Mark Rodgers, chair of the IIA International Strategy Working Group and Director of Cipherion was a guest on yesterday’s Sunday Business Show presented by Conall Ó Móráin. You can listen to all of yesterday’s show on the Sunday Business Show site or you can subscribe in iTunes. It’s a show filled with many gems so I would recommend it.
Here is the excerpt with Mark speaking with Conall Ó Móráin about internationalising your business online.
No doubt many of you heard on Morning Ireland that Microsoft have a launched a new search engine called Bing. You may even have seen the chair of our Online Marketing Working Group talking about it on the RTÉ News. While Microsoft are touting it as a “decision engine” (as in “It’s time to Bing & Decide”) which will give you the right answer and not more confusion, others are wondering whether it will be a Google-killer.Whatever else their big bucks marketing and PR campaign which rarely goes unmentioned in posts and online articles seems to be working: if you’re on Morning Ireland, you’re mainstream! 🙂
Now while I’ve been fluting around with it and the other new kid on the block, Wolfram Alpha, only a tiny little bit I wonder how they will manage to break the ubiquity of the Big G. We’ve been busy here in the IIA over the last month with Congress and the Net Visionary Awards and when I did have the urge/ time/ need to search, trying out the search in a new engine was not top of my priorities. Add to this that Google is in my face every time I get a Google alert, check my mail or my feeds etc. etc. And I’ve got the Firefox toolbar and it’s my default search engine in my browser. It’s amazing I even heard about any new search engine!
In the article linked above about whether or not Bing will be a Google-killer, the author, Jordan Golson, makes the very valid point that it’s not neccessarily that there is anything wrong with any given search engine but that searchers do not know how to search to get the results they want or the right results. I can avow to this when I think of the numerous phone calls I receive in relation to certain member companies. I inwardly grimace when I hear some member companies running an ad campaign on the radio knowing that I will be fielding calls from their potential customers. Obviously the IIA does not want to be getting your calls; we do not want to be appearing in search results for our members’ products or services. So if on the one hand the searcher knew a little bit more about how to get the results they want and what to do with the results when they get them that would improve search on any engine. However I do think that Bing’s preview will hopefully steer people in the right direction and away from our phone!
These developments in search highlight the fact that now that consumers have a new improved way to reach your site it becomes ever more important to develop your site as a searchable site. Search algorithms are constantly developed to make them more and more “human like” so that the most popular content among real humans (you and me, like) is served first for certain keywords. That’s not necessarily the most often changed content: the algorithms have become far smarter than that. How often do you change a blog post? An example? Do a search on Google for “dreech” Or ahem indeed bing it! I have never changed this content (I know what you’re thinking – maybe you should change it drastically and delete it!) but the IIA blog is still considered the most useful site for that keyword. This may be because anyone else writing about the word dreech doesn’t update their site all that regularly. But I’m no SEO expert so I would welcome any comments on the topic. I’m sure the boss will be delighted that we are coming up no. 1 for the word dreech…. 🙂
You might like to check out some of these other articles about Bing too:
Mashable: Bing: Microsoft Launching New Rival to Google? (Look at the retweets on that item!)
A guest post from Will Roche who works with IIA Member company Bluecube Interactive with some great tips if you are looking into starting an AdWords Campaign on Google to attract targeted traffic to your site. Will previously worked with Google so he knows a thing or two!
“The noblest search is the search for excellence”
-Lyndon Baines Johnson
Advertising on search engines is one of the most effective methods for driving qualified traffic to your website. Compared to traditional forms of advertising, it is more cost-effective, you can measure performance from the very beginning of the campaign and you will be reaching out to potential customers at the precise time when they are looking for information on products and services they want to buy.
At its very heart, this form of advertising is wonderfully simple – a user sees an ad based upon their search – but there are many factors that you must consider to ensure you don’t pay more than necessary and that the clicks you receive are actually contributing to your profitability.
With this in mind, Bluecube Interactive has created this guide to help you get started in this much-misunderstood area. The advice that follows will help you to lay the foundations but remember, our search team is always available if you need to take your advertising to the next level.
The structure of an AdWords account is vital to achieving a great return on your investment. The right structure will ensure that users are served the most relevant ads at all times and it will make reporting, account navigation and optimisation much easier.
The ideal account structure is one which separates the products and services offered into their own campaigns. A good example would be a company who offers two services – web hosting and web design.
Each service should have its own campaign. This has numerous advantages. For instance, if web hosting is the more prominent service, a greater proportion of the overall marketing budget can be allocated to that campaign. It also makes comparing the cost-per-click performance of both services much easier as you can see at a glance which campaign is driving the most traffic, achieving the most conversions and is providing better value for your business.
Within each campaign, there should be numerous ad groups which group related keyword phrases together that are reflected by specific ad text variations. Examples of ad groups would be:
- web hosting
- website hosting
- UK hosting
- Linux web hosting
The goal should be to make your account as granular as possible and to think about the user who is searching for your keywords. If they are served an ad that relates directly to their search, the user is more likely to click on your ad and convert into a sign-up, lead or sale.
