Author Archives: Shirish Agarwal

About Shirish Agarwal

Shirish Agarwal is the founder of Flow20 and looks after the PPC and SEO side of things. Shirish also regularly contributes to leading digital marketing publications such as Hubspot, SEMRush, Wordstream and Outbrain. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

May 28, 2019

Looking for a 10? How to improve your Google Ads Quality Score to (near) perfect levels

So, after a perfect 10?

Well, aren’t we all?

And while I can’t promise that if you follow the steps below you will achieve 10/10 Quality Scores on your Google Ads campaigns, I can promise that’ll it will get you very close, reducing your Cost Per Clicks and increasing your Return on Ad Spend along the way.

Here are the most effective and proven ways to increase your Quality Score:

1) Have small, tightly-themed ad groups

Google rewards keywords by way of higher Quality Scores when the keyword closely matches the ad headlines. And, you can only create headlines that are very relevant to your keyword if you don’t have too many keywords within each ad group.

Think about it: Say, you’re targeting a keyword such as “self assessment tax  accountant’.You should have at least one ad headline that has that same keyword in the headline (and another headline which uses a more creative headline so you can split test).

If you had several keywords within the ad group such as self assessment tax accountant, self assessment accountant London, self assessment London, you won’t be able to create one single headline that closely matches all.

Start thinking in terms of structuring your account using Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs). As the name suggest, you will only have one keyword per ad group which will therefore allow you to create ads that are highly relevant to the target keyword, thus checking 2 out of the 3 boxes that make up the Quality Score score.

Expected Click-Through Rate (CTR): How likely is someone to click your ad when Google serves it for the keyword they type in?

Ad Relevance: Does the ad make sense to appear when someone searches for a particular keyword?

Landing Page Experience: Does the information on the landing page correspond to what the ad is offering, and vice versa?

2) Improve your landing pages

You can have the most detailed and tightly-themed campaign in the world but if your landing page is not doing its job of making it easy for your visitors to buy your product or enquire about your service, your Quality Score is going to take a hit.

Out of the several factors, here are the main ones that’ll help you improve your landing page experience score:

Increase your website’s load speed – Make sure your website loads fast because slow loading times won’t only have a negative impact on your Quality Score, it will also limit your ROI

Improve conversion rate – The purpose of your digital marketing campaigns is to generate enquiries and/or sales so make sure your website you’ve optimised your website for conversions.

Lower bounce Rates – Having a form visible above-the-fold, the landing page’s headline matching the keyword, quick loading times will all help to improve your Bounce Rate.

If you aren’t sure what your Bounce Rates should be, the image to the right should give you some averages based on different sectors.

Make sure your on-page SEO is excellent – Your landing page already have titles but make sure the main headline(s) is using the H1 attribute as that has a bearing to the landing page experience score of Quality Score.

For example, on our Google Ads management page, we have the headline as “Pay Per Click (PPC) Management London’ which uses the H1 attribute as that is one of our target keywords for SEO and PPC campaigns.

So, you want to make sure that the keyword that took the prospect to your landing page is same or very similar to the H1 title.

If you aren’t sure of these, feel free to contact Flow20 or use a tool such as this one to check.

3) Increase your Click-Through Rates (CTR)

One of the most effective ways to improve your Google Ads’s Quality Score is to increase your ad’s CTR. Here are some tips:

Use all relevant ad extensions – sitelinks, callouts, rich snippets and so on…the more real-estate your ad occupies, the higher the chance of it getting clicked.

Don’t waste ad copy allowance – Currently (May 2019) Google Ads gives you 30 characters for the 3 headlines and 90 characters for the 2 lines of description. Making use of the allowance in full is another way to increase the amount of room your ad takes which can result in getting it more clicks.

Bid competitively – Make sure you’re bidding enough for your target keywords as low ad positions will generally result in lower CTR which in turn impacts your Quality Score negatively.

So, there you have it, some tried and tested ways on how to improve your Quality Score. Take the time to implement these and you will begin seeing your Google Ads game improving in no time, bringing you one step closer to the perfect score.

Conclusion

To increase the chances of paying the least possible for your clicks, make sure you focus on improving your Quality Scores.

For help with your digital marketing campaigns, whether that’s Google Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn or Social Media, get in touch with us today. Or, view all our services here.

April 4, 2019

What’s the impact of your domain reputation to your rankings

Christmas had come early for SEO professionals everywhere. In July to be precise as that is when Google issued a revised and updated version of their quality rating guidelines handbooks.

164 pages of pure SEO gold that was previously information reserved for a 10,000 strong network of human raters worldwide was first publicly released in 2013 but Google made a significant update to it in 2018.

Flow20 brings you a condensed version of the handbook, distilling only the most important information and presenting to you in an easy to understand and actionable format.

Time to begin improving your domain’s reputation and improve your SEO.

SEO Tip 1: Reputation matters

For quite some time now Google has paid attention to a website’s reputation and if you want to improve your organic visibility the first thing to do is start with improving your reputation.

Based on the public data available as well as notes from the leaked version of the 2013 handbook, here’s how manual raters may go about evaluating a website’s reputation:

Step 1: Find the home page via the company name search
Step 2: Determine if other versions of the domain exist e.g. subdomain.website.com
Step 3: Look for direct reviews about the company e.g. “reviews website.com”
Step 4: Look for company reviews on review sites such as Yelp, Google Shopping, Trustpilot / Feefo, Google My Business to name a few

From page 14 of the handbook:

“Your job is to truly evaluate the Page Quality of the site, not just blindly accept information on one or two pages of the website. Be skeptical of claims that websites make about themselves. – Guidelines, page 14”

It goes without saying that on your own website you’ll have nothing but good things to say about your business and the offering which is why evaluators are asked to research what independent sources seem to have to say about your company and how well it does its job.

Note: Quality raters cannot alter Google’s results directly. A rater marking a particular listing as low-quality will not cause that page to be banned or lose ranking.

Instead, the data generated by quality raters is used to improve Google’s search algorithms, an automated system of ranking pages. Over time, that quality rater data might have an impact on low-quality pages that are spotted by raters, but the algorithm will also impact pages that weren’t reviewed.

Get your brand reviewed in different places

This is why getting your site listed on review websites and then having a process in place to routinely ask your customers for review is so important.

Ideally, you want to have customers leave reviews for you in a number of different sites and not just one. Often, we have clients asking us if it’s best to get all of the reviews on Google My
Business as that is Google’s own property and that could be a big mistake.

In the real world, you would likely have had people leaving reviews in different places and that is precisely what you want online too.

 

If anything, having all your reviews on GMB may actually end up doing more harm than good so make sure you diversify!

Pro tip: the keywords and keyphrases used in a review matter so where possible, ask your clients to use the keywords in your review that you want to rank for. For example, if you’re selling accountancy services in London and one of your target keyword is accountants in London, try to get that keyword in your review.

Individual reputation comes into play

The general reputation of a website has been important to Google for quite some time as we’ve covered above.

What is new in the latest update however is that for the first time, the reputation of the individuals behind the brand seems to have taken on significance too.

This new addition to the guidelines has implications for you in 2 ways:

First, make sure that you have an about us section on your website.

