Monday, 20 June 2011

AdWords - Reducing My Minimum Bid

I've had a few emails recently about minimum bids at AdWords skyrocketing and I thought we should get to the bottom of it. We're going to examine some common mistakes that people make and what you can do to bring those prices back down.

But before we get to that (no...it's not another illustration!) we need to understand the way that Google works.

Google pride themselves above all on user experience...as should you. If you're not adding to user experience then you're not converting either. People don't want to be sold to, they want to be taught to.

When the crawlers search your sites, they single out the landing page. Your landing page is critiqued for relevance to your advert and user experience. They grade you according to how much (they think) a visitor would enjoy the experience on your site.

Here's the thing, if you have a low score when it comes to user experience, Google AdWords algorithm will penalize you with a higher PPC on your minimum bid, sometimes overnight. The reasoning is, if your advert is displayed and the users don't get a great experience they become reluctant to use AdWords next time. You can't argue with that reasoning. So while they may be losing money in the short term, Google is ensuring a bright future for the webmasters who use AdWords responsibly and honestly.

Okay, crunch time. Let's take a look at the types of pages that will earn you a low user experience label and a high minimum bid for your AdWords ads.

THE EVER SO HUMBLE SQUEEZE PAGE
These are pretty obvious for the crawlers to recognize; huge title, the phrase SIGN UP  and FREE REPORT or FREE EBOOK, there are lots of bullet points and no external link. For obvious reasons, Google considers this a page with "poor user experience." There's no content and no other options other than to hand over your prized email and proceed.

THE "THIRD PARTY REVIEW" SITE
We have probably all thought of it before...one site that is home to all your affiliate links. These "sites" are usually consist of one page and the affiliates "review" of different products. The sole purpose is for visitors to click through and purchase - once again, there's not enough content for Google to consider this anything but a site with "poor user experience."

IF YOU THINK THAT"S BAD ENOUGH... THE ARBITRAGE SITE
So the last one was pretty obvious, yeah? Google has some of the best techies in the world and the algorithm used to crawl and assess our sites is not to be mocked - recognizing a few affiliate links is no trouble at all. So why anyone thinks they can get away with an arbitrage site is beyond me.

Arbitrage sites are in essence an AdSense ad farm - I wholeheartedly support Google's distaste for these sites and long for the day that they are banned or good. But that's just me, I've got some crazy, far out principles. The purpose of these sites is to make more money with AdSense than the webmaster is spending on AdWords. Visitors click on the AdWords ad only to be taken to a page that consists of AdSense advertising. If you looked up poor user experience in the dictionary you find yourself on an arbitrage site.

SALES LETTERS
Something every good marketer is familiar with - the sales page. A normal website consists of many pages so when Google stumbles across a single page then it's safe to assume that it's obviously selling something. Because a sales page usually contains a lot of content we can assume that the penalty comes from the fact that there are no external links. If you are creating a sales page, there really isn't any need to get too carried away with SEO. Your business should be set up so that your other sites and blogs all lead potential buyers to you sales page and once you have enough affiliates linking to it, you don't really have to worry page rank. But there are a few things we can do to bring the minimum bid of you AdWords ad's down and satisfy Google.


SOLUTIONS THAT WILL BRING YOUR 
ADWORDS MINIMUM BID DOWN TO A REASONABLE PRICE.

I feel a bit silly going through the solutions because if you have reached the point where you're using AdWords to pay for traffic then you already know the answers. However, knowing the theory and actually applying it ae two completely different things.  

The most obvious solution is quality content. When you're talking about squeeze pages and sales pages this might not be what you have in mind but here's the trick.

You link to content.

At the bottom of the page you add a few discreet links. A Contact Us page, an Info page or Privacy Policy...all the usual stuff. Of course these links should be unobtrusive because you don't want your visitors to wonder around to much but giving them options is going to bring down that minimum bid when it comes to your AdWords account. I also want to talk about a Content link in a moment.

Personally, I don't think a squeeze page should ever force visitors to sign up or leave. I know that defeats the purpose of the squeeze but I also think that we don't give people enough credit to make a sensible choice - we appeal to their sense of greed when appealing to their sense of logic is often just what the Doctor ordered. Depending on what's on offer, I prefer to give visitors a chance to either:

a) learn more about what they are signing up for or 
b) to enter the site regardless and given the opportunity to sign up again later. 


(Not the point, Elizabeth...stay on task!)

Quality content.

So a very small Content link on the bottom of your sales or squeeze page that leads back to your website and to some articles about the things your niche is looking for will serve you well as far as building trust, reducing the cost of your minimum bid at AdWords and increasing your rank. 

It's all about finding a balance...

What's more important to you? Getting that person to sign up straight away before they get want they want and you never hear from them again? Or are you patient enough to build a relationship with them knowing that trust is vital to making sales especially repeat sales?

If you like the sound of using the latter technique it's important that you use original content - don't go grabbing articles from ezinearticle's or other content farms. You can approach somewhere that sell PLR Articles and purchase some if you don't have the time to write them yourself. Go ahead and add you affiliate links to those articles, throw in some AdSense and voila! You have another monetized site to add to your list of assets. If you are using the "review" strategy then you can add those reviews to the bottom of each page.

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO TO REDUCE YOUR 
MINIMUM BID AT ADWORDS?


For each and every advert that you make, you have the option of choosing a unique destination URL. Relevance is vital to Googles AdWords algorithm. The key words you choose should be prominent on your landing page. 

We're talking about relevance here. Remember that Google prides itself on giving users the best possible search results. If you're using an advert about quilting and taking people to a URL about dogs then you're going to be paying through the nose for those adverts.

Which leads me to the next solution for reducing your minimum bid at AdWords.

Tell me, when was the last time you went all SEO on your landing page's butt? If you read my previous post about proven ways to Make More Money - Convert More Visitors then you will be using my 3 T's technique. Using this technique means that you need to keep track of your keywords and update your AdWords from time to time. Every webpage undergoes changes from time to time and you should never neglect your SEO.

If you've been laboring under the impression that SEO doesn't apply to you because you are using AdWords or PPC then you need to guess again because you are sorely mistaken. You should always take organic traffic seriously...it's free.

AT THE END OF THE DAY
It's all about user experience. Stop thinking about your account balance and view your pages from a visitors perspective. Is it worth your time of day to visit this site? Has it taught you something that didn't already know? Does it contain information that you can start using to solve your problem straight away? Has it got a few pretty diagrams or pictures to keep you interested? Or a poll? Does the page interact with you?

You don't want to go and get all carried away with the "shiny things" because seriously, what would you prefer? A pretty website that didn't work and cost you hours of you life to build? Or a simple website that does convert?

That wraps it up from me today folks. I hope that clears things up for you. You know I'm always keen to hear your thoughts so feel free to drop me a line about your AdWords troubles and I'll see what I can do.

1 comment:

  1. Great points. I think too many people design their pages with the wrong priorities in mind. Search engine optimization, pay per click management, and making money will force you into creating a site that people will hate. Design your site around a great idea, great usability, and unique content and people will want to go there. Once you've got that part figured out then you can circle back and start implementing the other things.

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