste Time Looking at Web Data Until You Do This - Part 2

We've talked about what makes a good metric to look at for your business.  But, you have to be careful here.  There is soooo much data wrapped up in what seems at times like an endless amount of possible metrics that if you are not careful, you will catch yourself wasting your time lost at sea with no idea as to how to get back home where you belong.  By "home," I mean those critical metrics that will measure what needs to change at this specific point in time for your online efforts to improve....

Don't Waste Time Looking at Web Data Until You Do This

Your business is different than everyone else's, so why would you look at the same measurements of success as everyone else?  Everyone looks at visitors to their site, but what does that tell you about how your business is doing?...

Where You Should Invest Your Web Marketing Budget

...the bottom line for magnificent success is the people...invest multiple times more in her or him, or more of them, if you truly want to take action on your data. Otherwise, you are simply data rich and information poor...a great tool in the hands of your reporting squirrel is useless.  A free/inexpensive/underpowered tool in the hands of your analysis ninja will yield massive results that impact your bottom line......

How to Have a Lifetime of Happiness on Your Website

...you need to drastically rethink what it means to use data on the web...there is a lot of data, but there are fundamental barriers to making intelligent decisions...because clickstream data is great at the what, but not at the why...it's important to know what happened, but it is even more critical to know why people do the things they do on your site...and the what else, which is perhaps the most underappreciated data on the web...your web analytics tool can report only what it can record...if you marry the what with the why and the what else, you'll have a...

Are You Held Accountable for Your Website Decisions?

In a typical business, the highest paid person's opinion usually wins.  This does not mean that their opinion is always the most informed though.  It's just the most powerful.  The problem is that it is also the least accountable.  But, in the world of the web, there's a new sheriff in town.  Data.  This is because data (when used correctly) can provide accountability for decisions made....

Site Search Analytics - Pattern Analysis to Improve Your Site

Your site search data, the phrases your website users type into your internal site search engine, is data that is swimming with insights into helping to make satisfied customers with your web site.  If you are someone that is responsible for the performance of a site, this is most likely information that you've never looked at and may have not even known existed.  But, you're going to want to become familiar with it because it's about the best place you can go online to learn what your users want.  Read the first post in this series for why....

Site Search Analytics: What Your Customers Want...In Their Own Words

When people come to your site, it can be really hard to know why they are there.  The truth is the average conversion rate on e-commerce sites is only around 2-3%...and that's on sites that are specifically built to sell stuff.  So, what happens to the other 97%?  Why were they there?  Did they find what they were looking for?  If not, why not?  Is the content they are looking for even on your site?  If so, are they able to find it easily?...

Paid Search is Customer Service, Not Advertising

What I'm about to tell you will totally revolutionize your PPC campaigns and make you A LOT more money.  It's simple, but not well known and not widely practiced.  Most of your competition isn't doing it.  This is why you should be.  Really, I should not be telling you this.  I should really keep it to myself.  Maybe I'll just write about organizing your campaigns or how you shouldn't run search and content ads in the same campaign.  Been there, done that.  Shoot.  Then again, it should be ok.  Most of you will follow the principle anyway, so I should...

PPC News - Advertisers Can No Longer Hide Behind the Click

Until now, the only information a user had on a search results page to decide where to click was the 135 characters in the ads.  This led to many advertisers getting away with bad post-click marketing as long as they wrote great ads.  Not any more.  Advertisers can no longer hide behind the click. Now, users can hover over an ad and see a preview of the landing page with snippets of real text to see how closely it relates to what they're looking for....

What's Changed? - Your Door to Website Performance Insights

Either reporting or looking at reports of your top X whatever rarely leads to insights.  Why?  They rarely change.  Ok, once in a while they do, but for the most part, your top keywords, landing pages, referrers, etc. are going to be basically the same.  This is because (for most, not all) what you're offering doesn't change.  The problem is that when you look at a report like this, you are looking at static numbers.  The key to getting insights from your website is looking at trends, or what's changed.  This opens up the doors to asking why things went...

