Parent Category for Adwords Scams, Adwords Tips, and just a general Google Adwords information category

Dex Pay Per Click Review (video)

Dex Pay Per Click review (video)

I’ve decided to do some of these pay per click reviews as videos.  This way I can walk you through exactly what it is I see and hopefull you can learn from them all the reasons why you should NOT hire Dex to run any pay per click campaigns for you.  In this Dex PPC review – I walk you through a local chiropractor that is paying Dex for a “guaranteed actions” program. For those of you that would rather read – a summary appears below the video.

 

Dex Pay Per Click review

This particular person that is flushing money down the toilet is a chiropractor in Port Orchard, WA.  The really sad part is that Port Orchard is a small(ish) town on the Kitsap Peninsula.  There are not a lot of chiropractors in the area (it’s not saturated like some big cities are).  A deeper look at the competition for the Google landscape reveals that of the chiropractors in that area, there are not really any that are focusing on their internet presence.  I’m telling you this because it means that with a little effort at Local SEO – a chiropractor should be able to easily outrank their competition in a small town like Port Orchard.

In this Dex “guaranteed” actions program we see all the same garbage that I always see with their horrible pay per click campaigns:

  • Bad ad content
  • Showing up for irrelevant searches
  • Showing up in markets you don’t have a chance to gain a new customer from
  • Traffic from the PPC ad going to a Dex Media “enhanced listing” (the same listings that are on their directory site)

And in this case – it get’s worse for this chiropractor because they are also paying for a website from Dex Media.  You can imagine what a quality website that is!  (If I get the time I will do another video in which I review this Dex website and explain exactly why this is also a waste of money.)

The bottom line is that Dex does not manage pay per click programs at all.  These programs have all the signs of a company plugging in a few broad matched keywords, selecting a radius around your city (too large a radius to ensure that you get a ton of impressions) and then never looking at the program again.  This is a complete waste and when combined with their crazy markups (rumored to be around 50%) – there is no way that a customer is getting a positive return on their investment.

 

If you are wondering – yes, I provide PPC management.  If you want a program that will CRUSH anything Dex has been doing for you.  Get in touch.

 

 

PPC Call Tracking Companies reviewed.

PPC Call Tracking Companies

There are a lot of companies out there that are offering call tracking services for Google Adwords and other PPC campaigns. In this post, I’m going to review 3 of them I will show you prices, comparisons, and explain the differences (in detail) between these companies. Hopefully this will help you decide on who to use for your call tracking services.

Let’s dive right in. 3 of my favorite (and recommended) call tracking companies are:

  1. Call Tracking Metrics
  2. Log My Calls
  3. If by Phone

Each of these companies offers a great service.  One is not really better than the other as they all have carved out different Niches in the call tracking industry.

PPC Call Tracking Prices:

The first thing we will look at when comparing the call tracking companies is the price.

  • Call Tracking Metrics
  • $29 per month
  • 4.2 cents per minutes
  • Log My Calls
  • $199 per month
  • 1000 minutes included
  • If by Phone
  • $250 per month
  • 1000 minutes included

As you can see – Call Tracking Metrics is the hands down winner if you are just looking at the price.  But sometimes price is not the only thing to consider when you are looking for a company to provide you with pay per click call tracking!

In this case – while Call Tracking Metrics is the lowest price – you also have to pay for each individual number @ a rate of $2.25 per month per line whereas the other companies include up to 10 phone numbers in their packages.

Call Tracking Services Comparison:

Another big difference between these companies are the services that they provide.

Note on 1/17/15 – the rest of this post will be published this week.

What was HIBU spending my clients money on?

Hibu Pay Per Click – where does the money go?

Approximately 1 month ago I took over a large (to me) Pay Per Click account that was being ran by Hibu.  I won’t divulge my clients name, but I will say it is a dentist on the East Coast.

