Here’s a conversation I repeat often which makes my brain hurt!
It goes something like this:
MARKETER: “I think Google’s become entirely too random and unfair with their Quality Score system, so I’m just going to focus on SEO”
GLENN: “OK, well, where does SEO Traffic come from?”
MARKETER: “Uhm, well, I guess it comes mostly from Google”
GLENN: “So, what you’re saying is, you’re going to ignore Google and focus on Google instead?”
MARKETER: “Yeah, but on the organic side, you don’t have to deal with their crazy landing page quality scores, and it’s free so you beat the constantly rising bid prices”
GLENN: “Why would Google clean up one side of the street (paid ads) and not eventually apply what they learn to the other (organic)?”
MARKETER: “Um, OK, good point. But Google’s not the only source of traffic. There’s Twitter, Facebook, Article Directories, Digg, StumbleUpon, and more…it’s a very big internet out there”
GLENN: “Very true. But are you talking about using these things because of the power they have to get indexed in Google, or in order to attract the people who come from them directly?”
GLENN: “About what percent of traffic comes directly from the social media vs. from the indexing power social media provides in the search engines?”
MARKETER: “I don’t know. Let’s say it’s 50%”
GLENN: “Which converts better, traffic from social media, or traffic from search”
MARKETER: “Oh, definitely search, because they’re looking to solve a problem, not interact with friends”
MARKETER: “OK, I see where you’re going, but even if social media doesn’t convert as well, there’s a LOT of FREE traffic there, and you can always roll it out on the paid contextual networks”
GLENN: “So, you’re going to work with a very broad and diffuse audience while they’re socializing, develop a website to convert them even though you can’t really pin down their core conversations and objections, and then go buy more traffic for that system?”
MARKETER: “Well, there’s affiliates too. I can recruit an army of affiliates.”
GLENN: “Where do they get THEIR traffic?”
MARKETER: “Well, I could get into one of the CPA networks with an offer. Have you seen the flood of traffic you can get there?”
GLENN: “Sure. If you can build a website that converts like crazy, you can definitely do that. How are you going to do that? What traffic are you going to test it on?”
MARKETER: “I want my Mommy!”
I’m exaggerating above for illustration, and of course there IS traffic you can convert which never touches a search engine (especially blog visitors on other people’s sites, participating in forums, and/or good article writing–not the crappy seo articles everyone tells you to write), but here’s the point…
Google’s got the BEST leads.
Google’s got the PUREST leads.
Google’s got the MOST MOTIVATED leads.
Yes, Google’s very hard.
Yes, it’s getting more expensive all the time (that will stop only when it becomes cheaper for marketers to find equally good leads for less money in similar volume… a fact of life in a Darwinian economy).
And sure, we all pine for the days when you could just put up your money and slap up a one page site.
But if you suck it up and learn their system, you get the opportunity to build a site that converts, and you learn which keyword conversations really work for you. (THEN, if you really want to, you can turn off your Adwords account and take it to the contextual networks. THEN you can focus on social media. THEN you do all your article marketing, etc. But if you do it all right, you won’t want to stop buying PPC)
Because, despite what everyone says, Quality Score is NOT random, it IS fair, and you CAN master it. Not by looking for techniques and tricks, but by learning certain principles of marketing which, in the end, actually benefit you more than Google. (I know that’s a controversial statement which is going to earn me a lot of hate mail, but 8 years of PPC marketing experience, thousands of customers, hundreds of direct reviews, and dozens of agency employees give me the confidence to make it, and it’s in your best interest to seriously consider what I’m saying)
In fact, I’ll go so far as to say it’s something you MUST master if you want to succeed online.
The internet as a whole used to be the Wild West. But the Sheriff is coming to clean up the town. He’s gonna make his rounds everywhere Google’s got tentacles. We can try to run and hide, but Google’s got REALLY BIG tentacles, and they keep getting bigger. (The analogy kind of breaks down here because we’re not really criminals… but you get the point)
Beyond this, I predict the organic side of the street is going to shrink this decade as Google figures out how to make sure people can find exactly what they want from paid advertisers, and learns how to minimize searcher complaints.
I’ll be turning my focus to Quality Score Principles (not techniques) in coming months, and you can expect to hear me say things no one else will tell you.
I know it’s hard to understand (because Google’s sheriff is more like Stephen Hawking than John Wayne) .
I know it hurts.
But we can fix this, and it’s good for us.
Suck it up,
PS – The AdWords account banning spree is also NOT random or evil, but principle based. It IS possible to develop a stable, secure AdWords account and still sleep at night.
PPS – If you’re spending anything significant in AdWords and you’re not coming to the Advanced Adwords Seminar, may I ask why? (Comments below please). In my mind, this is one of the very few seminars where you might learn something during the day, go back to your hotel room at night and immediately implement it, then start seeing financial improvements the very next day while you glance at your account on your laptop in the seminar room. Plus, Perry’s good for his guarantees, I can tell you that. (Thru the middle of the second day you can bail out and request an extra $500 plane fare).
I’ll be there personally with Sharon, and so will Rob (who is now the Chief Operating Officer of Rocket Clicks by the way). But you know who you really need to see? Bryan Todd. Bryan’s Perry’s co-author, and is generally the quiet man in the background.
But if you push Perry on the point, he’ll tell you that Bryan is better at Adwords than he is.
Bryan’s also become a personal friend of mine (and not the kind of “friend” you hear marketers always talk about, but the kind you share deep personal thoughts with which go way beyond making money), and has given me some of the most profound insights into Adwords and the internet than anyone else I’ve known.
Bryan’s going to be teaching us how to leverage Facebook PPC, and I personally can’t wait. Because I know this isn’t a presentation he’s just whipping up in a few weeks. Over the past 18 months Bryan’s been periodically talking to me about his research into the Facebook project, asking me how to integrate it with my methods, talking to me about the psychographic data you get access to and how to use it, and how to integrate AdWords learnings.
I hope I’ll see you there Advanced Adwords Seminar
PPS – Yes, these are affiliate links.