Q and A: Is there a Google method to find the ranking and traffic of a specific search term?

QuestionDear Kalena…

Is there a Google method to find the ranking of a specific search term? For example if I’m tweaking my site as I sell thermo seals, I’d be interested to see if more people search for ‘thermo seals’ or ‘winter window leaks’ or ‘stop window drafts’ etc. etc.

If I see that one term gets 5,000 hits or is ranked #17,500 where as another one gets 7,000 hits and is ranked #12,345 then I’d be sure to talk the talk of the higher rated search term. I’d like to enter terms, get some form of ranking and then enter another term, so that I have an apples to apples list of results.

Thanks

Dave

Hi Dave…

Although Google is generally against automated rank checking / reporting, they do allow you to research historical organic search data using their Insights For Search. This will allow you to compare search patterns and volume for various search terms and keywords across specific regions, categories, time frames etc.

For paid search listings, you can use the Google Adwords Traffic Estimator. This gives you estimates on the typical number of clicks you’re likely to receive if you were to bid on these keywords using Google’s Pay Per Click system – Adwords. And with this information, you can then identify which keywords are worth optimising for. Generally, more people click on organic search rankings than paid listings, so this type of data won’t give you an exact figure if your focus is organic traffic, but it certainly works well as a guide.

If you’re willing to spend some money and would like to see what keywords your competitors are focusing on (along with the traffic they attract and a whole bunch of other competitive information), you could try tools such as SEM Rush, Compete.com or SpyFu.

There are plenty of other tools out there that can help achieve similar results, so if you have a favorite or would like to share the tools you use, add some comments below.

Hope this helps!

Cheers

Peter Newsome
Brisbane SEO with SiteMost

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New Offerings from Google

I haven’t got time to review them all in detail yet, but I’ve noticed a number of new initiatives launched by Google over the past week or so that deserve mention here.

Ad Sitelinks in AdWords

Ad Sitelinks is a new AdWords feature that allows you to extend the value of your existing AdWords ads by providing additional links to content deep within your sites. Rather than sending all users to the same landing page, Ad Sitelinks will display up to 4 additional Destination URLs on your search-based text ad for users to choose from.

Google Comparison Ads:

Comparison Ads is another new feature of AdWords, which lets users compare multiple, relevant offers more easily. Comparison Ads ads value to the ad experience on Google by letting users specify exactly what they are looking for and helping them quickly compare relevant offers side by side.

Google Page Previews:

Google has added a new option to web search called Page Previews. Click on *show options* and select *page previews* after running a search. Google will then show a longer snippet, plus a site thumbnail for each search result

Google Fading Home Page:

Google has been experimenting today with an even more minimalist home page than usual. The new *fading* home page hides everything on the page apart from the logo and the search box until you move your mouse over it and then the remainder of the navigation fades in.  A few people mentioned this one on Twitter but I haven’t seen it in action yet.

Have you used or noticed any of these yet? Please let us know what you think via the comments below.

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Q and A: What salary should I expect as an SEO?

Question

Dear Kalena…

What salary would i have if i were to get hired as an SEO or SEM? on average hourly and annual

Cruiz

Hi Cruiz,

A great question – and one often asked by people just entering (or considering joining) the SEO community.  As you’ve probably anticipated, it’s not really possible to provide a definitive answer to this question, as the salary rates you could expect,  depend on a number of variable.  I’ve outlined below some of the most significant factors that are likely to influence SEO or SEM salaries :

  1. Location – you’ve not identified which part of the world you are from, but this can have a significant impact on Salary levels.  Salaries in the US and UK, are typically higher than those in Australia, which are usually higher again than those in India (which has a massive and thriving SEO industry by the way).  Hot Spots within a particular country are also likely to offer higher salaries that are based on the usual factors – such as cost of living, lifestyle, and competition.
  2. Organisation – whether you are working In House,  within a specialist SEO Agency or as a private Consultant , will also influence you salary.
    For In House SEOs, the size of the business, and their awareness/acceptance of the importance of SEO will influence what they are prepared to pay.  Some SMBs are not able (or willing) to justify  a full time SEO role, so Search Engine Optimisation might be seen as something that is done by the Web Developer or Marketer in their spare time.
    The salary for In House SEOs in large organisations (with SEO teams) is broadly comparable to that of the salary for an equivalent role within a specialist SEO Agency (although the Agency SEO is likely to have the opportunity to deal with a broader range of clients and experiences) .
    Salaries for private Consultants can vary dramatically – from the highest salaries for recognised SEO Gurus to the (probably) lowest hourly rates for relatively inexperienced start-up SEOs.

    [Editor Note: You might also want to review the salaries and jobs categories in this blog to get a good idea of the type of salaries that SEO/SEM staff can command. My article 11 Reasons Why You Should Consider a Job in Search Engine Marketing also lists some common salary ranges. Cheers, Kalena]

