What Meta Tags Do Search Engines Use?

It is well known that all search engines no longer use the meta keyword tag, but what other tags are currently in use? I read an article recently that said Google was not even using the meta description tag, so what are search engines using?

First, it is true, the meta keywords tag is dead. Don’t bother loading in page keywords or adding that tag. I don’t think that it will come back either. Search engines are just too sophisticated now to be spoon fed your selected keywords. They will find their own in your content.

Second, in the Google Webmaster Help website, Google states that it understands the meta description tag, the title tag, the meta robot tag, Google site verification, and refresh tag. What they didn’t say was they were using them all. As of 10/14/11 Google was using my own meta description tag as my information in a Google.com search AND they were using my meta title tag.

Third, how about Bing.com? Bing is using my meta description tag, but not my meta title tag, they are creating their own from my content. In fact they are using one of my H1 tags verbatim, but not from the top of the page but rather from the middle of the page.

Another thing of note to mention at this time is that some browsers such as IE9 now don’t show the meta title of a page in the top chrome of the browser just above the address bar, they used to, but not anymore.

Things change on the Web. Over the years I’ve seen the meta description tag not used and then after a year or two used again by Google, but I don’t think that the keywords meta tag will come back. When you do a search for your own business, do you see your meta description tag?


How Do You Know How Much a Click Will Cost on AdWords?

So you want to try AdWords, but want to make sure you will get performance. You understand you need a high enough maximum cost per click to be in the auction and your daily budget needs to be high enough to support your maximum cost per click to get AdWords to serve your program, but how do you estimate for planning your cost per click to see if you can even afford AdWords?

Google AdWords has a tool that will allow you to see estimate cost per click figures. You can visit the tool here. If you have an AdWords account when you click the link, AdWords will send you to the tool page within your own account so you can benefit from your own account history. What I recommend with all new potential AdWords advertisers is to run a few keywords that they consider important to their business to get an idea of where the bid auction is to that an effective and practical monthly click budget can be set.

Make sure that when you use the tool that you select in the drop down menu for columns the “Approximate CPC”. Remember this is an approximate. In my experience is has even been on the low side. The figures you will typically see will be for the United States by default if you are in the US, but make sure that you are not seeing global results. You can reorder the data with your selections. The local search column is not to be confused with “local” like in your region. Local in this case means your entire country based on your initial tool settings.

Do not budget your AdWords program based on the numbers you see in the tool. Remember every chance you have for a click once your program is running will be based on an auction. The figures the tool gives you should be considered a range and the real costs will typically be higher.

Once you have an estimated cost per click, then factor in how many realistically priced clicks you want per day to try to achieve your marketing results. You may find out that your budget of $2,000 per 30 days you thought you wanted to spend will simply not be enough when your click cost may be $10 per click. Additionally you may have felt you wanted to run 6 ad groups but can realistically afford only two to run or you will parse your budget between too many programs.

Although AdWords says you can set your 30 day click budget and maximum cost per click to anything you want, they also have the option to not serve your program if your settings are simply not competitive in your marketplace.

For more AdWords help, make sure to visit our website to read about our AdWords management services.


Is Your Daily Budget Keeping You Out of the AdWords Auction?

Not only is your maximum cost per click a factor in deciding if you are in the Google AdWords auction, but your daily budget may be a factor keeping you out! It is important to understand a few things first. AdWords account managers will talk about your 30 day budget spend, and it needs to be high enough to support your accounts daily budget based on your maximum cost per click. Not your average cost per click, but your maximum cost per click.

Here is a fine example of a client who by having a low 30 day click spend has effectively kept Google AdWords from being able to serve his account for best performance.

30 day click spend $150
Daily budget $5
Typical max. CPC for other clients in the same industry $6.50
His maximum CPC based on his daily budget $5

As his maximum CPC is constrained by his daily budget, can never be set at a level to truly be in the auction, he gets spotty click results and sometimes Google cannot even spend his $150 monthly budget.

In scenarios like this what we see happen is that an account manager gets desperate and starts adding broad match keywords to an account in an effort to get low cost traffic. Here are some of the results we then see when that happens:

30 day number of impressions 11,930
Clicks in 30 days 36
CTR in 30 days .30%
Average position 6.8

It looks like the account is performing, but look at the impressions. They are high and the CTR is low. This account is getting clicks, but they are typically poor quality and untargeted clicks because the client has set the daily budget too low and so can never raise the maximum cost per click to get in the keyword auction.

