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If you’re not familiar with the Google Content Network option within a Pay Per Click campaign, it may be worth looking in to. Depending on your niche, there may be countless websites partnered with Google who participate in Adwords. Essentially, these sites have “digital billboards” which are swapped out much like ranking positions on paid Google searches.

Within an Adwords campaign, you can set a given campaign to bid on these spots, just the same as bidding on search rank position. The idea is, visitors to these sites are already looking for information or a service relavant to your business, which makes these ads highly visible to those that may not be doing searches for your niche, but are still looking for it. It’s a good idea to set up a test campaign so that, at the very least, you can see if this is a good option for your company. After gathering a certain amount of data from various reports provided in Adwords, it is best to set up a Placement campaign, which will either allow or disallow specific websites from showing your ad.

The first step is to utilize the Placement Tool to search for sites relevant to your site. By entering a number of keywords for each adgroup you set up, a list returned, and you can add placements to each adgroup from a list of sites returned. Each adgroup will then specifically target the placement sites within to have your ad shown. This is not a guarantee that your ad will show, but a bid much like standard PPC campaigns. Of course, your ads should be relavant to each placement adgroup you setup.

The next step is to set up a number of general content adgroups with your keywords, relavant ads to display, and no placements. Let this campaign and the placement campaign run for the course of a few months to see which sites are showing your ads, how many clicks they are getting, what the click-through rate is, and how many conversions result. Once you’ve let the campaign run for awhile, you can run a placement report for each, which can be set to return the domains with pages on which your ad was shown. Organize your report by conversions and those sites with good conversions (be sure to check for lower costs per conversion as well) can be kept within the placement campaign, or added to it if they show in the general content campaign and were not already in the placement campaign.

Next, organize each report by cost. This way, you can find the sites with no conversions and a lot of spend, or those with high conversion rates. With this list of domains, you can add them to the negative keyword/placement list, so they will no longer show the ad. Do this within the general content campaign, but before you add these sites to the placement campaign, move these sites into a new adgroup that basically mirrors the one from which it came, and add a list of keywords to the group. This way, only pages relavant to those keywords will show the ad, and you will be more likely to get conversions. If the site placements within a placement campaign adgroup including keywords are not converting, then ad them to the negative kayword/placement list.

If PPC confuses you, don’t hesitate to ask an Internet Marketing Firm like Reciprocal Consulting any questions you may have.

Believe it or not, a good number of people don’t know that a Pay Per Click campaign as an ongoing process can be just as intense as the initial setup. Sure, for the first few months of PPC, keywords are created, bids are set, adgroups are organized and ads are written, but after the keywords are chosen, they need to be analyzed on a weekly basis, and bids need to be adjusted, which can be pretty time consuming if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

The general idea is to adjust bids for each keyword based on a number of different factors, so you may very well be adjusting the bid on the same keyword multiple times. It is best to use Adwords Editor for this process, and depending on your niche, you should download the data for all active campaigns (choose the Selected Campaigns option from the menu) over a good chunk of time (a month or two is the standard), and view all of the keywords at once.

  1. Start by checking the cost per conversion  on keywords that are converting – organize the column by descending order, with the greater values at the top, and the lower values at the bottom. This is important, because the cost per conversion tells you exactly what you are paying, verses what you are making from the use of that keyword. If you come accross keywords with a high conversion rate and a good position (1-3) you may be able to trim the bid a little, but not any lower than your average Cost Per Click (CPC), as this would likely lower your position, which can have a large factor in clicks. Generally, if a keyword that converts at a good rate is in a high position, you may be able to spend less per conversion.
  2. Next, look at the Position of keywords. For keywords that are in position 1-3, you may not need to adjust them at this point, as those positions are likely leading to the most clicks. For the rest of the keywords, if they have a good conversion rate, try raising the bid just enough to get them to show up in the top 3 positions. If they convert well with a few views, they will probably convert well with more views, and the conversion rate should be similar, but also lead to more conversions.
  3. You should now have a good number of keywords with adjusted bids. The next step is to check the overall Cost of each keyword. See how much each one is costing overall, and then compmare them to the conversion rate and CPC. Some keywords may be converting great, and at an excellent rate, but costing you the majority of your budget for that campaign or adgroup. If this is the case, you have two options – adjust the bid to allow for other keywords to perform, or lower the bid on other keywords to improve the number of conversions on that keyword. Basically, you would only want to limit the well performing keyword if your budget is tight, and/or your other keywords have not been in high enough positions to have the chance to show their conversion potential.
  4. Lastly, organize your keywords by clicks. Reference all other information in the campaign while checking how many times people actually click the ads for that keyword. However, instead of changing bids, check the ads in that adgroup. If the clicks are low, the ad might not accurately represent the keyword. If there are only a few like this, you can pretty much let those keywords continue to run, as they will not cost much, and may change. If there are a lot of keywords like this, you may want to consider creating a new adgroup which shows ads more relavant to those keywords – or put them into an adgroup with an ad using a dynamic header.

