Google Docs is an online application which means that it can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection. By simply logging in, users are able to see their documents from wherever they are. This is handy for people who are always on the move or need to shift between computers a lot. Documents created on software such as Microsoft Office can be uploaded onto Google Docs which makes Google Docs a handy option for storage. Each user is given 1GB of storage space for free and documents created within Google Docs do not count towards this quota. Users are also able to pay for additional storage.
Google Docs is highly focused on aiding collaboration. Users are able to choose who is able to view their documents and give other users permission to edit them. Up to 50 users can edit a document at one time, and each user is able to see what the other users are doing in real time. Google Docs also has a chat feature within the document to allow users to have discussions during their collaboration. This means there is no need for email attachments and multiple copies of documents. Instead there is one copy of the document that is accessible to everyone who has permission to view and edit it. Google Docs also keep a record of past versions of the document, which means that if someone makes a change you’re not happy with, you will be able to restore it back to the old version.
Another useful feature of Google Docs is the form creator. Users are able to create interactive forms with ease and email them straight to the people they wish to fill them in. When a form is created it is put on its own webpage so the link can be passed on to people. Google Docs will then record their responses in a spreadsheet for the user to easily analyse. This is useful for things such as surveys. Just create the survey using the form creator, send it out to the people you wish to survey and read the results through the Google Docs spreadsheet!
Joining Google Docs is as simple as signing in to your Google account and clicking on the 'Documents' tab or visiting www.docs.google.com and signing in to your google account. If you don’t already have a Google account, you can create one for free by visiting www.docs.google.com and clicking 'Sign up for a new Google Account'. There’s no software to download – it’s all on the net. So sign up, sign in and have a play. We’re sure you’ll find it as handy as we do!
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We are often asked this question not long after a new website has gone live. To answer this question we first of all need to explain how Google works…
Google employs some of the world’s greatest minds to continually develop the complex ranking process which ensures that the top results of a user's search are of the highest relevance and quality.
This is of course what makes Google the world’s most popular search engine.
Understanding how Google works
Google is constantly looking for new websites and updated content on the Internet using automated programs known as 'spiders' or 'robots'.
These robots use links between websites to travel around the internet and find new websites. If your website is not linked to the rest of the web, the robots will not be able to access it. And Google will not be able to find it.
When Google finds a new web page, it will analyse the content, known as 'crawling' the content. It will then transport the information back to the Google data centre, where Google stores it, known as 'caching'.
Once Google has a copy of your website in its index, it will send out the robots to check for new content on a continual basis. If the robots find new or updated content Google will add it to its index. The period between visits will vary from site to site, but the robots are intelligent and they will not waste their time visiting websites regularly if the content does not change regularly.
Once Google knows about your website, it then needs to calculate the 'relevancy' of each page to a user's search term. So when a user performs a search with Google, Google calculates the relevancy of search term to the web page. If the search term is not relevant, or the search term does not match the content of the web page, Google will not list the page in the results.
Google also uses geographic location to help match a website to a user's search query. Google will try to serve web pages that match the users geographic location.
Relevancy is just part of the equation. Remember there are likely to be hundreds, thousands or millions of other websites that are 'relevant' to a user's search query. And only a few spots on the front page of the search results. Therefore, the next thing Google does is calculate the 'quality'. This allows Google to position the web pages that are most relevant and of the highest quality at the top of the results page. This is of course what makes Google the world’s most popular search engine.
Calculating the relevancy and quality
Google uses a very complex 'formula' or 'algorithm' to calculate the relevancy and the quality of a web page to a user's search query.
This formula uses many factors to help calculate the relevancy and quality of a web page, including and not limited to:
- Keywords found in the content of the page
- The headings
- Links on the page
- Hidden Meta data found in the code of the page
- External links that link to the page
Google awards ranking for a page based on how often the keywords appear, how prominent they are on the page and the location of the keywords on the page.
Therefore, the more focused you are on a certain topic, the better you will rank, as Google will believe that you are an expert on the topic.
Let’s use an example
Let’s say you have a website focused on photography services in Wellington. Let's say a user performs a search using “photography wellington”. Google, at the time this article was written, lists 411,000 web pages that match this search term. That is 411,000 different websites that are relevant to this search term.
Google has a tough job to order this list to ensure the websites at the top are the most relevant and of the highest quality.
The top listings are websites of photographers based in Wellington. If we look further down the list we will see websites with less relevant content, for example photography equipment suppliers, etc..
