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Why use Google Ads if SEO is Free?

Why use Google Ads if SEO is free?

Firstly, let me dispel a myth here. SEO is not free at all. SEO cost is 100% spent as labour cost (i.e. you have to pay an agency or staff members to do it) as opposed to Google Ads which is partly labour cost and partly advertising cost. Depending on how much time you spend on it, SEO could cost you more than Google Ads.

That said, I’m not dismissing organic as a strategy – by all means a high ranking in organic search will improve your business significantly.

It can take months, even years to see results from SEO especially for new businesses and websites, so that initial labour cost takes a while to recoup.

It is possible to get organic traffic from search engines without investing any time or money into SEO, but then you run into the trouble of scale. Without investing heavily in SEO it is very challenging to scale organic traffic from search engines. On the other hand, you can put in a much smaller amount of effort through Google Ads and immediately start getting targeted traffic to your website which (for smaller advertisers at least) can scale up or down to any budget fairly easily.

Also, you need to consider the quality of your traffic. Paid search traffic will convert better than organic traffic if you have a local service and you need to target a specific geographical region, or if you’re ranking organically for irrelevant keywords.

Finally it’s difficult to optimize SEO campaigns because you can’t always know what actions led to increased or decreased rankings. This can lead you to feel like the whole thing is a black box process. If you go with an agency you have to hope that you’ve found one that uses high quality techniques, because some agencies use unscrupulous techniques to try to trick Google. This can come back to bite you over the long run because Google regularly updates its algorithms to prevent these tricks from working.

None of this is to scare you out of using SEO as a strategy, but certainly consider whether a paid Google Ads strategy may help you achieve your financial goals faster (and then pay for some of that SEO perhaps!).

This tip and many others are found at https://www.petramanos.com/category/tips/

What is a good conversion rate for Google Ads?

What is a good conversion rate for Google Ads?

This really depends on what you are tracking as a conversion, but I’ll assume you’re asking about leads or transactions. (It depends on how “early” the conversion is. You will get a higher conversion rate if you measure an earlier interaction like an add-to-cart instead of a purchase).

According to Wordstream, the average landing page conversion rate across all industries is 2.35% and the top 25% landing pages are converting at 5.31% or higher. The same study suggested that only 10% of landing pages have average conversion rates of 11.45% or more.

To be honest though, I don’t find any of this aggregate data to be terribly helpful when it comes to measuring any particular website’s conversion rate, or Google Ads conversion rate, because the “average” results may not be at all relevant in your case.

Instead, look at the distribution of conversion rates across all of your own landing pages, even if you’re not currently promoting them through Google. Then continually try to make your conversion rate through Google Ads better than your own average, by seeking out more relevant keywords, demographics and audiences, or by sending traffic to your better performing landing pages.

This tip and many others are found at https://www.petramanos.com/category/tips/

How can I use Google Ads to boost my landing pages?

How can I use Google Ads to boost my landing pages?

If you’re using landing page software with the intention of generating leads or sales via an online sales funnel (eg ClickFunnels, Leadpages, Infusionsoft, Unbounce, or a custom-built landing page) then the first thing you’ll be wanting to do is send traffic to that landing page to see if it converts.

At this point, you’ll most likely be wondering what is going to be your best source of traffic to test out your landing page? If your landing page doesn’t convert straight away, how can you keep a steady stream of traffic going to that landing page so that you can A/B test the page with different images, headlines, offers etc?

Google Ads is ideal for this purpose, but you’ll need to think through your strategy carefully.

On the one hand, you can pay for Search ads, but these will be more expensive per click. Due to a higher CPC you will get less traffic, and therefore fewer chances to test your landing page for a given budget. On the other hand it is likely to convert better because the traffic is made up of people who are already searching for a solution to a problem and these people are more motivated, especially if you pick your keywords carefully. If your landing page is already good then you might be able to convert cold traffic from Search ads, and so this would be my preferred strategy.

