Google’s local search ads continue to evolve, with more emphasis on “badges” designed to “earn customers trust”. These badges are designed to give users “more confidence to book your services” states Google. The two badges are “Google Guaranteed” and “Google Screened”.
The advertisers that participate in these layers of trust are displayed next to a green, check-mark badge. This designation is quickly becoming the symbol of trust for Google users.
Trust would be built on what Google calls “Advanced Verification standards”. Google states: “In order to prevent fraudulent businesses from advertising on Google using false identities, Google Ads and Local Services advertisers in certain verticals will be required to complete Advanced Verification.”
The Google Guaranteed program now covers most Home Service categories, including appliance repair, carpenter, carpet cleaner, electrician, house cleaning, interior designer, landscaper, lawn care provider, mover, pest control technician, pet care provider, pet groomer, plumber, roofer, tree service provider, water damage, window cleaner, window service provider and flooring, foundations, countertop, HVAC, and siding pros. The green checkmark for Google Guaranteed providers signifies that Google has verified the business and backs the services booked.
Google states: “If you’re backed by the Google Guarantee, and your customers (that came to your business through Google) aren’t satisfied with work quality, Google may refund the amount paid for the service.”
The newer “Google Screened for Professional Services” program. This program is for lawyers, financial planners, real estate agents, photographers, event planners, and tax specialists. The Google Screened, somewhat similar to the Google Guarantee program, means that Google has verified the business’s background and backs their expertise.
Google states: All firms that have the Google Screened badge must pass a business-level background and a business-owner background check. Additionally, each professional in the business must pass a license check, and in some categories, a background check.
These checks ensure consumers that the professionals they work with have been thoroughly vetted and provide them added peace of mind as they work with you. You can find out more about the Google Screened badge here: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/9379692?hl=en
Who it Covers?
Only firms that provide professional services including Law, Financial Planning, and Real Estate are eligible for the Google Screened badge.
To qualify for the Google Guaranteed or Screened badge, the service pros undergo personal background checks and provide corporate documentation, proof of insurance, certifications, licenses, and other credentials, depending upon the industry. This process can take weeks, even months, as Google depends upon third parties throughout the application process.
Local Services Ads have been slowly starting to show at the top of Google search results for local search queries in key home services categories.
You can find out more about the Google Guaranteed program here: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/7549288?hl=en and can sign up to participate here: https://ads.google.com/localservices/signup/?hl=en&subid=us-en-et-hc-gls-a-adshc_inarticle_ep_zet
Petition Over Google Ads Hiding Search Term Data
Google recently notified advertisers on the Google Ads dashboard that it has updated the search terms report to only include search terms that were searched by a significant number of users.
This basically means that advertisers will be paying for some (maybe many) keywords and have no clue what they are paying for. You can read more about this change to the keyword search report here.
This is bad news for advertisers and for Google Ads managers. We continue to see a trend of Google hiding information from us and providing bad customer service.
Help us let Google know this is unacceptable and sign the petition to ask Google to reverse this policy: http://chng.it/xjdyWRq5PT
How to Increase WordPress Site Speed Load Time
Having a website that loads fast is important both from a user perspective and experience, as well as from Google’s perspective. It can also help improve your SEO results.
However, WordPress sites can sometimes load slowly and certain WordPress themes, child themes, and plugins can slow down a site’s load time. Here are a few simple tips to speed up your site’s load time.
WP Rocket is a popular caching program that can help speed up a WordPress site’s load time (I use WP Rocket for the sites I develop and manage. I have NO financial interest with this product.) I’ve found that this WordPress plugin has helped me speed up my sites, especially since some of the themes and plugins I use can be kind of “heavy”.
Recently, WP Rocket rolled out a new version of their plugin. The big news is that the new feature will increase PageSpeed score for your site.
Here’s what WP Rocket says about the upgrade:
When you enable this option from the File Optimization tab, WP Rocket will tell you what scripts you can safely delay (e.g., Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, LinkedIn Pixel, etc.).
And that’s just one of the new features that version 3.7 brings with it.”
I encourage WordPress web site owners/developers to try this plugin with the new upgrades and then test the results using a popular program such as GT Metrix, Pingdom, etc.
A few other plugins I’ve had success with in speeding up my website load time are PhastPress. Another great plugin for image optimization is Smush.
If this doesn’t speed up your WordPress website’s load time, the next step would be to use WP Faster.org
I’ve used their service for a number of my websites and have recommended them to clients, and have had very good results by using them. (Again, I do NOT receive any financial compensation by recommending them.)