The campaigns have been running for one month and the results are amazing so far.  The great news for my client is that the results will get even better when their new website is launched as the new website is better optimized and I will be able to target the AdWords ads to more relevant landing pages.  This will increase quality score, and decrease cost per click even more!   When you see the results below – keep in mind that I have achieved these results directing clicks from my clients Google AdWords campaigns to their old website (the same one Hibu was directing clicks to).  I am also only sending clicks to the home page.  Also keep in mind that my results include the notoriously over priced, broad match, single keywords.  Because of this – I compared the results of both the overall campaigns (which in this case are the cities my client has offices in) and the results of the #1 keyword they were paying for with HIBU.  That single, broad matched keyword is “Dentist”.

If you are new to AdWords – broad matched, one word, keywords are typically the most expensive but a necessary evil at the beginning of the campaign.  Broad matched, one word keywords are also the area I see amateurs failing to optimize the most, but that’s an entirely different post so I won’t get into it here.

Anyways – back to the point of this post.  After 1 month, and using broad matched, one word keywords – the average cost per click has plummeted in all but 2 of the 13 campaigns I am running!  The average position (when adjusted for 2 statistical anomalies) stayed virtually the same.  I expected all of these things as my experience with Hibu campaigns is that they broad match a lot of keywords and bid high.  They do NOT use negative keywords well, and from what I can tell they do not appear to research the search query reports to find hidden gem of keywords.  In other words – they do a horrible job running Google Adwords campaigns for their customers.

Before I post the results – I also want to point out that my budget is 30% less than this client was spending with Hibu.

Hibu Pay Per Click vs Chad – the results:

Summary: (all data I used for this post is at the bottom of this post)

  • Average CPC Savings (Campaign level) – 30.53%
  • Average CPC Savings for “Dentist” as a broad match – 25.7%
  • Average position increase (meaning my positions were lower) – .2% (that’s a decimal point in front of the “2”)
  • Average Hibu Bid for “Dentist” as a broad matched kewyord – $18.25
  • My average bid for “Dentist” as a broad matched keyword – $7.55

The thing that really stood out to me the most was the average bid for the keyword “Dentist”.  While my sample size is fairly small, the massive difference in their bids and mine was confirmation to me of my suspicion that Hibu enters in High Bid Amounts for Broad Matched keywords in an effort to ensure they spend the clients budget every month.  I suspect that if I dug deeper into other similar keywords that Hibu and I bid on – I would see the same pattern because every keyword on the Hibu reports had bid amounts in the high teens to $20 each!

Hibu does not reveal their markup publicly (even though required to do so by Google) but these reports also confirm the rumors of Hibu’s markup being over 40%.  How do these numbers confirm this?  Because the average cpc on my reports is the real cost per click from Google vs. Hibu’s reports having the markup added into the cost per click the customer sees.  (I charge my management fee on separate invoices and do not hide it in the cpc reports like Hibu does).  With this in mind, if you look at the numbers and calculate the percentage of increase (vs. the percentage of decrease that I calculated) – the average increase in CPC was 44.77% – in keeping with the rumors I’ve heard of a markup by Hibu of between 40 & 50%.

Campaign Keyword avg cpc hibu cpc CPC Difference avg position hibu avg position Position Difference
1 $4.20 $6.58 -36.17%
  Dentist $5.09 $7.01 -27.39% 3.1 3.39 -8.55%
2 $3.67 $8.19 -55.19%
  Dentist $4.35 $6.90 -36.96% 2.5 2.37 5.49%
3 $2.91 $9.87 -70.52%
  Dentist $3.51 $10.76 -67.38% 2.8 1.3 115.38%
4 $3.83 $5.59 -31.48%
  Dentist $4.35 $5.37 -18.99% 2.9 2.83 2.47%
5 $4.47 $3.96 12.88%
  Dentist $5.34 $8.96 -40.40% 2.1 2.09 0.48%
6 $3.63 $6.31 -42.47%
  Dentist $5.16 $7.03 -26.60% 2.9 2.4 20.83%
7 $3.86 $7.59 -49.14%
  Dentist $4.84 $7.05 -31.35% 3 2.57 16.73%
8 $3.67 $4.44 -17.34%
  Dentist $5.41 $6.19 -12.60% 3.1 3.34 -7.19%
9 $3.98 $3.58 11.17%
  Dentist $4.79 $5.02 -4.58% 3 1.98 51.52%
10 $3.95 $4.76 -17.02%
  Dentist $5.68 $5.86 -3.07% 3.1 2.95 5.08%
11 $4.20 $6.39 -34.27%
  Dentist $5.27 $6.97 -24.39% 2.2 2.16 1.85%
12 $4.85 $8.14 -40.42%
  Dentist $6.01 $7.95 -24.40% 2.4 2.88 -16.67%
13 $4.87 $6.66 -26.88%
  Dentist $6.00 $7.14 -15.97% 2.5 3.06 -18.30%

Google’s “FREE” AdWords call tracking –is it all it’s cracked up to be?

