The Search Light Newsletter
The Search Light Newsletter
  Guiding your site to the top of the search engines... | 30 January 2006 - Vol 6 Issue #1  

In this issue...

How to Improve Your Click Through Rate in Google AdWords

FAQ1: Why is Google ignoring my site?

FAQ2: Is there any benefit to having multiple domains containing search keywords?

FAQ 3: Which are preferable from a SEO perspective - absolute or relative links?

FAQ 4: Why doesn't my site show a Google PageRank?

How to Improve Your Click Through Rate in Google AdWords

By Kalena Jordan
Like many people who run a business via the Internet, I use affiliate programs to supplement my income.
One of the affiliate products I use myself and love to promote - Proposal Kit - had been performing particularly well for me recently and I decided to help things along by creating a Google AdWords campaign based around my reviews of the product.
After one month, the campaign was going ok, I was getting a few sales here and there and certainly making a good ROI on the promotion. However, although my Click Through Rate (CTR) was pretty good (1.2%), it was starting to slide backwards and I thought I could do better.
As you probably know, your ad position in Google relies heavily on your CTR compared to that of your competitors, so I was keen to turn things around and keep my high ad positions.
Around this time, I bought Nick Usborne's book Net Words and started to read it, taking notes as I went. I realized that according to Nick's philosophy, my AdWords ads were flat and boring. They were just not appealing enough to entice people to click on them.
As Nick explains in his book, "Being blah guarantees you'll never be heard".
So I set about re-writing some of my ad text to speak more directly to my audience and ask them a question that required a response. Below is an example of an ad targeting the search query business proposal before I changed the text:

Business Proposal Kit
Close the sale with a professional
business proposal template kit.

And here is the text I replaced it with:

Need a business proposal?
Create your own professional
proposal with our template kit.

The aim was to get my average CTR for the entire campaign up to around 2% from the existing 1.2% it was sitting at. I logged off for the evening and went to bed, not expecting too much. The next morning, I had messages in my email in-box advising me that I had made 3 sales overnight! I was quite excited and logged into AdWords to see how things were going.
Sure enough, my clicks were way up and two of the three AdGroups I had edited were showing an average 33% CTR! My overall campaign CTR had risen from 1.2% to 2.4%. I had never experienced CTR that high before. The ad I had changed used to show a 2.5% CTR and after a few days the replacement ad displayed a 4.3% CTR.
More motivated now, I studied the ads that had attracted the most clicks and created more ads around related keywords and phrases, using similar headlines to the ads that were performing the best. This time, I incorporated Nick's advice to use short and punchy copy.
Below is an example of an ad I was using to target the search query seo contract before I changed the text:

Sample SEO contract
Proposal Kit provides a perfect SEO
contract template. Read our review.

And here is the text I replaced it with:

Need an SEO contract?
Create yours.

After another week, my average CTR for the whole campaign jumped from 2.4% to 4% and I had a couple of ads showing 100% CTR! You can imagine how excited I was. Of course the high CTR builds on itself because the higher your CTR, the higher your ad position and the higher your ad position, the more clicks it is likely to attract. So my campaign had jumped from 1.3% in the first month, to 2.4% in the second month and after my fine-tuning, it's now showing a 4% CTR consistently. And the sales? Well I now average between seven and ten sales per week, up from two per week over the past six months and my affiliate commission is at an all time record.
The exercise just goes to show that a few thoughtful tweaks to your ad copy can make a HUGE difference to your bottom line. So what are you waiting for? Go tweak that copy in your own PPC campaigns...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The above article may be re-published as long as the content remains unchanged and the following paragraph is included at the end of the article, including the link:
<> As well as running her own SEO business, Kalena Jordan manages and tutors at Search Engine College, an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing subjects. <>

Like to Learn Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization (SEO) can seem like a daunting topic if you are trying to understand it. Just how do you optimize your web site so that it will appear above millions of others in search results when your potential customers type in search queries?
The Problem:
Unfortunately, there is a lot of myth and legend about SEO floating around and it is easy to be led astray by misinformation or to accidentally use outdated tactics that can cause your site to be ignored, penalized in the search results or, in some cases, dropped from engines altogether!
The Solution:
Our step-by-step online SEO courses will show you how to avoid penalties and attain a higher search ranking for your site by following the webmaster guidelines set down by the search engines themselves.
You'll achieve higher search positions in no time, by making simple changes to your site so it becomes more user-friendly and more search engine compatible. And we'll show you how to do this in 10 easy to read, easy to follow, self-paced lessons. Click Here to Enroll.

