December 1, 2004
~~~IN TODAY'S ADVISOR~~~
----> Sorry About Last Week
*Search Engine Marketing:
----> Clarification on Keywords
*This Week's Sponsors:
----> SEO Copywriting Combo
----> Tampa SEO Seminar CD - Half Price!
----> PPC Questions
*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
----> Got a Link-building Question?
*This Week's Sound Advice:
----> Are Cutting-edge Designs Killing Your Rankings?
----> Free-pass Winner Chosen
Hey everyone! Sorry about the missing newsletter last week. I kind
of figured that a good number of you were already off on your
Thanksgiving vacations, so I decided at the last minute to play hooky
that day. Hopefully, today's newsletter will make up for it.
Let's get straight to it! - Jill
~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~
++Clarification on Keywords++
I am a big fan of yours and I think that you do a fantastic job.
I need some clarification on how often to use keywords. I am working
on a website that has a motivational theme. The website sells multiple
motivational books but is focused around only one author. One of my
keywords is "motivational book." Is it OK to use this keyword on
I don't just sell 1 motivational book, I sell many, but all by the
same motivational author. I'm wondering if I could get penalized in
the search engines for using this same keyword on multiple pages. Any
The search engines don't penalize sites for writing about what they
sell on their pages! You should use the phrase "motivational book(s)"
wherever it makes sense to do so on your site. If it makes sense to
your human visitors, you can bet it makes sense to the search engines
You don't need to worry about your site getting penalized unless
you're doing stuff purposely to deceive them. Obviously, you wouldn't
do anything like that, so penalizations are not a concern.
That said, I'd bet that some in-depth keyword research would probably
uncover many, many additional keyword phrases that you could be
focusing on within the existing pages of your site. That doesn't mean
you shouldn't use that main keyword phrase, but why put all your eggs
in one basket? When you focus on only one keyword phrase, you are
truly at the mercy of the search engines. Rankings will go up and
down for any given phrase in any given engine at any given time.
Plus, the engines will at most show only 2 pages of your site for any
given search query, so it's not like optimizing every page for the
same phrase will give you a chance at dominating all top-10 slots.
This type of strategy will cover you for the inevitable roller-coaster
ride that is SEO by the very fact that you have optimized for lots of
phrases. Make sure not to simply guess at the phrases that you
*think* people might use. Before Wordtracker
</wordtracker> and similar tools were
developed, we did have to guess, but not anymore! In fact, as far as
I'm concerned, the difference between a good SEO campaign and a great
one is how extensively keyword research is done.
Here's a *trick* that I use for existing sites to make sure I've
covered all my optimization and keyword bases. Visit every page of
your site and extract phrases that you're naturally using in the
existing copy, and then run them through Wordtracker. You may find
that you're already using good phrases that people search for at the
engines. If so, you may simply need to use them a bit more in your
copy, etc. On the other hand, you may find that the phrases you are
naturally using aren't actually what "real" people use. In these
cases, sometimes it's as simple as switching out the "jargon" phrases
for the more common ones. Once the engines reindex these pages, you
may notice a nice spike in targeted traffic in your log files.
Now, if you have a huge site with hundreds of pages, this may seem
like a daunting task -- that's because it is! This is also why a
comprehensive SEO campaign is not going to be cheap if you outsource
it; however, the payoff can be huge once it's all done. You don't
have to do it all at once, of course. I'd recommend starting at the
top-level category pages, and then just taking things a section at a
time. Just make sure to spend a little time on it every day, and
before you know it, you'll have every page of your site optimized for
phrases that people are actually searching for!
_________Powerful SEO Copywriting Combo______________
Your site's only as good as its writing. You need the "write" skills.
If your site is poorly written, your sales will be slow. You *must*
speak to your target audience with each and every word you write.
At the same time, keeping your keywords featured prominently is
a bit of a juggling act.
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Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines.
Today's guest article is an answer to a question I received regarding
PPC ads. Since I'm most definitely not a PPC expert, I enlisted the
help of my friend and High Rankings PPC forum moderator, Ed Kohler.
Ed is the president of Haystack In A Needle, a Website marketing
consulting firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Take it away, Ed! - Jill
Love your newsletter and appreciate the "in-the-trenches" perspective
of your articles. The question posed in my subject line is related to
an issue I'm having with a client for whom I create, place, and manage
PPC ads through Google and Overture search engines.
The client is currently very successful online (over $1 million/month
in sales) and is relatively new to pay-per-click advertising. They're
receiving over 7,000 visitors/month through PPC ads, at an average of
$0.11 per click, but haven't tracked conversions yet. I've proposed
using the free conversion tracking tools provided through Overture and
Google, but my client's IT staff balked at the idea and provided some
WebTrends reports tracking the top-10 pathways of each ad, which
didn't show any sales or even visits to the shopping cart.
Additionally, the IT staff is reporting half as many visitors from
Google and Overture as G & O are charging us for.
Have you ever heard of this? If so, is there an industry response to
this? If not, what could be some other reasons for the discrepancy
between the click-through volumes reported by the search engines and
the volume of visits that the client's IT staff says that my ads
Any other ideas you have for how to track conversion would be much
It sounds like your biggest challenge is dealing with a client who is
asking for performance information that their own IT department fails
to provide. Your client appears to be at a point where they're seeing
some great results online, but want some reinforcement to help justify
the money they're spending on pay-per-click advertising. It's
interesting how many businesses arrive at this conclusion AFTER
spending a good chunk of money.