One month ago, Google introduced it’s FREE “Website Call Conversions” program.  Yes, that’s right – it’s 100% free to use this AdWords Call Tracking option.  In this post, I’m going to explain why I believe the intentions of this program may be something other than giving you accurate numbers that reveal TRUE R.O.I.  and why you NEED TO AVOID USING GOOGLES website call conversion program.

Read more

Reach Local – Are they a Scam?

Reach Local Pay Per Click Scam

Reach Local is one of the largest Google AdWords re-sellers.  They really like to use this as one of their selling points, but don’t be fooled.  They have an alleged markup (when combined with hidden management fees) of 65%!  This is the largest that I have heard of yet.

Of the 3 big AdWords re-sellers featured on this blog for their horrible pay per click services, Reach Locals programs are probably more efficient that the other 2.  They sort of comply with Google’s requirement (I’ve heard, but not seen) to divulge the ACTUAL CLICK COST.  I say “sort of” because they don’t make it easy to find this info.  They also provide somewhat better (but not total access) data for their customers.  If it wasn’t for their ludicrous markups – they would probably not be a bad choice for small businesses.

Reach Locals Markup on Clicks is the worst

The alleged fees and markup that Reach Local charges combine to total 65% of your monthly budget.  If this is true, then that means that you will definitely not get a positive return on your investment.  Actually even if their markup is as “low” has Hibu’s alleged 40% – you would still struggle to get a positive R.O.I. from a pay per click campaign ran by Reach Local.

How can I make such a blanket statement – because the fact is that paid traffic tends to convert VERY LOW overall and across all industries.   This means that you need a lot of clicks to get 1 new customer.  If the markup being charged by Reach Local is 65% – you would need 65% more clicks to get that same 1 customer that you could have gotten on your own!

In my opinion, there is no way that you can pay Reach Local a markup of 40 – 65% and expect to get an R.O.I.  Dare I say you’d have better chances in the Yellow Pages?  Yep – you would!

Avoid Reach Local and save yourself a lot of money.

Dex Media – are they a Scam?

Dex Media Pay Per Click Scam

Dex’s Pay Per Click Program (also known as “Guaranteed Actions”) is, in my opinion, the worst of the worst.  They have an alleged 50% markup and their programs (the ones I’ve seen anyways) don’t even lead traffic to your website.  Instead – all clicks go to a horrible landing page.  This landing page is so bad, I can almost guarantee you that the bounce rate has to be through the roof.  There is no way that new customers are clicking these ads and then taking a desired action (filling out a form or making a phone call).  These landing pages have a “Visit Website” button – but research has shown, over and over again, that the more clicks someone has to take to find what they are looking for, the less likely they are to contact you.

Add to that the fact that all these clicks (if there are any) from Dex’s landing pages lead to the home page of your website and I can almost guarantee you one of the lowest conversion rates out there for your paid traffic!  These “guaranteed actions” or pay per click programs are a complete waste of money.  If you are paying Dex for any kind of Pay Per Click program, I SUGGEST YOU STOP IMMEDIATELY! 

Is DEX secretly shifting revenue sources from Yellow Pages to Internet Marketing?

I say “secretly” because I suspect that many of Dex’s Pay Per Click customers don’t even know that they are a pay per click customer.  My suspicion stems from the fact that every single DEX PPC client I have run across has AdWords ads that lead to a landing page that looks like this:

All Dex PPC Campaigns send traffic to a page that looks EXACTLY Like this

Every Dex PPC Campaign I’ve seen sends traffic from clicks to a page that looks EXACTLY LIKE THIS!

