Get Found Now understands the costs and the intricacies of managing a PPC account. We offer our Pay Per Click Management Services to help you manage your advertising.
Save Time, Labor and Get Better PPC Performance
PPC Management Services includes:
- Manual monitoring of your pay per click search term bids
- Support for Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing Pay Per Click Programs
- Price gap elimination between you and your competition (don’t overpay when it’s not necessary)
- Minimum and maximum keyword cost bid management
Our Professional PPC Management Process
Leveraging our SEO good practices, we’ve developed a similar methodology to optimize the value that you get from your PPC accounts: 1) Discovery, 2) Design, 3) Development, and 4) Deployment.
- Discovery – Define your business goals such as Cost Per Click or Cost Per Sale and establish these rules for each PPC account and campaign. Review and analyze your current keywords and perform extensive market and competitive research for other keyword opportunities. Review and analyze Titles, Descriptions, and Landing Pages for each keyword.
- Design – Establish a test plan to optimize Keywords, Titles, and Descriptions. Create a bid strategy and tactical business rules based upon defined business goals.
- Development – Write all new Titles and Descriptions for each keyword. Leverage “Ambassador-level” status with PPC Accounts to expedite keyword submission and editorial review.
- Deployment – Launch Automatic Monitoring Service employing established business rules. Measure results, apply learning’s, and continue to optimize Keywords, Titles, and Descriptions. Keep you abreast of your PPC accounts with convenient Detailed HTML Email Status Updates.
Periodic Account Review
PPC Management Services includes periodic account review conference calls to ensure our service is working for you. On these conference calls we will analyze the results and discuss steps for bidding techniques.
Most PPC Management applications are software programs that you need to download to your computer, install, and update manually. Typically you need to purchase one software program for Overture and another software program for Other PPC accounts. We’ve seen pricing for as low $80 for 50 keywords. If you only have 50 keywords, these programs might be of good value. But you still have to manage the account and that means spending your time and labor.
However, if you have 200+ keywords you are probably a good candidate for Get Found Now’s PPC management.
CALL 813 907-7688 for your custom,
no obligation PPC Management Quote
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READ BELOW FOR ALL THE FACTS ON PPC ADVERTISING
A Crash Course in Pay Per Click Marketing
Simply stated, PPC is an Internet advertising campaign driven by an auction-style system in which advertisers bid for placement of their ads. First, you choose a search engine’s PPC program, then design an ad and choose a list of keywords you want to bid on. Whenever someone enters one of those keywords into a search engine, your ad will appear alongside that search engine’s regular search results.
Whenever someone clicks your ad, you pay the search engine a predetermined bid amount for sending a potential customer to your site. The higher you bid, the more prominently your ad will be displayed and the greater the chance of a customer clicking your ad.
Pay-per-click (PPC) can be an extremely valuable tool for driving targeted traffic to your web site quickly. There’s little, if any, wait to get your pages ranked—unlike the organic listings which can require several months of link-building and waiting before your site appears at the top of the search results. With PPC you can get your site to the top of the search results in a matter of days (Yahoo) or even minutes (Google AdWords).
Of course, this advantage comes with a price tag. Ranking well for competitive keywords can cost you several dollars for every click. Savvy online marketers arm themselves with an arsenal of PPC tricks and techniques to help them collect the maximum return for the minimum cost. So without further adieu, let’s take a look at what a savvy online marketer must know in order to succeed in the competitive world of PPC search engine marketing—read on.
Google’s AdWords is king of the pay-per-click hill. This 800lb gorilla controls roughly half of all search advertising on the Internet. It services an audience of searchers and client-advertisers numbering more than twice that of Yahoo, their closest competitor. And, more remarkably, AdWords‘ market share is still expanding.
But, while it’s true that AdWords can parade your wares in the face of the largest customer market, it’s also true their pay-per-click (PPC) system is the most complex to comprehend and effectively use. So it’s realistic to expect you should spend some time learning the details of how AdWords works. The silver lining is that, chances are, your competitors won’t match your efforts—and that should give you a quite a good marketing advantage over them.
Besides their standard PPC program Google offers two additional services to ease new advertisers into PPC advertising.
- AdWords Starter Edition– $5.00 to start (applied towards clicks); no minimum spend.
- AdWords Jumpstart – $299 to start (applied towards clicks); minimum $50.00 daily spend required.
It’s easy to see how new advertisers can feel overwhelmed with the huge number of features that AdWords offers. That’s why the AdWords Starter Edition was created. It allows you to set up an account with only the most basic features enabled. That way you don’t become overburdened with options while you’re still learning the ropes.
