Archive for the 'Search Engine Marketing (PPC)' Category

Sep, 17th, 2015

Google Partners Masterclass 2015 insights part 6: Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) overhaul

Manage campaign with Google

In our previous post, I presented six possible solutions on how to get rid of referral spam from Google Analytics (GA) as discussed at the Google Partners Masterclass 2015 event. Although, there is no foolproof solution for this problem, implementing those will help you report on cleaner and more accurate GA data. In this post, we’ll talk about Google’s latest enhancement to Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) that can help you reach your customers better with more targeted ads, focus on the campaigns that are most important by automating the ones you don’t have enough time for and overall optimise and improve on your paid campaign workflows, especially in the set-up phase.

New and improved DSA

Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) was recently overhauled and now has tools and features for those with huge inventories of landing pages (i.e. e-commerce advertisers). Aside from crawling your website, DSA now sorts your website content (i.e. products and services) into recommended categories and saves you time by targeting your ads based on those categories. With DSA, text ads are automatically generated by Google for inclusion in an auction based on website content. Google also creates the headline and ad copy and chooses the relevant landing page on your website.


A closer look at DSA

Although DSAs are a good way to propel a low performing e-commerce site forward, David cautioned everyone not to use this as a primary way of managing campaigns. For control-freak advertisers, the downside of this is the lack of control on what ads are being displayed and where you are driving people to. Another issue would arise if your website contains not optimised title tags or H1 heading tags which would make the search query matching of the ads with your online product or service quite difficult.

Some helpful tips for you

Tip #1

Best practice would always be to manage your keywords, ads and bids yourself. Be wary about anything Google does on autopilot, especially when it comes to keyword selection and bids (which directly impact spend and, therefore, Google’s profits).

Tip #2

A good tip, from David, is to manage most campaigns manually but use DSA for covering all your bases on the large number of low search volume long-tail keywords or in cases like where you have a huge number of location-based keywords. So kind of use it as a “Catch All” for anything you’ve missed. Also suitable where you have thousands of landing pages, such as e-commerce advertisers with thousands of products in stock.

Note in the case of above, normal bids take precedence over DSA bids, so your manual campaigns will show first.

Tip #3

You can use DSA for harvesting valuable keyword data, for cases where the Google Keyword Planner tool doesn’t provide information for extremely specific terms.

Tip #4

Recommend ensuring you have a good list of negative keywords, as DSA will pick up very broad traffic otherwise.

Tip #5

Also, I recommend regularly running search query reports to pick up any high cost, low performing keywords.

Is DSA right for you?

DSA is a powerful way to reach your customers, spearhead remarketing and display campaigns and guide your landing page creation, but is it right for your business?

It really depends, but we can help!

One of the benefits of partnering with FIRST is that we can help you sort the wheat from the chaff and make sensible decisions about how to use a tool like DSA for your business.

Give us a call at +61 2 9339 6747 or email us at <a href=””></a> so we can get in touch with you and have a chat around your specific needs.


Up next…the last of the series

For the seventh and last post of the Google Partners Masterclass 2015 series, our next article will cover Google’s (not provided) keywords data in Google Analytics. David presented the process developed by Chris Liversidge on how to match keyphrase data from Webmaster Tools to their landing page URLs and how to workaround Google’s (not provided) keywords for better SEO performance reporting.

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May, 14th, 2014

41 key insights on paid and organic search

FIRST Process Diagram on Paid and Organic Search
Here is our list of key insights on paid and organic search.

