Search Engine Marketing Overview
Want to know who, what, where & why? Today, everyone immediately goes online to find their answers. At home or with the continued growth of mobile technology, searching is a way of life. When consumers are shopping, dining, price comparisons, research, real estate, travel, you name it; people are searching. If you have a product or service to sell, you need a digital presence with a robust search marketing strategy.
SERPs, Search Engine Results Pages, deliver both organic and paid search results. When you type in a search query, search engines produce a SERP. Each SERP is unique and sophisticated algorithms customize the user experience based on location, browsing history and social settings.
SEO uses techniques that will help your website and content get top SERP placement organically. SEO requires consistent efforts to achieve best results. Our digital marketing team will help you implement or maintain these strategies to improve your overall organic ranking.
- Content: Content: Great Quality Content is King, and if you want to rank, you need to develop quality content that will keep visitors engaged in your content. Search Engines want to deliver the most relevant high-quality results for viewers, and they are rewarding original authoritative content. Long-tail keywords that answer a query should be your guide to developing content. In the old days of SEO keyword stuffing was the way to go, but today, Google’s algorithms recognize semantic meaning, so it is best to write articles in a natural tone. Longer articles with 1200 to 1500 words will help with ranking. Adding fresh content that is on-time and trending can lead to a boost for ranking.
- Video Content: YouTube is the second largest search engine and gets over 30 million visitors per day in the US. Videos already make “up 64 percent of all internet traffic, according to Cisco’s 2014 Visual Networking Index, and it’s forecast to grow to 80 percent of all traffic by 2019”. Forrester estimates that one minute of video equates to 1.8 million words of text in the message communicated. With correct titling, description, tags, and transcription you have an excellent opportunity to rank. Google will boost the ranking of a page containing video because a video is rich media that is rewarded by the search engines. Adding video to your social pages will increase your social interactions and video likes will boost the overall SEO of your digital videos.
Social Media: While social media may not effect your website ranking, social media profiles are often amongst the top results in search listings for brand names. Social media provides potential customers to see the personality of your business. It is imperative to keep your Google+ page up-to-date since it is prominent for searches of your brand name. Social channels are search engines, and within those channels, potential customers are searching for businesses and products.
- Social Media: While social media may not effect your website ranking, social media profiles are often amongst the top results in search listings for brand names. Social media provides potential customers to see the personality of your business. It is imperative to keep your Google+ page up-to-date since it is prominent for searches of your brand name. Social channels are search engines, and within those channels, potential customers are searching for businesses and products.
- Link Building: Quality Link Building is an essential component of your overall SEO strategy. Every business should list their business on relevant directories. Paid links can have a negative effect on your site, so avoid the easy, quick links. Reciprocal linking is great; again relevancy is key. High ranking blogs and press releases build up link juice, and you should actively seek out links that have natural anchor text. Commenting on forums, with relevant posts will provide valuable links. Again, the key is relevancy; you cannot game the system.
- Mobile Responsive Site: IIf you do not have a responsive mobile site Google will penalize your site and will demote your site from mobile search rankings. If your site is not mobile responsive, there is a good chance your site does not have a modern appearance, and while it may still rank on a desktop, the user experience will not be top level.
- Images: Often overlooked and quickly uploaded is correctly identify images. Make sure to add relevant keywords to your image titles and alt tag that define your pictures. Try to keep images below 70kb to not slow down your site, or use web safe options to reduce file size. Use original well-shot photographs for best user experience.
Paid Search Marketing – PPC
Paid Search Marketing or PPC is when an online advertiser pays for a click triggered from online search engine and social media ads. Search Engine PPC is very cost effective because when a visitor inputs a search query they are actively seeking a product or service. Social media PPC and Search Engine Display Advertising place visual and text ads to targeted audiences to generate brand awareness.
Paid Search Marketing should drive conversions to your business but more importantly, is understanding the CPA or Cost Per Acquisition. Use this formula to determine CPA: Average Revenue per Customer = Yearly Revenue/Yearly Customer Count. This number is the benchmark for your advertising investment and will take the guesswork out of determining if your advertising dollars are working. If you’re an E-Commerce site, you can easily track these numbers, if not implement an in-house tracking program and define the marketing strategy that delivered the sale. Armed with this information you can determine a budget to begin your PPC campaigns.
Developing a successful PPC advertising program requires in-depth knowledge of the companies product or services. With this understanding extensive keyword research, creative ad copy and relevant landing pages are necessary to develop the most cost-effective ad campaigns.
It is worth the investment to have a knowledgeable team set up your Google and Bing / Yahoo PPC accounts. A knowledgeable marketer will immediately set-up Google Analytics and Search Console to monitor and track your web activity. Conversion tracking is essential.
- Campaigns: You can create 25 campaigns in an Ad Words Account. Ask yourself the following questions before setting up a campaign. Each campaign will have a budget, geo-targeting, defined search network placements. Each campaign should target a particular product line and ideally it should match your website navigation.
- Ad Groups: You can have up to 100 Ad Groups within a campaign. Within your campaigns, you will create ad groups that are sub-categories of the main campaign. You can focus on a particular product or service. By creating specific ad groups, your ads will be targeted to answer specific search queries which will result in a higher quality score and Click Through Rate.
