Sponsored links. How to do it effectively?

A text advertisement is one of the most popular advertising methods in the search network. Simultaneously, it is highly affordable due to the simplicity of configuration of the Google Ads campaigns, encouraging many inexperienced users to create and optimise such an ad. How should we undertake an effective sponsored links strategy in order achieve authentic success backed with acquired leads?

  1. Campaign configuration

Creating the first sponsored links campaign in the new Google Ads panel is not a difficult task. Proceeding to the next steps seems very easy mainly due to explanations appearing on the side for further selection options. If we want to create a sponsored links campaign, we should begin with selecting the campaign type, i.e. search network. Next, the system will suggest selecting a target, e.g. a sales target for an application, a telephone or an online shop, or an encouragement target to talk the potential users into carrying out actions or generating traffic on your website. Depending on the campaign’s objectives, it is possible to test one of the above options or to select a campaign with no specific aim and to adjust all settings manually. The last option allows customised configuration from the moment of starting your actions and seems to be an accurate solution time and again.

The next step involves advanced campaign settings, including Name specification, selection of the Network where the ads will be displayed, the starting and ending dates of actions, selection of locations, languages and target users, determination of the daily budget and setting the bids. Ad extensions are an additional option which can also be incorporated at a later stage of creating your campaign.

The key components of a search network campaign are groups of advertisements, which are necessary for launching the actions. Since ad groups reflect the structure of keyword distribution, they should contain cautiously selected keywords strictly referring to the group name. The Keyword Planner proves to be a helpful tool in this case, thanks to which the keyword selection with user search results takes place together with the division into the ad groups mentioned.

Both keywords and ad groups should be bound to newly developed creations. Between 3 and 5 text ads are used within one group, functioning in a new extended version as the additional third headline and the second line of text at the present moment. The content of the ads should refer to keywords in the suitable matching type and appear in a range of variants. An Ad preview tool makes it possible to verify the appearance of ads on both desktop and mobile devices. Do not forget about adjusting the content to each and every target user. All ads created are subject to verification by the system before launching, which is why meeting all the objectives of the Google Ads specification is an absolute necessity.

The last configuration step consists in summarising the most important campaign settings in order for them to be confirmed by the advertiser. This additional option in the new panel constitutes a friendly solution allowing for quick verification of all the creation stages completed up to now.

  1. Optimisation of activities

Advertisers who start their journey with Google Ads frequently forget about the second stage of configuration of actions, which consists in their optimisation. The first corrections are applied after gathering an adequate amount of data on which a reliable analysis should be based. The advertiser’s aim is to reward elements providing benefits such as product sale conversions, acquiring contacts to potential Customers e.g. by means of a contact form, or the increase of traffic on the website. Distinguishing effective keywords mainly takes place through bid adjustments, while the opposite may consist in a radical postponement of the used phrases or the selection of new ones bearing potential. Another solution may be an option of keyword exclusion, aiming at reaching the target users interested in the promoted offer with an advertising message.

In the Predefined reports (Dimensions) tab, detailed information can be found concerning the involvement of target users, including times of the day, locations, searched terms and many other factors allowing to generate interesting utility graphs as well as an analysis based on data selected from a given time period. A detailed verification of the results enables to make decisions related to optimisation which finally lead to actual conversions.

Conclusions

The sponsored links campaign proves to be a superb option for those who quickly want to distinguish their website on the first page of Google search results. These types of actions allow to reach the most promising Customers at the moment when they search with a phrase related to the promoted offer. This is a perfect method to advertise both regular services and special promotions in a successful way. However, we should remember to observe the effectiveness of our campaigns on an ongoing basis, both at the configuration and when making reasonable decisions related to optimisation. Communication with the Customer and adjusting the strategy of actions to the desired results is of paramount importance in this case.

What to do when your phrases have dropped on Google?

Have you ever come across a situation where the phrases you had positioned dropped in the search results unexpectedly? There may be a lot of reasons behind this, and today we will attempt to show various factors which might have had an effect on such a condition as well as suggest some step-by-step solutions.

