Date archives "July 2009"

Define. Research. Deploy. – Rockstar PPC

Setting up a plan of action before launching your paid search campaigns.

Let me take you through my process and how I build paid search campaigns that dominate different markets for years to come.

Over the past 3-4 years I’ve gone through the trial & errors learning the ropes of paid search. In that time frame I have seen some great success and some of the highest return rates from paid search. I think a common mis-conception with paid search is it’s easy to do. Anyone can do it right? I mean just enter your credit card information and start bidding on keywords.

Let me tell you, I didn’t learn what I’m about to teach overnight and sadly, paid search is so much more.

Today, I’m still making consistent monthly income from those same campaigns that I setup 3-4 years ago. But it’s not from running these campaigns on “auto-pilot”. It’s through constant tweaking, testing different landing pages, adjusting bids etc. that allow the results to continue to increase.

My goal by the end of this Rockstar PPC Series is to not just teach you the skills I know. I also hope you apply all of these lessons to create paid search campaigns that bring you a consistent ROI month in and month out.

Start Here: The Setup.

Whether you’re a small business owner who wants to build your local business, an online dealer selling sporting good products or an affiliate marketer promoting several offers, you need to setup the proper foundation. So before you get too excited and start building a massive keyword list and turn on your paid search campaigns, let’s take a few days to get things figured out.

Don’t make the mistake of opening the Google flood gates before you have a solid plan in place.

If you can follow these simple steps below before you get too far into it, you can save yourself some time & money.

  • Define your Niche
  • Research your competition within your niche using Keyword Research Tools
  • Solidify your Objective
  • Creating a compelling CTA (Call to Action)

1. Define your Niche & Get Specific

What do I mean by defining your niche? Take the camera industry for example. I can think of several niches just within that niche it’s just how specific do you want to get. Are you selling point & shoot cameras, SLR cameras, video cameras, camera accessories or all of them?

The more specific you get, the less the competition but the lower the market reach. The less specific you get, the more the competition but the higher the market reach.

One thing to keep in mind about paid search is to always remember how highly targeted the traffic is. With that being said, when you get specific about what your niche is, you’ll be sending highly targeted traffic to a website that converts the visitor.

2. Keyword Research & Competitive Analysis

Now that you know your niche, you need to find out a couple things.

  1. What is the competition like?
  2. Is there enough interest or searches in the niche you want to target?

I created a list awhile back that breaks down free keyword research tools from Google. Use these free keyword research tools to see how competitive the space is & see how many people are searching within your niche.

HELP: If you’re unclear on how to use these tools to a. find a niche or b. research your niche, feel free to watch this video tutorial. Finding your Niche & Getting a Feel for the Competition.

3. Solidify your Objective

This is a key component within your campaigns. Let’s look at 2 examples.

  1. Are you selling a Product? If so, what are offering to make it more appealing compared to your competition?
  2. Are you generating Leads? If so, what are you offering to make the user want to give you their information? Would it be valuable to them?

4. Create a Compelling “Call to Action”

Now that you know your objective, what is the call to action to get the user to make the jump?

  • When selling products, most consumers like seeing, “FREE Shipping!” or “Buy 1 Get 1 Free!” of “Get 20% Off when you Buy Today!”.
  • When generating leads, offer something tangible. Fill out our quick form for a — “Free Trial” or “Download a Free Whitepaper” or ” Ebook Download — 7 Ways to Improve your Landing Page”.

Deploy

Now take these fundamental action steps and start laying out a plan to start creating your marketing plan and structuring your website. You’ll see all the pieces slowly come together and you’ll thank yourself in the end for not wasting your time or money.

Was this helpful? Let me know if I didn’t touch on something or you need more clarification. In the meantime be sure to Subscribe to my RSS Feed or Follow @jrfarr on Twitter for the next Rockstar PPC installment.

Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted

Epic WordPress Fail

If you’re seeing this error, I’ve hopefully got a solution for you!

Over the last 4-5 days, I’ve been literally locked out of my WordPress admin because of this “fatal error”.

After launching my Rockstar Marketing Series, this of course would need happen. If you’ve been following my series on SEO & now PPC, I’m sorry I haven’t posted in bit but I have a good reason!

When I upgraded my version of WordPress to 2.8.2 I received this fatal error message. I was able to see the frontend homepage, posts & pages but whenever I tried to login to dashboard or to even edit a post I got an error like this:

Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 71 bytes) in /home/theblogb/public_html/jrfarr/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 824

I of course started Googling on how to fix the error. I tried and tried to get into the database and find the bug. Based of other peoples experiences there were a few solutions but nothing was working for me.

What’s the Solution?

Step 1: Find wp-settings.php and at line 13, increase the memory limit from 32M to 96M. Or whatever number suits your fancy. You’ll be looking for the memory limit section of this file like this:

if ( !defined('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT') )
 define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '32M');

Again on line 13, change it from 32M to 64M or 96M, etc.

Immediately after increasing the memory limit I was able to login without any errors. You can of course, leave your memory limit that high and you most likely won’t have anymore issues. But then you’ll find that  your site will start chugging pretty slow as it’s trying to allow too much memory at once.

Step 2: Deactive ALL plugins  & Re-Activate.

As you begin re-activating each plugin, change the memory limit back to the original 32M and see if the error comes back. Eventually, I found that the “Lifestream” plugin was causing the error after I had upgraded to WordPress 2.8.2.

After deleting the Lifesream plugin and setting my memory back to 32M, I was good to go.

Now what?

One thing to always remember with WordPress, is you can’t trust all the plugins that are available. Use them at your own risk.

And Finally, I can get back to the new Rockstar PPC Series and the rest of the Rockstar Marketing installments. Hopefully, if anyone else has the same problem, they’ll find my solution useful.

