Not long ago, one of my good friends and a pretty smart guy, Dr. Glenn Livingston, graciously shared his unique Adwords insights with us live.
If you didn't get a chance to make it, man did you miss out, but . . .
Fear not . . . Because I took GOOD notes, and as you read along I'll be sharing a few gold nuggets from that live event that you'll love.
So, if you're more than confused with how to please the Google gods or you've been slapped and you don't know why, you may find quite a bit of solace in the advice to follow.
Not to mention, put yourself FAR ahead of the adwords curve.
"The Good And The Bad Of Google Adswords"
Let's start with the good.
More than a few businesses online have gone from nothing to multi-million dollar empires solely on the back of Adwords traffic, and that's more than a little motivating . . .
Knowing that if you just focus in and learn how this traffic monster works you may just be looking around the corner at a million dollar business yourself.
Now for the bad, Google doesn't care about you or me (as you've probably noticed).
They change how they rank websites over 800 times per year, and never do they send you or I a courtesy message telling us. (Sure would be nice though . . .)
You wake up one day, and things are different, you don't have any more leads, and you don't know why (more than an few ulcers can be attributed to this).
Although Google is powerful, from our stand point, it's not reliable.
As I've said for years, it's a mistake to focus on just one way to build your business no matter how good things may seem.
Your business's success lies in you building it on a foundation of stability.
I don't know about you, but if I knew my house was built on one support beam I don't think I'd sleep all that well at night.
"The Three Google Gods You MUST Please For Traffic"
Google, you have to understand, is a business, just like ours.
Their ultimate customer is their searchers. The happier they are, the more stable their business.
Just like you have to think through the eyes of your prospects to provide value for your business to grow, you've got to think from the Google searcher perspective if you want to approach understanding of what Google wants.
Ultimately, the most important god to please in the Google world is the person searching for information.
You've got to ask yourself, when someone searches for anything in Google, and they find you . . .
Did you give this guys what he was looking for?"
Until recently, we've been able to just kinda choose keywords, creating landing pages around those keywords, and poof! traffic.
Not so much these days . . .
Nowadays, you've got to give up the goods as soon as a visitor arrives.
That means quality, valuable, content, that gives your prospects exactly what they want BEFORE you ask for what you want (and most of the time it's - have that prospect become a lead).
So how does Google measure us?
That brings us to the other two Google gods.
The Google spider - Think about the spiders as little "virtual" robots with photographic memories that go out to your site and observe everything.
These guys come around every now and again to look at your content, and look at your overall site layout, etc . . .
Then the spider does some secret math that we don't quite understand and if you're given a good score - great! You get traffic.
(We'll get to how to, most likely, get a good score in a few)
Finally, at some point, if Google opens up their front door to you and let's you give them money to get traffic to your site you'll have one of their reviewers come your way sooner or later.
This is a live person, and that live person isn't your friend. That person isn't your advocate. More likely than not, they're looking MORE at how they can possibly disqualify you.
Glenn put it best . . .
"Think of the reviewer as a 22 year old Stanford graduate who's basically looking at your site asking themselves if they'd send their grandmother to your site."
Hopefully you see the snag right there.
Especially in the home business marketplace, where we make claims that, although accurate, may seem outlandish at times. Things like . . .
That 22 year old kid, most likely isn't sending his grandmother your way or mine - no matter how accurate.
So even if the "HYPE is true" it ain't true in their eyes.
What that means is you've got to stay on point with your content.
"The Most Confusing Component Of The Google Advertising Landscape"
Let me share what causes a LOT of the confusion surrounding advertising your business in Google.
It's that Google is a dynamic world.
What works for one keyword or market doesn't work universally, so . . .
You may hear one person claim they've got the secret sauce to success in Google and they very well may for their market and their business, but it doesn't instantly mean it's applicable universally.
When it comes to Quality Scores for your ads in Google, what most people don't realize is that there is also an element of competition that plays into your overall quality.
In markets, and for keywords, with very little competition it may be easy to get cheap traffic and high quality leads without taking quality score into account.
For example, for years, I've talked about advertising your business on URLs pulled from offline ads.
This works well, and drives cheap quality traffic because when you do this, most likely, you're the only person advertising for that particular URL, so Google hasn't yet assigned a quality score. As a result you get cheap traffic and leads without the "best" landing pages, but . . .
What works in low competition environments doesn't carry over to the highly competitive keyword landscape.
The next time you hear someone claiming that they found a "secret" loophole to success with Google, be sure to think in terms of context and take it with a "grain of salt".
"How To Please The Google Gods"
So, we've been over a LOT so far, now let's hit pay dirt.
How the heck do you actually please Google so they send you an Amazon sized river of ever flowing traffic?
You MUST please all three gods. Here's a few tips . . .
1. How To Please The Searcher
To please the Google searcher you need to do two things.
