Adwords Grants news

Adwords Grants newsAdvertisers on either Google’s Ad Grants or Grantspro programmes should have received an email on 14th December notifying them of  policy updates that will come into force on 1st January 2018. It left very little room for manoeuvre, especially with the Christmas break in between. In fact just 10 full working days to react and take action.
Help is at Hand
The Ad Grants policy changes are designed to help non-profits use their grants budgets more efficiently. However, the changes are very well hidden and so we have highlighted these below:

  • All Ad Grants accounts must maintain an account level CTR (Click Through Rate) of 5% as a minimum ( Grantspro accounts only had to maintain a minimum CTR, which was 1%)
  • There will be restrictions on the use of single-word keywords, with exceptions: “owned brand terms, medical conditions, basic keywords relating directly to supporting a charity, or due to the sensitive nature of the causes that charities support”
  • There will be a minimum quality score requirement of 2/10 for all keywords
  • Advertisers can no longer bid on branded keywords that they don’t already own
  • The $2 maximum  CPC (Cost Per Click) bid ceiling is being lifted but only for keywords in campaigns that have the “Maximise Conversions” bid strategy applied
  • Geo-targeting settings must be in use
  • Each campaign must have a minimum of two ad groups with at least two active ads in each
  • Accounts must have a minimum of two active site-link extensions

 
The biggest challenge for Charities is likely to be the Click Through Rate of 5% as a minimum and will potentially require the most work.

How to improve your PPC Click Through rate

So the starting point has to be filtering out these under performing keywords and optimising them. Make sure your keywords are themed and relevant to the ads, optimise the ads, and make sure they are using those keywords, ensure you include well optimised ad extensions, and include the two site link extensions as a given, and perhaps most importantly research those negative and therefore irrelevant keywords well, and exclude them.

Restrictions on the use of single-word keywords

You may find that you do not need to do anything to rectify this. As this is labelled a ‘restriction’, you might find that come the 1st of January you start to see a drop in impressions for a number of single-word keywords and this will be the reason.
Go through your single-word keywords now so you have an idea of where the drop-offs might occur to get yourself prepared. Perhaps you can expand on the single-word keywords and add relevant variations with multiple words that you aren’t already bidding on.

Minimum Quality Score requirement of 2 for all keywords

This one shouldn’t be a problem as unless you’re doing something wrong, your quality scores should never get lower than 2 anyway.
However, if somehow this is the case then the quick fix option is to pause any keywords with a quality score of 1 immediately. Putting the keyword in a themed ad group with relevant ads and landing pages is what you’re aiming for.

You can only bid on owned brand terms

If you’re bidding on a branded term, you need to be the owner. However, if you have some campaigns where you’re bidding on event names e.g. certain marathons or obstacle course races, then you’re going to want to continue to bid on a number of “brand terms” for those events that you don’t own.
This is particularly alarming as in their own words “any account found in violation of program policies is subject to automatic suspension without notification.” The short timescale they’ve given to respond to these changes only adds to the importance of this one.
If you’re concerned, pause those brand terms you don’t own.

The $2 max CPC bid ceiling is being lifted

As long as you apply the “maximise conversions” bid strategy to any campaign in which you want your keywords to break through said ceiling. Go to your campaign settings then scroll down to Location options (advanced), expand it and change your bid strategy. The strategy works off conversion data, so make sure your conversions are all set up correctly and have enough data.

Geo-targeting settings must be in use

Go to your campaign settings and make sure you have at least one location chosen.

Campaigns must have 2 ad groups minimum with two active ads in each

Another pretty fundamental requirement, the solution to which could be more involved depending on the current state and size of your account. Every advertiser should be carrying out ad copy testing and when we last spoke to Google, they actively recommend testing three as opposed to two ads as a minimum.

Accounts must have two active site-link extensions as a minimum

If you find yourself in the position of needing to address this one, then you need our help, please feel free to pick up the phone 01604 328899

When it comes to content and SEO what exactly is it that Google is looking for?

