Save Your Marketing Budget with Negative Keywords

Almost every pay-per-click advertising campaign has room for optimization. Today, let’s focus on one simple way to save money with your Google AdWords campaigns: adding negative keywords. A negative keyword prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase.

For instance, it’s incredibly important to list negative keywords for my clients who are professional speakers. Otherwise, our ads would display for searches such as “Sony speakers for sale,” or “Public speaking tips.”

How to Add Negative Keywords to Your Google AdWords Campaigns

First, you’ll need to identify which keywords result in undesirable clicks to your ads. Fortunately, Google has a tool for that. In the Keywords tab, look at the Search Terms sub-tab, shown below:

Save Your Marketing Budget with Negative Keywords

Google describes this report as follows:

“Learn how customers are finding your ad. With the Search terms report, you can see the actual searches people entered on Google Search and other Search Network sites that triggered your ad and led to a click. Depending on your keyword match types, this list might include terms other than exact matches to your keywords.”

When I ran this report for a veterinary hospital, I found a few stray clicks from searches for things like “cat declawing” and “ear cropping” – services my client definitely doesn’t provide!  Also, several searches indicated clicks that might not results in optimal clients, such as “free vet clinic.” And there was a weird “def leppard” result. (Sometimes running this report can be really funny– except your advertising budget isn’t laughing.)

To add the negative keywords, click on the Negative Keywords sub tab, then click the big red +KEYWORDS button:

Save Your Marketing Budget with Negative Keywords

All done! Enjoy your savings.

Suggested Negative Keywords to Get You Started

Different industries usually require different negative keywords, but here are a few general suggestions I use for most of my clients:

  • Cheap
  • Free
  • DIY
  • How to
  • Learn to
  • Profanity and explicit language

Add some negative keywords and watch your AdWords reports to track your results. You should save money and also receive more relevant clicks from potential customers.

How Videos Boost Your Small Business Marketing

Do you know that Google owns YouTube? You probably do. Google owns lots of things and is buying and creating more things every day.

Google has a simple business goal: to take over the world. And one small part of achieving that goal is to make YouTube videos ubiquitous. If you help Google achieve this goal, you’ll be rewarded with SEO cred that boosts your small business website’s search rankings.

Here’s a process you can follow for making videos that help your small business marketing efforts:

  • Create YouTube videos that are relevant to your brand and offerings. Make them short and interesting– 90 seconds is plenty of time.
  • Write video descriptions that contain your desired search keywords.
  • Embed these videos in your website, such as in blog posts or on product pages. A great example is on Steve Yastrow’s page for his Ditch the Pitch sales training methodology.
  • Write short, interesting content to surround the video. Again, make sure to include your keywords.
  • Frequently update your site with new videos, so Google sees that you are creating fresh, relevant content for website visitors.

I follow this process with my small business clients, and we see significant success with our organic search traffic. Give it a try!

 

The Diversification of Search (and Your Marketing Budget)

In the near future, Google might not be such a hot-shot in the web marketing world.

That’s crazy!” you might think. Indeed, Google has been the major research resource for the vast majority of web users. And today, Google still accounts for 66.2% of all search-engine use, with Bing-powered search a distant 29.1%.

Diversify your search marketingIt seems that Google’s serious competition won’t come from Bing (at least, anytime soon). As a web marketing expert helping businesses reach their customers on the Internet, I see that competition coming from a very different field.

The big secret is that search is so much bigger than Google or Bing. Often, navigating a Google search can be frustrating as the user tries to grope after the right search phrase to get his intended result. For instance, consider a search for a professional speaker that only results in displaying high-end audio equipment.

This search inconvenience has given rise to many niche-search products built into commerce and social media sites. On Amazon.com, customers can search categories with pre-defined criteria that makes sense, like size and type of shoes. Yelp is organized by geography, so if a user is vacationing in Savannah, GA, he can get the local scoop on that city.

With so many shopping and social media options, web users are diversifying their search methods for more personalized results.

Here are some stats on a few special-interest sites that compete for search traffic:

  • 901 million users search Facebook to find their friends and favorite brands.
  • 161 million users conduct 4.2 “professionally-oriented” yearly searches on LinkedIn (such as recruiting or networking).
  • In a month, 89 million U.S. customers visit Amazon.com to buy or comparison-shop.
  • 71 million users search Yelp for information and reviews about local businesses.
  • 50 million visitors search TripAdvisor to plan vacations.
  • 10 million women search Pinterest to find the absolute perfect wedding hair or yummy appetizer recipe.