With AdWords Starter Edition, you run just a single ad using a one-page sign-up form to specify your budget, your keywords, and your ad text. Then you activate your ad and it’s off and running (as with Google’s standard AdWords program, Google Starter Edition costs $5.00 to activate).
If you’ve never engaged in PPC advertising before, then AdWords Starter Edition is an easy way to get started. Once you’ve experienced PPC advertising at its most basic, then it’s easy (and free) to upgradeto Google’s main AdWords program.
To make it even easier, Google offers AdWords Jumpstart. This program places you in direct contact with a Google ad representative who helps you write your ads, choose your keywords, and set your bid amounts. If you’re a PPC virgin, the extra $299 is a good investment because it doesn’t just buy you competent help, the entire sum is also applied toward your advertising budget—so you end up getting it all back in the form of clicks on your ads!
Your Jumpstart Specialist will create a campaign for you that will initially support a daily budget of $50.00 or more. This specific budget level increases the likelihood that your ad will show regularly for relevant searches. However, keep in mind that you can change your daily budget at any time after you begin your initial campaign.
If, on the other hand, you’re a self-starter and want to skip the beginner’s versions and jump right into the main AdWords program, go to the AdWords homepage, sign up, and get started. For only $5, within about 15 minutes you can be showing ads across one of the Internet’s largest advertising networks.
Your ads will, of course, appear on Google’s own search results pages. This is where your best-converting traffic is likely to come from. In addition, Google has a massive distribution network upon which to display ads. Google’s so-called searchnetwork includes other Google properties like GMail, Froogle, Google Maps (formerly Google Local), and Google Groups, as well as partners such as AOL, Ask, Earthlink and many others.
Another location for ad displays is Google’s content network—consisting of the vast number of websites across the Internet that display AdSense ads. All together, these sites provide access to more than 80% of US Internet users. (Here’s a more comprehensive list of Google’s network partners.)
In general, customer traffic coming directly from Google’s own search pages is typically of higher sales-conversion quality than traffic from the Search or Content Networks. That’s why it is a good idea to bid lower amounts for clicks coming from the Content Network. Unfortunately, however, there isn’t yet available the option to bid lower for clicks originating from Google’s Search Network, although you can shut it off completely if you find it’s not converting well.
Until recently, Google’s ranking formula combined just two values — the cost per click ( CPC) and the click-through rate (CTR).
Your CPC is what you pay every time someone clicks your ad. As with most PPC programs, AdWords operates similar to an auction. The higher you bid per click, the more prominently your ad is displayed for a given search query.
If no one else is bidding on the same query, then your ad will be the only one shown and your CPC will be the minimum Google has set for that keyword. For less competitive keywords, the minimum can be as low as $0.01 (although such low-bid keywords are increasingly hard to find). For queries that Google considers to be more commercial, minimum CPCs could be $1 or higher.
Popular search queries have many more people bidding on them. Therefore you can expect to pay much more if you want your ad to be positioned near the top of Google’s PPC search results. However, Google discounts bids so that you never pay over a $0.01 (penny) a click more than your next closest competitor. That means you’ll usually pay less per click than your max bid.
Some advertisers using AdWords over-focus on their max bid when they should really be thinking about their average cost per click (CPC) and whether or not they’re actually seeing a good return on investment (ROI) for that spend. In most cases, Google’s system ensures you rarely ever actually pay your max bid. It’s better to just focus on what the clicks are actually costing you and then calculate whether that cost-per-click represents a profitable arrangement.
Your CTR (click-through rate) indicates the percentage of people who actually click your ad out of the total number of people who see your ad. Each time your ad is seen, that’s called an impression. If your ad gets 100 impressions and one person clicks, then your CTR is 1%.
Previously, Google to determined the position of your ad by the formula:
|your CPC||multiplied by||your ad’s CTR||equals||your ad’s position|
However, Google recently added another factor called Quality Scoreto this formula. Unlike CPC or CTR, Quality Score is more vaguely defined—and is based on Google’s interpretation of the following factors:
- Click Through Rate (CTR) — Google still places a great deal of value on how frequently your ad gets clicked.
- Relevance of ad text — How well does the ad content matches the keyword being bid on?
- Historical keyword factors — How well the keyword has performed for other advertisers in the past?
- Landing page quality — How well does your landing page match your ad content and the keyword being bid on?
These factors will be used to calculate your ad’s Quality Score. The position of your ad will then be determined by your Quality Score multiplied by your maximum Cost Per Click (CPC):
|your CPC||X||your ad’s Quality Score||=||your ad’s position|
Even though the addition of the Quality Score does muddy the ranking formula somewhat, CPC and CTR remain by far the most important factors when it comes to determining your ad’s position. By increasing your bid or rewriting your ad to attract more clicks, you can significantly improve your ad’s position.
