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Archive for Search Engine Marketing’ Category



Increase Online Sales – use Google Checkout!

Fast Checkout Through Google Checkout
Google Checkout Accepted

I think that Google Checkout has some way to go before it is a popular as Paypal.

But regardless if anyone actually uses it as payment option on your eCommerce site or not, the fact remains, that if you are running a Google AdWords campaign, and you link your AdWords and Checkout accounts, then you get a nice shiny Google Checkout badge attached to all your AdWords adverts (on Google search results in the UK if you you signed up for a Google Checkout account in the UK).

Google say that this can increase Click Through Rate by 10%.

This means that you should be able to make 10% more sales without having to pay any extra money for each sale (whether you use CPC bidding or CPA bidding).

But is it true, or are Google exaggerating just a little bit?

Well, I can confirm after trying this out, and with with some fairly large campaigns that CTR has increased by 10.3%!

Also, if you have a Google shopping feed (and you should), then you also get a nifty little Google checkout symbol beside all of your items in the Google Shopping listings, and a ‘Seller Ratings’ link, which has to help at least a little bit as well (unless you have terrible customer service)…

If anyone would any further info on any of these things, then please leave a comment.


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Google AdWords Conversion Optimizer – Increase Sales Now! (Probably)

Just for the benefit of people in the UK and Ireland:

“Google AdWords Conversion Optimiser”.

Here is the official Google Link:-

Which has some pretty useful information.

It can be a fantastic time saving tool if you have any AdWords campaigns that have had 15 or more conversions in the last 30 days, and more often than not – it can get your more sales or leads with less effort than if you are using manual bidding on your Google AdWords campaign.

I also read an article recently by Perry Marshall where he said (and I tend to agree) that CPA bidding is here to stay, and online advertising will increasingly move towards this model.

The documentation on Conversion Optimizer makes it pretty clear that it can use historical conversion data on an existing campaign to target a specific CPA (one-per-click).

OK, that sounds logical. So it can tell from historical data how well certain keywords convert for you and use that to target a certain CPA. It can also tell (if you re targeting more than one country in a single campaign) how well each country converts, and again use that data to automatically decrease bids in countries where your conversion rate is not so good.

BUT (and this is what I could not find any information on), what if your campaign has never been opted into the content network? Can you just turn the content network on for that campaign, and expect Conversion Optimizer to do a good job of getting you extra conversions on the content network even though it has no historical data about how your campaign performs on the Content Network? If you do just turn on the content network, how long will it take for Conversion Optimizer to learn enough to give you good value for money?

ALSO (another thing I could find no information on), what if you have a campaign that converts much better on the Search Partner Network than it does on Google Search. Using normal CPC bidding (as far as I know) your hands are tied in that you cannot have separate CPC bids for Search Partners, so you just have to let Google waste a lot of money on your behalf on Google Search where you are not getting good value conversions. So…. if you turn on CPA bidding, it will now be in Google’s own interests to get you as many conversions as it can (more conversions for you means more money for Google). So……will Google now automatically increase your position in the Search Partner results to get you more conversions?

Since I could not find any definite information on either of these two scenarios, I decided to test them out on one campaign of a very understanding client.

Here are the results*:-

First, with regards to Conversion Optimizer being able to quickly work out which content network sites will convert well for you, well….  Lets just say that it doesn’t do a great job of this if it has no historical data to go on.  It looks very much like it doesn’t “cheat'” by looking at conversion data that it already has for sites similar to yours.  So, unless you are prepared to set a *very* high Max CPA for ad groups to start with, it is more likely than not that Conversion Optimiser will give up trying to get conversions on the content network before it wastes too much of your money….

NB – if you are in one of the (few) niches where the content network works well for you, then, no doubt, the story would be different, but if you are in a niche where you have really struggled to make the content network work for you with CPC bidding, then Conversion Optimizer is not a magic bullet..

Secondly, with regard to Conversion Optimizer being able to get you more conversions on the Search Partner Network by giving you more impressions there and less impressions on Google sites, the results seem to have been much more impressive:-

Before Turning On Conversion Optimizer

After Turning On Conversion Optimizer

You can see that the campaign is now receiving around 4 times as many impressions on the Search Partner Network as on Google Search.  Prior to turning Conversion Optimizer on it was only getting around 1.7 times as many impressions on the Search Partner so… (as you might say on Twitter #win !)

*This is only one campaign, targeting one country, over a short period of time.  Results will almost certainly vary wildly, and you always need to test things out for yourself (but I still think it these are some very interesting observations)…

If anyone else has any interesting observations regarding Google Conversion Optimizer / CPA bidding please leave a comment!

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PPCNI – Google AdWords Certified Partner – Northern Ireland

Jordan McClements, owner of, today took the Google AdWords Search Advertising Advanced exam, and scored 98%…

This means (I think) that PPCNI is the first Google AdWords certified partner in Northern Ireland!

(Certified AdWords Partner logo to follow within a few days once Google actually make it available to me) :-)

Update – it has finally arrived!:-

PPCNI is the first company in Northern Ireland to attain Google AdWords Certified Partner status.

