The PPC Guru
Best Practices When Moving a Site

Planning on moving your site to a new domain? How do you do it without losing rank or hurting your site’s performance in Google search results? The Google Webmaster Tools Team member Ríona MacNamara posted a best practices for moving your site to a new domain.

The aim should be to make the transition invisible to the user, and to make sure that Google knows that your original pages should transfer the page strength to your new pages. Here is a summary of the Google recommendations:

  • Test moving a handful of pages to the new domain first.
  • Use 301 redirects to notify Google of the change.
  • Redirect your pages to the most relevant new page. I  recommend that if a relevant page does not exist, make one.
  • Make sure your internal links are pointing to the new domain.
  • Register the new site with Webmaster Tools and submit a sitemap.
  • Review crawl errors within Webmaster Tools on both the new and old domain to catch any errors.

301 Redirect

A 301 redirect is the only search engine friendly strategy around for redirecting a page or site to another page or site. 301 redirects are interpreted by the search engines as "moved permanently," it’s not that hard to implement and it should preserves your search engine rankings for that particular page and transfers it those ranking to the new target page

Resources

 
Ten landing page tips to increase your conversions

Everyone love a ten item list, especially when it’s about getting people who visit your site to convert into sales or sales leads . After all, your paying for visitors. Can you think of something more important than turning those clicks into sales leads or paying customers?Consider these a set of suggestions about how to help optimize your landing pages. This way, visitors to your site, will then be more likely to become a conversion.

1. Tell them why they should buy from you
The Marketing Experiments Journal writes, “Clarity of your value proposition is the most important factor in determining whether a customer buys from you or not.” When evaluating your value proposition, ask the question: “Why should I buy from this website?”

2. Keeping them with you
There’s no way you’re going to get a potential customer to the intended destination the “conversion completion” page if you don’t have a clear and simple path to get there, or if you present them with a dead end. Marketing Experiments Journal calls this “site flow disruption.” You can combat by expressing your value proposition throughout the shopping or visit process in a consistent and compelling way.


3. Don’t say too much
Instead of stuffing your landing page with unnecessary details try this:

• State your main message using the least amount of words possible
• Make use descriptions, sub-headings, bulleted lists and short paragraphs to make your content scannable
• Use a standard one-column format for easy reading and scannable content.

4. Make it simple
Make use of a simple page layout that employs a clean visual and straightforward design making it easy to navigate and again scannable (scannable content is the best way to avoid bounces). Here’s how you do it:

• Design your landing page with a clear hierarchy with color and contrast for easily legible text
• Use meaningful and high-quality graphics (please don’t use too many)
• Make your logo a clickable link that takes the visitor to your homepage
• Use color to distinguish between visited and unvisited links
• Make your content scannable - read more about scannable content here
• Use breadcrumbs to let visitors know where they are and where they have been on your site

Just as important, make sure you don’t:
• Have horizontal scrolling
• Have flash-based content unless required. If it is required keep it down to a minimum

5. Use Call-to-Actions - Important!
Focus on one primary action per screen (don’t place 20 onto one screen) two call-to-actions per page max. Make the call-to-action button highly visible without the visitor having to scroll; don’t bury it under pages of information, your call-to-action should have the best real estate on the page.

6. Be specific
Provide product details ( least amount of words possible) and a large product image while displaying incentive, such as free shipping and warranty information high on the page and close to the product and call-to-action.

7. Tell your visitors what sets you apart
What sets you apart from your competitors? Shipping, discounts, warranty, price, customer service, etc.? If you’ve got it, say it!

8. Use site search
Make your site easy to navigate by helping potential customers find what they are looking for as quickly and easily as possible by implementing a search feature. You can further increase conversions by making sure your search results link to product pages. You can easily implement Google site search and get it here.

9. Use testimonials/ be personal
People don’t buy from websites, people buy from people. So you should include testimonials from devout customers or if you don’t have any a letter from the CEO, Sales Manager, Customer Service Team, etc will help persuade the unbelieving to make the conversion.

10. Test, Test, Test
After you have finished the design of your landing page, you should check for all the elements that makes up best practices for landing page design. Go over a this checklist with your team:

  • Is the whole page focused?
  • Does the message match or relevant to the advertisement?
  • Have you reduced all distractions and made the page scannable?
  • Is critical information above the fold?
  • What conversion action do we want performed?
  • Is there a adequate call-to-action to entice the visitor to perform said action?
  • Does the page enhance your brand?

Remember, always split test new landing pages before pushing them live. Even though you may love the new design it doesn’t always mean that the new design will convert better than the old ugly one. I’ve seen it a million times, take your emotions out of the game and only move forward on landing pages that produce results.