For more information on Pay Per Click, please consult an Internet Marketing Firm like ReciprocalConsulting.

For those of you just popping online before work, I’ll give you the short answer: To immeasurable lengths. For those with a little more time on their hands, I’ll try to sum it all up the best I can, but don’t be surprised if I leave a lot of information out – this is a very broad topic.

In fact, I may not get very far from a single topic concerning how the Internet has changed, because something occured to me the other day, as to just how different the world is with the Internet, and how hard it would be for most of us to go back to the early 90’s, before everything we know and love about said Internet. What came to mind was not how many great resources for information are available thanks to the Internet, or how easy it is to book a hotel, buy a car, find a friend, or stay in touch. I’d like to say that the simple pleasures of cuteoverload.com popped into my head, but the thought was not so quaint.

No, my mind decided to remind me how easy it would be for a 13 year old to ruin me. Odd, I agree, but hear me out.

In 1992, what would a 13 year old need to accomplish in order to get his or her opinion seen, spread and confirmed? Perhaps a paper route, a friend who’s parents worked at the Daily News, a good deal of editing, a petition…the list could go on, but to quickly convey my point, that child would need to go to great lengths to have even a few hundred people see his review on the newest Nintendo game, or perhaps his favorite place to eat in his small town.

Fast forward to 2008, and what do we see on the Internet? Blogs, review sites, forums – and lots of them – many members on these sites of which are 13-18 year olds ranting about their uninformed opinions, trashing companies, and incoherantly attempting to disuade the world from making the same mistake they did by going with the cheaper model. Don’t let their lack of formal education and bad grammar fool you – these people have an amazing influence on the world.

But a few hundred-thousand teens aren’t so scary, right? What can they do to hurt your business? Well, imagine someone searches for your company because they can’t remember the website URL, and just as they’re about to click on your site they see the next search result, an excerpt from a high ranking blog: “Company makes crappy products”. Or maybe it’s worse. Maybe, the excerpt under the result, chosen by the search engine, reads something more like: “Company owner John Smith likes little boys”.

Yeah, that’s pretty scary.

Fear not, friend, the Internet is a very big place, so the chances of someone singling out your business over the rest is as unlikely as the number of businesses out there are many; but who really wants to take the chance? The fact is, simple Preventative Reputation Management can save you a huge hassle, as well as a lot of spend, later on.

The basic idea behind Reputation Management is to populate search results with positive content concerning your business, and it is much better if all those good pieces of information reguarding your business show up in the first 20 results, instead of those frightening 13 year olds who know more about the Internet than a lot of adults, with a brutal opinion, and 120wpm typing “skillz”.

If you’d like to know more about how to protect your online reputation, please don’t hesitate to contact an Internet Marketing Firm such as Reciprocal Consulting today, and ask how.

I may be stating the obvious when I say that buying links can get expensive. I may also be doing so by informing you that there will come a day when this practice will no longer be effective for Search Engine Optimization. Well, that day may come a lot sooner than you expect. In fact, that day could very well be today.

As many already know, Google has pioneered the way for optimal search engine return. This wasn’t the result of investments or big spending, necessarily, but rather the result of a complicated algorithm which calculated importance, relevance, and the overall natural appearance of links to a given site. It should then come as no surprise that if a link looks bought, then it won’t do you any good.