Unfortunately, their IT staff seems somewhat resistant to change, so
it may take some convincing to get them in line with your client's
marketing goals. The reports your client's IT department has given
you do not provide the information you need to measure the performance
of your client's campaigns. For example, a site path report doesn't
answer your most important question -- "Which PPC ads are generating
sales?" -- or your client's most important question -- "Am I making mo
ney from what I'm spending on PPC advertising?" The top-10 site paths
will be particularly useless since the majority of visitors (even in
great PPC campaigns) are more likely to leave than convert to sales.
As you've pointed out, you could get more information from the free
tools provided by Overture and Google if only the IT department would
In situations like this, it's important to educate the client about
what kind of information is (or should be) available to them. Once
they realize that they should know how much money they're making on
their PPC advertising investment, there is no turning back.
But before getting into that, let's address your concerns about
fraudulent traffic numbers from Google and Overture. G & O are the
industry giants of pay-per-click, and they haven't gotten to where
they are today by ripping off businesses. They've done it by providing
an incredibly powerful advertising channel to businesses that have
continued to increase their budgets over time. Yes, there is some
fraud in PPC, but it's not coming from Google or Overture inflating
your traffic bill. They're in this business for the long haul and have
more to lose than gain from fraudulent tactics. Also, based on your
client's industry (educational publications) and average cost per
click ($0.11), click fraud likely plays a negligible role in your
overall ad budget.
However, if you'd really like to put your mind at rest about
fraudulent traffic, consider picking up a subscription to
WhosClickingWho <http://www.whosclickingwho.com> to get a third-party
opinion on your client's traffic.
What's Worth Tracking?
While there is virtually no limit to what you can track in a
pay-per-click campaign, there are a handful of reports that are almost
always must-haves. Here's a quick summary of a few popular reports
that will give you and your client actionable data:
Pay-per-click Reporting Wish List:
1. Return on Ad Spend - Take the revenue the client's site generates
divided by the PPC ad spend over a given timeframe to get a feel for
whether you're profiting from your campaign. As the campaign manager,
you'll probably benefit from seeing this data sorted by ad group or
search phrase, and your client will probably be satisfied with a
high-level summary by weekly or monthly intervals.
2. Cost per Conversion - How much are you spending to generate a sale,
lead, contact, or subscribe? Your client may be interested in
benchmarking this data, and it certainly should be valuable to you.
The two previous reports will likely cover the reporting needs of most
clients. However, you'll probably need more information to manage
their campaigns. Here are a few must-have reports for PPC marketers:
1. Revenue Report - How much money are you making per ad?
2. Search Term Conversions - How much money are you making per search
term from PPC and organic searches? Consider taking phrases that
convert like crazy through natural results and add them to your PPC
campaigns to bring in even more of that high-quality traffic.
3. Bounce Report - Measure what ads are generating a lot of
back-button clicks. This is a good way to identify under-performing
4. 404 Error Report - Nothing kills a PPC campaign's performance
faster than driving traffic to pages that no longer exist. In the case
of online stores, this can happen when products go out of stock, are
discontinued, or are moved to a different category. A 404 report will
help you identify the changes the IT department forgot to tell you
A LOT more can be tracked, so consider reviewing the reports offered
by various stats providers for ones that may suit your client's
specific needs. Explain the value of the reports to your client, then
leave it up to them to determine whether their IT staff can provide
the appropriate reports to answer the marketing questions the two of
Some of this data can be tracked using Overture's and Google's free
tools. However, reports such as #2 and #4are not available through O's
& G's free tools, yet are fairly critical to running a professional
PPC campaign. The free tools would certainly put you ahead of where
you are today, but fall short of what you truly need to run an
effective pay-per-click campaign.
Assuming you find an appropriate reporting solution, I have a hunch
that you'll end up with data that justifies a significant increase to
your client's current PPC budget. One million per month in online
sales yet only $700+/month in PPC spending screams "growth
Haystack In A Needle
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What is covered:
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~~~High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week~~~
++Got a Link-building Question?++
This forum thread that we have pinned at the top of our High Rankings
link-building forum has links to all of our important link-building
articles. If you're thinking of starting a link-building campaign, or
are running out of ideas on your current one, you'll definitely want
to check out the articles here:
++Are Cutting-edge Designs Killing Your Rankings?++
(This audio recording changes each week.)
That wraps up today's issue. I hope all of you from the US had a
great Thanksgiving! We had a nice few days off in Vermont, and even
left early enough on Sunday to avoid most of the traffic.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm simply swamped with work
lately. I don't even know how I managed to get this newsletter
finished today. I hope it came out all right and doesn't look like I
rushed it. Normally, I devote the whole day to it, but there was just
too much going on today. Thank goodness I had Ed's PPC answer to save
me! It always amazes me how busy December is in the SEO world.
Oh, and I did choose the free-pass winner yesterday, so if you hadn't
heard back and were still hoping, unfortunately, you didn't win it.
Everyone who entered had sent in really compelling reasons why they
should get it. I truly wish I could give you all a pass, but Jupiter
has to make money somehow!
Anyway, I'll be back for next week's newsletter, but will be skipping
the week after that for the SES conference. See you next time! - Jill