Last week we met with a client concerning his Pay Per Click managed account. While reviewing his keywords for SEO, we looked at the keywords he was paying for. To our surprise, he was paying top dollar for items that seemed just short of criminal. While Naper Design has at times taken a stance against PPC campaigns, we do recognize the need for strong advertising management in professional settings. Often the view has been that we are completely anti-PPC ads. This would be a very incorrect interpretation of our core beliefs. The problem we have are managed accounts that sell and bid for keywords that are unneeded or to expensive, selling to competing groups, and dishonest practices. I should point out that there are PPC management groups out there that are honest and provide quality service, but when looking for an advertising group, it would be wise to check that the following keyword issues are not arising:
1. Paying For What You Don't Have To
Our encounter last week began with a web design client of ours asking us to add some of his PPC keywords into his site. This is perfectly common and highly encouraged. The better the keyword score in the content, the lower the keyword will cost... (so use it...). What surprised us was that the client was being charged for any and all variations of their own business name. Even worse, they were being charged for their competitions business name. Keywords are generally for prospective customers that don't know the business that they are looking for, not for your assured clients that already know who you are. Title tags should be used to make sure that your business name keeps you up top, but paying for a listing directly above your organic listing is absolutely ridiculous and highly dishonest by your marketing management team. If you find that you are paying for your business name, it would be highly advised to demand an audit of clicks to that keyword and a refund for them. In the future, I would also suggest ensuring that they are never added to a campaign.
-the only exception to this rule is for large companies that have scam sites attempting to take traffic, sadly, these still need title payment-
2. Wanted But Unneeded PPC Keywords
At what point are you happy with your position in the search engines? There are arguments that say first on everything, and then there are those that say bottom of first page. The debate on placement will continue to rage with no winners but several losers. The problem is that it's so case specific that nothing can be considered doctrine. The only thing certain is that there is a point when the owner should feel comfortable in his organic, and comfortable in his Search Engine Marketing(SEM). If a keyword cost $50.00/click, but you rank on the middle of Page 2, is it worth it to pay for a listing? The hard answer is "probably not, but possibly maybe". No one can say with absolute assurance that this keyword will inspire a client. No one can say with any certainty that a client will not be born from someone clicking the add. The point is to maximize the performance of your add campaign. This requires sitting down with a calculator, a rank checking script ( We use Traffic Travis because the cartoon is cute), and weighing which keywords will pay for themselves and provide the best profits for the money spent. This process should not be painless, and should not be quick. This should be a process where both parties delve into the need of each keyword to make sure for effectiveness. If this is something that is blown off or rushed by your advertisement representative, then I would suggest caution. Nothing is worse than moving to quickly through a situation and purchasing something that wasn't needed. Proper management of your funds will lead to better returns on your investments.
Most advertising management companies that you can meet face to face are going to be reputable. There are a few out the who are not honest, but they often don't survive a market based on the value of public image. Most dishonest practices tend to come from Cold Calling representatives who either refuse to meet in person, or can't because they live somewhere completely out of range. It is highly suggested to conduct a simple Google search of a reps number as soon as you hear from them. In this day and age of shared information, people are quick to report harassing calls from marketers, and more importantly, the ones that are selling a Scam. While it's true that not every company can be met with face to face, it is highly suggested to only teleconference with companies that have proven themselves to be reputable. If you conduct a search and find nothing but complaints, it's a good possibility that you will want to avoid their practices. There are companies that have been spammed, and as much as we fight against these practices, the ultimate goal for you as a business owners is to safeguard your business.
Keep in mind, not every marketing company is suitable for your business. Likewise, your business might not be suitable for the marketing agency. Each agency has its strong-suits and they may differ from your company goals. Come prepared with questions relevant to your business goals. After all, no matter how reputable, honest and effective the marketing company may be, if they don't know your exact goals for the future, they will be unable to perform to peak performance.
For a list of trusted marketing agents, we suggest asking businesses that have been around for some time. Ask them what companies they have worked with. Study the trends in conversation. Like all situations, if you stick with the winners, you'll follow their path.