The History of Ideal Positions

Beginnings

The origins of Ideal Positions can be found in the humble setting of a small studio apartment and the ambitious vision of founder and entrepreneur Kelsy Anderson. In the beginning, Kelsy and a small handful of employees sold online advertising exclusively to real estate agencies and realtors on what was then the largest search engine on the internet, Yahoo!. What happened from there eventually flourished and grew into the bustling, successful company that Ideal Positions is today, boasting over 40 dedicated employees, multiple departments collaborating in their expertise, and countless clients who have seen their own businesses flourish and grow alongside our truly unique company. What follows are some of the sea changes that led to where Ideal Positions is today and where we are still going. You will find that Ideal Positions is a company that has adapted to the changes of our industry, stayed ahead of the curve, and yet never sacrificed the integrity and personal touches that make our company special.

Any business that has been involved in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) as long as Ideal Positions remembers the days when Yahoo! was king. Ideal Positions began by advertising exclusively on the Yahoo! and MSN search engines using the Overture Pay Per Click (PPC) platform. In these early days, Ideal Positions’ focus was solely on marketing for real estate professionals. As the success of the company grew and our top-notch marketing was proven with scores of realtors, it was time for Ideal Positions to expand its services beyond the real estate market. Over the years, Ideal Positions has brought expert marketing and campaign management to a wide variety of different industries, including attorneys, photographers, plastic surgeons, locksmiths, bail bondsmen, carpet cleaners, electricians, contractors, counselors, therapists, dentists, plumbers, wedding planners, and countless other industries too numerous to mention. Ideal Positions continues to expand into new verticals, building experience and expertise with a vast diversity of businesses.

As the Internet evolved, so did Ideal Positions. It wasn’t long before Ideal Positions realized that the Yahoo! and MSN search networks were no longer reaching enough users to deliver the volume of traffic our advertisers needed. At the time, Google AdWords was emerging as the dominant platform for Search Engine Marketing, and Google eventually overtook Yahoo! as the most popular search engine in the United States. Ideal Positions took note, incorporating Google AdWords into its existing Search Engine Marketing services, expanding to encompass the two largest search engines on the Internet and bringing our clients incomparable web presence in the process.

With the adoption of Google AdWords, Ideal Positions dedicated itself to the mastery of the Google AdWords Pay Per Click marketing platform. Concurrent with our ever growing proficiency in Pay Per Click account management, our rapport with Google grew and Ideal Positions became a Google AdWords Qualified Company.

In 2009, Microsoft launched the successor to MSN and Live Search: the bing search engine. Ever on the bleeding edge, Ideal Positions immediately adopted the new Microsoft adCenter Pay Per Click platform (currently known as bing Ads) and began offering Pay Per Click marketing on the bing search engine network. A client of Ideal Positions could now be found on the most popular search engines in the world: Google, Yahoo!, bing, and their innumerable search partners!

From the beginning, Ideal Positions focused on Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing over Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for many reasons, among them speed, potential Return On Investment (ROI) for our advertisers, and reliability. However, as the Internet and the search engines continued to evolve, a third major element of online marketing came into play: Local SEO. In early 2010, Ideal Positions took note and began to offer a new service, branded as Local Listings Optimization (LLO). LLO focused on optimizing and managing a businesses’ presence and reputation across many search directories and Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), providing a new way for our clients to be found by the users searching for their services. The local ecosystem has gone through dramatic changes over the years, and Ideal Positions has adapted and evolved LLO every step of the way to keep the service robust, flexible, and effective.

One of the biggest developments in the history of Ideal Positions was the introduction of the Web Development Department in the first quarter of 2010. Our talented web developers have used their expertise to build better websites for many of our clients, not to mention Ideal Positions’ websites as well. Perhaps the best testament to Ideal Positions’ web developers is the site you are currently on. As you can see from the screenshots of our past websites, the skills of our Web Development Department have consistently elevated Ideal Positions and our clients’ online presence to the next level, keeping up with the cutting edge of web design on the Internet.

In February of 2011, Ideal Positions began offering a level of transparency still unheard of in Internet marketing to this day. Utilizing Google AdWords’ user invitation system, Ideal Positions granted clients access to their Google AdWords accounts, giving advertisers the ability to see exactly how their campaigns were being managed, how many clicks they were receiving, and much more. Providing this level of access extended far beyond the norm for SEM agencies, most of whom still provide reporting only in the form of third-party tools whose data cannot be easily checked against Google AdWords’ own reporting.

