Search Engine Marketing – Get an eBusiness Card

Search Engine Marketing can seem like a daunting task, especially when the traditional method of self-advertizing is so much easier: you just pass out a business card!  But while business cards are helpful in face-to-face environments, they have NO connection to the source most people use to search for businesses: Google. What if you could digitally “pass out your business card” to people searching for your name on Google?  With EarthLink, you CAN!

EarthLink’s eBiz Card makes it easy to be found in Google search results. Your “card” will let you establish a search engine presence based around your name while generating relevant business inquiries. It’s a great way to get started with Search Engine Marketing, and can help you generate more call and website traffic and make it easy for prospects to find, contact and buy from you!

How does it work?

When someone visits google to search for your name, your “eBusiness card” will appear as a sponsored link in the Google search results (see graphic, above!).  They will see you at the top of the results, along with the message you include “on your card” (which is actually a powerful Google ad).  Your Google ad can include a brief description of your services as well as a link to your business website (need help getting a website?  Click here). You can also include your phone number to make it easy for prospects to call you.

Why would you not want to have a sponsored ad promoting yourself on Google?  Get your eBusines card today!  (You can also call us to find out more: 1-800-201-8615)

AdWords Made Simple: Creating Ad Groups & Writing Text Ads in Google AdWords

To help you start the New Year with more traffic to your business website we’re showing you how to get started with Google AdWords. Last week’s AdWords post covered:

  • signing in to AdWords for the first time
  • setting your time zone and currency
    preferences
  • selecting all your AdWords campaign preferences

How to write your first Google AdWords ad

Today we’ll cover the next couple of steps in the process:

  • creating your first ad group
  • writing  your first AdWords PPC ad

We’ll assume that you chose Search Network only in your AdWords campaign preferences since that’s the simplest and most common choice.

Creating an Ad Group

Ad groups are just what they sound like: groups of ads, plus related keywords. It is simplest and most effective if you start by creating one ad ground for one product or service rather than trying to sell many products from one ad group. Trust me. All you need to do is enter a name for your Ad Group #1. Don’t go crazy. Make it clear, concise and descriptive so you’ll be able to easily tell what that group is for later when you have many other ad groups.

Writing Your First Ad

I’m sure you’ve seen them when searching on Google, but you may not have paid close attention to the structure of AdWords ads. You may actually want to pause here and go do a search and look at the ads in the results. Better still, do a few searches using the same kinds of keywords you think you’ll be using in your campaign. That way, you’ll not only get familiar with the structure of the ads, but you’ll get an idea of your competition and what they are saying. Google AdWords ads have a very specific format with rigid rules, but don’t worry, they’re pretty easy to create. You can’t really get it wrong since Google will stop you from writing too much and warn you if you make other mistakes.

You will need to fill in 5 fields to create your AdWords ad (see the screenshot above):

  1. Headline (up to 25 characters long)
  2. Description line 1 (up to 35 characters)
  3. Description line 2 (up to 35 characters)
  4. Display URL (up to 35 characters)
  5. Destination URL (not shown;  it is the actual URL you are sending people who click to)

Headline Tips: Though you may be limited based on the length of your business name or product name, a common AdWords headline tactic is to use Keyword(s) + Brand/Business name or Keyword + Deal/Offer. I just did a search for 3D glasses (my daughter said she wanted them) and I many ad headlines that fit this model: 3D Glasses at Walmart, Glasses 3D at Amazon, 3D Glasses for Less, and 3d-glasses on eBay. Including your keywords in the headline is typically very important. If you don’t, searchers may glance at your ad and assume it isn’t really relevant. Plus, keywords get bolded by Google in the ads, making them stand out.

Description Tips: There are too many strategies for all the different possible products to list here, but you will typically want to include prices, discounts, offers and promotions if possible. Include some reason to select YOUR ad/website over all the competition, and a strong call-to-action: buy now, save 25% today, call to order, etc. You may also wish to include your keyword a second time (or a variation of what you used in your Headline); again, keywords get bolded in search results, so including them in your description can help attract attention.

Display URL Tips: The display URL needs to show people what website they’ll be going to, but you can show a shortened, customized URL that’s not the complete URL of the landing page. Let’s assume I want to promote 3D Glasses on my fictional TomsTechGoods.com website. I can’t show www.3dGlassesOnSale.com as my destination URL (since that’s not the website I’m actually sending traffic to), but I can use TomsTechGoods.com/3D-Glasses or TomsTechGoods.com/3d-Glasses-Sale even if the actual landing page URL is www.tomstechgoods.com/products/tv/hi-def/accessories/glasses/3dglasses. Some big, well-known brands will simply show their homepage URL (www.Amazon.com) as the Display URL, but most others will add either keywords or some offer-related text to the URL to make the URL look more relevant and compelling.

