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With bonfire night just behind us, we’ve been thinking about things that ‘should never be forgot’ in the world of digital marketing.

Here’s our round up of some common SEO and SEM mistakes people make that can cause their marketing plans to go up in flames!

SEO mistakes that should never be forgotten!

Search engine optimisation is an ever moving landscape, and it can be easy for website owners to get left behind. There are never ending algorithm updates and regular changes to the way search search engines display information, not to mention spam updates and evolving technologies. While keeping up to date with the latest changes is good for business, there are many typical mistakes that unsuspecting website owners may be falling foul of, completely unaware!

Read on for some of the SEO mistakes that can hurt your online visibility and conversion rate.

Not having a mobile responsive website

Having a mobile responsive website is essential in this day and age. It’s easy to check if your website displays nicely on mobile devices. Simply view your site on any up to date smartphone or tablet or use the website inspection tool. If the elements don’t stack up in a uniformed easy view and you have to zoom in and scroll to read the text, you should be thinking about a redesign.

Why is a mobile responsive website important?

Global mobile internet usage is 59.72% according to Statista, and that is the number one reason why you should ensure that you have a mobile responsive design! With nearly 60% of global internet use taking place on mobile devices, if your site isn’t responsive and delivering a good user experience, then you could be losing out on some serious web traffic. This is especially true for ecommerce websites. Conversions matter, so if your visitors experience a clunky, awkward and uninspiring session, they will simply click away and shop elsewhere. 

Furthermore, the search engine that takes the lion’s share of internet users, Google, uses mobile-first indexing. This means that Google will use the mobile version of the site first for indexing and ranking. As a result, a non-responsive design will suffer in the SERPs. This by all means isn't new news, as Google have been doing this since 2019. However, judging from the number of outdated sites on the internet, it appears that many website owners have been left in the dust when it comes to staying on top of website evolution.

If you need a website redesign, there are plenty of tried and tested CMS platforms out there to help you spruce up your site and ensure it is compatible with mobile devices. They include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento and Shopify, plus other well known platforms such as Wix and Squarespace. 

It’s worth noting though, that website migration shouldn't be taken lightly. This is because significant changes to your site architecture, content, UX, UI or even switching to a completely new CMS have the potential to disrupt your organic search results, for better or worse. 

If done properly, your new site might do a little dance around the SERPs before settling down in a better position. However, if the site migration isn’t taken seriously, you could see your organic positioning tank down the SERPS (search engine results pages). If you need help with website design or migration, then contact us to find out how the team at Bell can help!

Mobile responsive website design

Missing & Duplicate Metadata - Page Tiles & Meta Descriptions

Ensuring that you have optimised and compelling unique page titles and meta descriptions is important for SEO. It might seem obvious, but many website owners overlook this aspect.

Understandably, large sites and ecommerce websites can have hundreds or thousands of pages, so keeping on top of a seemingly simple aspect of website maintenance is sometimes not as easy as it might seem.

Why are they important?

Page titles and meta descriptions provide a unique opportunity to promote your product or service in search engine results pages. Think of them as mini text based adverts that are designed to entice a user to click onto your website. They are also a key aspect that indicates to the search engine and user the subject topic of the page or product. 

How can you tell if they are missing?

There are many tools available that will crawl your website so you can analyse your metadata such as Screaming Frog, SEMrush, Sitebulb, Ubersuggest, and more. Find the missing or duplicate meta then fix and optimise it to help improve your position in organic search results. 

Not setting up canonical URLs

Ensuring you have canonicalized your URLs is something that webmasters often overlook.

So, what exactly is canonicalization and why does it matter? 

Search engines, like Google, don’t like duplicate or similar content. This is because if there are two or more pages talking about the same subject matter on one website, it won’t know which page to rank. Furthermore, having duplicate or similar content can cause issues with content cannibalization. Think of this as internal competition within your site with two or more pages competing to rank for the same keyword.

Ensuring you have implemented canonical tags across your site will tell the crawl bots where to find the master URL (the canonical URL). If you don’t implement canonical tags then the search engine will choose the page that it deems to be the canonical URL, which may be different to what you have intended. 

SEM mistakes that should never be forgotten!

If you’re using paid advertising to support your web presence and drive revenue, then here’s a brief summary of some common SEM mistakes that should never be forgotten!