Qualityis a different story. As long as you make sure the keywords you’re bidding on match your ads and landing pages, and you follow Google’s landing page guidelines, there’s not a whole lot else you can do to influence Quality Score. (Also worth noting is the fact that Google uses a dedicated spider to crawl and assess landing page quality to keep advertisers honest.)
The most important point to bear in mind is the powerful effect a high click-through rate (CTR) can have on your ad’s ranking. As your CTR goes up, your bid-price (i.e., your CPC) goes down. That means that ads with a high CTR can often achieve top rankings for a far lower cost-per-click than their competitors.
Google offers a number of different ad formats. Most well-known are the small text-based ads that appear at the top and right-hand sides of Google’s search results. In addition, Google also offers PPC ads as:
As mentioned, the primary factors determining where your ad appears on Google Search results pages is the bid amount cost-per-click (CPC), the click-through-rate (CTR), and other somewhat nebulous quality-based factors such as landing page relevance.
In addition, Google also offers a number of options for customizing who actually sees your ads:
- Because the conversion quality of traffic coming from Google’s Search and Content Networks is typically lower, you may decide you’d prefer to just turn off adsso that they do not appear on theGoogle’s Search and/or Content Networks.
- Language and location targeting. This includes extremely specific geo-targeting, allowing you to show your ads to specific countries, states, cities, zip or postal codes, or even a specified radius around a geographic area.
- Site Targeting. If you’re running your ad on Google’s content network (i.e. those sites that display AdSense), you can choose which sites you want your ad to appear on, as well as exclude certain sites from ever showing your ads.
- Ad Scheduling. Commonly referred to as day parting, this feature lets you choose the days and times you want your ads to appear. This is more than most advertisers will need, but if you find that limiting your ads to certain periods (such as shutting them off over the weekend) results in higher quality traffic, then Ad Scheduling is easy to set up.
- Position Preference. This features allows you to control where your ad appears on Google’s search results pages. Let’s say you’ve found that your ad always performed best when ranked in positions 2, 3, or 4. You can configure your advertising campaign so that it only shows your ad when your CPC and Quality Score is such that your ad will appear in those positions; and will stop running your ad otherwise.As with Ad Scheduling, Position Preference is an advanced feature. If you’re too aggressive with it, it can severely restrict how often your ad is shown and negatively impact your traffic volume.
Google has several tools you can use to build, manage, and optimize your campaign. Among the best are:
- The Google Keyword Tool — Designed to help you find keywords for your AdWordscampaign. It finds keywords similar to those you directly suggest or to those you’re already using in your ad campaign. It can also generate keyword suggestions based on those keywords located on any webpage you point it at (or even pages linked to from that page).Keywords generated can then be sorted by search volume, cost, and predicted ad position based on your bid. There’s also the ability to view how seasonal demand for a keyword varies throughout the year. Unfortunately, no hard numbers are given when it comes to search volume. Instead, charts are used to illustrate relative demand for keywords.You can also automatically generate negative keyword lists (keywords that may be related but you do not want to use) and add keywords directly to your AdWords campaign.
- Traffic Estimator (must be logged in) — Give Google a set of keywords with bid amounts, and Google will let you know how much traffic you can expect for that price, where your ad will be positioned and how much it will cost you per day.
- Ads Diagnostic Tool (must be logged in) — Find out whether or not your ads are showing for a given keyword.
- Disapproved Ads (must be logged in) — If you’ve had ads disapproved, this tool will show you why.
- Conversion Tracking (must be logged in) — Google offers a very advanced tool set to allow you to track sales conversions. The drawback to using these tools is that you’re letting Google know exactly how much you’re making off of each keyword.Since Google sets the minimum bids for keywords, if you’re making an exceptionally large profit off of a given keyword, you may find Google using this data to raise minimum bids in order to hone in on your action. It’s a bit of a paranoid approach to take, but you may want to use a third party tracking system in order to keep your data private.
Google AdWordshas probably the highest quality traffic in terms of sales conversions of any PPC provider. They certainly have access to the broadest number of customers. As mentioned, traffic quality from Google’s search pages tends to be of much better quality than traffic from Google’s Search or Content Networks—so it’s important that you bid lower for those networks or turn them off altogether.
The biggest pitfall with AdWords is the general lack of cheap clicks. Google is very good at maximizing the amount of money they make from every page of search results they show. This means there is very little inefficiency in their system and keywords are almost always priced close to their market value.
