What Makes A Great Pay Per Click Management Company?

The best pay-per-click management companies provide quite a few services to their clients that the hack jobs simply don’t. Pay-per-click management is one of those areas that many people simply don’t know much about, so we figured we’d point out a few things that make PPC managers great. You should be on the look out for an AdWords management firm that offers:

A dedicated account manager
The number one service that separates the men from the wee little boys. If your PPC firm offers you a live human who is always ready to deal with you — and more importantly, is the only human who interacts with your account — you’re probably dealing with one of the big boys.

Bid management
If you’re a PPC newb, you might not understand the terms just yet, but before you sign on with just any old PPC manager, ask them if they offer bid management. Ask them if they offer big gap monitoring, bid price change monitoring, and bid queue maintenance. Pay-per-click managers that don’t aren’t in it for their clients, plain and simple.

Even if you don’t actually understand them, you want your PPC management company to be able to show you how they research their keywords, how they collect their data, and how they spend your money.

Google AdWords certification is an absolute must for anyone calling themselves a pay-per-click manager. Yahoo Ambassador and Microsoft adExcellence certifications are good, but AdWords is the king of PPC at the moment and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Finally, your PPC company should offer rapid-response customer support. It doesn’t necessarily have to be 24/7/365, but you should be able to call or email and expect a response back within a few hours.

The last thing you need — or, perhaps more accurately, the first thing you need — from a pay-per-click manager is experience. Preferably, years of it. It’s the only way to know at a glance whether you’re talking to someone who knows the theory or someone who has the practice under his belt. Ask for references, check how long they’ve been in business, and ask them for clients similar to yours that they’re doing well on. If you pay attention to nothing else on this list, insist on working with PPC experts who have experience.

Website Optimization: Humans vs. Spiders

The best website design companies in the market have mastered the art of speaking two languages at once: the English that most of the internet’s users speak, and the markup language that most if not every website spider uses to teach itself about the contents of a site. It’s a more difficult trick than it seems. No matter how simple your website, optimization for two variables means neither one of those variables will end up as good as it can be.

Here’s an example of what we mean: spiders read text, and nothing else, but human eyes love pictures. Putting up a landing page that consists of little more than a giant Flash banner and a few links to other pages on the site might be awesome from and end-user perspective, but gives Google no idea of what the page might be about, because the Flash banner is just a giant blank spot to a spider.

Similarly, a spider starts in your left-most column and reads down, then moves to the next-leftist column, and reads down, and so forth. Search engines put more emphasis on the text that comes at the beginning of a website — but if you’re designing for a human, you may assume that the ‘beginning’ is the top of the central, ‘main’ column, and you’d be wrong. The most important stuff should be at the top of the left-most column, even if, to human eyes, that looks a little odd. (This is why columns on the right side of blogs are more popular than those on the left side.)

So if you want your content to rank the most easily, you want to write for the spiders, but if you want it to get the most social attention, you want to write for human minds. How do you do both at the same time? Well, first you familiarize yourself with the rules of on-page SEO and the mechanics of how spiders work. Then, you find the most human-friendly content that will fit into that cookie cutter. It’s something that the best website design companies have been doing for years.

SEO & Marketing: Two Sides of the Same Coin?

It used to be, a year or so ago, that SEO and Marketing were, to coin a phrase, the same side of two different coins. You used each one for the same basic purpose — to get people to buy things from you — but they rarely interacted. Today, however, with Panda and Penguin having thrown “normal” SEO under the bus, almost all truly good SEO is marketing — specifically, Content Marketing.

In other words, the best search engine optimization companies around offer marketing as an SEO service.

Every advertisement you create is, in the eyes of an SEO company, a piece of content. And every piece of content you create can, in the eyes of a marketing company, act as advertising. Panda and Penguin obliterated a vast swath of non-content-oriented SEO practices, and among the leaders in content-based SEO, Content Marketing is the obvious choice.

Seriously, the other option (having someone create content that is used strictly for backlinks without any consideration to whether or not people actually want to read) is insanity. If you’re going to put the time and effort into having content created in the first place, why would you pay $.01/word to someone who burly speak English and get just the backlinks when you could double that, pay for a native English writer, and get content that will motivate people to buy in addition to the backlink?

Yes, SEO and marketing today are in fact largely one and the same. Well, there are clearly still lots of offline marketing firms who know nothing of SEO, but trying to find a high-quality SEO company that doesn’t also have a few marketing experts on staff is becoming an increasingly unlikely task.

In the eyes of the consumer, this should be considered a good change, for one simple reason: great content never gets Google slapped by some minor algorithm change. It never gets sandboxed. It will never become ‘grey hat’. Great content is the ultimate evergreen resource; chase it or eventually, whatever else you’re