Vantage is in compliance with Google’s Third-Party Policy.

We have successfully gone through the audit process to become compliant with Google’s Third-Party Policy. The policy is designed to weed out the companies who do a poor job of representing Google. It turns out that there are a lot of unqualified companies who are misleading their clients into thinking that they have some special affiliation to Google, when in reality they don’t.

The main points of the policy are as follows:

  • Third parties should at minimum provide advertisers with monthly data on AdWords costs, clicks, and impressions at the account level.
  • All third parties primarily serving small to medium-sized clients are required to provide the Google Disclosure Notice.
  • Third parties may not engage in unclear, deceptive, or harassing sales practices.
  • Third parties may not misrepresent their relationship to Google.
  • You may not make improper guarantees about Google to your clients.
  • You may not violate Google’s branding guidelines.
  • You may not improperly use AdWords accounts, or AdWords marketing or sales material.
  • The following violations will lead to immediate suspension: Pretending to be Google.

The full policy can be found here

I am very happy that this policy exists because it will increase the value of being a Certified Adwords Partner.

SMX Advanced Seattle 2012

The Vancouver PPC team just got back from SMX Advanced in Seattle. For those of you who don’t know, SMX Advanced is one of the premier search engine marketing conference in North America. We had an amazing time and met some pretty cool people.

PPC Hero Conference

I just got back from the first ever PPC Hero Conference in Indianapolis and it was absolutely amazing.

While at the conference I had the opportunity to meet most of the staff at Hanapin Marketing. They were extremely friendly and very gracious hosts. I was actually surprised to hear that they had stopped offering other online marketing services eg, SEO. They were very adamant about specializing in PPC and how offering other services just distracted them from their PPC clients. I agree 100%, as specialization has always been the key to Vancouver PPC’s success. Although we still have SEO clients, we are not taking on any new SEO or Website Design clients in the future.

One of the best seminars was the real time landing page optimization. There was a panel of speakers, including Brad Geddes, who reviewed a hand full of landing pages right in front of our eyes. The interesting thing was that all the pages needed work. Some more than others, but the moral was that landing page testing should never stop.

Probably the funnest part of the seminar were the drinks at the end of the day. It was a good chance to meet a lot of cool PPC geeks. There were a few guys from Amsterdam, who had made the jump over the ocean just to be at the conference. Their agency was massive and had some pretty big banks on their client list. Then there were the team members from an online education company, who were awesome to have drinks with. One of their roadblocks was finding “good” PPC managers. I think this is a real problem in the industry because there isn’t enough formal training.

Even on the flights back from the conference I got to talk PPC. I met a guy from an agency in Utah, who’s agency was on the smaller side of things, but was still getting big results for his clients.

All in all it was a very good conference and I look forward to next year’s event in Texas.

 

Changes in PPC for 2011

The speed of change in online advertising is rapid and no year saw as many changes as in 2011. Keeping up to date on all these advancements is no easy feet, but I guess that is why we specialize in PPC. Here are just a handful of the biggest changes to hit Adwords.

Read more

Stop SOPA!

The big thing about SOPA is that it opens up the flood gates for mass copyright infringement, which would cripple the internet. On the surface it just seems like recording studios want to protect their property. However, due to the SOPA bill’s ambiguity it would allow any site to be shut down if it contains any user generated copyrighted material.

For example say you upload a video to YouTube and it contains the latest Justin Bieber song in it. Well according to the new bill that would be copyright infringement and allow all of YouTube to be shut down. I can’t imagine an internet without YouTube.

Check out the video below for a better explanation of the bill.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Interest Targeting on the Display Network

The product development elves at Google introduced a new way to target people on the Display Network using interests. Interest targeting is nothing new to advertisers who are familiar with Facebook ads, but it is a switch away from keywords for Google and could be a sign of things to come.

Interest targeting is really cool because you can target people who have shown interest in a given topic over the past 30 days. As stated on the Adwords Blog, here is how it works, “[the] system looks at the types of pages a user visits, taking into account how recently and frequently those pages have been visited, and then associates their browser with relevant interest categories”.