Dynamic Keyword Research - Don't Optimize Campaigns on Sinking Sand

Marketing on the web is demand-driven.  Searchers are looking for answers.  The best way to dominate the game is to become the best answer to their questions. This is why it's important to do dynamic keyword research instead of static keyword research.  It's also why you don't copy and paste the same ads into all of your ad groups talking about yourself and what makes you great....

PPC News - +1, Call Metrics and Smartphones

In an effort to improve relevance on the web, Google is utilizing searcher's relationships.  A new button in search results enables signed-in searchers to get recommendations on search results pages and websites from the people they are connected to through their Google profiles.  Google is saying it won't affect how quality score is calculated.  But, it does affect quality score because if the recommendations improve CTR, then your quality score improves....

Dynamic Keyword Research - Keeping Your Online Marketing Aligned With the Rest of the World

Last time, we talked about a revolutionary tool in keyword research called Google Insights for Search that allows you to gain competitive advantages by doing dynamic keyword research instead of static keyword research. Static keyword research is using a keyword tool to get volume "numbers" at one point in time and then using that data to perform long-term marketing campaigns. The problem? Things change. Therefore, we need to incorporate dynamic keyword research to keep our campaigns aligned with what's actually happening on the web....

Dynamic Keyword Research - Stay in Front of Your Competition

Google has this tool called Insights for Search.  At first glance, it looks like a pretty simple, fairly unsophisticated tool that just tells you if search volume is going up or down for a particular keyword or group of keywords.  Not many insights there, right?  I mean, all you really have to do for search engine marketing is keyword research with one of the many tools available to you out there and you can easily line up the keywords that you want to go after by search intent and volume, right?...

Paid Search News - Take More Control of Your Advertising

The latest news to keep you ahead of the competition in managing your paid search advertising......

Web Analytics - The ROI of "Why?"

Sweet.  So, let's everybody meet at Outback for an awesome blossom with some extra awesome, right?  Not so fast my friend.  Let's add a little context to that little observation we made above....

Telling the Story of Your PPC Ad Tests With Time

Chad Summerhill wrote a nice post recently about something you should be doing if you manage your own PPC account and something you should be showing your clients if you manage accounts for others - visual statistically significant ad test results by time period.  Check out the "how-to" in that post....

PPC News and Notes - Twitter's New Ad Platform

Although in beta and only open to VIP advertisers that are invited, Twitter has finally released their ad platform called Promoted Tweets.  The general format is that you can use tweets you've created or that have been retweeted by someone else as "ads" that are promoted in certain environments.  The way the ads are served are analogous to both search and contextual advertising in AdWords, where you pick keywords that are searched on to have your tweet shown or it is matched to a stream of tweets given the contextual nature that you choose in your account.  You pay on...

Using Paid Search Campaigns Correctly to Build Your Online Business

Last week, we talked about PPC trick #1 to building your online business for the long-term - using keywords correctly.  This week, let's talk about another "trick of the trade" that will also help on the way to this goal.As the number of targeting options for PPC increases, so do the creative ways in which you can organize your campaigns to get the maximum effectiveness out of them.  As I mentioned last week, for example, you can create a "fishing" campaign and a "bucket" campaign in order to separately control budgeting, bidding and other targeting options to focus your efforts...

Using Paid Search Keywords Correctly to Build Your Online Business

In my last post, I shared using a fishing metaphor to talk about stepping your PPC game up to the point where you know how to use it to build your online business for the long haul.  So, let's start looking at some of the "tricks of the trade" to do just that....

PPC Advertiser News - 1/31/11

Apparently, Google is going to start putting Description Line 1 of a typical PPC ad in the headline of the Top 3 ads positions as long as the line ends with a punctuation mark.  If they roll this out, it's likely that competition for top position ads will grow and it will also affect ad copy strategies.  It is not recommended that you merge the headline and description line as there will be a dash placed between the two in the first line of the ad....

PPC for a Day or For a Lifetime?

One of the great things about PPC advertising is its immediacy.  You can start running ads right now and see almost instantaneous results; whether good, bad or just ok.  But, the trap that we don't want to fall into when running our accounts is limiting our thinking just to what can be gained right now.  The fact is, PPC is a great way to help build all areas of your online business long-term.  And with the continuous expansion of features and avenues being offered in this channel today, the possibilities continue to grow....

