PPC Basics Part 1: Understanding Paid Search to Grow Sales

Pay Per Click BasicsPaid search is a powerful digital marketing tool, and can place your business ad at the very top of search engine results at just the right moment. But learning how to effectively use paid search (or PPC) can be overwhelming. Here’s a quick but comprehensive run down on the basics of paid search and how it can work for your business.

How Paid Search Works

Paid search refers to ads placed at the top of the results screen on search engines, like Google and Bing. Businesses bid for top placement on these results pages for keyword terms and phrases that are related to their products or services. An example of this would be a cleaning company paying to have their ad shown when a customer searches for “cleaning services”.

 

The benefits of paid search are easy to see; a customer is in need of a service you provide, and your ad appears at the top of their search. PPC ads generate leads, that when followed up on and closed, can generate more business for your company.

What’s the Difference Between PPC and SEO?

When you use paid searches, you get instant results in the form of ads that can generate web traffic and leads. When you stop paying for paid searches, your ads and web traffic abruptly stop.

 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the visibility of your website in search results that are seen below PPC ads at the top of the page. SEO doesn’t provide instant results as paid searches do and should be seen as a long term investment in your website’s visibility. Ongoing SEO efforts will generate results that grow over time and provide free, organic web traffic.

 

Businesses looking to maximize their online presence use an ongoing strategy of combining SEO and PPC for maximum results.

Paid Search Acronyms (And What They Mean)

There are a slew of acronyms being used in the world of paid search. Here are some terms you may come across, and what they mean:

    • SEM: SEM stands for “search engine marketing” and can refer to any boost to your website’s visibility that you pay for, but it’s most often used in reference to PPC advertising.
    • PPC: PPC stands for “pay per click” and is the most common pricing structure in search engine marketing. Also referred to as paid search, it means that advertisers pay by the number of clicks an ad receives.
    • CPC: CPC stands for “cost per click” and determines the price an advertiser pays when someone clicks on their ad.
    • Max CPC: This is the maximum cost an advertiser is willing to pay per click. The CPC may come in lower than the Max CPC, but never higher.
    • CTR: CTR stands for “click through rate” and refers to the percentage of customers that clicked on your ad and how effective your ad is; a low CTR would indicate that many users are seeing your ad, but few are clicking on it.
    • CPM: CPM stands for “cost per mille” or cost per thousand impressions. It’s a different pricing model in which the advertiser pays based on how many times the ad is shown, not how many times it’s clicked.
    • CTA: CTA stands for “call to action, and it tells customers what to do next, such as “call now for an appointment” or “book today”.

 

 

This information touches on the basics of PPC, but how do you actually get set target keywords, get ads placed, and manage your campaign? We’ll cover that in our next post.

 

 

Are You Budgeting for Content Marketing?

budgeting for content marketingThe end of the year is swiftly approaching. That means you should be in budget planning mode. Is content marketing a part of your efforts? If not, you’re passing up a prime opportunity to enhance your online footprint and drive traffic to your site.

Consider a few statistics. According to research group Aberdeen, year-over-year growth in unique site traffic is 7.8 times higher for content marketing leaders compared to followers. What’s more, according to DemandMetric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing – and generates about three times as many leads.

That’s an impressive return on investments. And it means, when you’re leveraging content marketing, you’re getting more traffic and more leads – and it costs you less to do so. What are a few other reasons content marketing is so important?

It Builds Trust With Your Audience

When you have relevant, authoritative content to share, it demonstrates your expertise with site visitors – and they come to trust you more for it. In fact, 70% of consumers say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company. People trust – and buy from – experts who can help solve their problems and pain points.

It Boosts Rankings

When you’re regularly creating expert content, other bloggers and websites will take notice – and link to your site. If it’s a high authority site, it could improve your online visibility since search engines use back-linking as one criterion for ranking sites. The more quality sites linking to yours, the better. And you can only do that through good content marketing.

It’s Easy to Share

If your content is solving a problem for a customer, then chances are high that they’re going to share it on social media with their friends and network. This is good because 71% of customers are more likely to buy when they see content about a product or service that’s shared from a friend.

