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August 27, 2008

5 Ways to Make Your Landing Page Stick

Having a landing page that sticks is imperative to online success. Your company’s landing page is the first thing visitors see when they come to your website, and it's the only thing that determines whether they hit the back button or stay to learn more.

Let’s look at five ways that will help make your landing pages stick:

  1. Highlight Keywords Earlier- If someone lands on your page after searching for "mortgage Texas," make sure those keywords show up earlier in the copy. It’s pretty annoying when you visit a website and it takes 25 minutes just to find what you were originally searching for.

  2. Have Congruent Images - Stock images that vaguely describe what you do are not going to boost conversions. Please do not put up a picture of 4 people that look like they are auditioning for next season's Apprentice if you are selling landscaping services. Testing images to see which increases conversion is key.

  3. Keep it Easy on the Eyes- This means leaving lots of white space, writing in bullet points, and putting key points in bold. Clutter on a landing page should be avoided at all costs.
  4. "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler" – Einstein

  5. Make the Most of your Header- Your header is prime real estate. Design it to create an impression. Make sure it shows off the image that you wish to project to your prospects and clients. It doesn’t have to be magnificent, but it better look clean and professional!

  6. Have Clear Contact Us Info- The main point of having a landing page is to get your visitor to perform a certain action. In most business situations, you want the prospect to call you or submit information for follow-up. In either situation, make sure that your contact information or that lead generation survey is nice and clear.

Most importantly, be sure to tweak and test your landing pages to find out what works best for your unique situation.

PS. Check out this landing page we designed for our client, TexasLending.com. and their free mortgage quote.

August 26, 2008

Google’s Motives for Banning WebPosition

Experience has taught me that corporations like to make certain that every bit of their resources are dedicated to a task. That is why I was wondering what Google had in mind when they blocked the automatic page ranking programs like WebPosition Gold.

WebPosition Gold and other similar programs consume search engine resources every time they are run. Google has threatened to block them for this very reason for years, but they have only enforced the threat recently.

Now, according to John at PPC Hero, Google is going to creating a QA Score for each individual search query for each Adwords ad that is applicable. That sounds like a massive undertaking that requires a significant amount of resources, since there are literally billions of search queries performed daily. It seems more than coincidental that the two changes are occurring at roughly the same time. What do you think?

August 07, 2008

Manage Google Adwords in Any Language

I can manage Adwords campaigns in any language supported by Google. That’s right, any language. The only language I know fluently is English, although I am studying basic Russian. So, how can I manage Adwords in languages I don’t know? And why would I?

international adwords

First, let me clarify. I refuse to manage a search marketing campaign for a language I can’t translate. Even if I had the ad copy translated for me, I wouldn’t be able to understand the many distinct permutations of words or phrases, the conjugations of verbs, or the day-to-day vernacular that native speakers of a language can. While a great deal of my job is nothing more than analyzing numbers, it still requires an insite of what users are intending in any particular search.

The standard response when asked to support another language is to outsource the ad. I don’t care for the idea of someone else being responsible for my credibility. If I say I’m going to get a client results, I would rather not have to constantly explain those results to a client. Plus, I’d rather not increase the amount of money I’m asking of a client only to see most of that money go elsewhere.

For starters, the trick is not to simply choose another language while still using English ad copy. Spanish speakers might still click on an English ad, for example, but they are highly unlikely to actually convert. Quite frankly, it is bad practice to do so. I find it surprising how often I have to explain to others that Google does not translate ads for them.

The simple trick is to manage ads on the Content Network. Since Google cares more about the theme of the keywords in a Content Network ad than anything else, there is no perpetual shifting of keywords. The only difficult part is the initial setup. From that point forward it is purely a numbers game.

First, you’ll want to get the keywords and ad copy you would want as if it were an English ad. If you are also running an English ad then use that one as your starting point. You will still need to either outsource the translation to someone else or to the client specifically. Make certain to have four or five text ad copies ready. Since their translation may not sound as good as your initial text, you need to monitor the performance of the ad copy closely, and stop displaying some text accordingly. Google is mostly concerned with the keyword themes in adgroups on the Content Network, so most translations should be fine if your initial English keywords were grouped correctly.

From that point forward, you will simply monitor the Placement Performance report and block sites that perform poorly. Now, for those marketers that do not like the Content Network, you will have outsource the product.