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Turning Pay per Click into Clicks that Pay Off

Use AdWords intelligently, and you can discover a useful tool for bringing valuable visitors to your website. With that in mind, let’s shake off all those fuzzy untruths and get closer to my three real truths of Google AdWords.

Constantly changing elements in your PPC campaigns is like day trading stocks – you’ll occasionally hit upon a good idea, but you’re also likely going to end up toasting your ad budget in the process. Certainly, some adjustment is smart, but probably not as much as you’d think.

Success with pay-per-click advertising is about relevance and quality – when you lose sight of that, it’s easy to get into the habit of micro-managing every element of your campaign to the point where you’re swapping keywords, changing headlines, and increasing your budget continually, without any sense of whether these changes are actually helping you or not.

Once you start looking for instant results, you can overlook the bigger trends and opportunities that are right in front of you. For example, many marketers will fall into the trap of creating dozens of ad variants (causing a need to filter them with negative keywords), without ever thinking of how those ads or words align with the content that’s found on destination landing pages. If those elements don’t match, or the searcher’s expectation isn’t met, lead generation is destined to suck.

There’s always room for experimentation and testing, but if you’re making changes on a daily basis, you’re unquestionably doing it wrong.
Truth #2 Your AdWords Quality Score is a Diagnostic Tool, Not a Performance Indicator

Google’s introduction of the quality score system was groundbreaking in many ways. The search engine giant realized better ads are a good thing for everyone,so they put in place a system where higher-quality ads earn a higher rank (and lower costs-per-click, better ad positions, and eligibility for improved ad extensions in the process).

All of this is great for searchers and advertisers alike, but many marketers (PPC firms and SEOs as well) don’t understand the real concept behind Quality Score, and focus on all the wrong elements as a result.

AdWords Quality Score doesn’t tell you how well your ads and campaigns will perform, just how well you are matching a set of pre-defined metrics. Your real goal should be to focus on generating a positive user experience, which leads to engagement, return visits, and other equally wonderful things (for example, sales).

Another way to look at this is to think of your Quality Score as a leading indicator. It’s three main components are ‘relevance’, ‘expected click through rate’, and ‘landing page quality’. Examining each of these is just a way to quantify the key question: what level of “user delight” is there for the searcher who finds your page? How happy is he or she going to be with their decision to click on your ad?

Beyond that, it’s just a matter of managing the optimal number of ad variants for quality. To that end, it helps to remember that…

The user’s device: does matter
Relevance to the user’s intention: does matter
For newly-launched keywords, your performance on related keywords: does matter
How you structure your AdWords account: doesn’t matter
Whether or not you run your ads on other networks: doesn’t matter
And, your ad’s placement on the page: doesn’t matter

Truth #3 AdWords Work, When You Put the Right Things First

The old advice to college graduates is: “do what you love, and everything else (like money and success,) will follow.”

In the world of AdWords, we could tweak that to: “do what’s best for your prospects and business, and everything else will (or at least should) naturally follow.”

“The fundamentals of your marketing plan, and the principles behind building a positive user experience, are far more important than any algorithmic score. And, aren’t likely to be improved by constant tinkering.”

There are sometimes going to be differences between what you see in the results of a real-time auction and the Quality Score indications that appear in your account. You’re always going to have some idea of how you’re doing, but be careful not to “chase a number” because the real goal of your campaigns is to meet customer expectations and be profitable, not to impress some software.

When your marketing is relevant, compelling, and focused – when you write ads that are interesting to your most important customer personas and deliver on what you promise – then you can be confident users will respond and your AdWords Quality Score will be perfect, no matter what the number says.
– See more at: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/turning-pay-click-clicks-pay#sthash.MeqzNIV6.dpuf

Seedcamp’s New Portfolio Analysis Maps Europe’s Flourishing Tech Scene

2015-02-02 14.32.48-1 Back in September 2007 I attended a startup pitch event held in a London university lecture theatre. The surroundings weren’t plush. The slightly musty lecture theatre didn’t hint at the ambitions of the people present. But when Niklas Zennstrom, co-founder of Skype walked in, and joined in a panel of other seasoned tech entrepreneurs, everyone knew something important was… Read More
TechCrunch

How to Make Visitors Read Your Entire Article

visitors-read-entire-article-cover

You spent a long time writing that blog post. Your visitors had better read the whole thing.

But here’s the cold hard fact: They probably won’t.

