In this episode, Tyler Mandroian of C1 Partners joins Jeff for part 2 of our MVP of SEO series to discuss the ins and outs of paid search. Tyler answers the pressing question, “Does paid search suck?”
In This Episode
0:33 – Jeff introduces Tyler
2:43 – Misconceptions on how paid search works
4:36 – “How does the auction mentality work exactly?”
10:12 – Building out organic search
12:04 – The true costs of paid search
19:27 – Keyword selection for related words
22:16 – Paid search, does it suck or not suck?
28:27 – Geo-centric paid search
33:15 – We are running a contest!
39:15 – An accident happens… What’s the first thing you Google?
44:35 – Clicks and Conversions
48:44 – Cost-per-click
52:27 – $1,000 value
Jeff Cummings: Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the MSP Ignition! Podcast, brought to you by Axcient. It’s not about the backup it’s about the recovery, Axcient protect everything. Be sure to subscribe to us on iTunes and please give us a review while you’re there. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We’re really pushing for the shares these days everyone. We’ve been flying some guests out. We’ve flown out to see some guests. We’re making some investments here, and you could really help us by sharing the podcast and helping this thing to get some momentum, and we’ll do more fun stuff like we’ve been doing here lately.
I’m your host Jeff Cummings, and today we’re doing part two of the Become the MVP of SEO podcast series. Everyone has been asking for this episode. I’ve been out at some IT Nation Evolve and some trade shows and people start listen to the podcast, and they’ve been asking for part two of it because we said we’re going to talk about paid search. That’s going to be our topic today. Coming up to finish up on that part two is who we brought in for part one, Tyler Mandroian from C1 Partners. Welcome back, Tyler.
Tyler Mandroian: Hey. Thanks, Jeff for having me. Excited.
Jeff: I’m happy to have you here man. Last time we did a wine of which now we can’t remember that we could not pronounce the name of it. This time you agreed to bring the booze and you’ve stepped up the game here. What did you bring? What are we drinking here?
Tyler: We’re drinking old fashions because it’s snowing out. I figured it was a little appropriate. but I’ve got some high West American prairie bourbon, some bitters, a little bit of an orange slice and some simple syrup.
Jeff: I can’t believe you brought an orange, and you actually slice an orange up for the drink dude. You’re raising the stakes of the MSP Ignition! Podcast man.
Tyler: If you spend enough time doing digital marketing, wine doesn’t always cut it.
Jeff: [laughs] It doesn’t do the job. It’s awesome dude. This is actually a really good drink, man. You really went all out. It tastes fantastic. Before we deep dive too deep in the topic, make sure you stick around to the end, because we are going to gamify this cast just like we in did one of the last podcasts, and give you guys a chance to get some free consulting from C1 on search and exchange for sharing this podcast episode on social media. Make sure you stick around, and we’ll go all the details there later. Let’s get started with the expert here in the room, which is not me. I think we’ve discovered that on most podcasts, which is Tyler. Tyler, paid search man. First of all, how does this thing work? For the average person who doesn’t understand how paid search work. How does paid search work?
Tyler: Exactly. There’s a lot of misconceptions out there about how paid search works. The most important thing to remember is that you’re entering an auction when you do paid search. What that auction is you’re trying to get in front of people searching for a specific topic. It might be IT help, it might be something really specific to a problem that they’re having, “My email isn’t working or I can’t get this set up.” The way that you purchase or enter that auction is by telling Google what keywords you want your ads to come up for. Then a bunch of complicated stuff happens behind the scenes where Google is going to take the keyword that you want to go in front of.
It’s going to take the ad copy that you’re telling Google you want to put in front of those people, and then it’s going to assign you, what we’re going to refer back to a lot in this conversation I’m sure, which is something called Quality Score. Quality score is added in to the price that everyone else is paying for the clicks on that same keyword. A lot of magic happens behind those scenes to determine what that price of that click is. Then people only pay when their ad is actually clicked on. That’s an important distinction because we can use that in some cases to our advantage to make sure we bring our budget down, so we’re only getting the right people clicking on our ads for the right purpose.
That’s where most people’s frustrations with this whole thing come in. They’re not exact about the keywords that they want to go after. What we see happen a lot as people call Google and they go, “I’d like one paid search please.” They don’t usually get the value of what it can provide because they’re not specific enough to the project at hand.
Jeff: Let’s unwind a couple of pieces there because there’s some good stuff in there. I’m a small to medium-sized business owner. I need to get more business. I’ve heard all about this paid search thing with Google, and these guys are obviously billionaires for a reason. You said there’s an auction there, does that mean that automatically if I buy a word– Let’s say, if I buy Microsoft. I want to buy the word Microsoft. I buy the word Microsoft. Does that mean that if Microsoft’s willing to pay $10 for that word, but I’m only willing to pay $2, that you’re never going to see it? How does the auction mentality work exactly?
Tyler: Yes, it can. It’s obviously very complicated because you will have many different competitors of yours. Not necessarily direct competitors, but competitors in this auction, entering for different reasons, with different variations of their keywords. One person might buy “Microsoft,” another person might buy, “Microsoft setup.” A third person might buy what we would call a specific type of keyword, but an exact match for, “Microsoft installation help.” All three, let’s say Microsoft is buying its own name on Microsoft, let’s say your competitor is buying the second example I gave, just be Microsoft help. Then you wanted to buy that third exact match of Microsoft installation help.