Testing What the Competition is Missing in Your PPC Ads

There's a lot more leverage in writing and testing great ads than a lot of the activities that PPC managers can spend their time on.  For those using AdWords, testing is the answer to almost everything.  But, testing works better if you're able to test things that matter. People get caught testing things like switching lines around or replacing colons with semicolons and they end up creating basically similar ads. In this episode of PPC Rockstars, David and Howie explained the coined "Checkmate Method" to their listeners that focuses in on a more intense way to write and test your...

Discover Proven Money-Making Results for PPC Text Ads...Guaranteed

I've started powering through David Szetela and Joe Kerschbaum's new PPC book called Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Marketing: An Hour a Day and I really like this PDF they made available online to their readers.  Although it's about classified ads, you can pull direct correlations to apply to your PPC text ads when advertising on search engines.  Really, search engine results pages (SERPs) are just like classified ads except the page is digital instead of paper....

Double Your Paid Search Clicks Without Raising Your Budget

The keyword phrases to use for your PPC account aren't always obvious.  A key to great ROI and customer loyalty is to have customers think that you're the only viable solution to their problem at a given time.  Therefore, the challenge in keyword research is not coming up with keywords.  That's the easy part.  You just scan the website and use the product names and there you go...a keyword list.The challenge is in exploiting markets that become successful that competitors may not have thought of.  That's why it's important to always be practicing keyword discovery and exploring phrases that might...

Smart Web Business Decisions Made Easier

Here is an absolutely delightful new little (but really huge!) feature in Google Analytics that should make anyone interested in improving their web business results smile from ear to ear.  It's called Weighted Sort.The problem:You want to find out how your keywords are performing for a particular metric, say bounce rate, because you want to improve the relevance of the visitors to your site.  You jump into analytics to take a look at the Keyword Report, click on the bounce rate heading to sort bounce rates from worst to best, and you find this......

Google Improves Control of PPC Exposure With Modified Broad Match

If you manage a PPC account, you know that for several years now AdWords has had three match types: exact, phrase, and broad.  You also know what they mean and how your keywords are matched to search queries.  Up until a couple of years ago, broad match meant that the keywords in your phrase were matched to queries that had all of your words in any order. Then, broad match became "expanded broad match" where Google's algorithm was given free reign to decide if search queries were a close enough match in search intent to show your ad.  Many of...

PPC Testing Made Easier with AdWords Campaign Experiments

If you take your PPC campaigns seriously (why wouldn't you?), you're always testing.  Always.  It's the only way to accomplish long-term growth and gain insights that will translate into all of your other marketing channels.  One problem that has been inherent since the beginning of PPC is the inability to do true A/B split-testing with variables like keywords, bids, ad text, ad groups, match types, dynamic keyword insertion, etc....

Take Your Online Business to New Heights With the Display Network - Part 5

Google's Display Network has two types of targeting options.  The first, automatic placements, we've talked about already.  This is where you create keyword-themed ad groups and Google makes your ads eligible to appear on web pages whose content theme matches the theme of the keywords in your ad group.  Now, we'll talk about the second - managed placements....

Take Your Online Business to New Heights with the Display Network - Part 4

Now that you've created your keyword-themed ad groups and masterfully rolled out your display ads for those ad groups, your ads are running and collecting impressions, clicks and conversions.  The next step is to allow a fair amount of data to collect so that you can then analyze how different sites are performing for you....

Take Your Online Business to New Heights with the Display Network - Part 3

Now that you've chosen your keywords to create ad group themes, you want to have ads that will move targeted users from whatever they're doing online to being aware and interested in your product or service. Remember, since the Display Network operates by completely different rules and the users are in a completely different state of mind, the ads should be different than Search Network ads. ...

Take Your Online Business to New Heights with the Display Network - Part 2

Man, getting traffic can be so easy.... and dangerous to your bottom line. The truth is, there is an art and science to getting traffic just like any other vocation. It takes skill and knowledge to be successful. So, when it comes to utilizing the Display Network, you need to gather the knowledge that is going to enable you to use the tool correctly to accomplish your goals....

