Now that you know how to write web copy to support your website’s SEO, you’re ready optimize that copy even further for use on the Internet. By taking that web copy and adding in some on-page optimization tactics, you’ll be able to tell search engines exactly what topics your web pages cover and which keywords are most important on each individual web page.
On-page optimization is all about using your targeted keywords strategically. We talked in my previous blog (SEO How-To: How to write web copy that supports your website’s SEO) about doing keyword research, and then using your top targeted keywords two to three times throughout the copy. But, believe it or not, your keywords should be found in more places than just in the web copy.
Here are a handful of how-tos to improve your on-page optimization and take your SEO to the next level:
Headlines – This is probably the most obvious of the tips I’m going to cover. Your web page’s headline should become, as it's called in the web world, the H1 within that page. When text is put into a website and accompanied with that H1 tag, search engines automatically know that is the main topic discussed on that web page. Using your most important targeted keywords or search phrases in the headline ensures that search engines know which words you want to rank well for on each individual page.
Title tags – Title tags are also one of the most important ways to tell search engines what topics are covered on individual web pages. You’ve probably noticed title tags before, even if you didn’t know what they were. In the image below, you can see the title tags listed across the very top of the screen in the title bar, as well as in the tab within the browser.
With title tags, you get a little more flexibility and variation than with headlines. For this web page talking about market research services, as shown in the above example, we did our keyword research to find similar and related words and phrases to include. The headline reads "Market Research Services." But, the title tags include: "Market Research Services | Market Research Firms | Market Research Cleveland." These words are directly related to the topics on that page and, using keyword research, we know that these words that have search volume worth targeting. Plus, this gives you the ability to include your company's location in the page, telling search engine exactly where your services are offered.
Alt tags – So, you’ve picked out the perfect picture to go along with the perfect web copy on your page. Did you know that a picture can help your keyword rank for that page, as well? But, this is only true if you attach an alt tag to the picture to tell search engines what is shown. As search engines crawl and index your webpages, they don't have eyes to see the pictures, but they can read the text that you attach to the image. Be sure to tell those search engines what they should be seeing.
Links to other pages on and off the site – Linking within text to other pages within your website encourages your visitors to continue looking deeper into your site. You don’t want them to leave right away, do you? Beyond that, linking within the text to pages that outside of your website sends your visitors to places where they will have access to more resources and information on the topics they’re already interested in. Putting links within your web copy, and making your targeted keywords the link itself, and linking to pages with related information, builds credibility for your site with search engines.
This is just a snapshot of a handful of on-page optimization techniques you can implement to improve your website’s online rankings. We’d be glad to walk you through these and more. Feel free to leave a message below, or contact someone in our Strategic Marketing Services group by calling 440-449-6800.
Want to know where you rank in the major search engines for the most important keywords for your business? Click here for more information on our free search engine optimization report.
The AdWords keyword bidding strategy you choose to implement will depend on what goal you have set for your PPC program. Higher bids are likely to result in higher rankings and more impressions for your ads, but your cost-per-click will increase. Low bids will result in lower rankings and less impressions but your lower cost-per-click will lead to more visitors per day. The best strategy for your business may lie somewhere in between.
Let’s take a look at the positives and negatives of each strategy.
Building your brand with high bids and high rankings
If you really want to build your brand using AdWords, having a top ranking may be very valuable to you. Increasing your bid so that your average ad position is between 1-3 will mean that you’ll often appear on the left side of the search results page above the organic search results. It’s very likely that even though not all searchers will click on your ad, most will at least catch a glimpse of it. Over time, these impressions will add up and help you build brand recognition for your targeted keywords.
The obvious downside to this strategy is that you’ll be spending more per click to achieve a top ranking. Keep this in mind when setting your budgets as you can quickly chew through a budget for popular keywords when you ad has a high ranking.
Once your budget has been expended for the day, your ad will no longer show for the rest of the day, meaning that you’re no longer reaping the brand building benefits that you were hoping for. One way to combat this from happening would be set your ads to only run during the times of day when you think it is most likely that your target audience will be online. This way, you are maximizing your brand’s position at the top of the rankings.
