TP Designs Blog

Search Engine Marketing

Should I Use Adwords Automated Bid Strategies?

If you go by what the Google people say, of course you should use their technologically advanced Automated Bidding Strategies! Why not take advantage of all that machine learning, and focus your time savings on other tasks. But not so fast! There's also that saying you've heard a billion times: "When something seems to good to be true, it usually is..."

Google My Business Guidelines

If you track the rank of your business for Google local searches, you are well aware that the local search landscape has changed greatly over the past few months. The changes manifested in the Google Pigeon update are well known, but there are some adjustments you need to make to your listing that are not as well known.

1. Choose the fewest number of categories it takes to describe your overall core business.

It used to be ok, and recommended, to list all categories that applied to your business. Now that will hurt your ranking. Listing just the basic categories will help you compete in those core categories. Check your categories and make sure they have been updated for the new algorithm.

2. Business Name - Adding unnecessary information to your name ... is not permitted.

You used to be able to get away with adding keywords to your business name, and it actually helped. It can now hurt. Again, stick to the basics. Just use the name on your letterhead, and make sure it is consistent across the web.

3. Business Address - Use a precise, accurate address to describe your business location.

PO Boxes or mailboxes located at remote locations are not acceptable. That means UPS Stores or virtual offices like Regus. It used to be ok, but now it is explicitly against the rules, and if Google finds out, you will be penalized.

For more information on how properly set up your listing and optimize it to rank well, check out the Google My Business Guidelines.

TP Designs promotes websites in the San Francisco Bay Area through PPC and SEO services.

Convert or Fail!

Using Google Adwords to drive traffic to your website is expensive. I suspect that Google gets most of it's money from Adwords advertisers who have no idea what they are doing. These advertisers quickly set up a campaign and pump a bunch of money into it, but see few to no leads. They then pour increasing money in until it starts to hurt, thinking that is the answer. They finally give up, wondering why other people are successful with Adwords, and they are not.

The problem is that setting up an Adwords campaign is very easy. Getting your ads to show on the first page of Google is very easy. Converting those clicks into dollars is NOT easy. That's where people get confused, frustrated, and too often defeated.

How do you convert a click into a sale? The schematic below shows a basic Adwords setup:


The secret to converting Adwords clicks to sales? Design your site for Adwords conversion! 

Pay Per Click (PPC) Adwords Campaign Management

The first thing you should do before starting your Adwords campaign is to read the Google Adwords Help section. There are a number of concepts that it's good to understand before throwing money at Google. This can shorten a potentially expensive learning curve.

Having said that, here are some quick tips to get you started:

1. Set up a campaign. If you're just starting out, promoting to the content network will be over your head, so don't include that in your campaign.

2. Set up an ad group targeted to the content of one page on your website. That page should obviously be optimized for a set of keywords. Use those keywords in the adgroup, as well as in the wording of your ad. Link the ad to that page. Don't link to your hompage.

3. Set up ad groups within the campaign for each page you want to point traffic to. I'd recommend starting off with phrase match keywords, which is your keyword or phrase enclosed in quotes. If you use broad match (no quotes), your ad could show up in non-relevent SERPS because one word of the phrase could take it out of context.

 UPDATE: 3/14/14

Here are some related articles with more information on Google Adwords

Pay Per Click (PPC) Adwords Campaign Management

Adwords Conversion for Dummies


>> View our natural search engine optimization and pay per click advertising services

In a recent request for a quote to design and produce an Ecommerce Website, I was asked if I offered a refund if no visitors showed up. I think this question highlights the confusion that a lot of small business people and entrepreneurs have with exactly how the Internet works. Granted, it can be confusing, especially for non-technical people.

Those of us who have worked with it on a daily basis for a number of years may forget that its structures and processes are not really naturally intuitive. That's the reason that good information design and interface design is so important in translating the reality of the Web into a good user experience. In this article I will try to explain what Website promotion is on a basic level, assuming little knowledge of the secret inner workings of the Internet.

For the purposes of Web only promotion, you have two main avenues:

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and
  2. Pay-per-click(PPC)Advertising

The way people find things, including your Website, on the Internet is by typing a word or phrase into a Search Engine. The major search engines used are Google, AOL, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask Jeeves. There are many other search engines, but if you show up high on the search engine results pages (SERPs) of these, your going to meet your marketing goals.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engines are in business to deliver relevant results. If you continually don't find what you want after typing your search terms in to a search engine, you are going to try another.

Search engines do three things to deliver you results:

  1. They crawl all the Websites they can find using spiders and record the resulting text found in their index.
  2. When you type a search term into the engine, they search the index using their "algorithm." This is a proprietary formula designed to give you the most relevant results for your search.

    The main characteristics of a page addressed by the search algorithm are a) keyword relevance - how often, where, and in what overall word ratio your search terms appear on the page, and b) link popularity - how many pages are linking to the indexed page and how popular those pages are.

    Webmasters are constantly trying to figure out a search engine's algorithm, and devising tricks that will get high ranking for their Websites. Search engines, on the other hand, are constantly changing their algorithms to neutralize these tricks, because they feel that the best results are based on good, popular content, and tricks just undermine the relevance of their search results.
  3. They display search results on the SERP or Search Engine Results Page. In addition to the natural results (products of the algorithm) they also display sponsored results. These are paid ads, which segues us in to the next section:

Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

As mentioned in the previous section, search engines sell space on their SERPs to advertisers. These ads are usually prominently displayed as sponsored results and get slightly less traffic than do the natural results. However, provided the ad meets the search engine's editorial guidelines, the advertiser gets to choose the keywords that trigger the ad, choose how much they pay per click, how much they pay per day, and so on. This creates a kind of auction for the top position in the sponsored results, as the advertiser who pays the most per click wins the highest position.

Pros and Cons

So which should you choose, SEO or PPC? Well, that depends on the competition.

  • How many other pages on the Web contain your targeted keywords or phrases?
  • How popular are the Websites that contain them compared to your Website?
  • How many advertisers are targeting your keywords in their campaigns?
  • How much are they paying per click?
  • What kind of ROI do you need for your campaign to be successful?

In general, when considering these questions, remember that SEO is a longer term solution, and is less reliable than PPC. It can take months for the search engine to find your Website, or notice changes you've made to try to improve ranking. Also, without constant attention your page one ranking will undoubtedly drop off the SERP as others compete for your position.

PPC can be pretty expensive, depending how competitive the market is. If the ROI isn't there, it may eliminate itself as an option for you.

Most succesful Internet businesses use a combination of SEO and PPC to promote their Websites. Even with top ranking in natural results, eliminating a space for the competition and plastering the SERP with your name on a PPC ad can be a winning strategy.

Let me help you start getting traffic to your Web site immediately! Call (925) 485-0050 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..