  1. An average of 12.8% of mobile searches result in a conversion, 5.3% call a business. Sounds like there is still a lot of scope to increase usage of the AdWords click-to-call ad template. (Source:
  2. As a retailer, should you be running AdWords even if your website is not mobile optimised..? – Consider this sobering stat: “82% of (in-store) smartphone shoppers use mobile search to help make purchase decisions” (Source:
  3. We’d say this is bigger news than people realise. Google CPC Email will extend person-specific search re-targeting on a massive scale. (Source:
  4. EA Battlefield (3?) gaming case study: “After cutting television’s share from 80% to half and boosting spending on video and paid search, sales of the new version jumped by 23%.” (Source:
  5. The AdWords auction insights report now runs across groups of Keywords, Ad Groups or Campaigns, revealing “how often your competitors’ ads are appearing above yours, or whether one of your competitors has a higher impression share than you.” (Source:
  6. Improve paid search performance with Facebook ads: Kenshoo study shows a 30% lift in ROAS and a 4.5% drop in CPA for paid search audience segment also exposed to Facebook ads. (Source:
  7. Yep, successful PPC requires a focus on specificity and granularity, as well as regular text ad changes. (Source:
  8. Fairfax SEM case study from the FIRST NZ team. (Source:
  9. Great. This will push up CTRs nicely. (Source:
  10. Check your Quality Score KW level reporting for better context on how to improve QS. Note: Ads not affected, reporting change only. (Source:
  11. Google Product Listing Ads accounted for over 14.7% of total paid search spend in Dec 12 (Adobe, US). (Source:
  12. AdWords Remarketing Best Practice #5: Create Custom Combinations. For example, incentivise a return visit for those consumers who added a product to their basket, but did not complete the checkout process. (Source:
  13. AdWords dynamic remarketing is an absolute must for eCommerce sites: Retarget prospects who have viewed a specific product, with a display ad for that exact same product, across the entire product catalogue – dynamically (display ad builder). (Source:
  14. 2012 avgerage CTR for smartphones 107 percent higher than desktops… – This will be quite different for 2013 given the recent mobile-on-by-default change for AdWords. (Source:
  15. The new AdWords mobile bid multiplier can be turned up X percent of your desktop bid for high-value keywords in the right location at the right time (mobile). (Source:
  16. The study doesn’t really address SEM performance, but interesting to see clear links to how weather may affect performance. A bit more background on the data sources would have been useful. (Source:
  17. eCommerce post-transaction retargeting of existing customers is now possible for Google search ads also, no longer just GDN. (Source:
  18. Marin Q4 report puts Australia at the top for highest percentage of clicks from mobile devices: 26% from smartphones and tablets (combined). (Source:
  19. The new AdWords Keyword Planner appears to make setup even easier, but don’t forget about AdWords Editor – useful for fast copy-paste account structuring. (Source:
  20. Google’s structured data mark-up tool has been given new powers: This rich snippet data highlighter can now handle articles, events, local businesses, movies, products, software applications and TV episodes. (Source:
  21. Good intro to SEO for business owners. (Source:
  22. Hotels, check your Google+ Local Page! (Source:
  23. With respect to organic search keyword [not provided] we’d have to agree with this statement: “If it really meant the explanation given about privacy, they [Google] not only wouldn’t be giving up paid keyword data, but also could have found a sensible middle ground of what to share instead of removing it all.” (Source:
  24. GA organic search keyword (not provided) to approach 100% by end of year (Conductor, US). (Source:
  25. BeyondD’s Group GM Jon Ostler interviewed by ABC’s Four Corners. (Source:
  26. Organic position #1 drives 33% of total clicks of top 15. Sites listed on the first Google search results page generate 92% of all traffic from an average search (Chitika, US/CA data). (Source:
  27. Read this slowly: “According to a survey of over 72 Million customers shopping on 86 retail sites, Email is the number 3 source of customer acquisition.” (Custora, June 13). (Source:
  28. The FTC has sent another batch of letters to search engines re-emphasising the continued need for “visual cues, labels, or other techniques to effectively distinguish advertisements, in order to avoid misleading consumers”. We’d say that’s a good thing. (Source:
  29. Customer acquisition via email has quadrupled over the last 4 years: An increasing number of eCommerce retailers are using lead-gen tactics to acquire email addresses, and then converting these into paying customers (Custora). (Source:
  30. Non-paid search continues to be the primary way people find websites (Forrester, US/CA, n=30,000+). (Source:
  31. Google Now has been released on iOS. (Source:
  32. Good outline of how to maximise exposure for YouTube videos. In addition, consider Promoted Videos via AdWords. TrueView will ensure only actual views are payable; optimise for max views at min CPV. (Source:
  33. Search is substantially better at driving eCommerce traffic than any other digital channel, especially social. (Source:
  34. Ignoring Google+ is not an option: “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification” – Schmidt. (Source:
  35. You might have heard of Caffeine, Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird. But do you remember Jagger, Big Daddy and Vince? (Source:
  36. Tip #5 for scaling content marketing: Focus on discovery by establishing your brand as an authority on community sites. (Source:
  37. For this to yield any meaningful results you will need to be seriously disciplined and also work with a large enough team to execute control tactics vs test group simultaneously. Not for the faint-hearted… (Source:
  38. Social signals correlation with higher search rankings continues to increase. (Source:
  39. If you want to know what “SEO” looks like these days, this is a good summary. (Source:
  40. Some serious link baiting going on here. (Source:
  41. Google rejects over 30% of information requests the Australian government makes. (Source:

