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Boost Your CTR With These 5 PPC Ad Copy Strategies  – Search Engine Watch (#SEW)

Boost Your CTR With These 5 PPC Ad Copy Strategies  – Search Engine Watch (#SEW).


Boost Your CTR With These 5 PPC Ad Copy Strategies

, June 17, 20111 Comments

Strong creative can be a huge competitive advantage in the world of paid search. When you can pay less to get more, you’re doing something right.

The compounding factors of improved CTR, increased quality score, and reduced CPC can make a tremendous impact on performance. Ad copy testing lies at the heart of seizing this competitive advantage.

With an endless number of attributes to test, it can be a little daunting to pick a starting point. Looking for a positive impact? Here are five ad copy attributes you can test.

1. Price Points & Percentage Off

If you’re a retailer, this is must. You’re missing out big if you aren’t testing into specific price points and percent off offers.

Important: don’t make assumptions here. Test out multiple price points and percentages off to find out what will resonate with consumers. Here’s one of my favorite illustrations of why not to assume anything when it comes to price points:

PPC Price Points

A 76.5 percent CTR lift on the higher price point. We can make assumptions as to why the higher of the two price points experienced the higher CTR. Maybe the “or Less” factored in, or maybe “$39” just sounded too good to be true. Hard to say. This is precisely why we test.

2. Google Sitelinks

By now you have hopefully enjoyed the benefits of running Google Sitelinks in your ads. The presence of ad sitelinks can lift CTR by more than 30 percent.

Surprisingly, many advertisers still haven’t added these to their campaigns. Maybe they’ve tested it and found that their ads perform better without sitelinks, but this is doubtful. I haven’t seen an instance where an ad’s CTR decreased as a result of having sitelinks present.

Don’t let your sitelinks get stale. Remember to rotate in new pages to test, and test variations of the ad copy. Keep refining.

3. “Official Site” 

Using “Official Site” directly following the name of the brand in the ad headline has almost always lifted CTR and reduced CPC. There is an absolute correlation between the power of the brand and the influence that “Official Site” will have on improving performance.

Recognizable brands that carry more weight will typically benefit from this. In instances where there are many affiliates competing in the space, the brand will also benefit from this tactic.

“Brand Name – Official Site” can also lift performance on non-brand terms, especially in instances where the brand is considered a leader. Depending on your account, it may be worth experimenting with this.

With the recent modification of Google displaying the root URL of the display URL within the headline, there’s been speculation that “Official Site” many not be as necessary as it once was, and those valuable headline characters can be better utilized. Sounds like another great test!

4. Sense of Urgency

Any good direct marketer understands this principle. Give consumers a reason to feel as though they should decisively take action, and they are more likely to do so.

If you’re running an offer in your ad copy – and you should be if you can – test using an end date. Here are some iterations that work well:

  • “Ends 6/11” – a specific end date. Drop this in the ad copy about five days prior to the end date
  • “Ends Monday” – test using the day of the week vs. the actual date
  • “Hurry!”, “Save Now”, “Ends Soon” – Even without an end date, there are ways to create that sense of urgency with the consumer

5. Extended Headline

This is another recent modification to how Google displays ads. You no doubt have seen this, and hopefully have been experimenting with it.

Google Extended Headline Mens Suits

Ultimately Google will make the call on whether your description line #1 will be moved into the headline of your ad. While you can’t explicitly opt into (or out of) this, you can influence the probability of your ad displaying as such.

First and foremost you need to be in the premium position above the organic results. By crafting your ad so that each line of copy appears as a distinct sentence that ends with proper punctuation, you’ll at least be in a position to have your ad appear with the extended headline.

Applying some of the tactics mentioned earlier, like sense of urgency or price points, into the extended headline can help boost CTR and is worth experimenting with.

Test Your Ad Copy!

One of the most enjoyable aspects of managing paid search accounts is the ability to test, and the learning that comes from it. Curiosity, creativity, and discipline are required. With the competing priorities of so many things you can and should be doing while managing an account, ad copy testing should always remain high on the priority list.

 

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New! 7 Old Google Tools You May Have Overlooked

1 – Google Reader Sharing

This has been around for a while, but I’m still surprised at how few of my peers are using it.

If you have Google Buzz turned on, you’ll notice when you next log into Google Reader that there’s a section for “People You Follow”. In this section, you can share links – or random thoughts, with all the people who are following you, or a select group, and they can share with you.

Those links also show up on your Google Buzz page. I enjoy getting suggestions from people who know and understand me, and what kind of news I like or need. I also like being able to split my audience into targeted groups of people so I can send them updates just on things they would want to know, instead of the whole fire-hose. Accessing Google profiles from within Google Reader has helped me get to know a lot of people better as well.

