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Getting The Best Out Of Google AdWords

September 29, 2009

Filed under: General

Identifying what keywords to use for your web site can mean the difference between success and failure so it's important to get it right. How do you convince someone to click through and visit your landing page without going over your 95-character limit? Most businesses want a cost-effective way to bring in more customers. The problem that most new business owners face is that they do not have extra money to spend on a fancy research keyword tool. The challenge is to find prospects who are thinking about your products at the exact time that you reach them. 

So what to do? Use what you already have at your disposal and maximize your free resources of course! If you are looking for a free keyword analyzer, try the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.

Is your goal to make direct sales via ecommerce on your website? Is your goal to capture sales leads that you can follow up with to make the sale? Alternatively, is your goal a combination of both of these outcomes? Once you have determined a goal, you need a website that helps you achieve that goal.

Your website should be eye-catching and well organized, and include landing pages for your products or services. To see some examples of landing pages, perform a search for your services, and look at what other companies in your market are doing. The landing page for your advertisement might be your main website or homepage if your website focuses tightly on one product or service that you're advertising. Otherwise, the landing page should be a page within your website that focuses on the specific product or service you're advertising.

If you're selling directly from your website, your site should include a secure ecommerce system. Any good, technically competent web design firm can set this up for you. Once you have a goal, web site, and landing page, you're ready to sign up for Google AdWords.

How to write your Advertisements

Include a Strong Keyword or Phrase In Your Title
If people are searching for gift hampers, for instance, their eyes will likely scan for the specific phrase "gift hampers." You have a 25-character title to get searchers' attention, and a 70-character ad to make them interested enough to want to click on your ad. This isn't a lot of text, so make it worth your while.

Avoid Long Words
Keep It Simple. "An 'automobile' is a 'car.' A 'giveaway' is a 'gift.' An 'offer' is a 'deal'". Using short words can give you two or three extra words to work with.

Be Specific
Stand out from the paid and organic crowds with precise descriptions that go beyond basic keywords. The phrase "16-foot ocean kayak" will attract more relevant attention than the more generic "kayak."

Include A Call to Action
Having a good call to action can increase your Click Through Rates (CTR) and also increase your campaign effectiveness. A searcher needs to know what’s in it for him if he clicks on the advertisement. He is already in a page full of related links that he was searching for and you are just one of the many. So if you are going to take him away from this page, you will have to ensure that he knows what he will get from your page.

Format Your Ad
Make sure your ad is formatted properly with correct casing & spelling. You only get a very small window of opportunity when it comes to grabbing the attention of your customer. Capitalizing the first letter of each word is a common practice which makes your ad copy look attractive. However, you can test with various other methods and use the method that works best for you.

Highlight your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
How different are you from your competitor? What makes your product or service unique? What benefit would the customer get after buying what you sell? Your proposition must be something that your competitors either cannot, or does not offer. It must be unique and something that your customers can relate to and can benefit from. Example: If you offer free shipping, 24/7 support, money back guarantee or you are professionally certified, won awards or anything else that can help you to boost your initial credibility and trust – then Include it in your Ad copy.

When you write extremely short copy, you must remember to stay focused. There is not enough room to sell the customer within your copy, but there IS enough room to pique their interest. Use the limited space you have to punch up the biggest benefits or end results your customers are looking for and you’ll see bigger returns on your AdWords investment.

Watch this YouTube video by Jay Roberts on how to use Google’s free AdWord tool. The proof—as always—is in the pudding. Keep testing and testing and testing until you get ads that grab the attention of the right prospects and then convert best into clicks and sales.

Contact us if you need help in establishing your Google AdWords Campaign.

Tags: google, adwords, google adwords, youtube, video, customer

Using SEO To Help Grow Your Business

September 22, 2009

Filed under: General

Search engine optimization is a method of increasing the amount of visitors and the awareness of a website by ranking high in the search engines. The higher the rank of a website in the result of the search engines the better the chance the website will be visited by users.

Over the last few years we have seen the emergence of some major internet companies, with search engine giant Google now amongst the most influential on the internet. While there are other search engines such as Yahoo! and MSN, which have a place and a presence on the internet, Google is by far the most powerful. If you have no presence on Google, your chances of success will diminish drastically.