  3. Role – there  are many different types of roles and activities within the SEO Industry, some people focus on one particular role, others undertake the complete range of activities.  Typically the more experienced you get in a particular area, the more specialised you become, and the higher salary you can expect.  Types of roles include – Strategist, Consultant, Analyst, Researcher, Writer.
  4. Experience – I say experience here rather than qualification, because there is not currently an internationally  recognised  SEO qualification (although given the increasing awareness of the SEO industry – this may change in the future).  SEO Course’s such as those offered by Search Engine College are a fabulous way to gain an understanding of this field, and provide a valuable insight into SEO techniques, strategies and tips.  However, experience – dealing with customers in real world situations is probably the single best way to justify a higher salary.  Being able to demonstrate real success with high profile clients in competitive industries, proves your experience and abilities.
  5. Profile – the better you are at raising your profile in the industry, the higher salary you can expect.   A high profile is usually (but not always) a natural result of experience and confidence.  If you are outspoken in the industry – through blogging, involvement in forums, attendance and presentation at industry events, etc. your reputation will develop. If it is clear that you understand the industry and know what you are talking about; if you offer useful advice and innovative strategies; and if you can demonstrate your ability to achieve real results for your clients, you may be on your way to “SEO Guru” status gathering followers (and an increased salary) along the way.
  6. Supply and Demand – as in all things, supply and demand will influence the level of salary you can expect.  If you have few competitors for a particular role you are likely to be able to demand a higher salary – providing you have suitable experience.  Supply and demand changes from time to time and is influenced by many things including geographic location , unemployment rates, and the financial climate.
    In these days of financial uncertainty, with many businesses tightening up their budgets,  you might speculate that the demand for SEOs would decrease.  However, the reverse seems to be true.  Many SEOs are in fact  experiencing an increase in work levels, as business owners realise that they need to get smarter about how to develop their businesses and spend their marketing budget.

Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz wrote an excellent post on this topic ( see : SEO Salaries – How Much Should You Make) – however this was written in 2006 – and now, 3 years on, the annual salary figures are almost certainly higher.  (how about an update Rand?)

Search Engine Optimisation is a role requiring specialist knowledge and experience, and as such you should expect to achieve a higher salary than a more traditional web or marketing role.  Some of the factors outlined above are outside your control (unless you are willing to move to another part of the world for example), but one factor that you are able to influence is experience.  Getting some good basic SEO Training and undertaking some Search Engine Marketing Courses (through Search Engine College of course) , doing some Research, and gaining Experience (even if it is only on your own/friends websites initially) is the best way for you to improve you salary prospects.

Andy Henderson
WebConsulting Web Optimisation

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Q and A: A few questions about Google AdWords

QuestionHi Kalena

There are several questions I would like to ask.

1. I set position preferences on Google Adwords as 4-6. However, it turns out the actual average positions of keywords are either 2 or 3. I recognise that it might be due to the high bidding price. However, I am worried that once I drop the bidding, it will go below the range of positions I want. Could you please tell me what I can do to solve this problem? Shall I use this the bidding management tool?

2. I have also concerned about the number of key words and ads used in any campaign. Your PPC course mentions that there should be two or more ads for each keyword. At the meantime, it also suggests that we should group the keywords according to themes, that is, allocate the similar keywords together. Normally, there will be 5-7 keywords in one keyword theme for with the two to three words keyword, there would be several variations in writing. Given this scenario, I am confused whether I should create more ads for each keyword.

3. I shouldn’t say that I don’t like the new format of Google Adwords, but it is so inconvenient. I couldn’t find the quality score for keywords. I would much appreciate it if you could tell me where I can find it.

Thanks
Sophia

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Hi Sophia

1) I recommend using position preferences initially to help you get a feel for the bidding price of a particular keyword. If you’re consistently seeing your keywords higher than your preference, then by all means lower your bid and see how it goes. The system will tell you if your bid isn’t high enough to show your keywords in your preferred positions and then you can increase your bid again.

2) As explained in the lesson, you will generally need to test a range of ads to see which ones are most effective and then pause or delete the non-performing ads. When you first create your campaign, I recommend creating at least 2 different ad creatives for each unique keyword/phrase. However, if your keyword themes are tightly grouped by Ad Group and very similar or stem from the same keyword, you may only need a few different ad creatives for each Ad Group. For example, *blue wool socks* and *green wool socks* could probably share the same ad variations, while *wool socks* and *nylon socks* might require 2 or more ad variations each, so they can probably go into separate Ad Groups. Make sense?

3) I agree! It’s really hard to get used to, but will soon be the default so the sooner we can get used to it the better. You can only see the Quality Score at the AdGroup level. So using the new interface, drill down to a specific Ad Group and then click on the “Filter and Views” button to the right. From the drop-down list, choose “Customize Columns”. A pop up window will open with a range of check-box options for your column views. One of these will be the keyword Quality Score. Check the box next to it to have it show in your Ad Group view. You can even drag & drop it in the list to determine where the column appears in your dashboard view.

Hope this helps!

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Q and A: How many ad groups should a single PPC campaign have?

QuestionHi Kalena

This probably isn’t black or white, but in general, Is it bad to have one AdWords campaign with (50) ad groups? I would think if you need that many ad groups, you should probably be putting some of those groups into their own campaigns.

Also, isn’t is best practice to delete keywords from Ad Groups that have no impressions/clicks for 3 months? Thanks you!

Staci

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Hi Staci

There’s no hard and fast rule about the limit of AdGroups each Google AdWords campaign should have, but there is a knack to good account organization. You need to set up your campaigns so they are manageable and logical.

For example, set up a new campaign for each specific geographic market you wish to target, or perhaps for each product line you are promoting. The key is to create as many AdGroups as you need in order to silo each of your keyword themes into their own AdGroup, for example blue socks, red socks, wool socks, nylon socks etc.

You need each of these in their own AdGroup so that you can create ads that are specifically targeted to each theme and use the specific keywords and phrases within the ad headline and body. If it makes sense to have 50 AdGroups in a single campaign for this purpose, then so be it.

Regarding the deletion of keywords, if they aren’t attracting any impressions then yes, delete them. But if they’re getting impressions and no clicks, I would tweak the ads for a month or two before deleting them as the problem may be that the ads aren’t convincing enough.

When I kick off a new PPC campaign, I create a large number of creatives and then If they don’t attract conversions within 2 months, I delete the non-performing ads and gradually pause any that have a 2 percent or lower conversion rate.

Hope this helps

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