The first step you should take is to verify if the position monitoring shows a factual drop. Refresh the positions to do so. Next, make sure that the proxies added to the monitoring are not banned by Google and whether they perform their role if possible. In addition, make an attempt to confirm the drop by means of another monitoring tool. Also, try to verify the position manually in an incognito mode (CTRL + SHIFT + N for Chrome). However, please remember that Google results are highly personalised, based on the IP location/address, browsing history, keyword search history, etc. Do not forget that slight position variations are completely natural as well.

In the next step, move on to the Search Traffic => Search Analytics tab in the Google Search Console tool. Find the phrase of your interest, check the “Position” checkbox and verify if any drops have taken place. The results for a phrase that is stably ranked in the first position in the search results are presented below.

If all the tools demonstrate that the phrases have dropped, it is worth verifying which factors may have affected their positions. The factors presented below have been divided into on-page (within the website) and off-page (outside the website) actions.

1. Off-page

1.1. Keywords

  • Verify which phrases may cause position changes. This will help you establish if the possible issue is related to the whole website or e.g. one section only. Carrying out further steps, focus on these particular phrases/subpages, at least at the
  • Verify if there is no cannibalisation taking place. It happens that two or more rival subpages adjusted for identical phrases may exist and compete, which is why Google displays different URLs on different positions.

1.2. Search results

  • Verify if the result type in the SERP has changed. The drop may take place because e.g. Google had previously displayed company websites for a given phrase, but at present there are mainly advice articles.
  • Verify what data is displayed in the title and description in the search results, if it corresponds with data displayed in the page code, and if the tags are not duplicated on a mass scale.
  • Check whether the URL is displayed correctly and if this is a page that has previously ranked according to the given phrase. Search for e.g. pagination subpages or URLs with parameters, such as domena.pl/strona/3 or www.domena.pl/nazwa-kategorii?color=blue&size=m.
  • Using the “site:domena.pl” command, verify what types of results appear in the list. If there are URLs e.g. containing custom characters (Russian, Chinese) or non-standard parameters, this may indicate that your website has been hacked.

  • Verify if the list contains the most important URLs and if the index includes subpages adjusted to the given phrases.

2. On-page

  • 2.1 Availability
    • Verify tags related to meta=”robots” robot. Check if there are any “noindex” tags. More on this topic: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/93710?hl=pl.
    • Check the directives from the robots.txt file and make sure that the subpages are not blocked for robots. Search Console => Scanning => robots.txt file tester. The correct message after verifying the address is provided below:

  • Sprawdź czy treści znajdujące się na podstronach nie duplikują się zewnętrznie lub wewnętrznie.

2.2 Canonical tags

  • Verify if canonical tags appear, and if they are used and located correctly.
  • Verify if canonical tags are added correctly to the pagination subpages, filtering, etc.
  • More on this topic: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/139066?hl=pl.
  • Make sure that the subpages that are landing pages only appear under a single URL.

2.3 Status codes

  • Check if the previous redirection settings have changed.
  • Verify if redirects work properly, if the code of the desired redirect is returned and if there is a redirect loop.
  • Make sure that the landing pages return code 200.

2.4 Google Search Console

  • Verify if Google has reported any irregularities to you in the message section.
  • Check if you have received a manual penalty. Search Traffic => Manual Actions.
  • Confirm if the drops in the monitoring are reflected in GSC, as mentioned at the beginning of this article.
  • Go to the Scan => Indexing Errors tab and analyse the indexing errors.
  • Verify how Google renders a subpage in the Indexing => Indexing Errors => Download as Google tab.
  • Verify the indexing status, since a sudden drop may indicate technical issues; Google Index => Indexing status.
  • Does Google report any security issues?

Summary

The most common factors that may influence the drop in the positioned phrases have been listed. However, some of the steps required to improve this state involve advanced SEO-related knowledge, which is why it is definitely worth referring to professionals who will guide you and make your website go back to the previous positions.

Do positioning and SEO actions mean the same thing?

SEO and positioning are terms that have been circulating in the world of marketing concepts for many years. Sometimes they are used interchangeably and as synonyms. In today’s article, we will attempt to answer the question whether positioning and SEO represent the same concepts.

