Back in February I wrote about the growing fashion to buy up multiple keyword-rich domains — like “big-grey-widgets.com”, “small-grey-widgets.com” etc — in the hope of gaining higher rankings on Google. There was some evidence that this type of domain could indeed rank well, without requiring many inbound links. At the time, though, I cautioned against this approach. Google has a history of acting against such practices by de-emphasising the spammy element and wiping out any benefit gained. Since then, we have seen it do just that with links on article sites.
Now it seems that the big G may indeed be preparing to act against spam in domain names. In March of this year, Google spokesman Matt Cutts slipped the news into one of his popular YouTube videos. You can watch the whole video here.
So if you are one of those who bought up a raft of keyword-enhanced domains, now is the time to prepare for their disappearance. If you’ve being considering doing it, don’t bother.
This recurring pattern of action and reaction by website owners and Google does raise an interesting question. What will happen when every ranking factor that could be spammed, has been spammed, and Google has de-emphasised all of them? Theoretically we should end up pretty much back where we started, except that the whole web will be stuffed with spam.
It’s always tempting to look for the magic bullet that will fire you onto the top page of Google, and the potential rewards are obvious. Forty percent of external traffic to websites comes from search (source: Outbrain), and in the UK over ninety percent of that comes from Google. But to build a sustainable online business with rankings that will stand the test of time, you need to provide good quality site content that is useful to your customers; and invest in building a network of links from good quality and relevant sites.
Anything else is vapour.
Read more about SEO here:
When training others in setting up their AdWords campaigns, I have noticed that many will have made identical mistakes. My challenge to you is – how many of these errors can be found in YOUR AdWords campaigns?
1. Using just one advert to match to lots of unrelated keywords
Here’s an example advert that is suffering from this mistake:
temporary staffing, virtual office
registered office, mail forwarding
In this example, the advertiser is attempting to use one advert to advertise many of their products and services. To overcome this mistake, set up multiple ad groups, one for each product or service.
2. Sending people to the homepage
A common mistake is to send all visitors direct to the homepage of your website. You have just a few seconds to get and keep someone’s attention on the web! Don’t risk them leaving immediately as they cannot find what they are looking for – send them directly to the page about that particular product or service.
3. Incorrect capitalisation
Capitalise the first letter of each word in your advert (see the example in point 4 below) – this works by making the advert stand out more and increases the likelihood it will get clicked.
4. Using your company name as the heading for the adverts
This mistake is often replicated by web marketing agencies as well as individual advertisers. Here’s an example:
Bristol Party Hire
Bouncy Castles in Bristol
Great Prices From £45
Your advert is NOT about you – it’s about closely matching what the potential visitor is searching for. The advert heading should match the keywords the visitor has used as closely as possible. For example:
Bristol Bouncy Castles
Bouncy Castles in Bristol
Great Prices From £45
5. Not tracking the results
Make sure you track your results so you can test which keywords work best to generate leads and / or sales. You can do this by using Google’s conversion tracking (found in the Opportunities tab).
6. Leaving the content network on
The content network is a large number of unrelated websites, all running advertising on their website. Visitors to their websites have the opportunity to click on your ad, costing you money. Turn the content network off to avoid these unnecessary clicks.
7. Leaving ads running 24 hours per day
For most products and services, it makes sense to only run adverts at certain times of day. For example, B2B advertisers will benefit from running adverts only during work hours.
8. Not using negative keywords
Negative keywords will prevent irrelevant searches. For example, you will probably want to cut out people seeking “free” things. Ideally build a large negative keyword list to save yourself money.
9. Failing to use broad, phrase and exact match keywords
These are the three different keyword types which all need to be included in your ad groups to cut down on costs. So make sure you include them all.
10. Underutilising the display URL
The display URL can be manipulated to increase Click Through Rate. For example, if advertising bouncy castles – instead of www.bristolpartyhire.co.uk use www.BristolPartyHire.co.uk/BouncyCastles.
Claire Jarrett of MarketingByWeb
Since we launched our small business resource website in April many people have found the Marketing Donut through typing various queries into search engines. When we looked under the bonnet of our website, we found some more curious examples of the search terms people have entered. Either accidentally or intentionally, people found their way to the Marketing Donut by searching the terms from the following list:
If you would like to know more about search engine marketing and optimisation, we have some handy resources available.