All three people are actually going to be entered into that auction. Depending on what that user types into Google, if they just type in Microsoft, Microsoft has a pretty good chance of winning that auction for a lower cost because their quality of that ad is very good. If I Google just Microsoft, Microsoft websites come up. Google wants to reward or Google is Google today. We don’t use Ask Jeeves and stuff like that anymore. Because Google’s the best at matching its user to the best possible result for their query.
Jeff: We talked about that in a lot last podcast on relevancy. Microsoft is going to be the most relevant for the type of the word Microsoft.
Tyler: Absolutely. If you’ve ever called Microsoft for help, you know that they’re not the best source-[laughter]
– to try to get something installed. That’s where a lot of MSPs can work in those gaps of what– Microsoft customer service might seem like a good keyword because those are people frustrated with Microsoft. Most people searching that term were just trying to find a phone number. Yes, you might get clicks from it, but that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily trying to do business with an outside firm to actually help. You got to think about the keywords and the differences in search that are going to inform you that someone’s actually trying to make a purchasing decision or someone’s actually trying to take a different step to getting that help.
If you have something like Microsoft installation services, for example, you’re going to automatically reduce the amount of competitors just on the term ‘Microsoft’ by exponentially. Amazon’s trying to sell some Microsoft softwares. You’re not going to be running up against them as a competitor for an example or anyone who’s trying to sell any kind of Microsoft product. Microsoft is a very broad term. If you have those trigger keywords, is what we call them, give us buying intent, and they give us some point of reference on what they’re trying to solve. Microsoft installation help, think about how many people are going to search that. That’s a pretty specific use case for a search term.
If you have your ad show up there, and you’re saying, “Hey, we help with Microsoft installation. Call us today. Sign up for consultation or have us come out and check things out.” You are going to have a much higher quality score with Google because A, your text is going to match with their actual searches, B, it’s not broad, and then C, you’re going to land them into a page that talks specifically about that service, not just your homepage, not just your contacts page where have your phone number and a form to fill out, we’re actually going to inform them about how you solve their problem. Failure to do those three things is what costs most people their money.
Jeff: They’re paying for something, but they’re getting lost. Let me back up a little bit here, because in our previous episode, you talked a lot about the importance of relevancy, and how much your specific landing page when we’re talking about organic search, you were talking about how much your page is relevant to the topic that they’re searching for. You’re saying the same thing on page search, is that right?
Tyler: I am. There’s a lot of similarities.
Jeff: You’re surprised that I even remember that, aren’t you? [laughs]
Jeff: I actually learned things myself on these. I learn a little bit here myself.
Tyler: Recall, I believe the call it.
Jeff: Not instant, by the way.
Tyler: However, it’s the same thing. Relevancy is what drives good online search. It’s what gets us to stop using Google, and start solving the problem.
Jeff: If your topic was already super, super relevant to that, if your learning page is already to that topic, then why even do paid search in the first place? What is the advantage of the paid search piece if you’ve already built an organic search model that matches that exact search?
Tyler: As you know, it can take a long time to work. You have to do a lot of work behind the scenes.
Jeff: You mean organic [crosstalk]
Tyler: I mean organic [crosstalk] That can take a long time. You can hire a really good company to help you out with organic.
Jeff: We talked about, sometimes four to six months before it to really good results, right?
Tyler: Yes. Four to six months, six to nine months, within the first year is really common. The difference with paid search is, you get results today. Meaning, as soon as you turn that auction on, you’re going to start coming up on the top of Google or somewhere within, depending on how you have it setup. You will start getting results instantly. What you will also get is a whole lot more data. Remember what we talked about, is Google doesn’t always tell us what they’re doing with their organic search engine. Then people like us can gain the system a whole lot more, and it will cease to have value.
Jeff: Yes, the black box.
Tyler: It’ll just be a bunch of businesses figuring it out.
Jeff: There is a black box there for sure.
Tyler: Absolutely. Paid search, they give us a lot of that data back because we’re paying for it. That’s a big distinction. When you’re paying Google for each click, they’re much more willing to give you the information behind that. That gives you a whole lot more ammunition to refine and optimize these campaigns as you go. You can certainly launch a campaign that’s profitable from the get go. Usually, it takes some massaging, and it takes looking at the actual search terms that people are using, which is all accessible within the Google Ads dashboard. Looking at the exact search terms that people are using and saying, “Is someone actually using this in their search? Are they going to find what they need? Do I help this person? Do I want to help this person?”
Jeff: Even if you pay a lot, if you don’t help them, you’re probably going to miss out on some business and maybe even showing up, is that what it sounds like?
Tyler: Absolutely. If you think about it this way too, very few companies, especially small to medium local businesses or within a certain geographic region, fail to take the steps to go the extra mile. What’s really common in this industry is someone might buy the term IT services. Very generic, but it’s what they do. That’s going to carry a cost for click, probably about $40 to $60.
Jeff: Wow. For one click.
Tyler: For one click.
Jeff: Oh, my gosh.
Tyler: I’ll talk to you about personal injury lawyers after this.[laughter]
Jeff: Hopefully, I’ll never need one.