As most of you will know, Flow20 doesn’t just do Google Ads and SEO, we build websites too and it isn’t uncommon for clients to want to leave out the about us page for a whole host of reasons (its too ‘personal’, we don’t have good imagery to use, our office doesn’t look great…the list goes on…) and whilst we understand that for strategic reasons, when it comes to SEO and ranking on Google, this is one thing you don’t want to omit.

At the very least, you want to have the names of all the key personnel behind the company and having a picture attached to each will help too. Hubspot has put together a handy article on this to help you get started.

By the way, remember, this isn’t just to please Google: informative and detailed about us pages can also have a positive impact on your visitor-to-lead conversion rates.

https://blog.hubspot.com/hs-fs/hubfs/Zh4fLrS0FG.gif?noresize&width=669&name=Zh4fLrS0FG.gif

 

Here’s a brilliant about us page

The second thing to note is that just as important as an about us page is, now that Google is taking individual reputation into account, having detailed bio’s of the people behind the company is just as important.

What this means is to have detailed write-ups about each person, suitable imagery and perhaps above all else, including links to any third party websites or pieces of publication that can raise the individual’s credibility.

Although not explicitly stated, it would seem logical that links to a busy Social Media profile should be just as effective in establish authority so if you have those, it should work just as well.

Another thing worth bearing in mind is that depending on the type of business you’re in, the weightage of individual authorship reputation can vary.

Google is likely to give this new factor more importance if you’re providing services such as medical, finance, law rather than say gardening or cooking which of course makes sense – when showing results for ‘what to do if you think you having a heart attack’ Google will want to do all that it can to show the very best result than for ‘how to make pasta bolognese’.

What this means for you is that if you’re providing services of a sensitive nature, improving how your website fares for the individual authorship reputation is very important.

I’m a new business so have no reputation to speak of, what do we do?!

Get started!

Reputation, whether that is online or offline has to be built over time and we all have to start somewhere don’t we?

The important thing is to have a system in place that is building your online reputation over time – once your business picks up, it’s easy to forget about the marketing aspects with asking for reviews becoming something you do only once a year. Instead, work on implementing a process, e.g. sending an email out to all new customers every month asking for a review can help you streamline the process.

Here are some other things that can help you increase your website and brand’s reputation.

Collaborations & strategic partnerships

Collabs are a proven way to improve your reputation which means it will also help you get better rankings.

No matter what your area of businesses, there’s a good chance that you can approach other businesses in a similar sector where your respective target markets are likely to overlap. If the partner in question is an established brand then that’s even better as some of that brand authority is likely to rub off on your brand during the collab which means more SEO brownie points.

Just as important perhaps, all of this could have a much more beneficial impact to your business’s sales and bottom line over and above improved rankings.

Do you provide IT support to businesses? Do a podcast with a web development agency (cough cough). Are you an accountancy firm? Reach out to providers of serviced offices in your area asking if you could write a detailed post on tax saving tips and publish on their blog. Window cleaning company? Do a video about end-of-tenancy cleaning especially for one of the estate agents in your area.

And if you’re still lacking inspiration or ideas, this article on Forbes should help!

Create and/or give away something of value and make it easy to share

Unless you’re in the field of SEO or perhaps digital marketing, giving away your trade secrets may seem like an awfully daft thing to do.

However, giving away something valuable for free when executed correctly can do wonders for increasing your domain’s reputation. The keyword here is execution and what we mean specifically is the shareability aspect.

Whether its a white paper or a video, an infographic or a blog post, if you can get your content shared it has incredible value because when Google sees that something you created is being shared publicly it is as clear a sign as any that the person to have created the content must be trustworthy.

More trust = improving rankings.

Of course creating something that is engaging enough as to entice users to share is much easier said than done but this guide ought to give you some ideas.

Just as important is to have several ways to allow your content to be shared on as many different Social Media platforms as possible.

Start by having a sharing widget such as Addthis or AddToAny on your website, on all blog posts, videos and infographics.

Embedding a Social Media widget such as the social plugin by Facebook could be another way with the benefit being that for logged in users, sharing (or even commenting) becomes much easier.

Its a good idea to benchmark your before/after rankings and keep a track of them on an ongoing basis to see how all your hard work is making an impact.

For help with your digital marketing, whether that’s Google Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn or Social Media campaigns, get in touch with us today. Or, view all our services here.

Of course, if you need help at any stage, you can always contact us.

January 25, 2018

Why most blog posts never get read and how to optimise yours to help it get more traffic

Updated June 2018

Average read time: 13 minutes

There’s few marketing catch phrases that make me cringe more than “content is king”. I stopped counting the number of times I saw it quoted after number 481 (ok, not really but you get the point).

However, the reason I find that so annoying is the same reason I see it quoted so often: because it is true.

The benefits of writing blog post are too many to list here, but I will give it a try:

  • More opportunities for generating leads
  • Establish authority in your niche
  • Fodder for your Social Media properties
  • Express your views
  • Demonstrate thought leadership (another close-to-becoming-cringeworthy term)
  • Gets Google to visit your site more often and an increase in crawl rate is good for your SEO
  • Increase your website/blog’s repeat visit levels (Google likes websites which users come back to)

What’s missing in the list? Driving traffic.

And, that’s because content written for its own sake hardly gets read. To give you an idea of what I mean, take a look at the graph below:

On average, approx. 70% of the new organic visitors to the blogs are driven by just 20% of the blog post which means 80% of the posts never really see the light of the virtual day.

Why is that you ask? In my experience, it is because most of blog posts have been written for the purposes of keeping a blog up-to-date or sharing something on social media and not so much with SEO and/or conversions in mind and without a strategy to begin with, there’s little chance of your blog posts doing anyone any good.

I have put together this short guide containing SEO tips for your next blog post which can serve somewhat as a checklist of your future blog posts.

Decide on your target search terms

If you’re writing blog posts not just as a brand building exercise but to also help you generate leads and traffic, just like with your website pages, you need to have a keyword strategy for each blog post in mind, before you begin writing it.

Start by selecting no more than 2-3 long tail keywords as the target for each blog post. You don’t want to stuff it with keywords and aim to use it approx. once every 250 words.

At the same time, use synonyms for the target keywords as well because Google’s semantic search is now pretty competent at picking up different words/phrases with the same meaning and assigning rankings accordingly.

Make sure you use the target keywords at least once within the first 2 paragraphs of your blog post via a h1 or h2 tag.

Assigning relevant h tags to all the headings within your blog posts is important if you want it to have any chance of getting position 0 i.e. getting featured in the featured snippet

Our sister website Digital Restaurant in the featured snippet for ‘restaurant table management’. How’d we do that? By using the very same techniques described above

Size (of your post) matters

Although, quality will generally trump quantity when it comes to SEO, when it comes to the length of your blog post, quantity is almost as important for several reasons:

First off, one of the ways Google determines the usefulness of a piece of content is to look at a metric called Long Click.

Simply put, this is the amount of time the user spent on a page after having gone to it from the search results and whether they hit the back button to visit another search result and if so, after how long. Ideally, Google wants to not have the user come back to view another result as not only does that mean the page satisfied the query but also that Google’s top result was highly relevant. What all of this has to do with length count is that in most cases longer pieces of content generally fare well on this metric.