In July of 2013, Ideal Positions made a significant change to our service, advertising all clients on Desktop Computers, Mobile Devices and Tablets. Whereas the mobile network had been offered in the past, Ideal Positions now incorporated all of the networks into a single package, anticipating Google’s introduction of Enhanced Campaigns, which integrated all devices into the same campaign. By staying ahead of the curve, Ideal Positions’ clients were advertising on mobile devices and tablets ahead of their competitors and got the edge on Google’s Enhanced Campaigns before they were rolled out to the general populace.

Ideal Positions has always placed the client’s needs first, customizing each advertising campaign to the specific needs and nature of each business. Years of experience in Search Engine Marketing have proven that the more time we have to fine tune a campaign, the better the results. The bright, Google AdWords Qualified Individuals that work with Ideal Positions’ SEM Team are dedicated to developing these long term campaigns to optimize for the lowest cost per click and cost per conversion for our clients.

Every step we have taken along the way has been in the best interest of our clients and together we have grown. As our industry continues to change with every passing year, Ideal Positions will continue to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of the people and businesses we serve. The future looks brighter than ever!

Web Analytics: Why You Need It & What Ideal Positions Can Offer, Part 2

This post is Part 2 of a three-part series.  To get caught-up, see Part 1 here.

Part Two: Google Analytics

At this time, the gold-standard for web analytics software is Google Analytics, and this is the only web analytics software officially recommended by Ideal Positions.  Google Analytics has a wide-range of benefits over other solutions.  For example:

*It’s FREE.  Yes, really.  Google does not charge for the use of the standard Google Analytics software, even though it is worth paying for!

*It’s easy to install.  Most web developers can have Google Analytics’ requisite code installed properly on every page of the average business’ website in under an hour.

*It has fantastic user access privilege settings.  In other words, Google Analytics has features that allow you to grant access to third parties such as Ideal Positions using those third parties’ own Google login credentials.  You don’t have to give your username and password to anyone just to let them review your web analytics reporting.

*Its use is incredibly widespread.  In fact, Google Analytics is used by 66.2% of the world’s top 10,000 websites (ranked by popularity), and is known to be in use on more than 25 million sites in total. (1) This means you wont have a hard time finding professionals such as Ideal Positions’ staff that can help you utilize Google Analytics to its fullest potential.

 

If you would like assistance in getting Google Analytics for your own website, please contact Ideal Positions, and our staff would be happy to assist you.

 

Tracking Key Performance Indicators Using Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a web-based application that you can access anywhere you have access to a modern Internet browser and a good Internet connection.  All you need is a username and password for the reporting profile that is installed on your website, and you can log-in to view all of the KPIs discussed in Part 1 of this series, as well as a vast wealth of additional metrics that may or may not be of value to you, depending on your business model and overall marketing goals.  To log-in to Google Analytics, simply navigate to www.Google.com/Analytics

Once logged-in, you will have the ability to select the reporting profile for the website you would like to view.  Some accounts will have access to more than one profile.  For example, a business owner with more than one website will have a separate profile for each site.  If you are unsure of which profile belongs to the site you wish to analyze, look for a unique identifier next to the profile names that looks like this: UA-#######-# where the hashtags are replaced with numbers.  All Google Analytics profiles have a unique identifier associated with them that starts with UA-. You can compare this identifier to the source code on your website.  Viewing source code for a website varies by browser, but once you are looking at the code, search for “Analytics” and you should see a javascript snippet that contains the unique identifier.

If you need assistance identifying which Google Analytics profile you should be viewing, Ideal Positions’ staff would be happy to assist you.  Additionally, I would like to take this opportunity to offer a free consultation with Ideal Positions’ staff to assess the metrics recorded in your Google Analytics reporting.  Our staff has decades of combined experience in analyzing web analytics reporting, and we’re here to help!

A Note About Accuracy in Google Analytics Reporting: For a variety of reasons, the data reported in Google Analytics (and other web analytics software) can be off by up to 10% or more.  Typically the error is in under-reporting the numbers, rather than over-reporting.  For example, if Google Analytics shows that you got 100 visits in June, you may have actually gotten closer to 110.  This can happen for a variety of reasons, the most common being that some web surfers use software that keeps them from being tracked by Google Analytics.  Additionally, many modern Internet browsers have settings that ask Google Analytics to not track users, and Google does honor these settings’ requests.  It’s also possible for Google Analytics to be showing you sampled data rather than the entire report, but that typically only happens for reporting profiles that have a volume of visits in excess of 500k/month, which is unusual for most small to medium-sized businesses.