How Search Diversification Affects Your Marketing Plan

All of the above sites provide businesses opportunities to communicate with users and buy advertising. Marketing plans are beginning to reflect interest in these offerings, with businesses diversifying their web marketing budget to include a variety of advertising and communication efforts across different sites relevant to their own customers.

If your business happens to focus exclusively on Google AdWords for web advertising, it might be time to look into diversifying your web marketing. With the right social partner, you’ll likely reach more relevant customers, who are looking for a more personalized experience and are ready to engage with your brand.

The Secret to Small Business Advertising

Small businesses are bombarded with advertising opportunities. These sales pitches often make small business owners feel uneasy and uncertain, thinking, “Shouldn’t I try this out?” or, “What if I’m missing an opportunity?” In small business, the fear of missing out often drives advertising decisions.

The secret is that many advertising companies are successful because of this uncertainty, not because of the success they bring their clients. Much of their money is made from the attitude of, “Maybe we should just test this to see if it works.”

So how can you tell which advertising options are good – and which ones are bad?  Let me make it easier for you and give some insight based on what I’ve learned over the years. I’ve talked with many advertisers and heard almost every advertising pitch.

Some advertising offers are inherently shady, such as emails from companies claiming your website failed “international reports” or from other companies promising to place your ad in the first advertising spot on Google for just a monthly fee. In general, if you receive a bulk email from an advertising company, feel free to discard it (and think of all the time you’ll save not having to read these junk emails!).

Other advertising offers can be confusing. You may receive phone calls from pushy advertising salespeople who assure you they’re offering a great deal. Below are a few instances of those kinds of offers and when it might make sense for you to accept them.

There are many companies offering to promote your business on Google and Bing. Some of them (like mine) manage the advertising in an efficient and effective way.  Others try to obscure how the systems work. Keep in mind that Google and Bing advertising are always pay-per-click. It’s reasonable to hire a web marketing specialist to manage and grow your search engine marketing, but the company should provide transparency. Such a company will help you decide if search engine advertising is even right for your business.

In addition to search engines, there are many individual websites that solicit advertisers. Websites such as TheKnot.com exist solely on advertising revenue and cater to specialized groups of people (in this case, brides). Advertising on these sites are usually paid for monthly instead of pay-per-click, so is it worth the risk? It could be, depending on what you are selling, how many visitors on the site are looking for your product and how many competitors they allow to appear with your ad. Ask the salesperson for this information to determine if you’ll get a return on this investment. If the salesperson can’t provide this information, don’t buy from them.

Coupon publications are another advertising option often promoted to small businesses. Bundled coupons like Val-Pak have a very dedicated following among a small group of coupon users. Generally, everyone else on the mailing list simply throws out the envelope without looking at it. This pattern means every coupon redeemed from a Val-Pak mailing is used by the same group of people. This behavior is fine for companies who don’t mind regularly discounting products or services, but it’s not a good way to gain new customers who will someday pay full price. This same advice also applies to coupon circulars like Redplum or Dollarsaver.

Don’t worry if you can’t determine if an advertising venue is right for your business. It’s the advertiser’s job to prove it to you. Advertisers should provide you with detailed statistics relating to your business. If they can’t provide you with data, then you can’t be sure they are offering a good investment. For reference, Allrecipes.com provides excellent public information that makes it clear which types of products and services should be advertised on their site. Don’t expect anything less from those trying to sell you advertising.

Here’s my advertising advice in a nutshell: Always say, “No!” unless an advertiser can prove his advertising will provide a return on the investment.

If you get an advertising offer, and don’t know what to do with it, feel free to send it to me at amanda@zooinajungle.com. I’ll let you know what I think.

Google says, “Tag, you’re it!”

This article highlights the importance of html tags to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This may seem technical and dry, but it could make the difference between a customer finding your site or your competitor’s site.

A tag, among other things, can make text bold, italic or denote it as a heading. How you use tags to style your website is important to search engines like Google.

If you’ve studied SEO, you know how crucial it is to create keywords for each page of your website. The importance of tags is less well-known. All else being equal, Google will pay more attention to text that is in a heading, bold or italicized. It follows that you want to place keywords inside these tags whenever possible.