What is the best length of content you should have on a page?
Should the content be written for SEO or for people? 
Even as an SEO expert company, everything changes so quickly that it can be hard to keep up. However, we are resolute in our continued development of our team, and ongoing learning is an everyday essential part of our job, and our knowledge is something we love to share.
Delivering training courses, webinars and seminars are all in a days work for us, and we simply have to be ahead of the curve. So with that in mind, let’s answer a few of those questions.
What exactly is it that Google is looking for?
We can of course only make an assumption here, but as a business, Google would be looking for market share, and to do that it must give the very best user experience to those who use Google as it’s search engine. After all, if Bing were better, then we would all be using Bing and Binging instead of Googling.
So, if you can imagine that to give it’s users the best experience, it should only show relevant websites to its queried search terms, and also websites that are secure, mobile friendly and quick to load.
That’s what we aim for when we are looking to optimise a clients website. Security, Speed and Mobile Friendly sites get ranked more easily than those which are not on https, are not mobile friendly and are very slow to load.
When we watch the changes happening in our SERPS results, we reverse engineer everything to work out what the latest change is all about, and in 2017 Website Security, Speed and Mobile Friendliness were key for SEO.
What is the best length of content you should have on a page?
This is one with an answer that you will all very much dislike us for. When you look at all the research, and we look at our own websites and the length of content on the pages and posts, it is obvious that the more the better, and in fact it seems that 3000 words is optimum. For now anyway). So get writing!
Should the content be written for SEO or for people? 
We think this is obvious, but we get asked this all the time, so perhaps it is not so obvious when you are not in the SEO and Content “Loop”, but content should be created with the user in mind, not for SEO. When you write about a subject on your website, that is related to your website, and you understand it, are passionate about it and can offer real insight and value to your client or prospect at different stages of their customer journey, then Google will easily be able to determine what is great content and what is not. In addition, if you are writing for people, then it will be more easily read, more engaging and more likely to be shared with colleagues or friends and family.
Remember we said that Google would most likely be looking at User Experience?
Well given that Google also have access to Google Analytics and Webmasters relating to your website, they can see how many pages that visitor has viewed, how long they spent on each page and therefore how engaged they were. This is key in determining if your site is relevant to a search query – after all, if you land on a website and it is not relevant – you flip straight off again.
We hope this helps and makes perfect sense, but if you do have any questions, please do not hesitate to make contact 

Trusted Digital Media Advisers

Trusted Digital Media Advisers

Yesterday two members of the M3 team went to Google in London for a days training with a view to gain an additional qualification as a Google Certified Trusted Digital Media Advisers.
The day started with the usual networking, and then a quick overview of this new initiative from Google. In fact, this was the launch event where around just 100 Google Partners from across the UK came together to learn new skills and hopefully gain the qualification. With 2 places per agency, this means that there are currently only around 50 agencies who would have been given this opportunity.
With education on SERPS (SEO), paid advertising and other methods of ensuring our customers can make the most of the digital age and the opportunity it presents, this was an intense boot-camp style day.
The benchmark was set high, with all the Google employees who attended the event sitting the exam just the day before, under the same conditions we ourselves, we are pleased to announce that both Gemma and Tracy passed with flying colours. In fact, even beating some of the Google team scores!
With all the knowledge gained from the day, and the ongoing Google insights, M3 have decided to share that knowledge at a regular monthly event, details of which can be found here:
Digital Masterclass Events
If the uptake is good, Google have promised to attend an event here, so please pass on the link to anyone who you feel may benefit from a training session or two on the latest from Google.
Thanks, and looking to see you soon…
Tracy and Gemma
Trusted Digital Media Advisors – as Certified by Google
Trusted Digital Media Advisers

Voice Recognition and Search

Did you know that 20% of mobile searches on Google are done using Voice recognition?

What does this mean for you? 
Your website is probably optimised for search in the traditional way, but now is the time to start thinking about the different ways people will search for products and services just like yours.
If you are Business to Consumer, the average of 20% is probably higher. But even Business to Business need to take Voice search into consideration.
You will have seen the adverts for Alexa and Google home, you may have your smart phone connected to your car via bluetooth, you will have questioned Siri on your iPad.
In each instance, when you search for information, you speak it. The way we speak to our smart devices is very different to the way we type.
We will show you some of the queries that are making an impact for our clients right now!

Questions people speak to search

When people are on the move, we are finding they are asking their smartphones to find “near me” places.
Let’s look at traditional types searches.