I also want to leave you with two important general tips for writing and running your AdWords ads:

  • Match the Landing Page: Make sure you are promoting the same products with the same offers in your AdWords ad copy and the landing page you are sending your search traffic to. If your AdWords copy says Save 30% on Samsung 3D Glasses than anyone who clicks on your ad should see Samsung 3D glasses on sale for 30% off. And make sure you use the exact keywords whenever possible. It’s not as effective, for example, to advertise about 3D glasses and then use the term 3D eyewear on your landing page, even if it means the same thing.
  • Test, Test, Test: One of the great things about Google AdWords is that you don’t have to have all the answers right away. Don’t worry that your very first ad isn’t the best possible ad. You can (and should!) test to see what works and to constantly improve your results. Simply write a few different ads where you vary the language you use. Vary the headlines, description, and display URL and see which one gets the most clicks. You might want to test putting an offer in the headline vs. in the CTA in your description. Or highlight different benefits of ordering from you. Let the ads run long enough to see that one is the clear winner and then pause the others. Then you can write another new ad to see if you can beat the first one.

Here are some additional tips for creating successful text ads from Google.

Next week we’ll cover AdWords keyword selection.

AdWords Made Simple: How to Get Started with Google AdWords

How to Create Your First Google AdWords campaignIs your resolution to drive more customers to your business website in 2013?

To do that, you may want to experiment with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, also called search engine marketing (SEM). Google AdWords is the biggest player in PPC, so we’ll use that service as an example to show you how easy it is to get started.

Why Use AdWords or Other PPC Services?

AdWords lets you create your own online ads and deliver them to your target audience right when they’re interested in the products or services you offer: that is, when they are searching Google with keywords that describe your business’s offerings.

In addition to helping you sell products, you can use AdWords to promote your business, raise awareness, or increase traffic to your business website.

One of the great things about AdWords is that you can spend as much or as little as you want. There’s no minimum spending commitment.

You set and control your daily budget from your own online dashboard, which is also where you set up and control your ad campaigns.

You’ll also be able to measure the results of your AdWords campaigns and make adjustments to optimize your results. You can change your ad campaign at any time, including your ad text, settings, and budget.

So, let’s get started…

How to Get Started – Create Your  AdWords Account

  1. Go to www.google.com/AdWords/ and click the Get Started Now button.
  2. If you have a Google email address and password (from Gmail or another Google service), click that radio button and decide if you want to use the same login for AdWords or create a new account. You can also create a brand new Google Account for use with AdWords if you don’t have one.
  3. Set your time zone and currency preferences. Note: you cannot change these currency and time zone preferences later. Currency should be simple: you’ll be paying Google in dollars. The time zone you enter affects reporting on your AdWords ads (which days you got clicks and what times during the day or night you got clicks). Entering Pacific vs. Eastern Time will change your reports by 3 hours (and potentially move some clicks to another day).

This is all you need to do to create your account. Click the Sign in link to go to AdWords and create your first ad campaign.

How to Set Up Your First Campaign

Today, we’ll give you a general overview and tips about the AdWords campaign settings you will need to choose to get started. We’ll follow up in the coming weeks with additional posts to help you finish setting up and launching your campaign.

When you log into AdWords for the first time after you create your account, you’ll go to a custom landing page for first time users prompting you to get started (see screenshot above).

You may want to first explore some of the helpful information offered on this page. There’s a 3 minute introductory video as well as links to a Beginner’s Guide and common questions.

When you are ready to get started click the Create your first campaign button.

Select Your AdWords Campaign Settings

This page lets you specify setting for your whole campaign. If you’re not sure about what certain terms mean, hover your mouse over the question marks for an explanation.

Don’t worry, although some of these settings seem like very big, broad decisions, you can come back and modify your settings at any time (unlike the currency and timezone preferences above).