For instance, as interest in the World Cup builds, we find that prices on World Cup-related keywords have risen quite high on AdWords—even when no one is bidding on them. Then they’ll quickly drop off after the World Cup is over. Google follows trends closely and tends to charge a premium whenever it can on popular keywords. Since the true formula behind their “quality based” ranking scheme is secret, Google can set minimum keyword prices however they choose.
Still, even with a scarceness of underpriced clicks, Google remains the gold standard in PPC engines. Traffic is generally of high quality and tends to convert well; and click-fraud, while it does exist, is typically lower than on most other PPC engines. If you only use one PPC engine, it should be Google AdWords.
Yahoo Sponsored Search (YSS)
Yahoo Sponsored Search is the PPC arm of the larger Yahoo Search Marketing program. While Yahoo Sponsored Search has less than half the reach of Google AdWords, many advertisers find it effective for the following reason.
|YSS PPC Pricing|
|Sign up fee — $5.00 applied towards clicks.Minimum Cost Per Click (CPC) — $0.10 New advertisers can get a $50.00 credit for clicks if you sign up here.Minimum Monthly Spend — None.|
Yahoo doesn’t have quality-based minimum bids, the way Google does. Instead, the minimum bid at Yahoo is always $0.10, regardless of the keyword. This means there is still a fair amount of cheap keyword inventory to be found at Yahoo.
For example, let’s say you found a great keyword relevant to your business that no one else is bidding on. With Yahoo Sponsored Search, you could bid on that keyword and get traffic for $0.10 a click. However, on Google AdWords, Google might decide that the keyword is worth more based on its quality, or commercial nature.
Thus, even though no one else is bidding on your keyword, Google might charge you $0.40 per click, while you could advertise for the same keyword on Yahoo for just $0.10 per click. Still, since Yahoo’s traffic levels are lower, you should expect to see lower click numbers in Yahoo Sponsored Search than you would with Google AdWords for most keywords .
Also important to note is that Yahoo is planning a significant upgrade to their PPC engine (dubbed Project Panama) that promises to make Yahoo Sponsored Search much more AdWords-like in the not-so-distant future.
Yahoo Sponsored Search also offers the option to work directly with an advertising rep. They call their program Fast Track. For $199 their rep will help you select keywords and write your ads, as well as set up your tracking URLs.
The program differs from Google’s in that Yahoo does not apply the $199 fee towards clicks. So, it’s a bit more expensive to get started that way. Even so, $199 for expert advice isn’t a bad deal. On the flip side, if you bid low, you can get a fair amount of practice on your own for $199 worth of clicks
Yahoo’s network partners include the search engines Altavista and AllTheWeb, portals like Excite and iVillage as well as Infospace’s meta search engines including Dogpile, WebCrawler, MetaCrawler and WebFetch. Your ads may also appear on any number of content sites including CNN and ESPN.
If you’re opted into Yahoo’s content match program, then your ads may also appear on sites running ads from that network. For more, see Yahoo’s partial list of their network partners.
Compared to Google AdWords, Yahoo Sponsored Search‘s ranking formula is very straightforward. You bid on a keyword and the advertiser who bids the highest-per-click will rank the highest. If two advertisers bid the same amount, then whoever bid first will rank highest. You can see exactly what your competition is bidding using Yahoo’s View Bids Tool. This data is also available through your campaign management interface.
New ads take a few days to come online. If you’ve grown accustomed to Google getting your ads up and running in 10 minutes, then you might be a bit frustrated with Yahoo Sponsored Search. They require that each ad be manually reviewed and approved. The process can often take two or three days. In some cases Yahoo’s editors have even been known to make slight changes to ads without permission.
Ad formats on Yahoo Sponsored Search are limited to text ads. Unlike Google, there’s no image or video ads available. However, it’s still possible to buy traditional banner ads on the Yahoo Network through Yahoo Advertising.
Yahoo’s customer targeting tools are not as advanced as Google’s or Microsoft’s but they still offer a few tools to allow you to control who sees your ads:
- Bid to Position — You can specify the top position you’d like to achieve, as well as how much you’re willing to pay to rank in that spot. Yahoo’s system will then attempt to rank you there while staying within your click budget.
- Local Sponsored Search — This tool allows you to target ads to customers in a 0.5 to 100-mile radius around your location. You don’t even need a website, but you do need a physical address.
Yahoo has several tools you can use to build, manage, and optimize your campaign. Among the best are:
- Keyword Selector Tool — This tool will show you how frequently a keyword was searched for on Yahoo over the past month. While useful, a number of factors conspire to make their data somewhat inaccurate. Wordtracker tends to provide more accuracy.
