- Online Marketing
This is a great article from Search engine Land about a topic of conversation I have with customers daily. A Must read if you are running your own PPC campaign.
When it comes to AdWords quality score, everyone knows from best practices that increasing this magic number is not only beneficial for rankings, but could lead to significant savings as well. But just how much savings would that be? And would it be worth dedicating your efforts to increasing it, or would it be more worthwhile to invest in other aspects of your account?
Ideally, you’ll want your keywords to have a quality score of 7 or higher, so anything with a score of 6 or below would be considered low. Find out what percentage of your keywords have a score of 7 or higher and which have a score of 6 or lower. Then, visualize this information in a pie chart where 7 or higher is “relevant” and 6 or lower is “irrelevant.”
Continue creating this chart on a regular basis to see whether you’re becoming more or less relevant. It’s a great way of visualizing the changes in your account and really simplifies the concept of quality score in a “black or white” kind of way.
Understanding whether you’re relevant is great. But even greater is finding out how much your “irrelevance” is actually costing you. I absolutely love this chart from ClickEquations, where you can see the impact of quality score on your Cost Per Click:
You’ll notice that at a quality score of 7, there is neither a discount nor a penalty. Discounts start above 7 and penalties, or CPC increases, start at 6 and below.
Notice the dramatic difference in increase between QS 4 (75 percent) and QS 3 (133.3 percent). Or even more dramatic, the increase from QS 2 (250 percent) to QS 1 (600 percent).
So what we’re seeing here is that you would get the highest impact from focusing on increasing the quality scores of 6 or below. Please note that this doesn’t mean you should ignore anything above 7. But you should start by getting those low quality scores to a healthy level first, so that at the very least you aren’t being penalized.
Here’s a list of 6 tips that could help you optimize and increase your quality score:
So, with these things in mind, is your quality score costing or saving you money? Do you actively work on improving it, or are you getting more value from other aspects of your account? Share your thoughts and comments below.
Another great article about the nature of PPC advertising being far more important than just getting new consumers into your website.
Ten years ago a business could thrive by focusing on organic search engine optimization. My rule of thumb then was that organic rankings garnered roughly 80 percent of the clicks on search result pages while paid listings garnered less than 20 percent. A smart SEO strategy seemed to outweigh a smart pay-per-click advertising strategy.
A lot has changed in 10 years. Google’s propensity for changing organic search results has hurt many smaller retailers that relied exclusively on SEO for traffic and revenue. As a result, many of these retailers have started shifting more of their marketing dollars to PPC as they seek a controllable flow of traffic and revenue.
At the same time, Google has implemented a brilliant strategy — called “Quality Score,” which I addressed at “Pay-Per-Click Advertising: Six Metrics that Drive Performance” — to reward retailers to make their ads increasingly relevant to shoppers. Furthermore, Google conducts many of its own tests to find the optimal layout, formatting, and labeling of its paid ads to blur the line between organic listings and paid listings.
The result is that while retailers should still be able to generate more total clicks via their SEO efforts — versus their PPC efforts — PPC is rising dramatically in its importance. The traffic and revenue retailers can generate by optimizing and scaling the performance of their PPC marketing is higher than it’s ever been, and that’s a big deal that no retailer should ignore.
I recently asked several of my pay-per-click managers to analyze Google’s “top vs. side” report — I wrote about that report previously, at “For Google AdWords, It Pays to be on Top” — to calculate an average click-through rate for PPC ads when they show on the top of the search results page. Here are the results from six merchants they surveyed:
Those click-through rates are likely as high as a merchant would expect from many of his or her organic, page 1 rankings. By the way, they are for non-branded search queries on campaigns that are well run and profitable over many months.
Clearly, PPC can send a lot of traffic relative to organic listings. But is it profitable traffic? Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. When it’s not, many retailers blame the inherent nature of PPC for campaigns that they perceive to be unprofitable. But I always advise to check your perceptions.
