Category Archives for "pay per click"

PPC, SEO and Bisexuality

The other day I came across yet another sensationalistic article pitting PPC against SEO.

The article, and particularly the comment section, was chock full o’ SEO experts bashing PPC as expensive, complicated and ineffective. And PPC experts bashing SEO as expensive, complicated and ineffective.

It’s garbage – on both sides.

Why? Well, to get to the heart of why I’m gonna use a quote from Woody Allen…

“Bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.”

Listen, I’m certainly not qualified to dispense dating advice here. But I think I’m certainly well qualified to give out marketing advice – especially when it comes to SEO and PPC. So, here goes…

SEO vs PPC is NOT an either / or choice. And, for many businesses, if you’re doing one and then add the other, you immediately increase your chances of getting qualified prospects to your website.

There’s a misconception out there that if you have high organic rankings, you don’t need PPC. Or, conversely, if you’re killing it with PPC, you don’t need SEO.

The issue with this thinking is that the results you get with one doesn’t erode the results you can get with the other.  The reality is you’re reaching DIFFERENT prospects with each.

And studies have found if you have top organic rankings and add PPC to the mix, you’ll get a lot MORE LEADS that you wouldn’t have gotten from just your organic rankings alone.

Now, unlike what Allen says about bisexuality, doing SEO and PPC probably won’t DOUBLE your pool of prospects, but still, doing both will drive more prospects to your site than just doing one or the other.

SEO vs PPC is the WRONG question.

The right question is… can you do both SEO and PPC profitably? Cuz if so, by just sticking with one and ignoring the other, you’re  missing out on revenue that could be yours and you’re giving your competitors a bigger opening to steal prospects away from you.

If you own a local service business and would like to see if your business may be a good fit for our unique ROI-driven PPC and SEO programs, either fill out the Contact form on our site or call us at 314-329-1422.

3 Top AdWords Alternatives

Getting all your paid traffic from Google AdWords?

Most business owners who rely on AdWords to drive most of the traffic to their website don’t realize that AdWords ain’t the only game in town.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love AdWords. I’m in it every day and, all things considered, I think it’s the greatest advertising platform around.

But, you shouldn’t be relying on Google for all your paid traffic.

Why? Well, for any one or more of the following reasons…

  1. Relying on a single source of traffic – no matter what it is – is a very dangerous position to be in
  2. AdWords is getting more competitive by the day and click costs can be extremely high
  3. If you don’t play by their rules, Google can and will ban your account
  4. There may very well be other sources of traffic you’re missing out on that can deliver more traffic and/or more sales at a much lower cost per conversion than AdWords.

So, if you’re looking to diversify your traffic sources and/or have maxed out AdWords and still want to drive more paid traffic, here are the first 3 places I’d recommend you turn to…

Bing Ads

This is the most obvious option out there. Bing Ads is basically Bing’s version of AdWords. It serves traffic on both Bing and Yahoo! which, together, account for about 30{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} of search engine traffic.

A few years ago I would try to avoid Bing Ads at all costs because it had a clunky interface, a horrible feature set and all sorts of bugs that would drive me crazy.

But they’ve really cleaned up their act in the last few years. It’s still not quite as elegant as AdWords, but it’s much closer.

The good thing for AdWords users is that because Bing knows AdWords rules the paid search marketplace, they’ve made it extremely easy to import your AdWords campaign into Bing Ads. They have a handy import feature that allows you to connect directly to your AdWords account or, the method I prefer, you can export your AdWords campaigns from the AdWords Editor and import that file into Bing.

Either way, you don’t have to recreate the wheel and can have your Bing Ads campaign up in less than 30 minutes.

(Quick Tip – After you import an AdWords campaign into Bing, double check your settings. At the very least I’d recommend lowering your bid prices by at least 10{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} and make sure your geographic targeting settings were imported correctly.)

Bing Ads is not going to drive nearly the amount of traffic that AdWords does but we’ve found, especially for B2B type niches, you’ll find higher conversion rates with Bing.

And click costs are generally much lower on Bing because there’s not as much competition there. In fact, in some highly competitive markets, you may want to start with Bing Ads to try to generate leads at an acceptable ROI before trying to battle it out on the killing fields of AdWords.

Before we move on, one last tip for Bing Ads… only run your campaigns on Bing and Yahoo! and NOT on the ‘search partners’ sites. We’ve found the search partner traffic to be rather poor quality and usually avoid it.

Facebook Ads

Facebook is another platform that’s really upped its paid advertising game lately. In fact, there are situations where the quantity and quality of the paid traffic you can get with Facebook will leave Google in the dust.

In fact, earlier this year we set up an AdWords campaign for a friend of mine who was using Facebook paid advertising to get a few hundred sign ups a month for his offer. We tried Google Search traffic, Google Display Network and even YouTube advertising through AdWords but the traffic was WAY more expensive and we couldn’t even come close to generating the number of sign ups he was getting from Facebook (despite our best efforts!).

There are a few main reasons Facebook paid ads have gotten so much better lately.

First are the News Feed ads. It used to be that your ads on Facebook would only show up on the right side of the screen and were easy for users to ignore. Now, you can show ads right in people’s News Feeds along with updates from their friends, companies they’re following, etc.

It’s much harder for people to ignore the News Feed ads and their clickthrough rates dwarf the clickthrough rates of the ads in the right sidebar.

Second is the introduction of the Power Editor. Among other things, the Power Editor gives you access to data from a few Big Data providers which allows you to target people in ways that were never possible before.