If the above reasons aren’t enough to convince you that you should be budgeting for content marketing, then think about this: If you’re not, then you’re falling behind your competitors. A recent report from the Content Marketing Institute stated that, on average, 29% of a brand’s total marketing budget is spent on content, with 39% of respondents expecting to increase that number. This means your competitors are most likely investing in content marketing – and if you don’t, you could get left behind in 2017.

Don’t have time to develop your own content marketing strategy and budget? Let the experts at Qiigo help you. We can also create, schedule, and publish content that helps you build your fan base. Call us today at (888) 673-1212 to find out more about content marketing as well as all of our local franchise marketing services.

Retail Industry Continues to Drive US Digital Ad Spending

us retail digital ad spending

eMarketer is projecting US retail advertising spending on paid digital media to climb to $9.42 billion in 2013. By 2017, retail digital ad spending is expected to reach $13.5 billion. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5%.

The retail industry continues to lead US digital ad spending and is expected to retain its dominance through 2017. eMarketer projects the retail industry to capture 22.3% of the total US digital advertising pie in 2013. The retail sector’s share is expected to decline slightly by 2017 to 22.0%. The retail industry is followed by the financial services industry (12.4%), automotive (12.1%), telecom (11.4%), and consumer package goods (8.3%) to round out the top five spending industries in 2013.

The retail industry continues to look to direct-response advertising for the majority of its digital ad spending. digital ad spending share by industryIn 2013, 64.6% of paid digital dollars will be invested in direct-response efforts. The remaining 35.4% will be directed at brand focused advertising initiatives.

More retailers are looking to mobile and local marketing as they attempt to stay in front of consumers who are focused on smartphone and tablet devices. Mobile, local and social marketing also presents unique opportunities for retailers to build relationships with consumers across multiple screens and platforms.

With the focus on direct response advertising, the importance of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) becomes even more clear. While retailers were once able to rely on SEO and paid search to drive traffic, they must now have a clear and effective SEM strategy to compete with the manufacturers of the products they sell.

For more information on building an effective SEM strategy, call Qiigo at (404) 496-6841.

Google Places: 3rd Party Reviews No Longer Invited To the Party

Google PlacesIn an ongoing dispute with other local-business review sites, Google has removed reviews that were taken from other websites and posted on their Google Places page to boost review counts for local businesses.

Avni Shah, director of product management for Google, said this in a post, “Based on careful thought about the future direction of Place pages, and feedback we’ve heard over the past few months, review snippets from other web sources have now been removed from Place pages.”

Google has been under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after TripAdvisor, Yelp and CitySearch complained that Google used their content without consent. Google has denied it has participated in any anti-competitive practices and has not been accused of any wrong doing by the FTC. However, after removing the content from “other web sources” Google Places showed a decline in the number of reviews for some local businesses.

Originally launched in April 2010, Google Places was designed as an upgrade to the business listings displayed in the standard search engine. Google Places posted review excerpts from other sites and then created an average review score for the business listed. Now Places will only show reviews written by Google users and according to Shah the “rating and review counts reflect only those that’ve been written by fellow Google users.”

This change is likely to have a negative effect on local businesses who are working to improve their Places ranking or to earn a spot in Google Places for a new location or business. The once popular practice of researching citation sources of competitors via their Places page is now no longer available.

With the help of an experienced internet marketing firm, like Qiigo, it is possible to recover from this setback and still have a strong and dynamic Google Places page. To learn how Qiigo can assist your business with improving your Google Places positioning and all your SEO needs, contact us today at (888) 673-1212.

SEO and PPC are Among the Most Measurable Channels (via DM News)

Direct Marketing News LogoQiigo was recently featured in the Direct Marketing News, the industry leader in providing news on trends and technologies in marketing.  The article entitled “SEO and PPC are Among the Most Measurable Channels” was prepared by Rick Batchelor, CEO of Qiigo, and looked at the importance of SEO and PPC advertising for Direct Marketing News.

Click here to read Rick’s article “SEO and PPC are Among the Most Measurable Channels” from Direct Marketing News.