As mentioned previously, keywords should be as specific and targeted as possible and they should relate directly to the ad that the user sees. If a user is searching for product codes or other specific terms, they are likely to be further along the purchasing cycle than those searching for more general terms and therefore, more likely to convert on your website.
General keywords like ‘photocopiers’ or ‘printers’ can be very good for driving large volumes of traffic and can also be beneficial for branding purposes. However you should be aware that general terms are also more expensive and may not lead to the same return on investment that can be achieved with specific keywords.
Another keyword type that you should be aware of is the negative keyword. Almost as important as the keywords which trigger your ads, this type of keyword prevents your ad from showing on irrelevant or unrelated searches. For instance, if your keyword is ‘printers’, this term is liable to be expanded to show for searches like:
- inkjet printers
- laser printers
- free printers
- screen printers
- second hand printers
If your business only sold inkjet printers, you may not want your ads to be displayed for searches on laser printing terms so you could add ‘laser’ as a negative keyword and reduce the amount of irrelevant impressions on your ads. This would result in the same amount of clicks, less impressions, a higher clickthrough rate and because Google’s system rewards highly targeted advertisements, you should see a reduction in your average cost per click.
The actual ad text shown to users searching on your keywords is very important and we recommend using three variations which the AdWords system will rotate evenly until it determines that one variation is performing better than the others.
As mentioned previously, the ad must relate directly to your keywords. It is also very good practice to have the keyword in the ad text itself. If the searched keyword is part of the ad, that text will be highlighted in bold letters and makes your ad stand out to your prospective clients.
Another best practice is to give the user an idea of what you expect them to do once they reach your website and you should certainly use call-to-action phrase to do this. Phrases like ‘order online now’ or ‘contact us today’ can be very effective in driving conversions. If your goal is to have potential leads call your sales team, you may wish to try an ad variation which has your phone number. In this way, you could potentially solicit leads without the need for any chargeable click activity.
Once a user clicks on your ad, the landing page is the next important step in ensuring a strong conversion rate and ROI. More often than not, advertisers use their home page as the destination for their ads but if you have many products or offer different services, you should choose the webpage that is most relevant to the keyword searched and the ad displayed to the user.
It is always worth remembering that more you make a user click, the less likely they are to convert. Generally speaking, if a user is searching for ‘accounting software’, you should bring them to the page with all the relevant information about that software to make their purchase decision. We would also recommend not bringing users directly to ‘contact us’ pages unless those pages contain an adequate amount of information on the product or service itself. Landing pages which only contain large contact forms and no information tend to have very high bounce rates (the amount of users who leave your website) and do not convert very well.
If you are mostly interested in driving phone calls to your sales teams, I would recommend having your contact details and phone number on every page of your website. Once again, this prevents the user from having to navigate your site for the information they require. As with all things related to Google advertising, the focus should always be on the user experience and how you can make their conversion as easy as possible.
About Bluecube Interactive
We are a small company with big ideas, and we have a lot of big ideas about search engine marketing. Our experienced search specialists offer a range of services to ensure the success of your campaigns.
Our Services include:
After researching your existing online environment we will create keyword lists, text ads and calculate your optimum cost-per-click settings to ensure your ads appear on the first page of results for the most relevant searches. Our expertise will ensure detailed campaign performance analysis and increased budgetary control.
One of the key success factors with a PPC campaign is the continuous refinement of keywords and ad texts based upon historic performance. Our specialists can recommend and implement changes that will noticeably improve the performance of your campaigns.
We use traffic analysis software that allows us to see how valuable each keyword really is, if your conversion goals are being met and what we can do to maximise these conversions.
We offer full-time account management services that make us solely responsible for the success of your PPC campaigns. We will discuss your marketing goals, research the online environment for your industry and create the campaigns that will deliver strong results. We also provide regular reporting on account performance and how users are interacting with your website
Our account management service ensures that all areas of your search engine marketing are in the hands of experienced professionals who will be in regular contact with your marketing team.
Damien Mulley is running another innovative competition to find the best Search Engine Optimiser in Ireland. The competition has become known as the Geansaí Gorm Competition. (although I think it is being spelt “geansai gorm” without the accent. I’m sayin nuttin! :)) This phrase was chosen so as not to pollute the rankings of actual businesses because it was unlikely that there are many trying to sell geansaithe goirme online (bang goes the Spailpín Fánach’s line in blue jumpers…)
The competition runs until 3pm on December 1 2008 so if you are really good there is still time to get ranked in Google for geansai gorm. I’m really looking forward to seeing the resuls. I’ll be keen to see how much social media helps the winner or whether the purchasing of AdWords helped. I’ll keep you posted on the results.
Now I’m off to sell all the mentions above of geansai gorm to the contenders… 😉