I don’t mean a few.  I once did a search for “best plumbing, Seattle, WA” and 7 of the 11 ad’s were Dex Ad’s and they all lead to landing pages like this.  I run across these ad’s so often that I can recognize them without even clicking the ad.  I find it hard to believe that so many people would sign up to pay for clicks from Google (at an alleged 50% markup) only to have the clicks go to such a GARBAGE LANDING PAGE.

I have heard of DEX forcing it’s Yellow Page customers to take a PPC Bundle.  They do this by telling Yellowpage customers that if they want to keep their ad at a reduced price – they have to bundle it with PPC.  In other words – if a YellowPages customer wants to stay in the Yellow Pages only – and ditch any internet products with DEX – they will be told that the stand alone price of the Print Ad is 3 times what they can get it for if they “bundle” it with internet.

Dex also does not divulge their markup to their customers (even though Google requires it) and their monthly reports have absolutely no useful information in them.

If you are paying DEX anything for Pay Per Click – Stop Immediately!  You will be glad you did.

Lastly – if you are being forced into a bundle – hold your ground on the print price.  The way the Yellow Page industry is hemorrhaging money – they will not give up the revenue.  Print is still Dex’s bread and butter and will be for the foreseeable future.

 

hibu94x40

Hibu Pay Per Click – is it a scam?

Hibu’s Pay Per Click Scam

I believe Hibu’s pay per click programs (also known as Web Reach) to be a scam.  Hibu does not divulge their markups (even though Google requires them to do so) and they intentionally withhold important AdWords and Analytics data from their customers – EVEN WHEN THEIR CUSTOMERS REQUEST IT!  Since Hibu sets up an AdWords account for you, they could easily give you read only access to that AdWords account – but they won’t.  Instead, they will send you very vague monthly reports (if you request one) or give you online access to the same vague data.  These vague reports will not contain any data that makes it look like your program is not doing well.  If you want to know where your clicks are coming from, how much they really cost, or what the bounce rate for certain keywords are, you can forget it. Hibu’s monthly reports are one of the  reasons I call them an outright Pay Per Click Scam Company.  It’s not what’s in the report that makes Hibu one of the worst pay per click re-sellers out there, it what’s NOT in the reports.  The “conversion” reports they provide you give you very little information, and what they present as “conversions” are hardly that.   Sure you might get a report that says you have 40 phone calls, and 200 clicks.  Let’s say your budget is $800.  Hibu will present this as a “cost per call” of $20 and try to convince you to do your R.O.I. that way.  What if 35 of those 40 calls were from existing customers that Googled your name?  They will never share ACTUAL COST, QUALITY SCORE, BOUNCE RATE or other valuable metrics with you.

Hibu’s Pay Per Click Markup

Hibu has an alleged (and a minimum from what I hear) markup of 40% on their clicks!  40% of your budget is spent before you ever get a single click from Google!  Given that the bulk of their customers have an average monthly budget of $800 – you will pay Hibu, on average, $3,840 per year to plug in a bunch of broad matched keywords and send traffic to your home page (in most cases that I’ve seen, this is what they do).  You might want to think twice before you sign a contract with Hibu to run YOUR Pay Per Click program. Speaking of YOUR’s – that’s exactly what this is.  It’s YOUR AdWords Account – YOUR Data – YOUR Money.  Why on earth would you give someone your hard earned money to NOT HAVE ACCESS TO ALL INFORMATION AVAILABLE?

Free AdWords Tips

Adwords Tip of the week – 9/4/14

Use Negative Keywords to make up for the Advanced Location Setting limitations:

An often overlooked setting in Google AdWords is the “Advanced Location Settings”.  This setting can get rather confusing and Google recommends you just leave the setting at the defaults.  If you do this, you will show your ads to “People in, searching for, or viewing pages about your targeted location.”  Depending on the type of business you are in, you may not want to show your ads to everyone under the sun.  Let’s break down why. 

What this AdWords setting means and how it will affect when your ad’s show up.

  • “People IN” my targeted location

This means that anyone physically located IN your targeted area will see your ad.  This is determined by the users I.P. address.  On the surface this sounds great, but what if a user is physically in your area and searching for one of your chosen keywords with a Geo-Modifier that is OUTSIDE of your targeted location?