Here are some basic SEO tips included in the search engine optimisation tutorial you might consider doing yourself to get better search rankings and increased site traffic:

1. Keywords
It’s important to know which keywords to optimise for. If you are a retailer of gift hampers, it’s important to know what consumers type into Google while searching for gift hampers. There are many tools available on Google that can help generate this for you. Try the keyword tool in Google AdWords or Wordtracker

Do a search for your top keywords and analyse the results that Google throws up. View how many times a particular keyword appears in the title, in the description, in the URL and on the page content. 

2. Title
Ensure that the title of your page is not more than 60 characters. That’s all that will be read by Google. 

Once you are done analysing the search on your keywords, understand how you can structure the content in your title, description, URL and home page, in that order.  Ensure that you are higher than your competitor. Having said that, don’t try to use all your keywords in such a way that it’s non-meaningful or desperate. It’s a fight between quality and quantity.

It’s important for Google to know that you have not put junk in your title. The way they determine this is by checking if the words in your title match those in the content of your page. If they are not, you won’t do as well as you could. So figure how you can have those keywords on your home page, too.

If you and your competitor have the particular keyword in equal quantities on your title, the next factor becomes the placement of keyword. In this case, you have to ensure that the keyword in your title is before that of your competitor’s. For instance, if the keyword is the 25th character of your competitor’s title, yours should be anything less than that. This way you will feature higher.    

3. Multiple URLs and URL address
Don’t place all your keywords in your home page. Optimize all the URLs in your site for different keywords. It’s important to achieve a good balance between content and form. Don’t let extra content kill the design of your site. If your URL address contains the keyword, Google gives it more weight. 

4. Keywords Meta tag
Disregard this. Google has stopped reading this a while back. 

5. PageRank
A simple formula devised by Google to check relevancy and the quality of a site is PageRank. It’s a vote that shows how other sites look upon you. If site x points a link to site y, then that’s a vote of confidence in site y by x. This goes well in Y’s PageRank. The more quality links you have in your kitty, the better. Work towards getting more people to point towards you. Read up on PageRank on Google.

Sometimes sites which are less relevant as yours may show up higher than you. That’s probably because they have a higher PageRank than yours. Don’t worry. You can’t help that. Just work on yours. 

6. Content
Google will give more weight to content right on top than that below. More brownies will be given to content in H1 (header) tags than regular content. More weight goes to larger font than smaller. Negative marks will be given (and you will probably disappear off Google) if you try to hide content by making it non-readable (either making the font the same colour as the background or making it very small).

Ensure that you have your keywords in a higher density than other words. Quality content is more important than quantity. So, ensure that when you are filling your page with keywords, it still makes sense to the customer. Otherwise, they will leave your page in no time and all time spent on SEO will be worth nothing.

7. Images
Don’t use any flash, unless people know your URL and you don’t have to depend on SEO. If you do, use good images that compensate for the lack of flash. Googlebot stops when it sees flash.

Did you know that you could put a name to your images? There is something called alternative text. Use this in the best way you can. What is alternative text? In case your image does not show up in a browser, the alternative text describes the image for the user. So, if I have the company logo and that doesn’t show up for some reason, the alternative text will. So, don’t fill keywords there, but then again, don’t forget to put your company identity / or category in there. 

8. Age of your URL
This is another factor that Google considers important. A competitor’s site that is less relevant may show up higher if they have been around longer than you. There’s nothing you can do about this though. Once you cross the one year barrier, you will probably be in the same league as your competitors.

SEO is a high impact, high value tactic for reaching Customers online. It focuses on Customers seeking a business’s service and not the other way round. Many smart businesses are starting to see the potential long term benefits of a committed SEO strategy during tough economic times to get more bang for their buck, so the question asked is why shouldn’t you be doing the same for your business?

Interested in what SEO can do for your business? Speak to us.

Tags: search engine optimisation, seo, internet, optimisation, google, pagerank, customers, keywords

10 Common Mistakes In Logo Design

September 15, 2009

Filed under: Design

As a business owner, you’re constantly under the watchful eye when it comes to your brand. With the proliferation of the Web, it has never been more important for a business to communicate its unique message clearly. One of the easiest ways to recognize a company and distinguish it from others is by its logo. We have all witnessed our fair share of poorly designed logos. Below, we go through 10 common logo design mistakes that you should avoid if you want to create a successful and professional logo:

1. Designed By An Amateur
The business owner wanted to save money by designing the logo quickly themselves. Or a friend or relative who claims to know a little about graphic design does it as a favour. Or the wrong people are commissioned. Example: Your local printers are not likely to be proficient in logo design. Talk to an expert. 