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Mar, 18th, 2014

FIRST signs Fuji Xerox Australia, improves search results

Fuji Xerox Australia logo

FIRST has been appointed as the lead digital marketing agency for Fuji Xerox Australia. FIRST impressed the document technology and services company with its SEO and PPC methodology coupled with its online creative and development capabilities, which complemented and fully aligned with Fuji Xerox Australia’s digital strategy.

FIRST will be responsible for increasing Fuji Xerox Australia’s search visibility and performance through its detailed Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) methodologies.  In addition, FIRST will help plan and develop Fuji Xerox Australia’s content strategies as well as its online creative assets for new product launches targeting business to business (B2B) consumers.

Already, FIRST has completed the redesign and development of Fuji Xerox Australia’s “Do things differently” responsive microsite ( The recently launched online portal allows Fuji Xerox Australia to reach its B2B customers and detail the business benefits that can be gained by its new solution, the Smart Work Enabler.

FIRST has also begun to improve Fuji Xerox Australia’s search results by applying its proven search and optimisation strategies.

Discussing the decision to engage FIRST, Fuji Xerox Australia’s, manager – digital marketing, Jethro Grainger-Marsh said: “Fuji Xerox Australia chose to collaborate with FIRST because of their professional approach and reputation for providing solid results and ROI. We’ve already seen some search and development results and we look forward to a strong return on investment through increased awareness and market engagement of our new solution.”

Commenting on working with Fuji Xerox Australia, FIRST’s general manager, James Ward said: “We are really excited to work with a leading brand and this illustrates the confidence that Fuji Xerox Australia has in FIRST‘s proven digital marketing methodology.  Our aim is to assist in driving sales through improved search strategies: SEO, PPC and conversion rate optimisation, combined with online creative and web design as well as a solid content strategy.

In these early stages of the project, we have already noticed positive improvements in the current digital campaign and we believe this is a testament to our expertise in search engine optimisation and web development.”

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Feb, 11th, 2014

Online Homewares Sites (Search Engine Rank Report)

To find out more, download the full report (PDF) via our download form.

Which homeware and furniture businesses are maximising their market share online? Find out which stores are taking the lead in search engine page results and how they’re doing it.

FIRST looked into the search engine results for homewares online for its Ranking Based Reach performance analysis report.

In this report we discovered:

  • The homewares and furniture market is highly competitive, with players failing to have some of the basic keywords on their sites
  • Along with flowers, hardware, plants, build materials, office equipment, stationery, automotive parts, aviations parts, and art (‘other products’), home wares and furniture make up 27% of online purchases in Australia*
  •, and are currently the most visible sites in the digital homewares and furniture landscape, achieving a dominant share of voice thanks to strong positions in organic and paid results.
  • There is significant opportunity for sites to improve their RBR – their search engine reach – for important keywords in both organic and paid search.

* ACMA Communications report 2010–11 series: Report 1—e-commerce marketplace in Australia: Online shopping

FIRST uses its bespoke metric called RBR (Ranking Based Reach) to estimate how well each company is ranking in the search engines. Rankings Based Reach (RBR) provides a simple way to compare a website’s search engine rankings with its competitors. RBR is an estimate of the percentage of available search traffic a website will receive for a set of phrases – this gives the sites share of search or reach. It is weighted based on the popularity of each search phrase and the relative click through rate (CTR) of each ranking position.

To find out more, download the full report (PDF) via our download form.

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