Articles in the Search Engine Marketing Category

Search engine marketing is still the “bread and butter” of many digital marketing strategies. Learn about platform features and practices that will make your cost-per-click campaigns successful through their lifecycles – from impression, to click, to conversion. Our experts explore keyword strategy, ad copy, campaign structure & organization, bid strategy and more on our blog.

May 13 2009

The Path to a Conversion is an Easy One


There are a few simple steps that can dramatically improve your conversions. For many advertisers, the path to getting a conversion is not always clear. A good approach is to keep it simple. Avoiding clutter makes the entire process for your visitor smoother. Make it easy and clear for your visitor to complete the action you want them to take, whether that be filling out a lead generation form, signing up for a subscription or completing a sale.

Let’s start by thinking of the conversion process as a path. Each component in the path should be easy to follow and free of any obstacles; it should be precisely clear where the visitor should proceed next.

The first step in the conversion path is keyword selection. Keywords are the foundation for any paid search advertising campaigns. Choosing highly relevant keywords not only captures highly targeted customers, but also helps weed out undesirable prospects.

The next step along the conversion path is developing effective and targeted ad copy. It is crucial that ad copy correlates with the chosen keywords. It is important to have a strong call to action. Letting your customer know what to expect when they get to your website reduces confusion. For example, if the desired goal is to have visitors sign up for a free newsletter, your ad copy should reflect that.

Once you have selected keywords and written your enticing ad copy, where will your visitors land once they click on the ad? This is one of the most important steps to increase your conversions. If your visitor reaches your site and has no idea what to do, they may immediately leave or start to explore your site. However, if you have a clear call to action on your site, which was also reflected in your ad copy, the visitor will know exactly what they need to do. Landing pages or pages where your visitors are taken after clicking on your ad, tend to produce higher conversions in paid search advertising because they are more focused on exactly what the searcher is looking for.

Putting all three of these components together in a clear manner and making sure that the path to a conversion is free of road blocks will improve your conversions.

May 12 2009

Google Adword’s New Analytical Interface


Google Adwords moved forward with the development of their new interface March of this year. The existing Beta interface offers new and improved ways of productively managing Google Adwords campaigns. The new interface may look intimidating, but it allows swift campaign, ad group, and keyword updates with analytical data.

When managing campaigns daily in the new Google Adwords Interface, you can now view Google Analytical data graphs. The data that would generally be obtained from Google Analytics to optimize campaigns is now readily available on all account levels (i.e. campaign, ad group, and keyword) in the new Google Adwords Interface. Like Google Analytics, you can manipulate the data and/or graphs by your specified dates or date ranges.   

The graphing options in the new Google Adwords interface can be maneuvered to view metrics by clicks, impressions, click-through-rate, average cost per click, cost and average position. There is even an option to view two metrics at once for comparison of data.  Having this data available in the Adwords interface immensely helps managing Google campaigns efficiently.
The new Google Adwords interface has a lot more tools than Google Analytics graphs. New reporting features have been added, account settings (geographical targeting and ad scheduling) can be done in bulk, and more optimization tools have been added to the platform. Google’s new interface should be used suitably to make instant campaign changes. The analytical data in the interface that is now there show immediately show and support up your reasons for campaign changes.

May 6 2009

Maximize Campaign Performance with a New Bid Strategy


So your AdWords campaigns have grown into architectural masterpieces -structured with multiple, tightly-themed ad groups each containing precise keyword lists that have been expanded, scrubbed, and polished over time.  You are rotating 3 or more versions of ad copy concurrently, removing the impression-cannibals and replacing with fresh ads — always aiming to improve upon click through rates.  Now what?

To make even more of an impact, consider layering on Google’s Conversion Optimizer as part of your overall bid strategy.  Conversion Optimizer is a feature provided by Google that allows you to bid using a max CPA (cost per acquisition or lead) strategy.  This setting is applied at the campaign level.  Google will optimize your campaign performance for the best possible ROI.  CPA bids are set, but you are still charged on a per click basis.  The tool calculates a CPC bid, working back from the max amount you are willing to pay for a conversion, and also using historical conversion data to determine the likelihood your ads have to convert. 

Conversion Optimizer should be considered for campaigns:

  1. Generating conversions on a regular basis at a similar rate
  2. With a Minimum of 30 conversions over the last 30 days (required)
  3. 2 weeks minimum recommended conversion tracking history

Be aware that it is possible to exceed your max specified CPA. Changes to your website and ad copy should be made cautiously during the early stage use of Conversion Optimizer.  These types of changes can have a huge impact on your conversion rate.  If the actual conversion rate turns out to be lower than the conversion rate predicted by Conversion Optimizer, your actual CPA may exceed your maximum CPA bid. 

As with any new strategy, tracking results after changing from manual bidding to Conversion Optimizer is critical.  The chart below provides a snapshot comparison of campaign performance for a 10-day timeframe running Conversion Optimizer versus manual bidding. 


If we were measuring success by click through rate or cost per click, our test would appear to be a failure.  However, our goal with this client was to maintain a consistent lead flow at a pre-determined cost per lead.  With the implementation of Conversion Optimizer, we saw just under a $6 decrease in the cost per conversion over the first 10 days of use……translating to 14 additional leads for our client.

Don’t overlook your top campaigns for bid optimization!  While a manual bidding strategy is necessary for establishing strong positions and click through rates, a CPA bid strategy powered by Google’s Conversion Optimizer can be ideal for taking established campaigns to the next level.  Although campaigns may continue to convert at a respectable rate, you may be missing out on volume by not leveraging this free tool.

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