First, and this one is a little technical, you must know who they are. You can't be lazy any longer.
What I mean is, you can't just provide content based on keywords. You ALSO must provide compelling "point of difference" content and reasons to want to get more stuff from you.
For instance, we all know that home business entrepreneurs want to know how to get passive traffic and it's even better if it's free, they want to know how to recruit without rejection, they want to master the art of residual income generation, and create multiple streams of income.
It's NOT good enough to just cater to those concerns anymore.
Now we've got to go a step deeper and provide a "point of difference" unique selling proposition (USP) - a reason within the major reasons that differentiates your content from all the copy cats out there and heightens its appeal to a specific and highly responsive subset of your prospects.
Here's What I Mean . . .
The vast majority of my customers are between the ages of 40 and 60 years old (I know this because I've done demographic profiling of almost 10,000 of my customers recently - See Below).
Sure they want to know how to do all the stuff I previously mentioned, but how do I give them a deeper reason to love my content more than the next guy's?
I think about them.
Most of them didn't grow up with a computer as us "young'ins" did.
They surely understand the concepts of marketing, but where they lack in knowledge to the greatest degree, is the technical "know how" to get things done - the implementation gap.
My message is going to resonate more deeply with them if I cater to this.
I wouldn't just share "How To Get More Leads," but rather I'd advertise that I'm going to show them how to leap the technical implementation gap to get more leads step-by-step and then make good on that promise . . . Now, I'm really resonating with them.
And as a result, I'm now a REAL and valuable resource amongst all the pretenders.
Make sense? I found the deeper desire within the desire and focused on that, that's my, in this example "Point Of Difference" unique value proposition.
As a result of catering to this they're going to stay longer, get more value, and ultimately enjoy what I share more than the next guy that doesn't know how to or is too lazy to find a unique point of difference perspective to communicate and share value from.
Second, you've got to give up the goods.
If someone searches for "how to get leads," don't hit them with an opt in and tell them you'll tell them how after they opt in. Nope. Give up the goods now.
Your prospects and Google will love you for it.
2. How To Please The Spiders
The spiders like your content to focus on a theme.
Gone are the days of just popping out landing pages for keywords.
Today we've got think more deeply about our keywords and content themes to please the spiders.
The spiders want to come to your site, be able to get to all the content easily, and they want ALL of your content on your site to follow a specific theme of keywords.
An easy way to do this, is, BEFORE you choose a particular keyword, choose a group of keywords based on a theme.
Use the Google "Wonder Wheel" to do this.
How To Use The Google Wonder Wheel To Find Keyword Themes
Go to Google, pop in a keyword you think is a problem your best prospects want solved, click search, and then on the left hand side of the results you'll see a link marked "more search tools", click it, scroll down and you'll see the wonder wheel option. Select it, and then see what other keywords Google thinks are related.
Create a site themed around those keywords. Do this, and your content now starts to make sense for the Google spiders.
(Side Note: This creates a little bit of a paradox for us as marketers because, let's say, we know that advertising on competing products or services as keywords is a HIGH return on investment place to gain exposure - how do we weave these non related products into a theme that makes sense to the spiders? We'll get to that in a few)
The spiders also like your site to be sticky.
What this means is, they want to see people dig past the first page they land on once they get there and then stay their for a length of time.
The spiders track how long your visitors stay and how many pages they view so we must engineer our site so that people dig in deep and is easy to navigate to please the spiders.
An easy way to do this is to use a blog platform for core content.
This allows people to comment and find more good content easily on your site. Now you're sticky!
For your individual landing pages, as Glenn discussed, often times it's a better idea to create static HTML pages.
Without getting into the nitty gritty details of why, just know you should create the pages you send people to as static HTML pages, but have those pages look like the rest of your site, and have an easily navigable link bar at the top of those pages in the same way that you would on your blog.
3. How To Please The Reviewers
It's all about appearances. Remember, the reviewers are always asking "Would I send my grandmother to this site?"
Well, the type of site that is easy to say YES to this question, is a non hype, high value content driven site, that looks professional. (Mentally, I think about newspaper sites like WashingtonPost.com when I think about professional look and feel for content)
Glenn achieves this by having unique professional designs created for his site. Both he and I recommend 99Designs for this.
"What Won't Work In Google Long Term"
There are a few things you DON'T want to do in Google that, although they may work now, won't for long.
The most glaring of those things is having an opt in on the first page you send people too.
What you're going to want to do in the future (better to start now - we are) is create pure content landing pages with a call to action that feeds people deeper into your site where they can opt in.
Another thing that won't fly, is sending people straight to sales page.
That's a big no no. Google doesn't want people to click your ads and then be sold something.
They want them to click and get lots of free stuff. (It makes Google look good, and keeps them firmly positioned mentally as the #1 search engine)
For us, it makes no sense. I know, I get it.