Setting up very high CPCs compared to allocated budget

To make profitable conversions through PPC, you need to make sure you keep a close eye on your CPC. Cost per click can go up or down depending on factors such as competition and seasonal changes, and what used to be affordable may not be so affordable now! If the cost outweighs the profit, then you can find yourself in a sticky situation.

Why is CPC important?

Your cost per click will define how quickly you use up your daily budget. If you are bidding on expensive keywords and have a low budget, then you can expect to see your budget disappear quickly, resulting in your website having to rely on organic traffic to see it through the rest of the day.

On mobile devices, paid ads dominate small screens and this combined with searcher laziness and unwillingness to scroll down a page will mean that you risk losing potential traffic to your competitors if you’ve run out of budget.

How can you fix this?

There are some tricks of the trade to help you overcome expensive CPCs such as:

  • Research less competitive keywords to target - Less traffic doesn't always mean less conversions and if you tailor your ads to target mid to long tail keyphrases you could achieve a better conversion rate because your ad may be aligned more with the users' search queries.
  • Focus on improving your Quality Score - Ensure your ad is relevant to user intent and that your landing page experience is satisfying.
  • Analyse your data - Look at your data to see what kind of users are clicking through and whether or not they convert. You may find that the demographic isn’t hitting your sweet spot, in which case you may be better off putting some or all of your budget into a different advertising platform or reworking your ads to better target your desired audience.

Using the wrong keyword match types

A common mistake people make when implementing a Google Ads campaign is selecting the wrong keyword match types. Here’s a few examples:

If you select broad match types, you may get a lower CPC but you could end up spending your budget on clicks that don’t turn into conversions. This is because although the competition is lower, the relevance to the user can be less, meaning you can end up wasting money. If you are using broad match, be sure to exclude search terms that will send the wrong audience your way by using negative keywords.

Selecting the exact match keyword type will mean that your ad will only appear if the user types in the exact phrase. This keyword match type tends to be more expensive on a CPC basis and you will get less traffic, but relevance will be higher meaning you have a better chance to convert the click into a sale. This is OK if you are looking to drive traffic to sell one very specific product type but it isn't so helpful if you want to appeal to a larger audience. 

If you run an ecommerce site it is especially important that you check your stock inventory when using exact match. There’s no point driving users to your site for them to discover the item is out of stock. A loss for you and a waste of time for your potential customer!

When using phrase match, you must be really careful when selecting which phrases you want to target. This is because if a user types a phrase but their search has an additional word in the middle of it, your ad won’t show up! It will however show if the additional word is before or after your phrase.

With phrase match, the best way to optimise your ad campaign is to think like a user. You can even look at your analytics data to find out how people search for your products or services and then amend your key phrases to reflect real user searches to give you a better chance of your ad appearing.

Need help with your digital marketing?

If you’ve found your business has been making costly marketing mistakes and you need expert help to turn things around, contact our team who can help to kickstart your marketing campaign.

As a Head of Paid Media, I often participate in new clients pitching and, more often than not, I am surprised at how companies are quick to dismiss Microsoft Ads as a good advertising platform for them. However, in most cases, this could not be further from the truth. This is why I wanted to showcase in a few points why you should look at Microsoft Ads twice before dismissing it and potentially losing out on a great opportunity for your company.

1. When the cat is away…

One of the great advantages of Microsoft Advertising is that it often has a less competitive auction compared to Google. This can translate into better CPCs, which will in turn have a direct impact on your ROAS. Looking at our retail clients for the past 3 years, we actually notice certain stability in cost per clicks from Microsoft Ads whereas Google paints a much darker picture in recent years.

In fact, when looking at external data from various sources you may find Microsoft Ads’ CPCs to be up to 60% cheaper than Google Ads at times.

2. Gen W, X, Y, Z

Part of the stereotype circling around Microsoft Ads is its lack of reach or richness of audiences, especially around the younger generations. Although there is some truth there (Bing has a 12% market share and do not forget about search partners), it does not necessarily make it a weakness, and for some businesses, this can actually become a strength!

For instance, data shows that 40% of the Microsoft Audience Network is aged between 35 and 54 years old. This is especially noticeable when you look at average order values between Google and Bing. In our case, looking at retail again, but this time all campaign types, Bing is always higher apart from 2020 slightly falling behind due to the particularity of that year (especially budgeting wise). This once again helps in producing higher ROAS for your campaigns.

Moreover, despite having a lesser market share than the giant that Google is, Bing is actually growing in popularity even amongst younger generations especially on desktop where it has grown its overall share by 41% since 2019.
Check out the Microsoft Search Network data.

3. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy

Microsoft Ads is incredibly humble and knows that it can’t always compete with Google Ads, and it is for this reason that they work hard on delivering services that are as close as possible as what Google Ads does. If you ask me this is a brilliant mindset to have as a company, as they focus on making it as easy as possible for the end consumer to use their tool whilst also being able to focus on their own innovations on the side.
Probably the best feature to demonstrate this would be the import functionality built in to Microsoft Ads, allowing you not only to import your campaigns from Google Ads, but also to do it via schedules so every change made on Google are replicated on Microsoft. At Bell, we are no strangers to this functionality, although more often than not, we mainly use it once, when creating accounts. As we are very data-driven, we prefer optimising campaigns differently on each search engine.

4. Google is not the only one that Innovates…

As mentioned earlier, Microsoft often replicates Google’s features in an effort to make their platform as easy to use as possible. However, they are also innovating a lot, especially in recent years. For instance, Microsoft Ads is now able to use LinkedIn audiences in UK and USA based on Job, Companies and Industries. This gives it an incredible advantage over Google Ads in the B2B world. Moreover, MSAN, the equivalent of the GDN for Google, allows you to leverage these audiences with images (and soon videos) or directly in Outlook. In fact, another recent announcement from Microsoft was the arrival of Facebook import in order to easily recreate display campaigns based on your Facebook Ads activity.

At Bell Digital we are ready to help you launch your Paid Media activity, with 15+ years of expertise spent on adapting and perfecting our methodologies on a variety of advertising platforms such as Microsoft Ads. We are a Microsoft Advertising Select Partner and a Premier Google Partner.

Get in touch to learn more about our services. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

It is no secret that Paid Search, and more particularly Google Ads, is evolving at an incredible pace.

Even though 2020 was a weird year for everyone and every industry, Google kept changing up core systems that we have grown to consider staples of PPC. In the last year alone, we have seen fewer details in SQR, phasing out of Gmail ads as a standalone campaign type, expansion of more automated bidding and campaigns such as Smart Shopping and even more recently a major change in match types with the announcement of BMM’s death. Even Microsoft Ads is disturbing our habits with the upcoming removal of Manual Bidding being replaced by eCPC (honestly, we all thought Google would do it first).

So when I hear the question “What will Paid Search be like in 5 years?” I often feel like the answer could be unrecognisable at this stage. Nonetheless here are some of my favourite answers.

A push for automation

Microsoft Ads has just announced it so I think this is probably the safest guess at this point. In 5 years there will no longer be any purely manual bidding solutions on the two mainstream Search Engine platform that are Google and Microsoft Ads. Going forward I would argue that even a semi-automated strategy such as eCPC will no longer be available and we will be looking at a landscape made of tCPAs, tROAS and who knows maybe even new ones. tMargins could be of interest?

Dynamic Ads

Another very recent news that dropped in 2021 is the default search ad becoming RSA instead of ETA. We had seen the signs before with certain Google Ads account no longer having the option to create text ad. Technically ETA is still available to create and use but the same way the original text ads were slowly replaced by ETAs, I bet you that ETAs are on the same trajectory with RSA now.

What is Quality Score even?

Quality Score is another one of those core systems that Google is probably boiling in the inside to phase out. It has been with us forever and dictates how everyone competes in the search auction but is it really that important nowadays?

For me the answer remains yes, but simply not as much as it used to be, here are the reasons:

- Ad strength: Google has been pushing Advertisers very strongly on improving ad strength for our RSA Ads for a while now. The fact that RSA is now becoming the default ad type will only reinforce this message and if you think about it, ad strength could easily replace ad relevance someday.

- Optimisation score: Another way of measuring your campaigns up to Google’s standards. I personally have mixed feelings about this one, because as much as the recommendations can be useful sometimes, a lot of it is usually irrelevant in my case. However, remember that we are talking about 5 years in the future and by then I could see this becoming a much stronger tool for both advertisers and Google.

- Smart Bidding: Now this one is a bit more out of the box but hear me out! What is probably the most important thing to consider and work on when you are on smart bidding? For me, it is your Conversion Rate. It is simple, if you put a campaign on a tCPA and that your CR is not good enough for your given target, then you lose Impression Share and thus lose potential Traffic. The next evolution of PPC in an automated world is going to be CRO and ultimately what is CRO about if not landing page experience.