Back in the hay day of SEO, metatags were sufficient to improve the ranking and serch query position of a website. Then the search engines caught on and that no longer worked. What came to follow was the random placement of links all over the Internet, from directory listings to link farms. This is no longer as effective as it once was, and Google has even penalized high profile websites for this strategy. What is needed, then, is natural links. An example of a natural link is a blog that is informative on a subject matter, linking to a business which deals in that subject matter. This could be the result of the blogger knowing the business personally, or because they simply have used their product or service, and were satisfied with the results. Either way, this link was not paid for, nor is it located on a site simply filled with other links on the subject; and furthermore, the link is surrounded by text pertaining to the subject, which adds relevance to the link.

However, for most businesses, there are not enough people out there who are willing to write about, and link to, their site for this completely natural link building to be effective. There is a very thin line between white and black hat SEO practices, but there are many ways to get natural links, without crossing this line.

Among these methods, many can be inexpensive or even free, but the process is very time consuming. There is a reason for this, as a search result should not simply show sites for businesses that spend a lot on an SEO campaign. If all one had to do was to buy as many links as possible, then that would be the case. However, what is required is a tactical, intentional, placement of links from quality sources. Although this can cost money, the more important part of any SEO campaign is the knowledge of how to do so, and the amount of time put into it.

Understandably, many businesses do not have the time aspect on their side, which is why there are Internet Marketing Firms to assist with those needs. Instead of spending an entire iMarketing budget on expensive links that do little to nothing for your site, consider the option of consulting and working with a firm that specializes in the area. Likely, your ROI will be much higher.

If I was to tell you that Jefferson Starship had a lot to do with the origins of SEO, you probably wouldn’t believe me. Well, according to Bob Heyman and Rick Bruner, authors of the book Net Results: Marketing That Works, this is their proof that in 1995, they coined the term “Search Engine Optimization” or SEO, as we say for short.

The main issue for me isn’t when or why they coined the term, the issue is Jason Gambert’s claim to have done so in a 2007 email. First of all, anyone claiming to have coined the term “SEO” anytime after 2000 is obviously out of the loop, since it’s been thrown around for over the past decade, at least. Out of the loop and out of his mind, if you ask me. Gambert has taken this claim to the US Patent and Trademark Office, where he undoubtedly was met with irritation, disappointment and resentment by many who believe otherwise.

Apparently, Gambert has filed this same (or similar) claim multiple times, tweaking the wording each time, often to non-sensical lengths. Something along the lines of “…and hereto, where as within a lack of void, without the necessary means to a necessary means to, aside from…” I imagine. Anyone who has seen a patent claim or document knows what I’m talking about. Essentially, he filed this claim so many times, the USPTO decided to let it through, pending no objections with proof otherwise.

Okay, so let’s just get a whole bunch of people together to slam their hands down on a desk, shout “OBJECTION!” and throw down some emails, web sites, books, newspapers, etc, from 2006 and earlier, the term SEO contained within. Unfortunately, it costs a good deal to object, or to get involved in this mess. While this will not stop many people who are outraged, the principle behind it is rather disheartening. If Gambert is simply attempting to get additional traffic to his website, then his strategy is genius…evil genius. If you disagree with his claims, the best thing you can do is NOT to link to his website in a story, article, blog post etc. If you are curious about this man, his website is www[dot]jasongambert[dot]com.

While the main issue isn’t the why, the fact that Jefferson Starship is involved, makes it mentionable. Long story short – 1995, a marketing firm, a band, a bunch of fan sites, unsatisfactory search results, a lot of keyword stuffing, problem solved…Jefferson Starship.

Obviously, keyword stuffing is no longer effective, and furthermore, considered extremely black hat in today’s iMarketing world. There are many ways to optimize your site for search engines, but the best practice is to find an Internet Marketing Firm with genuine practices, which involves relevant linking, quality links, and a knowledgeable staff – an Internet Marketing Firm Like Reciprocal Consulting is a good place to start. You’ll probably have a lot of questions, so don’t hesitate to ask.