  1. Campaign Name: choose a name for your first AdWords campaign. We recommend you keep it simple. Focus on one product and name the campaign for that product (or perhaps a location if you are only going to advertise in one place).
  2. Type: The default setting is for Search & Display Networks. Display means text ads that are displayed on relevant pages like banner ads are, as opposed to ads that show up when people search. Many people like to test one of these at a time. To do that, select Search Network only from the drop-down menu. You can also specify Standard or All features at this point (keep at Standard for now unless you know you want to use some more advanced AdWord features).
  3. Networks: Here’s where you decide if you want to include Google’s search partners or just the Google Search Network. If you want to keep things as simple as possible, uncheck search partners. If you want to advertise more broadly, slick to include partners.
  4. Devices: Leave the radio button selected to have your ads show up on all kinds of devices (desktop & laptop computers, tablets, mobile devices) or click Let me choose… if you want to narrow your focus (some new advertisers like to wait to add mobile after some initial results with regular computers).
  5. Locations: This setting is very important. You want to make sure your ads show up to potential customers without wasting your budget advertising to people who can’t buy from you. Unless you operate internationally, you will either select United States or the Let me choose… option. For Let me choose, enter a country, state, city, region, or zip code. If you are an accountant in Los Angeles, you might want to enter Los Angeles as your location. After you click to add one location, you can add others or exclude other locations. For example, you could add the state of New York but exclude New York City if it doesn’t apply to your business. Some businesses like to start as broad as possible (to reach the widest audience) and then refine the locations later. Others like to start with the most focused location possible (where are your very best customers?) and expand from there later.
  6. Bidding and budget: It’s money time. First you need to choose how you will bid for your ads. The Basic options are that you will manually set your own bids (what the maximum you will pay for any click on your ads) or have AdWords automatically bid to try to maximize the number of clicks you get based on your budget. Enter the maximum amount you want to spend per day (the actual amount may vary up to 20% on any one day, but over the month it will even out). Click the Advanced options if you want to bid based on conversions (if you have Google Analytics set up). You can also bid based on impressions if you are using the Display network.
  7. Ad extensions: Extensions are optional. Click Location to have your business address and phone number show up with your ad (good for local search). Click Sitelinks to have multiple links to different pages/sections in your site show up as options to searchers (you may get more traffic but it may be less targeted). Click Call to have your business phone number show up on iPhone/Android mobile phone searches. Click Social to allow people to be able to +1 your business’s Google + Page from the ad results.

Click the Save and Continue button when you have finished making all your settings choices. Remember, you can go back and change these at a later time.

Creating your first AdWords Ad Group and writing your first ad are the next step, which we’ll cover next week.

Happy New Year!

2012: the Year in Search, the Year on Twitter

As 2012 winds to a close, Google and Twitter, two of the most influential Internet services, have released some fascinating (and sometimes moving) end of the year summaries.

2012: the year in searchGoogle Zeitgeist 2012

I guess it’s fair to say we were searching for something in 2012. Or should I say 1.2 trillion things. Because that’s how many searches Google reported we made on their Zeitgeist 2012 website.

Click to watch The Year in Review video for a moving look at the year’s milestone moments, or browse through the 11 categories to see the world’s most popular search terms of the year.

In Events, Hurricane Sandy, Kate Middleton Pictures, and Olympics 2012 topped the list. In Consumer Electronics, iPad 3, Samsung Galaxy S3, and iPad Mini took top honors. For People, it was Whitney Houston, Kate Middleton, and Amanda Todd. For Athletes it was Jeremy Lin, Michael Phelps, and Payton Manning.

Be sure to click Select a Country and select the United States to get a much more detailed view of what we were searching for. One interesting tidbit: of all the “How to…” searches, “how to love,” “how to rock,” and “how to vote” topped the list.

2012 Year on Twitter

For a Tweets-eye view of the year, head on over to Twitter’s 2012 Year on Twitter website.

In the Golden Tweets section you’ll learn that the year’s most retweeted tweet (and the most retweeted ever) was President Obama’s succinct “Four more years,” sent out to followers just before he came out to acknowledge his re-election in person.

Justin Bieber had the #2 tweet of the year, the poignant “RIP Avalanna. i love you.”  He sent out to mark the passing away of a 6-year-old fan who was stricken by brain cancer.

Pulse of the planet highlights the year’s most tweeted and retweeted events: the Summer Olympics, U.S. Elections, MTV Video Music Awards, Super Bowl, and more.

Only on Twitter chronicles the year’s events that really came to life on Twitter. Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Lab live-tweeted the Curiosity rover’s landing on Mars. Astronauts on the International Space Station tweeted about their unique view of superstorm Sandy. And a James Cameron sent a tweet from the Mariana Trench, 35,755 ft.  below sea level.

Visit Trends to see all the topics and hashtags that surged in popularity during the year and check out New voices to see all the celebrities, politicians, and other noteworthy people who joined Twitter during the year.

If you’re one of our dial-up, DSL, cable Internet or other high-speed Internet access members, let us know which of these events, people, or topics you searched for or Tweeted about in 2012.