For example – a Hardwood Flooring Company in Denver would not want to show their ad to a person sitting in Denver searching for “Hardwood Flooring Seattle, WA”. Why not?  This would be a completely wasted impression.  Wasted impressions lower your Click Thru Rate – Lower CTR = Lower Quality Score, Lower Q.S. = Higher Cost per click.

Maybe not a big deal for 1 keyword, but if you have hundreds or thousands of keywords, this could come up a lot and have a very negative effect on a campaigns overall performance.

  • People “Searching For” my targeted location

This means that your ad can show to anyone OUTSIDE your targeted area that searches with a geo-modifier that includes your targeted location name in it.  This is good because maybe the I.P. address is out of your area.  Or maybe someone travelling to your area will be searching for services in your area and you want the opportunity to capture that business.  In a nutshell, you always want to show up for searches that include your targeted location in the search term.

  • People “viewing pages about your targeted location”

This means that if someone is viewing pages about your area (looking up “tourist activities in Denver”) your ad would have a chance to show to that person if they later search “Hardwood Flooring, Seattle, WA”, regardless of where they are physically located.  Most local, blue collar, businesses would not want their ad to show to these people.

Note: Google does not state how long they take a users interest in a location into account.  We don’t know if Google will show ads to a user based on an area of interest they had yesterday, last week, or last month.

In a perfect world, you would show your ads to people that are physically in your area, OR searching with a Geo-Modifier in the name of their search.  However, the 3 targeting options that Google provides don’t allow this. You can either target all 3 (in, searching for, or view pages about) or you can target JUST “People IN’ your area, or just people “Searching for or viewing pages about” your targeted area.   Enter Google’s “Exclusion OIptions”

Exclusion Options and Definitions:

  • “Exclude people in, searching for, or viewing pages about my EXCLUDED area”

If you leave this default box checked, and you exclude certain cities – you will exclude everyone in that EXCLUDED city, or anyone searching for info about that EXCLUDED city.  This means that if someone is sitting in Seattle and searches for “Hardwood Flooring Denver” your ad would not show for that person.

  • “Exclude people in my excluded location”

If you check this box, then you will exclude people physically in your excluded area no matter what.  Again – not ideal.  You will surely miss some relevant searches.

So what do you do about these shortcomings in the Advanced Location Settings.

As you can see it is not possible, with the available inclusion and exclusion settings, to accurately target ONLY people “physically in” OR “searching for” your keywords.  So what do you do about it?

The solution:  Leave the default settings but use negative keywords for the top 100 cities (by size) in the United States).  This will eliminate the vast majority, if not all, of the irrelevant searches.  If you setup a Denver Campaign, with a “Hardwood Flooring” ad-group – and on the campaign level your inclusion options are set to the default “people in, searching for, or viewing pages about” my targeted location – but you put a negative keyword your ad will not show to a person sitting in Denver but searching for “Hardwood Flooring Seattle” because the negative keyword will exclude that ad.

The reason using negative keywords for the top 100 cities will eliminate virtually all of the irrelevant searches with a Geo Modifier or to someone that is “viewing pages about” that location (regardless of where they are physically located) is because Google also shows ad’s for “related cities” which means that by included the top 100 cities (by size) in the USA – you will also eliminate most of the surrounding suburbs.

This work will be tedious, but in the long run it will give you a leg up on your competitors because they are most likely NOT going to bother.  This means their ad’s should have a lower quality score, which means you will have a better chance at better placement at a lower cost.

Good luck, and as always – if you need EXPERT AdWords Help at one of the lowest prices around, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Red Flag

Is Hibu Defrauding it’s customers?

I have recently completed a thorough review of a Hibu “WebReach” campaign.  If you are not familiar with the term “WebReach” – it is Hibu’s term for the suite of internet marketing “services” (services is put in quotes because it is my belief that what they provide is anything but a “service”) they offer.   The primary product in Hibu’s “WebReach” program is Google AdWords.  Hibu is a large re-seller of Google AdWords.