2 – Your Google Social Circle and Social Content

Surprisingly, lots of people are dismissive of Google’s Social Search. This was understandable when the searches that turned up social results were still at the bottom of the screen. But recently, Google has integrated Social Search results into the main results, and some social signal data is reportedly already part of their algorithm. This alone makes it worth paying attention to, whatever your experience is with social media.

Besides that, there’s a lot you can learn just from the Social Circle Google has discovered for you, which is derived from how you fill out your Google Profile.

For example, if you’re connected to someone with a common name on Twitter, and you can’t figure out which LinkedIn profile belongs to them due to a common name, Google Social Circle can help with that.

Each person/entity is grouped with the social links that they’ve decided to make public on their Google Profile. True, you can also find this by searching the Google Profile directory, but if you’re looking for several people at a time, this is a heaven sent timesaver.

You can also spot trends of what sites you’re not on that are becoming hot, or figure out which service your friend is using that has the least noise, and thus, the highest chance of contact. The secondary connections section can also help you find new people to connect to in your favorite social media site.

3 – Google Insights for Search

Is your business seasonal? Does your favorite search term reflect this? Has the term you targeted peaked? Are there other related terms you could attain rising in popularity? You can use Google Insights for Search to research all these things.


4 – Google Correlate

Google Correlate finds search patterns which correspond with real-world trends. This might not seem important at first glance, but one thing I’ve used it for is to help local businesses with regional chains decide what local search project to prioritize. Another is to find keyword sets I wouldn’t have thought of on my own, by typing in phrases to see what other phrases they often appear within searches.

5 – Google Follow Finder

Not yet a Google Labs graduate. Plug in your name and see who Google thinks you should follow after digging into your social graph. I like to use it to find more people who are like my favorite Twitter friends.

6 – Google News Timeline

Google News Timeline can help you examine the growth of a story, track mentions of your company in the press over time, or see what’s hot in different types of publications. It can even give you a link you can refer back to later, if you want to follow the progress day-to-day.

7 – Google News Near You on Google News for Mobile (On your mobile phone)

This will add a new section to the mobile version of Google News that will tell you what’s going on in your immediate area. Once you browse to the Google News site on your cell phone, and share your location, you will then get a new section called “News Near You”.

That section will give you news according to what’s near your physical location.

Those are just a few of the new or updated tools and resources for search, news and social media that you can find in Google. Keep an eye on the Google Blog and the Google Labs site for more.

About The Author
Tinu Abayomi-Paul is a website promotíon specialist. Get more daily tips on generating traffic from Google. Sign up here today – freetraffictip.com/tv/ – and get video footage that will show you how to find out what Google knows about your site.

The Ultimate Guide to Twitter Optimization – Website Magazine – Website Magazine

The Ultimate Guide to Twitter Optimization – Website Magazine – Website Magazine.

According to a new report from the Pew Research Center, Twitter usage has climbed to 13 percent of U.S. adults online – up from 8 percent in November. Usage among people ages 25 to 34 and 55 to 64 has more than doubled since late 2010.

These statistics are impressive but they don’t tell the whole story about recent developments with Twitter and the fact that it is on its way to becoming the Web’s next great search engine. For that, you need to optimize. But first, let’s look at how Twitter is getting closer to its goal of becoming a legitimate powerhouse.

Earlier this year, Twitter acquired TweetDeck, the service that helps users organize information on Twitter and eases the burden of constantly streaming updates. They also recently acquired AdGrok, an advertising platform intended to help Twitter monetize the site. Other recent developments include an embeddable button that allows users to more easily follow their favorite accounts on Twitter, and the ability to share photos on Twitter directly (expect video to follow).

One can argue all day that Twitter is used by a small percent of the population and that the number of accounts is inflated, due to users having several accounts at one time. But what cannot be argued is that the amount of information that flows through Twitter is enough to challenge any other source on the Web. Although it might not be a core of Twitter’s current usage, the new acquisitions point to a new phase in the service’s development – a budding real-time, social search engine. It should now be treated as such. Below, are 10 tips for Twitter optimization to make sure that your business is at the forefront of the Web’s next search boom.

