Q and A: Where can I learn how to use all the features of Microsoft adCenter?

QuestionHi Kalena

I’ve been using Google AdWords for years and feel quite confident with the program, however it has literally taken me years to learn all the features and how to tweak things for better results and more conversions. I’ve just started using Microsoft adCenter recently and I’m finding it hard going. There just seem to be so many features I’m unfamiliar with and even getting my head around the interface is a struggle after so many years of AdWords exposure.

Do you offer a course at Search Engine College that is solely dedicated to MS adCenter?

Thanks

Sophie

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Hi Sophie

We offer two courses in Pay Per Click Marketing – a PPC Starter course and a PPC Advanced course, however while both courses do have lessons dedicated to MS adCenter, the bulk of the lessons cover all aspects of PPC marketing. If you’re looking for something more granular in terms of using MS adCenter, you should check out their adCenter Training Center which contains around 35 training videos designed to teach you all aspects of using adCenter. You can even sign up to take the Accredited Professional Exam when you’re finished.

In case you’re not already aware, Google also offers similar video training for AdWords plus detailed lesson modules via the AdWords Learning Center.

Kalena

 

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Q and A: How do I prove my SEO work contributed to company sales?

QuestionHello Kalena

I’m a past graduate of Search Engine College (Class of 2009, Woo!) and I’ve been working with a few different companies since then. I’ve recently started to take on private clients so that I can move towards setting up my own freelance SEO business and things are going well.

One of my private clients is an affiliate company that works mainly off lead generation. I’ve been tracking the SEO work I’ve done for them in Google Analytics and produced reports showing a marked increase in traffic from organic search results. They’re happy with that, but the CEO wants me to show a dollar figure of how much SEO has contributed to the company’s bottom line.

I can get the monthly affiliate sales figures from their marketing team and I can set up funnel tracking to see the path taken by organic search referrers towards the shopping cart, but all the purchasing is actually done on a 3rd party shopping cart site and I don’t have access to that information. Also, those figures don’t take into account the brand exposure my work provides for the company by continually getting their name in front of eyeballs. Some of these people may go directly to the shopping cart site later after comparison shopping and buy as a result. How can I track these post-search sales?

Thanks
Louise

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Hi Louise

Tracking the effectiveness of SEO activity for ecommerce and lead generation sites can be tricky. I also have ecommerce sites as clients and I feel your frustration!

Is each customer sent to a *thank you for purchasing* page after purchase? If so, you can add Google conversion tracking code to that page and set up each visit to that page as defining a single conversion, even if that activity happens off the main site. Then you can accurately measure conversions within Google Analytics. Measuring conversions that happen later should also be possible, depending on the way visitors are tracked and cookies stored. Integrating Google Analytics asynchronous tracking code will make that job easier.

Juggling the shifting priorities of various stakeholders aside, most clients just want to see that the money they are channeling into SEO or Pay Per Click efforts is justified. Often, preparing detailed Google Analytics reports and financial spreadsheets can be a waste of time because few staff will look at them. You want to be able to prove, quickly, that your work is cost-effective and making a direct impact on sales.

Ian Lurie of Search Engine Land has written a brilliant article on this very topic this week, called The Challenge of Justifying Enterprise SEO. In the article, Ian tackles the problem of justifying SEO for lead generation sites. He says you just need to know three things to report for such sites:

To make this work, you need three pieces of data:

  • The number of Web leads that become customers.
  • The average lifetime value of a customer (LTV).
  • The referring source, even if it’s a phone call.

Then, Ian says, it’s just a matter of math and a very simple graphic. Read the article for the full story and let me know if it works for you!

Kalena

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Q and A: Do search engines announce when they make algorithm changes?

QuestionHi Kalena

I’ve been slowly teaching myself SEO for about 2 years now and I think I am finally getting quite good at it. The only time I find myself completely out of my depth is when big algorithm changes like Panda hit my client web sites and they lose ranking. Then I find myself clambering to work out what’s happened and how I can fix it.

I can usually claw things back a little bit, but my clients are understandably confused as to why the drops occur and why I wasn’t prepared for them.

Do search engines like Google announce when they are about to make algorithm changes or provide a list of tweaks and fixes like software companies do after a new version is released?