What I found in this review was shocking.   I expected the standard limited information in the reports provided by Hibu.  I expected withholding info like Bounce Rate, Match Type, Search Query etc.  Hibu did not disappoint in those areas.  I did NOT expect to find evidence of fraud (alleged).

I discovered Hibu reporting phone calls received from Organic Visitors as if they were from a Paid Click.  Yes – you read that right.  Hibu is reporting (at least in this case) all website phone calls as if they came from the Pay Per Click Campaign!

How I discovered this:

It was originally an accident.  This customer paid me to also do an SEO review of their Hibu created website.  To get to the website, I did a Google search for the company name in one of the cities they are located.  I found their organic listing.  In the Title of the organic listing, you can clearly see the customers phone number (which is in the title tag on the page that showed up in the organic listing).  When I clicked the ORGANIC link, the phone number on the page was replaced with the tracking number.  The same tracking number that is being used for the Pay Per Click Campaign Reports!

Is Hibu intentionally misleading customers?   

I don’t know, but I don’t see any way that this could be an accident.  I took a look at the java script code that is used to dynamically change the numbers and the code says “look for (xxx) xxx-xxxx and replace it with (yyy) yyy-yyyy”.  Call tracking scripts for Google AdWords campaigns are usually a bit more complex.  Normal AdWords Call Tracking (or call tracking for any purpose) would look for the source of the website visitor and IF the source of the visitor matches the predefined parameters, it would then replace the phone number on the page with a tracking number.  That’s why it’s called DYNAMIC CALL TRACKING.  Dynamic Call Tracking can be used to insert a tracking number for any reason.  You can use this code to insert a tracking number for visits from Campaign A, and a different tracking number for visits from Campaign B.  You could track visitors from Yahoo vs. visitors from Bing.  The possiblities are endless.  What you should never do is just arbitrarily replace phone numbers on websites!

Why have Hibu’s Google AdWords “Expert”s not discovered this problem?

This was a major red flag on an account that is spending between $12,000 & $15,000 per month on Pay Per Click advertising with Hibu.  I would expect a lot more attention to detail on an account spending this much money. The first thing I noticed when looking at the, very vague, Hibu campaign report was the insanely high (and utterly useless) “Click to Call Ratio”.  The “Click to Call Ratio” percentages reported by Hibu to this customer were:

  1. Campaign A – 62%
  2. Campaign B – 45%
  3. Campaign C – 111%
  4. Campaign D – 31%
  5. Campaign E – 233%
  6. Campaign F – 21%
  7. Campaign G – 35%
  8. Campaign H – 54%
  9. Campaign I – 94%
  10. Campaign J – 22%
  11. Campaign K – 28%
  12. Campaign L – 54%
  13. Campaign M – 58%
  14. Campaign N – 25%

I am not making these numbers up!  There is NO WAY IN HELL that a pay per click campaign is driving that many phone calls to a customers business!

[DISPLAY_ACURAX_ICONS]

I then took a look at the call detail report.  When I removed duplicate phone calls and calls under 1 min 30 seconds – the total calls reported by Hibu for the month dropped from 763 down to 225!  Keep in mind – this is the number of ALL CALLS for the month – not just the paid ones.  However – even if you assumed that all 225 of the calls that were left on this report were from paid clicks – you have no way of knowing how many are from existing customers and how many are from potential new customers.  Based on that fact alone, this data is almost useless in telling you how a campaign is performing.  But – forgetting that for a minute – let’s use 225 calls as our number.  Is that worth over $12,000 that the customer spent?  Maybe, maybe not – but doesnt’ Hibu owe it to it’s cusotmers to report ACCURATE #’s and let the custoemr decide?  Even if EVERY one of the phone calls was from a paid click visitor – the real “Cost Per Call” reported by Hibu would be over $53 (and that’s giving them credit for EVERY SINGLE CALL).  The reality is, I doubt even 30% of those calls are from paid visitors and an even smaller percentage of those calls are from potential new clients that were also from a paid source.

