‎Google Releases “Smart Bidding” To Set the Ideal Bid for Each PPC Ad

 

Google makes the overwhelming majority of its revenue from its Adwords PPC advertising. No other revenue stream even comes close.

So of course, they’ll pay the most attention to it out of all their various services. They have investors watching their earnings, and they don’t want to report those earnings aren’t meeting expectations. That could cause their stock price to fall which would cost Google billions.

With That in Mind, Google’s Introduced “Maximize Conversions” to Adwords

What is “Maximize Conversions?” It uses smart bidding to automatically set the right bid for each PPC ad auction.

…But doesn’t that sound a little fishy? Google, who has a substantial financial interest in seeing you spend more, will automatically set how much you bid?

Now, of course it’s in their interest to give you good results for the money you invest. Because, if you don’t, you won’t keep spending with Google. You might move over to Bing.

But then again, Google stands to profit. And research has found it generally costs you more for the same results than Bing.

So what’s the reality? Should you use this feature? Should you insist your internet marketing company use it?

Let’s find out.

One Agency Generally Experiences Positive Results…With a Small Catch

Seer Interactive does its fair share of Adwords campaigns. The decided to put this “Maximize Conversions” feature to the test. And this is what they found:

  1. In 85% of their tests, clients experience better results with Maximize Conversions
  2. During the first two weeks of the campaign, results got worse while Google learned what to do. However, results improved during the final two weeks, ending up in a net gain.
  3. No patterns existed by client or industry type. They concluded you need to test for yourself to see what happens.

Google also notes that decking company Trex experienced a 73% increase in conversions with the new feature, while also getting a 42% decrease in cost-per-acquisition. And interestingly, Trex was a customer of Seer Interactive at the time.

Test and Be Careful

Google’s likely somehow making more money off this “Maximize Conversions” feature. But initially, it looks like they’re helping you improve your results too (in most cases).

So consider asking your SEO company to test the feature. But do understand, that while it’s likely you’ll experience positive results, there’s no guarantee.

New Google “Fred” Update Rocks SEO World

Well, Google’s finally started stop picking on animals with its updates.

One of Google’s current spokesmen jokingly called the new update “Fred.” And he said he’ll continue to call all future updates the same name also.

What Does Google “Fred” Do?

No one’s positive yet. All everyone knows is that on February 7th, many websites saw a noticeable change in their traffic. As always, some rejoiced with great gains. Others threw their arms up in the air in anger after experiencing massive losses.

Current speculation from Search Engine Roundtable believes the update more carefully examines the quality of your links. It’s still early yet, and others think the update may look at the quality of your content also.

But, at this point, the strongest argument is for link quality. That’s because the Black Hat SEO forums are the most active with debate. Black Hat SEOs tend to use links to manipulate their way up the search rankings (versus creating and promoting quality content). And that of course exposes them to this risk.

Now that they’re getting burned by it, they’re not too happy.

What To Do about This Update

If you’ve already been hit by this update, your business will hurt for a while. Sorry, but that’s the honest-to-goodness truth.

If you noticed a big drop in traffic in your analytics on February 7th, or shortly after, you likely got nailed by it.

The first thing to do would be to talk with your SEO company. If you’ve had multiple SEO companies over the past several years, then you’ve got a real mess on your hands. You don’t know who’s responsible. So, talk to your current SEO company to see what they say and how you should proceed. You may have to decide whether to terminate your relationship with your current SEO company.

The good news is you can recover. There’s three things you can do:

  1. Work on making a Disavow request, which is where you ask Google to ignore certain links pointing to your site. It’s a fair amount of work that you should leave to your SEO company. Moz offers a spectacular guide for how this works if you want to learn about it.
  2. If you got a manual notification of a penalty you’ll have to do the Disavow work, plus possible other work to get back in Google’s good graces. Again, you’ll need an ethical SEO company to do this for you. Then, you submit a reconsideration request once you believe you’ve done all the work necessary to clean up your SEO.
  3. You need to keep creating interesting and unique content. This attracts quality white-hat links to you. And that keeps you safe in Google’s search results.

