Blog

20
Jun

Google My Business- How Experienced is Your PPC Manager?

 

I’ve recently talked about what it means to be a certified Google Partner and what you should expect from them. In the spirit of helping folks out I’ve now realized the one true way to find out if your Google Manager is experienced:

Ask them what system Google uses for local listings!

Seems silly, and it is. But really…Google has (again) updated what they call their local listing platform.  No longer is it Google Places. No longer is it Google Places for Business. No longer is it Google+ Local. No longer is it Google+ Local for Business. No! Behold, the new name is:

Google My Business

Perhaps this is a bit misleading because the intent of Google My Business is to reduce redundant listings, profiles, etc across all Google apps and instead offer a main “hub” which centers around what was once your business profile in Google+. I suppose, then, its best to say there has been NO CHANGE but for all intents and purposes your manager should now be saying “we need to get you on Google My Business” and dial that in. For most businesses using AdWords or another product the only thing they’ll notice is their Google+ Local page. This is a good thing for everyone to be sure. For example, recently my managed local pages skyrocketed…unfortunately this wasn’t attributed to new exciting clients but rather years of current and old listings on the different platforms.  Imagine my shock when I realized Google somehow managed to create 3 different listings for the same client. Luckily, they’ve cleared up the clutter and redundant listings (with a little help from me) and now everyone has 1 hub area.

I feel comfortable and more confident now in being able to grasp years of activity when I take on a new client.  Hopefully, gone will be the days of having a client clueless about who, where, or what listings and identities they have across Google’s properties. Along with Google allowing more than one MCC link in AdWords managers are able to better manage accounts.  I’m hopeful this will cut out false listings and promote legitimate business as well.

What is exciting and new in Google My Business?

Content.

Your business page is now a better hub than ever for featuring your business and brand.  You can create hangouts and feature them much more easily. Interaction with your customers is very important and now just by doing best practice local marketing, you are enabled with some additional tools to help you accomplish your messaging goals.  But, to me, the most exciting additions are may seem gimmicky but, to me, help touch searchers in more meaningful ways:

-Business View: Get a professional Google certified photographer to create compelling 360 degree walkthroughs of your business.

-Indoor Maps: Show your visitors, customers, and clients, where you’re located in a building or the layout of your floor plans.

In Summary the most important part about Google My Business now is that you now have 1 spot to control all your Google properties. Launch into Youtube, AdWords, Maps, Google+, and get integrated insights as well.  The title and intro to this post are snarky…truly the best way to determine veteran managers is to find out if they’re annoyed by all these name changes…but most importantly this update, at least, is substantially helpful.  For MONTHS I’ve had to explain how Google was using separate databases for their local systems and this announcement is a sort of formal acknowledgement that those transitions are finally and wholly completed.

Personally, I am very excited to try out some of the new tools that accompany this announcement.  I’ll keep you posted.

22
May

When Should You Use a Google Tracking Number?

AdWords is an expensive undertaking.  Much of the value of hiring a manager like ourselves is to have some peace of mind knowing you’re spending your dollars wisely and getting the best ROI possible. As a AdWords management company we’ve primarily focused on working with local businesses.  In doing so we’ve found that the needs of our clients don’t always align with the technical solutions Google offers. Google tries its best to provide ways to track or increase your ROI for its users but unfortunately many times those tools are best suited to large businesses, national brands, or ecommerce websites.  For example, it offers conversion optimization automated bidding and dynamic ad targeting. And recently, they’ve started making end-roads into call tracking.

Why do AdWords call extensions exist?

AdWords has often given you the ability to add call extensions to your ads.  Call extensions are basically enhancements to your standard text ad that includes a phone number inline with your ad copy.  But originally ( yes, we’ve been around long enough to remember the good ol’ days) we were allowed to put phone numbers inside of the hardwired ad copy.  Our thought was that it was just good practice but also hopefully someone dialed straight from the ad without clicking and spend our client’s money. Google took that ability from us and insisted we use call extensions instead. The removal of phone numbers within ads occurred as mobile smartphones became more ubiquitous. As users began using their smartphones for searching Google refined it’s user interface and integration of its paid platform.  Google also enabled the ability for a “click-to-call” ad where the user can call directly from a search ad on their phone.  The merits of that function are better left for deeper discussion later on, but the concept here is that integrating call extensions into ads allowed Google to leverage the unique ability for smartphones to take one less step in contacting a business.