 

At the beginning, let us talk about the general definitions of these terms:

In brief, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strictly concerns optimising websites for search engines. These activities are undertaken in order to achieve qualitative traffic and increase visibility aimed at acquiring potential Customers. This results from the fact SEO is closely related to on-site activities, i.e. technical and useful aspects of the website (improving the code or design/layout, navigation, internal linking, loading speed, etc.) as well as content present on the website.

SEO as explained by Google.

Source: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35291?hl=pl

Positioning is a term coined in Polish marketing, defining a range of actions performed for the purpose of increasing organic traffic (free traffic from search engines) on the website. Positioning includes website optimisation, acquisition of links (through Content Marketing, Whisper Marketing, etc.) or online analytics.

SEO is a part of positioning

Both terms refer to search results and the website’s ranking in search engines. Although they share a common goal, different types of actions are included within their scopes. It can be stated without a doubt that SEO constitutes a part of positioning

As the opinions regarding this issue are still divided, many specialists would not agree with such an approach. Perhaps the reason for treating SEO and positioning as synonymous terms is because of the same goal of achieving a high and stable position in the search results, shared by both of these concepts.

Content marketing and SEO – how can we combine these actions?

These days, virtually every company ought to carry out wide-ranging actions on the Internet, as this is probably where your Customers can usually be found. Apart from some obvious solutions, including various banner ads on websites, you may consider a strategy called content marketing. Although people who are not online marketing experts frequently treat these actions as “ordinary articles with links”, today we will give you an idea why this proves to be a valuable tool not only for the purposes of building the brand image, but also for positioning our website in search engines!

What’s it all for?

Above all, we should understand what the aims of both content marketing and SEO actions are. The former constitutes a very modern tool for attracting Customers to our website and making them committed to us through publishing valuable content, while the task of the latter (search engine optimisation) is to optimise our website and make it achieve the highest positions in the search results. Although these two aspects seem totally unrelated to each other, the truth is quite different!

How should we create content?

Developing content that is not only unique, but also optimised in relation to the requirements of search engine algorithms is the key to success in both areas. We may prepare even the most excellent and outstanding article, but if we ignore the issue mentioned above, it will not achieve such a high position when searched by potential Customers. But what will happen if we decide to copy some content from another website, trusting that there is low probability that the user will come across both of them after all? We couldn’t be more wrong!

On the contrary, we can do more harm than good! If Google detects that our text constitutes a copy of another content, it will be marked as “duplicate content” and fail to give us any benefits. We also should not forget about the risk of losing our reputable image, as copying any kind of content is rather perceived as regrettable. Therefore, there is no point undertaking such actions.

Optimisation of developed content

However, if an article or a post we have written is noteworthy and can be considered compliant with the principles of content marketing, it is definitely worth paying attention to optimisation-related actions! Google rewards rich content, which should not only be understood in terms of the article’s length, but other “upgrades” as well. Apart from the textual layer itself, including relevant photos (which should be appropriately optimised, too), or films and quotes may turn out to be a great step. Not only will the user consider such content more appealing, but also the text will be treated as more valuable according to the Google algorithm. When it comes to SEO actions regarding the article, it will not be such a challenging task if we only have specific keywords for which the text is supposed to be positioned. Aspects such as appropriate meta tags, formatting, bolding or headlines are fundamental… yet, this is a topic for another article!

Your benefits

The aim of an appropriately positioned content marketing article is to increase traffic on the website, but at the same time, it can be useful in building brand awareness and, above all, authority! If our content is displayed as the first (or one of the first) in the search results according to the SEO principles, we will impress the majority of users almost instantly. Such an article will be regarded as valuable even before reading! However, we should bear in mind that it should get the user involved right after clicking, so writing on very general and most often clichéd topics should be avoided. Instead, let’s concentrate on our target group and attempt to reach these users in particular. Who knows? Perhaps they will visit your website and familiarise themselves with your company’s offer just after reading your post?

Conclusion

Actions carried out together in the area of content marketing and SEO have one purpose, which is to increase the conversion. If our website contains valuable and distinctive content, Google will certainly reward us, while our actions and sharing on social media will lead to highly attractive results. We can be sure that such consistent and synchronised actions will help us with all the issues mentioned above. However, we must not forget about the most important aspect – joining content marketing with SEO actions does not act like a sprint supposed to provide instantaneous sales results, but it rather resembles a time-consuming marathon, the effects of which will be noticed in the long run!