Tyler: Hopefully, you don’t. Car crash Denver has $300.
Jeff: Wow. Really? That’s crazy. Oh, my gosh.
Tyler: The reason behind that is, because that’s what everyone is doing.
Jeff: Do you know how much you’re going to pay before you get it? You say like, “I ain’t paying more than $50 for this,” or whatever.
Tyler: You can set caps.
Jeff: You can set caps.
Tyler: You can say, “I don’t want to pay more than six bucks a click.” You can put that on.
Jeff: Then your likelihood to get the click on that might be much lower depending on the market.
Tyler: Depends on your terms.
Jeff: All right, and the words you use.
Tyler: If you’re trying to tell Google, “Hey, I want this $40 keyword,” that that’s what the going rate is in this auction, and I only want to pay $6, you might get a handful of impressions. Your position is going to be really low because you’re not paying as much as some of those other competitors. A lot of people get lost in that fight. When people get lost in that fight, that’s where they burn a lot of cash trying to figure it out. The idea is, you want to move aside from the competition and actually focus on what people use Google for, which is solving a problem. If I were to buy the keyword, “Microsoft Office 365 help with email setup,” much longer, much more exact to a problem. There are various ways of setting environment to this.
Jeff: Is that considered one word, is that a phrase, one word?
Tyler: It can be, yes. Google will get in to have the auction works after this because it’s a separate conversation. When you’re buying that exact keyword, you’re going to have less people searching it, but that relevancy is going to be really high, and it’s also going to be much cheaper on the auction because there is less competitors there. That term might carry a cost for click, a $5 or $6 , but it’s going to convert higher. It’s going to convert into a leader or customer to much higher rate because they’re being exact about the purpose of which they’re searching.
IT services, a lot of times that’s going to be other advertisers trying to look up companies [unintelligible 00:14:52] That’s going to be a lot of different use cases with just generic business research that’s done out there.
Jeff: Oh my god. Did just say you could end up paying for an ad word to only to get a telemarketing call as a result of that if you don’t do it the right way? Is that right?
Tyler: It happens way more than you would ever think.
Jeff: Where you actually paid to have a sales person call you. That’s fantastic.
Tyler: Yes. It’s very common.
Jeff: That’s a great business model, by the way. It’s a great business model. Google, there’s a reason why they’re rich.
Tyler: 2018 Q4, they did 32 billion in ad revenue.
Jeff: In one quarter?
Tyler: In one quarter.
Jeff: Oh my gosh. That’s amazing.
Tyler: They’re really good at making money. There is some tricks that we can talk about that you will mitigate a lot of those risks.
Jeff: You’re saying, “Hey, get a really super specific set of words, the more ambiguous you are or obtuse, maybe the more likely you’re going to catch the kind of fish that you don’t really want to catch, right?
Jeff: That’s one thing. You said there’s going to be an auction. Whatever words that I’m using, I’m going to be competing with someone else for similar words or some of the similar words. If someone searches for Microsoft, are they in the same bidding war for that advertising space or whatever if I’ve got four words? Are we still in the same bucket or are we in two different buckets?
Tyler: Yes and no. The goal is for that answer, obviously, to be no. How do we do that? There are different types of key words. We’re going to talk about really, three. The default keyword is called broad. Really really liberal into what broad keywords are like. I’ll give you another example because we ran into this. Just doing a little bit of pro bono work for a local church, we just had–
Jeff: Nice, great job. Giving to the community like that for C1. Props on that, we’re not going to let that one slip by.
Tyler: We had just Christian church was one of the keywords we had. We found in the search terms that Google was putting up–
Jeff: There’s only about a billion of them in the world.
Tyler: Right. Exactly. We geo’d it, so it was close to the actual location, but we found that we were getting ads and clicks somehow, but we were getting impressions on Joel Osteen.
Jeff: [laughs] Who’s in Houston or Dallas or something like that? Yes, somewhere in Texas.
Tyler: Yes, who knows. I use that because from intent wise, that couldn’t be further than what this search was about. It was just a broad keyword.
Jeff: Joel Osteen is spending a lot of money on keywords, probably.
Tyler: His followers are, I’m sure, but yes. We’ll get down that road. The point is that Google will take wildly liberal definitions for your keywords unless you tell it not to. The way we tell it not to is by using a couple of different variations. Usually, it’s called broad matched modified. You’re going to let a broad keyword go, but you’re going to just when you type it into Google, you just put a little plus in front of that keyword. That’s going to tell Google that, “Yes, you can do your broad search thing, but it has to contain this word. If it does not contain this word, you cannot show my ad.” That one little trick literally saves companies billions of dollars.
Jeff: Are we talking almost like a primary key? A compound primary key where you’re saying, “These two words together actually mean what I want them to do. If it doesn’t contain this other word, then you can’t put my ad up.” Is that it?
Tyler: Exactly. If I did a broad match modified term for Microsoft Office installation services. Have a little plus in front each one of those keywords. All four of those keywords have to have to come up–
Jeff: Have to show up.
Tyler: Show up in the search for my ad to come up.