For instance, if you are selling services to homeowners such as landscaping, it may make sense to maximize your presence in search during the evenings and weekends when it may be more likely for people to conduct such a search rather than during the work day. You can test these theories and tweak your campaign for maximum exposure.
Quantity over quality with lower bids
If your goal is simply to bring in the most total clicks to your website over the course of the day, a lower bidding strategy could be the way to go. Targeting a lower average position such as something in the 4-6 range means that your ad is unlikely to show up above the organic results, rather it will appear in the right hand column of the search results.
Your ad won’t get quite the number of eyeballs on it that it would have in a higher position, which will likely mean a lower click through rate. This does have an upside though because since you’ll be paying less per click and your ads are clicked less frequently, you can likely stretch your budget out through a much larger portion of the day. This can allow you to catch the eye of potential targets you may have missed using a higher bidding strategy.
Testing, testing and more testing
The great thing about AdWords is can always test your campaign and make tweaks to ensure optimum performance.
In the example below, we are looking at the average time spent on the website for a visitor who clicked on a particular ad in various ad positions. Interestingly, the very top position did not result in very much time spent on the site on average. This particular ad performed much better in position number 3. Analyzing this type of data can be a great way to optimize your AdWords campaign and save significant dollars in the process.
Learn more about our paid search services or signup for a free pay-per-click report on the Skoda Minotti Strategic Marketing website.
Now that you’ve created your first ad, you’re not quite finished with your ad group. Google AdWords gives you the capability to test out multiple versions of your ad and see which version performs the best. Slight changes to the wording of you ad can make a big difference, so do not hesitate to try several different versions.
Here’s a sample ad group report and some things to look for:
Click Through Rate (CTR): The higher the CTR, the more popular the ad is with searchers. A lower CTR might indicate that searchers are ignoring the ad.
Average Cost Per Click (CPC): The content of an ad can affect your average cost per click. The more relevant the ad content is to your keyword, the lower your cost per click becomes.
Average Position: A more relevant ad can also improve your position in the paid search rankings.
Conversion (Conv.): This indicates how many AdWords visitors took your desired action (i.e. bought your product, entered a quote request, filled out your contact request form, etc).
Cost/Conversion: This is likely the most important column for any business using AdWords. Very simply, it tells you how much you spent to acquire a conversion from your AdWords account. If, for example, an average quote off of your website turns into a $50 order for your company, and you only spend an average $15 to acquire the quote, you’ve likely found an ad variation that can be successful for your business.
So, how can you use these numbers to improve your campaign performance? Ideally, you’ll want to arrive at the ad that gives you the best mix of low cost per click, good positioning and most importantly, a low cost per conversion. Test out various combinations until you arrive at just the right mix of content for your ad.
Check back for the next installment in which we’ll be discussing keyword bidding strategy.
To learn more about our paid search services contact one of our professionals at 440-449-6800, or signup for a free pay-per-click report on the Skoda Minotti Strategic Marketing website.
Now that you’ve selected targeted keywords for your AdWords campaign, it’s time to start creating your ads. Google has a specific set of character limits that you must follow in each of your ads –
Title (Blue underlined text): 25 characters
Ad Text: 70 characters
Display URL (Green text): 35 characters
There are also a set of parameters around your ad content including:
- User experience
- Legal requirements
- Safety and security
- Transparency and privacy
- Google’s brand
Click here for complete information on Google’s AdWords policy.
After taking into account Google’s guidelines, it’s time to create a compelling ad that will draw targeted clicks to your website. Here’s a couple pointers to keep in mind:
- Sell the product, not a name – Focus the ad on the product/service and its features/benefits, not your company’s name. If a searcher is not already familiar with your company’s brand, including your own
name in the ad most likely will not help you attract clicks. With a limited amount of space, you cannot afford to waste precious characters.
- Focus on conversions, not just clicks – A broadly targeted ad may draw more total clicks to website, but it will result in less “conversions” (customers who take a desired action on your website). For example, if you sell replica college football helmets (and not NFL helmets), it would be wise to specify that in the ad. Ad text “Replica football helmets” would bring more total clicks, but “Replica college football helmets” would bring more targeted clicks.