Or click here to view a PDF of the DM News article – DM News article.

The Phones are Ringing in Philly

When Dave Myers, owner of the 101 Mobility franchise in Philadelphia, started working with Qiigo he had one main objective:  to drive calls to his local phone line.  By partnering with Qiigo for Search Engine Optimization services, Myers has seen an almost immediate response to achieving this objective.

With a focus on Myers’ two main categories of business, stair glides and ramps, Qiigo was able to immediately impact his call volume. Myers started seeing an increase of as many as 4 calls each day. By qualifying those calls, he has seen an increase in closed sales over the last several months. “Our March numbers were up 50% over February, April was up 25% over March, and we are on track to have a record month in May thanks to the SEO work Qiigo has done,” says Dave Myers.

Driving business to his local site was an important objective for Myers. His clients want to work with someone who has a local presence, someone who is rooted in the local community. By emphasizing his local website and phone number, Qiigo was able to start generating calls for Myers right from the start of the campaign. With the volume of calls increasing exponentially, Myers has even added staff to ensure that phones are answered at all times.

“I am 100% pleased with the work that Qiigo has done and I look forward to expanding my efforts with Qiigo shortly,” says Myers.

The Importance of Local Search Profile Optimization

The advent of Google Instant and the insatiable need for real time information has led to an increase in the appearance of locally focused websites appearing at the top of website ranking results.  Focusing internet marketing strategies on maximizing website ranking results is an essential first step in winning the local optimization battle. So where do you begin?

Initial steps toward local search optimization should include:

  • Claiming your company’s listing on online sites. Essential sites to claim your listing on include: Yelp, Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local.  Here are few to help:
  • Embrace social media to promote your brand, interact and engage with your customers and promote your website.  Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the obvious social media choices.
  • Explore the use of location based marketing sites such as Foursquare and Gowalla.

All of these techniques work together to enhance the local search optimization of your site.  However of these three techniques, claiming your local listings on search engine sites can most quickly and significantly impact your ranking results.  When claiming and validating your local listing, you are taking control of the data that is seen online.  By taking control of your listing, you also prevent others from claiming your listing.

When claiming your listing, pay special attention to:

  • Business Name. Be specific when identifying your business name.  Include the full name of your business.  However, if your company is just named “Qiigo”, consider adding a descriptor that includes keywords.  For example, enter “Qiigo Search Engine Marketing”.  Don’t be tempted to stuff your business name listing with keywords, but do add them when your business name is too vague to deliver adequate search results.
  • Location/Address. The search engines place significant impact on your business address when ranking results.  Be as detailed as possible, including latitude and longitude information.  Don’t know your address’ latitude and longitude coordinates?
  • Category. Choose the category that best describes your business.  If one category doesn’t exactly fit, test several over a period of time to determine which category garners the best results.
  • Reviews & Ratings. It never hurts to ask!  So ask! Ask your current customers to go online and review your business.  Provide them with the link for easy access.  Good reviews and ratings not only help your ranking, but also drive new business.
  • Citations. These are mentions on other sites about your business.  In Google Places, they can be found on the “What People Are Saying About” page.  This is another case of the more the merrier, so work on securing citations from many sources.

With these areas completed, you will be well on your way to improving your local search rankings.  The more complete you can get your profile the better.  It is also recommended that you claim your website and submit it to primary local providers listed above.  The time and effort you put into these tasks is bound to pay off in improved ranking results.

Third Quarter Online Ad Revenue Hits New High of $6.4B

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) recently reported that US Internet advertising revenues reached an all time high of $6.4 billion in the third quarter.  This record revenue number was up 17% over the third quarter in 2009.

These numbers come on the heels of record numbers reported by the IAB for the first half of 2010.  First half ad spending numbers were up 11.3%, or $12.1 billion, this year.  Search engine marketing spending was the primary driver of these record numbers.

The record growth in online advertising revenue has been attributed to the high return on investment marketers continue to receive from their Internet marketing campaigns.

The Internet Advertising Bureau is a digital advertising industry group which counts approximately 500 media and technology companies that sell 86% of Web advertising as member.