Jeff: Backup can also sometimes mean archive, it can also mean restore. Does that mean when you put that plus in there, that it means that you can’t, from a natural language, search engine perspective, that you can’t do something that means the same thing? Is that only that exact word? Am I digging too deep into the black box here of answers?
TylerWhen Google figures out synonyms in the English language in context, the world’s going to change, and they’re working on that. Right now, it’s still treated like a machine. It will not know the difference between archive and backup. It will know that they’re somewhat related, the organic search algorithms will. The paid search algorithms treat it like two completely different things. You would actually want to set up two different keywords or ideally, two different ad groups where you’re putting advertising that uses that word archive that matches with the keywords that are archive, and you’d have a second set of ads that match up with your searches, say, keyword is backup
Google’s pretty good about walking you through how to organize these things, but it goes, “Campaign. Here’s where my budgets are.” The battle is fought at the ad group level. You’d have one ad group that’s Microsoft backup services versus Microsoft archives services, because you want to use as many keywords in their search in your ad. Google actually bold them in the search engine result page.
Jeff: I’ve seen that before.
Tyler: It’s that instant visual trigger.
Jeff: It contains these words that will say, does not contain. This is why you’re the expert, Tyler. It’s just so intriguing to me about how this whole thing works.
Tyler: Expert and bartender.
Jeff: Good bartender, by the way. These are actually strong drinks, I don’t know if I’m going to make to this podcast, Callie. I hear so often, “Paid search sucks. It’s expensive. I never get leads.” Does paid search suck, Tyler, yes or no?
Tyler: It certainly can. If you approach it–
Jeff: Because Google pretends like they’re helping you, but they’re also helping you to spend money. Isn’t that one of the things that C1 Partners does, it says like, “Let’s keep you from just completely burning cash.” Because they’ll let you burn cash. Google will let you burn cash.
Tyler: Yes. They will take your checks all day long. It’s like, if you get a gym membership, you don’t go for three months, they don’t call you.
Jeff: Take a [crosstalk]. They’re like, “Hey, you’re not losing any weight right now, man.”
Tyler: It’s the same thing. Think about how you buy anything else. Do you go to the dealership to buy a new car and just walk up to the salesperson and go, “Hey, I’m just trying to buy a car.” No, you’re going to do some research. You’re going to make sure you’re not getting hosed, and you’re going to make sure it’s going to meet your needs. Your advertising expense is no different, it’s just a little bit more difficult to do because there’s a lot of different little technical steps on there. Once you get past the, “I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to swallow that pill and take a look at what’s actually happening with my money.” It’s relatively straightforward.
Jeff: Paid search, does it suck or not suck? It can suck. How do we keep from making it suck? Obviously, they want to engage with you guys from C1 Partners to help them. If you don’t have a lot of time to unwind the black box and do all this search stuff, engage with an agency like you. If I come to you, I’m like, “Hey, Tyler, a new business. I’m trying to grow my business. I’m trying to get leads. I’ve done paid search. It seems like I paid a lot of money to get anything out of it.” What’s the first thing you say to that person?
Tyler: First thing I ask them is, “What did you buy?” Half the time, because I get that question a lot.
Jeff: Half the time they bought the wrong thing?
Tyler: Half the time they don’t even know. Quite frankly, and it’s sad to say, but you turn these things over blindly even to an agency. If they’re not communicating with you about what your services are and what you’re actually trying to accomplish and the problems that you solve, how is that marketing going to be effective? They haven’t asked about what your needs are or what’s profitable for you. The reason why paid search tends to suck for most people is because they don’t either have the proper guidance, or they’re just not able to match the technical difficulties of Google Ads with their actual business objectives.
Jeff: What’s the difference between those sidebar ads and the top results? Back in the old days, the top results used to be something that you manipulate to the search engine optimization. Now, the top results are ads and the side results or ads. What’s the difference between those two?
Tyler: You get different search engine result page, but you get different layouts of those Google. Since the last time we did this podcast, Google’s experimented with probably a dozen different kinds. They’re always moving. You used to see those seven ads on the right side, used to see three ads on top. Sometimes some of those ones on the sides might get pushed to the bottom of the page. They eliminated a lot of those side ads because they just didn’t get clicked very often.
Jeff: Because everybody knew those were advertisements.
Tyler: Everyone knows they’re ads. Now, you search something, generally, your first two results are going to be ads, they just have a little, little button, little thing that just says ad right next to them.
Jeff: Or sponsored or something like that.
Tyler: Sponsored result. With actual specific Google ads, they’ll just say ad. A lot of people are trained to look for it, but a lot of people still interact with them. That inherent–
Jeff: It can still be effective, is what you’re saying.
Tyler: It can still be effective. Advertising works when it’s really relevant to people’s problems.
Jeff: If you pay, do you still get into the top of organic search or is that only organic, and those two things only cross in the quality of the content like you mentioned earlier?
Tyler: By the book Google definition is that they only cross when you’re using it to actually drive a better website. Writing better content to serve your people better is where those two collide.
Jeff: I see an ad result that ends up being the same as the organic result. Essentially, that means that organic result was able to achieve the ad result. One that vendor’s going to pay for and the other one, they’re not. Is that essentially all we’re talking about here?