Facebook advertising was always an interesting option because you could target people based on information in their Facebook profiles. So, for example, things like Relationship Status, favorite movies/books/etc., and the Facebook pages they like were all fair game (and still are).

But with Big Data, you can now target people by data about them gathered from offline sources too. So, for example, you can target people who are “cereal buyers”, those who have donated to certain categories of charities, those who take “Casino vacations” and much MUCH more!

This opens a whole new world of demographic targeting options that aren’t available to most advertisers any other way. If you’re trying to reach a specific demographic or people with certain buying behaviors, Facebook paid ads are definitely worth experimenting with.

Retargeting platforms

Yes, Google has remarketing but you can do retargeting campaign on a number of other platforms as well.

Even if you’re not familiar with the term retargeting, you know what it is. If you go to a website looking for shoes, household items, software, etc. and then leave that site and are immediately bombarded with ads for the products you just looked at, that’s retargeting (though not necessarily done well!).

It works by having code on your website that places a cookie on the machine of visitors to your site (Hint: you can place the code in HTML emails or FB pages too). Then, when they leave your site, you can show ads to them for your products/services when they visit other websites that display ads on them.

AdRoll is probably the best known 3rd party retargeting platform around these days, but there are plenty of others including Retargeter, Fetchback, and more.

Personally, we’ve not had good results with AdRoll. They seem to charge a premium for traffic and there’s not a lot of transparency in your campaigns. Of the 3rd party options out there, right now we’re focusing our efforts around Perfect Audience (which allows you to retarget to users on Facebook and Twitter), though it’s a little too soon to fully endorse them.

If you’re already getting a decent amount of traffic to your website and are NOT using retargeting, you’re missing out. It’s a great way to get people back to your site who’ve already shown an interest in what you offer but weren’t ready to pull the trigger yet. It can also be a great way to market to current clients with upsell and cross sell offers.

Also, retargeting clicks tend to be fairly inexpensive, especially when compared to AdWords Search traffic.


If you’re looking for additional sources of paid traffic, the above would be my top 3. But there are plenty of others out there. Do you have a favorite? If so, please share it in the comment section below.

Dirty Diapers and Google AdWords Express (formerly Google Boost)

It sounded good like a good idea.

Before our first daughter was born my wife and I thought we were going to use cloth diapers on our daughter.

We’d be doing our part for the environment, they’re supposed to be better for the baby, and we wouldn’t be plopping (pun intended) $1000s into the Diaper Industrial Complex. After doing our research into cloth diapers we were excited (or, at least as excited you can be about changing diapers) to go the cloth diaper route.

What sounded good in theory turned out to be not so great in practice. With the cloth diapers there were lots of leaks, they were inconvenient when we were out of the house and they required us doing lots and lots and lots of laundry.

So we changed course and went the disposable diaper route.

And that brings us to Google AdWords Express. But before I explain why, we need…

A Little Background on AdWords Express

Google’s rebranded their Google Boost program for local businesses and is now calling it Google AdWords Express.

Google AdWords Express is a ultra-simplified way for local businesses to advertise through Adwords (Google’s Pay Per Click advertising program).

AdWords is a powerful way to target local prospects searching for the products and services you offer… and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad (compare that to TV, newspaper or magazine advertising where you pay a set price no matter how many eyeballs fall on your ad or how many of those who see your ad care about what you offer).

AdWords is also a complex beast that’s hard enough for those of us who use it every day to keep up with, let alone a small, the local business owner who has plenty else to worry about.

That’s where AdWords Express comes in. You set a budget, write an ad and then Google runs things for you. Easy peasy.

Sounds great, right?

Well, like the decision about using cloth diapers, what sounds good in theory may not be so good in practice.

With AdWords Express you get simplicity, but that comes at a price. In this case, that price is control. And control is one of the biggest benefits of using AdWords.

When you manage your own AdWords campaign (or have someone manage it for you) you have control over…

  • The keywords you target
  • What you’re willing to pay for each keyword in your campaign
  • When your ads appear (24/7, only during the week, only on weekends, from 10:30 to 1PM to promote a lunch special, etc.)
  • Where your ads appear geographically (a state, a metro area, specific cities, a 20 mile radius around your office, etc.)
  • What keywords you DON’T want your ads to appear for (ie. A dentist that only works with adult patients can prevent their ads from appearing when the words “kids”, “children”, or “Pediatric” appears in the search term
  • Testing of different ad copy to see which one gets the best response
  • Tracking of conversions to better measure the effectiveness of the campaign

Using AdWords Express, Google controls all these things. You’re largely leaving these important marketing decisions that affect the quality of the traffic coming to your website up to Google’s algorithm.

The Bottom Line for Local Businesses

AdWords is a great way to generate leads and local businesses should definitely try adding it to their marketing mix.

If you have a very small budget, then I’d definitely recommend giving Google AdWords Express a try to test the AdWords waters.

But if you’re going to spend more than a few hundred dollars a month on clicks, then learn how to manage it yourself or hire an expert to do it for you. It should end up saving you money (I’ve seen accounts where keywords cost 50{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} more in Boost compared to the exact same keyword in a “regular” AdWords campaign) and you’ll ensure you’re getting the most highly relevant traffic to your website.

Otherwise you risk paying for some traffic that’s a pile of, well, the stuff that ends up in diapers (whether they’re cloth or disposable!).