Google Updates Ad Policies
Google recently made several updates to their ad policies. Google continues to restrict certain businesses from advertising on Google Ads and also continues to be more stringent with certain types of businesses and headings.
It’s important for advertisers and agencies to keep abreast of these changes, as violating these polices could results in an account suspension without notice.
Some businesses are more affected than others, and we continue to see Google become more restrict regarding financial services, healthcare and medicines,
Here’s Google’s official announcement regarding ad policy changes:
On July 28, 2020, several Google Ads policies that serve to protect users were updated to better inform advertisers as to the severity of violations of these policies and if they will result in account suspension without notice. Additional clarifications were also made to the policy language to be more clear as to what falls in scope of these policies:
Google Ads has recently issued advertisers credits to help advertisers with the impact of the COVID-19 virus.
This is to help businesses face the challenges of the economic downturn over this pandemic. The ad credit is automatically applied to your promotions tab in your Google Ad account and is valid until December 31, 2020. Any credits will automatically be deducted from advertisers ad spend.
The amount of credit seems to be dependent on an advertisers ad spend, so each business may get a different ad spend credit. So far, I am seeing a range of advertiser credits from $300 up to $750.
You will want to login to your Google Ads account (ads.Google.com) and should see a banner notification across the top of your account. If not, hit the drop down under the tools tab (wrench icon) and click the promotions tab to see more details.
Any credits will automatically be added to your Google Ads account, so there’s nothing you need to do. Don’t contact Google regarding this or try to request a larger credit.
“Updated on June 16th with additional information on the ad credit application to eligible Google Ads customers. By the end of this week, ad credits will be launched in Australia, China, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, and Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States. The ad credit automatically offsets future spend; no action needed. Check back here for further updates on which countries have launched.
We want to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) stay in touch with their customers during this challenging time. That’s why we’re giving our SMB customers worldwide $340 million in ad credits, which can be used towards future ad spend, until the end of 2020 across our Google Ads platforms. This is part of a larger commitment from Google to support SMBs, health organizations and governments, and health workers on the frontline of this global pandemic.
This page provides additional information and will be periodically updated. As an additional resource to help you manage your business through uncertainty please visit the Google for Small Business site.”
If you have questions about this or need help, you can contact PayPerClickAuthority.com at 720-600-0515 or email me, Steve Pitt at [email protected]
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The first page of Google captures 71% of search traffic clicks.
This statistic shows the value of AdWords and how specific metrics influence traffic and marketing.
As a business, this is a relatively cheap investment.
But if you don’t know much about pay-per-click (PPC) or AdWords, it can be difficult to assess the difference between PPC or cost-per-click (CPC). What is the difference, and does either one matter more in your business?
The question ultimately comes down to PPC vs. CPC.
What metric will you trust more when it comes to assessing your success? How do you know if you need to make a marketing change? What metric helps you identify weak points in your marketing strategy and in your business?
Having an understanding of each metric can help you figure out the value and how to properly assess what your marketing plan should be moving forward. It can help you identify your core audience and if you should retarget your core demographic.
Here’s everything you need to know about PPC and CPC for businesses large and small, plus why each is incredibly important to understand.
What Is PPC, and Why Should I Care About It?
PPC is a form of search engine marketing.
In essence, you are paying Google or Facebook to display your ads on their search engine. You are paying whenever someone clicks on an ad.
If you have a business website and a blog, having a high number of keywords can help get your website higher ranked in Google or other search engine inquiries.
Obviously, as a business, you don’t want your ad getting ignored and scrolled past when someone searches for something relevant to your product. You can prevent this with a number of strategies.
These strategies can help your business stay competitive against other similar businesses when your ideal customer is searching for a product that you sell.
PPC Is About Strategizing Your Paid Search Marketing Campaigns
One of the strategies of pay-per-click is that you can create short and concise headlines when people see your ad after they have searched for something.
This is why it’s important to have only 25 characters in your headline, 35 characters in your display URL, and 35 for your ad copy. Creating conciseness in your advertisements allows the customer to clearly understand what you are selling.
It’s also important that you have a clear PPC goal that matches what your business is trying to accomplish.
With PPC you can do search ads, display ads, and even remarket to your ideal customers. Ultimately, you have to decide what’s going to bring in the most clicks at the lowest cost.
You can read more here about how to figure out your PPC ROI.
What Is CPC, and Why Should I Care About It?
CPC is the amount of money you are willing to spend on every click.
In other words, it gives you an idea if a marketing campaign, like PPC, is effective.
You can see if your AdWords is performing well and what it is costing you. You can also see the quality of your AdWords and how they performing compared to your competitor’s site.
