As part of our paid search advertising curriculum at Search Engine College, we walk students through the process of setting up a new Bing Ads advertising account and help them to structure their campaigns to achieve the maximum conversion potential across the Yahoo Bing search network.
With the assistance of Microsoft Advertising, we can now help new marketers apply this knowledge by providing the opportunity to work on a live advertising campaign of their very own.
After several weeks of discussions with staff from Microsoft Global Search and Display, we have managed to secure sponsorship for Search Engine College training courses in the form of US $100 in Bing Ads advertising credit for our students and subscribers.
Subscribers can use the $100 credit to launch an actual Bing Ads campaign for their website or company, with helpful guidance along the way from our tutors.
Are you excited? We sure are!
To receive the credit voucher, you need to be a current Search Engine College student or subscriber (enrolled in at least 1 course) and be one of the first 200 people to request a voucher. If you’re not a current student, it’s simply a matter of signing up for a US $99 subscription to immediately qualify for your US $100 credit. Heck, that’s like us paying you $1 to join!
Once you have activated your student account, simply message me within the course area by clicking on my name and quoting *Free Bing Ads credit please* and I’ll email you the voucher and instructions. To activate the credit, simply follow the instructions in the email and in Lessons 5 and 6 of our PPC Starter Course.
See you in class!
Hi folks. Running late today, so let’s get straight to the good stuff. This week’s Fast Five in Search is all about web analytics. Enjoy…
Here’s this week’s Fast Five:
1) 8 Custom Reports from the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery by Rachelle Maisner in the Google Analytics blog. If you regularly get lost in your Google Analytics, but have a hard time extracting the right data to show the right people, you’ll LOVE this post. The Solutions Gallery is a free and public platform that allows users to share custom reports, segments and dashboards. In this post, Rachelle introduces us to the Gallery and shares 5 of her own custom Google Analytics report templates that you can import into your own Analytics account with one click. Invaluable stuff.
2) Top 10 Social Media Analytics Tools by Devindra Hardawar of Venture Beat. Most people now use tools to analyze the impact of their social media activities. But which ones are the best? In this post, Devindra makes a start on a top 10 list of the best social media analytics tools on the Web and asks for your input to grow the list further.
3) Introduction to Google Tag Manager (video) by Google Analytics. For those of you not using it yet, Google Tag Manager is a free tool that makes it easy for marketers to add and update website tags including conversion tracking, site analytics and remarketing, without needing to edit your website code. This video shows you how to set up an account and manage your tags.
4) Conversion Tracking with Campaign Analytics by Bing Ads. This tutorial explains step-by-step how to set up Bing Ads conversion tracking using their Campaign Analytics tool.
5) 10 Web Analytics Trends for 2014 by Mark Ryan of Mashable. Here Mark outlines the major advancements in analytics that were made in 2013 and sets the scene for what we can expect in 2014 in terms of improvements and new features to help us better understand our web audiences.
*Image courtesy of Threadless.
After months and months of putting it off, I finally took the Bing Ads Accredited Professional exam this week.
Although I have been managing Bing Ads campaigns now for several years – even separately managing MSN adCenter and Yahoo! Search Marketing campaigns before they combined to form Microsoft adCenter in 2010 (rebranded to Bing Ads in 2012) – I had avoided taking the exam because I knew there were 100 questions and I didn’t feel confident I knew the program back to front.
I thought I would need to set aside time to revise the training materials and kept putting it off until I “had enough time to prepare”. Finally, after being asked outright by a client if I was a Accredited Professional, I thought carpe diem. What the heck was I waiting for?
I don’t know what I was worried about. I got 97 percent, without even glancing at the training materials, so now I’m a recognized Bing Ads Accredited Professional.
Similar to the Google Certification (now Google Partners) program, there are a number of benefits to being a Bing Ads Accredited Professional:
As an accredited member, you can:
- Use your official badge in your marketing materials, including your website.
