Google Passes on 2% Tax to its UK Advertisers

From November, businesses advertising on Google Ads (formerly AdWords) will be charged an additional 2% of their click costs.

For advertisers running ads in Austria and Turkey, they will now see a 5% charge from 1st November. The additional fees will be added to advertisers’ invoices as ‘transactions’. 

google announce 2% tax charge to advertisers in the UK
The announcement was made via an email on 1st September

The change comes from the announcement earlier this year, that the government will be charging digital service companies 2% tax. 

A full rundown of Google’s service fee changes can be found here: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/9750227

So far, other PPC platforms do not appear to be doing the same. Facebook and Bing (Microsoft Ads) have not announced anything about passing on these charges. We have also been made aware that Amazon decided to pass on the 2% charge to its sellers. eBay has not followed suit.

We understand that this comes as a bit of a blow to businesses who use Google Ads, particularly after what some have seen as an especially turbulent year. If you require any further information or if you would like help with adjusting budgets, get in touch with us today: info@alixdigital.com

Negative keywords for Covid-19

With all Google Ads and Microsoft Ads (Bing Ads) accounts, it’s not just important to identify the keywords you do want to show up for. It is also essential to identify the keywords you don’t want to show up for. These keywords are called negative keywords.

Usually, this is a list you create at the start of running a campaign by researching what people are searching for and working with your client to identify terms that hint towards something they do not sell or provide. The chances are, this list will also grow over time. By looking at your search query reports (what people are searching for when your ads show up), you’ll likely find a whole bunch of terms to add as negative keywords that you possibly didn’t think of at first.

A change in browsing habits

It goes without saying, with the current pandemic, there has been a major shift in the way people are using search engines. Changes are different across a variety of industries and include; people spending more time searching and performing research before committing to a product or service, higher conversion rates for ecommerce sites, lower click costs and many more. 

We also cannot get away from how many people are sourcing information about Covid-19. Ever since the coronavirus was recognised, the number of searches for terms around Covid and pandemic-related terms has dramatically increased.

covid search trends

Google trends: looking at a small selection of Covid-19 terms over 6 months.

Example Coronavirus negative keywords

To help save time having to research over and over again and to help save you from wasting any money in your account on Covid-based terms, below is a list of keywords that you may want to consider adding to your account(s). 

Please be cautious to read through them first before implementing them. If they are indeed relevant to the business, you could be missing out on a wonderful opportunity to drive lots of traffic to your site.

Staying at home terms

“should i stay at home”
“should i stay home”
“staying home”
lockdown
“what is lockdown”
“how long will lockdown last”

Job/work terms

furlough
“jobs during furlough”
“covid jobs”
“can i work during furlough”
“what is furlough”

Head terms

covid
[covid 19]
coronavirus
“corona virus”

Financial terms

loans
grants
“government grants”
“how to get grant”
“how to get loan”
“am i eligible”

General advice

“how to wash hands”
“covid advice”
“coronavirus advce’

Gratitude for key workers

“say thanks”
gifts
presents
“clap for”

Medical terms

“virus test”
“corona test”
“covid test”

Wider terms

pandemic
virus
epidemic

Implementation

Remember that the easiest way to implement these terms is to place them into your shared library and attribute the list to all of your campaigns which require these terms to be excluded.

Whilst there’s no harm in implementing these at campaign level, you may find it takes a lot longer to do it this way and can get a little confusing to manage over time.

What about when it’s all over?

You may be wondering if it’s worth leaving these terms in the account or keeping them running. Whilst we cannot guarantee what searching habits will look like over the months to come, it’s a safe bet that people will still look up terms around Covid-19. For example, we’ll have people using historical information about the case such as journalists and in a number of years we could be telling future generations about this major event in history.

Long answer cut short, leave them in. Unless they are conflicting with the keywords and types of searches you want to show up for, there’s no harm in leaving them in.

Your thoughts

There are likely hundreds of unwarranted search terms cropping up and the lists above won’t have covered them all. Have you found any negative keywords worth sharing? Please comment below and share your thoughts.

Related links

A basic guide to PPC keywords
Ways to save money on Google Ads

Should you be doing SEO for misspelled keywords?