With voice recognition, the wording changes completely, and the above typed search queries are now spoken as below:

  • Find a hotel near me
  • Find a Chinese restaurant near me
  • Massage therapist near me
  • Find a car repair shop near me
  • Pizza delivery near me
  • Carpet cleaning service near me

You can see that people are asking questions of their device, and so comes a dilemma for your website.

How do you get found for these type of queries?

Google is all about presenting relevant content (not just words, but images and videos too) to the people who are searching, Google is looking for well constructed web pages that are safe and secure, quick to load, mobile friendly and are relevant for that particular search query. It want’s to showcase new, fresh and original content as much as possible too.
You need to ensure that you are writing original content that is genuinely of interest to people. Please note that I am saying of interest to PEOPLE, not to Google. Your readers determine a part of the Google algorithm but showing an interest in your webpage and others leading from that page.
If you are finding this interesting, for example, you may look at other pages of our website, and this web page engagement lets Google know that the page was interesting and therefore relevant to that search. If I had optimised this page just for Google, you may find it boring, and will literally bounce straight off the page and onto something more interesting elsewhere.
Within your content, you may be able to answer some of the questions people are asking.
It’s not just near me queries, but others too such as:

How does ??? What is ??? What does ???

Questions can be answered by way of content that helps your business not only get found, but become a resource of valuable information too.

Answering questions helps clients and prospects understand your knowledge, and therefore you become the “go to” company of choice.
Content is still king, and we can’t see that changing any time soon.

British Water Workshop – At Google.

Today saw M3 Strategic Marketing taking over rooms at Google in St Giles, London.
When British Water asked us to deliver a workshop all about Google to their members, what better place to hold it than at Google’s London H.Q. in St Giles. Being a Google Partner means that Google support us from day to day, which in turn means we can deliver that expertise direct to our clients, in this case British Water.

British Water Google Micro Moments
Google presenting “Micro Moments”

A full day of training on Synergistic Marketing, which pulls offline and online together, was delivered by Derek Bourne of Waterbourne Ltd, Michael Spence and Tracy Spence. In addition, Google delivered a presentation all about “Micro Moments”and played the “Higher or Lower” game with the audience too.
The room was bursting at the seams and British Water had a reserve list of people waiting in the wings, and no one cancelled at the last minute.
The workshop itself was jam packed with useful insights, suggestions of tools to help the companies in attendance, hints, tips and the questions flowed.
British Water Workshop at Google
Michael Spence – Moments of Truth

Unfortunately, the day itself was marred with the terrorist attack on Westminster that same afternoon, just a mile down the road, but it did not stop the learning.
British Water have asked us to deliver the same again but near Manchester, and we will also be delivering a series of smaller, more detailed workshops targeted at different levels of knowledge a little later in the year.

Thank you for an excellent training workshop on Digital Marketing yesterday. I think most attendees were overwhelmed with your knowledge and it is clear that we could have delivered a full day or two day training course!
Lila Thompson – International Director, British Water

Google SEO

Recently, Google released a new video all about SEO and how to hire an SEO expert near you! What is interesting is the number of SEO companies who are now actively sharing this video exclaiming that all along they have been Optimising websites using Google Best Practices and with you as a customer in mind.
Well, we totally agree and are also going to share this “How to Hire an SEO” video with you.

What is also interesting are the number of “SEO” companies who are not happy to share this, and we think this is very telling.
As a business ourselves, we want value for money and to work with companies who understand our business and want to help us grow and grow with us. We want  to work with companies who are transparent, honest and talk with us.
Why would our clients be any different? 
As Google says, SEO is not just about rankings and getting clicks on a website, if that were the case, my job would be easy. I could just sit here clicking away. But, SEO is all about the user experience from the starting point of their specific customer journey, to their onsite experience and ultimately the sale and even after sale service.
We work with all our clients to understand their business and their potential clients, to identify who wants what information at different times of their experience with our clients website, and to make that journey as simple as possible.
We are not about clicks, but we are about converting your website visitors into loyal customers, giving you lifetime value from each sale we achieve as a team.
Please do watch the video and contact us if you have any questions at all or simply request your FREE SEO web audit by clicking here >>