This is also why you need to care about industry standards when it comes to the average cost per click in any industry. If you are paying more cost per click in your industry compared to others, it could mean that your campaigns are not as effective compared to your competitors.
CPC Allows You to Assess Your Marketing Budget
Another reason why you should care about CPC is that you don’t want to be an exorbitant amount toward a particular PPC campaign if you know it’s not working.
CPC gives you insight into how much you are spending and if it is worth it.
You want to assess your return on investment and see if you are making a profit. One tool you can use to assess if you are making a profit is by dividing your competitor ad rank by your quality score. This will give you your actual CPC score and help you figure out if you paying more than you need to.
After you figure out your CPC, you can figure out how to improve your PPC campaigns. For instance, you can raise the quality of your ads.
In addition, you can also refine who your audience is and who you are targeting in your advertisements. In a similar way, you can also retarget specific audiences if you think they are more inclined to click on the advertisements than they were before.
In the end, CPC is so important because it allows you to assess your marketing budget.
PPC vs. CPC: Why Does It Matter?
Does it matter what PPC vs. CPC is?
Of course, it does, because you don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount on search ads if you don’t have the budget. Depending on your business’s financials, you may be better off choosing one route over another.
What it really comes down to is how well you know your audience and how much you are willing to spend on ads. If you know where your ideal customer hangs out and your advertisement is very targeted, then you can figure out if PPC with a specific search engine may be working at a specific cost (CPC).
To find more information on PPC and CPC and which metric is better for your business, contact us.
5 Tips to Improve PPC Advertising Performance
1) Start with The Destination: Your website or landing page (s) are critical to your Google Ads / PPC advertising results. Focus on this first before running paid ads, as the initial impression the searcher has of your website, and your business, are imperative for increasing leads and sales. To begin, make sure that your site loads quickly, as this is important to users as well as Google. You can use site speed tools to check your site, such as GTmetrix or Pingdom. If you are using a WordPress site, you can use a caching program such as WP Rocket and an image optimization plugin, such as WP Smush. Make sure that your website is mobile friendly. It’s important that your landing pages are visually appealing, has confidence factors (certifications, awards, testimonials, etc.), lower the barriers of entry and makes it easy to contact your business. You can either a) use a website builder program such as Square Space or WIX b) use a WordPress site and a user friendly theme such as DIVI c) hire a good web developer. Use a good hosting company, consider using a CDN such as Cloud Flare.
2) Focus on Best Practices: Setup and manage your campaigns based on industry best practices: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/6154846?hl=en This includes running relevant keywords focused on both search volume and relevance / buyer intent to your business. Stay away from broad match keywords or keywords with too broad of an intent. Use the keyword planner tool in your Google Ads account to find relevant keywords with buying intent as opposed to research / informational searches. Make sure that your landing pages have some of the major keywords on your landing pages.
3) Optimize on a regular basis. Pay per click advertising is a fluid, ever changing process. It’s more of a live auction than a set and forget process. You should be strategically optimizing your PPC campaigns on a bi-weekly basis. At the minimum, you should be: a) reviewing and implementing appropriate optimization ideas in your account b) labeling all converting keywords and phone calls, so you can be more strategic in your bidding c) removing low quality score keywords (2/10 or less) d) make sure that you are not running broad match keywords, which can run up your costs and reduce relevance d) reviewing the search terms report, adding converting / relevant keywords and excluding keywords / search terms that are not relevant. e) optimizing ads and adjusting. Normally, I would suggest viewing ad data over a longer period of time and pausing any ads that have over 100 impressions and a click thru rate of less that 1% and writing new ads. Test 3-4 ads per ad group, including running responsive search ads and potentially call only ads.
4) Reduce click fraud. Google does pro-actively filter out and remove invalid clicks from your Google Ads account, so you are not charged for those. However, there are both unscrupulous advertisers that may click on your ads to run up your costs, bots, click farms and more that can waste your advertising dollars. Using another layer of protection against click fraud, such as Click Cease, PPC Protect or other related tools, can help reduce advertising waste and inefficiencies.
5) Track results. It’s critical to accurately track conversions / results in your pay per click advertising. A conversion is simply an action you want a user to perform, such as clicking on your ad and calling your business (website call conversion), submitting a contact form on your site and requesting additional information, making a purchase, etc. Google has an excellent tag implementation team that can help ensure that all conversion tracking is properly setup. You can contact customer support and request and appointment with the tag implementation team (make sure that you have administrative access to your website and that the site is being backed up on a regular basis.)