Click to Call is great for local services

For plumbers, lawyers, bail bonds, etc click to call can make a lot of sense.  Users may need to talk to someone quickly to find out more about the service and rates and their interest in the website may be minimal. Similarly, these are the folks that may also just call off desktop ads and go down the list without ever really clicking an ad. But there’s always been a problem. Tracking.  How do you know if a phone call received is from your paid ads? Ever since the incorporation of call extensions there have been two solutions available to small businesses. 1) Use a Google Call Tracking Number 2) Use another tracking number in tandem with script on the site and/or a landing page The pros and cons of each choice depend on what you feel like you value more as an advertiser. Option 1: Use A Google Tracking Number Google actually calls these “Google Forwarding Numbers” but they basically track calls and are reportable back to the AdWords interface.  The unfortunate component of this option is that the tracking number Google uses is a toll-free & dynamic number.  This means that a local customer will see a toll free number for a local intent search.  Our concern is that this will be less appealing than an ad with a local area code and therefore we’d lose business.  Additionally, the number will change each time so any return visitors or follow up calls may be difficult. However, this allows an easy way to determine effectiveness of campaigns.  Google is building call details into flexible conversion settings to tell an even better story about the type of call generated off the ad.  For some businesses which may not rely on hyper-localization this may be more appealing. Also, you never have to pay for another phone line as your cost is built into the click cost. Option 2: Use a 3rd Party Tracking Number This option is more expensive.  You need to buy a dedicated number or sign up for some sort of call tracking solution.  SB Search uses Marchex to track phone calls for its clients.  However, while more expensive using a call tracking platform can give you very detailed insights into your campaigns and calls.  Ironically, Google’s tracking solution doesn’t give you keyword level data. But many call tracking platforms can give you super detailed information about what keyword associated with what ad text drove a phone call.  You should expect to pay at least $99/month for a solid platform that can do this. The con of this option is that you cannot get AdWords integration data automatically, and still, any “click-to-calls” give you almost no data beyond the fact that a call came through.  You would have to have a local number dedicated to each adgroup if you wanted to get the same type of information Google’s solution gives you on Click to Call instances.

What’s the best call tracking solution for a small local business?

Given the constraints, costs, and value of tracking calls I tend to prefer using a client’s standard local phone number.  If we use call tracking I believe a 3rd party platform is best because you can record calls and order new ones easily.  For the click to call problem I feel that in tandem with the other tracking measures we can rely on the “click type” segment to tell us how many click to calls we’ve had…sure we can’t tell how long each of those lasted (because we’re not using Google’s phone number) but we can assume the person actually clicked and the phone number came up.  I’ve relied, in the past, on running tests to how many click to call click types resulted in tracked phone calls on our 3rd party platform ( I paused all other ad types and tracking numbers).  What I found was that the conversion rate of click to calls click types was about the same as those that came to the site then dialed a tracking number from the landing page; which is about 40%-50% for most home services. However, I have found success in using Google call tracking for some local clients.  The overall take away is: 1) Use Google Forwarding if you have no access to 3rd party tracking but want to get a sense of overall performance 2) Use your local number in call extensions and measure “click to call” click types (segmentation) if you have very few other forms of marketing out there 3) If you find value in getting a better sense of conversions look into investing ~$100 per month extra for great call tracking We here at SB Search are more than happy to find the right, flexible, plan for your business and needs.

16
May

What to expect from an Google AdWords Partner?

 

adwords partners screenshot

Who are Google AdWords Partners?

 

 

Google would have you believe that anyone with a Google Partner badge is going to give you quality AdWords Management.  You would assume from their partner page that you’ll have proactive and knowledgeable managers working on your account as long as they have a badge on their website.  I’m here to tell you that you should use the Google Partner status as your initial filter for choosing AdWords management but that you should probably inquire about some more important aspects of how the individual or agency operates.  South Bay Search Marketing practices the following as a matter of company ethos but you may find some utility in the concepts regardless of whether or not you sign up with us; you should use these concepts to guide your entire online marketing strategy and choices.

