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Google Adwords strategy
Thread poster: Ron Stelter
Ron Stelter  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:35
Member (2003)
German to English
Oct 28, 2016

I've been trying Google Adwords for quite a few months now and have basically read everything on the theme I have been able to get my hands on. The results seem to be getting better, but still aren't great. While I know there are at least several Google Adwords' discussions here in the Proz forums, they seem to be rather general discussions about whether it's worth it in general to use it or not. I was wondering if people might share some of their strategies if they have gotten good results. For example, do you use very specific keywords? Very general keywords? Exact match? Phrase match? etc. I know sometimes I will use phrases like

+German +English +translation (in modified broad match)

and get massive numbers of clicks/impressions, but no inquiries whatsoever. (Presumably because those visitors are most likely looking for the translation of individual words and aren't interested in paid translation services.) However, the click-through rates are quite good-which seems to be quite confusing. I have tried to use negative keywords to keep the "wrong people" from clicking on my ads, but it still doesn't result in conversions. Words like "translation agency" seem to work better as the searcher is already showing a definite interest in paid translation services although the competition is very high and the prices can quickly become astronomical. For example, if you have to pay 20 dollars per click for a highly-sought-after keyword like "translation agency" and it takes five clicks to get one job, you have to get a 100-dollar job just to break even. Sometimes, they also convert very, very poorly-presumably because they are way too general. Sometimes, I have found I can save a lot of money by using modified broad matches, but the number of clicks is very, very low-a real "drop in the bucket". Moreover, Google will also refuse to show your ads for the keywords or only very intermittently if you get some type of "low search volume" message.

Thanks for any strategy tips you want willing to share-particularly regarding the best keywords and bidding strategies.

Ron


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Further proof Oct 28, 2016

I had no idea this thing existed so I looked it up.

It seems to be further proof that the famous tax-avoidance company and internet search engine Google is using our data in nefarious ways.

Angela Merkel say that internet search engines are 'distorting perception' and algorithms should be revealed. I agree with her.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/angela-merkel-says-internet-search-engines-endangering-debate-algorithms-should-be-revealed-a7383811.html


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:35
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Visits and visitors or one thing, the conversion rate is also important Oct 28, 2016

Ron Stelter wrote:

I've been trying Google Adwords for quite a few months now and have basically read everything on the theme I have been able to get my hands on. The results seem to be getting better, but still aren't great. While I know there are at least several Google Adwords' discussions here in the Proz forums, they seem to be rather general discussions about whether it's worth it in general to use it or not. I was wondering if people might share some of their strategies if they have gotten good results. For example, do you use very specific keywords? Very general keywords? Exact match? Phrase match? etc.


Hi Ron,
the first thing you have to do, is to measure how many people and from where they get to your website or your ProZ profile, if this is your target. I don't know if your type of membership gives you access to the visitors tab of your ProZ profile. This is up to you to check. Without numbers you are flying blind. I can tell you exactly how many visitors, visits I have to my profile, if they are freelancers, outsourcers, endclients, where the come from, forum, google, kudoz, bing, baidu, xing, facebook, the directory etc. Thes numbers help me improve my SEO.
BUT when a potential customer gets to your webiste/profile, you have to convince him that you are the right person for the job (the famous conversion rate) and your profile could in my opinion be improved in the area. What would you prefer 100 people visiting your profile and 30 contating you for a potential job, or 1000 visitors and 3 people contacting you? Being found through Google Adwords is only part of catching the fish, your profile needs to hook them.


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Ron Stelter  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:35
Member (2003)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Well Oct 28, 2016

Tom,

If Angela Merkel says it's true, it must be directly from God's lips. Taxes are way too high anyways.


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:35
German to English
specialization Oct 28, 2016

I've never bought AdWords, but I did put some rather primitive thought into my rather primitive website with its rather primitive SEO. I don't use Google Analytics and wouldn't know how to find or analyze any of the numbers you are talking about, but I do occasionally have clients tell me that they found me through Google, and I would assume that a significant number do so without telling me.