Testimonials From
Search Engine College Graduates

"Search Enginge College is surely among top online SEM learning resources. The Link-building course available here is definitely the best one! I would rate Search Engine College as 9 out of 10 for providing great online courses, Kalena (Director) 10 out of 10 for prompt replies to my never-ending queries, and last but not the least, 10 out of 10 to my Tutor Bob whose has been an excellent guide.
I have never seen more detailed and valuable feedback on online course assignments before. Thanks to Bob's excellent suggestions, my knowledge in link-building domain has improved tremendously".

Rajiv Kondal
LKB101 Self Study Graduate

"I think that the lesson materials are great...
very informative. And the software is easy to use. Speaking from my level of expertise, I'd give (the course) a 10 out of 10."

Claudia Woods
SEO101 Graduate

"I think the SEO classes provide a solid base of relevant and current information. They provide a foundation based on ethical best practices and I'd recommend them to anyone interested in search engine optimization for their site or as a career."
Brad Haas
SEO201 Graduate

"I have completed the SEO101 course and taken the final exam. I feel very positive about the course. It was well organized and for me was very successful. Thanks for all your help and support."
Aaron Krongard
SEO101 Self Study Graduate

Click Here to learn more about our search engine marketing courses.

Enter our Funny Photo Caption Competition
Got a funny caption for the photo above? Submit the funniest and win a self study course of your choice and a link from the Search Engine College Home Page. Here are some standout entries so far:
"Don't worry Harold,
I popped a Viagra in your coffee"
"I warned you not to buy LookSmart shares!"
"Hey there handsome...
how would you like to cascade my stylesheet?"
"Is that your PageRank growing
or are you just happy to see me?"

Winners announced next month. For your chance to win, submit your own caption entry by midnight on 31 January.

   Greetings Readers!

Welcome to 2006! Have you acted on your New Year resolutions yet?
For those of you who run your own business, you should think about sitting down with colleagues, family and friends to brainstorm your 2006 business strategy.
Over the Christmas break I did just that and found it totally refreshing to discuss ideas with people not directly related to my work. A pair of fresh eyes can do wonders and inject new life into a tired old business plan. The main things I took away from the exercise were to create a better sense of community for SEC and to have more fun!
The result? A couple of VERY exciting search-related projects in the pipeline, the first of which will be revealed in about two months. Nope, can't tell you too much right now, except that it will be loads of fun and we will be looking for some volunteers to help with the project very soon. More next issue.

And speaking of business improvements, I know many of you would like to increase the return on investment you are getting from your pay per click campaigns this year.
This month's article is about how a few small changes to my AdWords campaign increased the all-important Click Through Rate and boosted my affiliate sales by 350%. In the article, I walk you through how I did it step-by-step.
Now for a bit of that fun I was talking about. Do you have a talent for witty writing? Like creating humorous captions for your funny photos? Then skip down to the bottom left of this newsletter to enter our funny photo caption competition. You could win a free course at SEC for your trouble.
Thanks for reading and remember to visit the daily Search Engine Advice Column to check out my answers to frequently asked search engine questions or submit one of your own.
Till next time - wishing you high rankings...

  • FAQ1: Why is Google ignoring my site?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    I am writing to you because I have tried to ignore the fact that Google has been ignoring my site for over a year now, but I have had enough.
    I have tried to optimize my website as best I could. Ok I do not do this on a full-time basis but I do try my best; adding relevant content, trying to building links with relevant websites which are subject related, etc.
    My website ranks well for keywords like "plus size fashion", "plus size bridal wear" and "plus size casual" on search engines like Yahoo, MSN Search and AllTheWeb but Google would not have anything to do with me. I can see that Google has indexed my website, it has indexed around 250 pages, so I shouldn't be blacklisted. My site also has a PR 4. Modest, I know but not low enough to throw away.
    I am clueless as to what I might be doing wrong! Can you shed some light please? Kudos for the great blog - I look forward to your posts!