- View Bids Tools — This will show you who is bidding for a given keyword and the amount they’re bidding. Good for finding bid gaps. Often by dropping your ad a spot or two, you can find yourself spending far less per click.
Yahoo has developed a bit of a reputation for allowing low quality sites into their content network. This can result in lots of clicks that don’t convert to sales. Opting out of the content network can help cut down on this expensive problem, as can avoiding high traffic generic keywords and targeting more specific buyer-type keywords—but you should still track your campaign very closely to see where your traffic is coming from.
Much of Yahoo’s content network is legitimate, but their network partners have network partners who have network partners, and so on. That means your ad could end up traveling much further than you expect and end up on some very low quality sites that send you fraudulent traffic. Keep a close eye on your budget and traffic if you decide to use the content network.
Bid jamming. Like Google, Yahoo automatically discounts bids so that you never pay more than $0.01 beyond what the person below you is paying. For example, if your max bid is $1, but the person below you is only bidding $0.24, then clicks on your ad will cost just $0.01 more than theirs, or $0.25.
However, if the person above you has a max bid of $5 (which you can see by using the View Bids Tools), you could raise your max bid to $4.99, forcing them to pay their max bid for every click. Since the next closest person below you still has a max bid of $0.24, you’re still paying just $0.25 per click. This is called bid jamming.
|Position||Max Bid ($)||Actual Cost ($)|
The purpose of bid jamming is to make your competition pay as much as possible per click. The problem is that the person below you can easily see you’ve raised your bid, and can then raise their own to $0.01 below your new bid, thereby bid jamming you. By attempting to stick it to your competition, you’ve suddenly gone from paying $0.25 per click to paying $4.99 per click. If you’re not paying attention to your campaign and get a bunch of clicks at that price, you could be looking at a very expensive mistake.
Most of the time, when advertisers engage in bid jamming wars, the only one who really benefits is Yahoo, since they’re now raking in huge click profits. So, instead of looking for ways to make your competition pay more, you should be looking to find ways for you to pay less.
Since no one knows what anyone else is bidding on Google AdWords, and the top spots are often paying less than lower-ranking advertisers due to higher click-through rates (CTR), bid jamming doesn’t work on AdWords.
Frequently there are bidding gaps that can be exploited. For instance, in the situation outlined above, if the person you were bid jamming was willing to drop from position 1 to position 3, they could then cut their spend from $5 per click to $0.25 per click. This is sometimes called gap surfing—since you’re searching for big gaps in your competition’s bid prices and placing your ad near the bottom of one of those gaps.
Always remember, there are a lot of dumb advertisers losing money on PPC by paying way too much for their clicks. Don’t get sucked into ranking battles with them—it’s a losing proposition for all concerned.
Other potential drawbacks to Yahoo Sponsored Search are as follows:
Editorial Reviews — Making the slightest change to your ad will get them yanked out of circulation until they pass editorial review again. Keep this in mind when making any changes to your ad copy, landing page URLs or anything else. When an ad goes back for editorial review, it will usually be offline for at least two or three days.
Lots of fraudulent clicks, especially on the content network — Traffic quality is decent most of the time, but fraudulent clicks tend to be higher on Yahoo Sponsored Search than on Google AdWords. As mentioned, this mostly has to do with low quality partners on the content network, so opting out of the content network can usually cut way back on fraud and increase sales conversions.
Budgeting is awkward and confusing — If you want to set a daily budget, you have to activate auto billing of your credit card. Yahoo then observes the costs you’ve accrued over the previous three days and makes sure you always have at least that much in your account. If your account falls below that amount, then Yahoo will automatically bill your credit card to bring it up to that amount.
This can be confusing and annoying, especially if you’re new to Yahoo Sponsored Searchand wondering why Yahoo is always charging your card for no apparent reason. If you want to remove auto billing, you actually have to call Yahoo by phone and request it. It can be a time-consuming headache, so it’s best to avoid auto billing. Use the manual pre-pay deposit instead.
Monthly budgeting is also bad since there’s nothing to prevent your monthly budget from being wiped out in a few days—cause for your ads to be offline the rest of the month. It’s a tricky process to maintain a budget in Yahoo Sponsored Search. The best approach is to manually add no more than a few hundred dollars at a time. Then keep an eye on your traffic quality. When that amount is depleted, add a few hundred more. This is the safest way to avoid being surprised with a several thousand dollar tabshould you suddenly get a surge in fraudulent or untargeted traffic.
Fortunately, proper budgeting is high on Yahoo’s to-do list and should be forthcoming in the next few months.