Could you imagine Google Ads without keywords?

I can! Think about it for a second, in the past two years we have seen 2 different evolutions of match type with close variant V1 for misspells and close variant V2 which let’s be honest is a mess. We are now in 2021 and as I mentioned before BMM will be gone by the end of the year leaving us with a new Phrase MT and Google pushing us towards Broad. Add to that the DSA Campaigns & Ad groups as well as the new Performance Max campaign type (in beta) not running on keywords either and you get some hint of a future without keywords.

More ad & extension formats

Google is known to be testing a few things on the SERP every year, would it be visually or more especially the format the ad appears to the searchers, form ads for instance? It is thus highly likely that we will see new ad or extension formats coming our way in 5 years. I would not be surprised to see industry-specific formats coming and going by then.

In conclusion, what will we see in 5 years? To sum it all up the clear answer is more automation and less direct control. That is not necessarily a bad thing though, as mentioned before, automation pushes advertisers to make their website better. So even though less time could be spent on optimising your accounts, we will still need to strategise. If you are in an agency, that will also mean more time accompanying your client both on advertising platforms and on their website, purely on CRO or even mixed in with SEO. For agencies, it will be a time to stop being specialised in one specific BU and becoming more and more full service to make the most out of any type of advertising budgets.

At ESV Digital we already understood this shift and that is why we evolved from a search specific agency to also being specialised in SEO, Social, Analytics & Strategy, so we can further accompany our clients towards successful growth.

If you are interested in hearing more, do not hesitate to get in contact with us and it will be a pleasure to see what we can achieve with you.

You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

Marketing as a whole has some core prerequisites to be successful (measurable goals, a united and clear message to convey, smart budgeting). Paid Digital Marketing is no different but a unique strength of the digital space is a central factor in making all forms of digital advertising work. It’s not keywords, it’s not bids, it’s not directly being able to track and attribute conversions - for the latter, many advertisers don’t care about conversions so much. It is audiences.

Audience tracking, targeting and managing is Paid Digital Marketing’s secret sauce

There are certainly those who may claim the website is the real common denominator but you can have the best website in the world; if the users visiting it are low quality (poor intent, the wrong type of user in any way) it can’t get you results.

It is true that below-par websites will generally perform poorly but they’ll perform far above their fighting weight with good audience strategy.

Many advertisers are starting to get to grips with this fact, as PPC Keywords get diluted and many forms of control on search, shopping and display recede, because the biggest remaining lever of control (and insight) that seems to be surviving all this change is audiences.

What do we mean by audiences?

When speaking about audiences, I’m referring to literally any aspect of a user’s profile or behaviour that can be categorized, measured and targeted. This can include:

  • Location
  • Device
  • New or returning visitor
  • Prospective or returning customer
  • Engagement behaviour with the site or ads (e.g. video ads)
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Life stage/event
  • Content topics of interest
  • Occupation

This is by no means an exhaustive list and these are all beyond the basic audience segment of those who search on a search engine and self-select to be an audience member of “people who searched for product x.”

Many of these have long been used by Facebook advertisers or on LinkedIn but now marketers have a host of powerful options on both Google and Bing Ads plus other Display networks.


What is the value and what are the potential applications for all these audiences? Before anything else, you need to look at the data you have pertaining to these audience types. Without this we cannot know if it’s salient to even do anything with age groups, for instance. Maybe all ages convert about the same rate. And don’t forget to review how they may impact your CLV (Customer Lifetime Value).

To gather data about audiences that are not sourced internally, you can sometimes just run a report with these segments - normally the most generic user properties, like demographics or location - but for the more advanced and granular audience types, you may be able to add those audiences as “observed” audiences for a time to gather data. Google Ads is a great example of this. Once you have allowed time to pass and the data to accumulate, you may be surprised by some audience correlations and conversions on your site.

Once you have an idea of where performance opportunities lie, you can then decide how to segment targeting, auto-bidding and messaging to address them.

Not all audience uses must be hard-data-led, however. They can also be used simply to segment messaging. Decide what USP of your offering will ring bells with a certain audience (or layered audience) but also position the brand and set an appropriate call-to-action, imagery etc. In addition, you can identify your core target audience per your business plan and shape your strategy, in part, that way. If nothing else, it’s a good way to focus your budget on the user profiles through which you fundamentally want to gain market share.