Tyler: A lot of times, yes. We’ll work with industries we don’t understand very well or things that just aren’t as straightforward as your regular product or service. Sometimes you have to do some experimentation before we actually want to invest in the long term SEO campaign. We do that with paid search because you can actually control it a lot more, but you get a lot more data back from Google, like we talked about earlier. You can actually test keywords [crosstalk]
Jeff: How things are going and whatnot. Do you get to see how your competitors are doing as well or do you only get to see how you’re doing?
Tyler: You can. They actually give you a ton of information about your competitors. Not only can you see how often you lose and beat them in each auction, but you can see generally how much they spend versus what you’re spending. The big metric that we use is search impression share. Meaning, out of all of the available impressions you’re trying to buy. An advertising impression is just coming up in the results. It’s not a click. It’s just showing up there. We look at that share to say “Hey, how many times are we actually coming up when we’re trying to versus everyone else doing the same thing?” If you have a share of 30% to 40%, you’re not winning a lot of your auctions. Generally, that’s when you have to go back and do some work. If you have a share of 70%, 80%, 90%, you’re getting in front of most people within the parameters that you’ve set with Google.
Jeff: Do you get to choose what gets shown when you do paid search? Because I see when I do organic search, it says contains these words or does not contain. It contains three of your words, but not all of them. When you do a paid search, does it do the same thing or does it show what you wanted it to show?
Tyler: It shows exactly what you want it to show.
Jeff: That really becomes like an ad. That is really your ad.
Tyler: It is a true ad. There’s 45 characters in the first headline, 45 characters in the second headline, and 90 in the ad description. That’s what we have to work with.
Jeff: That’s it.
Tyler: Yes. It’s not very much.
Jeff: [laughs] It’s not much. What’s a tweet like, a 120?
Tyler: Yes it’s 140.
Jeff: 140 [unintelligible 00:27:56] says it’s 140 characters here. Is it still 140? I think it might have increased. She might say it’s increased. Let’s talk local search versus national. Is there truly a difference? Is there a reason to choose one over the other? A lot of MSPs and a lot of businesses do tend to work in a regional way. Talk to us about how that works.
Tyler: Yes, absolutely.
Jeff: Do you pay more for that, by the way? Do you pay more to say I want to be geo-centric?
Tyler: You can in some cases. It depends on how localized the competition is. Here in Denver for various tech searches, the price is pretty high for a lot of them because it’s half of businesses around here now. There’s just a high volume of relevant search with local companies competing against each other. That being said, let me back this up and make this– From a structural standpoint, you can set your geographic fence around your ad campaign pretty much however you want to. Whether it’s a mile radius around a zip code or a particular point. Like, if we just did 20 miles around Denver, we’d catch a lot of the areas around here. Probably wouldn’t make it quite into Boulder, but you might get some of that Broomfield type traffic. Meaning you’re not always going to hit the major cities that are just outside [crosstalk] which can be good, could be bad. Now, if you [crosstalk]
Jeff: You might not want to travel 30 miles to your customer anyway if you’re an MSP.
Tyler: In Colorado, that means one thing in New York. It means something completely different.
Jeff: Maybe more than two miles in New York is too far to go. [chuckles]
Tyler: You can do it. You have to think about how far do you realistically service customers. If that is a question that’s important to you, you should be doing a form of local search. You will lose a lot of valuable clicks, but if you just do national, you’ll spend a ton–
Jeff: You might spend more money, it sounds like. If you’re doing national, you’ll spend all this money on this word search and then its customers you were never going to serve in the first place.
Tyler: Yes. The way a lot of companies do it who– Maybe they can serve a certain subset of people in a further distance away then they can right next to him. They can only do remote backup services, for example, 50 miles away. You could set up a second campaign that has different parameters without geography that allows you to separate those services in your own advertising. You’re not wasting money on people you can’t actually serve in those areas.
Jeff: Wow. I think what I’m hearing you saying is if you engage with a digital marketing agency, one of your goals, and this culls back to our previous conversation. If you engage with a digital marketing agency, make sure that they’re helping you to develop paid search ad words that are not only relevant specifically to what you do, but also not these broad terms like IT services, but also try to limit it to the geolocation that you serve because if it’s outside the geolocation you serve, it doesn’t make any difference. This would probably be hard, if I’m an MSP in Chicago, maybe I want to serve Chicago and the greater Chicago area, but then I want to skip everything, and only serve the greater Elgin area or whatever, the suburbs. Can you even say, I want it in this location and this location, but not further outside than that location, you can do that?
Tyler: You could use what’s called negative locations. Let’s just say for whatever reason, you just hate Naperville. You can add in Naperville as a negative location, but still target the greater Chicago area. There’s a lot of reasons why you might want to do that. The other piece of it, is if you actually serve people in your location, you really want to make sure that ads that involve your location are only going to relevant area as well. Back to your other question about what can you control in those results, you can also make sure that your address shows up or that specific services show up to that campaign.
Jeff: That’s in that little section where Google will show a map, and then it’ll show the vendors in that area. That’s where you would show up as well, right?
Tyler: That area is now for sale. That local map pack. There’s now three organic results and generally, one or two paid.
Jeff: Wow. Even in the geolocation piece now there’s a paid search there. Jeez man, Google knows how to make some money, don’t they? These guys. All right. We’re going to take a break and when we return we’re going to talk about the number one mistake people make with paid search and how to avoid it. Are you ready for that?