Interest targeting is not to be confused with topic targeting, which allows you to target people who are viewing content that contains a desired topic. Topic targeting does not take into account the behavioral factors of recency and frequency. However, it uses the same categories to target topics.

The behavioural profiling is getting a bit scary because of the introduction of Google+. Google+ allows Google to incorporate your profile likes and interest, with the behavioural data from their Search and the Display network to amass huge amounts of data on YOU. This data is then used to better target you with ads. Honestly, I don’t have a problem with Google using the data to better target ads to me because at least I will see more relevant ads. However, I could see how this would freak the average person out.

I highly recommend trying out Interest targeting. We have found that conversion rates are quiet a bit higher than topic or contextual targeting.

 

 

Become an Internet Marketing Professional

Wow I can’t believe it is almost March and I have not posted an article in almost 2 months. Ahh well the fact that I don’t have time for blog posts is a good thing…I have been so busy that I have had to train another person to help out. This brings me to the topic of becoming an internet marketing professional. There may not be many formal schools teaching SEO or PPC but the internet and your public library are full resources.



Step 1: Get Busy Reading

Most people think that just because a book was written 5 years ago on internet marketing that it is completely outdated, but I would have to disagree. Although, the tools may have changed the fundamentals of SEO or PPC have not really changed. To rank well in Google you still need to optimize your onpage factors and get in bound links. For PPC there may be a ton of new tools and ad formats, but the keyword is still king and knowing the difference between exact and broad match keyword is still important. You will always need to know the history of internet marketing before you can really start seeing patterns in new mediums.

I have read all of these internet marketing books. Plus most can be found at your public library.


Step 2: Take Some Internet Marketing Courses

I would recommend learning PPC because you can master it in a shorter time frame than SEO plus all of the skills you learn in PPC will help you in SEO.

PPC:

SEO:

  • The best Free SEO training I have found is the Challenge

Web Analytics:

  • I just finished the Web Intelligence course at UBC and it was awesome. Plus the analytics evangelist Avinash Kayshik had a hand it its design. It won’t tell you how to use Google Analytics but it will teach all the theory you will ever need regardless of the web analytics platform.

Step 3: Stay Up to Date

The web is changing daily so you had better stay up to date or risk becoming obsolete by reading blogs. By no means are the following blogs an exhaustive list of internet marketing blogs, but they are my favorites that I follow daily. FYI if you are saying to yourself WOW that is a lot of reading, well not shit it is a lot of reading, but that is what it takes to be a professional internet marketer in today’s economy.

PPC:

SEO:

  • SEOMoz
  • Most SEO blogs overlap with their content so pick one you like and stick to it

Web Analytics:


Step 4: Get Some In-House Experience

Go work for a web based company’s marketing department for a few years. You will learn a lot and plus it will allow you to get caught up with your internet marketing reading. Furthermore, you need time to apply all the theories you have learned from books, blogs and taking classes.


Step 5: Up to You…

At this point you can go work freelance, get into the affiliate game or find a higher paying job somewhere else. IMO I would highly recommend staying away from agency’s because the stress might just kill you and the lack of autonomy will hurt your learning…



A Look at Internet Marketing in 2010

This year the rate of change to internet marketing has increased exponentially. Whether it is the explosion of social media, the localization of Google or the inflow of advertising dollars online, 2010 will be a year to remember. I have listed my top 10 changes that effected internet marketing this year.

1. Google to Facebook: The internet spotlight has switched from Google to Facebook this year. Thanks in part to the hugely successful feature film “The Social Network”, which I think for people outside of internet marketing actually helped them understand the magnitude of social media. Plus all the privacy issues helped to keep Facebook top of mind in the public’s eyes. However, Facebook still has a long way to go to before it can be a Google killer.

2. Social Media: The use of social media as an SEO tool is now officially in every SEO’s tool box. Even offline marketing has adopted social media. It seems like every commercial I see on TV has a Twitter and Facebook Icon in it, with a call to action saying “call or click for more information”.