- Print the certificate that confirms your accreditation.
- Get listed in the Find a Pro Directory to connect with potential clients.
- Enjoy industry recognition in the Accredited Professional Membership Directory.
So I’m throwing down the challenge to you – if you manage Bing Ads campaigns but haven’t yet become a Bing Ads Accredited Professional, don’t wait for the *perfect* time and don’t let the idea of an exam scare you off. Trust me, if you use the program regularly, you’ll know the answers.
My website has been up and running since 2008.
I regularly add new content & update my blog & facebook pages and yet 5 years on, I am still only attracting 30-40 visits per day and it has remained at this level for 5 years.
I believe my website is user friendly, visually pleasing & provides useful information for the visitor looking for the product I offer, so why doesn’t google rank it higher? I only have 83 pages indexed out of 1,400 – please help!
Assuming the website you are referring to is the one associated with your email address, I can provide a few recommendations immediately:
1) I couldn’t find a XML sitemap in the expected location of http://www.[brandwitheld].co.uk/sitemap.xml. Now maybe you have one in a different location, but if not, you’ll want to create one as soon as possible. An XML sitemap is a file that contains a full list of indexable pages on your web site. It is the preferred method of lettting search engines know about all pages on your site that you want indexed. More information about the protocol and format required is available at Sitemaps.org. You can upload your sitemap via your Google Webmaster Tools account. Haven’t got one of those either? Read on…
2) If your site doesn’t seem to be as visible as you’d like in Google or large chunks of it are not getting indexed, make sure you create a Google Webmaster Tools account and check it for any obvious issues. Google provides an exhaustive amount of insight and advice in Webmaster Tools in terms of technical issues, indexing issues, SEO issues and visitor activity related to your site. If there seems to be something wrong, that should be your first stop.
3) Check your site against these 10 Most Common SEO Mistakes to see if you’re guilty of any of them and address the issues quickly.
4) You claim your site has 1,400 pages, but most of those are product and category pages consisting of dynamically generated versions of the same URL, plus a huge number of pop-ups. The site only has a small number of static HTML pages and therefore only a small amount of content that is visible to search engines.
For example: http://www.[brandwitheld].co.uk/fabrics.html is your main curtain category and then you have 11 different sub-categories under that, such as:
However, the content for each sub-category is dynamically generated from a product database, based on the category parameter indicated after the *?*. To a search engine, a), b) and c) are seen as the same, single, page, with everything following the *?* generally ignored or treated as duplicate content.
I’d put money on your URL structure being the spanner in the works preventing most of your content from being indexed. No wonder you see so few pages ranking well! I would suggest learning more about how Google treats URL parameters and reworking your site content to create flat, indexable HTML pages for each product, category and style.
Natalie, without having access to your Webmaster Tools account, I can’t really give you more advice at this point. However, if you’d like to invest in a full web site audit, I can certainly take a much closer look. Just contact me to get started.
Hope this helps!
In recent discussions with my SEO workshop attendees, it seems clear that link audits are a challenge for a lot of people. But they’re not as scary as they sound.
A link audit is simply conducting research into the number of links pointing to and from a web site, as well as the quality and trust-rank of those links. The audit can also include researching competitor sites to determine their link profiles and – as a result – determining the estimated amount of link building required in order to out-perform them.
To help demystify the process, I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s Fast Five to helpful articles and resources for anyone conducting a link audit.
Here’s this week’s Fast Five:
1) How to Conduct a Link Audit by Chuck Price. You don’t necessarily need to use any clever tools or software to conduct a link audit. In this article, Chuck shows you how to do a deep dive into the link profile of a web site using your Google Webmaster Tools account.
2) Raven Tools SEO Software by Raven Tools. If you want a little turbo help for your link audit, Raven’s Backlink Explorer gathers all the backlinks for a domain or URL, including source URL, Citation Flow and even no-follow status. Raven’s Site Finder tool reverse engineers the ranking results using Bing data to identify the best linking opportunities that you may not have capitalized on.