Second, lengthier blog posts will typically have to be better researched which not only means it is likely to improve your Long Click rate but your Bounce Rates are going to be lower which is yet another ranking factor.

In terms of the word count, is there a magic number?

A/B tests Neil Patel carried out on copies with 1400 words vs 500 found that the lengthier copy not only got more views but also generated more conversion. The folks over at Yoast say they’ve had the best results from blog posts containing more than 2500 words. Medium’s magic number seems to be 1600.

From the data Flow20 analysed 1200 words per blog post seems to be a good target to keep in mind.

Shorter blog posts generally don’t have great engagement unless they were quite specialised or covered a niche topic.

Which brings me to the next point….

Large fish, small pond

One of the best pieces of strategic advice Matt Cutts, ex head of Google’s web spam team ever gave was on how to stand out by focusing on small market segments where it is easier to establish your brand as a leader.

Whilst this may or may not apply to you strategically, when it comes to choosing your blog post topics, this should be one your deciding factors.

Rather than choosing snooze-inducing topics such as tips on making money, how to clean your oven and ways to save on your next holiday, spending the time to research topics that are topical or perhaps, likely to be of interest to your audience.

If your posts can draw inspiration from your personal or business experience then that’s even better as that’ll make your content truly unique.

Here are some tools to help you find interesting ideas for your next blog post:

See a more comprehensive list at SEO.com.

Ubersuggest long-tail suggestions

A Twitter search for #mortgages brings back tweets that mention this topic on Twitter. From these results, you may get the idea to write a post about how buying a home is still cheaper than renting a home – for now anyways.

Make it well researched and cited

Unless you’re a SEO professional and know the value of outbound linking, you might be reluctant to include links to other websites, possibly competitors to cite a piece of research or reference in your blog post thinking your posts will lose some of the link juice.

However, this is a big mistake as one of the ways Google can determine the credibility of a blog post by looking at how well it is researched and cited and there’s no better way to do that than linking relevant pieces of text to the research material.

Here’s another excerpt from Search Engine Land’s article on creating quality content:

“Credible: Show your site’s credibility by using original research, citations, links, reviews and testimonials. An author biography or testimonials from real customers can help boost your site’s trustworthiness and reputation.”

On a sidenote: don’t forget, the more you link out, the more likely you’re going to get linked to (which is great for SEO), not to mention you’re increasing your brand exposure.

Source: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy

Say goodbye to stock images

Using descriptive images is a proven way to grab your visitor’s attention and reduce your article’s bounce rates and if you’ve been using stock images mostly until now, it is time to put in a little more effort when it comes to choosing the images that’ll accompany the text.

Real images not only have higher click-through rates but they also give more authenticity to a blog post.

Using stock images within your blog posts might be the easier option but is seldom the best one.

And, that’s it!

If you’re serious about making your content help you in your SEO efforts you might want to actively start tracking new keywords for each blog posts in a position tracking software such as SEMRush or Moz or one of the several hundred others out there.

Don’t be afraid to test different lengths and word counts and comparing that against your rankings and amount of traffic each blog post is driving to understand how your website’s own domain authority and audience will impact the effectiveness of your SEO and how many of your blog posts are seen, read and hopefully, shared.

Was that too long to read? Here’s what we covered:

  • How much traffic do blog posts usually get
  • Defining your blog post’s keyword strategy
  • Keeping them of appropriate length
  • Finding good topics to write on
  • Increasing your content’s credibility
  • Stock vs real images

For help with your digital marketing, whether that’s Google Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn or Social Media campaigns, get in touch with us today. Or, view all our services here.

January 4, 2018

Google AdWords and Google Analytics audit results from a real campaign

There’s no shortage of good resources on theory and practical advice on auditing a Google AdWords campaign. However, I couldn’t quite find one which contained real-world suggestions based on an actual AdWords campaign which is what this blog post is all about.

The audit here is pretty much what I sent to client but removed any references to the company name and/or URL. The company offer a range of voice and data products for B2B – telephone systems, high speed data access, call recording solutions and so on.

This audit also includes some suggestions and areas of improvement of landing page data taken from Google Analytics.

The time period is Jul 20, 2017 – Oct 20, 2017.

PS. I audited the account over 2 days and different computers hence the mashup of old and new interface screenshots.

View: Settings >> Device

Comments: The campaign is delivering the lowest Cost Per Conversions for desktop visitors with mobile being the worst performing device. Both, computers and mobiles have had an almost equal share of ad spend, however, there have been 3 x more conversions from computers.

The cost of acquiring a desktop lead has been £145 but £439 for a lead from mobile which makes the former far more cost-effective as a lead source.

Suggestions:

  • Decrease the bid adj for mobiles by about 30%
  • Increase the bid adj. for computers by about 50%
  • Analyse the following KPIs for mobile users via Google Analytics
    – Bounce Rate
    – Time on site (compared to other devices)
    – Visitor-to-lead conversion rate of organic traffic to get a broader data set to compare with

View: Settings >> Location

The default location targeting settings is currently not the most effective way to target the most qualified visitors. The default recommendations Google makes is seldom in the best interest of advertisers and is geared towards increasing clicks regardless of quality.

By targeting people ‘who show interest in my targeted location’ and excluding people ‘who show interest in my excluded location’ the campaign can be serving ads to anyone who searches for the keywords within the campaign even if they’re from a different country.

Suggestions:

  • Change targeting option to ‘people in my targeted location’
  • Change exclude option to ‘people in my excluded location’

View: Settings >> IP exclusions

It’s a good idea to exclude all IP addresses that have access to the AdWords account to limit unnecessary impressions racking up thus reducing your CTRs. Optional but recommended. You can always use the ad diagnostic tool to check where your ad is showing up and how.

View: Settings >> Locations

Greater London has accounted for approx. 65% of your total ad spend but only delivered 50% of the conversions. More importantly, the cost/conv. from Greater London has been 1.5x higher than those from Essex, Sussex and other areas clearly suggesting the traffic quality from this location isn’t nearly as high as from others.

Suggestions:

  • Reduce bid adj. for Greater London by 30%
  • Increase bid adj. for Hampshire by 40%
  • Increase bid adj. for other areas by 10% each

View: Segment >> Hour of day

The campaign is set to run between 6am – 7pm and the lowest CPAs are coming in at around 11am, 9am and 3pm in that order.

The most expensive conversions are taking place between 2pm – 4pm.

Between the hours of 4pm – 7pm, absolutely no conversions have occurred even though it has taken up about 20% of the ad spend

Suggestions:

  • Increase bid adj. by 30% for 9am – 12pm
  • Reduce bid adj. by 30% from 4pm – 7pm
  • Reduce bid adj. by 50% from 4pm – 7pm

View: Segment >> Day of the week

The campaign is set to run Monday – Friday and the lowest CPAs are coming in on Monday and Tuesday.

The most expensive conversions are taking place on Thursday and Fridays.

The CPA for Monday is £123 compared to £339 for Thursday which is a difference of over 150%.

Suggestions:

  • Increase bid adj. by 30% for Monday
  • Decrease bid adj. by 25% for Thursday

View: Keywords

Out of a total of 23 keywords, only 2 of them have delivered 100% of the conversions and the cost/conv from the 2 varies significantly (£14.75 vs £279.06!).