This is just one example of problematic account performance. In some cases as you monitor clients such as this you will even see Google saving up money to try to serve their program by even going a day or three without any clicks at all and then getting a few clicks a day or so later.

If you are looking for a savvy AdWords manager we invite you to read our client reviews. We resolve AdWords problems all the time and do work in some cases on an hourly basis to help re-mediate AdWords problems.


Are You Out of the AdWords Auction? How to Tell

The AdWords clients that come to me typically are small to medium sized business owners who have tried to do AdWords themselves and not been successful. Because they feel AdWords could work for them, based on what they have read, they want a professional AdWords account manager to optimize their account. In many cases when I take over an account I see that the client was not bidding enough to be in the auction. Here are a few examples:

Client A Last Month Activity

30 day click budget $1,800
Clicks  received 3
Impressions received 250
Current max. CPC setting $1.01
Average ad position 1.2

Client B Last Month Activity

30 day click budget $2,600
Clicks received 12
Impressions received 800
Current max. CPC setting $4.00
Average ad position 9

In the above examples there are two scenarios. In the first case it appears that there is simply no demand for the Client A’s products as his ads are showing in position 1.2 but yet he has very few clicks. In the second scenario, for Client B, it appears that he may be below the first page bid or have a quality score problem.

In both cases I would say that the client is simply out of the auction. When you are bidding too low, based on your marketplace, Google may deliver your program but at very low rates. In fact, you may see a high ad position but very few impressions. In other cases you may see a very low average ad position figure. But both are true indications that your maximum cost per click setting is simply too low.

To re-mediate the problem, I recommend for a seven day period changing your campaign settings to allow Google to set the keyword bids without a bid cap. This will allow you to see where the market place is bidding and then you can evaluate what a fair price is for your click, based on what your competitors are paying.

Check in Wednesday to read my post on how maximum CPC and daily budget work together to either keep you out of the auction or get performance.

For more information about our Google AdWords account management services visit our AdWords program page.


The Facebook Timeline

On September 22nd, Facebook announced that by September 30 a new look would be rolled out in Facebook. The new look is called a Timeline. As of early this week (this post was written on October 1) I am only seeing the Timeline on developer sites. I can’t see the Timeline on our spokesdog site or that of family members.

I have found in one news article that Facebook has stated that “Facebook Timeline has yet to be launched to all of its 800 million users.” Which brings us to when exactly will mainstream Facebook users be funneled into the Timeline?

Although most press has been good, especially with the new attractive cover image which is 720 pixels wide, the depth of information shown on users is a bit concerting. Comments of “this is too much information about me” and “this looks like a life resume” are surfacing on the Web; with not everyone being in love with the new Timeline look.

Personally, I like the cover, and I like how the content is now compartmentalized, but will I go back and add baby pictures of myself? No way! How this will impact Facebook Business Pages is still to be seen. I have not seen the select a cover option appear in any of the Business Pages we manage professionally. I have however seen that the ability to send a note to all fans has disappeared as Facebook said it would after September 30th.

It will be interesting this next month as Facebook rolls out the Timeline to see what people do with the graphic space. Once you set up your cover, enter a link to your Facebook profile in the comments below so we can see what you have done. Here’s mine: http://www.Facebook.com/nancymccord.


Introducing Our New Facebook Advertising Management Program

With Facebook being the place to meet clients and prospects on the Web, Facebook advertising is really something you may want to strongly consider at this time. Because we’ve had so much interest in Facebook pay per click and are already managing several client accounts, we have rolled out a formal program. You can find out more about our Facebook Advertising Program.

For $100 we’ll set up your Facebook Advertising Program and for a monthly charge of $100 we’ll manage it and update your ad creatives weekly. That’s only $25 per week for management! With some services charging a minimum start up cost of $400, 12% of your ad spend, and $25 for each new creative they add to your account, we think you will find our Facebook advertising services a real value.

Although you don’t need us to set up Facebook pay per click advertising for you as it is fairly simple, there may be situations where you don’t have the time or know how on how to effectively manage Facebook to get results. Our services aren’t the right match for everyone, but for the busy professional or business owner who has heard about the value of Facebook, our services offer the opportunity to get started on Facebook at a practical price.