But what if your landing page or offer is brand new and doesn’t really convert yet? And you want to make it better? Well in that case, you will want to send the least expensive traffic that has a chance of converting to your landing page so that you can see that traffic “flow” through the sales funnel. Once you have traffic, you can use heat maps, conversion tracking, Google Analytics, A/B testing and other tools to see where the sticking points are.

Imagine a funnel in real life – if it is a well-functioning funnel you can put rice or other lumpy things into it and they’ll come through the other end. If it’s a poorly functioning or complicated funnel, you won’t know where it is clogged up unless you put something very fine into it like sand. Then you can improve the flow at all the places where the sand gets stuck.

The same is true with an online funnel – if you want to know where traffic sticks, you should send more traffic to it and measure each of the steps carefully. You don’t want to go broke though, so this might mean testing your pages with inexpensive Display traffic, remarketing traffic or traffic from either Display or Search ads from a developing country like India, Indonesia or Philippines. You might need to experiment to see what will work best for your particular topic.

If you’re going to go with the international traffic strategy, it is only going to be relevant for information product landing pages like free lead magnets. If you are testing transactions the audience you target needs to want and be able to buy the product. You won’t be able to use international traffic to test a landing page for a local service, or for a product or service that doesn’t ship to that country or is priced too high for the international market you’re targeting.

This tip and many others are found at https://www.petramanos.com/category/tips/

Does using Google Ads affect your organic ranking?

Does using Google Ads affect your organic ranking?

According to moz.com, paid ads don’t directly affect organic rankings. But there are indirect effects of using paid ads that will lead to a higher organic ranking over time.

For example running paid ads may lead to increased linking to your website, mentions of your website or brand, shares on social media, or more people typing your website directly into Google. The more of these things that happen the better your website will rank organically overall, and therefore you may ironically get better rankings for search terms that you are targeting using paid ads.

If you are wanting to use Google Ads for this purpose, I recommend using Display ads instead of Search ads because Display ads can get a lot more traffic (due to being cheaper per click) and therefore there is the possibility to get a lot more shares.

It’s also possible to put your social shares into hyperdrive by sending international traffic with a lower CPC to your landing pages. Some international audiences have a higher sharing culture than our Western target markets, and are much less expensive to target. Experiment with putting a percentage of your display audience into international audiences and see if your shares and organic rankings increase. If you’re getting 100 shares a month from the international traffic (which is surprisingly inexpensive) you can even set this international Google Ads campaign up so that you only have to pay Google when a person shares, and the rest of the traffic will be free.

This tip and many others are found at https://www.petramanos.com/category/tips/

How does Google track phone calls generated from Google Ads?

How does Google track phone calls generated from Google Ads?

To track phone calls from your ads you have to set up conversions. There are actually four different ways to track phone call conversions, and they will all get different results. You can use more than one method at a time to get the best data.

Method #1
Using a call-only ad or a call extension, you can generate phonecalls directly from your ads in Google, bypassing your website altogether. This is suitable for local service businesses where people tend to call, like trades or hairdressers etc. You can set a minimum call length so that only calls that last the minimum requirement will be counted as a conversion.

Method #2
If a user clicks on your website link instead of a phone number link, the person may still call you based on seeing your phone number on your website. If they are using a desktop you miss out on tracking the interaction unless you use a tracking number. A tracking number replaces the phone number on your website with a unique phone number that Google associates with your ad. To get this type of tracking working you will need to add Google phone number tracking code to your website. This will automatically switch the number while your page is loading, replacing your phone number with the unique Google number.

Method #3
On a mobile phone, any link that begins with “tel:” can be clicked and lead to a phone call. Using Google Tag Manager (or adding the code manually which I don’t recommend) you can set up tracking that tells you every time someone clicks on one of these telephone links, even if the link is embedded into a button. This method will only track clicks, not the actual phone call.