 

Your AdWords manager fees should be based on realistic expectations.  The rate which a Google Partner charges should reflect 3 things: hourly work to be done, performance, and foundational value in the campaigns.  As an AdWords management agency we have built upon years of experience  and knowledge with custom tools, reporting, and indicators which help us better notify and manage both the online campaigns but our clients as well.  We want to spend as much time as needed in your account…no more…no less.  Most clients have a fixed AdWords budget that reflects their cash flow or other needs and once we get campaigns dialed in so that they consistently deliver leads at a profitable ROI then it’d be foolish of us (or any other manager) to make changes in an account just for the sake of “putting in the hours”.  Incremental changes based on further reporting and analytics can still be implemented but gone are the days where you can expect huge ROI from AdWords; the online ppc landscape has become just too competitive and expensive.

While major changes and tweaks may not need to be done eventually (hopefully as soon as possible) that doesn’t mean your account manager should be paid differently.  As a company we price ourselves at a rate which reflects our initial grind which hopefully results in many months of continued management.  You, the client, are then paying for the performance results that we’ve earned through many hours of hard work (either in your account specifically or in those that we’ve learned from in the past).  You’re still making, we believe, as good of a ROI on our campaigns as you can hope to expect anywhere else and that is the foundational value that a Google Partner should bring to the table.  When you shop around you should have a sense of the type of experience the vendor can apply to your business whether or not they’ve had your specific business in their portfolio previously.  Additionally, when you use quality managers you should get a sense of structural integrity of your account so that you can review the data in a way that makes sense and tells a story for your business.

Your Google Adwords Partner should have a personality.  What’s one of the best things any business can offer its clients? Feeling like you share their needs and wants.  Personality builds trust between a service and a client.  For AdWords and internet marketing in general there is a huge opportunity for distrust because of anonymity online and the technicality of computers.  Most small business owners don’t understand html, api, h1 tags, and so on.  Then the idea that you’re working with simply a voice or “text” chat that you never get to physically see or touch results in inherent anonymity that is often abused by scammers.  If we understand that distrust is ripe in internet relationships then we need to be sensitive to the fact that ppc marketing also throws in the concept that a client (you) trusts a stranger (us) to spend your valuable cash! We need to be very aware that our clients trust us to make wise money decisions on their behalf and are paying us to do so.  The best remedy for this distrust is personality.

An AdWords Partner should be available in many different mediums; chat, phone, web-meetings, and in person if possible.  Furthermore, we should have a 1:1 relationship with the client & their account.  That is why South Bay Search Marketing has always done best when our sales team is our management team.  If you get John on the line he gives you his pitch…his personality.  Then when John starts working on your account you get that approach and his specific attention on the phone when you have a question.  A simple Google Partner badge needs to be pinned onto a company with personality to ensure long and healthy accounts and relationships.

Lastly, a Google Partner should also be flexible to your business needs. The internet changes so often that the companies that act as portals to your business for your clients sometimes change quite a bit as well.  Google, for example, has added and taken away features from advertisers on AdWords in spurts of time that sometimes only last a day.  It is not uncommon to be working in an account only to have the dashboard notify you that you need to refresh because it has been updated…several times.  The newest, latest, and greatest may not be for you.  A Google Partner should evaluate the toolsets available and apply only those that will make the most of your limited budget.  Furthermore, we pride ourselves (and your vendor should as well) on being willing to accommodate a client’s need outside of their agreement form scope of work.  We may, for example, find out that you really need some Google Places updates to support our ads.  You may ask us to integrate Analytics ourselves and change the site a bit to your needs.  Your Google Partner should be able to accommodate most of these needs and if not, recommend vendors that can. In relation to the first two items above, your Google AdWords Partner should be able to give you an honest assessment of any additional costs (if any) to accommodate these needs.  If we’re a Google Partner then we’re yours as well.  You should feel free to ask and free to expect a reasonable effort on the part of your management to fulfill your request.

 

In summary, the Google Partner badge is just a representation of satisfying some of Google’s basic standards.  Your needs go well beyond those that Google measures and you should be able to choose a Google Partner that meets and exceeds the standards of obtaining the badge.