Is there some method that will help readers stay engaged for the entire article? Is it even worth it to aim for higher dwell time and full scrolls?

The bad news

The Internet is full of information that conspires against you. Basically, people don’t read entire articles.

Take this Slate article by Farhad Manjoo. Apparently, 16,000 people shared it, but how many read it to the end?

you-won't-read-this-article

Or take this cheery headline from The Verge:

The-Verge

True to Adrianne Jeffries’ prediction, the article garnered several thousand shares. How many people read the article? Meh. Probably not a whole lot.

The stats in these articles aren’t all that inspiring.

Check out the graph below. You can see that a paltry few are even going to view the entire article. That leaves maybe your best friend and mom who are scrolling to the end.

Percent-of-article-viewed

Image source

But what about all those tweet numbers, Google plusses, and Buffer shares? Don’t get too excited. Chartbeat’s research demonstrates that there is “little correlation between Twitter activity and article completion.”

Tweets-amount-article-read

Tweets-complete-readers

The Verge’s report had a similar depressing scientific analysis of shares vs. reads.

Shares-vs-reads

Image source. Statistical analysis from Upworthy

Jakob Nielsen, the venerable godfather of Internet research, told us way back in 2008 that most users read about 20% of the words on a page. In today’s content marketing world of 1,500-word articles (like this one), I’m surprised if people get that far.


According to @NNgroup, most users read about 20% of the words on a page via @neilpatel #contentmarketing
Click To Tweet


Sorry to disappoint you. When you look at the data, you might feel like all the time and money you spend on blog content creation is a glorious waste.

Here are the facts:

What’s the problem with people?

Smart people have tried to explain why people don’t read all the content. Here are their guesses:

The good news

As a writer, however, I’ve skillfully held back some important information until this critical point.

Statistically speaking, this is the golden spot in the article at which I’ve lost all the disengaged readers, and am speaking only to a coterie of engaged learners.

(Hi guys. Thanks for hanging on.)

Even though your articles are frequented and shared by hypocrites, quitters, and cheaters, a few chosen ones will read the whole thing.

These are your engaged users. They’re the only ones who really matter.

Let’s go back to some data shared by Slate:

Heatmap-of-engaged-time

This thermometer measures the readership of Slate articles, and its stats are pretty good. Your mileage may vary.

The red-hot spot in the middle represents the people who really love you – the people who are intensely engaged in the article. You are speaking to them.

Interested people will read your article. The whole thing. Even if (to quote Jay Baer), “your blog post is too damn long.”


Interested people will read your entire article. Even if “your blog post is too damn long” via @neilpatel
Click To Tweet


And that then begs the question – How do you make them interested? How do you get them to read the whole thing?

The secret to engaged readers

Here is a process-driven method that will help you understand the facts of life (not everyone’s going to read the article) and develop a strategy for the future (how to connect with the truly interested).

  • Step 1: Don’t worry if all your users don’t read the whole thing. Some will. Some won’t. Focus on the best; forget the rest. Your goal isn’t to attract all the readers. Instead, your goal is to satisfy the ones who are the readers.
  • Step 2: Know exactly who you’re trying to reach with your content. Every successful content marketing initiative is built on the foundation of a successful customer journey and persona. You can’t reach your audience, let alone the read-the-whole-article folks, unless you know who that is.
  • Step 3: Create content that meets their deepest needs. Every piece of content should be designed to solve some hairy problem that your audience faces. People will do anything to get rid of pain or to achieve success. If your content promises and delivers on that point, you win.

Here’s what is important

Should you forget about the huge percentage of your readers who are skimming, sharing, and bouncing on your article? Should you completely neglect them, and focus only on the elite group of marathon readers?

No. Of course not.

Your content can still be effective, even if the skimmers, sharers, and bouncers aren’t that engaged.

Content effectiveness does not always require sustained engagement.

How can you make an impact with your non-reading users?

Consistency – Get them to come back for more.

Each piece of content should possess appeal. You may not engage readers for a long duration, but you should try to attract them into your conversion funnel.

One approach for doing so is through email captures.

The most successful inbound marketing channels are those that invite users to subscribe via email. Noah Kagan’s blog, OKDork exploded with massive traffic as he snagged thousands of email addresses from interested users.

Blog-OKDork

Buffer’s viral growth hack happened when it started pulling in thousands of email addresses through its sizzling hot content.

Actionable-social-media-advice

Style – How you do it is the message.