Tyler: I am.
Jeff: All right, Tyler. We’ll be back in just a minute. Thanks, everybody. We’ll be right back.[music]
All right, we’re back. Just as a reminder, we are running a contest, gamification you all. If you share this podcast posts from any Axcient, social, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, then you’ll be entered to win a digital marketing review, which is $1,000 value from C1. What is a digital marketing review? Tell people what they’ve won.
Tyler: It’s how we actually listen to what your business objectives are and how we match that with the tactics that we have at our disposal, or that you could find independently of us and get RoI out of your marketing.
Jeff: All right. That’s free. How long does that last? How long is that digital marketing review? What’s that look like? An hour or two, all day, two weeks? [laughs]
Tyler: It’s a two session. It depends on how many podcasts I got to do.
Jeff: How many podcasts you have to do to earn that $1,000.
Tyler: [laughs] We do an intake, very simple, about 30-minute conversation about- where we just try to download what you’re trying to get done. Follow that up with a little bit more research on our end. Sometimes, there’s another little check in just to make sure we have our facts straight. We go out and do a bunch of research on our own, and we take a look at everything that you’ve told us about your business, what you’re actually trying to do, what are your most profitable sources of customers. What do those look like? What do you actually really want to grow? Then we match that with digital marketing tactics.
We take a look at your website. We take a look at prior advertising that you’ve done. Find out what works, what doesn’t work, what needs to be done, what doesn’t need to be done, and give you a plan that you can do with us, and that’s great. You can take it somewhere else. If you have another provider that you just think we might not fit the bill, maybe we’re not a good fit for you, that’s fine. What we will give you is a path forward. That is the one thing that we hear people asking more for than anything else is just a good path forward. That’s what we try to provide.
Jeff: I love it. It’s funny. I look at a lot of MSP sites, and I think you guys know who you are out there. It looks like they’re still in the AltaVista days [crosstalk] in there. For those of you that remember that, in their search and the way that they operate, the way the website looks. We try not to advertise on the podcast, but I do think that even just you and I talking here, and I feel like I learned so much. I also feel like, “Holy crap, if I had to actually go out and come up with a digital marketing strategy, I’d be totally screwed.” For you MSP’s out there that want to really grow your business, get into digital marketing.
You should at least talk to these guys because you could end up wasting a lot of money. Let’s talk about that a little bit here. It’s a good dovetail into that conversational while I take a sip of this really good old you made. What’s the number one mistake that people make with paid search, and how do they avoid it?
Tyler: Yes. It’s putting people into the wrong places on their website.
Jeff: What does that mean?
Tyler: When you set up an ad, you’re going to give it- amongst many things; headlines, keywords, whatever. You give it a destination URL. Meaning this is the page that I’m going to send you to when you’ve read my ad, you’ve clicked it because you’re interested in what I’m saying.
Jeff: Is there a different web page for your ad than there is for your website or should it just point you to your regular website? I don’t mean [crosstalk]
Tyler: No, you’re fine. A lot of people do just send people to their homepage. That’s very common, and it wastes a lot of money.
Jeff: Your ad word was something specific, but then you sent them to a general website. Is that it?
Tyler: Exactly. You sent them to a general website or you didn’t answer their question. You didn’t solve their problem. People who use the internet, they’re all very fickle creatures. If they don’t get their answer they’re looking for in two to three seconds, on getting into a website, seeing it load and seeing what’s on there, they bounce, they go. You need to establish [crosstalk]
Jeff: You paid for this ad word, you better make sure when they land that they land solid.
Tyler: If I’m paying $20 or $30 a click, which a lot of MSPs are going to be around that range, hopefully less, because they have a lot less [crosstalk]
Jeff: That’s a lot of money to an MSP, by the way.
Tyler: You do the work. You optimize things the right way and you bring that cost per click down. You increase your relevancy. You find your only paying $6, $8, $10 a click. You might spend $1,500/$2,000 a month in your little region. If you do things right, you convert at what we would call a good rate, 8% to 10%. You get about $150, $200 a lead depending on whether that’s profitable for you or not. Given the services that you’re using that for, you can make a lot of money, you can waste a lot of money. When you asked me earlier, does paid search suck? For some people, it really sucks. For some people, it will make them tons of money.
It just depends on what you actually do. That’s usually the missing ingredient. A lot of agency to client relationships are when people try to go out and do it on their own. It’s usually the missing element, which sounds a little ridiculous. Like, “I know what I do.” You buy really generic keywords. You’re thinking about yourself as a company. You’re not thinking about the audience and what their problem is and what they’re searching for. We’ll run a little test right now. I do this with the class that I teach [crosstalk]
Jeff: Wait, do I have to take this test?
Tyler: You are. You’re already in it.
Jeff: I’m taking this test. Here we go.
Tyler: You wake up in the morning. You walk down the stairs, and you see that there’s an inch of water on the floor. You knew you ran the dishwasher last night. That’s probably the issue. What’s the first thing you Google?
Jeff: I’m probably going to Google something– That’s a good question. Callie, keep me honest here, but I’m going to Google, “How to clean up water damage?”
Tyler: Callie, what would you do?