If this penalty hit you, sorry to hear that. But, just know that while it may hurt your business, it’s far from the end of the road for you.

How Qualified is Your SEO Traffic?

Blue keyboard button for search engine optimization

Rankings and traffic are often the most important indicators of web search success to small business
owners.

Sense a “but” coming?

Here it is:

But, you have to think about those metrics in the context of your business and your own SEO.

Typically, they’re a good indicator of search marketing success. But, take a look at some of the ins and outs before you sit back and relax, thinking everything’s okay:

  1. What’s the Source of Your Traffic?

No website has 100% perfect traffic from awesome sources. None. Spammers hit every domain on the web to some extent.

Take a look at the source of your traffic in Google Analytics. You will see some sources that come from foreign countries where you’d never possibly do business (like Russia or China).

We’re guessing you don’t want any HVAC customers from that area.

That’s an obvious example.

But, it gets less obvious. Again, if you’re an HVAC company, how valuable are certain keywords and phrases like “fix your air conditioner?”

You have to be a little careful with some of your traffic sources.

  1. What Keywords Do You Rank For?

Just like traffic sources, you have to know what keywords you rank for and consider their context. If you have great rankings for keywords that aren’t really relevant to your industry, those rankings really aren’t valuable at all.

It’s hard to find all the keywords you rank for these days. Google’s concealing that data, making it harder to access so you move over to their profit center they call “Adwords.”

  1. This Is Where Experienced SEO Companies Come In

Technically, your SEO is never done. You can always do another thing or try something else to grow your business online.

The web is so complex. And it changes so fast.

Some SEO companies are better than others at finding the right keywords for your niche. And that’s really where their experience makes a difference for your company.

Other companies can find keywords that will drive you more business. However, they may miss some of the best opportunities.

That’s why you want to go with a company who’s been around in the SEO game for a long time. They’ve navigated the murky waters of SEO. And they know how to choose the highest-converting keywords right away.

It’s some helpful advice that you must keep in mind to ensure your success online.

How to Combat Fake Content in 2017

Hands typing on laptop computer

Yes, it’s here: fake content. And it’s here in great supply. Some web experts speculate that machines may be able to write as convincingly as humans in the near future.

So, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can counter the various types of fake content out there so you don’t find yourself getting burned by competitors who cheat.

  1. Fake Reviews

Ahh…nothing looks better on your company or product than a nice 4-5 star rating. Fall below that magic 4-star threshold, and you start to lose a lot of credibility and customers.

Fortunately, you don’t have to find yourself falsifying reviews to keep up. Not only would you feel guilty, but some websites, like Amazon actually sue customers who knowingly engage in such practices.

90% of consumers say they’ll happily leave a positive review when you offer a good product or service. So, it’s really just a matter of asking.

  1. Fake Viewing of Your Ads.

Did you hear about the Russian “Methbot” scam? It involved multiple hackers creating “bots” (software programs) that accurately mimicked consumer behavior on the web. The amazing part of the scam was that it was done in such a sophisticated way that fraudulent activity was difficult to detect.

The software attacked hundreds and thousands of websites. The websites attracted ad algorithms, which then showed the ads. The bots clicked the ads, generating revenue for the hackers. Current reporting states about $180 billion were stolen.

It’s hard to protect yourself from this one. But, you can look for unusual traffic spikes in your advertising platform. Your suspicion should go up exponentially if you notice a number of these spikes in a short time span.

  1. Fake Business Listings

Yes, your competitors do know how to create call centers, complete with a local Google map listing, that make it appear as though the company is owned and operated locally. This is true for local professional services like plumbing, heating, locksmithing, and carpet cleaning. To top it off, they often send in professionals who aren’t competent and charge excessively high prices for their services.

Google nails these from time-to-time. However, they pop up quickly to the point where even Google can’t keep up.