Keywords are at the heart of an SEO (search engine optimisation) project. It can often take a lot of time and effort to rank for the keywords that drive traffic to a website which is why an SEO will often pick a handful of keywords they want to focus on. However, should you be optimising towards misspelled keywords? Read on and we will explore if you should and how you can rank for keywords.

Alix Digital vs. Alex Digital

Here at Alix Digital, we are aware that autocorrects and human error are both understandable causes of misspellings. In our own experience, we noticed that a small handful of people were searching for ‘Alex Digital’ instead of ‘Alix Digital’ and then struggling to find us. This has on a couple of occasions led to an office debate as to whether or not we invest time into ranking for the term “Alex Digital”. Most debates result in agreement that we don’t need to worry about the misspellings and here’s why:

Keyword research

First and foremost, it comes down to the keyword research. To warrant investing time into optimising for certain keywords, you need to know if it’s worth it. Are there enough searches? Low search volumes for certain keywords often render the keyword useless. Ask yourself; do I want to invest time into showing up for x number of searches.

If we take our example, we used Moz (one of many favourite SEO tools) to see how many searches we were missing out on for ‘Alex Digital’. We noticed pretty quickly that the number of searches was so minimal that Moz was unable to report on traffic volumes:

Alex Digital Swansea Digital Marketing

What? Nothing at all? 

Well, almost nothing. We know that on occasion someone will look for us as they already know who we are. But that’s just it, branded keywords are only useful if someone knows the brand and are actively searching for it. 

We can also see there are some similar keywords with no more than 0-10 searches per month:

alex digital seo

None of which are relevant.

Quantity of SEO work

SEO can be very hard work to get right. There is no magic wand for improving website visibility and working on SEO elements can be pretty time consuming. This would beg the question; should you be spending hours of valuable time on a misspelling? Or would your time be better spent working on ranking for keywords that are more likely to deliver great results?

Ultimately, it’s up to you how you spend your project time but spending time on keywords that will deliver better/more traffic seems to be more recommendable.

Website quality

Your website should read like it has been written for a human, not like it has been jammed full of keywords to appease a search engine’s algorithm. Throwing in too many keywords can be considered by search engines as ‘keyword stuffing’, which can have a negative impact on your organic rankings. It’s also not very nice to read and can be off-putting for your users.

It’s also worth being cautious to avoid muddying the waters when it comes to the terms you are using. If it is a brand term, you need to be extra careful to avoid confusing your users. For other terms, you also need to question if you want to intentionally include spelling mistakes – this runs a huge risk of appearing unprofessional.

Lastly, with the above considered, you may still be looking at sneaking the misspellings into your site and marketing. Remember how much work is involved in ranking for keywords and remind yourself how much more difficult you’re making it for yourself to rank for these terms in a way that is not obvious to the everyday user.

A good reason to optimise towards misspellings

Whilst we may not like them, there are a couple occasions when incorporating misspellings into your SEO strategy may not be an entirely mad idea:

  1. When the term is commonly spelt incorrectly: For example, up until they changed their name, Noddle (credit score tracking company) may have ended up with a surprisingly high number of people looking for ‘noodle credit’.
  2. When there is a high volume of traffic and low competition: Misspelled words are not as likely to be high on competitors’ radars and it could be a step towards easy traffic. Just remember to exercise caution and do your research as some of these terms can still be pretty competitive.

How to rank for keyword misspellings

Okay, we hear you: You’ve done your research and you know you want to show up for misspellings but you want to know how to. As mentioned above, misspelt keywords in obvious places can look unprofessional and you need to find a smart way to do it. Read on for some of our top tips:

Blog posting

Confession time, as you may recall at the start of this blog, we decided that working on ranking for ‘Alex Digital’ wasn’t worth it… and what are you reading now? A blog post that has sporadically used a misspelling as a focus keyword. Sorry about that, but our conundrum worked as a great case study.

So, a blog post that actively uses the misspelling (just as we have done in this post) may be a way to help improve your organic ranking for this term.

Alt text

A great way to squeeze some additional keywords is by using alt text in a website’s image. This has been historically helpful for search engines as they cannot read an image but they can read alt text which should aim to tell search engine what the image is.