  1. Use TweetDeck. Twitter acquired the TweetDeck so that they could centralize Twitter functionality and keep a tight grip on the information flowing through the site. You can be sure that those who use TweetDeck will have an inherent leg-up on the competition.
  2. Use Hashtags. As it stands, hashtags (#web or #sports, for example) are a good way to get your tweets indexed, searchable and noticed by other users. Don’t be afraid to get creative with hasthags, either. Sometimes they can create new streams of content or simply catch the attention of other users who will retweet your message.
  3. Use Keywords. Think like a SEO professional. Research keywords and use them in your updates.
  4. Be Witty. Keywords are necessary. But you must also entertain, from time to time. Clever tweets have a way of being re-tweeted. Also, consider using teasers to encourage clicks on links.
  5. Use Descriptive Short URLs. When possible, edit short URLs to include content keywords. Not only will they stand out from the rest, but users will be inclined to use that URL rather than re-shrinking it on their own – resulting in better, more accurate click and share data.
  6. Vary Content Types and Providers. If users wanted to only read about your company, all the time, they would subscribe to your RSS feed or bookmark your blog. Mix it up with content from other sources and by type (video, audio, photos). Remember that we are focused on search, and multimedia is increasingly important for search engines and users.
  7. Tweet Regularly and Promptly. You don’t want to be a nuisance but be sure to post quality updates on a regular basis. It ensures you stay top-of-mind with consumers and provides more content available to index and search. Tweet every piece of content you produce. Twitter is used by many to find breaking news. Provide it.
  8. Post Contests, Giveaways and Promotions. People love a good deal and Twitter users are no exception. Running promotions will attract followers. And the number of followers is undoubtedly part of the search formula at Twitter and on standard search engines, where tweets are increasingly displayed.
  9. Re-tweet and Follow. By re-tweeting others and following other accounts, you will earn more followers and encourage interaction – another factor that Twitter will take into account when assigning “status” to information providers.
  10. Listen. Many people use Twitter to contact businesses, air grievances and seek support. Listen up, and reply promptly and fairly. It shows that you respect your followers, can foster any number of opportunities for cross-promotion and branding, and can prevent a bad experience from “going viral.” Solicit feedback, too. People like to feel that they are making a difference.

Online Ad Revenues Jump 23 Percent – Website Magazine – Website Magazine

Online Ad Revenues Jump 23 Percent – Website Magazine – Website Magazine.

Online advertising revenues in the U.S. hit $7.3 billion for the first quarter of 2011, representing a 23-percent increase over the same period in 2010, according to figures released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

This marks the highest first-quarter revenue level ever for the industry and a significant increase over last year’s first-quarter revenue level, which had been the highest on record to date.

“The consistent and considerable year-over-year growth we’re seeing demonstrates that digital media is an increasingly popular destination for ad dollars, and for good reason,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO of the IAB. “As Americans spend more time online for information and entertainment purposes, digital advertising and marketing has emerged as one of the most effective tools businesses have to attract and retain customers.”

Search made up for 46 percent of the ad revenues, followed by display advertising with 24 percent. Sponshorships (3 percent of the share) have grown 88 percent since 2009, and classifieds (10 percent) are up 15 percent.

Google Panda Update: New Advice Directly From Google


Google lists the following as “questions that one could use to assess the ‘quality’ of a page or an article”:

  • · Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • · Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • · Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • · Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • · Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • · Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • · Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • · Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • · How much quality control is done on content?
  • · Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • · Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • · Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • · Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • · For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • · Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • · Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • · Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • · Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • · Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • · Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • · Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • · Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • · Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

The company is careful to note that it’s not disclosing actual ranking signals used in its algorithms, but these questions will help you “step into Google’s mindset.” These questions are things that Google says it asks itself as it writes algorithms.

Houston’s Williams Receives Certification in Inbound Marketing

Williams Receives Certification in Inbound Marketing

Certification Awarded by Inbound Marketing University Training Program

HOUSTON, TX – JUNE 8, 2010 – Inbound Marketing University awards the Inbound Marketing Certification to Larry Williams as part of its comprehensive Internet marketing training program (http://inboundmarketing.com).
This certification acknowledges Williams’s proficiency in inbound marketing principles and best practices. These principles include: blogging, search engine optimization, social media, lead conversion, lead nurturing and closed-loop analysis.

Williams joins an elite group of Inbound Marketing Certified Professionals. In total, 1,300 individuals have successfully passed the IMU program.

To complete the Inbound Marketing Certification, Williams completed 16 in-depth classes covering each facet of inbound marketing and passed a comprehensive certification exam. (View the full list of classes: http://inboundmarketing.com/university/classes)
The courses are taught by a knowledgeable faculty of professors, including New York Times’ best-selling author Chris Brogan, Google’s Analytics Evangelist Avinash Kaushik, Internet celebrity Gary Vaynerchuk, best-selling author and international speaker David Meerman Scott, and more. (View all professors: http://www.inboundmarketing.com/university/professors)

This certification is administered by HubSpot.

About InboundMarketing.com

InboundMarketing.com is an online community and certification program for marketers. The site’s content teaches a new style of marketing that emphasizes business uses of social media, content creation and search engine optimization for marketing. InboundMarketing.com is hosted and moderated by HubSpot, Inc. Register for InboundMarketing.com at http://inboundmarketing.com/user/register.