Moreover, a lot of the other campaign keywords have incurred costs but not delivered any conversions.

Suggestions:

  • Review the current cost/conv and decide on what is feasible
  • Consider creating more ad groups and keywords to find new opportunities

View: Ad groups >> All

From the 5 ad groups, only Call Recording Solutions / Generic has delivered 100% of the conversions even though it accounts for 65% of the ad spend.

It’s a good idea to regularly look at how the various ad groups are performing and not just the ads themselves as low performing ad groups still consume the budget for that campaign which could otherwise be spent on higher earners.

Low performing ad groups can also drag the Ad rank of the campaign down which over time can result in higher CPCs.

Suggestions:

  • Create separate ad groups for campaigns that haven’t delivered any conversions to date
  • Analyse each of the non performing ad groups to analyse possible reasons for the low ROI and make changes before launching a new campaign (simply copying over the ad groups onto new campaigns will still deliver the same results)

View: Ads >> All

You have already paused non or low performing ads on both, the campaign level as well as Ad groups level which is good.

View: Shared library >> Audiences

The campaign isn’t currently storing any visitors for remarketing as the tags don’t seem to be active. The visitor data would suggest that the tag, either the remarketing tag or via Google Analytics was in fact active but due to possible changes on the website, the code has been removed.

Remarketing can be very effective esp. when creating highly targeted campaigns. For example, you might have one remarketing list for users who visited a ‘money page’ such as the download brochure or the price list. Or, you could create a remarketing list which comprises of people who’ve gotten a quote and then show them a special offer via display ads to encourage them to take up the offer

Suggestions:

  • Fix remarketing tag on website

Landing Pages

The landing pages currently in use don’t have a form immediately visible the image in use isn’t closely related to the product/service being offered (not sure why there’s a picture of a car when the product being offered is a business telephone system).

Here are some tips and best-practices on how to improve your visitor-to-lead conversion rates and reduce your current Cost Per Acquisition of leads and sales.

Suggestions:

  • Include the contact form above-the-fold (taking into account the most common screen resolutions to determine what the above-the-fold dimensions would be)
  • Include a relevant image within the banner
  • Create different landing pages including only one piece of contact info and evaluate conversions

As a sidenote, you may expect that having as many contact options as possible on landing pages like you have (phone number, live chat, callback form etc) would improve conversions this isn’t always the case as sometimes this can overwhelm users. You may wish to experiment with landing pages by reducing the Call to actions to just 1 or 2 and comparing the impact on conversion rates.

Visitor Behaviour

The website gets almost an equal amount of share from mobile vs desktop visitors however the amount of time desktop users spend is 5 times that of mobile visitors. This would usually suggest that the website isn’t very mobile friendly or there are cross-device compatibility issues.
Similarly, as the chart above shows, the average Bounce Rate of visitors is close to 90% which is very, very high. However, the site itself seems fairly easy to use and I suspect there is a problem with the GA code somewhere as opposed to 90% of users bouncing off the site without having interacted with it.

Suggestions:

  • Check website on a few different mobile devices to uncover any mobile-specific issues

Traffic Acquisition Report

Looking at your traffic acquisition report, Organic search (SEO) seems to actually deliver the 3rd highest quality of traffic as well as sending through almost 35% of your new visitors.
Compared to paid traffic, visitors from SEO are spending twice as much time on site and are significantly more engaged!

Most of the organic traffic is coming into non ‘money pages’ such as blog posts. Possible reasons for this is a weak keyword selection on the landing pages and/or low SEO positions. Ideally, you want at least 60-70% of the incoming traffic coming to your home page and the landing pages as that is the audience set that is likely to convert into leads

Suggestions:

  • Identify the most lucrative pages and services and run a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign to improve your organic rankings
  • Revisit the keywords being optimised for the landing pages and make tweaks where necessary

I hope you find this useful. If you’re looking for resources containing general tips and theory on auditing a PPC AdWords account, here are some that I have found to be helpful:

For help with your digital marketing, whether that’s Google Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn or Social Media campaigns, get in touch with us today. Or, view all our services here.

SEMRush competitor December 4, 2017

Thinking like an entrepreneur when running AdWords campaigns in hyper competitive industries

With the arrival of tools such as AdWords Express and Dynamic Ads and ever-increasing prominence of local results (i.e. Google My Business) moving the spotlight away from the organic results, the AdWords platform has become more competitive than ever.

Cost Per Click (CPC) rates, too, have been on an upward trajectory, helped partly by the removal of paid ads to the right (as if, they weren’t high enough to begin with).

So, what’s an entrepreneur to do? Ask the competition for help, of course.

Ok, not literally but what I’m talking about here is to start thinking in the same way you would when making a business decision such as how/where to allocate resources, the competition, getting smart and so on.

By looking at the whole picture and beyond data only derived by your typical keyword tools, you can give your campaign the best chance of success and gaining a share in an already crowded marketplace.

Having managed several PPC campaigns over the years for hyper competitive industries such as web design, personal injury, real estate and insurance, I have put this guide together with everything that has helped our own in-house and client campaigns deliver a positive ROI and hope it will do the same for you.

#1 Consult your internal strategic data to decide what to advertise

Whether you’re selling a product or service, most businesses will have a range of options on offer and the worst thing you can do is launch your ad campaign(s) trying to sell all of them right off the bat.

Chances are, your CPC is going to be high as it is and, because it can take some time before your ad will start racking up impressions and then clicks, having lots of small campaigns or ad groups, each focusing on a different product/service will at best, mean an awfully long time before you get any conversions and at worst, few impressions over a long period of time. Yes, impressions…no clicks, no conversions, only impressions.

Instead, put your strategic hat on and come up with a list of a key products/services that you decide you’re going to focus only on at first. To help you find what these might be, it helps to think about your various offerings in terms of:

  • Those where you have the highest profit margins
  • Products/services you offer that not many of your competitors do
  • An area where you might have already built up a niche and therefore, likely to yield higher conversion rates (e.g. if you’re an accountancy firm but with a long list of clients in the tech sector)
  • New areas you wish to tap into (e.g. you want to increase sales of one of your services currently not a significant revenue driver)

You might be able to come up with more factors to consider but the point is to ultimately come up with a list of only a few products/services to focus on.

#2 Configure your campaign settings like a professional entrepreneur

For new campaigns I generally like to run the ad for as long as possible during the times of the day and week that the business is open and generally even beyond that to have a data set to work with.

However, if you’ve got a limited budget and you’re working with high CPCs you might want to pull existing internal business data you might have on enquiries and sales and adjust your campaign settings based on that.

Here are a few suggestions:

Match your ad schedule with busy business periods – if your business has been around for some time, chances are, there are certain days and times of the day where you generally tend to get the best level of enquiries or sales. By starting with an ad schedule which replicates this you increase the likelihood of clicks leading to conversions.

From an analysis of our own business as well client data, for B2B businesses, 10am – 12pm / 4pm – 7pm and between 5pm – 10pm for B2C the times that tend to yield the highest conversion rates.

Most AdWords conversions by the time of the day

Make bid adjustments based on current visitor data – presumably, you’ve got a Google Analytics account setup for a while. Compare how your desktop vs mobile vs tablet traffic behaves to see if there might be any takeaways for your ad strategy.