 

Reporting: Google Analytics vs. Google AdWords

Since early 2012, Ideal Positions has offered its clients Read-Only Access to Google AdWords accounts that we manage for their business in an effort to provide a level of transparency that is unrivaled in the Search Engine Marketing industry.  This access level allows you to log-in to the Google AdWords account that Ideal Positions uses to keep your website on the first page of Google and view many of the metrics that are reported within.  In fact, many of you reading this article will have already accepted this Read-Only Access, and already familiarized yourself with the Google AdWords reporting interface.

Whether or not you’ve had a chance to log-in to view the reporting offered by Google AdWords, it’s important to understand why Google Analytics can provide additional insights that the Google AdWords reporting cannot.  In fact, Google Analytics provides much more valuable marketing performance data to most businesses than Google AdWords can.  This is due to the limitations that Google AdWords has in the data it can track.  Google AdWords can track how often your ads display, how many clicks those ads have received, etc.  Google Analytics can track how many clicks your ads have received, but can also track what happened after each click, such as which pages the web surfer navigated to, how long they were on those pages, etc.  Google Analytics also tracks every source of traffic to your site that it can, while Google AdWords only tracks its own traffic.  As you can imagine, having the additional data on other traffic sources for your website can be invaluable in comparing the quality of traffic from each source.  Remember, not all clicks are created equal.

In a nutshell: Google AdWords tracks activity leading up to the click on your ad(s), and Google Analytics tracks activity from the click on your ad(s) to the moment the web surfer leaves your site.

This post is Part 2 of a three-part series.  “Like” Ideal Positions on Facebook to get updates on Part 3 as they become available!

1. Google Analytics Usage Statistics, BuiltWith – August 2013

Google AdWords’ Ad Preview Tool: The Skinny

Have you ever wished there was a way to see a “clean” set of Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), unaffected by your past browsing history, personal settings, and location? Believe it or not, there’s a tool for that!

Google AdWords’ Ad Preview Tool provides a near-identical search page to Google.com, with some minor formatting changes that make it more clear you’re not using the real Google.com search page (the tool adds a watermark, for example). It was created by Google to allow users the ability to search and view their ads without creating false impressions.

For every time that an ad is displayed in the SERPs, one impression is generated and recorded in the reporting for the AdWords account that is serving that ad. A valuable indicator of performance in an AdWords account is known as Clickthrough Rate (CTR). Clickthrough Rate is calculated by dividing the total number of clicks received by the total number of impressions. Each time an advertiser uses Google.com to check the position of their ads, they generate a “false” impression which can skew the Clickthrough Rate data.

Many advertisers assume that they can simply disregard the extra impressions they know themselves to be responsible for when evaluating their AdWords reporting. However, many advertisers don’t know that CTR data is also used by Google to evaluate the performance of ads. False impressions can cause the AdWords reporting to reflect poor Clickthrough Rates, and poor Clickthrough Rates can actually increase costs in the AdWords account, meaning the advertiser gets less clicks for their allotted budget!

If you’re advertising with Google AdWords, it is essential to the success of your ad campaigns that you avoid generating false impressions or worse, unwanted clicks. By using Google AdWords’ Ad Preview Tool, you will be able to view your ads without generating false impressions or unwanted clicks. Ideal Positions strongly recommends that you use this tool each and every time you search for your ads.

Using the Google AdWords Ad Preview Tool will give you three distinct advantages:

  1. You’ll be able to check your ads’ positions without having to worry about generating false impressions.
  2. Once you’re viewing your ads’ positions, you wont be able to click on the ad and rack-up unwanted costs in the AdWords account.
  3. You will be able to see a “clean” set of Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) that have not been customized to your browsing history, location settings, and more.

How to use Google’s Ad Preview Tool:

  1. Navigate to the tool, which can be found here. (You may be asked to log-in to an existing Google account, such as gmail, Google+, etc)
  2. Enter your search query into to the text box next to the blue “Preview” button.
  3. Directly beneath the text box you should see which location the tool is set to simulate. If applicable, hit “Edit” and change the targeted location.
  4. Beneath the location options you will see device targeting options. Edit your device type (if needed) to select desktop, mobile, or tablet devices.
  5. Click the “Preview” button and a “clean” set of Search Engine Results Pages will display.