How to outsmart your competition with a fraction of their online marketing budget

If you have tried AdWords and search engine optimisation before, only to become disillusioned by Google extracting large sums of money from your business for little in return, then I have some good news for you.

In this post I will share with you the fastest and most effective way that I’ve found to generate a continual flow of new enquires with the minimum amount of waste. The strategy is to identify which keywords and phrases are actually converting into leads and then focus your AdWords spend and search engine optimisation efforts on them.

I’ve been honing an perfecting this technique for years with clients and it has proven surprisingly effective at increasing leads without increasing spend, even when every other competitor appears to be emptying their wallet into Google’s fireplace.

The steps in a nutshell are:

  1. Setup a Google AdWords campaign.
  2. Install the AdWords conversion tracking code on your website thank you page, the page visitors are taken to after they make an enquiry.
  3. Identify which keywords are resulting in enquiries from AdWords over a 90 day period.
  4. Focus your search engine optimisation efforts on these proven keywords.
  5. Repeat steps three and four.

Here’s how you would apply this strategy to a real business.

Let’s say you are dentist with a clinic on Remuera’s medical mile. Competition is fierce for new patients. Your competitors are spending $2-3,000 a month on AdWords alone and have dedicated people manning the controls.

You may guess that patients discover your clinic by searching for “Dentist Remuera” because they want a dentist who is close to home or work. Sounds logical. But how can you find out for sure?

Step #1: Setup a AdWords Campaign.

Google offers an endless array of options when setting up your campaign. For anyone new to AdWords I recommend you read Part 1.1 of Perry Marshall’s Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords for excellent advice about setting up your campaign. Its a 15 minute read that will save you thousands.

Step #2: Install the AdWords Conversion Tracking code

Once setup and your ads are running, you need to install the AdWords tracking code so Google can track what enquiries come via AdWords versus all other traffic visiting your website. Find the conversions section in the green top navigation menu inside AdWords and click on Tools and Analysis > Conversions.

Conversion-Code-Navigation

Add a conversion and give it a name. Choose “Webpage” and click continue.

In the next screen you will be given a range of options. Choose the type of conversion that best suits your business. For service businesses it will be leads. If you sell products online then ‘Purchase/Sale’ is best. You can have both types of conversion tracking setup on one website as you may sell both products and services.

Choose a 90 day conversion window. This means that any enquiry that occurs up to 90 days after someone has clicked your ad will count as a conversion. Choose HTML as your markup language and use ‘one’ for your conversion value.

Under advanced options choose a view through conversion window of 30 days, the maximum possible. This means that visitors who arrive at your site via AdWords but don’t enquire are tracked for 30 days. If they return by organic search within 30 days then this is still counted as a conversion within AdWords.

If you are HTML savvy then you can install the tracking code on your website. Place the code on a page that a visitor will only see after they have made a successful enquiry or purchase. To test if the code is working click on one of your ads and then go through and complete the enquiry form. AdWords should pick up the conversion within hours, if not minutes.

Step #3: Rank in organic search by finding winning keywords and create content around them

Converting-Keywords

This screenshot of the AdWords interface shows there have been 28 conversions over the last 90 days with 16 of those conversions coming from these top nine keywords (N.B. To preserve client confidentiality, I haven’t shown the top nine keywords in this screenshot, but a different set). None of the top converting keywords were for ‘Dentist Remuera’ by the way. You now have nine keywords that are the absolute best to focus on for when optimising your website.

It also means you can now focus your AdWords budget, ads, keywords and landing pages towards these keywords for higher conversions. By focusing your energies on these nine keywords, or even better, just the top three, you will come to dominate your market. You landing will speak to visitors in a way that no other website does. You will learn what the top concerns and questions that prospective customers have and be able to answer them on your landing page. You will be able to find tune you bids and find similar keywords.

By following this method you can outsmart your competition who have three times the marketing budget that you have. Powerful stuff.

Step #4: Optimise your website and landing pages for these converting keywords

The fastest way to optimise your website and ranking in organic search for these keywords is to create a specific landing page for each keyword. You should do this for AdWords anyway to maximise conversion of AdWords clicks into enquiries.

Lets say the one of the top converting keywords was “Dentist Remuera”.

To rank organically for this keyword, here are the most effective things you can do:

Create a landing page with the URL: http://yourwebsite.co.nz/remuera-dentist

Create content that helps visitors to solve their problem, e.g. How do I find an affordable, gentle and trustworthy dentist in Remuera?

  1. Create content that solves a problem. Fastest way to do this is with video.
  2. Create internal links from other pages on your website to this new page
  3. Create unique images that are relevant to the keyword and use the image alt tag of “Remuera Dental Clinic” or similar
  4. Find related keywords by doing a Google search for ‘Dentist Remuera’ and seeing what other keywords Google suggests. Sprinkle these keywords throughout your page.
  5. Avoid over using the focus keyword of ‘Dentist Remuera’. Write for humans rather than Google and Google with love you for it.
  6. Research the top ranking websites for ‘Dentist Remuera’. What do they have in common?
  7. Perform a back link search using OpenSite Expolorer to see where they have earned banklinks to this high ranking page. See if you can acquire similar links for your new page.
  8. Provide unique and valuable content. Answer frequently asked questions that no other website is answering about finding a dentist in Remuera.
  9. Share your new page on Google+ so Google immediately indexes the content. Share the page to other social networks to drive social traffic page to your new page.

There are tens of things you could do to optimise this page, but these nine are the best, most effective SEO strategies. Once you have implemented these nine ideas then its best to move onto the next keyword and go after more low hanging fruit.

Step #5: Repeat. Find more keywords that convert and prune the rest.

From the broad match keywords you bid on within AdWords you can find the actual searches performed by users of Google to reach your website. This information is powerful in finding numerous long tail keywords that keyword research tools cannot dig up for you.

To find these keywords, go to: Campaigns > Keywords > Details > Search Terms > All

Actual-Search-Terms

In this report you can find the actual words and phrases searchers used to find your website from AdWords. Now imagine if you created a specific page on your website for each of these keywords. Imagine how well that page would convert visitors into enquiries and your AdWords dollars into leads.

Another way you can find highly converting keywords is by asking phone inquirers what they searched for to find your website before they called you.

Good luck in applying this strategy to your website. If you have any questions about how this strategy would work for you, feel free to ask me in the comments below. I will personally reply.