The third headline in Google Ads text advertisements

A new Google Ads dashboard presents the advertisers with a range of new functionalities, one of which is certainly the possibility to modify text advertisements by adding an extra third headline, a second advertising text as well as using up to 90-characters due to the expanded text ads. This change is indicated with an alert which appears in the dashboard automatically.

The modification of the sponsored links form is taking place gradually, as extended text ads have been made available for all advertisers recently. Google aims at distinguishing advertising texts and making them dominate the SERP, thus getting the users involved in developing new and lot more attractive campaigns. Let us not forget that along with keywords and landing pages, the text ad quality constitutes one of the Quality Score elements, which is why this change affects optimisation of existing and new creations so powerfully.

However, the structure of text ads in the search network remains identical, still consisting of three parts: the headline, the displayed URL and the advertising text.

Headlines

Undoubtedly, these constitute the most essential advertising element which users pay attention to. It is necessary for the headline to contain a keyword directly corresponding to the user’s query. Today, advertisements contain three headlines displayed next to one another and separated with a vertical bar (|). The elements do not rotate, and each of them consists of a maximum of 30 characters. On mobile devices, the third headline can move to the ad’s second row because of its length. However, Google warns that this extra option may not always be visible, depending on the performance of the algorithm which takes the potential effectiveness of the ad into account.

The third headline enables a much more visible display of non-standard advantages of a product or service. Using the full potential offered by this tool to encourage the user to click on your offer is definitely worthwhile.

Displayed URL

A URL under which the ad is displayed is an indispensable element, be it a product subpage or a dedicated landing page, which visually corresponds the graphic design of the promoted offer and to other advertising banners used at the same time. The choice of the landing page translates into the Quality Score obtained, and thus the user query matching accuracy. The offer ought to strictly refer to keywords used in the campaign and include phrases with searches used in the content in a natural way. Technically speaking, the displayed URL is the only element in green, which consists of the final URL’s domain, while additional elements include two Paths, which are supposed to refer to the website that the user will be redirected to after clicking. Optional fields do not need to directly match the address displayed, which makes it another perfect place for distinguishing priority phrases. Google informs that the descriptions may not always be displayed, as in extended text ads the Paths can contain a maximum of 15 characters each.

Source: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/1704389?hl=pl

Advertising text

A key element is the ad description, currently consisting of two fields, each of which contains 90 characters and where the second field is displayed optionally. This makes a considerable difference from previous settings for extended text ads, which used to have a single description containing only 80 characters! An increased text limit enables the advertiser to create extensive ads, describing the advantages of products and services in detail, as well as distinguishing their special characteristics. However, advertising must also include a call to action adjusted to what the user is supposed to carry out, e.g. “Buy now”, “Check availability”, “Request a quote”, “See prices”, etc.

Previous panel of extended text ad edit

Ad extensions

Other extension options, such as links to subpages, information concerning the website and extensions of descriptions or locations, allow to add even more information to your ad and beat your competition in this way. The advertiser may use this additional option in order to sneak in some specific features of their products or information related to attractive discounts and offers, thus actually increasing the CTR of their ads. Ad extensions constitute an essential element of any Google Ads text campaign, activating the users and impacting positive evaluation of the advertised business.

Taking advantage of the full potential of text advertising, the advertiser has a limit up to 300 characters at their disposal, which is identical in all languages! It appears that the last piece of the puzzle is the advertiser’s creativity. This new advertising format is worth putting into practice, since not all older creations have been refreshed yet. Practically, adding incomplete elements is often sufficient. In the case of larger accounts, the Google Ads Editor already provides the option of editing the third headline.

When creating new advertisements, we should not forget about suitable gradation and ordering information that ought not to be duplicated. Carrying out tests still remains the best method of identifying the most effective headline or description. In this context, tools available in the new Google Ads dashboard version enabling advertisement variation testing will work out best. The ad preview and diagnostics tool facilitates verification of the text’s appearance in the search results without distorting the statistics of ad views and clicks. The Customers themselves have been using this tool more and more eagerly as well.