Here are a list of tags you could consider using on your own site:

  • Heading 1: <h1>
  • Heading 2: <h2>
  • Heading 3: <h3>
  • Bold: <strong>
  • Italic: <em>

Along with bold and italics, I use Heading 1 (h1) and Heading 2 (h2) for my SEO. You can style them just as you would any other text.

Observe:

h1: Small Business Marketing

h2: Zoo in a Jungle Marketing uncages small business potential.

I only use two levels of headings because the more headings you use, the less important Google will consider them.

A word of caution to those of you eagerly making plans to pepper your pages with headings and emphasis: don’t overdo it! Only use headings sparingly and when appropriate. Heading 1 is fine to use as the title of your page, but Google will ignore your site if you enclose an entire paragraph in an h1 tag. And your human readers may flee if you insist on bolding and italicizing every little thing (after all, the point of SEO is to get actual people to visit your site).

Having trouble? No worries. Feel free to email me with any questions at amanda@zooinajungle.com.

Marketing Podcast – Google’s Free Tools

This entertaining podcast blends marketing with roller derbies. I’m joined on the radio show “Getting Down to Business” by the Rage City Roller Girls of Anchorage, Alaska.

I discuss how Google’s free tools can empower your small business marketing, and roller derby stars Sarah Impaler and Blitzkrieg Baker gives me the moniker “Anita Amanda Elbow.” But here are some of the tools I talk about:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Places
  • Feedburner
  • Google Keyword Tool (my fav!)
Google's Free Tools

Download the Google’s free tools MP3 file here. (5.6 MB)

Stuck on Search Engine Optimization?

Sometimes optimizing your website for keywords can feel stifling. For instance, how many times can a person put “tax accountant” on a web page before looking ridiculous? (I’m not sure, but the About.com article certainly pushes it, don’t you think?) Fortunately, there is a way to vary your terms and still get placed in search engines – and it’s free.

Google’s free keyword tool will end your SEO writer’s block. Although the tool is designed to provide keywords for you AdWords account, it can help you with so much more. Using the keyword tool, you can learn:

  • The most popular terms people use to search for your products and services- both globally and locally.
  • The most competitive terms- hence the most difficult to optimize for.
  • What terms your website is currently optimized for- sometimes these results are surprising if you haven’t paid much attention to SEO.

Keyword Tool Examples

Let’s help About.com keep their search ranking but be a little less dreary to read. They could use any of the following terms as a replacement for tax accountant. Notice that “tax preparation” receives about five times the search volume as “tax accountant.”

Did you notice that the competition for all of the above keywords is extremely high? It would be difficult for any tax accountant’s website to break into the top page in these searches. Fortunately, there are some less competitive options that are more specific. A tax accountant firm could be successful at writing an article titled, “How to Find a Tax Accountant.” Or they could focus on geography, such as “tax accountant in ohio.”

If you are curious what Google thinks your website is optimized for (and you should be!), you’ll want to enter your website address into the keyword tool. Here are the results for my site, which specializes in small business marketing.

Google seems to understand what Zoo in a Jungle Marketing is optimized for pretty well. Tip: although “business” garners the most searches in a month, it would be foolish to optimize for such a general term. The likelihood that someone searching for “business” wants to read my blog or hire Zoo in a Jungle Marketing is very slim.

Go forth, and use Google’s free keyword tool to optimize!

Google’s Free Tools

Most businesses don’t realize that Google provides a variety of free tools to improve your website traffic. Following are some of the most useful free Google tools:

Google Analytics

Install Google Analytics on your website to track all sorts of nifty data, like how many visitors came from Anchorage, AK last month or the average time a visitor spends on your products page during your Tuesday Special Sales. Analyzing this data tells you how successful (or not…) your web initiatives are.

Google Local

Gain an edge in Google Search Results by signing up for a free Google Local listing. Your business address, logo, phone number and website address will appear on Google’s maps when users search for your products or services

Google Webmaster Tools

Get Google’s advice on how to improve your site for search with Google Webmaster Tools. See what other sites link to yours, upload your sitemap for Google to use, see what search queries lead visitors to your site and more.

Google’s Feedburner for your blog

Manage your blog’s RSS feed with Feedburner. Features include the ability to specify a delivery time, see how many email subscribers you have and customize the look and feel of your feed. Feedburner works with your existing RSS feed.