3) How to Conduct a Link Audit by Julie Joyce. While this is a slightly older post, the content is still very applicable. Julie runs through her comprehensive link audit process, listing several very useful 3rd party tools in the process. My link audits tend to follow a similar path to this one.
4) Open Site Explorer by Moz.com. Moz’s Open Site Explorer Tool enables you to research the link profile of your site and your competitor’s sites in the one interface. You can see the backlinks of up to 5 sites at once and compare page authority, domain authority, linking root domains, total links, Facebook shares, Facebook likes, tweets, and Google +1s
5) How to Conduct a Link Audit Like Sherlock Holmes by Chris Kilbourn. In this very recent article about conducting a link audit, Chris looks at how to identify and get rid of *bad links* pointing to your site in the wake of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm.
He also lists a range of useful link audit tools.
*Image courtesy of Threadless.
As members of the AU/NZ Google Partners program, our consulting agency – Jordan Consulting Group Ltd – is regularly given access to certain resources and exclusive benefits to help our clients gain the most from their search marketing efforts.
Our latest perk is a stack of email vouchers each worth AU $100 in AdWords advertising credits. If you are based in Australia or New Zealand and would like to test drive Google AdWords or kick-start a new AdWords campaign, I’d be happy to hook you up with one of these vouchers.
But WAIT! There are a few conditions:
1) The credit can only be applied to AdWords accounts that are no more than 14 days old.
2) You must have a billing address in Australia or New Zealand to be eligible.
3) You need to allow Jordan Consulting Group agency access to the account for the first 30 days via our My Client Center account. This blog post explains the process. This is to allow us to monitor and track the account spend without needing your login credentials. You retain exclusive control over the account and the level of access we have to it. It also ensures Google can reconcile the voucher code with our agency account. You can terminate our agency access to your account at any time after 30 days.
4) There are specific terms and conditions for the use of these codes in each country:
Here’s to free advertising!
Howdy search fans! I’ve been busy researching lots of new juicy links for your viewing pleasure this week. The theme for the week is social, social and yet more social.
Here’s this week’s Fast Five:
1) Social Media Stats Update 2013 by PewResearch. If you’re like me, you’re always chasing the latest Internet usage stats for an article, post or presentation. While looking for stats on social media last week, I found PewResearch had the most up to date data I could find, plus a free detailed downloadable report. For example, did you know that 73 percent of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind?
2) Free Social Media Analytics Reports by Simply Measured. Speaking of free data, if you like number crunching and deep social data analysis, check out Simply Measured’s free Social Media Analytics reports for Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Their Twitter Follower Report will download data on up to 10,000 followers of any public Twitter account. You can then import the data into Excel and do a deep dive into the current extent of your social reach and engagement – and better still – the untapped potential you have to grow it.
3) Social Media / Digital Stats by Digital Marketing Ramblings. Keeping with our theme of social stats, I stumbled upon this little gem of a blog while yak shaving. Editor Craig Smith pulls together original and curated news, tips and stats in the social media and digital space. If you’re looking for some offbeat stories in social, this is a great starting point.
4) Twitter Search by Topsy. We all died a little inside when Twitter and Google announced the end of their search relationship in 2011, signalling the end of Google’s Real Time search and the ability to search the full historical Twitter archive. But did you realize that Topsy has always had this privilege? Apart from giving you the ability to search all public tweets since 2006, Topsy indexes and ranks search results from various social networks, based upon the most influential conversations about specific terms, topics, pages or domains queried. If that’s not enough to convince you, think about this: Apple acquired Topsy for over $200 million late last year.
5) Beginner’s Guide to Social Media by Moz. Whether you’re a social media newbie or just looking to brush up on your social skills, this Moz Guide will teach you a thing or two. You can download it as a PDF or view it all online.
See you next week!
*Image courtesy of Threadless.
Related articles across the web
In my recent search for relevant videos to accompany our training material at Search Engine College, I trawled through my Evernote bookmarks and stockpiled a number of helpful YouTube channels that hold huge collections of training videos on the subjects of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing).
As I was collating these, my first thought was “I wonder how many webmasters even know all these exist?”. My second thought was “That would make a great blog post!”. So here they are. You’re welcome.
I’ve probably missed some important ones, but these are the ones I had saved to Evernote. If you want to add some of your favorites in the comments, I’ll be sure to add them to the list.
Post Script – I remembered last night that apart from their YouTube channel, SiteProNews publishes a large collection of marketing videos from across the web, collated into 40 different topic channels. Be sure to check it out.
First up – in line with our our push towards integrating more multi-media content and interactive learning materials, we have added over 30 new YouTube videos to our various training modules in the past few days. Existing students and subscribers can view the videos from within the course areas.
If that isn’t exciting enough already, we are also putting the finishing touches on our brand new Link Building Starter course which is getting ready to launch next week. The course contains the latest advice and guidance on link building in light of Google’s recent Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithm changes and crack down on link networks. New and existing subscribers will be given access to this course for no additional charge. That’s right – access comes standard with all subscriptions.
If you’re not already a subscriber – what are you waiting for? You can sign up here.
In other news, we had our first ever student from Jamaica sign up yesterday, which means we now have Search Engine College students in 62 countries. How cool is that? See you in the virtual halls.
Hey folks! Fast Five is back for 2014. We’re doing things a bit differently this year. I’ll be taking over the posts from Sarah and I’ll be posting these on Mondays instead of Thursdays from here on.
That means you’ll be able to look busy at your desk while woofing down that breakfast bagel you grabbed on your way to the office and searching for a pen that actually works.
Simply bookmark our Fast Five category or make it your browser start page and you’ll have some tasty posts ready to read and get your marketing juices flowing the minute your PC or tablet starts up.
Here’s this week’s Fast Five:
1) Matt Cutts Has Declared Guest Blogging For SEO ‘Done’ by WebProNews. Apparently Head of Google’s Spam Team Matt Cutts took to his personal blog on Monday to warn against the practice of guest blogging for SEO purposes, declaring the tactic DONE. So if you are in the habit of guest posting, you might want to rethink that, or at least approach the process a little more carefully.
2) Why Guest Posting and Blogging is a Slippery Slope by Moz. Shortly after Matt’s blog post, Moz came out with a White Board Friday vid dedicated to the same subject. Check it (and Rand’s beard!) out here:
3) Alltop by Various. Not a specific post, but just a reminder about this very useful news aggregator that collates all the top blog posts and news stories in tech, work, health, culture, sport and other subjects on an hourly basis. Very handy to find trending topics for new blog fodder or research a particular niche for link building purposes.
4) Do You Love Your Customers? by Seth Godin. This post by Seth caught my eye on my regular fly-by his blog because of a similar discussion I was having with a client recently. Seth says that there are two distinct reasons why companies claim to love their customers and only one involves money. The kicker is that customers can tell the difference! So next time you claim to love your customers, make sure it’s not just because they pay you.
and finally… not really search news, but definitely tech:
5) Flappy Bird is Gone From the App Store by TechCrunch. Yes, millions of people awoke today to the shocking news that the frustratingly addictive Flappy Bird iOS and Android game has been removed from the App Store by it’s developer Dong Nguyen of Vietnam. Nguyen cited “I just can’t take it anymore” as his reason for removing the game, presumably because he couldn’t navigate those darn birds through pipes any better than the rest of us.
But never fear – some clever clod has developed a clone called Flappy Doge. (screenshot below) The only differences? Scary looking corgies and dodgy spelling. You don’t even need a mobile device to play. Hoorah!
*Image courtesy of Threadless.