 
Internet Advertising Revenue to Exceed $21 Billion

Riding waves of quarterly growth, Internet advertising revenues for 2007 likely surpassed $21 billion, smashing the 2006 figure by miles, according to a new report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

The IAB’s Internet Advertising Revenue Report, a survey conducted independently by PricewaterhouseCoopers, is released in full twice a year, to coincide with the collection of half-year and full-year data. At the end of the first and third quarters, the IAB releases via press release estimated, top-line reports. The results reported are considered the most accurate measurement of Internet/online advertising revenues since the data is compiled directly from information supplied by companies selling advertising online. All-inclusive, the report includes data reflecting online advertising revenues from Web sites, commercial online services, Email providers, as well as other companies selling online advertising.” - Interactive Advertising Bureau


The report estimates Internet advertising revenue increased by 25 percent last year compared to 2006, a decline in growth rate compared to prior years. While the 2006 revenue figure of $16.9 billion was a record, 2007’s revenue far surpassed that figure. The IAB is estimating that companies spent $21.1 billion on Internet advertising last year. In the final quarter of the year, those companies spent over about $5.9 billion on online ads, the largest quarterly number ever reported by the IAB, a 13% increase over the third quarter of 2007.

 

The $5.9 billion figure represents an increase of 24 percent over the fourth quarter of 2006, according to the IAB. The IAB also noted that Internet ad revenues for the each of the four financial quarters of 2007 were all record breakers. In short that means the $21.1 billion year for Internet advertising is the culmination of consecutive record quarters throughout 2007.” In a statement IAB president and CEO Randall Rothenberg claimed, as we all already knew that the revenue growth is due to the fact that “there is no media as measurable as interactive,” and added that Internet companies are attractive to consumers and advertisers because “they provide products and services at the precise moment a consumer desires them.”

What does this mean for Search Marketers?

What does this mean for advertisers?

I will post an article next week that answers these questions and gives my predictions for 2008.

 
PPC Campaign Tracking Essentials

CTR, CPC, Conversion Rates. What you should be tracking on your PPC campaigns yet hardly anyone does.

Do you know how well your campaign is performing? Are you making money? How many visitors are visiting your site? How many visitors do you convert to sales leads/sales each month? What pages on the site are they visiting? What’s the Cost per Conversion? What’s the campaign ROI? What are good CTRs, Conversion Rates, etc?

Are you making money?

If you don’t know or don’t know why you should care, your not alone most clients I speak with have never tracked conversions or doesn’t know what their ROI. PPC is the most powerful advertising mode available to a marketer today however, with increasing competition and entry of bigger players in the fray , it has become extremely important for the campaigns to be managed well. Avoid peril, measure, monitor and memorize the following aspects of your PPC campaign, they will enable you to discover problem areas and which steps need to be taken to fix them. Most importantly they will indicate whether or not your campaigns are profitable.

 

Campaign ROI

For those that don’t know Return on Investment or ROI, it is a measurement that tells how effectively a business uses its capital to generate profit; the higher the ROI, the better. In order to determine ROI you must first know your profit:

sales - ad spend - expenses = profit

The formula for ROI is also very easy:

profit/ad spend = roi

Tracking ROI with a spreadsheet is the best way to get started if you have the time to dedicate to it. There are also services & software that track your conversion rate and your ROI for you automatically. Using software is the most accurate and best way to track ROI and to determine which campaigns, ad groups and keywords generate the most revenue and have the highest ROI. However, when starting it can be tough, here is a free online pay per click ROI calculator.

Be aware that highest ROI does not always mean biggest profit/return.
Here is a good example. If your making 10% profit on sales of $1,000 is better than 50% profit on sales of $10 even though the ROI of the latter is higher. What this means for you is that you have to know the relative different ROIs of your keywords in their different positions and then select the optimum combination to stay inside your budget constraints.

Conversion Rate

The term ‘conversion’ refers to converting visitors to your site into sales, sales leads or any event that you choose. So if someone clicks on one of your PPC ads, and purchases something from your site, that click is a conversion from a visit to a sale. Remember, advertising is only effective if it generates measurable results. Your Google AdWords account is an investment of time and money that you use to drive customers to your website.

The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who take a desired action. As stated before the desired action can be a sales lead, a sale, viewing a key page of the site, downloading a brochure, or any other measurable action.

To calculate your conversion rate divide the number of conversions by the number of ad clicks.

For companies that seek to generate offline responses like telephone calls, measuring conversions could be difficult until recently. A company called VoiceStar enables you to monitor every call sourced by your site in real time and no additional hardware or software is required.

 

Cost per Conversion

Cost per conversion is the cost of acquiring a conversion. To calculate cost per conversion divide the total cost by the total number of conversions. Then set your campaign goals to hit the desired cost per conversion.

 

Quality Score

Quality Score pretty much only applies to Google Adwords, for now. A Quality Score is assigned to each of your keywords and many believe your ads as well. It’s calculated using a variety of factors and measures how relevant your keyword is to your ad group and to a user’s search query.