Jeff: Maybe Callie’s answers better.
Tyler: We’ll see.
Callie: Broken dishwasher.
Jeff: Broken dishwasher. There’s what she’s going to Google.
Tyler: Same problem.
Jeff: We got to make you a mic, Callie.
Tyler: Two completely different searches. What that means is you have the same issue that you might solve. If you’re a plumber– Those are people I want calling. I’m a 24-hour emergency plumber., I want those phone calls. If you think about all the different ways that people may actually search the problem that they have you’re going to find yourself– It’s going to take a lot of keywords. It’s going to take a lot of ad writing, but you actually think about those problems if you say on your ad, “Hey we help fix water on the floor, water damage.”
Jeff: I’m trying to solve this specific problem?
Tyler: Exactly. Versus someone who’s going on there and saying, “Plumbing services in the Denver area.” Which are you’re going to click? You’re going to click the one that answers–
Jeff: The specific to what I want.
Jeff: Way to go Kelly..
Tyler: Broken dishwasher repair.
Jeff: Broken dishwasher repair? Flooding from dishwasher?
Tyler: Flooding from dishwasher. All really common searches that a good plumber would go and buy, but a lot of them would just buy plumbing services. Which is why actually in Denver that’s like that’s not a cheap click. [laughs] We’ll put it in that way.
Jeff: It’s interesting that when you think of yourself as a larger keyword search it’s really expensive, but when you get really super specific it becomes more effective.
Tyler: Yes. The price usually comes down the more keywords you force into that search. The balance there is making sure you’re going in front of enough people to keep volume up. Google gives you something called a keyword research tool where you can actually just type in stuff, and see what the search volume is on a monthly basis, see what the average cost per click is. What most people out there pay for that click and then what the average competition is. They actually give you a percentage to try and quantify that.
Jeff: It sounds so competitive. If I was going to put this in a real world terms like the billboard that I drive by on I25 everyday on my way home. Is that really what we’re talking about here? Is you’re like you want to make sure that the audience that drives by you on your search term on these search terms find you? Is that really what this is all about?
Tyler: Yes, but Google doesn’t reward going at your competitors. It doesn’t reward findings.
Jeff: It rewards relevancy.
Tyler: Look at you.
Jeff: You’re teaching me. I’m learning.
Tyler: You’re learning something.
Jeff: I’m learning something from you.
Tyler: I could have said that. It does absolutely. Because remember we used Google because it gives us the best results. It’s the genie in our pocket. You ask a question you get a good answer back. It rewards those answers from advertisers by actually charging us less. It’s on a scale of 0 to 10, if have a quality score like what a marketing company should shoot for is a 7 or higher on a lot of your big money terms. You’re actually going to pay a lot less than someone in the same position with a quality score of 3 or 4. It’s actually a multiple. Whether Google explains the way they charge for a click is you will pay one penny more than your competitor who is a position under you.
I know that sounds like a ridiculous statement, but if you think about it in the way that this has to be calculated millions and millions of times a minute, it’s trying to figure out how many different Web sites it’s going to put into those two or three spots. The people who give it the most exact answer to that particular search term you’re going have the highest chance of actually showing up there because Google really wants a hyper-relevant answer.
Jeff: You can pay as much as you want, but if the answer that you’re providing doesn’t answer the question that they’re asking or what they’re searching for, it doesn’t matter anyway. It goes back to our organic search. You might get some clicks, but it might not be exactly the traffic you want.
Tyler: With paid search that’s more true. You can get on to those auctions a lot but you’re going to be paying a lot for those clicks. Google actually tell you–They give you poor average or poor below average, average or above average to tell you the three things that make up quality score. That’s ad relevancy, that’s expected click through rate.
Jeff: Is ad relevancy what you said your ad was or was at the page they landed on when they clicked on the ad?
Tyler: That’s the third one which is landing page relevancy. Ad relevancy is literally are you using the same words in your ads as they’re using to search. That’s ad relevancy. Expected click through rate is based on historical performance. That’s the hardest one to influence. I almost say ignore that one completely. Landing page experience. Do the keywords on your landing page. Does the content on your landing page actually match that ad, and match what Google even things that search intent is? Those are the two things you can really control, ad relevancy and landing page experience. You don’t really need to worry about the historical one, that’ll take care of itself if you’re doing things right.
If you really focus on those two things, landing page experience and ad relevancy, you will see your quality scores go up. You’re going to pay less than a lot of your competitors for the same term because your quality score is higher. Quite frankly, your traffic’s just going to perform better. They’re going to feel more taken care of. When you Google something for a problem that you have, you want to see that they understand your problem, they demonstrate how they solve it, maybe they tell you why their solution is a little bit better than other ones. They’re going to reinforce that through things like testimonials, reviews, all that.
If you think about those four things we’re actually in to avoid advertising, but it’s all there on our website. We do have a little messaging guide that walks you through just establishing those four things before you just go download it. Without thinking through those four steps and what people want to see when they land on a website, you’re going to find yourself with a relatively low-quality score. You’re going to think behind your desk that paid search sucks because you’re paying a lot for these clicks. No one’s converting, no one’s calling you.
Jeff: Nothing’s happening.
Tyler: Yes, nothing’s happening.