Google Adwords Partner Expert

As a Google AdWords Partner we are exposed to a lot of training and Paid Advertising Intelligence that other agencies are not privy to, and this helps us help our clients grow their businesses. So when the Giant in online advertising Google suggests a meeting at your premises, we didn’t say no. However, never to miss an opportunity, we arranged to meet at their offices in St Giles, London. This meeting was to discuss specifically about our own business, and to determine what else Google needed to provide us to help us grow.
Specifically in the meeting we discussed Gmail Advertising on Google, as both ourselves and Google see this is a great way forward for many of our clients. It is currently not common and so the costs are also a lot less than perhaps other forms of paid advertising on the Google networks. In addition we discussed the importance of having a strategy for each client to determine the very best route, the ideal landing page, and the best keywords too.
With any paid adverts, you need to consider what pert of the customer journey your prospect is on, what they want from your website when they land on it and what tactics you need to employ to convert that click into a sale going forward.
For example, if someone is searching the query “How easy is it to get a business loan” they will be less likely to convert into a sale than someone who is searching “Business loan for van”. With this in mind, the landing pages should be very different and the strategies should also be different. The “How to” query should take you to a landing page that gives you ideas as to what documents you may need (a checklist perhaps). Because people who land here are likely to go away and find these documents, then we would also recommend a re-marketing strategy from this page. Whereas, those who are being more specific, they already know what they want, and so a quote form or calculator would be more appropriate. Here if they complete the form, you already have the information to enable you to make contact and perhaps close the deal, and a different re-marketing strategy should be implemented for those who did not complete the form (abandoned the process).
If you are looking at your online paid advertising and are serious about getting results, then look to M3 Strategic Marketing to help you devise a Google AdWords Strategy before you take the plunge. Using M3 will save you money n wasted clicks and get the most from your Google AdWords Spend.
Contact us now on 01604 328899

Google Adwords Experts Northamptonshire

Yes, we did it!
As a Google Partner, we were all encouraged by Google to step up to the challenge of studying for and passing all 6 Google Adwords Exams.
The Google Adwords exams included:Google Adwords Experts Northamptonshire

  • Google Adwords Fundamentals
  • Google Adwords Search
  • Google Adwords Display
  • Google Adwords Shopping
  • Google Adwords Video
  • Google Adwords Mobile

As a Google Partner, our business must always have at least two people who have passed the Adwords Fundamental Exam and another, so in fairness we all only had a maximum of 4 exams to sit and pass in order to qualify for this new certificate and we were up for the challenge!
Lauren passed first after putting in the time early mornings, and Michael and Tracy soon followed.
This means that 3 of the M3SM team are now qualified in all aspects of Google Adwords, with others in the team qualified and focused on certain niche aspects.
So if you are looking for a Google Adwords Expert in Northamptonshire, then we are the people to help.

M3 Attend Google Partner Event

M3SM, Northampton - Google PartnerAs a Google Partner we are often invited to attend events in London, Manchester etc. On this occasion though, we were asked to present at a special Partners event.

The event itself was insightful and educational, as all the Partner events are. Through a series of educational hangouts, e-learning and live classes, some Partners, including Michael and Tracy from M3 Strategic Marketing, have enhanced their knowledge to such a level that Google currently consider M3 Strategic Marketing to be in the top 200 of all active UK and Ireland Partner agencies, as recognised by their entry into their Elevator Programme.
Tracy Spence - Google PartnerOur continued education helps us improve and enhance greatly the results we gain for our clients in various aspects of digital marketing. Meaning you don’t have to spend the time and effort in training your own staff to do this role.

Our team of staff are highly knowledgeable, experienced and trained in everything to do with Digital Marketing, and the majority are also Google Squared Graduates, too. In fact, one of our graduates passed with a distinction and obtained a special mention for helpfulness too at the awards ceremony in London, UK.

So, if your business need help and support with your Digital Marketing, you know who to call first!