Now we know how Google works...lets apply this knowledge to our website...
Does Google know about my website?
Now that we have a greater understanding for how the search engines work, we can turn our attention to finding our website on Google.
The quickest way to find out is to perform a 'site' search. You can do this by entering Site: [your website address] into Google as shown below:
If your website has been listed you will see a list of all the pages of your website that Google has stored in its cache.
Next you can find out which search terms your website is ranking for. The easiest way to do this is to check your Search keywords, traffic report. If you are a Zeald client, you will be able to find this report in the admin of your website under the "Reports" tab.
If other people have found their way to your website via these search terms, chances are your website is ranking well for them. Try a Google search using the search terms to see where your website is currently positioned.
What if my website is not listed?If your website is not listed with Google, your search for the site will result in something like this:
This means that Google has not discovered your website yet, or has not completed the content crawling and storage process.
Tell Google about my new websiteYou need to ensure that Google knows about your website or connect your website to the rest of the internet so Google robots can find your website. You can do this by submitting your site to Google and/or generating inbound links to your website.
But I have already submitted a sitemap?Once you have submitted your sitemap, there is usually a delay before which you can find your website on Google. This is because the robots still have to find their way to your website and complete the process, which can sometimes take up to 3 months. Unfortunately you can't rush Google but there are things you can do to speed up the process.
How do I speed up the process?There are a few things that you can do to ensure that your website is found and the content crawled as soon as possible:
- You need to ensure that you have submitted your website
- Or that you have some inbound links to create a pathway for the robots to be able to access your website
- To get your website instantly to the top of Google for targeted search terms, use Google’s advertising program, called Adwords.
How do I get my website to the top of the Google results for a keyword of my choice?
There are various techniques you can do to improve a web site's ranking in Google's organic search results for chosen or targeted keyword phrases. This process is known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and is a large topic that requires another article.
>Stay tuned for our next article on how to optimise your website
Or... you can get your website to the top of Google for targeted search terms using Google’s advertising program, called Adwords. By setting up Google Adwords you can create a listing and choose search terms that will trigger your listing or advertisement. The good thing about Google Adwords is that you don’t pay unless someone actually clicks on your ad and visits your website.
You might pay as little as 5c per click, especially if it is your own business name, which will be less competitive.>Learn more about Search engine advertising
This post has been updated - May 2016.
Recommended reading prior to this blog post:
The importance of identifying the right keyword phrases for your website and how you can do it yourself.
So how does Google Adwords work?
When you did the keyword analysis as detailed in the link above, you would have ended up with a whole bunch of keyword phrases which are part of keyword segment groups. For each of these segments you will create an Adgroup. For each Adgroup, you will create an advert that Google will display when a user searches for any of the keywords within that keyword segment. If a user clicks on your ad, you will pay Google an amount that you specify.
The structure of a Google Adwords account
The structure of Google Adwords is made up by a campaign (which could be area specific like NZ or Australia). Under each campaign, you have an Adgroup (which is the keyword segment) and you will create an ad for each Adgroup, which will use the keyword phrases under that particular segment.
How does Google position your ads?
Google calculates your position in the paid search results based on two main things: Cost per click (CPC) and Quality Score (QS). If there are no competitors for your keywords, you will pay the minimum cost of 5c per click and be at the top of the page. When you do have competition, you'll need to outbid them in order to gain placement. It's not always the highest bidder that wins however, and that is where QS comes in. A lot of how Google determines QS is kept secret (for obvious reasons), but we do know it takes into account factors such as landing page, ad relevance, click through rate, web design, historical statistics etc. Basically, Google will serve the highest quality ads to customers that are going to be most interested in the offering, even if it means they will make less money per click.
Make your ads and landing pages relevant to your keywords
If there is one thing that you should always keep in mind when setting up a Google Adwords campaign it's relevancy. It is very important that you make your ad and landing page highly relevant to your keywords. This is why we go through so much trouble to segment our keywords. With our 'Give a duck' example from this post, we determined a segment 'bath toy' which contains many phrases centered around the theme: 'bath toys', such as 'baby bath', 'bath for baby', 'bath toy', 'water toys', 'bath for kids', etc. So with this in mind we would create an ad using these keywords and we would also make sure that these search phrases were incorporated into our landing page so it all ties in together and makes sense for the user.
Create new campaign
Before you create a campaign you'll need to sign up to Google Adwords account. Simply follow the directions supplied by Google.