If your logo looks amateurish, then so will your business. A business should know where to look when it wants a new logo. When hiring an established and professional logo designer your logo will be unique and memorable. You won’t run into any problems down the line with reproducing it. Your logo will have a longer lifespan and won’t need to be redesigned in a couple of years. And most importantly, your logo will look professional.

2. Relies On Trends
Trends come and go and ultimately turn into clichés. A well-designed logo should be timeless, and this can be achieved by ignoring the latest design tricks and gimmicks. Focusing on current logo trends is like putting a sell-by date on a logo. Understanding what they trends are and using it to create or develop a logo that blends longevity and the company’s values is key.

3. Uses Raster Images
Using raster images for logos is not advisable because it can cause problems with reproduction. Maintaining visual consistency by making sure the logo looks the same in all sizes is essential. The main advantages of vector graphics for logo design are:
* The logo can be scaled to any size without losing quality.
* Editing the logo later on is much easier.
* It can be adapted to other media more easily than a raster image.

4. Contains Stock Art
This is simply taking the easy way out. This mistake is often made by business owners who design their own logo or by amateur designers who are not clued in to the laws on copyright. A logo should be unique and original, and the licensing agreement should be exclusive to the client: using stock art breaks both of these rules. Chances are, if you are using a stock vector image, it is also being used by someone somewhere else in the world, so yours is no longer unique.

5. Designing For Yourself Rather Than The Client
You can often spot this logo design sin a mile away; the cause is usually a designer’s enormous ego. If you have found a cool new font that you can’t wait to use in a design, well… don’t. Ask yourself if that font is truly appropriate for the business you’re designing for? For example, a great modern typographic font that you just love is not likely suited to a serious business such as a lawyer’s office. Some designers also make the mistake of including a “trademark” in their work. While you should be proud of your work, imposing your personality onto a logo is wrong. Stay focused on the client’s requirements by sticking to the brief.

6. Overly Complex
Highly detailed designs don’t scale well when printed or viewed in smaller sizes.  The more detail a logo has, the more information the viewer has to process. A logo should be memorable, and one of the best ways to make it memorable is to use the KISS principle – Keep It Simple Stupid.

7. Relies On Colour For Its Effect
Without colour, a great design may lose its identity. Try to match the colours to your target audience. Every business owner will need to display their logo in only one colour at one time or another, so the designer should test to see whether this would affect the logo’s identity. People design logos without taking into consideration their future use. Be sure to deign your logos with the intent that they can be used on the internet, in print, on a street sign, embroidered on a backpack, and screen printed on a t-shirt.  Make your logo as powerful in both colour and black & white.

8. Poor Choice Of Font
When it comes to executing a logo, choosing the right font is the most important decision a designer can make. More often than not, a logo fails because of poor font choice. Finding the perfect font for your design is all about matching the font to the style of the icon. But this can be tricky. If the match is too close, the icon and font will compete with each other for attention; if the complete opposite, then the viewer won’t know where to focus. The key is finding the right balance, somewhere in the middle.

Every typeface has a personality. If the font you have chosen does not reflect the icon’s characteristics, then the whole message of the brand will misfire. Bad fonts are often chosen simply because the decision isn’t taken seriously enough.

9. Has Too Many Fonts
A logo works best with a maximum of two fonts. Using too many fonts is like trying to show someone a whole photo album at once. Each typeface is different, and the viewer needs time to recognize it. Seeing too many fonts at once causes confusion. Using a maximum of two fonts of different weights is standard practice. Restricting the number of fonts to this number greatly improves the legibility of a logo design and improves brand recognition.

10. Copies Others
This is the biggest logo design mistake of all and, unfortunately, is becoming more and more common. The purpose of a logo is to represent a business. If it looks the same as someone else’s, it has failed in that regard. Copying others does no one any favours, neither the client nor the designer.

SPINN Media’s Graphic Design Services offer Logo and Corporate Stationery Design & Development. Contact us to discover how our Graphic Design services can benefit your new brand development project.

Tags: graphic design, design, logo, branding, designers

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