For example, if GA shows that your conversion rates from mobiles is significantly lower than desktop, its likely you’re going to find this to be the case with your search ad traffic as well in which case you might want to reduce your mobile bids on AdWords.

#3 Look at what your competitors are up to

SEMRush competitor keywords and ad copies

There’s quite a few good competitive analysis tools out there such as Spyfu, iSpionage and KeywordSpy for spying on your competitors and my personal favourite is SEMRush. There’s a detailed post on this over on the SEMRush’s blog but here’s a rundown of the most important things to look at:

  • What keywords are they bidding on – this one is quite easy to uncover. Simply enter your competitor’s URL on the search bar and select ‘Advertising research’ and you will get a list of all the keywords your competitors are running ads for
  • How much are they spending and on which keywords – sort the column by costs % and you will see what % of their budget are being spent on those keywords. if your competitor is spending a significant portion of the budget on certain keywords, there’s a good chance its delivering a positive ROI
  • Analyse cost vs traffic % – where possible, you want to prioritise keywords delivering more traffic % than what its costing to run ads on those keywords. In the above example, those would be keywords such as “posters”, “business card holder”, “poster maker” to name a few
  • Look at their ad copies – SEMRush has a neat feature where not only does it show you the text your competitors are using but also which keywords are being used for those ads which will give you helpful suggesting when crafting your own ad copies and deciding on keyword allocation

SEMRush competitor

Note, it helps to analyse competitor who are spending a good sum on advertising as the SEMRush data will tend to be more valuable and there’s a good chance your competitors are carrying out essential maintenance and account management which makes the numbers more relevant.

#4 The little things

As Al Pacino eloquently put it in Any Given Sunday, success in life is a game of inches and so it is with AdWords.

It’s the small changes that will yield all the results over time and when it comes to configuring your campaign settings you want to do this in a way that is likely to yield the highest quality of traffic.

Remarketing

For campaigns with limited budgets in competitive industries, leveraging on the power of remarketing is an absolute must. Not only can remarketing campaigns help you achieve a lower CPA but for if you’re offering something unique or niche which requires multiple touch-points before the prospect is likely to convert, then you can significantly increase your ROI with remarketing.

Bid with sitelinks for expensive keywords

Site extensions

This one is one of my favourites when running AdWords on competitive sectors. You already know that your CPC is going to be quite high for the short-tail, generic keywords. Referring to our example about the printing company, say you wanted to run ads for business cards, leaflets and brochures. As you will see from the above screenshot, the CPC on brochures is significantly higher than the rest. In this case, it might make more sense to use brochures only within sitelink extensions whilst running your ads for leaflets, business cards and so on.

Landing page

Apart from your campaigns setup, no other factor will have more of an impact than your landing page, so it goes without saying that you should be doing everything possible to make sure your landing pages don’t become a bottleneck to the conversion process. Not enough businesses understand the importance of landing page which is great as you can use this to your advantage by utilising landing pages that will yield healthy conversion rates not just for your PPC campaigns but SEO, too. Or, check out our dedicated website focusing on Google AdWords and paid media at PPC Agency London.

For further resources on this, here are some articles which you will find helpful. If you need help, feel free to get in touch with us.

For help with your digital marketing campaigns, whether that’s Google Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn or Social Media campaigns, get in touch with us today. Or, view all our services here.

July 20, 2017

How to Keep Your WordPress Website Safe from Malware and Hacking

WordPress is a fantastic resource for bloggers and small businesses, allowing them to create professional-looking websites with relative ease and lower cost. In fact, this makes it very popular with web designers as well, as it allows for faster turnaround than hard-coded sites and it means that they can keep their costs competitive. But, for all the good that WordPress does, it does attract a fair amount of hackers.

This is not the fault of WordPress. The problem is the fact that many WordPress designers leave the door wide open to hackers. But, fortunately, there are many ways to secure a WordPress site and keep it safe from hackers and malware.

We will discuss these methods in detail in this post. But, before we delve into those tips and tricks, let us first take a look at why hackers go after WordPress sites.

What Do Hackers Want With WordPress Websites?

Many small and medium sized businesses believe that they are safe from hackers not on account of their ankeyboardonymity, but rather because they don’t have much to offer. Hackers tend to target sites that offer them some sort of financial benefit, so is it really in the interest to go after a small site that doesn’t hold any financial or personal information on its customers? The answer, in the eyes of a hacker, is undeniably ‘yes!’

Hackers are opportunists, and they can find opportunity in places that you might not expect. While a given site might not store its customers’ financial information, it does generate traffic (web users visiting the site), and that traffic can be gold to a hacker.

Here are a few possible motivations as to why a hacker would want to take control of a WordPress site:

• Changing Content

Some hackers have a definite agenda, political or otherwise, and they use their hacking skills to publicise this agenda, spread fake news or to achieve some other objective. After taking control of the site, they will typically remove the content and upload their own content which displays their central message. Though, even if they don’t have a particular agenda, some hackers will do this simply for the thrill of it, displaying a ‘calling card’ or simple message telling users who hacked the site. Other times, hackers may insert backlinks to other sites in hopes of increasing rankings.

• Use of the Server

Hackers also like to take control of sites so that they can effectively use the server. They will often send out spam from the website. This can happen without the site going down, so the site owner might not even be aware of it. However, when this happens, sites can be blacklisted, making it very difficult for the site’s owner to get that site off the list and regain the trust of its visitors. To check if your website may have hacked one of the simplest things you can do is to register your website with Google Search Console. To check if your website’s server IP address might have been negatively impacted you can first check and then do a IP reputation check via a site like MXToolbox.

google search console

• Redirections

Sometimes hackers create sites that, through affiliate campaigns, generate profits for them by way of traffic. In order to boost that traffic, they will take hold of other sites and redirect those sites’ traffic to their own sites in order to generate profits. This is a common reason for hacking WordPress sites.

• Installation of Malware

Some hackers use the sites they hack to distribute malware. After taking control of a site, they set it up to download malware onto the computers of visiting users. This malware could be anything from Trojans to ransomware, and could greatly inhibit the site’s users. If search engines discover a site distributing malware, they take action which significantly affects the site’s ability to be discovered in search, which means the hacked site receives a double dose of bad luck between the hack itself and the SEO punishment.

laptopSo, as you can see from the above, having your site hacked is something you certainly want to avoid. And, to be fair, these techniques can affect any website, not just a WordPress site. But, as we mentioned, many WordPress site owners tend to leave the door open to hackers, which is why they are targeted.

But, the good news is that being targeted by hackers is avoidable through certain safety measures. By using some of the following techniques, you can put yourself in the best position possible to defend your WordPress site against hacking attempts.

How to Protect Your WordPress Site from Hacking

1. Backup Regularly

It is important that, before you make any changes, you back up your site. This allows you to keep a version of your site that you know works, just in case something goes wrong while you are tweaking youipadr security settings.

But, in addition to providing you with a safety net to fall back on, backing up can also help your site if it is hacked and brought down. Once you have dealt with the threat, you can revert back to the version of your site that you backed up. While this may apply to less severe instances of hacking, it is still comforting to know that you don’t have to build your site all over again. WPBeginner have put together a comprehensive list of WordPress backup tools that you can checkout.

