We have received a lot of great questions in our Ask Us a Question mailbox. Many of the questions were about Search Marketing, so we sat down with Chris Kenney who fielded some of your questions. If you have questions, click here to send it to us and we may answer it in a future Mailbag session.
Is there a fee to open account with a search engine? – Susanne W.
*There is no fee associated with opening an account on Google, Yahoo or MSN. You only need to verify that your credit card works and that usually costs a $5.00 initial deposit. Look for partner offers from the search engines that could give you a $25 or more credit to start an account.
How can you tell if a keyword is too popular? – Joanne M.
*The easiest way to do this is by using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Select the keyword(s) that you have interest in bidding on and you will be able to check the monthly search volume as well as the advertiser competition and expected cost per click.
What should my budget be for search engine marketing? – Robert K.
*A budget is a very important factor in search marketing; we recently covered it in Search Marketing 101. Budgeting should be enough to help you achieve your goals. If you are looking to acquire sign-ups/leads/customers for a certain amount or are looking to spend as much as possible while achieving a certain ROI then you shouldn’t start with a budget in mind. You should start with a test budget that allows you to learn about how your keywords perform on each engine. Then you can scale your overall budget to meet your search engine marketing goals.
How long does it take for your ad to show after you set it up? – Heather J.
*This can vary anywhere from a few minutes to a day plus depending on what your ad consists of. If you are creating a new ad that contains “flagged” keywords (trademarked, extremely high volume) it might have to go through a manual review which might take longer. But for most of your ads, once your account is live and running, they will go live when the servers refresh.
Can you describe negative keywords? – Rebecca S.
*Negative keywords prevent your ads showing up for non-qualified searches. For instance, VistaPrint wants to show up for “business cards” searches but not for “business credit card” searches. So we add “credit” to our negative keyword list so we do not show up for any searches that the user is looking for a credit card. This is an effective way to increase the quality of your traffic and limit potential unwanted clicks.
How often do you change keywords? – Adrienne H.
*Keywords should change as often as needed. As a rule of thumb I would recommend reviewing them quarterly. You can look at deleting/modifying current keywords based on performance and update others from “search query reports” run on Google.
Can you go over how to use misspelled words for search? – Anna C.
*With the volume of searches everyday there are multiple misspellings associated with a lot of keywords. The way to use this to your advantage is to bid on all misspellings for your higher volume keywords. This does two things:
- Gives you more relevance when a user misspells a keyword because that is in your account and you are not broad matching to it.
- Allows you to bid differently on the correct spelling and the misspelling. One may perform differently than the other and you will most likely be rewarded with a lower CPC on the misspelling because there is less competition.
Which search engine have you found to be the easiest to use for beginners? – Tom G.
*Google, it is also the easiest to use for intermediate and expert users. It provides you with all of the tools to execute the daily changes, easy reports to run, and the ability to get as granular as you would like. You can target a certain part of a certain state with just a few clicks, you can set up local ads, plus they have a slew of online learning tools/tutorials that you can learn from.
Can you give me an idea of how to choose good metatag words and phrases for our site? I have heard that too many, too little or non-relevant enough can hurt our results. – Mary Alice F.
*The easiest way to get the list of keywords that you want to target in your meta keywords is from your paid search data. This can tell you how certain searches already perform on your site. It will make it easier when deciding whether you want to target high volume keywords or high converting. The basic rule of thumb for number of keywords would be 4-6. This combined with the on site content, the title, the headers and image optimization will help increase your rankings in the eyes of the search engines.
Does submitting a domain name to a search engine work? Shelley B.
*Absolutely, it just speeds up the process of the search engine finding your site.
How long does it take to start to see organic growth results? – Brian F.
*Depends on your site, if you are starting from scratch and do not have an older domain or any link juice you probably shouldn’t expect to see anything major for 4-6 months. If you have a site that is running and just needs to be optimized, you could expect to see some results in 1-3 months. This is dependent on numerous factors, so do not get discouraged if you do not see quick results, the search engines move much slower organically. Just continue to do the basics optimize on site, update content regularly and build links pointing to your pages.