Q and A: Can running a PPC Campaign affect my Organic Rankings?

Question

Dear Kalena…

I was wondering if you have an active ppc program if this hurts you in natural search optimization since your paying for keyword placement. Why would Google/Yahoo rank you high if your already paying them lots of money. I tested this by pausing my Yahoo ad for 1 month and sure enough my keywords are all on front page when beforehand they were are pages 3-5. Too nervous to do with Google since we spend a lot per month.

Billy

Hi Billy,

This is a topic which has been much debated over the years, but the short answer is No, running a PPC Campaign will have no “direct” impact on your rankings.

People have speculated that using PPC might improve your rankings (as a reward by the search engine) or – as you’ve have suggested – decrease your rankings (presumably to encourage people to click on the ads).

It should be very easy to test, and many people have tried to prove it one way or the other – but I am unaware of any conclusive proof.  Even though your test seems to suggest a correlation between your PPC and organic rankings, you only appear to have done a part of the test.  In order to prove the correlation you would need to turn on and off your PPC campaign over an extended period and track this against changes in your rankings.

In my opening sentence above, I emphasized that there is no “direct” effect, because running an aggressive  PPC campaign could in fact have an indirect impact on your organic rankings – in a couple of different ways :

  1. By running PPC you will get extra traffic in a shorter amount of time, and the data that this generates can help you to tweak and improve factors that can influence your organic rankings.  For example, through using a broad range of keyword phrases on your campaigns – and by looking at the impressions you get, you will get an idea of which phrases are being searched most often.  You should also be able to determine which keywords are converting better.  By focusing your optimisation efforts on high volume and higher converting phrases, you will boost your rankings and your sales or enquiries.
  2. Running PPC will also raise the visibility of your brand and your site. You will be getting extra visitors – and if they like what they see they are likely to link to your site.  This in itself will also improve your organic rankings.

Andy Henderson
Ireckon Web Marketing

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Google Caffeine – A Taste Test

I recently wrote a piece for SiteProNews on Google Caffeine and thought I’d share the link with you here.

The article covers a search query experiment I undertook comparing SERPs on the existing uncaffeinated Google and Google Caffeine. The results are surprising!

See this visual comparison for a snapshot.

Check out the full article here:

Google Caffeine – A Taste Test

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Google Displaying Breadcrumb Navigation in SERP Snippets

A couple of bloggers have reported seeing breadcrumb trails in Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) lately, meaning they may be testing the inclusion of breadcrumb navigation as part of site snippets.

Breadcrumb navigation shows the user’s path in relation to their current location. It’s the little trail of keywords you often see at the top of the page, below the main header image telling you what section of a site you are on. There’s a good explanation here.

Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped blogged about seeing breadcrumbs in Google SERPs as far back as July. Leo Fogarty has seen a couple of results on closely related search queries.  Now Chris Crum of Web Pro News reports a few random instances of breadcrumb SERP usage.

Google have always encouraged webmasters to use breadcrumb navigation for usability purposes and now they’re apparently going to reward webmasters who take their advice by including breadcrumbs within their site snippet.

Here’s a screengrab of how breadcrumbs look in the Google SERPs for the search query “car hire Spain”:

As you can see, the keywords in the breadcrumbs that match the search query are bolded, meaning that they are included in the algorithmic ranking factors for that query. So potentially, the use of breadcrumb navigation as an SEO tactic has just become a whole lot more important.

A check of the pages displaying the breadcrumbs in their snippets confirms the use of breadcrumb navigation and the exact breadcrumb trail included in the snippet e.g. http://www.auto-europe.co.uk/car-hire/Spain.cfm.

I personally haven’t seen any crumbed SERPs but it’s apparently quite rare so far, with the testing possibly limited to UK sites.

Have you seen any? Please let us know via the comments below.

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How to Set Up a Link Building Campaign for a Web Site or a Blog

Building up good quality inbound links to your web site or blog is still the best long term strategy to ensure your site will be found by your target audience. Below is a set of instructions to help you set up a link building campaign for your own site, or for a client’s site, using Microsoft Excel. You will need to create 5 or 6 worksheets (tabs) within the spreadsheet, to keep track of the various aspects of the link building campaign. The first five worksheets will need eight columns each (A – H), with the following headings:

Column A – Number
Column B – Search Engine Name
Column C – Search Engine URL
Column D – Link Page (address of the category page you want your site listed on)
Column E – Submission Page (address of the page where you submit your site)
Column F – Date Submitted
Column G – Date Added
Column H – Submission Comments

The sixth worksheet (tab) will contain all the web site or blog information required for submitting your site to search engines or directories.

Submissions Tab:

The first task is to add the details of your web site or blog into the submissions tab. You will use this information for each submission. Submission information includes: 

  • Web site/blog name,
  • Web site/blog url,
  • In the case of a blog, it is helpful to list the rss or atom feed address as well as the standard url,
  • Short description (150 words or less),
  • Long description (250 words or less),
  • Anchor text (the short sentence of text you wish to have listed with your link),
  • Keywords,
  • Your name and email address (for tracking submissions only).