You can leverage your CRM data to segment existing customers in a limitless number of ways and target them (subject to audience size) in PPC and Facebook/Instagram.

An extra bonus of the latter is that some platforms can take your audience and make look-a-like audiences to expand your penetration of people similar to those who convert on your site. You can take this further by buying email address lists of curated people and upload them as customer match lists.


When you come to choosing digital marketing platforms to use, ask yourself (and the platform in question) what audience targeting features it offers. Then ensure audience segmenting, messaging and management is core to your digital marketing strategy. This may involve many internal stakeholders and partners to do it right (web development, app development, data warehouses, data analysis, CRM teams and so on) but without making efforts to leverage audiences your competitors are going to eventually eat your lunch.

For more information about ESV Digital’s search marketing strategy, get in touch.

You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

Google Search Console Data Outage

As digital marketing professionals, we heavily rely on Google Search Console for extracting important information and to help us better understand how websites are performing in Google. However, the recent data outage in Google Search Console, which resulted in a major loss of data, means we should be more concerned about the reliability of Google’s reporting channels.
It was the 5th of April when Google reported an indexing bug, which hit 4% of Google’s indexed pages. Four weeks on and the bug has finally been resolved. However, despite the issue being fixed, many users have noticed bad/missing data in their Search Console reports. Not only does this major indexing issue negatively impact on our analysis, but it also presents an important question about the reliability of Google.

Ineffective April Reports

The data outage means that reports for April cannot be deemed as accurate and is extremely problematic for Google Search Console users. Without correct data for the majority of April, users are unable to fully distinguish whether any of their website pages were affected by the indexing bug or if any other major changed occurred.
Following on from this, users are unable to use their inaccurate April reports from Google Console to improve optimisation for their website. A major data loss like this will set marketing professionals far back. This data is significant for understanding the performance of websites in Google’s results search and is a major part of planning the optimisation process.

Can we really rely on Google?

An important question we should ask is, was the bug acting randomly or systematically? If the bug was systematically targeting certain sites this could raise the possibility that Google could be testing a new algorithm. The fact that the bug took a long time to resolve also questions the reliability of Google’s data channels. How can we fully trust a medium that is unable to resolve a bugging issue more efficiently?
Though many marketing professionals rely on Google’s tools as a main source of data, the recent issues with bugs should lead users to question the reliability of Google’s software. The de-indexing bug highlights the importance of using a variety of channels to ensure that not only do you have enough data to work with and optimise, but also that should Google encounter another bug, you have the traffic to minimise the impact of these issues in the future.

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In part 1 of this blog series looking at the new PPC management landscape after Google Ads’ redesign, Bing’s takeover of Yahoo Search PPC, and the emerging ad and campaigns types we’re seeing, we looked at the top-level issues and questions you should address before embarking on adopting these new features. In this part, we will look at the keyword (and keywordless) environment in terms of search (including Shopping ads).

There are many parts to this subject because there are a number of different campaign/ad group types in Search and Shopping and there are many types of advertiser. So precisely how you might use them in combination is ultimately up to you.

Campaigns using keywords

Only “Call-Only” and “Standard” search campaigns involve keywords on which you can bid directly. They operate on potentially 4 match types (depending on how you might wish to categorise them):

  • Exact
  • Phrase
  • Broad Match Modifier (BMM)
  • Broad

The complicated part in 2019 is explaining and controlling the range of searches that now match against these keyword match types. Exact match, in particular, has evolved and morphed from the purest form (absolute alpha-numeric character matching) to almost semantic match. It’s not impossible that we’re approaching the dying days of keywords, in fact.

A pretty good summary is found here in the interests of saving inches on this post.

In practice, Broad match is a near-meaningless match type since we now how Dynamic Search Ads (keywordless) but the other 3 continue to have a purpose in terms of traffic control.

What is “traffic control?” It’s ensuring that you can be confident in the nature of searches that will trigger any given ad group. This means you can understand both the intent and how qualified that traffic is. An example would be if you have a set of keywords for “reviews” and one for “prices”. You would want to prevent “reviews” ad group(s) triggering for “prices” searches so the respective ads can concentrate on the stated priority of the keyword/search.

So you should certainly continue using keywords in the interest of traffic control but mainly concentrate your keyword-based efforts on the highest-volume terms by traffic and revenue/conversions. The less voluminous keywords can come via the keywordless options.

