Video: PPC Automation – Build vs. Buy

Feb. 27

Hey Everyone,
Just a few days ago, I posted my first video entry: Who Is PPC Ian? I’m really thrilled that it took off and already received over 250 views on YouTube in just a few short days! As promised, today marks my second video and I expect to post quite a few more over the coming months! I’m excited today to discuss my deep experience with pay per click automation build versus buy decisions.

Pay Per Click Automation

If you read my Pay Per Click Automation post or Interview With Matt Lawson from Marin Software, you know I’m a huge fan of PPC automation. As someone who’s been through the decision many times and who has a Stanford Computer Science degree, automation is consistently top of mind for me. In my opinion, PPC automation is an absolute no-brainer for horizontal organizations with keyword sets spanning many different verticals (such as product shopping, financial services, education, home services, real estate, and more). However, I’m also a fan of automation for vertical organizations (those that are the 800 pound gorilla in their field) as well, those that have deep expertise within a very focused vertical.

Over the past few months, I’ve been on the phone with many folks in the pay per click industry right in the middle of the build versus buy decision. I know it’s a top priority for many large PPC organizations right now as teams are looking for the next big growth (and efficiency) driver. I truly hope my video helps in your personal decision. I know more than anyone that there’s no perfect decision that fits all organizations – Every time I’ve made this decision the outcome been a little different. Today’s video presents three thought points that will help you and your team work through your personal decision. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions and feedback, it’s always a pleasure to hear from you guys.

Sincerely,
PPC Ian (Ian Lopuch)
P.S. Huge thank you to my beautiful wife Nicole for shooting, editing, and producing this video!



Video "Pay Per Click Automation Build vs. Buy" © PPCIan.com (An IJL Productions LLC Website)
Image of Automation Factory © iStockPhoto – belknap

PPC Ian Featured On John Chow!

Feb. 24

Hello Everyone,
Today’s a HUGE day for me! Not long after launching my first video on PPC Ian (which is an accomplishment in its own right), I got featured on John Chow! For those of you that don’t know, John Chow is one of the most successful Internet marketers in the world and operates one of the top blogs on the Internet! That’s right: PPC Ian is featured on one of the Internet’s largest blogs!

Top of Mountain Success

I highly recommend checking out John Chow’s review of PPC Ian. It’s a very positive review and truly makes me feel good about what I’m trying to accomplish here at PPCIan.com: Empowering and educating pay per click professionals. Moreover, it was really cool to learn that my path crossed John’s a few years ago when I was working at NexTag, it’s such a small world (especially in this industry).

I want to take this moment to thank YOU, my loyal readers. You guys are the reason that I work so hard on my blog and I sincerely appreciate your support. If there’s anything I can do to help out in your online marketing career, please don’t hesitate to contact me and please make sure to check out John Chow’s PPC Ian Review!
Sincerely,
PPC Ian (Ian Lopuch)

Image of Top of Mountain Success © iStockPhoto – ImagineGolf

Video: Who Is PPC Ian?

Feb. 23

Hello Everyone,
I’m very excited today to showcase PPC Ian’s first video! When I launched PPC Ian back in October, 2009 I had the goal of quickly getting some great articles live and then complementing my blog with videos as well. Today marks my 41st post and I’m thrilled to share with you my first video, Who Is PPC Ian? This video complements my about me page and talks about my history and experience in the corporate pay per click search engine marketing industry. I wanted to take this moment to thank my amazing and beautiful wife, Nicole, for shooting, editing, and producing this video. This wouldn’t have been possible without her! Thanks so much for your support and for watching!
Sincerely,
PPC Ian (Ian Lopuch)
P.S. Nicole already shot my second video which will be uploaded in the next week or so.