Every content platform and channel has a certain style and approach. When you can create a consistent brand vibe in your content, you are communicating to your users, even if they don’t read the whole article.

Take my blog, for example. My goal is to produce content with the following characteristics:

As long as I’m producing content with these qualifications, I know that my content marketing is effective.

Both casual users and regular readers (there’s a difference) know what to expect from your content because it has a specific style. That, to me, is a win. I’ve established a brand message, even if I don’t get eyeballs on every blog post, every paragraph, every word.

The essence of content marketing is not the individual words of a given blog post. The essence of content marketing is successfully communicating with and attracting the right prospects.

Big idea — The main thing is more important than all the little things.

I would love it if every reader remembered the details of my blog posts – all the tidbits of research, facts, stories, and images that I showed.

That’s obviously not going to happen. A common statistic is that people remember only 10% of what they read.

Dale-Edgar's-Cone-of-Learning

The claim is misleading and not research-backed, but the point is plain: We don’t remember everything we read.

But what about the big idea? Every blog post ought to contain a central, compelling point. Can you get your reader to remember that?

Take a look at a standard assessment of read time on an article:

Read-time-assesment

Image source

There are a lot of people in that low-read-time quadrant, aren’t there? A lot of my articles on Neil Patel and Quicksprout clock in at around 3,000 words. An average reader could plow through that article in less than 20 minutes.

Read-time-calculator

But 20 minutes is a long time.

I applaud long-form content. It persuades better, converts better, shares better, ranks better, and is better.

But some of your readers probably aren’t going to read every word. And that’s OK. As long as they get the big idea, you’re going to be just fine.

How do you communicate the big idea? Here are a few ideas.

  • Write a strong headline. More people will read your headline than any other part of the article.
  • Communicate the main point in images. People do look at pictures.
  • Restate the main point in various bulleted and numbered lists. Lists are easy for the eye to intake rapidly. Skimmers love them.
  • Emphasize the main point in each of your headings. Since headings usually have large typeface, they are easier to read as a user scrolls through or skims the article. They are more likely to be read and remembered.
  • Restate your main point at the conclusion. If a reader doesn’t get through the entire article, she will probably jump to the end to understand your conclusion. Use this section to make your main point again.

The entire article should make a single point, and you should say it again and again and again.

Conclusion

Let me leave you with the big idea. It’s not essential that you get users to read your entire article.

You can and should strive for engagement. But you don’t need to obsess over a full and glorious readership. Instead, give your users a memorable experience, deliver the point, and let the few readers – no matter how few – enjoy every last word.

What does your data say? Do users read the entire article?

Want to read the average 20% or be a star reader and consume 100% of expert insight, tips, and inspiration for your content marketing? Subscribe to the CMI blog.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

The post How to Make Visitors Read Your Entire Article appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.

Source: Content Marketing Institute

SearchCap: Google Now Updates, SEO Mistakes & SEM Success

searchcap-header-v2-scap

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

  • Google Tests “What’s Hot” & “What’s Nearby” As Android Search Options
    Jan 15, 2016 by Greg Sterling

    Artem Russakovskii found an interesting Google search options test for Android. In addition to recent searches, Google inserted a “What’s Hot” and “Nearby” option in the pull-down menu. Here’s what it looks like: I asked Google for a comment or more information on this. Google provided the following statement: “We’re always experimenting with the look and feel of […]

  • Automate Your Way To SEM Success
    Jan 15, 2016 by David Fothergill

    Columnist David Fothergill makes the case that automation can free up valuable time to let search marketers do what they do best: strategize.

  • 6 Big Mistakes That SEO Rookies Make
    Jan 15, 2016 by John E Lincoln

    Columnist John Lincoln has been in this business a long time — and seen a lot of the same mistakes. Learn from the errors of other SEO newbies to start your career off on the right foot.

  • Search In Pics: Justin Trudeau At New Google Canadian Office, Google Expeditions Subaru & Fallout 4 Statue
    Jan 15, 2016 by Barry Schwartz

    In this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have and more. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau At Google’s Kitchener-Waterloo Office: Source: Google+ Google Piggy Bank: Source: Google+ […]

Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:

Search News From Around The Web:

Local & Maps

Link Building

SEO

SEM / Paid Search

Search Marketing

The post SearchCap: Google Now Updates, SEO Mistakes & SEM Success appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Source: Search Engine Land

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