If we're paying Google for traffic, we're only doing it because we expect to earn a profit.
From a marketing perspective, sending people to a sales page makes a LOT of sense right? I pay for traffic, some of those people buy my stuff, and I've got more money to pay for more traffic - HURRAY!
But that's not Google's agenda.
They want a quality search experience for their users, and Google's opinion of a quality search experience means "not selling" (although I would argue that's not always the most quality path for the searcher - but who am I right?)
So, no sending people directly to sales letters from your pay per click ads.
One more thing that won't work for long, even if it is now, is trying to control the path of your prospect.
For years, we've created landing pages that only allow our prospects two options - either opt in or leave (an example is my Maximum-Leverage.com landing page - See Below).
Even though that's just good old direct response marketing fundamentals at play it's not going to fly in the future with Google.
You've got to allow people more than one path on your site, so a TOP navigation link bar is going to become a MUST.
"Quick Fixes For Getting Traffic Now"
There are a few things you can do that may just, if you've been slapped, get you back live, at least for the time being.
Glenn shared an example of a client who got slapped for sending people to a sales letter.
The first thing they did was attach that sales letter to a blog and add top navigation and the traffic started to flow again.
Second, we conducted a live case study field trip and pulled up sites that were live and getting traffic from people searching for my name "Daegan Smith".
Not all of the sites were quality, in my opinion, but they all shared two characteristics.
They all had top navigation
They were on the same domain as a blog.
So, from empirical observation, you "might" be able to start getting traffic again from Google, if you've been slapped, by simply flowing suit.
Now, again, let me emphasize . . .
These quick fixes are more like band-aides than long term solutions.
"How To Win In Google"
Pay close attention and read what follows several times if need be.
The largest paradox for me, as I soaked in everything that Glenn shared, was . . .
"How do I continue to drive traffic to the type of keywords that I know for a fact are highly profitable (because I track everything), but play the way Google wants me to play?"
The issue, is, if you're creating your content in keyword themes using tools like the Google "wonder wheel" you'll find themes, but they won't intersect the way you'd like them to most of the time.
If I know for a fact that, for instance, company names are the most profitable keyword type for me to advertise on (they're not - but for argument's sake) I can't really create one website and stay tightly niched to a theme that makes sense to the Google spiders, so what do I do?
Do I create a new website for each company name?
That's a HUGE undertaking.
What Glenn shared based on this question was PURE genius.
Follow me here . . .
If you've identified a core keyword type that converts then, before you go about building a site that Google will love, you head over to the Google Keyword Tool and search for those keywords individually.
As you're searching you're looking for keywords that intersect while doing your individual searches.
Let's say I go to the Google keyword tool and I search for 10 different company names, and Google pops out a list of 50 or 100 keywords that are related but there's 3 or 4 that are related to them all . . . BINGO!
I've found my keywords in those that overlap.
If I searched those 10 companies using the Google Keyword tool and find that Google shows, in each individual search, that the keyword phrase "how to recruit" in all searches as a related keyword - that BECOMES the keyword theme for my site because it relates to all of the keywords I want to get exposure for so now I can interweave them based on that one intersecting keyword "how to recruit" as a theme.
So . . .
I create a site based on the main keyword theme of "how to recruit" and then I create my static landing pages for each company name on that site, now it's all highly relevant in Google's eyes.
I can keep advertising on my "money in the bank" keywords, and I'm playing the way Google wants me to.
Now that's smart marketing, and I guarantee it's something you won't learn in any course.
"9 Steps To Google Adwords Success"
1. Choose Your Market - Look for a group you want to market to that you have a passion for.
2. Discover Your Market's Key Hot Buttons - Find your market's hot buttons. The problems they search endlessly to solve.
3. Find Your Point Of Different Unique Value Proposition - Search deeper to find the points of difference that aren't being solved and speak to your prospects from that perspective.
4. Look For Keyword Themes Using Google Wonder Wheel - Head over to the wonder wheel to find related keyword themes that your prospects search in order to solve their biggest problems.
5. Construct Your Core Website Based On A Blog Theme - Create a core blog. Add good content, regardless of specific keywords that you know your prospects will love.
6. Make It Professional - Make your site unique not just for its amazing content, but for its look and navigation.
7. Create Your Static HTML Landing Pages - Start creating your static keyword focused landing pages based on the major keywords for which you want exposure. Remember not to ask for the opt in on page one, but rather, lead them deeper into the site.
8. Lead Your Prospects To Most Wanted Action - Now that your prospect loves you and your content ask them to opt in to your newsletter for more bad ass content that only you can provide.
9. Start Your Pay Per Click Campaign - Create your campaign, create your keyword focused adgroups, create your killer ad, and get ready to be loved by both Google and your prospects.