Google Adwords Tips to help the small business with their Google AdWords campaigns

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.

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

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

Pay Per Click Red Flags

I’m just payin’ some bills with these ads

One of the sure fire ways to get on the first page of Google is to pay for it.  Google AdWords (or Pay Per Click) program can have some very good results, and it can be a money pit.  Learning to navigate the waters of Google AdWords is something most small business owners don’t have the time for, or just don’t have an interest in.  Many of these small businesses are left with no choice but to trust someone to run their AdWords campaigns for them.  While there are many good AdWords companies out there, there are also many more bad ones.

How do you distinguish the good from the bad?  It’s tough, but these red flags should help.  If someone approaches you, and 2 or more of these red flags pop up – DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THEM!  It will cost you a lot of money, and you will NOT get a return on your investment.

  1. Markup
    • Companies are required to share Actual AdWords Click Cost – but most of them only show you a report with the Price they charged you for the click.
    • Ask the representative point blank “what is your companies markup for managing my AdWords Campain?”  If they won’t tell you, run!
  2. Lack of Access
    • Ask if you will be given access to your Adwords Account – and all the information it contains.  The fact is, any AdWords account manager can authorize any email address to have “read only” access to the Adwords account.  If a company will not provide you with this access, you should not do business with them.
    • One of the tactics companies will use to divert your attention away from this point is to tell you that they provide “custom reports.”  They might say that you will get “proprietary reports”.  What these reports (or report access) really are is a summary of some of the information that is available to you.   In their version of your reports, you will never see things like Bounce Rate, Time on Sight, New vs Returning visitor and many other valuable bits of information.
  3. Lack of information
    • Restricting your access to available analytics information is a BIG RED FLAG.  Ask yourself, why would a company not want you to see all available information?
  4. Promising you top postion
    • The top position is not always the one that provides the best return on investment.  Their are a lot of things that go into determining who get’s that number 1 position in the ad’s section of Google.  One of which is your bid.  If a company promises you the #1 position, they are just bidding super high to buy it.  The problem with this is that your R.O.I. from this high bid will most likely be negative.  If someone promises you the number one position – kick them out of your office.
  5. Letting you sign up with too small of a budget
    • First – the budget recommendation that these companies give you INCLUDES THEIR MARKUP on the clicks.
    • Second – Let’s say they tell you that to “Dominate” your type of business, you need to spend $2,000 per month, to “Compete” you need to spend $1,500 per month and to just “Show up” you need to spend $1,000 per month.  You say “I only have $600 per month.” – if they are willing to take your money anyways – run.  You will just be flushing $600 per month down the toilet.  For more info on why this is, see my post “Why a small AdWords budget is a waste
  6. Long Contracts
    • I hate contracts with a service like AdWords.  Sure, in order to dial in an AdWords account, it takes a few months worth of data – but if you are in a popular category (plumbers, electricians, hardwood flooring etc) a good AdWords Account Manager should already have an idea on what types of ads work, how much they cost, where to put them etc.  They can also do a lot of research on the industry before launching your campaign.
    • My motto is “people don’t mind giving me money, if I’m making them money”  Good campaigns should make you money, but if something were to come up for you and you needed to pause your campaign, why would I not let you?
    • Pausing an AdWords Campaign (and re-starting it) is as simple as clicking a button.  Why would a company not let you pause and resume it at your discretion.  After all, IT’S YOUR ACCOUNT!   The only reason I can think of is because THEIR REVENUE IS TIED TO YOUR SPEND, hence the contract.

In the beginning of this post I stated that if 2 or more of these red flags pop up – Do NOT do business with them.  After reviewing this list – I would say that if ANY of these AdWords Red Flags pop up – do not do business with them.  Shop around – you will find someone that will not have any of these red flags.

I hope you found this information helpful.  Feel free to let me know in the comments below if I left any “Red Flags” off the list.

Shameless plug: 

I charge a flat 20% markup, give you full access to your account, and do not have minimum term contracts.

100% transparency – 100% of the time.

P.S. - (if you think I wrote this JUST to get business - check out my "Bashing the Competition" page, then decide)