Search Engine Marketing News – June 2013

Another month, another pay check, more reports and more change in the industry (of course!). Here’s what happened in the world of marketing in June 2013:

Dynamic Retargeting Launched
Probably the biggest news from Adwords this month. Google announced in the last week of June that they are launching dynamic remarketing to any advertisers using the Google merchant centre feed. So you can now remarket to people who’ve looked at certain products on your site with a dynamic message. At this stage, I’m not sure how competitive it will be against the likes of Criteo but we’ll soon find out for sure!

Google Adwords Top Movers Report

Another nice update from Google – they have now launched a ‘Top Mover Report’ within Adwords. This report shows you at a campaign level the top moving clicks and costs each week.

The report shows the following:

  • Topline increases and decreases in clicks and costs for all campaigns
  • Top increases in costs -> Showing changes in average position, clicks, average CPC, impressions and clicks
  • Top decreases in costs -> Showing changes in average position, clicks, average CPC, impressions and clicks

The best thing about the report is that it shows you the reasons driving the changes, be that new ads introduced, keywords removed or CPC’s decreased/increased. Finally, a quick way to find out what is driving any top line changes. Monday morning report = sorted!

Payday Loan Algorithm

The latest attempt by Google to reduce the amount of spamming sites, hit payday loans website hard this month. A new algorithm was launched to combat payday loans and other spammy sites.

This update impacted roughly 0.3% of the U.S. queries, but Matt Cutts said it was as high as 4% for Turkish queries.

Apple Makes Bing the Default Search Engine for Siri

Bing had a huge win this month when Apple named them as the default search engine for searches on the web through Siri. Now when you ask a question to Siri, Siri will either give you a direct answer or will ask you if you want to search the web. That web search will now be done through Bing. Google remains the default search engine on Safari, although mine managed to set the default to Bing, safe to say that has now been switched back to Google!)

Goodbye Google Reader

Google reader has finally hung up its boots, after much deliberation about when it was actually to end. Who knows the reason why and what the plans are to replace it (if they will be) but it’s gone!

So that’s another month for Search Engine Marketing news. July will be a busy month in PPC to make the last few changes to enhanced campaigns for anyone still to switch over. And no doubt that Natural search will have a through curve balls thrown by Google!

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Spring Clean Your PPC Accounts in 5 Simple Steps

It’s apparently spring (we haven’t had snow in a month so guess it must be!), so what better time to give your paid search campaigns a good ol’ spring clean?! But, “where do I start?” I hear you ask… these few pointers might just help:

1 – Pull the Plug on Under Performing Keywords 

As much as we’d like to see all keywords convert well – it just doesn’t work like that. Once you’ve optimised your keywords as much as you can by adding negative keywords, tailoring ad copy to match and testing different landing pages, if you still can’t get the keyword to convert then it’s time to pull the plug. It’s like breaking up a relationship really – you really don’t want to do it but once you do, it will be the best thing you’ve ever done and you can start to move on with your life….. or something like that!

Sort your under performing keywords into two categories – the ‘no hopers’ and the ‘last chance’ keywords. Bin off the no hopers and optimise the last chance ones to do all you can to revive them. They’ll either turn into ‘no hopers’ or the ‘survive for another day’ers’ – a tad dramatic?!

pull the plug
2 – De-Clutter Your Accounts

Is your account full of paused keywords, ads or ad groups? If you have no intention of reactivating them, then you don’t need them cluttering up your account. Identify what you don’t need anymore and don’t be afraid to press that delete button!

3 – Review your Landing Pages

Landing pages can often be overlooked in optimising PPC accounts, but no matter how good your selection of keywords are or how great your ads look if you’re sending traffic to the wrong pages then they mean diddly squat.

Does the traffic your send to the homepage actually do anything? Is there a more relevant page you could send users to? Are you using all the possible pages? If you don’t know the answers to any of these questions, set up some A/B testing between different landing pages. Analyse the results then test another page.

4 – Add Negative Keywords

If you don’t already regularly look through your search query reports, then take the time to do so now! Search query reports show the exact queries used which trigger your ads. They are the most useful tool showing where you’re wasting your spend on keywords that are not relevant to you. Conversely, they are also useful to add the keywords triggering your ads on phrase, broad match and near exact terms as keywords in your accounts.

Plus, let’s face it, it’s always amusing to look at what people use search engines for!

5 – Look for Missed Opportunities

The opportunites tab in Google Adwords shows you where you are missing out on extra clicks and conversions either through budget constraints or by not having enough keywords in your account. This is a great tool to identify areas you can expand in, but that only tells you so much. When you work on the same accounts every day you can sometimes become blind to what is right in front of you and not spot opportunities that others may do. Ask a colleague to take a look at the account and provide any feedback on how it could be improved. You never know, you might just get some useful pointers that you hadn’t thought about – whether that’s tidying up an ad group, adding new keywords or restructuring a whole campaign.

Got any tips on spring cleaning your PPC accounts? Feel free to share them below!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Search Engine Marketing News – February 2013

Well, what can we say about search engine marketing news this month…. you may have heard a thing or two about this little thing called ‘Enhanced Campaigns’. Enhanced campaigns has been the main talking point in the industry and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I’ll recap on the main changes of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns and other changes that have happened in SEM this month (yes, there has been other news).

