SEO + PPC: So Happy Together – Webinar Q&A

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We hope you had a chance to watch our SEO and PPC Marketing webinar earlier this month. During this event, we received an outpouring of questions regarding paid and organic search marketing. Although we weren’t able to answer them all in the live webinar, we are here to tackle them now.

If you still feel like you have lingering questions, feel free to post them in the comments below or browse our Knowledge Base.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Basic question: Where do I find the ppc auction?

The auction that takes place for PPC ads is more of a figurative occurrence than a literal one. When someone searches for one of your keywords, Google looks at all of the ads that could be displayed. Then, based on the factors of the Google Quality Score for your keyword, Google determines the order and CPC for each ad. This is obviously done very quickly, as the search results are being populated.

The closest thing that advertisers see to the actual auction process is the basic performance metrics: What is the Google Quality Score for your keywords? Where do your ads usually rank? How many impressions are you getting?

Finally, there is an Auction Insights report. Google will show other domains that you frequently compete with and how you compare. There’s not a lot of actionable data from this particular report, but combining it with the other information from your Adwords account may help you determine how to adjust your strategies, or at least give you an idea of how you compare to your competitors.

How do I get review ratings on my PPC?

You can get your Google star rating to show once you’ve become a Google Trusted Store. This comes with a number of perks, including the potential to show your seller rating in organic results and ads.

I would like to target long tail keywords, but I run into low search volume not allowing ads to run.  Is my only option to go more broad?

When it comes to determining the right keywords, Google Keyword Planner, found under the Tools menu in AdWords, can help give you an idea of popular terms for your industry. There are several different ways to get information within Keyword Planner, but each has their own value.

Also, we recommend using the Google Search console to look at the queries in your Search Analytics data. These are terms people are searching for, and Google is pairing with your site organically. Also, if you’re already running a PPC campaign, you can look at the specific queries that are causing your ads to display. This data is available in the Keywords tab of AdWords, as well as your AdWords traffic details in Analytics.

Along with the terms you find, you will also want to consider which match type to use. Broad Match can bring in a lot of traffic, but, it may not be the quality you’re looking for. Exact Match can ensure very specific needs are met, but you certainly may have search volume issues with some keywords. The combination of industry expectations, along with the metrics specific to your site, should help you get a better idea of some strong keyword options to make your campaign more viable

Is it a combination of AdWords and Analytics that allows you to identify a specific “revenue from PPC”?

As a Search Marketing Specialist for Volusion, when we relay “Revenue From PPC” to clients we are using information from the ROI Reports in the Volusion dashboard. Google offers some tremendous metrics, and we rely on them for many aspects of our own reporting, but we have found that Google doesn’t always correctly capture payment data.

We track all of our ads with a Click-ID appended to the URLs. When someone visits a site from an ad, the Click-ID is associated with that session, and if a check-out takes place, we are able to attribute that sale to one of our ads. That’s how we determine direct Revenue From PPC. There’s also Assisted Conversions, which is another important metric, but it is calculated and considered separately. You can learn more about creating Click-IDs by checking out this knowledge base article!

Which would be the right keywords for a jewelry store? Everybody searches the same words for wedding rings for example. How can I build a strong structure of keywords for my jewelry store?

Highly competitive industries often have to be quite creative. Just as many couples find while planning a wedding, prices on anything that centers on “bridal” “engagement” “wedding” and other terms in that realm come at a premium. Just as “Wedding Shoes” are likely going cost a bride more than “Formal Shoes”, a retailer who wants to bid on those keywords will pay more for the “Wedding” terms as well.

So, the first thing you’ll want to do is decide what sets you apart. Are your designs handmade, designer, specific brands, discount, couture, ethical, gemstones, precious stones, affordable, custom?

You can certainly have several attributes, and as a generalization, will want to have each of these as their own ad group. Without knowing the specifics, that may not be the case, but generally, it’s safe to assume that to be so.

After that, it’s all about research. Which areas are the most popular for you? When you look at your competition, how are they presenting their designs? What can you learn from keyword tools, like the planner from Google?

There are many paths you can take, but when you’re trying to stand out in a sea of competition, you will want to think outside of the box. Once you do find that you begin to gain traction, there may be many more opportunities to build and grow before you find a strategy you’re truly happy with.

