Saturday, September 20, 2008

Facebook Ads - a cheaper alternative to Google's AdWords.

Almost everyone has a Facebook account nowadays, and if you've had yours for a while you may have noticed ads appearing quite inconspicuously around a year ago. There is usually only 1 or 2 on any page, and they almost always have a small image. It's easy for you to set up your own account and create an ad to appear on Facebook's pages.

After quite a few months of trials and results, I can confirm that it's considerably more cost effective than Google, but with a major flaw - the reports are very simple and although I'm sure this is something that can be fixed, or may be a working process already, it's good to have an alternative.

There has been some buzz on various internet blogs and sites of talk of a Yahoo! and Google merger in the future, and whilst some people think this would be great, others are quick to point out that with such a huge market share, this new partnership would effectively control everything we see, and could hike up the usual PPC costs - simply because they could - and the small companies would have no other choice than to pay these higher costs. At least with Facebook, you have an alternative!!

Website Positioning Barcelona

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Writing effective AdWords ads

One thing is to have your ads appearing on the pages you want them to, be it google's search engine page or the content network, but you'll probably be alongside loads of other ads, too, especially if you're in a competative sector.

So how can you make your ad stand out from the rest? Well, the Ad type is fairly strict, and you may have already made an ad, and then been told that it doesn't meet the guidelines, and have had to rectify. But there are some ideas you could impliment to try and make your ad stand out from the rest.

Capitals are not allowed in Google's Adwords, or at least not all capitals. However, making the first letter of each word in capitals, apart from non-action words (prepositions like on, by, at, with, etc.) can often make a difference and make your ad stand out. Consider:

brand new iphone cover in gold!

Brand New Ipod Cover in Gold!

See the difference? It's small, I agree, but can make a difference against maybe 10 or 11 other sponsored results.

OK, so the title can grab your potential customer's eye, but what about the rest of the information ? you have very little space in your ad to say what you want, so sometimes eliminating certain words doesn't harm - sacrificing grammar for that all important keyword can be worth it, and people always understand that classified ads in a newspaper for example, are small.

One thing I would advise against is the use of abbreviations. Don't assume that everyone understands the abbreviations you're using. GSOH is a frequent one in personal ads, but there are loads and I think I'd get lost after a while. I remember one time seeing an adwords ad with an abbreviation I didn't understand and clicked, though, so maybe it has the reverse effect, too! No, realy, not something I would reccomend.

The CTA or Call to action is also really important. Think of your target audience - use the correct register - if you were selling expensive watches, don't write things like "Check us out!" for example. It has been proven that for example "now" or "immediate" are good words to include in a call to action, as it implies that the customer has already found what they are looking for. "Free" and "download" are also winners, although DON'T just use these words if you do not have anythig completely free on your site. Free is a flagged word for Google, and it may be checked.

Also remember that the display url and the destination url can be different - in fact, using your ad variations, it's always a good idea to experiment with a few different destination urls, or "landing pages" to see what works best. The display url needs to be short, usually the home page, as you are effectively creating branding, and want people to remember your website name rather than a huge url which directs you to their product.

I offer AdWords Management in Barcelona and other SEO services. Please contact me for details.

Barcelona apartments for groups and Cheap Barcelona apartments.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Google AdWords Part 2 – tweaking your ads to lower the costs of a click.

Although Google’s algorithms are extremely effective in delivering the correct search results, sometimes a site could rank well for non-related search terms, and it’s probably happened to us on more than one occasion. Searching for a room to rent in Barcelona, might throw up a real estate website, or Tourist apartments in Barcelona company. The same can happen in your Adwords ads, and you may receive clicks for people searching for something similar to your product, but not exactly what they were looking for. This can be frustrating, as you pay for the click anyway, and this starts to use up your budget. So as well as adding your keywords to your ads, you can also add negative campaign words, which can often halve your spending budget.
Let’s use the same example as my last post, the Airport transfer company. Clicks may have come through for “limousine transfer” and if the company has no limousines in their fleet, then this is a good one to take out. Baby chairs, bike racks, etc. are all things to consider and to check in the campaign statistics, too – you can see where this goes.
Barcelona SEO - Google AdWords

Another way to save costs with your ads is placement of the ads. All ads need to have a default amount and a maximum amount that you want to pay for a click on the ad. This means that you may have to cough up a fair amount of money if your market sector is competitive. People usually look at a few of the sponsored ads, not just 1 and 2 at the top. Those at the right often receive just as many clicks – often more, as they are at the same height as the organic results, so easy on the eye. Changing your preferences to never appear in position 1 or 2, but no lower than 5 for example can save you a lot of money.

Using Ad variations is another sure fire winner. You create similar ads to your main idea, and Google rotates your ad variations, making sure they have an even distribution, and you can work out which are the most effective. For example, one particular call to action may work better than others, or Capitalising the first letter of each word, for example (all Caps are not allowed, neither are excessive exclamation marks, things like this). This will then show you how to re-create this success in the rest of your ads across the other campaigns.

I offer professional AdWords set up and managment and training as part of my SEO services. For more details, please contact me or leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google AdWords

Google has a variety of tools available for webmasters to make life easier and direct traffic to your website. One of the most effective and quickest methods is Adwords. This is a paid service whereby you appear alongside the normal “organic” results of a search term, at the top of the page or at the sides, as “sponsored results”. You can track your results and percentage of clicks against the number of times your ad has been displayed. This is called the click through rate (CTR). You can also set up what is called conversion tracking, which measures how many times people actually click on the call to action (CTA) you are promoting - maybe that’s the “buy now” button, or “send me thr brochure”, etc. Adwords is very simple to set up, but most people make the same mistakes, and whilst it is possible to put a limit to the amount of money you want to spend, it’s easy to go over budget. Here I’ll try to explain a few ways of getting around that.
Barcelona SEO - Google AdWords

Adwords is split into various sections: campaigns, Adgroups and ads. The biggest mistake by most people is to set up 1 campaign group with 1 ad group and many ads running. Due to the amount of variables you can control within your account, this is a bad move. The best idea is to have 3 or 4 campaigns running, each with a different target – you can target countries, languages, other sites for your ads to appear (Content network) and even days of the week, and times of the day. Even with these 5 variables, you can see how specific you can target your advertisements to reach your prospective clients.

Within each campaign, it’s important to have various Adgroups. It’s probably good to give an example at this point. Let’s take the example of an airport transfer company here in Barcelona. You could have 5 campaigns in English targeting (for example) the UK and Ireland, USA, Scandinavia and then the rest of Europe. Then the 5th could be in Spanish for Spain and South America. Each ad group could target content network, weekends and weekdays. Each ad could use variations on times shown (especially for those in different time zones, obviously!), then target different keywords and variations on these keywords – plurals, mis-spellings. At this point it’s important to have ad variations – with different call to actions (phrases such as “call now”, or “see more” etc.) to see later through the stats which work better than others. There are more little tools to tweak, but I don’t want to get into too much detail too soon.

I offer professional AdWords set up and managment and AdWords Training in Barcelona as part of my SEO services. For more details, please contact me or leave a comment.