You can create campaigns to target customers who browse the Internet:
- from a specific geographic area
- using a specific language
- with a certain type of device like mobile phones/tablets
If you need to, you can set up different campaigns for targeting different geographic locations. For example, we might decide to sell rubber ducks to New Zealand and also Australia. We would create a separate campaign for each country and label them 'Rubber duck NZ' and 'Rubber duck Aus'. We can also create a campaigns specific to regions within a country like Auckland or Wellington. A photographer based in Wellington, for example, will likely target Wellington only. Keep in mind that it can be difficult to keep track of multiple campaigns, so make sure it is something you absolutely require.
Setting up your campaign on Google Adwords:
- Name your campaign
- Select the relevant location. This can be either entire country, a city or a radius from a certain point or an arbitrary shape that you can draw on the map.
- Select the language.
- Choose the device type (we generally recommend starting with all devices).
- Choose a network. We recommend just the search network to begin with. You can always set up a new campaign to target the display network.
- Select your bidding option (we generally recommend starting out with automatic bidding to maximise clicks).
- Set your budget, which is the amount of dollars you want to spend per day. This means that if you have a budget of $200 per month you would divide by 30 to give you about $7 per day. We generally recommend that you start with at least $200 per month, but a maximum of $500 to a $1000 per month. This is a good start for testing purposes, but budget can be analysed after keyword research when CPC's have been defined.
- Don't worry about advanced settings for now.
- Click next.
Steps for setting up an Adgroup
- Choose a keyword segment for your first Adgroup. We have decided to start with the segment 'bath toys'.
- Review the top most popular search phrases to work out the keywords that you should use in your ad. Our top phrases include: 'bath for baby', 'bath toy', 'water toys', 'bath for kids', 'bath toys', and 'toys bath'. We would use phrase 'bath toy for baby' in our ad which includes most of the words from all our top phrases, especially the headline.
- Write your headline.
- Write each description line.
- Set your display URL. Again use your target keywords or phrases that help to qualify the user. For example we used www.giveaduck.org/RubberDuck. Note this does not need to be the actual URL. It is there to give the user an idea of where they are going to be taken. It must also incorporate your domain (giveaduck.org).
- Set your description URL. Find the most suitable landing page that the visitor is taken to when they click on your ad. Make it specific to your ad, make it relevant and ensure that it uses the target search phrases. Avoid sending people to your generic homepage.
- Copy and paste all the keywords associated with the chosen segment from your research, into the keywords field.
- Save your ad. Once you have set this up, the ad will be sent to a real person at Google for authorisation.
Set up an Ad
- Use your most popular search phrases in your ads, especially the title of the ad.
- Check out what local competitors are doing and also look at what might be working globally. Try a google.co.uk search for the same keyword phrases and see what the ads look like.
- Convey your unique selling proposition (USP) in your ads: 'Money to charity', 'Largest range', 'Good price', etc.
- Add a call to action and it's always great to create a bit of urgency: 'Buy Now', 'Don't miss out', etc.
- Add a compelling offer: 'Free delivery', 'Mothers day sale', 'Half price', etc.
- Think about qualifying your customer. We don't want to incur the cost of people clicking on our ad if they are not interested in our offer. You need to make up an ad that compels quality clicks that result in a sale.
- Include prices if possible;this is a great way to make sure that people that click on your ad are actually willing to pay the price. It's also a great way to convey discounts.
- Split test multiple ads. This means for each Adgroup, create at least two ads with one or two elements that are different so you can find out what's working better. So you can choose to change the headline to see if that makes a difference or you can choose to change the offer in the ad to see what's perceived as more important. It will also allow you to test which ad clicks actually result in sales.
- Avoid using competitor brand names.
Split test your ad
It is very important that you split test your ad. This means just changing one or two aspects of a Ad group to test out what's working better. It will allow you to test which offer is perceived as being more attractive and which ad click actually converts into a sale. Keep in mind an effective split test needs a large audience, so you may want to wait on this until you're getting a lot of interest in your ads.
Steps to create a split test
- Create a new ad under the ad group. You can do this once you have saved your ad.
- Avoid making too many changes to the ad - just change either the headline, or your offer or your USP.
- In our case, we want test out our offer vs. the USP. So we are trialing out to see if users are more motivated to click an ad because of charity or because of free delivery.
- Allow for an appropriate period of time to gain significant results before analysing the data and implementing changes.
Note that Google will start monitor your split tests and if one them is really under performing, it will cease to run that ad so as to make sure that your click rate is high.