Keywordless campaigns

Campaigns that deliver on search (and beyond) that do not use any keyword bidding are:

  • Shopping Campaigns (including Smart Shopping campaigns)
  • Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) and can be special ad groups within standard campaigns.
  • Hotel Ads Campaigns

Despite the lack of keywords, there are still plenty of levers of control on these, except for the “Smart Shopping” campaigns. The latter will display ads across Google properties as the platform sees fit, aiming for an efficiency goal and using a budget you provide.


Traditional shopping campaigns are a terrific outlet for retailers, provided you know what you’re doing. If you use auto-bidding, you can assist the effectiveness of this by structuring your campaigns based on theme, device and performance and including impactful audiences in the targeting (such as remarketing but also in-market, similar audiences, etc.).

The ultimate way to shape the traffic across your shopping structure is using negative keywords, sometimes at the ad group level, sometimes at campaign level and sometimes shared as lists across multiple campaigns.

Structure and performance can be greatly affected by the quality of the feed (as is the case with Hotel Ads) in that the titles, images and categorising needs to be very good, compelling and concise. A muddled feed will only cause problems in all kinds of ways.

Hotel Ads

Hotel ads have a different general look and feel but, because advertisers can choose to only pay for sales, the efficiency is built-in. It becomes, then, more of a reach challenge to maximise sales.

Dynamic Search Ads

DSAs are most effective when the site in question is large and complex, and there are many searches which could be potentially relevant but harder to predict. You can use audiences, auto-bidding, negative keywords and excluded website segments to help you sculpt the traffic to your desires.

DSAs do not use keywords to bid on and instead match searches to the URLs or segments of your site they are set to target. They then complete the ad copy that you haven’t already written based on content from the page chosen as the landing page for that query. A key takeaway here is that the website must be content-rich, well organised and be full of text of relevance for when Google Ads crawls it. The URLs you submit can be from a feed or manually configured.

Tip: Give the DSA a better chance at gaining conversions by submitting specific URLs that show the same page using different sorting, filtering, and layout configurations. These configurations won’t be crawled if you don’t manually submit them. For example, if a page listing lots of products can be sorted by popularity, price and user ratings, submit the same page sorted in all 3 ways as separate entries. This can only be done if such layouts are coded into the URL (which is quite common).

This ad type is on both Google and Bing Ads.

All of the above campaign types have multiple messaging options, sometimes exclusive to the ad type, and we’ll address these in the next part of this series.

For more information about Digital Advertising and ESV Digital’s Paid Search strategy, get in touch.

You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

As promised, we’re starting our series of articles about advertisers can adapt their accounts to the new PPC platform landscape. We’re looking at structure, campaign types, bidding types, ad types and ad extensions. Many of these are available on Google Ads and Bing, although Bing has currently far less to offer in the way of auto-bidding strategies.

In the last post, we discussed the background to why you should be reassessing how you’re managing your PPC accounts. Here we will discuss where to begin with this.

First Questions

The first matter to address is what new features and tools make sense to the business you are advertising. These are the sorts of questions to answer to help you decide:

  • Does the account handle just a few conversions or hundreds and thousands per week?
  • How complex is the website, just a few pages or is more e-commerce based with many product pages?
  • Are your sales impulse-based and have short lead-in times or can it take a long time from first research to a customer choosing to buy?
  • How comprehensive are your customer-facing support teams? Is there the infrastructure to handle text messages as well as calls?
  • Are you able to remarket to users (i.e. you’re not advertising in a restricted industry)?

And now?

For all of the above, you must refer, and be subservient, to your advertising goal or goals. Otherwise, you’re basically improvising. The answers to these questions may not result in you deciding not to use any single tool or feature but they can help you prioritise your efforts in order of impact magnitude.

If you are dealing with a site that is low in volume, many of the bidding features, in particular are going to be unreliable at best. This is because algorithms thrive on data and so the less data, the less accuracy.

With the enhancement of Dynamic Search Ads (they have more text you can include and the targeting options are better), the dilution of reliance on keyword-based traffic is continuing but these types of ads are most suited to complex sites. If you have only a handful of pages, they probably won’t add much value to your account.

If your site is making its money mainly through quick hit visits then this will mean you don’t need to think about remarketing options but audience targeting can still be very valuable. In-Market audiences, Youtube category audiences and Gmail can all be useful.