2. Disallow Multiple Password Attempts

Many WordPress sites are targeted by hackers because they have the ability to access the site via brute force attacks. This method sees hackers generate countless username and password possibilities and then keep entering these into the login portal in the hope twriting on a keyboardhat they ‘guess’ correctly.

Now, if it is you trying to access your website and you get your password wrong, you will only need a few more attempts to enter it correctly (one attempt is most likely). So, you can tell WordPress to distrust anyone trying to enter a password multiple times and, importantly, stop them from doing it.

Some security plugins that allow you to limit the amount of login attempts are Jetpack, WP Cerber, and iThemes. These may have their own nuances, but they all allow you to protect against brute force attacks by limiting login attempts as well as ban hosts that repeatedly enter incorrect login details.

3. Ban Guessed Usernames

You can also catch brute force attacks as they begin by telling your security software to ban login attempts with particular usernames. Since the generic username for WordPress is ‘admin’, it is a good idea to change this anyway. This will already make it more difficult for hackers to guess your login details, as now they need to guess both your username and password. But, once you have done this, you can tell your security plugin to immediately ban anyone who tries to log in using ‘admin’ as the username. You will be surprised at how many brute force attacks you can stop in their tracks using this trick.

4. Change Your Password Regularly and keep it strong

Even if you have told your WordPress site to stop multiple login attempts, you don’t want a hacker to guess your password on the first try. So, stay away from simple passwords at all costs (password123, p@ssword, and the like are far too common). You increase your site’s security greatly by choosing a strong password, and changing it regularly.

You could come up with each new password yourself, but after a while your ideas might start running thin, in which case you might be better off using a password generator. These tools generate random passwords that contain random letters and numbers, and special characters in some cases.

password instructions

5. Update WordPress and WP Plugins

Keeping your WordPress site updated is extremely important for security purposes This is because hackers get to know all of the areas of weakness in current versions of WordPress. But, these areas are often addressed in new versions; a fact that puts those hackers on the back foot. So, to ensure that you don’t make it easy for hackers who are familiar with your version of WordPress to access your site, make sure that you are always on the latest version.

The same goes for plugins. Some WP plugins have vulnerabilities that allow hackers to gain access to the servers, which gives them control over the site. So, to ensure that you don’t make it easy for hackers to gain access through your plugins, stay current with your plugin updates.

6. Conceal the Version of WordPress that You Are Using

If hackers know the particular weaknesses of a version, and can exploit those weaknesses to gain access to a site, you don’t want them to know the version you are working with, even if it is the latest version. So, in addition to keeping your WordPress site up to date at all times, it is a good idea to hide the information on the version that you are using.

A lot of security plugins offer this as part of their features, which is probably the easiest way to accomplish this task. However, if you are using a security plugin that doesn’t help you hide your version number, you can do it yourself with a bit of code. For this, you need to find the functions.php file in your theme and tell it to stop executing the wp_generator function.

This process is explained simply in this guide to hiding your WordPress version number.

7. Avoid Getting Plugins from Third-Party Sites

Since we are talking about WordPress plugin vulnerability, it is worth mentioning that it is not always the fault of the plugin itself. Many plugins are created with excellent security features, but they can end up being offered by third-party sites. The problem with this is the fact that they are not coming directly from the creator, and thus have the potential to be compromised. A perfectly sound plugin can be taken and laced with malware, then offered as a free download on another site, which would then compromise the WordPress site of anyone who installs it.

So, to avoid this situation, be sure to get plugins from WordPress itself and avoid all other channels, especially torrents.

8. Create a Secondary Login Authenticationauthentication

It is possible to create a second layer of password protection on your WordPress account with a 2-Factor Authentication plugin (also called 2FA). With this method, your first password takes you through to another authentication screen, where you input more security details in order to verify your status as site admin.

It is also possible to have the second layer of security send a one-time pin code to your email address or mobile device, which you then input to gain access to the site. This plugin can be found here.

9. Change the URL You Use to Log In

The login page for your WordPress site is reachable by adding wp-login.php or wp-admin to the end of the site’s URL. But, while this makes it convenient for you to access the login page, it also makes it easy for hackers to access that page. However, it is possible to obscure this page by changing the login URL.

For this, you need a custom login URL plugin, which is easy enough to find on the WP plugins page. With this, you can change the permalinks and redirects to add a custom login URL to your WordPress site.

10. Password Protect the Admin Section

When it comes to password protection, it is also worth noting that you don’t have to just rely on the main login to keep hackers out. It is possible to password protect parts of your site, like your admin section. Beinsecurityg the central hub of your site, it is important to keep this section as secure as possible, so you might want to add secondary password here.

You can add an admin password via your cPanel using the ‘Directory Privacy’ icon, or by installing the AskApache Password Protect plugin.

11. Stop the Admin Section from Being Indexed

Search engines use what they call ‘spiders’ to search websites on the internet and index them. This index helps them find relevant results quicker when a user inputs a search query. But, the problem with this is that they index all of the content on a site, which includes the sensitive information in your admin section. And, of course, if it’s indexed, it is easier for hackers to find and exploit.

But, you can stop this from happening with a little code. The x-robots-tag HTTP header is a directive that tells Google’s spiders not to index a page. By applying it to the code of your admin section, you can stop that page being indexed. This does involve some technical-know how, so be sure that you feel comfortable doing it yourself before attempting this technique. If not, consult the professionals.

12. Hide Your Configuration File

Your wp-config.php file is another important one. This holds vital information about your WordPress installation, making it very precious to you and very valuable to hackers. But, being in your root directory, it is quite easy for hackers to find. So, the best way of protecting it is to deny access to anyone who looks for it.

This also means getting involved with the back end of WordPress. But, if you feel comfortable working in this area, here is some code to help you protect your wp-config.php file.

13. Get an SSL Certificate

A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate provides security on data transfer via encryption, which means hackers can’t access your site’s data while it is travelling across the internet. Plus, as an added bonus, sites that feature SSL certificates tend to rank higher in search engine results than those without, so you get extra traffic as well as added security.

You can buy SSL certificates from many hosting companies. And, installing an SSL certificate is not very difficult, so this is definitely an avenue you should explore in order to secure your site.

14. Enforce Security Among Other Users

You have control over the password you use to access your WordPress account, but, if there are other people with access to your site, you don’t have control over the passwords they use. No matter how secure you make your own password and how often you change it, they could make it easy for a hacker to gain access by keyschoosing weak passwords.

The best way of ensuring that you have strong passwords across all users with admin access is through a plugin called Force Strong Passwords. As the name suggests, this plugin does not allow users to set weak passwords for entry to the site. If the plugin detects an admin trying to change their password, it will trigger and ensure that the user can only select a strong password based on predefined parameters.

15. Prevent Changes to Your Site

As we mentioned, some hacWP CMSkers want to gain access to sites in order to change those sites’ content. But, if you have a way of stopping them from editing your files, plugins, and themes, this becomes much more difficult. And, fortunately, there is a way to do this that is quite simple.

Even if you aren’t comfortable with the back end, this solution shouldn’t create too much anxiety. It is simply a case of going into your wp-config file and adding two lines of code right at the end of the file. You can find the code to disable WordPress file editing here.