Jeff: Wow, man. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty here. I’m going to try to recap some of the things I’ve heard you say. You have to have a relevant landing page, no matter how much you pay. Because if you’re not answering the question that the consumer or the business asked, it doesn’t matter, anyway. Is that accurate?
Jeff: You’re going to spend less money on your paid search if you’re focusing on accomplishing that goal as well. You’re going to be more effective than your competitors if you do that. Is that right? Which means you can’t just ignore the organic search and the quality of the page that they land on. Let me ask you one last thing and we’ll put a bow on this. How do I know that the people that clicked, I had 20 clicks at 20% conversion rate? How do I know that?
Tyler: Google ads will report all this information back to you.
Jeff: They’ll tell you how many people clicked, but how will you know of those people how many converted?
Tyler: You will know that by setting up– there’s conversion tracking that Google will walk you through how to set up. A lot of times, it’s just taking a little bit of HTML code, putting it somewhere in your website to say, “Hey, if they land on this page that’s a positive activity.” You fill out a form online, right? [crosstalk]
Jeff: Yes, absolutely all the time [crosstalk] afterwards.
Tyler: Then you get taken to a page that says, “Hey, thank you, someone’s going to call you or we appreciate you.” They’re not really thanking you for filling out that form. What they’re doing is they’re getting you to a unique URL that you can only access by filling out that form. That’s landing page conversion, which is the most common one that’s probably out there.
Jeff: Can you tell from landing page conversion which of those came from the Google AdWords? Can you do that?
Tyler: That’s the point. You set up your landing page the right way. You fill out this form. After the form fill, we’re going to send you to oursite.com/thiscampaignsnamethankyou page. Hits on that URL can only happen if someone comes from the advertisement-
Jeff: From the AdWords. Wow.
Tyler: – to the landing page-
Tyler: – to the thank you page. Hits on that thank you page we know it came from that. Google will actually let you take that one step further. It will tie that data back for you to your campaign. It takes it another step further, and over time, when we’ve been on there long enough and it’s AI has a chance to think through its computer parts and kick in, you can actually have it optimized for people that have a higher likelihood to actually convert on your website. Doing this more and more gives you more options.
Jeff: Scoring up, you can score up essentially, right?
[Tyler: Absolutely. There’s different ways of bidding. The classic one is just cost-per-click. Google lets you do something called enhanced cost-per-click, which also takes into your website’s data into account and says, “Hey, you convert more traffic when it’s used this word, and they have this historical search pattern. They’ve gone on X many other websites during this internet session.” Google takes all that into account because it’s recording all of our stuff. I
Jeff: [laughs] That doesn’t make me feel better, by the way. That’s what we’re getting for free. That’s the price we pay for what we get for free?
Tyler: Nothing’s for free, and you’ve been using Google a lot. Think about that.
Jeff: A lot. I’ve been using Google nonstop.
Tyler: Think about that one for a second. Google’s taking all of this. We don’t know all the signals that they use, but we know they use a lot. It takes that and it goes, “Your particular website converts people who have these signals better. When these people actually search, when you’re using enhanced cost per click, we’re going to charge you may be a little bit more for that position, but it’s got a higher chance–”
Jeff: It’s going to convert higher at a higher rate.
Jeff: Wow. That’s fantastic. Every time you and I meet, I feel like I learned so much. Then I always say, “I should just bring somebody in to do this work because it’s way too freaking hard.” It’s good to know. Tyler, thanks so much. I really appreciate you always joining us. I’m going to ask you the question I asked you last time, people that are like, “Oh my gosh, this was great information, but I still think I need help.” How do they reach you?
Tyler: Yes, absolutely. We set up just a special landing page because it’s relevant to the people listening to this podcast. You have to take your medicine too, that is
Jeff: MSP, okay, so /MSP. c1-partners.com/msp, they can go there, fill out a form, get more information from you. For those of you that saw that put this up on social media, we’re going to pick three of you at $1,000 value to spend some time with a digital marketing review with C1. All you have to do is share one of the social posts that we put up with this podcast. Will they be talking with you Tyler or do they have to talk with someone else?
Tyler: You’ll be talking to one of our digital marketing consultants.
Jeff: One of the consultants. I love that he just pass that off to one of his team members. Awesome. Thank you so much. Marketing and digital marketing is so important to our partners. They want to find a way to get a leg up on their competitors. This is the exact kind of information they need to do that.
Tyler: It costs a lot of people a lot of money. Frankly, not even just our agency, but that’s what good agencies out there fix.
Jeff: If you spend the money, you get the right agency, you’re going to get the right results, as opposed to just wasting it on someone that’s not getting you what you want.
Jeff: Awesome. Thanks, Tyler. Thanks for making the old fashioned. Cheers brother.
Tyler: I’ll do what I can.
Jeff: All right, we’ll do a cheers there. Thanks a lot, everybody. Once again, as a reminder, we are running a contest. If you share this podcast post from Axcient, social, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, you’ll be entered in to win a digital marketing review with $1,000 value. I think we’re going to pick three winners this time, and try to get you guys engaged. Please make sure you so you share this on your social media pages. We’ll be talking to you probably sometime soon here. Thanks a lot, Tyler. I appreciate it, man.
Tyler: Thank you.
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