Qiigo Named 2010 Search Engine Marketer of the Year

Technology Association of Georgia – Tech Marketing Awards, November 2010

Rick Batchelor, Qiigo CEO
Rick Batchelor, Qiigo CEO

ATLANTA, November 23, 2010 – Rick Batchelor, CEO of Qiigo, was recognized for his outstanding work in the field of Search Engine Marketing at the 2010 Tech Marketing Awards.  Presented by the Technology Association of Georgia, the Tech Marketing Awards recognize Georgia’s most innovative marketing leaders, those individuals whose ingenuity, vision, leadership and foresight in the usage of technology led to marketing success.  The 2010 Tech Marketing Awards acknowledge and pay tribute to individual achievements in the innovative use of technology to drive marketing strategies, generate new standards of excellence and achieve profitable results.

Rick Batchelor was recognized for his exemplary work in the field of Search Engine Marketing and the superior results he and his team have delivered to their clients at Qiigo.  The Search Engine Marketing Award recognizes that this challenging field is a unique blend of art and science. As the recipient of the Search Engine Marketer of the Year, Rick was recognized as an individual that exceeds as both a PPC expert, who makes a huge impact on his organization, and an SEO expert who generates significant targeted traffic through the use of innovative tactics and the ability to achieve outstanding ROI.

“I am honored to receive this award and be recognized among so many leaders in the industry,” said Rick Batchelor, CEO of Qiigo.  “This award is truly shared with the whole Qiigo team.  Each day our team strives to provide creative and actionable PPC and SEO solutions to our franchise and small business clients.  Being recognized tonight is a direct result of hard work that the Qiigo team puts in each day.”

The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) is dedicated to the promotion and economic advancement of the state’s technology industry and provides leadership in driving initiatives in the areas of policy, capital, education and giving. TAG is a who’s who of tech leaders and pioneers representing tech and tech-enabled companies.

The awards ceremony was held on Thursday, November 18 at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Roof Top Pavilion overlooking Centennial Park.  For more information on the Tech Marketing Awards, please visit www.techmarketingawards.com.

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ABOUT QIIGO:

Founded in 2006, Qiigo has grown and evolved with the changing dynamics of Internet Marketing and the needs of our clients. Qiigo specializes in delivering superior Pay Per Click and Search Engine Optimization results to franchise groups and small businesses across the country.  Qiigo delivers results with a proprietary software platform, deep technical knowledge and a complete understanding of the franchise owner’s needs.  We provide easy to understand business metrics and remove the complexity associated with internet marketing for franchisees and franchisors.  For more information visit https://www.qiigo.com

About Technology Association of Georgia:

The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support its members by generating opportunities for personal, professional and business growth. By forging strategic alliances, TAG serves as a primary catalyst to foster a rich environment for economic development in Georgia’s technology community. TAG is made up of over 10,500 members representing technology leaders from over 1,400 Georgia-based companies, affiliated technology and business organizations. For more information on TAG, visit http://www.tagonline.org.

MEDIA CONTACT
Ginny Hornby
(404) 496-6841 x835
ginny@qiigo.com

2010 First Half Online Ad Spending Up 11.3%

The Internet Advertising Bureau recently reported dramatic increases in online ad spending for the first half of 2010.  New records were also established in the second quarter driven by large increases in online display advertising. Highlights from this report include:

  • Online ad spending rose 11.3% in the first half of 2010 as compared to 2009, reaching $12.1 billion in the first half of 2010.
  • Second quarter spending for online advertising alone was up 13.9%.
  • Search advertising accounted for 47% of all spending making it the largest segment of online ad spending.
    • Growth in this segment reached 11.6% and totaled $5.75 billion in the first 6 months of 2010.
  • Display advertising also increased over 2009. 
  • Spending increased 15.9% to $4.36 billion with banner ads remaining the largest segment of display advertising during the first half of the year.
  • Spending on lead generation and email both decreased with lead generation spending dropping 11.8% and email spending dropping 19.5%.
  • Classified advertising rose 13.1% during this time.