Alt text is not often looked at by a user (human) so it can be a great place to sneakily slide your misspelling in. For example, the image below uses alt text harbouring our contrivertable misspelled keyword:

Alex Digital vs Alix Digital | Misspellings in Alt Text

User generated content

If your site has a section which allows user generated content (such as a forum, comments section, question area, etc.) it can generate a number of misspellings appearing on the website without it being “officially” written by the brand.

Anchor text

This one is a bit more tricky for a number of reasons which we’ll come to. This involves working on a backlink strategy (caution: quality, not quantity!) and using the misspellings as your anchor text. This becomes a little more difficult for a couple of reasons:

  1. Gaining quality backlinks from relevant sources is hard work and can take a long time.
  2. Other people (especially reputable sites) may not be keen on having backlinks on their site either.

PPC

If you really want to rank for misspelled terms without damaging your brand and without having to input days worth of time on a regular basis, you may find paying to show up for misspellings is your best option. PPC services such as Google Ads and Microsoft Ads (Bing Ads) allow you to pay to show up for the keywords you choose – including misspellings. Often, misspellings are recognised by Google and they show relevant ads for similar words (which can also save heaps of time second-guessing how people are incorrectly spelling words). Trust me, a search query report, which tells you the searches people made to trigger your ad, can be exceptionally insightful and some of the misspellings are astonishing.

Alex Alix

Alix Digital Helping Charities Get The Free $10k A Month Google Ads Grant

Alix Digital Google Ads Training

Google Ads offer charities and non-profit organisations a $10,000 per month grant to spend on their advertising, no strings attached. No really, they do. We spoke to hundreds of charities and non-profit organisations who weren’t even aware of this grant, let alone utilising the grant to increase their donations.  

Alix Digital decided to shout about the free grant and spend an afternoon informing, guiding and helping charities set up their Google Ads account through a free event held at Stradey Park on 21st October. The outcome for us? We get to see more charities and non-profit organisations create more marketing campaigns for free and increase their donations. 

How You Can Benefit From Google Ads Grant

If you are a charity or non-profit organisation you are probably used to finding new ways to raise awareness and promote your scheme whilst sticking to a tight budget. What if you could set up a Google Ads (AdWords) account where you receive up to $10,000 in Google Ad spend for free, allowing yourself to shout about your cause, reach your audience and get those donations that really make a difference to what you value most. 

Alix sat down with the charities and non-profit organisations who attended our event and went through the process individually. We understand that some people aren’t tech-savvy, ensuring that all of the charities in attendance could get set up and running on the day was as important to us as telling them about the grant itself. 

One To One Google Ads Training
PPC Training South Wales
SEO and PPC Help

So why did Alix Digital get involved in this Google Ads Grant?

96% of European charities say that they are not utilising digital marketing to its full potential. This raised alarm bells for us at Alix Digital so we took the time to show charities how to apply for the Google Grant. We knew that even if charities are aware of this grant, those who aren’t experienced with running Google Ads won’t know how to use the $10,000! This is why we spent time showing charities how to use the grant effectively and to get the most out of your Google Ads account. 

We hope that providing important marketing tips to charities and non-profit organisations, we can support them to become more aware of this grant, with the aim of getting more tech-savvy. 91% of charities are now using social media to help reach their goals, but using social media effectively isn’t as straight-forward as it may seem. Alix Digital aim to help guide charities with their social media strategies and budgeting, to get the best out of their marketing budget and reach their audience cost-effectively. 

Who We Helped From Our Event

Our marketing assistant, Gemma, spent weeks getting in touch with local charities and non-profit organisations to help spread awareness of our event so more charities can benefit from the $10,000 Google Ads Grant. 

PPC Training Event Wales

Thanks to Gemma’s planning and efforts, 5 brilliant charities attended our event, along with Councillor Tegwen Devichand and Councillor Jason Peter Hart, who are valued members of Llanelli Rural Council.

The first charity who arrived was Menter Iaith Castell-Nedd Port Talbot who focuses on working with children, families, young people and the wider community to encourage the use of Welsh. Menter Iaith focuses on providing Welsh language classes to people and with the free Google Ads Grant, Menter Iaith can reach a wider audience and help more people learn Welsh through a supportive network.

Google Ads Charity Grant

Only 40% of charities were using paid search engine optimisation marketing in 2018 and only 17% said it added value to their mission. This highlights how even if you apply for the Google Ads grant, without the guidance and support of digital marketing experts the $10,000 could be wasted in achieving your objectives. Thus Alix Digital providing tutorials and one-on-one help on how to fully use the $10,000 and not waste the opportunity Google has given. 