- Ad Copy: Clear, concise and targeted ads that speak to the query result in high CTR. Start with 3-4 ads and ads with the highest CTR define the best performing ads. Continue to eliminate poor performing ads and add new ads striving towards a higher CTR.
- Keywords: A particular word, or a combination of words, used to target your ads to potential customers. Your ad will display when a user searches for your keyword, providing you have allocated sufficient budget and bidding. Your first step is to come up with as many keywords relating to your campaign as possible and then group into appropriate ad groups. Eliminate keywords that are too generic, irrelevant, or obscure. Two- and three-word keyword phrases usually work best.
- Broad Match: Broad match reaches the most users by showing your ad whenever with any variation of your keyword (such as beans for coffee or coffee roast beans, when your keyword is coffee beans). Broad match is a quick way to build clicks but offers little control.
- Modified Broad Match: Using modified broad match keywords can increase campaign clicks and conversions while providing more precise control than broad match. “Close variants include misspellings, singular/plural forms, abbreviations and acronyms, and stemmings (such as “floor” and “flooring”). Variants don’t include synonyms or related searches.”
- Phrase Match: Phrase match narrows your reach by showing your ad only when the search term contains your keywords. The phrase must appear in the exact order in the search query.
- Exact Match: Exact phrase will only show when this is the exact search query.
- Negative Keywords: Adding negative keywords will eliminate your ad displaying to the wrong audience. It is necessary to continually monitor search terms that trigger your ads to add negative keywords to your campaigns and ad groups.
- Cost Per Click (CPC): The maximum amount you’re willing to pay each time a user clicks on your ad for a particular keyword. You can set the maximum CPC bid at the ad group or keyword level.
- Impressions: The number of times an ad is displayed on Google or sites in the Google Network.
- Bidding: With cost-per-click (CPC) bidding and you’ll pay only when someone clicks on your ad and comes to your site. There are different strategies you can select for your bidding strategy.
- Automatic bidding: After setting your daily budget AdWords will adjust your CPC bids to bring you the most clicks possible.
- Manual bidding: You set bids at the ad group level, or for individual keywords or ad placements.
- Impression: Pay by the number of times your ad is viewable shown if your campaign is targeting just the Display Network. “You pay for every 1,000 times your ad appears and is viewable. Impressions are a good option if you want brand awareness.”
- Conversion: Define the amount you’re willing to pay for a conversion or cost-per-acquisition. “You will pay per click, but AdWords will automatically set your bids for you to try to get you as many conversions as possible at the cost-per-acquisition you specified.”
- Views (Video Ads) CPV: Evaluate how engaged viewers are with your video content. You’ll pay for “video views and other video interactions, such as clicks on the calls-to-action overlay (CTAs), cards, and companion banners.”
- Quality Score: The measurement used to determine your ad’s relevance to user searches. Your Quality Score is determined by your keyword’s click-through rate (CTR) on Google and by the relevance of your ad text, keyword, and landing page.
- Click Through Rate: CTR is the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown expressed as a percentage (clicks ÷ impressions = CTR). A high CTR is an indicator that an ad is relevant. Refining high CTR will improve your Quality Score which will reduce your overall cost per click.
- A/B Testing: It is best practice to start with three ads, creating ads for both mobile and desktop. Add slight variants to each ad. Pause ads with low CTR and replace with new ads. Continually strive for higher CTR.
- Conversion Tracking: An Adwords feature that lets you track whether someone who clicks on your ad and visits your website will perform an action that you consider valuable, such as a purchase or sign-up. Conversion information can help you determine the effectiveness of your ads and keywords.
- Cost per Acquisition: Use this formula to determine CPA: Average Revenue per Customer = Yearly Revenue/Yearly Customer Count. This number is the benchmark for your advertising investment and will take the guesswork out of determining if your advertising dollars are working.
- Search Text Ads: The standard type of AdWords ad. A text ad includes a link to your website and a description or promotion of your product or service.
- Image Ads: You can create your banner ads or use Google Web Designer. Ads will appear on the Display Network.
- Video Ads: “You pay when a viewer watches 30 seconds of your video (or the duration if it’s shorter than 30 seconds) or engages in other video interactions, such as clicks on the call-to-action overlays (CTAs), cards, or companion banners, or on the video thumbnail for in-display ads.” Ads appear on YouTube and Video Partners on the Display Network.
- Mobile Ads: Create specific Mobile Ads that target the mobile user.
- Local Business Ads for Google Maps: When someone performs a search in Google Maps for a mobile app, search ads are eligible to appear as one of the listed results below the search box and map. A purple icon showing the location of your business will also appear on the map. The ad may also feature a Call button and a Directions button. People can tap the ad to view more information about your business, like store hours and customer reviews.
- Facebook Ads: More than 900 million Facebook visits every day. When you run a Facebook Ad, you choose the audiences that see it by location, age, interests and more.
- Instagram Ads: “With a community of more than 500M, Instagram is one of the world’s largest mobile ads platforms. Businesses can share their stories with a highly engaged audience in a creative, high-quality environment and drive action with their ads.”
- Pinterest Ads: “Promoted Pins are just like regular Pins, only you pay to have them seen by more people. They’re native ad units that perform just as well, if not better, than organic Pins, helping people discover and save ideas.”