I deal with fitness apparel, So I’m sure the competition is insane. How could this work for me?

A lot of the same principles from the jewelry store would apply to fitness apparel as well. Decide what sets you apart and focus on that.

Build your PPC and SEO strategies around very specific goals and then work to ensure your strategies support them. This will require a lot of optimizations and research, but in the end, building a stronger brand around solid strategies will pay off.

Are conversion rates on Google Analytics only determined via PPC? I never see values on my conversion rate reporting.

First of all, you’ll want to make sure you have Ecommerce Goals set up in Analytics to see conversions. Then, the easiest way to see your conversion rate within Analytics is to look at the “Overview” in the “Acquisition” menu on the left. It even breaks it down by channel so you can see the effect that Organic Search, Direct Traffic, PPC, Social and other areas have on your conversions.

You can also see the conversion rate in your Volusion backend. Under Reports and ROI Tracking you can see details on sales, clicks, and your conversion rate for your store.

Did we go into detail about any location targeting for ads and the Google Display Network and is there any particular method that works best for ecommerce?

This webinar centered mostly on text ads on the search results page. Of course, any time you can identify that your target audience resides within a specific area, ensuring you’re targeting them appropriately is the best route. The Google Display Network is very powerful, and you will not only be able to target locations, but also things like interests, sites focusing on keywords, or even remarketing audiences.

For ecommerce in particular, it’s about the quality of traffic that you have coming to your site. Fortunately, if you have setup Google Analytics, you can get great information about the referral sites that send the highest quality traffic. While you can’t specifically target people from those sites, you can classify them, and use that as interest guidelines for your targeting.

I have a company using a PPC ad that comes up when my company name is entered. We do not sell to this company or to other businesses, just the end user. How can I approach this?

This is likely competitive targeting. This company may have identified your business as a competitor or have found that people using your business name as a search term end up being good clients for them.

Whatever caused them to use your business name as a search term, this practice is acceptable. Google will not investigate or restrict the use of trademark terms in keywords, even if a trademark complaint is received. Now, if they are pretending to be your company, or are using your company name in their ads, this could be an issue.

This is one of the benefits of running a branded campaign. If someone else is ranking for your keywords, you should, too! It’s also something to consider for your own campaigns. If you can identify competitors, you may want to bid on their company name, and use PPC ads to declare what you’re selling, that you offer free shipping, a percentage off, organic options or something that sets you apart. Just don’t use any branded term unless you’re authorized.

We have products that range from $15 to $8,000. Our two most popular price points are $15 and $25. They are high margin – what would you recommend the cost per click to be?

In the end, your cost-per-click should be whatever you’re happy with. Decide which products your campaign will be targeting. A good rule to start out with is to have categories serve as your ad groups. If you sold fishing supplies your ad groups might be rods, reels, lures etc. Or, you may decide that your ad groups may be children’s rods, professional rods or adult rods.

If your products are selling for $15 – $25 a cost per click of $.50 might sound great. However, other factors may include your conversion rate, frequency of purchases, or average order price. If your conversion rate is low at an average CPC of $.50 your cost per acquisition (CPA) may not be worth it. However, a CPC of $2, where you convert often could actually be optimal. The same goes for making someone a lifetime customer. If they’re spending $15 every few months, but the CPA is $4, their lifetime value is certainly worth that cost.

It’s these elements that make budgeting questions very difficult to answer without doing a lot of legwork and analysis.

What is call out text for PPC ads?

Call Out text is one of the many ad extensions Google AdWords allows in its ads. Ad Extensions are pieces of information you can add to your ad for free. Call Out extensions are descriptive text at the bottom of the ad. They’ll simply say things like “Free Shipping” “24-7 Customer Service” “Price Matching”. These don’t link anywhere, but give searchers a bit more information than what’s in the ad text alone.

Search Engine Optimization:

What if you product line outgrows your website title?  I was focused on lighting, but now offer products for the home, yard, patio and garden.  We also offer unique items as gifts for that someone who has everything.  What is the best way to bring it all together?  We started out with mostly solar lighting.

You don’t have to go through an entire domain change just because your store is expanding! Maintaining your current storefront name will allow you to keep several important factors of your shop/website in existence – like the domain age, certain solar-related keywords that are likely bringing you business and more – without having to rebuild from the ground up.