Penguin is the designated name that Google has given to a series of algorithm changes designed to battle spam link tactics and monitor the quality of links to a website. The Google Penguin program started in April 2012 and immediately had an impact on website owners and the digital industry. Sites that were deemed to be breaking the rules by over-reliance on poor quality or spam links suddenly dropped from the Google search results, many of them are still struggling to recover.
3d Penguin offers you his magnifying glassWhilst there have been several updates over the last few years, the Penguin 4 update expected in 2016 is expected to make significant changes again. Penguin 4 is rumoured to be a ‘real-time’ update to the algorithm. This means that the Penguin portion of the algorithm will always be ‘on’ and updating. This means Google can analyse link profiles more quickly and will help keep sites from ranking well if considered poor quality.

So what can you do to be ready for Google Penguin 4?

The first priority is to analyse your website’s link profile and check whether those links pointing to your site are natural and beneficial. Are some obviously paid for or from incredibly low quality websites? If so, then these links could actually harm your website and you need to get rid of them. This can be done manually by contacting webmasters and asking them to remove the link, which can be a very time consuming process, or alternatively submit a disavow request to Google listing the links to your website that you don’t want it to consider.
At M3SM we have tools to analyse your current website link profile and can devise a plan to address any issues you may have with the quality of your links.

And then what?

Once any ‘spammy’ links are removed businesses should then have a plan to build decent, high-authority links to their website instead. ‘Good’ links will always remain one of the most important ranking factors for search engines.

How can M3SM help build ‘good’ links?

Here at M3SM we have always used ethical techniques to build high quality links naturally.
There are many ways to do this but important examples:

  • * Content – by creating real value for your website visitors with unique engaging content that offers solutions to people. The content may take many forms – blogs, whitepapers, videos, infographics – but the more valuable your content, the more links you’ll build.
  • * Partner with customers, suppliers and industry bodies. Links from relevant websites in your industry will carry credibility for your customers and the search engines.
  • * Business Directories will often provide a website link with your business listing. These listings are often free to complete and will potentially direct relevant industry visitors to you website.
  • * Social sites / Forums – if you have relevant content, comments or opinions there are now many online platforms where you can connect and link.
  • * Local organisations – particularly useful for local businesses – many societies, charities, sports clubs etc. are pleased to link with businesses involved in the community.

So if you want to understand how to benefit from Google Updates and Penguin 4 in particular please contact M3SM today. Working with you every step of the way, we’ll analyse your business and develop a bespoke plan to maximise your business.

HOW TO speed up Google Chrome

For months now, Google Chrome has been getting slower for us here in the M3SM office.
Google Chrome is such an impressive browser, with a lot of hidden and very useful applications, uses and extensions, that we are loathed to move over to a different, less friendly browser, and most definitely all of us refuse to use Internet Explorer unless we are testing websites as we build them, and even them we groan when we have to.
But with the extensions that we use in-house for Social Media especially, Chrome opens up a new iterence and causing your computer to become very slow.

We found the solution!

Its really very simple… Go To chrome://flags/#max-tiles-for-interest-area
Change the default to 512
Scroll down to the bottom and Relaunch Google Chrome
THAT’S IT!!! 
HOW TO speed up Google Chrome
The system will go slow as it re-configures, for about 30 seconds, so you need to be really patient, and then the speed difference is instantaneous and significant.

Mobilegeddon - googlebot activity

Back in February, Google announced it would be making significant changes to the way it shows websites within its search results.
This was made live today, and has been dubbed “Mobilegeddon” because of it’s potentially disastrous effect on companies search placings.
Google went to extensive efforts to inform companies of these changes, through webmaster emails, but still this pre-warning has been mostly ignored by small to medium businesses around the world.
We know that this algorithm change is likely to be bigger than Panda or Penguin.

Mobilegeddon - googlebot activityHow will it affect your business?

Are you one of those who panicked and made the change, or did you do like a lot of others and ignored the change?
Those who invested the time and money to make their website mobile friendly may reap the benefits over their online competition. Those that did not make the change may in fact not notice much difference. It is not fully dependent on your website after all.
You may fin yourself surrounded by a new list of online competitors that perhaps you have not encountered before. Alternatively, your known online competition may have done exactly the same as you did, in which case not much will change for your industry sector, especially those in a niche area may find hardly any difference at all.

What can I do?

If you see the results start to drop, now is the time to contact us to make changes to your website and the way you are found online, before it is unrecoverable.
CONTACT US NOW FOR YOUR FREE SEO AUDIT REPORT