Method #4
Lastly, there are other commercial services that are similar to Google’s call tracking service but that give you more features such as Google Analytics integration, and the ability for you to record calls, or mark them as different type of calls, such as customer service or a converting sales call. My favourite of these is Delacon, but Avanser is also popular. If you set up one of these systems, you will then import the call conversions into Google Ads from Google Analytics.

This tip and many others are found at https://www.petramanos.com/category/tips/

How does the Google Ads Display Network ad auction work?

How does the Google Ads Display Network ad auction work?

Google Ads uses an auction to determine which ads to show on the Display Network and how much those ads will cost.

The Display Network ad auction is ranked among other advertisers’ ads based on Ad Rank, which is based on your bid and your Quality Score.

Quality Score for a Display ad is different from Quality Score for a Search ad. Basically, even though you’re not targeting specific keywords, Google still records the keywords that people are using when they search. You will receive a higher Quality Score on display for users who are searching for terms more congruent with your ads and landing pages. Unlike a Search ad however, you’re not bidding on keywords, you’re bidding on a user and so you’re not able to see what the keywords are.

Additionally, the Display Quality Score takes into account your ad’s historical Click Through Rate on a particular placement (the website hosting the ad). If the Click Through Rate was great on a website discussing kids pajamas but really poor on a website about fishing gear then your Quality Score will go up for kids pajamas websites and down for fishing gear websites. For general audience ads, this does tend to reward “click bait” type ads with a lower bid requirement due to the fact that these may get a higher CTR.

Your Quality Score will also take into consideration your landing page. Google attempts to show more ads for businesses that give a good website experience to users. Google wants users to trust them to show relevant ads so that those users click more often. Landing pages with prohibited or undesirable content will quickly be weeded out by Google and impressions for these ads will reduce or stop.

If you use audience targeting, there is a possibility that your ad will cost more than it would have otherwise because Google passes through any fees it incurs by third-party data providers. That said, in my opinion it is always better to use targeted audiences for Display unless you are paying per conversion, because a targeted audience is more likely to contain your ideal prospects and therefore is likely to lead to a better lifetime value than an untargeted audience.

This tip and many others are found at https://www.petramanos.com/category/tips/

Can I target specific companies using Google Ads?

Can I target specific companies using Google Ads?

Yes, we often see this occurring when a business targets their competitor. This might even be happening to you! See the image below for an example of Pipedrive targeting Freshsales.

You can target brand keywords or names of companies using Google Search, and you can target individual websites through managed placements and Custom Intent audiences on Display.

While I don’t personally recommend using your competitors’ names anywhere in your copy due to trademark and anti-competition laws, I see nothing wrong with targeting another business’ keywords so that your ad can show as a viable alternative. To do this, you would add keywords relating to the business name you are targeting. This is best done in a separate ad group or campaign so that these are not mixed in with your own business name keywords.

Keep in mind that your quality score will be lower when targeting your competitors’ keywords, so you’ll probably rank lower than the business you’re targeting unless you set a high bid. You can handle this automatically using the Impression Share bidding model and set it to bid for the top placement if you are super keen to rank #1. (On this – if you’re putting PPC ads on your own brand name keywords due to competitors bidding on your name, it’s worthwhile doing this bidding model for your own brand name ads to protect your #1 rank.)

On Display, managed placement targeting can allow you to place your ad on the specific companies’ websites, but only if they display ads on their pages. Typically media companies run the most ads on their website, so if you’re trying to target a non-media entity this might not work out.

Lastly, you can target specific domains using Custom audiences on Google Ads. This only works on Display and Video ads currently. These audiences used to let you target users who have visited the specified websites in the past, but now these audiences have been broadened to include other similar websites, so it won’t be a perfect approach.

This tip and many others are found at https://www.petramanos.com/category/tips/

How can I get more impressions for Google Display ads?

How can I get more impressions for Google Display ads?

