Live from #SMX East: Paid Search Fundamentals

By Lindsay Keller | Sep 14, 2011
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Matt Van Wagner, Paid Search Fundamentals presenter at SMX East, is President and founder of Find Me Faster, a search engine marketing firm based in Nashua, NH. As a seasoned sales and marketing professional specializing in paid and local search engine marketing strategies, he gave some insight into the basics of how to purchase placement from the major search engines for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and some best practices for success with your PPC ads.

One great thing about PPC is that your investment in PPC Ads is measurable. A key point that you should keep in mind when creating a PPC campaign is that PPC and SEO are complementary. With PPC you can get going quickly and discover what words convert in the process and relay those results over to your SEO startegy. Also, with PPC you can manage risk of algorithm changes and there is a predictable, dependable flow of traffic. With PPC you can control the message that users are seeing.

Elements of paid search include:

  • Keywords – the words you want you want your ads to appear for when someone enters them into a search engine
  • Ads – text ads on the Search Network or multi-media ads on the Display Network
  • Bids – how much you want to pay for a keyword that generates a click
  • Landing Pages – pages that you want people to see first

Display Ads are ads that appear on a related site, which ideally are closely related to the content you are reading.

Campaign Settings:

  • Geographic – Improve ad position and ROI bid by time zone or target areas by language. Choose your battlezones.
  • Time of day or time of week – Increase your bids to get a better ad position Google, the time on AdWords is set by where you are located, but Bing follows the click so you can specify a certain time and not have to create different campaigns for each time zone.
  • Demographic
  • Browser (mobile devices)
  • Behavioral

You do not have to bid the most to get the top position, as long as your keywords, ads, and landing pages are relevant. Relevancy, along with other factors, such as the click-through-rate, is what Google uses to determine the Quality Score. Google then generates Ad Rank by multiplying the Quality Score by the Max CPC Bid. The best ad position varies for different companies. In general, the higher your ad appears, the more clicks you get and the more you pay.

Questions to ask yourself before creating a Pay Per Click Advertising campaign:

  • What is your primary goal for your campaign?
  • How do you define success?
  • How do you measure success?
  • Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft offer free conversion trackers
  • Third party web antalgics (Google Analytics)
  • Measure ACTIONS. Don’t measure just CTR or CPC.

Keywords are what you bid on and queries are what users type into the search box. Keyword match types include:

  • Broad – the most general match type
  • Phrase – identified with quotes around the keyword phrase and will return results for that keyword but can have words before and after that specific phrase
  • Exact – identified with brackets and will only return results for that exact keyword. Exact match will give you the most bang for your buck.
  • Negative – used to tighten broad & phrase match keywords and controls traffic

What words do other people use to search for you? When creating a keyword list for your PPC campaign make sure to include:

  • Synonyms, homonyms, misspellings
  • Words that will bring the wrong people
  • 2-3 word phrases – don’t go too far past that
  • Bid on your own brand names

The smaller and tighter the ad groups you have, the more success you will have with your PPC campaign.

Some tips for creating ad copy from Matt Van Wagner include:

  • Think about your consumers and what motivates them.
  • Include features of the product or service but focus on the benefits.
  • Switch your left brain to your right brand
  • Do not start writing ads in Excel spreadsheets
  • Start with story telling
  • Go listen to your sales team at work!

Sometimes you will need to write ads to filter clicks as opposed to attract the most clicks.The default on Google and Bing serves the ad copy that will attract the most clicks, but you want to focus on conversions, so make sure to utilize the new ad serving option in Google to optimize for conversions.

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