 

 

8
May

Is the Yahoo Bing Alliance coming to an end? Yahoo Ad Manager

Have You Heard of Yahoo Ad Manager?

I had heard a very small alert about Yahoo’s changes.  But like most Yahoo changes, I figured I’d take my time researching it, since it’s bound to change again.

Well, my understanding was correct, it turns out the “Alliance” isn’t over, for the most part.  But, like Google Adwords, Yahoo is making sure it’s ready for the impending takeover of mobile traffic.

I logged into Yahoo Ad Manager today and created our first ad!  While Yahoo has a standing contract with Bing, it has elected to move some of it’s paid search traffic to Yahoo Ad Manager.  Namely, mobile content and search.

What does that mean to an advertiser?  We are back to 3 bidding backends and it’s more complicated than before.

  • Adwords – Google, AOL, and more.
  • Bing Ads – Bing and Yahoo Desktop
  • Yahoo Ads Manager – Yahoo Mobile

Read more

5
Aug

Understanding AdWords

Google AdWords doesn’t have to be confusing. Here’s a simple start up tutorial that touches on the basics for any campaign. We hope you find it helpful! From your friends at South Bay Search Marketing.

23
Jul

How Does Google Work?

Confused by how Google works?

Have no idea what the difference is between an organic search result and a paid search?
We found a great infograph from “PPC Blog ” that showcases the flowcharts the complex working of Google. Follow the arrows and discover how Google works, alice. 😉

Read more

3
Jul

Adwords vs. Adwords Express

What is the difference between Adwords and Adwords Express?

If you don’t have a website then Adwords Express seems like the a great way to go. Websites are confusing, time consuming, and expensive to make, right? Wrong; they can be affordable and made quickly. Having an online presence is necessary. Adwords Express just may not be the best way to go about it.

Thinking twice about Adwords Express would be beneficial.The issue I have with Google Adwords is that Google does all the work for you. But wait, that sounds great right? Wrong again. Your online presence is not something to be lazy with, considering 85% of consumers search for businesses online, and this statistic is growing.

Regarding your online presence, whether it is a website, Pay Per Click, SEO, Social Media, or Pay Per Call, you get what you pay for. Adwords Express, yes, is cheaper than Adwords, but there are no keywords, and no placement choices to be made. Google decides what words match your business, ad places your ad accordingly. The only info you give them is the category your business fits in, a two line ad, and your budget.

Of course Adwords Express is cheaper; your ads will show up according to your budget. But how often will your ads even show up for people to click on it? My guess is not so much.

One upside, however is that Google localizes Adwords Express,, meaning that your ad will only show up for people looking in your area. Better for small, local businesses, maybe not if you are county wide, or state-wide etc.

Even with this one upside, the downfalls are too high in count. A huge downfall is the absence of negative keywords. Say you are a plumber and you are offering plumbing repairs, etc., someone could eb looking up plumbing school, or plumbing tips, and you would still show up due to the keyword: “plumbing”. These are not people you want seeing your ad, and especially not people you want clicking your ad. No negative keywords allow for a waste of time, and a waste of money. Adwords Express may be cheaper but is it cost effective, or a money pit?

You cannot bid higher on a specific device either. Everything is spread across the board evenly. But mobile bids are usually more expensive, so you probably aren’t going to be showing up on any mobile devices. Not good considering mobile users are growing every day. It is predicted that people will be searching on their phones more than they search on their desktops by 2014. That’s not very far away.

Go with the plunge of investing in a website for your business. A great software to utilize is WordPress, which is user friendly for easy edits, and extremely customizable. Then get yourself on Adwords and see your business grow!
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24
Jun

How to: Write the Best Adwords Text Ads

You only have 25 headline characters, 70 text characters, and a display URL to make the sell. What to put in the headline? What to put in the description lines and display URL; and then there’s all of Google’s advertising policies you must abide by. *(Check out these rules and regulations for Google’s Adwords text ad policy here.)

What makes you stand out from the competition? Why is your company better than your competitors’? Quality, customer service, and most importantly, price is what makes you better.

Let’s start with the basics of advertising and then get into the specifics of advertising on Google.