Take Your Online Business to New Heights with the Display Network - Intro

If you are only using the Search Network of Google AdWords to reach customers for your website, you are limiting your online advertising reach big time.  On the Search Network, your ads only show when people are looking for what you offer, which is typically in the later stages of the shopping funnel.  But, that's a very small sample compared to the number of targeted online users that could benefit from your products or services.  With the Display Network option in your AdWords account, you can reach a much larger group of internet users who could receive the benefits of...

Use Ad Testing to Help Reach Your PPC Marketing Goals - Part 3

First, we took a look at types of ads that you can test and then we look at how to analyze the results of your tests and set up new ones.  But, one more thing we must know is when to consider a test complete and ready to be analyzed. If you consider a test complete before you have statistically significant results that prove with great confidence that what you observe is actually true, you may find yourself making conclusions that simply are not.  Therefore, you need to know when you have enough data for this to be the case....

Use Ad Testing to Help Reach Your PPC Marketing Goals - Part 2

OK, so you get this previous post about ad testing and you set up some tests... now what?  How do you measure the results?  One of the cool features of AdWords is the ability to make a report to observe almost anything about your account.  In the case of measuring ad performance, you can create an (that's right, you guessed it) Ad Performance Report.  ...

Use Ad Testing to Help Reach Your PPC Marketing Goals

Once a PPC account is set up and running, a good account manager is always looking for ways to improve results to better reach the account's marketing goals.  One such way is to test different types of ad messages to gain insights into what attracts your industry's customers to your products/services so that you can better understand and communicate with them....

Using AdWords Bidding Options to Spend PPC Dollars More Intelligently

The guide for what bidding options to use in your PPC campaigns is the same for any other option - your marketing goals.  What are you trying to accomplish with this campaign? Once you figure that out, then knowing the options available and which goals that fit well will help you more intelligently reach those goals....

Using Account Organization to Spend PPC Dollars More Effectively - Part 2

In my last post, we took a look at a good reason for an account manager to make separate campaigns in an AdWords account.  If you have a similar product with different profit margins and total profit, then you want to control how much you're spending on each.  In this post, we'll explore more of the reasons to separate campaigns....

Using Account Organization to Spend PPC Dollars More Intelligently - Part 1

Most of the PPC accounts I look at do not take advantage of all of the different options that AdWords offers to organize your account for maximum success.  Most of them simply organize their campaigns based upon keywords.  They'll separate keywords into separate campaigns just because they're different keywords.  Or, they'll keep all different kinds of keywords for all different kinds of products with all different kinds of marketing goals in the same campaign.  But, AdWords has given us the flexibility to have much more control over how we are spending our money so that every dollar can be maximized....

Stop Wasting PPC Clicks and Start Saving $$$ - Part 2

Once again, we've eliminated more wasted clicks from the mix.  Therefore, we should see our conversion rate and cost per conversion metrics in these ad groups improve as we continue to focus on getting only the most relevant visitors to our website and more intelligently spending our precious PPC budget....

Funneling PPC Money Into the Right Keyword Markets

There's a big temptation that PPC managers need to stay away from, especially when first building an account.  The temptation is assumption. (And yes, we all know what happens when....)  If you assume, you can waste a lot of time building out a campaign that you will just have to spend MORE time fixing later....

Stop Wasting PPC Clicks and Start Saving $$$ Now

If you have a PPC account, as you read this you are paying for wasted clicks.  Visitors that aren't really interested in what you offer are coming to your website and you're paying for them.  Isn't that frustrating to know?  The bad news is that the nature of PPC won't enable you to ever totally eliminate this from happening....

Scouting Keywords That Will Become Your All-Star Players

What's my favorite keyword research tool out there?  Google's?  WordTracker? WordStream?  Actually, none of them.  The best keyword research tool is a broad match keyword in a PPC account. ...



About the Author

Mike Fleming specializes in Analytics and Paid Search for Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @SEMFlem. Mike enjoys playing, writing and recording music along with playing basketball to get his workout in. He resides in Canton, Ohio with a girl who threw a snowball at him one day…then married him.

Mike and the team at Pole Position are available to help clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Contact them via their site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Learn About: