3 Ways To Get the Most Out of Your SEM Spend

If you don’t have an agency by your side, it can be harder to get the most out of your search engine marketing (SEM) dollars.

Whether you’ve done your own SEM in the past, had an agency manage it for you or haven’t tried it yet, as a Certified Google Partner we have a few tips to help you get the most bang for your buck from advertising with search engines!

1. Stay ActiveSearch Engine Optimization

Consistency. It’s important in sports, life and advertising. Even if you’re only looking for short term results, spend a little bit more and for a little bit longer of a timeframe than you originally planned. You may find that if you stop advertising and then come back, it will cost you more than if you had just stayed consistent.

2. Utilize Analytics

Your SEM with Google is managed through AdWords, and while there are some good statistics available in AdWords, Google Analytics is where you are really going to get insight into who is clicking on your ads and what they’re doing once they’re on your website. You can also tie your AdWords account to Analytics, so you can view your AdWords statistics inside of your Analytics dashboard.

Be sure to analyze your results, so you can fine tune the text and targeting of your SEM.

3. Keep Your Organic Ranking Strong

While concentrating on SEM, it’s important to keep your organic ranking strong. Strong organic placement is very important, as organic search results still receive the majority of traffic as compared to ads.

A search engine optimization (SEO) company can help your website ranking through user experience design, responsive website design, content development and more. These changes will also help users stick around when they click on your paid ads, as they will be easier able to navigate your website and find what they want.

So, increasing your SEO can increase the effectiveness of your SEM.

Lastly, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or are having a hard time with your SEM, let us know! We’re always glad to help small-to-medium-sized businesses succeed.

How Apple Set The Stage To Defeat Google’s Online Advertising Empire

It might seem like the digital landscape has always been dominated by big companies with big names. Google. Apple. Facebook. Twitter. But the landscape can change, and can do so rapidly. Recently, Apple has begun to take a bite out of Google’s supremacy in the online advertising arena.

Online advertising has been Google’s driving force, funding all of its other ventures for nearly 2 decades. As it turns out, this is both a strength and a weakness, and one which Apple will soon be in a position to exploit.

How Apple Set The Stage To Defeat Google’s Online Advertising Empire

Apple’s Safari Defaults To Google Searchstocksnap_ivy2vg1mad

It’s recently been discovered that Apple has a deal with Google to help bolster Google’s online advertising business. It’s estimated that Google pays Apple around $1 billion each year to be the default search option on Safari, Apple’s browser which is native to every iPhone sold.

In 2014, Goldman Sachs estimated more than 75% of mobile online advertising revenue for Google came from iPhones, which, based on public information, is estimated at $8.85 billion annually, about half of which is estimated to come from Safari searches, putting the value of Google being the default search option for Safari at about $4.4 billion annually. Online advertising revenue has only increased since 2014.

In 2014, Google reported more than $66 billion in total annual revenue, so Apple supplies/controls about 6% of Google’s annual revenue. This is a powerful bargaining chip.

Apple’s CEO Positions The Company As A Champion Of Privacy

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, says on Apple’s privacy page: “We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.”

This is in direct opposition to the purpose and mission of online advertising companies like Google and Facebook. Apple is a hugely influential brand with hundreds of millions of devotees, and when they say online advertising companies don’t care about privacy, it holds weight.

Apple tries to remind users often that by using Apple products – which process commands locally on the machine and not in the cloud like Google – they’re making themselves and their data more private, safe and secure.

Apple’s Siri Stands As A Gateway To Vertical Searchstocksnap_53zhdxtl23

Siri isn’t open to the developer community . . . yet.

Currently, Siri can handle basic queries (along with other functions, but we’ll stick with search for now). Queries like “What movies are playing near me” will return a result of films at local cinemas, but displayed natively and not in a browser.

This is an example of a vertical search – using a particular service to get a particular result, bypassing Google’s online advertising. While Siri itself is not a vertical search tool, it can be used in the future to access them. Current examples of vertical search engines include Amazon, where the number of product searches have overtaken the total number of product searches on Google.

When Siri opens up, users will be able to search vertically much easier than they can now. For instance, instead of using Safari:

  • iPhone users can use Siri to search Facebook, LinkedIn or their Contacts Book for a person
  • Users can search through Siri for places and be taken to Yelp or Apple Maps directly, cutting out Google
  • Searches for news can be sent straight to Apple News
  • Searches for products sent to Amazon
  • Searches for travel sent to Expedia, Orbitz or Priceline directly.

The more vertical searches Siri can handle, the fewer searches Google gets on Apple devices, which directly cuts into their online advertising profits and brand recognition.

The stage is set, but it will be a long, slow, drawn out process. Should Apple continue to move in these directions – being a go-to source of Google’s online advertising revenue, championing privacy and opening up vertical search – this will limit Google’s online advertising growth and lower the company’s margins.

At Cohlab Digital Marketing, we’re passionate about online advertising. If you’d like to learn more about how to grow your business through Google’s AdWords tool, reach out and we’ll walk you through the process.

5 Ways To Get Better PPC Services By Having A Google Partner

A big part of search engine marketing (SEM) is the pay-per-click, or PPC services a digital marketing firm can provide.

PPC services allow you to pay per click for good positioning on Google search results for certain keywords. PPC services can give your advertising a quick boost to get to the next level, whether you’re looking for sales, leads, or an increase in views/visits.

One recent study found that many small businesses waste 25% of their PPC budgets due to misunderstanding of keywords and other search engine marketing issues. That’s why it’s important to work with a certified Google Partner like Cohlab.

Being a Google Partner means we are trained in various Google advertising methods, including PPC services, and have access to expert help from Google employees anytime we need it, to make sure we deliver the results you’re looking for. Having a Google Partner can greatly impact the effectiveness of your SEM, saving you money in the long term.

5 Ways To Get Better PPC Services By Having A Google PartnerCohlab is a Google Partner

1. Certified Analysts And Account Managers

In order to achieve Google Partner status, a digital marketing firm needs to have employees who are Google certified actively managing clients PPC services. Google keeps track of these certifications on their Google Partner website, and ensures they are up-to-date and that the firm meets Google’s standards.

2. Masters Of AdWords Featuresstocksnap_xbk2jsafg9

All Google Partner companies must manage a PPC services ad spend of at least $10,000 every 90 days.

Also, Google Partners need to be masters of AdWords and use them in a way which is profitable for their client. Some of the needed skills include:

  • Use of keywords/negative keywords
  • Proper links
  • Ad extensions
  • Phrase matching
  • Split testing
  • Broad match modified keywords
  • Proper ad scheduling

3. Google-Quality Services

Google reviews a Google Partner’s client accounts to make sure they are giving clients the best PPC services through their quality score ranking. Google also looks at how long clients stay active with digital marketing firms to measure the quality of a Partner.

4. Quick Response

Many Google Partners, including Cohlab, have Google Representatives they can contact at any time a client has an issue without waiting in line.

If your AdWords campaigns are shut down, you’ll continue to lose out on sales until those campaigns are reactivated. Usually, it could take 3 days to address this issue, but with a Google Representative, it can be addressed nearly immediately.

5. Testing And Innovation

PPC services include split testing ads, or running to different versions of ads for the same purpose. Google Partners are required to split test ads to attract the greatest volume of customers to a client’s site.

4 Ways To Simultaneously Succeed With Web Marketing

Web marketing can be tricky business, especially if you don’t have the staff or bandwidth to devote to it.

Digital marketing firms like ours have the expertise and time to devote to working on your web marketing and search engine optimization to help bring you new and repeat business. Let’s look at 4 ways you can help your business succeed with web marketing, either on your own or with the help of a digital marketing firm.

4 Ways To Simultaneously Succeed With Web Marketing

1. Knowledge CardCohlab Google Business Listing

Your Google Knowledge Card might be a potential client’s first interaction with your web marketing, or it could be how a returning client is able to quickly access your phone number or website.

A knowledge card, seen here, is a way for Google to quickly display the gist of a business to a searcher on any device. On a larger display the knowledge card appears on the right-hand side of the screen, on a smaller device it appears above search results but below other forms of web marketing, like paid ads and map results, if there are any.

Having an up-to-date knowledge card allows you to display your correct phone number, address, accurate hours, as well as reviews, photos and other great information. This is a really effective web marketing technique to make sure your company is known, especially over other companies with similar names.

2. Back-End Optimization

Another huge piece of web marketing is optimizing the many parts of your website you might not normally think of adjusting.

Page descriptions don’t actually appear on the pages of your website, but they do appear in the Google search results, and so needs to be an accurate reflection of what people will find on the page when they arrive; the same goes for your page title. Both of these also need to be between a certain number of characters to fit in the space Google provides.

The text on your page should also be separated by headers, defining different sections. Google likes to see headers, especially when one contains your chosen keyword/phrase for the pages. The headers also need to cascade in size, depending on the topic.

Images are another important piece of web marketing. The images should be unique to your website, as well as tagged with an “alt tag” and “caption” which are both accurate and contain the keyword for your page.

And don’t forget to make sure any links in your page are working and are related to the topic. If you have a blog on how KFC chicken is the best fast food in the world, there shouldn’t be a link to the dolphin page of your local zoo on that page anywhere; for effective web marketing, the links should be to another page you have written about different fast food chicken and a link to the KFC page.

3. Content/Keyword Optimization

Content should pretty much be over 300 words for any page, but different lengths are good for different types of pages/blogs, so you’ll need to experiment.

Each page should have it’s own, unique keyword/phrase related to the topic of your website as a whole, and the keyword/phrase should make up about 2-3% of the words on the given page for effective web marketing.

4. Reputation ManagementCohlab Reviews

Another key driver of web marketing and traffic to your website is your online reputation. You’ll need to get control of reviews of your business from across the web, whether the reviews are on Google, Facebook, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Houzz, Fandango or elsewhere. Ask your happy customers either in person or via email to give you a review on their chosen site, and be sure to collect those reviews on your website. At Cohlab, we actually have a great tool, Cohlab.Reviews, which can do a lot of this automatically for you.

Feel free to take these tips and run, or, if you’d like more details on how we can help take your web marketing to the next level, contact us. We’d love to help.

Google AdWord Changes Places Huge Emphasis On SEO

Until just recently, Google AdWords ads were displayed at the top and bottom, as well as the right-hand column on search engine results pages (SERP’s). The recent changes have eliminated the right-hand column ads from the SERP’s altogether, and now promote ads only at the top and bottom. Also, the number of AdWord ads displayed at the top numbered between one to three, with only 1% of SERPS showing four. However, Google has significantly increased the use four-ad blocks with the new changes. This is highly significant for AdWord advertisers because the changes actually reduce the number of ads shown in SERP’s. Before the changes, the right-hand column typically displayed eight ads on average. Because of this reduction in AdWord real estate, AdWord optimization has become critical, and it places a massive emphasis on the importance of SEO.

Why Google AdWord Changes Occurred

Google regularly makes changes to the SERP’s and the algorithm determining page rank. In fact, we just recently discussed the latest update to the algorithm known as Panda. In some cases, Google is very straightforward in sharing the purpose of their changes. Often, however, it is left up to speculation. We can be sure that Google is placing more emphasis on the importance of mobile optimization. The issue with the AdWord placement was that mobile does not support the right-hand column. By eliminating this area, Google advertising becomes standardized and uniform regardless of the device being used.

AdWord Optimization and SEO More Critical

The whole point of using Google AdWords is to drive traffic to your website and to convert visitors into customers. With a reduction in Adwords in the SERP’s, it makes the keywords used in your AdWord strategy even more important. If you have irrelevant keywords, people searching for the products or services you provide may not even see your ad. AdWords must be carefully optimized to ensure you are getting the most from your investment. In addition, SEO on your website also becomes more necessary. If your site and content are not SEO optimized, and you are not making the conversions needed to improve ROI, the use of AdWords is simply not justified. Of course, AdWord optimization and SEO were always important. These recent Google AdWord changes only made it more so.

At Cohlab, we are a Certified Google Badge Partner and fully understand AdWord strategy and the importance of SEO. It is critical that customers and prospects be targeted and provided the best message, in the best manner, at the best time, and that you fully understand and meet their needs. However, achieving this practically can be a challenging effort. That is why we work closely with you, and take the time necessary to ensure you get the most out of your efforts. We “cohlaborate” with you to generate the right message, and our strategy is proven to be exceedingly successful for our digital marketing clients.

Your Small Business Needs Big Data

The term “big data” has become popular in the world of marketing recently. However, it is not something entirely new, and it is not something that should be feared by small business owners. In fact, big data can be a massive benefit to small businesses who sell products and need to optimize their product feed. Big data simply refers to a large volume of data used by companies. When a business has a large number of goods, say one to two thousand, attempting to go through each one and optimize them for AdWords is nearly impossible. You will need tools that can interact with those large data sets to place your data into manageable views or models. It is a common misconception that big data is only for large companies such as Wal-Mart or Target. However, it is equally important to small businesses. Locally, one company is using big data to optimize their product feed, and perhaps it is time you should as well.

Big Data for Small Businessespeople-coffee-tea-meeting

Using big data provides many benefits to small businesses. It allows them to optimize the high number of products on their website. Optimizing these products assists them in decreasing their overall bidding costs on AdWords, and in turn, greatly improves their ROI. In St. Cloud, MN, a local small business with longevity in the area has done just that. Granite City Tool supplies thousands of products for the stone working industry. From core bits to chisels and hammers, their online store makes over 4000 products readily available. To sit down and go through each one individually, and optimize it for the AdWords shopping feed would cost more in time and effort than could ever be recouped in profit. However, using big data allows them to do so. It enables them to increase sales and increase profits to affect their bottom line positively.

How to Take Advantage of Big Data

In a previous AdWords post, we discussed the importance of optimizing Google AdWords. Taking advantage of big data uses those principles to increase traffic to your site, and convert visits into sales. Tools are available for using big data; however, simply investing in big data analytics software is not enough to achieve success. Using big data is a marathon, not a sprint, and it requires a carefully crafted strategy to leverage the big data and available tools to achieve maximum ROI.  Working with a company who has the knowledge and experience to assist you with big data is critical.

At Cohlab, we fully understand big data and figure out why your small business needs big data. However, achieving this practically can be a challenging effort. That is why we work closely with you, and take the time necessary to ensure you get the most out of your efforts. We “cohlaborate” with you to generate the best ROI, and our strategy is proven to be exceedingly successful for our digital marketing clients.

Learn more about our strategy and how it can benefit your marketing. Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how you compare to others. Our team would love to speak with you and answer any questions you may have. Our mission is to provide you with Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your organization’s needs.

Display Ads: The Billboards of the Internet

Running an efficient digital marketing campaign requires a diverse range of tactics. One successful method used is display ads. Display ads can vary in the type of ad you use including everything from text and images to flash animation and videos. Also known as banner ads, they are used to project your message and entice internet users to click on them to bring them back to your website. Display advertising is a form of paid digital advertising in which your ad will be posted on other sites strategically chosen to reach your target market. They are an essential tool that should be part of your digital marketing strategy.


This is an example of a display ad. When running display ads there are normally 8 or more variations depending on the size of screen.

Display Ads: The Billboards of the Internet

Any time you drive down the road; it is likely that you are bombarded with billboards for any number of industries all to capture your attention, cement their brand in your head, and encourage you to purchase their product or service. The problem with roadside billboards is that they are not specially targeted to your specific market, and are placed in hopes that enough people who need your service will see it and act on it to generate ROI. Billboards can start at over $1000 per month, and are stagnant, only appearing in one location. Display ads differ in that you could run a successful display ad campaign for a conservative budget of only $200 per month. Furthermore, your display ads could appear on a variety of strategic websites whether you place them on weather.com or hgtv.com.

Why Are Display Ads So Important?

Display ads are not new. In fact, banner ads were one of the first forms of digital advertising on the internet. In the early days, banner ads were highly successful. However, their usefulness and use declined. However, display ads have come a long way from the standard sized banner ads. Better targeting on the right websites, internet speeds allowing the rapid use of audio and video, and various sized ads for maximum effect have once again brought display ads to the forefront. Furthermore, the cost of display ads has also decreased making them a very sound investment.

At Cohlab, we fully understand the importance of display ads. It is critical that prospects be targeted with the best message, in the best manner, at the best time. Creating a strategy can be a challenging effort. That is why we “cohlaborate” with you to ensure you get the most out of your efforts.

Learn more about our PPC Management Service and the special limited time offer that will build your brand and your ROI at an incredible rate. Our team would love to speak with you and answer any questions you may have. Our mission is to provide you with Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your organization’s needs.