  • Go big with the headline.
  • Test things out again and again.
  • Keep it sweet and short.
  • Be specific.
  • Be Unique.
  • Use Pronouns.
  • Focus on the good stuff.
  • Use lots of “expressive” words.
  • Special offers are always for a limited time only.
  • Make a strong guarantee.

Number 1: the headline. 70% of your ad’s efficacy is dependent on your headline. (Makes it a good place to start!—) If you have a monthly promotion or coupon offered; utilize that. An eye-catching line advertising a special price or offer is going to attract more eyes.

Efficiently input your keywords. The keyword your audience searches for should be in the ad. Keep it Simple. If the keyword is “Boston Plumber”, headline the ad, “Boston Plumber”; then advertise a call to action deal in the description lines. Give your audience what they want–what they are looking for. Likelihood is, they won’t look twice at an ad that doesn’t have their keyword in it.

Match up your headline and your destination url. If you are offering a promotion or coupon, have them directed to your coupon page. If you are advertising a local area, lead your audience to a localized page specific to the advertised city. You want to make it as easy and direct as possible for your audience; making your product or service the best and easiest choice.

People don’t want to read a book. Be as concise as possible; get to the point; say it clearly and attractively.

19
Jun

Why Choose Us?

Why Choose us? Good question.

South Bay Search Marketing is a professional, expert, and personalized online marketing home. We are person to person rather than business to business. We have fun building your business; and we get the greatest kick of all from the conversions we get you.

Business doesn’t have to be boring; we make it fun. See why we’re the best…or better yet give us a call and we’ll give you a 15 minute demonstration or account review.

infographSBSM

14
Jun

Google Enhanced Almost in Effect- What to Look Out For

Google is constantly making updates in Adwords these days; but are these updates really “enhancing” Google Adwords?
“Enhanced” should probably be replaced with a more negatively connoting word, like “Money-hungry”, or “Capitalization”. Although Google’s goal was to simplify the bidding options, they seemed to have made things more complex and difficult. The only thing really “Enhanced” is the price of clicks, which seems to be going up quite significantly across the board.

Yes, Google Enhanced offers more options for Adwords users such as:
– Location Bid Adjustment
– Mobile Preferred Ads
– Custom Display Bids
– Adwords Extensions Customization
– Text Ad Rule Changes
– etc.

Let’s review a couple of these changes and see what the cons and pros are—there are some pros believe it or not!

Sitelinks & Mobile Bidding: You can now control the day, time, and hours you have your sitelinks up and running. However, with such specificity comes complexity: Google Enhanced has made Google Adwords a lot more complicated. Most importantly, bidding options have been changed: users must bid on all devices. Whether you want a presence on all 3 forms of devices, you must bid on them: desktop, tablet, and mobile. Additionally, you cannot target specific types of mobile devices such as just Apple software or just Android software. Somehow Google has allotted for Adwords to become simultaneously more specific and broad.

On the upside, you may, however, bid lower for mobile devices, and higher for desktop, or oppositely, depending on which devices you want and do not want to show up on. An absolute minimum bid cannot ensure disappearance from a specific device, but you will most likely not appear on it. Developing strategies around Google’s constantly changing rules is vital.

Text Ad Changes: ,/b>Text ads are always coming up with new rules and regulations: a big one under Google Enhanced is the disallowing of phone numbers in text ads. The number must be added in the ad extensions tab of Adwords under the “call extensions” section. Gong through all of the ad extensions is vital due to the new text changes. Google Places has become an even greater asset as well!

Display Network: Display Network campaigns must be merged into just one campaign now; you can still, however, target devices within the campaign. Just make sure to separate your display network campaign from your search campaigns!

So what’s the verdict? Is Pay Per Click still worth it?
YES. Yes, of course; Google Adwords is NECESSARY for a prospering business these days. Without an online presence there is no business, or little to none of it! Online marketing is where the customers are- regardless of the industry.

Google is like the big man on campus that you may not like all the time, and you may not always like what he does, but if your on his bad side then life is not so great. What is key is adaptation. Users be aware that budgets will need to be adjusted, but volume will go up; but things are gonna get more competitive and more expensive.

We touched a few of the key changes to look out for, but make sure you familiarize yourself with the changes and act accordingly. Test out the new waters, strategize, and then conquer.

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