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How *Not* To Run A Google AdWords Campaign…

Not only do none of these companies realise that no-one in N.Ireland can use their services to switch energy provider*, but some of them specifically geo target “Northern Ireland”!

As an aside, it is nice to see that while I am signed in to my Google account that Google realises that I am ‘Northern Irish’ even though my IP address is English (this is definitely a sign of things to come)…

*(Someone correct me if I’m wrong – but I think you can only switch if you are a business user? – I am not 100% sure as I can find very little about it on the internet)

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A Beginners Guide To PPC / Google AdWords

In a perfect world, you will have an amazing web site that everyone talks about, and which gets tons of ‘free’ traffic from Search Engines, Social Media, and from people who have bookmarked your site.

In the real world, you’ll probably have a web site which is fairly new and is not getting a huge amount of traffic yet.

This is where Pay Per Click (PPC) comes in.*

There are 3 major Search Engines in the UK & Ireland.

Google (roughly 90% of the market)
Yahoo (roughly 6% of the market)
Bing  (roughly 4% of the market)

Lets ignore Yahoo and Bing for the time being, and concentrate on…

Google AdWords

In a nutshell, Google AdWords gets you new customers through your web site by targeting people searching for your product or service. It also allows you to easily measure your Return On Investment.

If you have a reasonable level of technical knowledge, and fancy setting up your own Google Adwords campaign – Don’t. Please read (at least twice) – Google AdWords For Dummies by Howie Jacobson.

Then find a free voucher code for your new AdWords account (There are millions of these floating around, and you should be able to find one for at least £50, meaning that your first £50 of clicks are free).

You can do all this yourself, but if you do not have the time or the patience to set up your own Google AdWords campaign, then just pay someone who knows what they are doing…

How do you get the right person to set up your AdWords campaign?


  • Are you qualified?
  • Can you refer me to satisfied clients of yours?

Now, I know I am biased (because I am qualified Google Advertising Professional), and it is true that someone might not be qualified, and still be the most talented Pay Per Click specialist in the entire world – but on balance, I would chose someone with the qualification.

If you get someone who knows what they are doing to handle your campaign, then you can skip the rest of this article!

If you still want to have a bash at it yourself, then….. (After reading ‘AdWords For Dummies’) have a look at the following tools:-


* Update – you can stop reading the rest of this article and have a look at the updated Top 20 AdWords Tips *

Make sure your web site is as good as it can be.  The Website Optimizer link above can help with this.  Simple changes to your web site can increase ‘conversions’ by 100%!

e.g. Make a contact form much more user friendly, and you can get twice as many leads from the same Pay Per Click spend!

Make sure you measure everything!  Set up and *use* Google Analytics on your site (as well as AdWords reporting).

If you have an eCommerce site, make sure your shopping cart passes data to AdWords and Analytics.  This way you will be able to see (almost) exactly what your return on investment is for individual AdWords adverts and keywords, and which traffic sources are worth most to you.

You might find that on average that :-

  • A visitor from Bing is worth twice as much to you as one from Google (though this is unlikely).
  • A visitor from Pay Per Click adverts is worth twice as much as one from the natural (free) Search Engine results.
  • A visitor who searched for “Yellow Widgets” is worth 70% more than one who searched for “Blue Widgets”.
  • Someone from the Republic of Ireland is worth 30% more to you than someone from the UK.

This type of data is invaluable in helping you to increase your profits.  It is also extremely useful to know these things before starting ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ for your web site.

*Even if you are getting a lot of traffic already from other sources, this doesn’t mean that you can’t make more profit by using PPC as well!

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Access The Biggest And Most Powerful Keyword Database

I have been using this for a month now, and can honestly say, while it is not perfect, it is an absolutely fantastic utility which saves time and effort in setting up new PPC campaigns (and allows you to easily see what is working and what is not working for your competitors, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel:-)

If you do PPC for a living, and can’t make KeyWordSpy pay for itself many times over, then you are in the wrong job! (It also is fairly useful for SEO).

It is also recommended by Howie Jacobson, so you don’t just have to take my word for it!

*Check out KeyWordSpy here*

(NB – Unless you are a *big* company, you only really need to purchase the ‘research’ option).

If you do try it out, please let me know how you got on…  Thanks.

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Google set to introduce Local Listings Ads

Local search has recently seen some big changes including the recent addition of a new reporting dashboard and the recent change from a 10 pack to a 7 pack listing. It looks like local search is about to offer up even more. Currently only available in San Francisco and San Diego, Google look set to roll out a new feature called Local Listings Ads shortly.

Just to summarise the short video above:

  • Local Listing Ads are targetted ads that display when users search for businesses like yours in your area.
  • Add your business to Google’s Local Business Center
  • Pay a flat fee based on your location and business category
  • Receive a full report on the no of clicks and more
  • Appear at the top of Google search results and Google Maps
  • Free call tracking to include the message ‘This caller brought to you by Google’
  • First 30 days free

Rather than pay per click, it looks like it’s a pay per placement model that will offer local business advertisers another advertising opportunity to get listed on Google and another way to promote your business online.

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