James Svoboda will be speaking on the “#FAIL Free PPC” panel at SearchFest 2014 which will take place on February 28th, 2014 in Portland, Oregon. For more information and to purchase tickets, please click here.

1) Please give us your background and tell us what you do for a living.
I’m CEO and partner at WebRanking.com and President of MnSearch.org, the Minnesota Search Engine Marketing Association. I’ve been a search geek since 1999 and love all things digital, especially 3 letter acronyms like SEO, PPC, CRO, etc. I remember my brother Tony teaching me how to code HTML websites by hand with a little help from an HTML editor called HotDog, which is how we built the first few versions of WebRanking.com. You can even find a few old versions in the Internet Archive’s wayback machine. Learning HTML code was an important part of SEO in the early days since Content Management Systems were rare and most sites were built 1 page at a time. The Internet sure has evolved since then!

2) What factors should be considered in setting the appropriate mobile bid modifier?
Does the business accept phone calls as a qualified conversions? Since we see mobile campaigns generate a significant percentage of conversions in the form of calls, from both from the SERPs and landing pages, it is important to understand how they fit within the business sales funnel.

Does the landing page utilize a responsive design or a unique mobile environment? If the site does not render well on a mobile device it will affect conversions and this should be considered.

Is there flash, large images, PDFs, or some other form of content that will be difficult for mobile visitors to interact with on a smartphone?

How to conversion rates, ROAS and conversion types vary from desktop/laptop, to tablet, to mobile phone? If you generate lower sales levels or smaller ticket price items from mobile devices, then you should consider setting your mobile bid modifiers lower.

3) What are the top 3 mistakes you see in self-managed PPC Accounts?
Combining to many keyword themes into one ad group. Your ads will only be targeted for 1-3 keyword segments and having more just dilutes you CTR for your ads, which will lower your keyword Quality Scores. I recommend using 1 keyword segment per ad group. This way you can have ads that speak directly to those keywords. They will receive higher click through rates, Quality Sores across the board, and you’ll have an easier time identifying keyword and landing page matching issues.

Not utilizing proper keyword match types to control search query matching. Most self-built PPC accounts I’ve audited have solely relied on Broad Match keywords. Since broad match keywords only have to loosely map to one of the words in your keyword, the actual search query matching is not what the manager had intended. This leads to paying for unintended and poorly targeted keywords that often drain PPC campaign budgets. I recommend using a tiered bidding and keyword matching process. This is one that I created several years ago that is a solid blueprint for building a tiered structure: https://www.webranking.com/blog/pay-per-click-keyword-match-types-exact-phrase-broad-and-modified

Not sending traffic to specific landing pages. Too often I see PPC traffic going to a homepage or loosely related internal page. This usually produces higher bounce-back rates and lower conversion rates. The higher bounce-back rates is a signal to AdWords that you are not as relevant to the searcher and will lead to lower landing page Quality Scores. Creating an environment that produces lower conversion rates is a poor business practice. By directing traffic to a relevant and custom landing experience, you can increase conversions and ROI. I like to relate it in this manner, if someone searches for “Womens Nike running shoes” would they be better served by going to 1. the homepage of a shoe website, 2. A category page with several different brands and shoe types, or 3. A page listing running shoes, in women’s sizes and styles, featuring your available offering of Nike’s?

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