Google are giving us more control in our ‘multi-device world’? Brilliant…. oh no, wait!

I’ll admit when I first got the call from Google I was almost convinced (almost!) that the Enhanced Campaign change was a good thing. For some companies/agencies it may be, but not for the majority. Yes, there are some benefits but Google have gone about it the wrong way by ultimately giving us a lot less control.

  • Separate device bidding no longer possible (boo)
  • Tablet and desktop devices are now treated as one with no way of having separate bids for tablet (boo)
  • Mobile bid adjustments are available as multipliers from -100% to +300% at a campaign level (double boo)
  • Ad scheduling possible (woo)
  • Better call tracking (woo)
  • Data on individual site link extensions are available (finally!)

Enhanced Campaign changes have now been rolled out to Adwords Editor, making it easier for us to start making dreaded changes in our accounts.

Other News

Search Funnel Data

Finally some good news! Search funnel data is now available in the Adwords interface. We can now see data on assisting keywords directly in Adwords. It’s a good move by Google as we can see the number of assisting clicks, impressions and conversions without having to go to Analytics. It looks like this is one of the first steps in providing more attribution data, that most of us go somewhere else to find.

Google Penalising Inteflora

Google sent out a big message to advertisers this month by giving Interflora big SEO penalties. Although Google haven’t officially confirmed the penalty, there natural search results took a drastic turn for the worst… This great post by David Naylor shows how dramatic the shift was.

Interflora Rankings Dip

Free Shopping Comes to An End

Google shopping is no longer free to advertisers in the UK (and many other countries). It was good while it lasted here in the UK, but free shopping listings is no more, instead we have to set up product listing ads.

Google’s Unique Searches Drops

Google’s share of unique searches has dipped under 20%. Okay, so it’s still got the majority of searches but it’s slowly losing ground has Baidu, Bing, Yandex and Yahoo are seeing slightly increased global searches. Check out this post from Search Engine Land

Google Removes Not Provided From Webmaster Tools

The next place to not be able to get data on not provided terms was in Google Webmaster Tools. Just another update making it even harder for SEO agencies to explain to clients where there traffic is actually coming from.

So, it’s been a busy month for SEM in February…. roll on March!

The Who, What, When, Where & Why of Paid Search

If you’re setting up a new paid search campaign or even just want to make your existing one work that little bit harder, you can use the old school ‘Who, What, When, Where and Why’ to define your objectives and get you started. Here are just a few questions you should be asking yourself about your paid search campaign.

Who

Who do you want to target? Who you decide to target is predominantly based on the paid search keywords you select. Keyword research using Google’s Keyword Tool is a good place to start.

Who is your target audience? While with PPC it’s difficult to pin point who the typical searcher is, knowing a bit about who is clicking on your ads certainly helps! Okay, so I don’t mean knowing the middle names and shoe sizes of your potential customers, but knowing their buying habits and trends can help you define your strategy. Are these people searching on mobile devices or tablets? If so, make sure you’re showing your ads on mobile and tablets devices! Are they on social websites? This is more difficult to know, however if you know the type of person you are targeting are ‘hanging out’ on social networks then this can be a perfect paid (or non-paid) opportunity.

What

What do you want people to see? Do you want them to see an ad with offers or one highlighting your USP? Your ad copy is the only thing the user sees about your campaign, so your ad copy needs to make people click! It doesn’t matter how well your account is structured and managed if your ad copy isn’t getting clicked on!

What do you want people to do once they’ve seen your ad? Do you want them to buy a product? Make an enquiry? Share content?

The ‘what’ part is really all about strategy, strategy, strategy!

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A Busy Month For Google

Well, it’s been a busy October for Google and there’s still time for more changes yet before November creeps in!

SEO

Google Disavow Links

Good news for the industry! Google has developed a tool allowing webmasters to indicate bad links, meaning you can disavow any spammy links to your website. And it seems with the Disavow link tool, it’s simple to implement.

Updates to The Above The Fold Page Algorithm

The page layout algorithm, launched in January, following the Panda update aimed to lower the rankings of pages which were seen to be too ad heavy. In this algorithm update, websites which don’t have much content ‘above-the-fold’ could be affected by this change. This is said to affect 1% of all search queries globally, have you seen any difference yet?

PPC

Changes to Conversion Optimizer and Enhanced CPC

Google are making changes to the conversion optimizer and enhanced CPC settings on campaigns to help with conversion rates. Campaigns using optimize for clicks will be automatically changed to Optimize for Conversions. Campaigns with rotate evenly settings on ads will automatically begin to optimize for conversions when ads are unchanged after 90 days.

So if you’re not targeting conversions, you’ll need to change your settings back when they come into affect from the 12th November.

Call Reporting Available in Adwords Express

Google’s new call reporting allows you to see how many calls you receive from your PPC ads in Adwords Express (other than the ones using call link extensions). You can now see in the Adwords Express dashboard the number of calls received.

In other news in October, Bing has introduced Sitelink extensions…. Only two years after first introduced by Google. More about Bing’s sitelink extensions here