About HubSpot

HubSpot, Inc. provides Internet marketing software that helps businesses get found online, generate more inbound leads and convert a higher percentage of those leads into paying customers. HubSpot’s software platform includes tools that allow professional marketers and business owners to manage search engine optimization, blogging and social media, as well as landing pages, lead intelligence and marketing analytics. Based in Cambridge, MA, HubSpot can be found at http://www.hubspot.com. HubSpot’s free marketing tools can be found at http://grader.com.

18 Effective Search Engine Optimization Techniques

18 Effective Search
Engine Optimization Techniques

By Sue Cooper (c) 2010

Proper Search Engine Optimization, otherwise known as SEO, has quickly become a popular topic of conversation among website owners and entrepreneurs. The difference between having a successful website, and hosting a flop, is often the difference between whether or not you’ve incorporated proper keywords and phrases into your webpages.

Learning proper SEO techniques can seem like a daunting task, especially to those who are not familiar with the concept. The following list offers 18 simple SEO techniques you should keep in mind when developing and marketing your website.

1. Make sure your website is initially designed with your search engine optimization needs in mind. Search engines look for text, not flashy graphics and cool layouts. The trendiest web designs will mean nothing if no one is able to find your site.

2. Every page of your website should have a title tag with text describing either your site or what is on the page. Be sure the text includes SEO-type keywords instead of the name of your website. Unless you’re incredibly popular, no one is going to be looking for you by searching for your name. They’ll most likely search for a product or service and the keywords you use will lead them to your site.

3. Consider canonicalization, or whether or not your website address includes or excludes the www prefix. If you choose to use the www version of your website, make sure the non-www version directs users back to the one you use. Make sure you use your preferred version (http://www.mydomain.com or http://mydomain.com) every time you place a link to your site on the web. Don’t use both!

4. When designing your website, be sure to avoid too many drop-down menus, confusing image maps, and excessive images. If you must use any of these methods, be sure to include plenty of text links for the search engine spiders to find and identify. Without links, the search engines will not pick up your site information.

5. It does not matter what type of website extension you use (ie. .html, .htm. .asp, .php). Search engines do not look at the web extension and it will not have any impact at all on search results or ranking.

6. Every page on your website should include a link to your home page and your sitemap. Make sure every link is the same. Home page links should go directly to your domain (http://www.mydomain.com). Make sure your internal links do not include the additional /index.html or .php text as it is not needed (ie. http://www.mydomain.com/index.html).

7. Are you sharing a server with other websites? If so, you’ll want to conduct a black-list check to make sure you are not sharing a proxy with someone who has been banned by search engines in the past. Being on the same server as a website with a poor reputation may damage yours.

8. You’ll hear the same phrase over and over again: “Content is king”. It is imperative that your website have fresh, unique, and quality content that is updated on a regular basis. Be sure to include your favorite keyword phrase within the body of the content!

9. People are more likely to input a phrase instead of a single word when conducting internet searches. If your business has a physical location, incorporate the name of your city into the text as well. For example, you might use “our Philadelphia location” instead of “our location”. Including your city name will improve the chances of your site being seen in location searches.

10. If the information on your company website doesn’t change regularly, or remains static, you might want to consider starting a blog. Search engine spiders are always looking for fresh content. Use your blog as an advertising tool and link back to your website within each and every post.

11. Write naturally. The worst thing you can do is try to cram a zillion keywords into your article or blog entry, making it messy and difficult to read. Search engines are able to determine whether or not your text is logical and they will ignore content with ridiculously high keyword density.

12. Building links to your website is essential to its success. As a matter of fact, links are like the queen to complement your king’s fresh content. Choose a keyword phrase and network with other websites, asking them to place links on their pages. Don’t hurt your ranking by having non-related websites place haphazard links. While it may seem great to gather 100s of backlinks, you’re better off limiting your links to related websites. Ten relevant links stand a better chance than 100 irrelevant links.

13. Links within your website should be built with keyword phrases as well. Try to avoid using generic anchor text such as, “click here”.

14. Don’t place a list of links on your website. Always place a link within at least two to three lines of related content. The better your description, the more likely it is someone will click on the link.

15. Don’t limit your keyword or phrase to text links. You should also incorporate your keywords into your image alt tag and domain name, whether it is part of the name itself or contained within the description.

16. Try to avoid using frames, Ajax, and Flash as much as possible. None of these functions are keyword or search engine friendly and will hurt your SEO results.

17. Before your website can be found by the search engine spiders, it must be indexed. Search engines such as Google have regular submission forms, but it can take days or weeks for your form to be processed. Having a highly ranked website place a link to your site is a sure-fire way to have your site indexed quickly.

18. No matter what you hear, don’t be overly concerned with the Google PageRank of your website. A website that is properly developed and contains good content can outrank a website with higher PageRank.

About The Author
As an SEO Consultant, Sue provides clients with genuine top ranking strategies that are designed to eliminate wasted time on tweaking to achieve the desired outcomes for search engine optimisation and marketing campaigns.