However, expanding your product base is an excellent time to rebrand your store – even if it’s as simple as renaming it Sun Garden Lighting & More. Rewrite your Home page copy to reflect the new products you carry, and change the Title tag on your site to pull in broader searches.

Do you have a fanbase that subscribes to a newsletter, reads your blog or checks out your social media accounts? Perfect! These are all wonderful faces to promote your new brand and offerings. Consider contacting blogs and offering samples of your new products so that they too can share the good news about your business’s expansion. View this as an opportunity to promote your new products!

I have several websites and stores going (personal, etsy, opensky, etc). Do you recommend using various descriptions for each website so the content isn’t the same? Do you also recommend using various PPC; like should I use Google, Bing, Facebook ads, and retargeting ads or is it too much stuff?

From an SEO perspective, keep your content across websites as unique as possible. However, if you’re crunched for time, the primary focus should be on keeping the content on your own personal website (or any websites your run) unique.

For the PPC aspect, there are some things you should consider. Variety certainly has its benefits, if you can fully commit to many different areas. It may not be better to spread your marketing budget too thin when you could really do best by focusing on one area.

Every platform has its own kind of audience. Chances are that a text ad on Google wouldn’t resonate the same way with someone on Facebook. One way to think of it is to associate online marketing with more traditional outlets. So, understanding your audiences, creating campaigns around them is important and building separate goals for each platform is important. 

You may even want to do some testing. Do you get more traffic from Google, but more sales from Bing? Do your remarketing ads bring people back, only to have them abandon their cart? Or, do your remarketing ads work better to bring people back after they’ve completed their sale to buy again and again? Maybe the Facebook ads to your site don’t perform so well, but your campaigns to “like” your page perform great, and your fans regularly turn into customers.

Apple maps has a particular way to modify the address that adjusts it to their format and that adds some numbers to the address of the business. Does this affect SEO?

Specifically commenting on Apple Maps, that’s not something that would typically show up, or get crawled, for an organic search result on Google. So, your entry for their navigation shouldn’t affect your site. However, if you’ve been featured by blogs, list your site in directories or even offer your details on forums, you’ll want to be consistent with the way it’s listed there, on your site, and with Google My Business.

I haven’t added the phone number to my site, as it is also my home phone number.  How much difference can that make?  How important is it to have that number – should I pay for a separate line, even though it’s an extra cost?

Using contact information is a pretty important factor. Even offering a “contact us” that simply opens an email rather than taking users to a page with your information listed out can affect your authority. The best way to show you’re a real, legitimate site, is to offer a real way to contact you.

If you’re worried about your budget, there are free forwarding services that will give you a number for free, and you can even set up separate greetings, hours and other specializations to enhance it for your business. Google Hangouts incorporates this with their Google Voice functionality.

When you design and launch a new website, does your SEO start over?

If you’re starting a completely new website from the ground up, complete with a new domain name and new website copy, then yes, that would mean you’re starting your SEO from the ground up too. There are a few instances of starting a new website in which you might be able to maintain the SEO factors built by a previous effort. These include:

  • You’re maintaining your website domain name, but you’re redesigning the site. This would allow you to build on the momentum created by your domain’s age and good standing with Google. If this is the case, remember that it’s important to maintain as much of the same on-page copy and metadata as you can so that you don’t accidentally delete a page that was bringing a significant amount of converting traffic. However, UX is the priority consideration here so if a page really shouldn’t exist, don’t keep it around just for SEO’s sake. Instead, delete it and 301 redirect the old URL to the closest relevant page.
  • Your site is migrating to a new platform, host or domain, but your brand will be by and large the same: If this is the case for you, consider speaking to a migration expert on our team, who can help set you up so that you can minimize the SEO hit your site will take as you migrate it to a new platform. This includes 301 redirecting all old URLs to the new ones, submitting a new sitemap, auditing the new site for issues and making sure that all priority pages and tags are migrated over exactly as they are written.

How do you handle SEO when you have hundreds of the same product but in different designs, colors or sizes?