We like to recommend that you use the Postpay billing option to ensure that your ads are running smoothly. Often a prepaid balance will run out and your ads will dry-up, meaning once your prepaid balance is out, you will have no click throughs. This means that you will start to lose traffic and more importantly you will lose important test data. It makes it difficult to test and tune your ads and your landing pages if you have big holes in your reports.
Postpay billing isn't a scary option either because you will have set your budget beforehand. There is no way Google will let your spend go over your budget. If you decide that you don't want to spend anymore money on Adwords, you can go in and cancel anytime you like.
Your ads will not go live straight away because Google will need to review the ads to make sure that they pass their criteria. This will usually take around a day or so before your ad can go live.
We've tried to make this process as simple as possible but you can always get us to help you with it instead. Contact us to find out more.
If you've read our article on the importance of doing a keyword analysis, then you know identifying the right search phrases has a number of advantages. It is the most important step before setting up a Google Adwords campaign and helps in optimising your organic search engine ranking.
Before we get started...
In this article, we will take you through a simplified version of the process our Google Adwords specialists follow to find the right keywords and phrases. We encourage you to follow this process but please note that it is still complex; we've simplified it as much as possible without losing value. If you feel that the full process is too difficult to follow, you can still get started on the first couple of steps which will give you a good idea of what your customers are searching for on Google. Otherwise, you might be interested in some help from our Google certified experts, which includes a keyword analysis: contact us to find out more.
Tools for the job
We recommend that you use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or a similar package to follow this process, and you will need to have some proficiency to complete this process. You will also need access to the Google Adwords Keyword tool.
Step 1: Brainstorm seed keywords
Brainstorm all the phrases your customer could be typing into Google to find your business. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and imagine yourself performing a Google search. What would you type into the search field to find a solution to your problem? This means starting with 'seed keywords' which is a certain topic or idea, and then thinking of a few search phrases under each seed. So for Zeald's 'Give a duck' website (which sells rubber ducks for charity), one seed might be 'rubber duck', another might be 'toy'.
- Think about the primary search phrases that describe your website or industry in general. For the rubber duck website we would use children's toys'.
- Make a big list of phrases. Think of every possible scenario including local searches like 'rubber duck nz'.
- Consider famous brands that you might also stock as part of your business, be careful to not use a competitor brand though.
- Also consider related themes like 'baby shower gift' that might have lower competition than 'childrens toy', but still has high traffic.
- Solve the problems of your target market.
- For large catalogues consider different product categories. For example, rubber duck is a small catalogue, but it might be just one category of a larger children's toys website.
Step 2: Segment the keywords
Group the phrases you have come up with into various themes, usually the 'seed' you start with can be the segment heading. The segments might be for different product groups that your company offers. Or they could be different target customer groups searching for your company's products and services in different ways. Consider different uses of the same product or different target customers or the same customer at different buying stages.
For a traditional website that does not have a large catalogue, you should have up to 5 different segments initially. You will use these to optimise your homepage and the site in general.
A large catalogue website may have many more than 5 segments. For example an automotive parts website might have many different themes, such as brakes, windscreens, wheels, oil, cleaning products, etc. To begin with, you should focus on the general theme of the website which would be something like "auto products", or "car parts", etc. You can repeat this exercise later to research the different categories.
Step 3: Determine search volume
We can determine the volume of each of the search phrases you have brainstormed using Google's Adwords Keyword Tool. This tool also allows you to determine search volume of a phrase specific to New Zealand or other geographic locations.
- Once you have setup a Google Adwords account and logged in, click on 'Reporting and Tools' in the menu bar and select 'Keyword Tool'.
Firstly change your geographical location to match your business. For 'Give a duck' this would be New Zealand. Click on 'Advanced Options' (next to United States and English) and choose the your desired location.
Now copy and paste your seed keywords, one segment at a time into the 'word or phrase' box and click 'search'. Google will come back with a big list of search phrases related to your seed word segment along with search volumes for each.
On the left hand menu, Set the 'Match type' to be 'Phrase'. Google will return the search results with quotes around the phrases which are the exact search phrases in the order that you typed into the box. It might have additions around it like adding 'buy'. This step will be very helpful later on when you start a PPC campaign.
Export the results to Excel using the 'download' button. Copy and paste the results into an Excel spread sheet (call the tab something like 'Primary keywords').
Keep the words in keyword groups by adding a new column at the start of the sheet and filling it with the segment title, in our case, 'rubber duck'. So every keyword should have the relevant segment heading next to it.