Since PPC has the potential to send a lot of traffic quickly, it can expose fundamental flaws in an online retailer’s business or marketing strategy. If your prices are too high, your campaign isn’t managed well, your website’s usability stinks, your products are out of season, or the buying cycle for the products you sell is long or complex, then of course PPC won’t perform optimally. Try addressing those issues before deciding that PPC can’t work for you.
In addition, there are circumstances when smaller retailers should consider adjusting their expectations for their PPC campaigns. Quite often the expectation for a PPC campaign should be a steady flow of profitable traffic that results in a high return on ad spending. There are times, however, where retailers should think more like bigger retailers — if they hope to become one.
Larger retailers treat the first sale they make to a new customer as an invitation into their customer’s home. Once they get that first sale, their marketing machine goes to work, and they focus on increasing the lifetime value of that customer. They use a combination of email marketing, loyalty programs, and on-site personalization to generate repeat business from their customers in a way that changes their economic model for PPC.
If smaller retailers pay $30 in PPC advertising fees for every $40 in related PPC sales, they may conclude that PPC cannot be profitable for them. If over the course of a year, however, they can generate an average of $500 in sales from customers acquired through PPC, the entire profit picture would change drastically. Suddenly the retailer would be in a position to throttle up its PPC budget in a way that could support significant ongoing revenue growth.
Search engine advertising or pay per click is something that every business can and should do. Even with terrific organic placement on searched that make the most sense to your business, 40% or greater (depending on the study) still buy from paid inclusion.
Looking at the search engine results page as a piece of virtual real estate puts you in the right mind set to see the advantages of search engine advertising. In a best case scenario, you are listed on the top in the paid area, listed in the local maps position, and your site shows up in the organic position, followed by a blog post that belongs to you as well. The fact is most customers will make their decision from the first page, showing up as many times as you can on the first page removes positions for you competitors websites to appear.
Dell, Pizza Hut, Dr Martens, and many other big companies have realized the value of search engine advertising and even on searches that they dominate the entire page will pay for placement in the paid inclusion. The red box shows the search engine advertising, and the highlighted yellow shows same site in organic placement.
Dominating the search engine results page allows for many benefits:
Just about every SEO expert will tell you that you have the ability to dominate on approximately five to 10 keyword strings, that said, think of how many ways a person could search for your product offering. Let use an example of a plumber in Denver Colorado. I might search for plumber in Denver, or Denver Plumber, it might be more pointed like toilet plumbing, or toilet plumbing in Denver or Denver toilet plumber. What I’m getting at is search engine advertising in paid inclusion allows this plumber to ensure that he shows up regardless of how the search is done. The same plumber with organic placement or SEO would be lucky to show up on the first page for all searches.
If a searcher doesn’t qualify their search with a geographic location like “Plumber Denver” and only enters “Plumber,” the natural or organic search results show nationally. The local Maps & paid inclusion results will rely on the location of the physical computer to show local results, but the organic changes to national. You can see in the example below how the amount of search results changes.
With search engine marketing a business can have more complete coverage as it relates to keyword terms, locality, and predictability in frequency of exposure.
Marketers reflexively think of search engine-based advertising when thinking of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which is not surprising given paid search’s tenure and continued effective use among online marketers.
Yet the latest annual findings from Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) and Econsultancy indicate paid search marketers are increasingly turning to PPC advertising on social media channels to complement traditional search engine placements.
More than half (52%) of companies worldwide vouched for the “moderate” or “huge” impact social media has had on their search engine marketing programs within the last year. Add that to the growing number of social media channels offering a PPC advertising model, and it’s no wonder 47% of North American companies are running PPC campaigns on Facebook, and more than a quarter (27%) are doing so on LinkedIn. In addition 18% of companies are PPC advertising on YouTube, and 15% on Twitter.
Although these percentages are dwarfed by those of North American companies advertising on Google and Bing/Yahoo!, major search engines aside, it’s clear companies prefer PPC advertising on social media channels to smaller engines like AOL and Business.com.