 

Search Engine Optimization

Link Building – how does it affect SEO and how to carry it out safely?

Link Building constitutes one of the chief marketing techniques applied in SEO, thanks to which we are able to build a set of strong external links leading directly to our website, strengthening it and ensuring that its position in the search results improves. Among several Link Building techniques, the most popular ones include Content Marketing and Buzz Marketing.

How does Link Building affect SEO?

We can say that apart from optimisation, Link Building influences SEO and the position of our website in the search engine in the most powerful way. The more links lead to our website, the higher positions in the rankings it will achieve. Obviously, we must take other factors into account, such as the domain’s age, content published on the domain, the method of linking, etc. Yet, external links acquired by means of Link Building techniques supply our website with the greatest power from outside.

How to link in a secure way?

If we want to make sure that Link Building will take place successfully, we must follow the main security principles. Above all, we must not spam with links by means of programmes and tools designed for this purpose, as our website can be exposed to a Google penalty, preventing it from reaching the desired high positions in the search engine ever again. On the other hand, such penalties are observed less and less frequently, as the algorithm has practically stopped taking very low-quality links from “suspicious” sources into account. We can draw clear conclusions from this situation, namely: using linking spam bots is both a waste of time and a loss of money.

However, the question remains in what way the links should be placed, as an appropriate method can influence the power of the produced links. To be precise, it should be considered whether the link will be placed using an anchor, the URL to the home page or subpage itself or in the form of a graphical reference, a linked source, etc. We must remember that the way of placing the link should look as natural as possible as well as encourage the users to click on it at the same time. Moreover, actions related to Link Building should be diversified, which we will talk about further on.

When it comes to linking with the help of anchor text, we should pay particular attention to the most commonly made mistake, namely an excessive use of the so-called “exact match anchor links”, i.e. linking with identical words that our website is positioned to and writing articles so that a given phrase fits into the text perfectly, which looks even bizarre at times. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with this linking method, however, it should be carried out skilfully and not overdone with regard to the number of anchors. There should be much fewer anchors than regular URL-based links or ones added together with the brand’s name. It is also vital to decide on the proportions of anchors used and URL links in an appropriate way. In this case, we can change keywords according to the context and the meaning of the given word so that the linked phrase appears as natural as possible.

Sources of links

The types of websites from which we acquire links are also extremely important, including:

– general-interest / information portals

– thematic portals

– blogs

– Internet forums

– and supply bases

Obviously, the best source of links to our website can be found on thematic portals, i.e. websites whose content closely reflects the industry within which the linked website operates, as the relevant articles published on such portals prove to be the most powerful. It is clear that apart from the suitable theme, such a portal must be appropriately optimised for SEO, have the largest traffic and a reasonable number of links directing to the website. These parameters can be evaluated most effectively by means of tools such as Ahrefs or Senuto, which will demonstrate approximately what keywords-based traffic a given portal is characterised with. Yet, the most crucial aspect in choosing such a portal is taking actions in accordance with your own experience and common sense.

Comments on forums and blogs

Apart from publishing sponsored articles on blogs, it is also possible to leave comments under already existing articles related to the theme of our website as well as in threads on Internet forums. However, in half the cases, such links contain the “nofollow” parameter, i.e. they are not powerful at all. Fortunately, all is not lost. This type of links will come in handy in diversifying and increasing the number of domains linking our website. Ideally, if there is large traffic on the blog, our comments are capable of transferring a small part of this traffic to our website.

Link diversification

We must also bear in mind that the links to our website should not derive only from one source, such as Internet forums, because we will fail to achieve a high-quality effect in such a case. The link profile ought to look natural and remain as diverse as possible. What we also mean here is the scripts on which the websites are based – for instance, if it is only WordPress, it is virtually obvious that most links derive from private supply bases.

Conclusion

As we can see, Link building has a tremendous impact on SEO and no one can deny this fact. In order to carry it out in a secure manner and not to be exposed to Google penalties, we should follow the aforementioned principles, and above all, we should never go over the top with the number of links on low-quality websites diverging from our website’s theme.