Video "Who Is PPC Ian?" ("About PPC Ian") © PPCIan.com (An IJL Productions LLC Website)

Quality Score: SEO Tips For PPC Landing Pages

Feb. 22

If you’ve been in pay per click search engine marketing for a while, there’s no doubt you’ve faced landing page quality score issues at least once. I’ve managed AdWords campaigns for dozens of sites. Thankfully, the majority of these sites have been multi-million-dollar category leaders with excellent landing page quality scores. However, a few of them have not been so fortunate. Today, I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts around optimizing your landing pages for Google’s quality score. Specifically, I’ll discuss a few SEO-style tips that directly impact PPC quality scores.

Tip 1: Meta Data Affects PPC Quality Score

Red Matrix

If you’ve optimized sites for SEO, you’ve definitely worked with the title, meta description, and meta keywords tags within the HTML head section. In the SEO world, these tags are extremely important – they directly affect the ad copy of your listing within the organic results. However, I’m here to highlight that these tags also affect your PPC quality score. Just think about it: The existence of targeted meta data shows Google that your landing page is part of "real" website, one that is well thought through and directly relevant to the keywords in question.

Some tactical tips: Keep your title to 8 to 10 keywords (or fewer), your meta description to 156 characters or less, and your meta keywords to 8 to 10 (or fewer). Moreover, make sure the keywords that you’re targeting are included throughout (especially at the beginning), but don’t overdo it.

Tip 2: Keyword-Optimize Your Landing Pages

I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again: Content is king! This statement is absolutely true for PPC, just like SEO. It’s critical to not only keyword-optimize your title, meta description, and meta keywords, but also your overall landing page. You don’t need to go crazy, but it’s super beneficial to sprinkle your keyword across the page, at least a few times.

So, you have millions of keywords. Does this mean you need millions of custom landing pages? Absolutely not! My advice: Work with your engineering team to build a dynamic landing page (or a series of pages around the major themes), one that renders "customized" depending on the incoming keyword. My preference is to have a table on the back end that maps keywords to the custom, dynamic content rather than passing the content in through the URL string.

Tip 3: Leverage All Major HTML Text Formatting Tags

Another simple, yet very practical tip: Make sure to leverage the common HTML formatting tags. Some examples include <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <strong>, and <em>. The story behind this: You’re trying to show search engines that your landing page is well thought through. By including these tags, your PPC landing page becomes a well optimized SEO experience, one that shows search engines just how relevant your site is to the user.

Tip 4: Include Important Links In Your Footer

From my experience, there are several absolutely critical links that must be present in all of your PPC landing page footers: Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditions, Site Map, and Contact Us. Google is all about credibility and transparency. By including these links in your footer, you’re being absolutely open and honest with your visitors.

If you leverage AdSense on your site, it’s actually required that you have a privacy policy on your landing page discussing Google’s use of cookies. Moreover, new FTC guidelines require Ts and Cs, Privacy Policies, and Affiliate Disclaimers to be more robust than ever. I take all of this stuff very seriously.

Tip 5: Add Alt Tags To All Images

The title of this tip says it all: Make sure your image alt tags are descriptive and relevant. It’s yet one more data point that can help Google determine the relevancy of your landing page. Of course, it’s very important to be accurate and keep your alt tags short.

Tip 6: Make Sure Search Engines Don’t Index PPC Landing Pages

So far, all of my tips have been geared toward improving the landing page quality score of your pay per click landing pages. However, I wanted to close out with a tip that will help maintain your great relationship with your organization’s SEO team.

I highly recommend coordinating closely with your SEO team, informing them of all your PPC landing pages. Most of the time, you will want to make sure to noindex your PPC pages. In PPC, it’s totally ok to have hundreds (or even thousands) of very similar pages that may differ only slightly for the keyword in question. However, such a practice in SEO is very bad, one that would be considered duplicate content. The solution: Orphan your PPC landing pages from the main site while noindexing them as well. The user will be able to go from your landing page to the main site, but a user from your main site will not find your pay per click landing pages (and moreover they will not get indexed by search engines).