Stay tuned as I get back on track with the Rockstar PPC Series.

Rockstar PPC – The Series

Rockstar PPC the Series

A Component of the Rockstar Marketing Series – Custom Crafted by JR Farr.

Paid Search is more then keywords & bidding wars. This my friends, is PPC for today’s world… 2009.

I’ve been looking forward to break out my new Rockstar PPC Series as it’s something I feel very confident in. For the past 3-4 years I have been deeply involved with the paid search landscape so get ready for some amazing content and the learn the ropes of how paid search works.

The Basics – What’s Paid Search?

Paid Search, Pay per click, PPC — I guess whatever you want to call it is extremely powerful and when used correctly, can set you apart from your competition.

Essentially, the search engines (like Google) display your advertisements throughout the engines and you only pay when a user actually clicks on your ad. You pick the keywords you want to show up for, you determine the bids & position you want to rank and send visitors to your website or landing page.

What you’ll Learn in the Rockstar PPC Series

I see paid search as two-fold. I think most advertisers forget how important the second part of the paid search equation, therefore, they FAIL.

  1. The first part is being competitive in the search engines, bidding appropriately on long-tail keywords, wiritng compelling ad copy, etc. You do this all in an effort to get the users attention to click on your ad and make there way to your site. Keeping your fingers crossed that a conversion takes place.
  2. The second part, in my opinion, is often over-looked. It’s all about where you’re sending your visitors and what you’re telling them to do when they get. It’s a paid tour and you’re the guide… Are you leaving your visitors lost or helping them find their way?

Stay Tuned…

Here’s a quick look on what up-coming posts you can expect.

  • Writing Compelling Ad Copy
  • Taking advantage of FREE Keyword Tools
  • Geo-Targeting & Day-Parting your Campaigns
  • How to have a High-Quality Score from Google
  • The Formula to a Highly converting Landing Pages

Remember to Follow JR Farr on Twitter or Subscribe to my RSS Feed so you don’t miss a post!

How to Optimize your Images for Image Search – Rockstar SEO

How to Optimize your images for image search

What up Rockstars!? I took a few days off with my Rockstar SEO Series so just in case you missed it, my last post was an Intro to Universal Search. Be sure to check that out first if you’re unfamiliar with Universal Search.

As I’m sure most of you already know, it’s ridiculously competitive within the search engines. There are plenty of verticals that almost seem impossible to show up on the first page for certain keywords. Well now with universal search, there are a few ways to gain some competitive advantage. Image search is still relatively under-utilized. So… by utilizing image searches you can now get a piece of that massive traffic.

Getting down to the Nitty Gritty

Today I’m going to show you the “recommended” ways to optimize your images for image search.

Ready. Set. Go!

Essentially, all the search engines are looking for are a few references about the image on your site. They can define your image based off your use of proper XHTML attributes.

Let me explain.

  • Description — The search engines put a big emphasis on the alt attribute. Be sure to give your image a useful description rather then stuffing it full of keywords.
  • Where is the image located? A src attribute or the URL of the image. (e.g. image-file-name.jpg)
  • What’s the size of the image? It needs the  width & height of the image specified in pixels. (e.g. 250 x 250)
  • Mouse Hover All of your images need to have a title attribute. As users roll over the image with their mouse, they’ll see the title of the image “pop-up”.

TIP: Whenever you name an image file always be sure to use hyphens. NEVER use underscores.

Good Example: this-is-my-image.jpg

Bad Example: this_is_my_image.jpg

Now I know what they want, now how do I optimize for it?

Ok cool, so you know what the spiders are looking for. Let’s look at a few examples to show you how to do it.

Just like we talked about creating content the search engines love, the spiders are also pretty particular with how they scan images. First of all, search engines can’t read text inside images. If you want search engines to understand your content, keep it in regular HTML.

Honeymoon Snorkeling Trip in St. Thomas - U.S. Virgin Islands

Rather than the spiders reading the embedded text on the image above, they use the image file name. The file name is where the image is located. For all you WordPress users out there, after you upload an image you can click on “File URL” and that will show you where your image is located. Be sure you’ve used hyphens and described it appropriately.

The image src attribute

http://www.jrfarr.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/snorkeling-trip-st-thomas.jpg

Which is much more descriptive than DSC00856.jpg

The alt attribute

This describes the contents of the image file. It is the KEY attribute for the spiders.

  • Search engines use this information to determine the best image to return for a the given search query.
  • If for some reason the file doesn’t load it will show that text to the user. So rather then it saying “DSC00856.jpg” it displays your alt attribute.

Stay away from “Keyword Stuffing” the alt attribute:

<img src="snorkeling-trip-st-thomas.jpg" alt="snorkeling ocean scuba diving fish goggles with snorkel virgin islands snorkeling ocean scuba snorkeling"/>

The End Result – “Best Practice”

<img src="http://www.jrfarr.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/snorkeling-trip-st-thomas.jpg"
title="Honeymoon Snorkeling Trip in St. Thomas"
alt="Honeymoon Snorkeling Trip in St. Thomas"
width="500" height="338" /></a>

That’s a wrap.

Well… if you really read through this you should be ready to rock and/or roll. Start taking advantage of this right away and test this out in different niche’s and see what results you get.

Often times people complain about the quality of traffic received from image search. Of course this isn’t paid search so yeah the quality is down but here’s my advice. Try doing some CPM advertising or throw up some Adsense and see how you do. You may be surprised!

I’m guessing you guys are liking this Rockstar SEO Series because I’m getting more & more followers and subscribers. Thanks! Follow JR Farr on Twitter or Subscribe to my RSS Feed so you don’t miss a post!

Previously in the Rockstar SEO Series

Intro to Universal Search