We created this event so more people can be aware of the opportunity given by Google, Cloud Genius attended our event so they can use our knowledge to give to their charity clients, showing how impactful this event was in reaching a wider audience and letting people know about this Google Ads Grant. 

Google Non Profit Charity Grant

Each charity that attended was able to network with other charities and promote their cause, Wales Air Ambulance was one among those. The charity needs to raise £6.5million every year in order to keep flying, by being taught how to utilise the Google Grant, Wales Air Ambulance are able to reach that goal quicker and potentially save more lives. 

City Counselling Services provides counselling in Swansea to help support well-being and mental health, providing a safe place to share issues. Their professional and experienced therapists are there to help anyone around Swansea, Neath, Llanelli and Port Talbot through training courses and workshops, such as their ‘Self Hypnosis for Confidence’ workshop. 

The final charity who attended our event was the Amazing Grace Spaces. This important support network, for homeless and those in need, focuses its efforts in providing a safe place for vulnerable people to recover. Residents receive accommodation on license, bedding and a key worker providing that extra support needed. Google Ads Grant can help provide Amazing Grace Spaces with the funding required to meet their aim to ‘provide 10 sustainable low-cost move on accommodation unites for people in crisis by 2020’ which is providing an environmentally-friendly solution to housing, whilst helping support those in need to get their lives back on track. 

What Alix Digital Covered

Alix Digital’s aim from this charity event firstly raised awareness of the Google Ads grant and secondly offered the charities guidance on the process. This included:

  • How to apply for a Google Ads Grant
  • How to run campaigns on Google Ads
  • How to make the most out of the budget
  • How to make sure your ads stay compliant

We are the experts in digital marketing, it is of great importance for us that everyone gets the most out of the marketing opportunities that digital marketing and Google Ads provides to charities and non-profit organisations. Using our expertise and knowledge, we aim to further this support to charities by keeping in touch with those who attended and providing further information to any questions they have in the future. 

The team at Alix Digital aim to ensure charities and non-profit organisations get the most out of the Google Ads grant, whilst providing further support down the line. 

If you are a charity or non-profit organisation and couldn’t attend our event, please feel free to message us with any questions and we would be happy to help guide you. 

Thank You

Alix Digital gives our gratitude to Stradey Park Hotel for hosting our charity event and would like to thank all the charities who attended. Together we will get the most out of your marketing budgets, access the free $10,000 per month Google Ads Grant and promote your good cause. 

PPC News: Say Goodbye to Accelerated Delivery

google ads accelerated delivery

Google have announced they will be removing accelerated delivery for daily spend.

The news broke recently as Google reported preference to using standard delivery. This change is due to come in on 17th September. But what exactly does this mean for business’ ad spend?

Well, to start to answer this question we need to explore the difference between the two bidding strategies…

The difference between standard and accelerated delivery

Accelerated delivery: Google works to spend your daily budget as quickly as possible.

Standard delivery: Google works to spend your budget evenly throughout the day. 

Many people ask, “What’s the point in accelerated delivery? Why would I want to do that?” – it’s a good question as the prospect of Google working to spend your budget quickly immediately conjures thoughts of budgets depleting. Budget depletion can and does often happen when using the accelerated delivery. However, if you are not spending the allocated daily budget, it could be the solution.

The standard delivery is based on Google’s prediction of search volumes, click costs and how this fits in with your budget. However, with Accelerated delivery, there is a stronger chance of spending the entire allocated budget.

Where do you find this option?

Assuming you are running a campaign with all features enabled and it’s not 17th September 2019 yet, you can find this in settings under the budget section. There is a dropdown menu called ‘delivery method’. 

How often do you use accelerated ad spend option?

Honestly, not a lot. Using the standard delivery method avoids budget depletion, provides a predictable flow of clicks throughout the day and can work to keep click costs down. With clients with large budgets it can be beneficial to show up more often and reach more people but for many business owners the option of saving money can be sweeter than having as much traffic as possible.

We will miss having the option, but it’s not one that has been used a lot from our side. Want to find out more about how this change will affect your results? We’re here to help, contact us today.