16. Monitor Changes to Your Site

Even though can disable the ability of hackers to edit your files in WordPress, you still might want to keep an eye on any changes that occur on your site. Fortunately, this is easy to do through plugins, and you will be spoiled for choice in this regard. Some choices in this area are:

• Activity Log

With the Activity Log plugin, you get exactly what the name suggests – a user-friendly means of monitoring any activity on your site. It also offers email notifications for activity, which you can customise to only trigger at certain events, thereby ensuring that you don’t clog your email inbox with messages.

• WP Security Audit Log

The WP Security Audit Log plugin monitors changes in real time, ensuring that you can jump on any suspicious activity as it arises. It also offers monitoring for any changes that might occur on live product pages, which makes this plugin ideal for ecommerce sites.

• Stream

Stream keeps tabs on all activity on a site and then allows you to filter your search for specific types of activity. It also integrates with other popular plugins and allows for MultiSite use, making it a dream plugin for web design agencies.

17. Run Security Scans Inside WordPress security shield

You have an anti-virus program for your computer (or, if you don’t, you really should), so why not install security software for WordPress as well? It is possible to get plugins that are specifically designed to prevent against hacking and other malicious activity.

Of these, Acunetix WP Security is a fantastic one. This plugin checks your entire WordPress site for security risks and is able to help tighten your security through better passwords, version hiding, database and admin security, file permissions, and the removal of meta tags from core code. Another good one to try out is Wordfence.

18. Protect Against SQL Injection and XSS Attacks

SQL injections are attacks in which malicious code is input into an application’s code, which is then passed to the back end of a site. XSS attacks, or cross-site scripting attacks, are also injection attacks, but with these the malicious code is sent to a different user via an application.

Some security plugins will help prevent these types of attacks, but otherwise it has to be done manually, and the process is best left to advanced back end users. If you feel comfortable doing this yourself, you’ll find decent step-by-step tutorials on preventing SQL injection and guarding against XSS attacks online. But, if you’re not experienced in working on the back end, it is advisable to enlist the services of a professional developer.

If you want to check for vulnerabilities when it comes to SQL injection and XSS attacks, you can download pen testing software. This is software that checks for weaknesses in the same way that a hacker might. Netsparker is great for this purpose. But, when running tests, be prepared for the software to offer a fair amount of advisories. If this happens, don’t panic. That’s what testing is for! Just isolate the areas that need immediate attention and then work through the rest as you go.

With these tips and tricks your WordPress site will be just as secure as a hard-coded site (if not more so), and you can enjoy all of the benefits that come with using WordPress without having to worry about security vulnerabilities.

Conclusion

Using WordPress for your next website or blog is a great idea as not only is it more cost-effective to build on compared to other Content Management Systems such as Joomla or Magento plus the myriad of plugins available also means there’s very little you cant do with it.

However, its popularity has also led to it being a regular target for hackers worldwide so you do have to spend some time keeping it up-to-date and secure.

For help with your digital marketing, whether that’s Google Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn or Social Media campaigns, get in touch with us today. Or, view all our services here.

May 26, 2017

Is a copywriter a wordsmith or a salesman?

First off, let’s clarify what a copywriter actually is. It’s an individual who writes promotional material. Could be a website, brochure, flyer or press advert – though it’s not limited to just these types of collateral. Or put another way, it’s someone who writes words that sell a product, service or idea.

As much as a slick graphic or image can look enticing, it’s ultimately the words that convinces the reader to make the purchase, or equally, walk away from it. Copywriting can be powerful, very powerful. Regardless of what you might think, it’s a pretty sure bet that you have been convinced by some clever copy at some point.

As a copywriter myself, I’m very often called a ‘Wordsmith’. I once worked for a digital marketing agency where one of the bosses consistently referred to me in this way. Used to drive me nuts. But there are plenty of copywriters who are more than happy to adopt this label. And over the years I’ve realised why that actually is – because as far as I’m concerned, copywriting is about salesmanship.

Here’s why those copywriters like the Wordsmith tag. Ready? Because they’ve never experienced actually selling anything in their lives. They normally would have studied journalism or English Literature – often earning a BA(Hons). They were told that they had a ‘gift for writing stories’. They often didn’t begin their first job until their early twenties – right from leaving university. The thought of selling something actually fills them with dread.

Then, they start as an intern in a marketing or ad agency and begin their career as a copywriter.
In other words, they simply have no tangible experience. In fact, you try Gsalesmanoogling the words ‘salesman’ and ‘copywriter’ together. You’ll find very few copywriters blogging about themselves in this way. On the other hand, I have a very different background. Copywriting is selling, pure and simple. I was selling advertising space at 16 years of age – cold calling. And for twenty years there-after, sold everything from film and jewellery to digital marketing services and handbags.

My advice, when seeking a copywriter for your project, look at a copywriter’s portfolio, then see who’s is the most persuasive and written from the most unique angle. Nine times out of ten it’ll be the salesman that floats your boat.

So, in short, to answer the question: a copywriter can be both; just be aware that it’s the salesman who’ll invariably knows how to close a deal.

About the author:
Jim Morrissey is a website & marketing copywriter and business development consultant based in Twickenham, London. When he’s not making his clients money, Jim is either playing the guitar or writing a film script.

For help with your digital marketing, whether that’s Google Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn, SEO or Social Media campaigns, get in touch with us today. Or, view all our services here.

May 4, 2017

How to Tweak Your Remarketing Campaign to Increase ROI – Part 2

If you are looking to tweak your remarketing campaign to incorporate better practices, you might need a more focussed approach. In Part 1 of this look at remarketing to increase ROI, we looked at reshaping the campaign from its foundations.

Now we intend to look a little deeper and identify a few of the practices that contribute to a sustainable remarketing campaign.

More Tips on Creating a Successful Remarketing Campaign

1. Be Specific with Your Bids

Your bids determine which users will see your remarketing ads, so it is important to tell Google exactly who you want to see the most ads. Remarketing is, after all, about reconnecting with the users who have clicked off your site. But, you need to prioritise the users which are more likely to become customers.

Users who bounced off your home page, for example, aren’t quite as likely to become customers as the ones who abandoned purchases. You want to prioritise users who were already in the sales funnel and then work backwards from there, especially if your budget is tight.

2. Use Google’s Frequency Cap

Showing the same ad to the same user is dangerous for a few reasons. Firstly, you run the risk of desensitising the user to your ad. If a user sees the same ad enough times, he or she will stop noticing it after a while.

Secondly, showing a user the same ad too frequently might irritate that user to the point of not wanting anything to do with your company.

Lastly, showing the same ad to the same users can have the effect of decreasing your impressions, which isn’t good.

A good way to avoid these scenarios is to use Google’s frequency cap. This prevents the same users from seeing the same ad too frequently and makes sure that your ad is more effective and better seen.

working desk

3. Schedule Your Ads

Planning a first-class ad strategy is only useful if your ads are going to be seen. And, if they’re going up when your target audience isn’t online, your strategy isn’t going to be as effective as it could be. This is where ad scheduling comes in very handy.

Scheduling your ads means that you can choose when your ads go up. So, if you know your target audience’s online habits, you can ensure that your ads always go up when they’ll be most effective.