3. Yahoo & Bing: The merger of Yahoo and Bing was a big announcement that took way to long to actually happen. Now that Yahoo and Bing have merged they have a combined market share of 28%, which for most advertisers finally makes it worth while to advertise on Adcenter.

4. Localization of Search: Google’s changes to the way that they display local search results now pushes non-local search results further down the page. You had better have a serious local search strategy in place for next year or you will may be pushed right off the first page of SERPs.

5. Like Button: The use of the “Like” and “Tweet” button has really replaced the use of social bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious and Stumble Upon. This also illustrates the spread of Facebook’s influence on 3rd party sites.

6. Paid Social: The use of paid social media such as Facebook Ads and Sponsored Tweets has ski rocketed.

7. Mobile: Time to jump on this band wagon. Some of my clients are getting 30% of their traffic from mobile. I personally switched from Blackberry to iPhone and probably do half my searches now using the iPhone.

8. WordPress as a CMS: WordPress is one of the fastest growing content management systems in the world. Which is a big change from just being a blogging platform. You can now easily build yourself a full blow website in WordPress in a matter of hours for free. Hosting providers like GoDaddy actually allow one click installation of WordPress on your domain in a matter of minutes.

9. Ratings: are now showing up more and more in the search results. These ratings come from either you Google Places listing, Yelp or e-commerce system. Watch for more growth and weight to be put on ratings in the future. In Adwords you can already integrate ratings from your Google Products account into you Ads, which significantly increases CTR and Conversions rates.

10. Site Speed: Well it is official Google wants the internet to be faster, so if you site is slow you will now be penalized for having a slow site which lower rankings.

My advice is to put aside time each week to read internet marketing blogs, so that you can stay on top of all the changes, or hire a internet marketing consultant who will stay up to date for you!

Local Search Optimization in Canada

Google has changed the way they show search results containing local search queries. Local search queries usually contain a “product or service + city name” or are conducted from mobile devices. The algorithm now pulls even more information from your Google Places/Business listing and displays that information in the first 3 to 8 spots in the search results. Previously, you would have seen these results beside a Google map in the results but they have now moved the map to the top right hand corner and given the Google Places listing the top left position. This is bad for PPC advertisers because the #4 spot in the sponsored results used to be amazing for ROI . Below I will show you a few ways to optimize your local presence.

Local Search Optimization in Canada

The great thing about optimizing for local search is that it is usually free and just involves a bit of work on your end. The problem with the Canadian local search market is that it is dominated by Yellow Pages. In the US you can sign up for Bing Local Business Center and Yahoo Local but here in Canada Bing, and Yahoo get there local feed from Yellow Pages. (FYI the Yellow Pages Group is the number one Canadian owned site for unique visits according to ComScore)

Sign up for local listings on:

  • Google Places
  • Yelp Business
  • Yellow Pages
  • Create a Facebook Page and bookmark the address in Facebook Places
  • Local directories that are specific to your industry are also good but stay away from spammy sites

Pimp out the listings

  • fill out as much info as possible
  • add images and videos that help build trust
  • add the correct categories and test out secondary categories
  • note if your store is called “Steve’s” then your should add in a category keyword eg. “Steve’s Hardware” which will help the search engines place you in the correct category
  • get clients and friends to review your listing of Google and Yelp

This is just phase one of local’s influence on search results, as people use their smart phones more it will be increasing more important to optimize for local. Social media metrics like reviews and “likes” on Facebook will also become huge factors in rankings. On the Pay Per Click side of things you can already incorporate reviews into your PPC ads, if you own a ecommerce site. More to come on optimizing for local paid search.

If you would like help with your local search optimization or paid local search let me know.

Pay Per Click Consultant

I may be a pay per click consultant and an expert when it comes to internet marketing. However, I am always looking for ways to refine my consulting skills. I have read a few consulting books that all seem to focus on a similar consulting process.

Here is the consulting process that can be applied to ppc consulting or any consulting for that matter:

  1. Define problem: most clients have a problem, whether it is traffic, leads or sales  and this is the first tasks an internet marketing consultant has to clearly define. If you don’t properly define the clients needs then you are in big trouble (needs analysis for marketing folks) Read more