In terms of customer-service related options, if you can handle round the clock messaging with customers, try the message extension on Google Ads. This works alongside Call Extensions to help users communicate with the business. Call Only Ads are also potentially a way for a business that is not focussed on its website (either for it’s offering, such as a taxi firm, or for its customer acquisition) to attract customers using Google. Location and device-based customisers can also be used to be attractive to audiences.

If you’re in an unrestricted industry - nothing that is legally sensitive or health-related - you can remarket people who have already been to your site. This can bring back users who are either very hot leads or have faded and forgotten your brand. In addition, you can remarket to those who purchased before with return offers on Display, Gmail, Shopping, and Search.

To do this in search or display, you can use ad customisers that show specific text or offers to a user depending on the audience to which they belong. There is also dynamic remarketing, which will show the products a user a last viewed to them in a display ad.

This, as ever, is a brief summary and cannot be exhaustive, but hopefully it will set off on the right foot. We will, over the course of this series, dig deeper in some of the tactics above - and elements of them not mentioned here - to give you a more thorough understanding of what opportunities are now open to you through the new PPC features.

For more information about Digital Advertising and ESV Digital’s Paid Search strategy, get in touch.

You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

If you look back over the last 18 months to 2 years, you’ll see that, bit by bit, PPC (Pay Per Click otherwise called Paid Search) has changed dramatically. The sum of the smaller changes have aggregated to result in a night and day difference in so many areas. Here are just a few:

  • Google AdWords rebranded to Google Ads (accompanying a rebrand of virtually all of Google’s Marketing brands).
  • Exact match has been made ever looser as a match type. Firstly, to allow “close variants”, then to match when terms are in a different order in a keyword vs the search phrase and where “function words” are ignored (like “in” or “to”), and finally to match with similar intent using AI.
  • Several more audience types were introduced (custom intent, for example).
  • Google Ads pushed machine-learning based auto-bidding strategies and made them query level, as opposed to keyword level. They can push ROI/ROAS, CPA or click traffic and brand awareness goals.
  • Google Ads introduced conversion attribution (including cross-device).
  • There are a range of new ad types available on Google Ads, some of which Bing Ads also features.
  • Side ads disappeared, so the number of Page 1 slots shrank from up to 10 to just 4 at most (plus shopping ads).

This only scratches the surface in the changes that make the task of managing PPC accounts so different versus 2 or 3 years ago.

Will all of this make life easier?

To some extent but it will still be possible to make very consequential mistakes without proper account management. The overall way one should manage PPC accounts, however, does need to change to compensate for how these platforms have evolved. This is true whether you’re involved in e-commerce, lead generation, brand awareness or have any other Search Engine Marketing goal.

We will be publishing a series of posts over the coming months to review what the most impactful changes to managing PPC accounts might be for advertisers, how to decide what new tactics to apply and in what context.

Stay tuned and we’ll start off soon with a post about the basic questions to ask yourself and, over the series, we’ll go deeper into each ad type, campaign type and bidding strategy options available.

For more information about Digital Advertising and ESV Digital’s Paid Search strategy, contact us using the form below.

You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

Keywords and their management have historically been a central plank of managing Search Advertising campaigns for all search engines. But all the evidence suggests that this is changing, slowly but surely. It is at the point now where, if you haven’t begun to act, you may already be behind the curve.

Even in the realm of keywords, the impact of selecting any single keyword to bid on has been softened in a number of ways:

  • Exact Match and Phrase match will now match to the terms in the keyword regardless of the order they appear.
  • Exact and Phrase match will match to “close variants” of each term in a keyword, such as plurals and misspellings.
  • Words typically regarded as linking terms, like “the” and “for”, are now “invisible” to Google Ads for the purposes of matching.

The aim of the above is to vastly reduce (in theory) the population of separate keywords an advertiser must manage to maximise
their reach.

Beyond this, on the bidding side, Google have been developing automated bidding based not on your keywords but on the search at the time - specifically, how likely that search is going to turn into a click by a user and a sale or conversion.

The main outcome of this is that, even if you have no keywords (e.g. you use Dynamic Search Ads) Google can bid toward an efficiency goal of your choosing (ROI, Cost of Sale, CPA) and advertisers are left just to exclude searches they don’t want.

There are, in fact, a number of optimisation steps you’ll need to take with DSA - not least is structure as it relates to landing pages.

But the bottom line is still that keywords are becoming increasingly optional. They’d not dead yet, for sure, but their days seem
to be numbered.


For more information about Digital Advertising and ESV Digital’s Paid Search strategy, get in touch through the contact form below.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.