The above article was written by Steve Pitt, President of Internet Expert Online & PayPerClickAuthority.com Steve Pitt is certified in Google Ads and Bing Ads (Microsoft Advertising) and his company is a Google Partner, Bing Ads Partner (Microsoft Advertising Partner) and A+ rated with the Better Business Bureau. Steve has specialized in PPC advertising management since 2010 and is author of the book, Google AdWords: Better Results In 30 Days”.
You’ve got to be strong and determined to start your own business. It’s impressive that you’re even thinking about it, let alone getting started. Yet you also need a big set of other skills to keep the business going.
Businesses don’t run themselves, and small startups often fail because their owners didn’t recognize their own weaknesses. If it feels like you’re juggling bowling balls and feathers while walking a tightrope, then it’s probable you’re on the right track.
It’s fortunate for you that you can learn these necessary entrepreneurial skills, and you’d be wise to invest the time to do so. Here are some of the most important talents that will help your business grow and thrive.
Using Your Entrepreneurial Skills to Network
Traditional wallflowers don’t often make very good salespeople. While you may be more of an introvert, developing the social skills to introduce yourself and meet people is essential to the smooth operation of your business. Practice making entrepreneur friends, not meeting them one time and forgetting about them.
Maintaining those connections means remembering their names the next time you see them and following up with them on any tidbits they told you or promises you made. It also means checking in with them periodically (text message or social media post) to see how they’re doing and help them remember you, too.
Basic people skills like these also help you focus on your customers. If you can make your clients feel like they are the most important thing in the world to you, then your business will have their loyalty. But to do that means ignoring the thousands of other tasks that always roll through the back of your mind when you’re a business owner.
To make customers happy you have to be good at prioritizing their needs and the needs of the business. You don’t want to promise something that you can’t deliver, but you don’t want them to think they don’t matter, either.
Harnessing Marketing Opportunities
Let’s face it, there are all types of marketing methods out there. Knowing which ones to use or when to stop using one is a definite skill that’s important to have when you run your own business. One such method is social media, where it’s so easy to over-share, or say something inappropriate.
But social media isn’t the only place where marketing can screw up. Pay-per-click is a different animal altogether, and one that requires skills to recognize its potential. Beginners should do some research before attempting to use PPC for their businesses, because it’s another area where you can spend a lot of money for little return if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Many of the things you try may fail, but a successful person uses their failures to learn and grow. Being able to deal with failure is just as much a skill as choosing marketing strategies.
You also want to be able to keep up with new trends like video marketing. And once you have the potential customers rolling, you need to be able to close the sale, too, instead of letting it hang and forfeiting the money your business could have used.
Marketing incorporates many skills and talents, but these few will get you on your way to business success.
Making Use of Finances
If you’re just starting out, then you need to know how to fundraise. Getting people to believe in your company enough to invest in it is a skill that works in your favor if you have it. Otherwise, getting startup capital is difficult.
Once you’re established, you could hire out the accounting and budgeting to someone who has more bookkeeping or controller experience. But you also have to understand the business and its priorities to figure out how to move the puzzle pieces around to achieve success. Financial puzzle pieces are things like cash on hand, investments, and projected windfalls.
Hiring out can be good, but sometimes you’re the best person for the job. Although, as an entrepreneur, you’re also the best person for most of the jobs in your business, too. You can’t do everything, so you’ll have to choose the most important ones.
Managing a Staff
People are funny creatures. They all have feelings that get in the way of logic, yet they try to pretend they don’t. This makes hiring, firing, and training your staff more of a political obstacle course than you’d ever expect to have to deal with.
The biggest challenge is understanding and encouraging them the way they need. The other is delegating appropriately, which only works if you know what each person’s strengths and weaknesses are.
If you reassign someone to accounting who rocks at shipping, your shipping department is going to fail unless you get someone equally talented to replace them. Don’t swap people’s roles or delegate them to do things they aren’t good at.
Sometimes this takes a bit of insight on your part because people don’t always know this about themselves. Observing and evaluating their work and progress is a good way to notice these things. And remember that some people rise to a challenge, and some people don’t do well under pressure.
If you can figure out what makes your people tick and play to their strengths, your business will soar.
The Grit to Succeed
It’s a lot to take in. From managing a staff to managing a budget and everything in between, a business owner needs to be someone with the entrepreneurial skills to juggle it all.
You need to be able to learn the skills you need and get it all done, even when something doesn’t fall in your immediate strength or specialty.
Read more on our website for help with specific lists of daily tasks or other info to help entrepreneurs.