Repeat this for each segment and make sure that you run a separate keyword search for every different geographical location. Keep adding the search results back into the 'Primary Keywords' tab and write the name of the segment heading next to the words for each keyword.
Step 4 - Shortlist your words
We now need to shortlist the phrases into a more manageable number:
1. Tidy the spreadsheetYou can do this by removing unused columns, and leaving just the following columns:
- Global Monthly Searches
- Local Monthly Searches
- Estimated average CPC
- Advertiser competition
- Plus keyword phrases and segment headings of course
2. Shortlist by search volume
Order by 'local search volume' or 'global search volume' depending on the location of your primary target market so that the most popular terms appear at the top. Use the Excel sort function for this operation.
Delete all the rows which have 0 or low search volume, maybe 10% or 20% of your total search phrases depending on how many you have and how thorough you want to be with this process. The less phrases you have the quicker it will be but the greater the chance you could miss out on a golden opportunity.
3. Shortlist by relevancy
- Remove all duplicates. Because we have researched the popularity of each keyword segment separately with Google Adwords, there is bound to be some cross over. We need to remove this crossover. You can use the 'Remove duplicates' option under the 'Data' tab within Excel. Make sure that you choose the 'Keyword' column only.
- Work your way down each keyword/phrase and remove any rows that are obviously not relevant to your business. For example the phrase 'Toy story 3' is the name of a movie with a large number of page views and not really relevant to our business. Likewise with 'wooden toys'.
- Consider removing competitor brand names. It is not considered good practice to use competitor brand names. For example with the 'Give a duck' website we would remove the phrase 'Toys are us' because this is a competitor.
- Consider commercial intent. There is a tool available online which can give you a bit of guidance on commercial intent if you are not sure of a certain phrase yourself. Click on the 'query' button, type in the search phrase and click go. The result is a percentage so 'commercial intent of .29' indicates a commercial intent of 29% and 'non-commercial intent .29' indicates a commercial intent of 81%. Phrases with really low commercial intent can be removed as well.
This is a long and can be tedious task that requires a lot of concentration so have lots of caffeine on hand.
Once you are done re-order the spreadsheet based on the 'Group' first and then the 'local/global monthly searches' using the 'Sort & filter' function.
Pheeeew ! Well done!
If you have followed this whole process, well done! Now you have a comprehensive list of keywords grouped into relevant themes, and ordered by their popularity.
You should also have a sound understanding for the type of language that your target customers are using online.
You should have had many different insights and hopefully discovered some nice little opportunities.
Now you can setup a PPC (Google Adwords) campaign using these search phrases and the themes you have created will form your Adgroups. You can then craft your ad-creative using the search phrase from each group with the highest popularity as your headline.
If you've understood and implemented everything above, then well done! If you haven't managed to figure it out on your own, please don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.
Keywords are the words or phrases people type into search engines like Google to find products and services that might relate to your business.
Why is it important to do a keyword analysis for your business?
1. Doing a thorough keyword analysis means that you will be putting all your efforts and investment into getting your site to the top of Google rankings for search phrases that are relevant to your business. And for phrases that people are actually looking for in the biggest numbers. This will help send targeted quality traffic to your website.
2. Going through the process of identifying your keywords will also help you learn the language of your target customers. Too many businesses use jargon that they are familiar with, but their customers don't understand what that might mean. Speaking the same language as your customers can improve your conversion.
3. You can spend a lot of time, money and resources to obtain and hold a good ranking for a search phrase. If later down the track you realise that you didn't get the right search phrases, it can be difficult to change your target phrases. This is because part of ranking well in search engines involves getting links to your site from other credible sites. An important part of those links is the 'anchor text'. 'Anchor text' is the visual text on the page that links to a site. For example in this article, one of the anchor texts is 'Pay-Per-Click campaigns' (below). The anchor text should incorporate your target search phrases for a good Google ranking. It's difficult to change the anchor text on other websites, therefore finding the right keyword phrases will prevent this from happening.
4. Knowing the right keywords is the starting point to setting up effective Pay-Per-Click campaigns.
A pig hunter ran an online business selling pig hunting DVDs internationally. Doing a keyword analysis revealed that very few of his target customers actually referred to it as 'pig hunting'. His American customers referred to it as 'hog hunting'. His European customers referred to it as 'boar hunting' and only Australian and New Zealand customers called it 'pig hunting'.
A quick check on Google Insights can show this information:
So how do you go about finding the right keywords/search phrases for your business? Read our article on how to do a keyword analysis.