"German + English + Translator" means that most of the hits you get are going to be from people not looking for you. If you're looking to win at "contracts", "T&Cs", "business", or "tourism", I don't think you have much of a chance either. If you really know your stuff, then application materials and CVs might be a great thing to pursue. Think about and research what Germans are likely to search if they want that service from you. Rewrite your website (or, better yet, hire a German to rewrite it for you based on your clear instructions) so that those words repeatedly appear and also appear stringed together. The secret is to keep the robots happy without becoming totally annoying to the poor humans that the robots bring there.

I suppose you may be able to avoid all that by just buying AdWords. The key is to use German (most likely language of your clients) and then German and English and translator and a type of text or subject matter (Deutsch + Englisch + Übersetzer + Lebenslauf ... or CV or Bewerbungsunterlagen or Anschreiben). That is likely to bring you far less, far better hits. I don't know if that will help you or not, but it has certainly worked for me.


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Ron Stelter  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:35
Member (2003)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Michael Oct 28, 2016

I just tried your last suggestion (+Deutsch +Englisch +Übersetzer +Lebenslauf). Unfortunately, I immediately received a message from Google Adwords saying that it produced a low search volume and Google was refusing to show it. That's one of the problems, too. Google micromanages you so much (presumably to steer you to far more expensive strategies that make GOOGLE a lot of money-whether you get results or not may be irrelevant to them).

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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:35
German to English
That's interesting. Oct 28, 2016

I suppose it makes some kind of sense from their business perspective, but I think it might mean that AdWords are genuinely irrelevant for customers like us.

The hits we want are few and far between. but there are billions and billions of searches done everyday, so "few and far between" is more than enough for a freelancer.

From a user's perspective, that also explains why the paid hits at the top of the page are almost always so irrelevant.

You might think seriously about SEO. You might try a couple of searches with things that you think might make sense and see what comes up and how you might fit in.

PS: Did Chancellor Merkel explain what the point of publicly released algorithms would be? I mean that's kind of the whole point of the thing: Google trying to stay one step ahead of abusers of the system.


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Ron Stelter  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:35
Member (2003)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
I've been told.... Oct 28, 2016

I've been told by a self-proclaimed Google Adwords expert (apparently, he is in the "biz") that Google Adwords works better for some industries than others and that it doesn't work so well for the translation industry. I know I have found that it seems like many of our terms get very, very few hits like "contract translation" or the like-at least relevant clicks. Google also provides very confusing estimated bids to be on the top page, for example. Sometimes, it will say that you can reach the highly-sought-after top page for "translation agency" with a bid of 3 dollars or the like when I know that, in reality, I almost will never get to the top page unless I'm bidding at least 10-18 dollars (also, Google just won't show it at all if it doesn't think it will be profitable). So a lot of their data are wrong or even misleading. I think sometimes Google may deliberately state a low price because if you knew in reality that you would have to bid 75 dollars per click to reach the top of the first page during "rush hour", you'd run from Google Adwords as fast as you could, saying it was way too expensive.

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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:35
Member (2008)
French to English
Adwords and SEO Oct 28, 2016

I know companies that spend many thousands on Google Adwords and get millions of dollars of business from it, so it definitely works. But I have tried it a bit and come to the conclusion that it's a science in itself, and you have to be (or pay) a specialist to get it to work.

SEO is not that complicated, there is loads of information on it. However, a lot of it depends on creating content, which is time consuming.

As far as revealing the algorithm is concerned, that doesn't seem very practical to me. It is largely known anyway by the aforementioned specialists and it is frightfully complicated and constantly changing. In addition, there are other search engines such as Bing that have their own algorithm.

On the other hand, the basic concept is that Google wants searchers to find what they are searching for, and SEO approached with that in mind appears to be effective.

The same really applies to Adwords, and if conversion isn't happening, it means there's a breakdown in the chain somewhere - keywords > ad text > landing page > call to action

I would also be interested to know if anyone is successful with Adwords in our industry.