Pay-Per-Click advertising is probably the most efficient way to draw attention to your website, your products, and your social media posts. There is a lot of fuss about how PPC is not a long-term marketing solution, but the biggest reason for this misconception is because of the sheer weight of PPC mistakes that people are making.
Try to remember that the world’s most common oxymoron is “common sense,” since common sense is both rare and typically wrong. Just because something seems to make sense vis-a-vis PPC, it doesn’t make it true. For example, the biggest budget doesn’t always win, the best advertisement doesn’t gather the most attention, and there is no way to predict which ads and keywords will generate the most success.
1. One of The Most Common PPC Mistakes
Trying to attract large numbers very quickly is probably one of the biggest and common PPC mistakes.
It may be frustrating if you have time-sensitive content that is not being read, but even those with massive budgets have trouble generating “many” meaningful clicks quickly.
You can attract clicks within ten minutes of posting your advertisement but getting “many” clicks quickly requires a big budget, lots of affiliate advertising platforms, and a lot of luck.
2. Believing Those Gosh-Darn Affiliate Advertising Tools
Jump onto something simple like Google Ads, and enter a bunch of keywords into your advertisement. Notice how many of them say, “low search volume.” If that is the case, how come some of them get clicks, and how come those clicks are most likely to convert?
The tools that come with your affiliate marketing platform are there to make you spend more. They want you to use the most contested keywords so that you pay more.
In addition, do not forget that affiliate advertising tools run on the algorithm that is set by the platform, which includes any priorities the platform has that do not coincide with your priorities. Plus, they are using historical data that doesn’t account for sudden shifts or even gradual linear shifts in keyword and spending trends.
3. Thinking That PPC Helps SEO
You may have read the many studies that say SEO is not enough, but the associated notion that PPC helps SEO is slightly askew.
If your PPC campaign makes your content more popular, then it may help your search engine ranking, but the two matters are only loosely related. A little like if you take a bus to work or a car to work, then your legs may not ache as much when you get home.
4. Misunderstanding Negative Keywords
If you want to avoid PPC mistakes, then start slow, learn from what occurs, and then change very slowly without fear of going back on yourself if something doesn’t seem to work the way it should.
Negative keywords are like the noisy toy you give to your kid at Christmas and regret it by Boxing Day. Negative keywords are the sort of toy you wish some PPC campaigners didn’t have access to.
There are plenty of unsuitable keyword variations that seem correct, and people are entering them into their negative keyword section and thinking they are honing their campaign when what they are really doing is limiting it.
5. Not Using A Landing Page
Forget the other PPC tips you have read, here is how PPC works. The advertisement is a question. At its very core, it generates a question. It puts a question in the mind of the user, no matter how subtle. That question is what motivates a click. The landing page needs to offer an answer.
Let’s say you are selling a car. People may be sold by the ad without clicking. The only reason people click is that they have a question. They may wonder if the listed price is for real, or if the car really has a roll cage, or they may wonder if the car will fit three kids in the back seat.
The landing page is there to answer the many different questions that may have attracted the click. Simply linking to a product page or a home page may result in said question being unanswered, which results in a bounce.
6. Using Phone Numbers
This mistake doesn’t apply to all forms of affiliate marketing, but there are many cases where phone numbers are simply wasted ad space.
Some marketers think they can avoid paying for clicks if people see the ad and then call the number, but study after study seems to prove that nobody calls the numbers they see on affiliate adverts. People will instead click the ad or a link on Google to get the number.
There are only a minority of cases where people will call the numbers they see listed on affiliate ads, and it is usually because they recognize the freephone number from a TV jingle.
7. Misunderstanding Ad Extensions
One of the benefits of PPC advertising is that you also get to spread a bit of your brand message too, and ad extensions may help you do just that. However, the assumption that ad extensions are vital (or even needed) is one of the many PPC mistakes to avoid.
There are times when they damage the value of your advertisement. Such as if your ad says, “Find Out Where Festival Number 5 Is Going to Be Held” and then the extension gives the location as Worcester.
The Biggest PPC Mistakes
There are plenty of PPC mistakes you can make, but the most common, obvious and dumb is not learning from your mistakes. There are still people out there who are generating hundreds of clicks per month with a conversion rate of a fraction of a percent. Committing the most common PPC mistakes is forgivable but sticking with it and failing to adapt is unforgivable.
If you are really having a hard time getting your PPC campaign to turn a reasonable return, then give August Infotech a chance to turn things around. What makes them different is the massive team they have and the sheer weight of staff hours they can invest in a project. If you want results, then there are very few who can offer them so consistently.