Thanks
Galen

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Hi Galen

It’s not in the interests of search engines like Google to reveal full details of their algorithm adjustments, as this would not only impact the security of their servers, but also affect their shareholder price! Search engines need to keep vital parts of their technical infrastructure private as they form a large chunk of intellectual property. Apart from that, they need to protect the quality of the search results from hackers and black-hat SEO operators who would seek to compromise them for their own benefit.

That said, Google DO provide a monthly blog post on algorithm changes called the Search Quality Highlights Series. The first post in the series was published shortly after the Panda II algorithm tweaks were made last November (which caused a fresh round of frustration and confusion for webmasters). The latest post in the series was made earlier this month and features detail of 17 new quality improvements made to Google’s algorithm in January 2012.

The blog series is part of Google’s ongoing effort to be more transparent about how search works and to share the methodology and process behind their search ranking, evaluation and algorithmic changes.

I’m not sure if other major search engines offer a similar algorithm news service, but if anyone knows of any, please post in the comments.

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Q and A: Should my meta description tags just duplicate my title tags?

QuestionHi Everyone

From early days learning SEO, I went ahead and did all my meta descriptions with a bit of blurb about the page but my *Guru* has told me this is incorrect and I should include only the title of the page in the meta description, eg “Antique Dining Chairs” whereas I had put in “Antique Dining Chairs – over 500 chairs on display at the Glebe Antique Centre. Dining chairs to match your table, occasional chairs for that special place in your home”.

Any thoughts before I go and change everything yet again?

Christine

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Hi Christine

From where I’m sitting, your *guru* is wrong. Remember, your meta description tag is often used as the snippet on the search results pages to describe your site.

So apart from including keywords, it has to do the job of convincing people to click on it. A nonsensical list of keywords is not going to convince people to click so you have to balance it out with an appealing sentence, preferably including a call-to-action or reason to click.

Yes, it’s important to put your keywords at the start of the tag if you can, but you have up to 160 characters in that tag indexed by search engines, so you should use the space to your advantage. Having a short, unimaginative meta description or simply copying your title tag is not going to make any difference to your overall rankings and is more likely to turn your potential visitors off.

Google admitted that it no longer considers the meta description tag in their ranking algorithm anyway, so, other search engines aside, the main job of the tag in Google SERPs is to convince people to click on the link and visit your site.

Put it this way: if you were in the market for an antique chair and you saw the following two listings in Google, which one would you click on?

  • Site1.com – “Antique Dining Chairs.”
  • Site2.com – “Antique Dining Chairs – over 500 chairs on display at the Glebe Antique Centre. Dining chairs to match your table, occasional chairs for that special place in your home.

I’m thinking Site2.com – am I right? And – oh look! The longer tag managed to include *dining chairs* twice and a whole bunch of other keyword phrases as well: *dining chairs Glebe*, *chairs Glebe*, *occasional chairs*, *Antique(s) Glebe*.

Case closed.

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Q and A: How do I login to my YouTube channel?

QuestionHi Kalena,

I have been working on some new YouTube clips and have been trying to add them to our company channel we opened a couple of years ago. Problem is that I’ve forgotten our YouTube login and no-one here at the office remembers the username or password.

I have had a lot of problems with Gmail as every time I try to get onto a mail address it rejects the password. It will not accept a new password when I attempt a try.  This has left me with 12 or more email addresses.

I understand all the videos have to be in one channel, but due to the lack of support and communication, I have a mess. I know when it comes to search this is important. I’ve managed to put a new video up on Facebook and also uploaded to google+ and what I thought was my YouTube channel but I was wrong. I tried to find out answers in Google Q & A but no luck for me.

Can you help?

Thanks
Terry

Hi Terry

You can login to YouTube using either your Google email address associated with the account as the username OR the YouTube channel name as the username. But if you’ve already got another Google account open, it will assume you are logged in already and ask you for a password for *that* account. So you need to log out of all Gmail and Google+ accounts and any Google programs such as AdWords and then go to YouTube.com and login from scratch.

It can be confusing, especially if you’ve got multiple Google email accounts or if you’re using Google Apps, so I would advise following the help prompts or browsing the YouTube help forums. There seem to be a lot of people in those forums with the same issue. If you’re still stuck, try contacting Google Support directly.

Kalena

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