This is one of the toughest questions that ecommerce sites encounter – and also one of the most common. There are a few different ways to handle product variants that would contain near-duplicate content as other products. My overarching advice is to think about search behavior (or perform your own keyword research) and any time you notice that your searchers are not searching for the variant, do yourself a favor and consolidate those to a single product page. For example, if I’m looking for vintage pumps, even though I wear a size seven shoe I never Google, “vintage pumps size seven.” Instead I’d simply Google “women’s vintage pumps.”

That means there’s no point to having 12 different landing pages for 12 different sizes. Instead, it’s a better user experience to craft a single, useful and expertly-written landing page about how beautiful your women’s vintage pumps are, and allow users to select their preferred size from a drop-down menu on that page. In addition to being better for the user, (who wants a size ten shoe to pop up in search when that’s not what they’re looking for?) this eliminates your SEO worries about duplicate content.

Alternately, if you do have separate landing pages for sizes or other variants, you can drop what’s called a “rel=canonical” link on each variant page and specify that your “preferred” link for that page is the original product landing page. That’s a way to avoid duplicates while indicating to Google which page you’d prefer to have it rank in search.

But what if people are searching for the product variants? For example, what if you sell key fobs for Volkswagon Beetles, and when users search for key fobs they specify by year? In that case, you wouldn’t want to lose potentially valuable searches like “2006 VW Beetle key fob” so you won’t be able to consolidate those products in the same way. In that case – and you’re not going to like this – you’ll want to make sure that the content for each product variant is rewritten between pages to be as unique as possible. Outsource the job if you need to!

How does your location affect SEO and PPC score?

If you’re specifically targeting people in a particular area, you will want to ensure your site and ads are very clear on the area you serve. Otherwise, you may not show up in paid or organic results when you want to. Factors that influence local SEO include whether your local shop is listed on Yelp and other major review sites with consistent NAPs (Name, Address Phone Number) across sites, how many local reviews you have, and whether your address is clearly listed on your site with rich snippet location markup included.

However, if your location isn’t central to your business, it won’t have much of a bearing on your Google Quality Score or SEO ranking. It’s still worthwhile to include your phone number or address on your site to increase your authority for SEO and create a positive user experience, but you won’t have to worry about ranking for local searches.

Am I understanding that SEO is done more with Google not the SEO section of my Volusion site?

The SEO section of your Volusion site is designed to make some of the most fundamental ranking factors easier for you to handle. For example, it allows you to fill in keyword-rich meta data like Title tags and meta descriptions for each page; to easily create 301 redirects, to update your robots.txt file; to set up your URLs for SEO-friendliness; and more. However, performing those steps alone does not equal a comprehensive SEO strategy. Those are just some of the ways in which you can communicate to Google that you have a trustworthy site. Other factors include writing great on-page content, providing an engaging user experience that keeps people on your site, and having buzzworthy events or products that other websites, bloggers and social media users will love to link to and talk about. In short, SEO is about communicating to Google that your site would be a useful one to serve up to users making a particular search. We’ve just created a few ways to make it easier to do that!

How can you increase backlinks?

There are several strategies for increasing backlinks, and they all take time and effort. Gone are the days when you could simply list your site on directories or get a handful of links in 15 minutes. In fact, if you’re ever on the hunt for an SEO agency, remember that guaranteed backlinks, particularly a specified number and even more especially for a price that seems outrageously low, are a red flag.

It simply takes too much strategy and legwork, and it is too variable, to “guarantee” a certain number of backlinks. That said, there are some ways to make people more likely to link to you. Start replacing “backlink strategy” with “public relations” and you’ll be able to shift into the mindset that most SEOs have adopted with regards to backlinks. Getting links is about generating buzz, building relationships, and providing products or stories that are genuinely useful to a particular readership. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Offer your products for bloggers to review
  • Create partnerships with complementary – but not competing – businesses. For example, if you sell chocolates, perhaps you could partner with a flower shop and offer them a deal on your goods for the proverbial “flowers and chocolate” gift packages
  • Engage in charitable efforts or other things that will help the community by donating your products or services or putting on an event, and promote the efforts
  • Become a “thought leader” and offer industry advice about your product or service
  • Put “How-To” videos on YouTube
  • Get creative! The sky’s the limit when it comes to generating buzz

Thank you again to all of you who attended our webinar. We hope that you learned something from live event and post-show questions.

Interested in having our team manage your SEO and/or PPC campaigns? Learn more online or call us at 1-888-750-3996.

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