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Ron Stelter  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:35
Member (2003)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Big companies Oct 28, 2016

Google Adwords is often derisively referred to as the "death of small business" so I think big companies definitely have an advantage. I can't afford to spend a thousand dollars a day for six months with minimal results. You probably can't either, but a big company can, bidding extremely high on highly-competitive words and the like. Maybe a really big translation agency like Transperfect can also spend three million dollars on their web site whereas most freelancers just "do their best" on their own.

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Kaja Bartkowska  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 19:35
German to Polish
+ ...
Low search volume Oct 28, 2016

I used Google Adwords a few times and I also have the impression that this "low search volume" thing makes that tool almost useless for us (or for me at least). I wouldn't really mind if I would be getting very few, but mostly "good" clicks. I'm only interested in customers who are searching for a technical translator, so I would use keywords like "translator" + "Polish" + "technical", but it can't be displayed because of the low search volume, let alone if I would want to specify it even more: "translator" + "Polish" + "automotive" - no chance. Anyway, the first combination eventually worked after a little change ("translation" instead of "translator"), but I still got mostly "wrong" clicks, e.g. from people searching for "free" or "online" translation, or for a dictionary, or even for an Italian translator. There was also one person who was just looking for the translation of "Schwenkmoment". I think that I got only one call from a customer who found me on Google and he was looking for a legal translator.

Michael Wetzel wrote:
From a user's perspective, that also explains why the paid hits at the top of the page are almost always so irrelevant.

Sad but true.

[Edited at 2016-10-28 15:08 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-10-28 15:10 GMT]


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Ron Stelter  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:35
Member (2003)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Yes Kaja Oct 28, 2016

The kind of obvious ones like "translator" and "translation" don't work so well as those searches seem to be from people just wanting free translation tools or to search for terms in online dictionaries and the like as you state.

Apparently, "translation agency" (I actually use mainly German keywords) should work better, but the cost is very high. I tried to make the ads more targeted and cut the costs by having keywords like

+translation +agency +German +English

but one very quickly had almost no searches and the prices were still fairly high to get any results.


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
My experience Oct 28, 2016

I was involved in a huge project last year translating case studies about businesses that had been transformed by AdWords. It was clearly working very well for them.

So I decided to try it myself. They give you a small free credit and a couple of very short sessions with an advisor.

I was hopelessly confused by the complexity of choosing the right combinations of keywords and running a campaign, and I didn't feel the advisor understood the translation business or my specific needs.

I got lots of clicks, but no inquiries - I think they may have been people clicking on my ads because they were bored, or fellow translators looking for ideas.

I watched helplessly as $200 disappeared down the drain, got nothing for it, and gave up.

I'm sure a lot of this was my fault - if I'd persevered, maybe done an online course and invested a few thousand dollars, it would started to reap dividends. But AdWords is not easy.

If you do try it, make sure "free" is the first keyword you exclude. That's what most people want when they Google "translations".


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Ron Stelter  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:35
Member (2003)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Phil Oct 28, 2016

I definitely have already used "free", "gratis", etc. as negative key words.

I've never really understood why people seem to click on your ads if they are not looking for your service.

As I said, for example, if I use

+German +English +translation

this seems to clearly be the "wrong customer" as I've never gotten even one job like this, but I get many impressions and many clicks. Don't really understand why they are clicking and at very good click-through rates. I think ultimately if you show your ads to enough people, they will click out of curiosity and nothing more. (for example, just people interested in translating individual terms for free, people interested in languages as a hobby or even job-seekers).


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Ron Stelter  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:35
Member (2003)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
The thing to remember, too Oct 28, 2016

is that Google Adwords seems to often act in its own self-interest as Phil seems to allude to. For example, aggressively steering you towards or even forcing you to use much more expensive advertising strategies by refusing to allow you to use low-search volume keywords that actually would probably get you decent results. Which, of course, is kind of short-sighted on Google's side because if it actually got people good results, then we'd all be singing from the rooftops how great it was. I guess if 90% of the people go away unhappy, they just don't care.

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