Quality Score dictates your ads’ position in the results on Google and their network. It also determines your keywords minimum bid. In general, the higher your Quality Score, the better your ad position and the less you pay. There are many factors that determine your quality score some of which Google does not publicize. Here are a couple:

  • The keyword’s click through rate (CTR) on Google; CTR on the Google Network is not considered
  • Your ads click through rate (CTR)
  • The quality and relevance of your landing page (in other words if the keyword “cheap faucets” does not have the phrase on the landing page you will not have a high quality score)
  • And as Google puts it “Other relevance factors”

I can not stress enough the importance of quality score. It is also in your benefit to have a high quality score because this is indicative of highly targeted traffic. Meaning you are getting only the people or businesses interested in your product/service at the time they are ready to make a purchasing decision. In the future I will write extensively on the subject of quality score. For now please read this short definition that Google has provided called What is a ‘Quality Score’ and how is it calculated?”

Click Through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate or CTR is a way of measuring the success of an online advertising campaign as well as a method for detecting small problems before they become large problems. Your ads and keywords each have their own CTRs, and an overall CTR.

If you notice your CTR drop suddenly and expectingly check your average position. If it has dropped as well, your competitive landscape may have change and this is a warning sign that your campaign should change accordingly.

Also remember CTR affects your quality score. Send me your comments and I can give you tips to improve your CTR, and I will also post future articles on how to improve CTR.

Cost per Click (CPC)

Cost per Click or CPC is amount you pay per click on one of your PPC ads. Most advertising networks allow you to set maximum and minimum CPC while some second tier networks do not. It is important to know your average CPC so that through time you can trend and make budgetary decisions for the future.

Just like every business is unique so are PPC campaigns. It may be important to Company A to track incoming phone calls to see which advertising network is producing the best results, where Company B does no phone sales. The important lesson here is in order to truly tap all of the revenue stream through PPC it is important that all efforts can be measured before you can have well managed campaigns.

The preceding measurement allow you to utilize the Internet Marketing Method: Experiment. Evaluate. Adjust.

 
My Favorite Second Tier PPC Networks

It may be difficult to imagine a successful PPC campaign that doesn’t include Google and Yahoo!, companies that limit themselves to just the top two or three may be missing out on profitable traffic.

The exact same reasons Google and Yahoo! are essentials to any SEM effort is the exact same reasons it has become increasingly difficult for small and medium size companies to generate the same level of returns as they were in 2001.

Almost all companies participating in SEM efforts are using Google and or Yahoo!. This means you are in competition against all companies inside your industry for your keywords. When competition for keywords increases so do prices, when prices increase profits fall. As this trend continues small and medium sized companies are forced to either find areas of their campaigns that can use optimization or explore alternative sources of targeted traffic if they hope to maintain their profit margins on their advertising efforts.

To all of our benefits, there are smaller and niche search engines who can bridge the gap by delivering high quality targeted traffic at an affordable price.

When should we consider using second tier engines?

  • Large budgets and not enough inventory on the major networks
  • The need for a very targeted audience. I had a client that sold alternative Marijuana, Google didn’t want them so I found a search network for hippies were they receive some of their biggest returns ever. Lower cost per conversion.
  • Your client or boss insists on diversification.

Why do I like 2nd tier networks?

  • They tap into niche audiences.
  • Better positioning.
  • Lower costs.
  • Fewer bidders and higher returns.

Second Tier Networks in order from Best to Worst

  1. Searchfeed
  2. Looksmart
  3. Miva
  4. Adbrite
  5. Enhance
  6. Kanoodle

Searchfeed

While the traffic volume on Searchfeed is very low I have experienced very high conversion rates. Besides the conversion rates being high so is the amount of competition for a second tier network.

Looksmart

Very well rounded. Decent amount of traffic at good prices and converts well.

Miva

Very low cost per click, also very low search volume and acceptable conversion rates.

Adbrite

Good amount of traffic at a good cost but don’t expect to see the same conversion rates as the top four.

Enhance

I’ve gotten good conversion rates from these guys buy there just isn’t enough search volume.

Kanoodle

Actually I should have taken this off the list. While the price is good they just can’t seem to deliver quality traffic. I use this network when I have a client that seems to think (regardless of how I explain what conversions are) that more visitors will earn them more money. Two Must have B2B Networks

  • Business.com
  • Thomasnet

Business.com

The reason PPC marketing is such a successful advertising model is because it delivers targeted traffic at the time they are making a purchasing decision to relevant websites. So if you are trying to reach the B2B audience, this is where you do it.

Thomasnet

Over 90% of industrial buyers , government and the military go to find supplier websites, online product catalogs, CAD drawings, and product news at Thomasnet. If this is your target audience you must be here even more so than Google. Important Considerations

  • Manual reporting and maintenance is in most cases necessary
  • Tracking that they do offer tends not to be in real time
  • Typically do not always report on same metrics

The only way to know if these networks will work for you is to experiment with them. With a little investment of your time and money you may discover a powerful new source of profitable traffic. Remember to always Experiment, Evaluate and Adjust.

 
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