Image of Red Matrix © iStockPhoto – FONG_KWONG_CHO

PPC Versus SEO Careers

Feb. 18

As you know, I’m a huge proponent of the PPC career path. It’s hard not to be given my rapid ascent from Marketing Associate to Director of Search Marketing just five short years after college. However, there are also many other great career paths in the other channels of online marketing: SEO, display, email, and social media. Today, I will specifically focus on careers in SEO and how they compare to PPC. If you’re just starting out or considering a transition from SEO to PPC (or PPC to SEO), I hope my insights are helpful in your online marketing career planning!

SEO Careers Offer a Longer Feedback Loop

Careers

It’s all about perspective. You can view PPC’s rapid feedback loop as either a gift or a curse. It’s a gift in the sense that you get to know immediately if something is working. It’s a curse in that the rapid feedback loop promotes an unending queue of initiatives. I’m personally a huge fan of pay per click’s rapid feedback loop because it fuels my drive to succeed. The more great results I see, the more projects I want to complete and I’m totally happy working long hours to continue the growth. If things aren’t looking so good, I try to complete as many projects as possible (while watching the numbers closely) to improve the business.

However, this isn’t for everyone! There’s no doubt about it: The unending queue of projects can be intimidating. Moreover, it can be a challenge for many to have the endurance to keep the PPC pace up. This is why longevity is such a critical component of pay per click career success.

SEO, on the other hand, is a bit more strategic and longer term. Why? It’s really simple: Any given change will take months to evaluate. The feedback loop is much longer, making SEO projects grander in scope. Since the feedback is less fine tuned, it’s important to go after tremendous strategic opportunities to make a measurable impact. I think I’m unique in that I find both the PPC and SEO mindsets enticing. However, the disciplines really are different. As an analogy, I enjoy equating PPC Professionals to Wall Street Traders and SEO Professionals to Investment Bankers. Which one are you?

PPC Careers Have More Day-To-Day Volatility

I actually look at volatility with a smile. Why? It’s all about taking on difficult projects. Because many people can’t take the pressure of volatile numbers, it opens a great opportunity for the brave few pay per click professionals who embrace it! In my opinion, pay per click is just like sales. If you can take and embrace the volatility, the rewards are tremendous!

By contrast, SEO is more strategic. Numbers can be volatile in SEO, especially when Google tweaks their algorithm, but the vast majority of the time it’s smooth(er) sailing. Even if numbers are down, no amount of action is going to reverse the course instantly. This stability and strategic outlook is a very appealing. Leveraging another analogy, PPC is like a startup and SEO is like a large, established public company. Which do you prefer?

PPC Is a Bit Hotter Right Now

There’s no doubt about it, pay per click is hot right now! Despite a rough economy, PPC is a recession proof career. PPC is hotter than SEO and companies are in general hiring PPC Professionals at a faster rate. At the same time, this isn’t a huge reason to jump into PPC if it’s not the right career for you. I wanted to include this point because it’s interesting, but I definitely wouldn’t base your career path on these types of trends. Next month, who knows, SEO could make a huge comeback and become hotter than PPC!

SEO and PPC Careers Both Offer Great Technical Opportunities

To close out, I wanted to point out an aspect that’s very similar between SEO and PPC: Both offer the ability to collaborate closely with engineering. In PPC, it’s all about automation and tools. It’s important to determine whether you leverage the free tools provided by search engines, build an internal tool leveraging search engine APIs, or buy a third party automation tool such as Marin Search Marketer or Kenshoo. Even if you leverage free tools or buy a third party tool, there are always great opportunities to work with engineering, especially on PPC landing pages.

SEO offers an unparalleled opportunity to have direct influence over your company’s live site. After all, SEO is site structure. From this perspective, SEO provides an awesome opportunity to work with engineering via the live site product manager function. While the technical aspects of PPC and SEO are slightly different, both careers are extremely rewarding from this perspective.

Image of Careers © iStockPhoto – sodafish

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