You can keep yourself safe by displaying photos of your storefront and referring to local neighborhoods you serve. Plus, you can also report the fake listings to Google.

Fake content will continue to be a challenge to deal with. But you can beat it with the help of these tips.

3 Reasons to Use Bing Ads Instead of Google Adwords

White cover magazine and blank screen phone, flat lay tabletop

When you think of online marketing, you usually only think of Google. It’s your only option, isn’t it?

Sometimes yes, and others no. Of course, it’s going to be your primary channel for marketing because that’s where most of the web’s traffic goes first.

But, in the case of PPC ads, you may be better served with Bing. Here’s 3 reasons why:

  1. Bing Ads Cost Less, While Still Helping You Drive Revenue

Google makes somewhere around $60 – $70 billion in revenue from Adwords. It accounts for 75% of the company’s annual profit. Google’s interest lies in keeping prices for PPC ads high…and hiding organic search data so paid search becomes more attractive. That’s precisely their strategy.

With Bing, you pay far less for the same (or even better) ad placement. And you still drive revenue because people do use this search network. You can’t beat Bing, speaking in terms of value.

  1. Bing Doesn’t Force You To Use Closely Related Keywords

Google recently forced all Adwords accounts to have their ads show up for terms with common misspellings of the target term, plural versions, and grammatically-related variations. Of course, you can see how this would cause you to get more clicks. But you may not want those clicks because they don’t actually drive revenue. But, Google gives you no choice.

Bing, however, does give you the choice. You can only appear for the exact terms you want.

The result? You spend less money and make more sales.

  1. Who You Can Access with Bing Ads

If your target customer is women 45+, Bing is the search network you want to chase. As you might expect, Google’s market skews towards younger males ages 18-44.

As a result, you can reasonably infer Bing’s audience is more likely to have children. They’re generally less tech-savvy than their Google counterparts. And, as an FYI, they tend to be more blue-collar than Google’s white-collar audience.

Is Bing Really Better?

Technically, you can’t say which paid search network is better. It really depends on who you want to market to. You have to evaluate which search network best fits your business model.

If you’re not sure, Bing’s at least worth a test. You can save quite significantly on your PPC costs.

Just In: Nearly 60% of All Searches Come from Mobile

ThinkstockPhotos-473703860

Okay, so the truth is this is an estimate. However, it’s likely more accurate than any other out there.

According to an article at Search Engine Land, Google’s said more than 50% of searches come from mobile devices.

Now, they’re reporting that Hitwise has done some extensive research of their own and believes that number sits around 58%. To get the data, Hitwise analyzed several hundred million searches across both smartphones and tablets.

So, whether the number’s at 58% or not doesn’t matter. What we do know is that most online searches happen on mobile devices.

By the way, they found this pretty cool data too, which shows the percentage of mobile searches by industry:

mobile graph

Is Your Website Optimized for Mobile Searchers?

Having a responsive design is not enough. It’s a good and necessary start because Google says you should have one. Don’t have a responsive design, and it will hurt your search rankings.

But, just being responsive won’t be enough over the long haul. For example, your site may look good for mobile devices, but you could still have buttons that are way too small for people to click with their fingers.

So, instead of buying or clicking to call, they click the wrong button and go to the wrong page and get lost. Or, they get frustrated because they can’t click the button and leave.

Sales lost right there.

Or, maybe you sell a service and rely a lot on them to read your content to sell themselves on you. If they have to constantly zoom in and out and scroll around to read, that takes more work.

The more work they have to do, the less likely they are to buy eventually.

Your website could also be too fancy and take way too long to load. Every second counts. Even though data download rates are increasing, you still have to keep your website compact (in terms of file and image sizes), to make sure it loads quickly enough.

You see, it’s all about user experience. They just want to click a couple buttons and get what they want now. And that’s it.

The smoother and more valuable you make their experience, the more sales you’re going to make. With online marketing, it really is that simple.