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Most people have a general understanding of AdWords—basically, any sponsored search results on Google.

But only a few people are AdWords Champions. I, apparently, am now one of them.

That’s because I recently passed Google’s Advertising Fundamentals Exam—a rigorous, strategy-oriented test that evaluates your understanding of how to manage an AdWords campaign. You get 120 minutes to answer 120 multiple choice questions, and you need 85% correct to pass. So there’s no messing around.

Passing the exam certifies me (and Atomic) as an expert on the basic aspects of Google AdWords as well as AdWords account management and the value of search advertising.

This expertise is important because more and more businesses are using AdWords as part of their marketing campaign. Because AdWords appear immediately on Google, they’re often preferred to organic SEO for businesses who need to enhance awareness or drive sales quickly. But because AdWords are becoming so pervasive, the keyword phrases used to generate ads are getting more competitive—making clicks more expensive.

So these days, you literally can’t afford to have a half-baked AdWords strategy. You’ll blow your budget before you even get started.

Our understanding of AdWords helps you to:

  • ensure that your ads appear on page one of Google for the lowest CPC (cost per click) possible.
  • ensure that your ads have the highest CTR (click through rate) possible. The CTR is the percentage of times an add is clicked when it shows on Google.
  • ensure that your ad clicks turn into conversions – whether onsite sales, PDF downloads, or contact forms.

In short, that means you get the most bang for your AdWords bucks.

I’m now on to my next project: pursuing certification in Google Analytics. I’m hoping to take and pass that test shortly after the new year. So for the holidays this year, I guess I’ll be studying. Merry Christmas, everyone, and talk to you in the new year.

10over1

Internet marketing means more than just having a website, more than just having a fan page, it involves having what we refer to as a web presence. Developing a web presence requires a precise measurement much like a good suit…because one size does not fit all. This is also the reason why so many single-man operations cannot achieve the ROI that customers expect. As an example, think of an attorney. One attorney being proficient in all types of law is virtually impossible, there are simply too many variables at play; corporate law and personal injury law are altogether two different animals. To achieve proficiency in all types of law, law firms are assembled. Internet marketing is much the same.

Experienced web designers are needed to design navigation-friendly websites. Properly writing clean code requires highly skilled developers. Creating search engine friendly/user friendly text requires the skill set of a trained web-based copywriter. Developing a social media campaign that people will relate to demands the attention of someone with a strong marketing background. Also, having a project manager oversee all aspects of a fully integrated internet marketing campaign, ensuring that it reflects a given organization’s brand, is vital to success. While it’s possible that someone could go to school for 2 years of design, 2 years of IT, 2 years of copywriting and editing, and 2 years of marketing; it is impossible that a single person could stay up to date with the changes.

The internet changes everyday, some would argue every second or even nanosecond. Staying relevant in design, coding, search engine optimization, and social media trends requires a continuing education in each facet. It’s simply too much for any one person to handle…it’s also the reason why, as a team, Atomic has been able to create so much success for our clients. As we like to say, “The proof is in the pudding.” So, we encourage you to search for “dayton web design” or even “ohio web design.” As a 3 year old company competing in a 20+ year old business, we’re proud of the results we’ve created for ourselves, but more proud of the results our team has created for our clients.

When we talk with our customers about search engine optimization, one of the biggest things we emphasize is that SEO is not a one-time task.

Rather, it’s a progression – a series of steps taken over time to ensure that your site is continually performing as well as it should.

The tricky part is that there are so many things that can be done to improve search – some more important, and some less important. To sort them all out, you need to set priorities for your site and figure out which SEO tasks need be tackled first, and which can be pushed back to a rainy day.

Those priorities will be different for different sites, depending on a variety of factors, like how your site’s performing now, and how your customers are interacting with it. If we were pressed, however, we’d say that just about any website should have the following three tasks on their shortlist.

  • Enrich your content. As we’ve written in previous posts, the most important factor in getting people to visit your site is providing valuable content – unique, regularly updated content that readers can’t find elsewhere. Ultimately, nothing else will generate ongoing interest in your site.
  • Leverage keywords. Choosing the right keywords is critical for any website. Researching them, picking the right ones, and incorporating them into your text and navigational structure can make all the difference in how many qualified customers find your site.
  • Optimize your site structure. Google is a prickly beast that likes sites built in a certain way, using a certain type of coding. If you alienate Gooogle by using outdated coding, you’ll be closed out of search results in a flash.

In addition to these “top three” tasks, there are tons of second- and third-tier steps that can be taken to continually better your search results. An optimal SEO strategy will prioritize these steps and set up a targeted plan to get ‘em done, month after month – and get your rankings jumping higher month after month in turn.