Conclusion: 

I realize that this is only one example from one Hibu customer.  It may be jumping the gun a bit but I can’t see how this is an accident.  It is my opinion that Hibu is intentionally misleading customers with these monthly reports in an effort to make customers believe that they are getting great results from these poorly run campaigns.  Do you have a Hibu Pay Per Click Campaign?  What are the click to call ratio’s?

The bottom line is this – if you are paying Hibu to run a pay per click campaign you should seriously consider cancelling your contract as soon as possible.

Disclaimer:  if you are wondering – yes I offer PPC services to my clients.  No I didn’t write this just to get business.  I wrote this so that you will have the information necessary to make good decisions about how you spend your hard earned money – whether you do business with me or not.  That said – if you are interested in how it is that I crush Hibu Pay Per Click campaigns (in both price & performance) – feel free to reach out to me.  I’d love to talk more.  

Chad Musgrove

Dex Media Logo

Hey DEX! Tell me, who is the “Best” Plumber in Seattle?

I’m just payin’ some bills with these ads

According to DEX Media’s website, when you sign up for a Search Engine Marketing program with them you get “A team of certified local search experts to monitor the performance of your campaign and adjust, when necessary, for optimal results.”  After what I discovered yesterday, I wonder if this team of “experts” has taken the year off?  I also wonder exactly what they would consider a “necessary adjustment” to optimize the results?

Yesterday (7/8/14) I was researching a company that I was planning on calling to offer my services to.  They are paying Reach Local to run Pay Per Click ads for them, and since my markup is 40% less than the alleged 60% Reach Local charges (shameless plug), they are a perfect candidate to become one of my customers.

Anyways, I digress.  The company is called “Best Plumbing” (Yep, that’s a free link I just gave them.  It might help their SEO a little but secretly, I’m hoping they have their Google Alerts turned on, they find this link, and they call me.  If you are from Best Plumbing you REALLY should call me).

Best Plumbing is located in Seattle, so I did a search for “best plumbing seattle.”  Here are the results (click to enlarge):

DexInfoGraphic

7 (the yellow highlighted ads) out of the 11 available ads are Dex Media customers.

4 of those 7 have the ad headline “Seattle Best Plumber”

Of the 3 remaining – 2 use the headline “Best Plumber” (so 6 out of 7 have “Best Plumber” in the headline)

and 1 is a “Quality Plumber”.

All 7 of these ad’s do something that DEX has been doing for years:  They direct traffic to a horrible “profile page” instead of the customers website (this decreases already pathetic conversion ratio’s even more)

None of these ad’s have compelling content written in them

 

Why all this is Bad, Bad, BAD for these DEX Customers.

These pathetic excuses for an ad are hurting these customers in many ways.  First, the Click Through Ratio has to be abysmal.  A low Click Through Ratio means that, most likely, the keywords that trigger these ads have an incredibly low quality score.  A low Quality Score means that you have to pay more for your clicks, or that your ad is shown in lower positions.  Second, IF (and that’s a BIG ASS IF) these ad’s get any clicks at all, the conversion ratio of these landing pages has to be pathetic.   There is nothing on these Dex Profile pages that would convince a potential customer of these plumbers to pick up the phone and call.  Lastly, if the customer ever decides to leave Dex – they don’t get any credit for the history of the account (in this case, that’s probably good since Dex is doing such a bad job of managing it).

The problem continued onto page 2, 3 and 4 of the Search Results.  On page 2 there are 5 more customers (who’s ad’s didn’t show on page 1).  On page 3 there are an additional 2 Dex Customers and on page 4 there is a final lonely Dex customer.  By the time I reached page 4, I was tired of looking so I stopped.  That’s a total of  15 Dex customers, for one search phrase, in one city.  Most of them use the headline “Best Plumber” or “Seattle Best Plumber”.  A couple of them use the headline “Quality Plumber”.  None of them has compelling content, and none of them sends traffic to a page on a website that might convert a customer.  In my opinion, this is a con of epic proportions!

Who’s interest does Dex have in mind with campaigns like this?  Where is the “team of certified local search experts to monitor the performance” of these ads?

This type of stuff pisses me off to no end.  Every single one of these customers has been suckered by DEX and is wasting their money with garbage programs like this.   I have also heard rumors that Dex is charging a markup of up to 50% on the clicks.