4. Change Your Ad Intermittently

If you are running a special offer or discount, you want to show your ad at a higher frequency so as to have the biggest effect over the short period of your promotion. But, as we mentioned with ad frequency, you can start to annoy users through ad overuse.

However, you want your promotion to boost sales over this period. So, if you see your click-through rates dropping off, you might consider changing your ad’s content. This way, users will still be seeing the ad as much, but it will be fresh and thus better-received.

5. Retarget to the Converted

Users who have bought from you in the past are likely to become repeat customers. But, again, you don’t want to annoy them into distancing themselves from your brand. So, instead of aggressively remarketing to these users, you might place them on a less frequent list with a longer duration. This way you’ll subtly keep reminding them of their experience with your business and hopefully generate future sales.

Remarketing Means a Second Chance to Convertarrow

No business wants to see its bounce rate increase. But, with remarketing, bounce rate means an opportunity to reconnect with users who didn’t quite get your approach the first time around.

By carefully planning your strategy, it is possible to find other ways to impress users and show them exactly why they should give your business a second chance.

 

Conclusion

Remarketing campaigns can help increase your paid search spend ROI but only if you optimise them regularly. Make sure you don’t forget about them when setting up your Pay Per Click (PPC) digital marketing campaigns.

For help with your digital marketing, whether that’s Search Engine Optimisation, Google Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn or Social Media campaigns, get in touch with us today. Or, view all our services here.

March 31, 2017

How to Tweak Your Remarketing Campaign to Increase ROI

Remarketing is a brilliantly effective way to reconnect with users who have shown interest in your site or app in the past and turn them into customers.  It essentially tracks people who have visited your site through cookies, and shows them your ads on other sites, across multiple devices.

This article is all about tweaking an existing PPC remarketing campaign to increase your ROI (for a detailed guide of setting one up, check out Search Engine Journal’s article here). So, lets get started:

1.    Create Ads of Various Sizes

When you’re targeting users for your remarketing ad strategy, you are after users based on their search history, not their device type.  This means you don’t have the luxury of creating an ad specifically for mobile users, for example.  The users you target maAd formatsy be on a variety of devices and may transfer between devices freely.  Because of this, it is advisable to create ads of multiple sizes.

By doing this, you ensure that your ads work with every site that features Google Ads.  You won’t be held up by a lack of compatibility and you can be sure that your ads will follow targeted users to each site that they visit in the way that you intend them to do.

Here are some common ad format sizes and the number of estimate impressions per each (source: Wordstream)

2.    Make Your Remarketing Strategy Cohesive on All Fronts

The users you select to target and the pages to which you direct them certainly matter to your campaign strategy.  But, there are other elements that should be equally important if you want your campaign to make sense to its targets.

This should start with the design of your ads.  Like much of your other marketing content, your ads will be more effective if they have a similar look and feel to your website.  You want your targeted users to instantly connect your ad with your website, prompting them to want to revisit it.

Also be sure that it appeals to your target audience, both visually and with its written content.  And, speaking of written content, be sure to add a clear call-to-action.

3.    Choose Your Landing Pages Wisely

You need to inform Google as to which of your site’s pages you would like your ads to send users.  But, be sure to think carefully about this.  Yes, your home page is important, but is it responsible for the most conversions?

Prioritise the pages that produce the most conversions, which are often specific pages offering important information, like product pages. Don’t forget, not only will your landing pages determine the effectiveness of your campaigns to a very large degree, page engagement metrics such as Bounce Rate, time on site and most important, conversions is also a ranking factor when it comes to SEO.

4.    Be Sure to Test

Sometimes strategies seem flawless in the think-tank but then don’t AB testingdeliver in the real world.  This is expected, and it’s why we A/B test.  Don’t neglect A/B testing with your remarketing campaign as sometimes the smallest changes can have a big effect.

Test your options with regards to images, calls-to-action, copy, landing pages, and budget.  And keep an eye on your impressions, click-through rates, and conversions.

Build a Solid Springboard for Your Remarketing Campaign

The above tips are aimed at the inception or reshaping of a remarketing campaign.  But, it is very important to cover the basics, onto which you can add more advanced techniques.

Join us for Part 2 of this look at remarketing in which we’ll discuss how to build on these pointers for a successful and sustainable campaign.

For help with your digital marketing campaigns, whether that’s Google Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn or Social Media, get in touch with us today. Or, view all our services here.

March 15, 2017

Best Practices for Optimising for Cross-Device Conversions

Think back to the last time you made an online purchase. Chances are, you started the research process on one device and ended up making the purchase from another. A large number of users begin a transaction on one device and complete it on another.  This, very simply, is cross-device conversion.

Because users feel comfortable moving between devices it is important for businesses to be able to measure and, more importantly, act on this behaviour.  Designing apps and sites that facilitate cross-device conversions is the first step, but how do you optimise for such conversions?

Here are a few tips:

Tablet and mobile on sofa

How to Optimise for Cross-Device Conversions

1.     Monitor Your Cross-Device Conversions

Conversion tracking allows you to manage and monitor your PPC campaign’s conversion and, as of 2015, this is available for cross-device conversions.  Enabling this on your account will let you see important data on the conversions of multi-device users.

It is also important to enable the same conversion tracking settings across your platforms (desktop sites, mobile sites, and apps).  Conversion tracking gives you information on what customers do after they click on your ads, so uniform tracking will give you will have better understanding of which users are transferring to different devices after said clicks.

Lastly, it will benefit you to take advantage of Google’s expanded conversion window.  A conversion window is the amount of time between a customer clicking an ad and Google reporting a conversion to you.  By lengthening this window, you give customers more time to transact via multiple devices.  And, since multi-device users tend to take longer to convert, you allow yourself a better understanding of the data surrounding these conversions.

2.    Single Out the Insights You NeedConversions graph

March saw the beginning of a rollout in which Google will include cross-device conversions in the ‘Conversions’ column.  But, while this will contribute to the overall conversions on Insights, you will still be able to view data on cross-device conversions separately.  Viewing these insights separately will allow you to specifically target cross-device conversions using automated bidding.

It is also possible to view the conversion rate on individual devices.  This makes it possible to define which approaches are preferred for each device.

3.    Adjust Your Strategy to Maximise Cross-Device Conversions

It is worth noting that users are more likely to complete transactions if the path to completion is clear and easy.  So, you want to make cross-device conversions just as easy as same-device purchases in order to increase your revenue.

With this in mind, use the information in your ‘Conversions’ column to rethink your Google AdWords bids.  This way your strategy will be aimed at boosting cross-device conversions and you will be tailoring the journey to the multi-device user.

Tracking cross device conversions on Facebook

Facebook conversions graphic

Conclusion – Cross-Device Conversions Help You Land More Customers

With so many devices on the market nowadays, users are branching out when it comes to online purchasing.  Device mobility allows a fluidity that really suits many users’ lifestyles, so companies that adapt to and facilitate this have a better chance of winning those users’ business.

With cross-device conversions becoming increasingly popular, now is the time to optimise your ad campaigns to suit them.

For help with your digital marketing campaigns, whether that’s Google Ads, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Facebook, LinkedIn, or Social Media, get in touch with us today. Or, view all our services here.