- Land them on a landing page – The display URL (last row of text) is often a company’s homepage. That does not mean the ad has to take the visitor there, however. You can specify a destination URL. In the college football helmet example, if you ran an ad promising “Replica Ohio State Helmets,” you will see a higher conversion ratio if you take the visitor right to the page where they can purchase an Ohio State helmet rather then let them find their way there from the homepage.
The great thing about Google AdWords is that you can run multiple versions of your ad at the same time, so you can compare and contrast which versions are working for you and make adjustments on the fly. In the next update, we’ll discuss what statistics to look at to determine what ads are working best for you.
To learn more about our paid search services, or to receive a free pay-per-click analysis contact a Skoda Minotti Strategic Marketing professional at 440-449-6800.
Now that you have selected your pay-per-click keywords, you need to get an idea of how many clicks you can plan on receiving to help set your pay-per-click (PPC) budget on a typical day.
For example, let’s say that by using the Google Keyword Tool, you chose the following five keywords (hooded sweatshirts, zip hooded sweatshirts, hooded sweatshirts for men, cool hooded sweatshirts, buy hooded sweatshirts) based on your PPC keyword research from Part 1 of this post.
Google provides the Traffic Estimator tool to provide you with an estimate of how many clicks you may receive from a campaign featuring a specified group of keywords at a specific maximum cost-per-click (CPC) and daily budget.
This tool can help you test different max CPC settings for your campaign and see how it affects your projected results. Using the example list of keywords above, here’s an estimate of how the campaign could play out with three different settings:
Daily Budget: $50.00
Max CPC: $2.00
Daily Budget: $50.00
Max CPC: $1.50
Daily Budget: $50.00
Max CPC: $1.00
To maximize the number of clicks this campaign receives, starting with a max CPC budget of $1.50 per click seems to be a wise move. To keep total AdWords cost down, a max CPC of $1.00 would still draw clicks but would not run through the entire $50. Finally, if the goal is to be the brand seen at the top of the rankings, a $2 max CPC would result in many ads in the first or second position.
As you can see, the Traffic Estimator tool can be very valuable when planning and budgeting a new PPC campaign.
Now that you’ve chosen your keywords and set your budget, make sure to stop back next month to learn how to create your first AdWords ads.
To learn more about our paid search services, contact a Skoda Minotti Strategic Marketing professional at 440-449-6800.
Over the next several weeks and months, we’ll be running a series of pay-per-click advertising tips to help you get your first pay-per-click campaign up and running or make modifications to improve an existing campaign.
After getting your pay-per-click advertising account setup, the first step to a successful campaign is proper keyword selection. So, how can you find information on the keywords that are going to be the focus of your advertising campaign? Google, of course!
Google provides a great, free resource to get all of the relevant information on the keywords that will form the basis of your campaign – the Google Keyword Tool.
The tool is very easy to jump in and use. Let’s say you’re in the business of selling hooded sweatshirts online. By typing the phrase “hooded sweatshirt” into the Word or Phrase box, you’ll be provided with all of the relevant information on the search term. Here’s what you’ll find:
Competition: This measures, on a relative scale, how many other advertisers are competing for this same keyword. More competition can often mean a higher cost-per-click for your ads.
Global Monthly Searches: Number of searches, worldwide, occurring each month for this term.
Local Monthly Searches: This defaults to number of U.S. searches, but you can customize to other geographic regions with the “Locations” option on the page.
Google will not only give you information on your selected keyword, but also information on related keywords. In this case, there are more than 800 keyword ideas for the search term “hooded sweatshirt”.
Sorting this list by Competition or Local Monthly Searches can help you find additional keywords for your campaign that you may not have initially considered. Sorting this particular list by Local Monthly Searches will quickly reveal that the term “hoodie” is actually searched more often than “hooded sweatshirt”, yet it has a lower competition factor. This may make a good keyword to target instead of “hooded sweatshirt.”
Sorting the list by Competition (lowest to highest) reveals that the term “sweats” receives over 1,000,000 searches in the US, yet has relatively low advertising competition. This may be an opportunity lower your cost-per-click.
Reviewing this list and spotting opportunities (the list can be downloaded into Excel to help with sorting) is a key tactic to start your pay-per-click advertising campaign.
In our next installment, we’ll take a look at estimating traffic and costs from a pay-per-click advertising campaign.
To learn more about our paid search services, contact us at 440-449-6800.