    Dear Sarah
    I'm assuming that your site is the same as your email domain? If so, you've got some serious coding problems. I can't even get the site to load in either FireFox or Internet Explorer. I get an error in FF I've never seen before:
    "Redirection limit for this URL exceeded. Unable to load the requested page. This may be caused by cookies that are blocked".
    I don't get an error with IE, but it just times out without loading the page. Based on the error message, I'm assuming that your site code uses a number of redirects or META refreshes. Although Google has indexed 379 pages from your site, I can't seem to get any to load and I've clicked on about six.
    I have no doubt that your code problems are causing major issues for Googlebot when it comes to index your site. Not to mention the fact that many of your potential visitors probably can't view your site!
    Sarah, I would get your code sorted out quick smart and rid yourself of any unneccessary redirects. I used the HTML validator from W3 and a 302 error showed up, indicating serious redirect issues. Better get it sorted!

  • FAQ2: Is there any benefit to having multiple domains containing search keywords?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    I'm a web designer and I have many clients who register domain names that match their business name. This is great, but in many cases these domain names don't include their primary keyword. Is there benefit in having multiple domain names pointing to the same site and using the keyword included domain name for search engine registration? Is there any risk of duplicate content as you discussed in your September 05 newsetter?
    Thank you - I find your newsletters very helpful and hope to complete one of you courses soon.

    Dear Nicole
    Keyword-stuffed domains? No, nada, absolutely not. Sure, it used to be all the rage to register multiple domains containing as many keywords as possible all separated by hyphens. But this only ever gave sites a teeny tiny boost in the relevancy stakes, if any at all. And those days are long gone. Keyword-stuffed domains are now considered retro spam.
    Nearly all current search engine algorithms filter out keywords within domain names and word has it that over-use of hyphens within a domain name can actually earn your site a penalty. Besides that, the experts agree that keyword-stuffed domains look silly.
    But thanks for providing our Retro Spam Tactic of the Month!

  • FAQ 3: Which are preferable from a SEO perspective - absolute or relative links?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    Can you please tell me which are preferable from a SEO perspective - absolute or relative links?

    Dear Barney
    Let me start by defining absolute vs relative links for readers who aren't familiar with these terms.
    An absolute link defines the precise location of a web page or file including the full domain. Below is an example of an absolute link:
    [a href=""] [/a]
    A relative link assumes that the search engine spiders and browsers already know on which domain and sub-directory the current document is located, so a full URL is not specified. Below is an example of a relative link:
    [a href="page.html"] [/a]
    Note that the http://www is not included in a relative link. Also I've used square brackets to replace <> so I don't break my newsletter code.
    There is no preferred option for SEO. In terms of search engine compatibility, it doesn't matter if you use absolute or relative links on your site, because most search engines automatically convert relative links into absolute links anyway.
    Some programmers like to use relative links because the shorter code can decrease a page's download time. I prefer to code in absolute links so there is less room for error when designing the site or referring to image files etc.
    Also, when you code in absolute links, you can publish part of the site to another domain (a new page for your client's site on your own test site for example), without the need to upload all the image files, CSS etc to make it load correctly. This is because all the files referenced refer to the actual domain where they sit, rather than the temporary domain location that they are being viewed on. This is convenient from a designer's perspective.
    However you decide to link to files on your site, make sure you are consistent.

  • FAQ 4: Why doesn't my site show a Google PageRank?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    I have added my website to Google. Now the search results come but the page ranking does not appear in my Google toolbar.
    What can I do? Please help me..


    Dear Maran
    Your Google Toolbar PageRank shows at zero in my browser (all white). The toolbar PageRank is only an estimate of your actual Google PageRank. Even so, the fact that the estimate is at zero is cause for concern, unless your site was only recently launched. It's common for new sites to show a non-existent or very low PageRank until their backward links increase.
    If your site is not new to the Internet, it is almost certainly a lack of link popularity and/or low relevance causing your poor PageRank. Google is not showing any backward links to your site so you should focus on building up high quality links. Try seeking out niche directories and similarly themed portals about translation or language services and submit your site to them, requesting a link back.
    Also consider your site from Google's perspective. Have you made it as relevant as possible for your target search queries? Does the site follow Google's Webmaster Guidelines? Have you implemented any tactics that Google frowns upon? Have you included lots of relevant, unique and useful content relating to your products and services? Make your site more usable and relevant for your visitors and your Google PageRank will normally improve.
    The fact that I can't find your site using your target keyword phrase suggests it may be Sandboxed. You may just need to be patient and ride it out. Best of luck!

     ::  email us
     ::  visit our site

    phone: +612-6655-9216

    Search Engine College · 18-20 Dowle Street · Bellingen · NSW · 2454 · Australia


    Powered by
    Constant Contact