Google Display has a weird anomaly where the nicest looking ads don’t necessarily lead to the greatest number of impressions and clicks. It all comes down to which ad slot sizes Google needs to fill, and which ads it has available to fill them. Because fixed-size display ads tend to be made for the most popular sizes only (but there are 20 different sized ad slots), Google has been pushing their Responsive Display advertising system as the best way to get impressions.

And yes, it really works, you will get loads more impressions and clicks if you use Responsive Display, and the CPCs are much cheaper as well. That said, you won’t necessarily get as high a click-through rate or a conversion rate from them, because frankly, they can be a little ugly.

You’ll get more impressions if you target more broadly and increase how much you’re willing to pay for a click from Google Display Network, but only to a limit. If you increase your bids and you run out of budget part-way through the day Google will stop showing your ads and then you’ll actually get fewer impressions AND pay more per click.

Personally, I don’t think that a Display impression counts for too much though unless it’s to a remarketing audience, a specifically targeted cold audience, or it’s for a restaurant or event where people can just turn up without having to click through to your website.

The usual behaviour around display ads seems to be that Display ads from unknown brands are annoying, and get a very low clickthrough rate. You see results from them when people know your brand already, and so they serve as more of an update. Just like a subscriber email vs a cold outreach email.

The good thing is that remarketing lists already know your business, and so nurturing the relationship by keeping ads in front of them is fine, even if they don’t click on them straight away because they can come back and buy when they’re ready. Someone who doesn’t already know your business on the other hand is almost never going to convert based on an impression, it’s important to get them to click through to your website so that they can be added to your remarketing lists, email subscription etc.

Once you have a remarketing list, you can get more impressions to those people by simply paying a higher CPC to Google.

This tip and many others are found at https://www.petramanos.com/category/tips/

Do Google Paid Search ads dominate over Google Organic Search?

Do Google Paid Search ads dominate over Google Organic Search?

I’ve seen mixed results with regards to Paid Search compared to Organic Search. Ultimately it’s better to have both rather than one or the other.

Because Google Ads is a paid system, you can bid on keywords, customize your location and target specific audiences but you can’t really do that with Organic Search.

Additionally, It takes a longer period to get organic results to appear on the first page of Google, and even then the top Google Ads are placed above the organic results. Paid ads get more impressions and clicks simply because people are often too lazy to scroll down to look for the organic listings lower on the page, especially if an ad meets their needs.

If you rely on only organic listings, your competitors may get more clicks, even when a user searches for your business name.

Of course the benefit of Organic Search is that it is free (other than the cost of SEO marketing services) and so once you’ve got it working, you can get much more revenue than you would have got from ads alone. “Free” scales pretty much infinitely, whereas Paid Search only scales up to your advertising budget.

Many businesses find Paid Search to be more reliable and that it provides them with more consistent, relevant leads and the ability to control their brand and message, whereas Organic Search involves a bit more luck and/or dedicated efforts over time.

This tip and many others are found at https://www.petramanos.com/category/tips/

What is Ad Rank in Google Ads?

What is Ad Rank in Google Ads?

Google calculates your Ad Rank every time a user searches and it has the ability to trigger one of your ads.

The Ad Rank is used to determine the position of your ad relative to other ads competing for the same search terms. It is calculated using your bid amount (how much you are willing to pay for the click), the quality of your ad and landing page, the reserve price for a bid (Google sets minimum prices depending on the keyword), the competitiveness of an auction, the context of the person’s search and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats.

The actual formula is a closely guarded secret and most likely changes regularly.

Your Ad Rank is recalculated each time your ad is eligible to appear, so your ad position can and will differ each time. You can however see the percentage of times your ad got into the top of the results, and the absolute top of the results.

If you want to rank higher, you have to bid higher on CPC if you are unable to improve your quality score. If you’re going to do this, it makes sense to bid higher selectively, and target the keywords and audiences most likely to buy from you, or use a Google automatic bidding option that bids on your behalf so that you don’t bid higher all the time.

This tip and many others are found at https://www.petramanos.com/category/tips/