Please note: When writing your web site or blog descriptions, do not use overly promotional language and do not repeat the name of your web site or blog within the description. Most directories do not accept submissions which breach these two rules.  

Tab 1: Major Search Engines

The first tab will contain a list of the major search engines and directories. For a comprehensive list of major search engines to include, visit: http://www.searchenginewiki.com/CategorySearchEnginesMajor  Once you have your list imported into the excel spreadsheet:

  • Check each one on the list to see if your site is already listed.
  • If your site is displayed in the search results, write ‘already listed’ in the comments field.
  • Once you have checked through the list, begin submitting – record the date in the ‘date submitted’ column.
  • Always submit your website/blog to the most appropriate category.
  • Note in the comments column any directories or search engines that require payment. Depending on your budget, examine the directory to determine if it is worth paying to get your site listed with them or not.
  • Some sites will require you to sign up as an editor or member in order to be eligible to submit to them. Record all relevant membership data in the comments column.

Tab 2: Minor Search Engines

The second tab is to contain a list of minor search engines and directories. To view a comprehensive list of minor search engines to include, visit: http://www.searchenginewiki.com/CategorySearchEnginesMinor

Submit your site/blog as per the instructions for the major search engine tab.

Tab 3: Niche Search Engines and DirectoriesThe third tab is designed to contain a list of niche search engines or directories which may be relevant for your site/blog. The search engine or directory itself may be targeted towards your niche area or it may contain a category which is directly related to the subject of your site/blog. To view a comprehensive list of Niche search engines to include, visit: http://www.searchenginewiki.com/CategorySearchEnginesNiche  

Submit your site/blog as per the instructions for the major search engine tab.

Tab 4: Regional Search Engines and Directories

The fourth tab is to contain a list of search engines or directories from a particular region of the world. You may not wish to have a regional focus in regards to your link building campaign, but if you want to target a particular region, you will need to submit your site to directories and search engines from that region. For a comprehensive list of regional search engines or directories to include, visit: http://www.searchenginewiki.com/CategorySearchEnginesRegional 

Submit your site/blog as per the instructions for the major search engine tab.

Tab 5: Blog Directories

This tab is only relevant if you are conducting a link building campaign for a blog. The fifth tab is to contain a list of blog directories. Sometimes the submissions page will ask for the rss address instead or as well as the standard url. (This is the address people use to subscribe to your feed). For a comprehensive list of blog directories to include, visit: http://www.searchenginewiki.com/CategoryBlogDirectories  

Submit your blog as per the instructions for the major search engine tab.

Follow Up:

After you have made your submissions, wait about six weeks and check to see if your site/blog is listed yet. If it is listed, write the date in the ‘date added’ column. Keep checking about once a month until all submissions are finalized. Some may take quite a long time to get around to listing your site/blog. If a directory or search engine does not intend to accept your submission you may receive an email indicating the reason. Sometimes however they will not notify you of the outcome either way.

Some search engines and directories require payment for submissions. Sometimes paid listings are worthwhile if the directory is very popular with a high page rank (5 or over) or contains focused relevant categories. Feel free to skip them and stick to free submissions only if you are working with little or no budget.

Happy submitting!

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Q and A: Why doesn’t my site appear if I type my business name into Yahoo search?

QuestionHi Kalena,

For the past 3 months my site would appear on page 1 of Yahoo when my “girly party” or “girly party” was typed into the search engine. Recently I’ve noticed that I don’t even appear in the top 10 pages. How could this have happened within 1 week? Something seems a little weird. Please advise. Why wouldn’t my company appear if I type in my entire business name in Yahoo search?

Tonya

Hello Tonya

I can’t believe your site was ever ranking for your business name. Or anything else for that matter.

Here’s why:

  • You’ve used Homestead SiteBuilder to create your site. This is a CMS notorious for being search engine unfriendly.
  • I’m not entirely sure, but I suspect that this is a free-hosted site with content pulled from the main Homestead site and just displayed on your web site. If you want search engines and potential customers to take your business seriously, you need to take it seriously and get a professional web site designed and properly hosted by a real host on your domain.
  • Your META tags are identical on every page and appear to be automatically generated by the Homestead CMS.
  • Your site isn’t optimized for keywords at all. Your page content doesn’t appear to have logical search keywords integrated within the visible text.
  • The Title tag for your home page just says “Home”! Search engines consider the content of the Title tag to be one of the most important aspects of your page in determining whether it is a relevant match for search queries. Your title tag says didley squat about your business.

I could go on but it’s too depressing. Sorry to be so blunt, but it always pains me to see businesses using Homestead or Geocities or similar types of piggy-back, unprofessional, free-hosted or cheap-ass accounts online. It only takes a small effort and very little financial investment to get a professional-looking site built, hosted and optimized for search engines.

An easy way to regain a ranking in Yahoo and Google for “My Girly Party” is to include this phrase at the beginning of the Title Tag of every page on your site.

In the meantime, may I suggest you download our free SEO101 lesson? Implementing the techniques mentioned should help you gain some rankings fairly quickly.

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