451 Marketing

How do search and social ads differ?

Search Marketing is a fast-growing industry. Businesses are quickly recognizing the importance of ‘being seen’ in online search results. One of the greatest benefits of search engine marketing is the fact that you advertise to a targeted audience – users who have already shown some interest in your product/service.

That said, social advertising is growing in popularity. And it’s no surprise – with more and more users signing up each day, social networks are grabbing the attention of online advertisers as an ideal place to reach their audience. Whether you’re using it to increase brand awareness, build a fan base, or increase sales – social ads help achieve your goal. Plus you get the added benefit of using colorful images and more ad space!


Though these platforms should be a part of your internet marketing strategy, it’s important to understand the differences between the two.


User Intent:

The primary difference, which most marketers miss out on, is the user intent. Most advertisers fail to realize that the intent of users searching on social networks is drastically different than regular search engine users.  Users are logged into Facebook/LinkedIn not to buy/research a product/service, but to connect with their friends/colleagues and brands.



While search advertising urges users to buy your product/fill out the contact form, social ads help generate brand awareness. In that sense, social advertising can be thought of as a form of display advertising. That being the case, click-through rates and conversions of Facebook/LinkedIn ads tend to be lower than a PPC ad in Google.


Targeting Criteria:

Search ads work on keywords. You can target your audience based on search queries. Social advertising works a bit differently. While you can still target your audience by location, additionally you target users based on their demographics, job titles, workplaces and interests.


Cost-per-Click (CPC):

Search advertising has been around for a long time now and is a proven path to success. As a result, many marketers are competing for the same set of keywords and ad positions.  This makes the search space highly competitive thus resulting in higher CPCs. As opposed to this, social advertising is fairly new in the paid advertising field. Advertisers are still exploring this emerging platform.  This space is less competitive resulting in relatively lower CPCs.


Ad Messaging:

Search ads need to be direct and sales oriented. On the other hand, social ads can be more light-hearted. Especially on Facebook, ads with catchy images and a bit of humor tend to do well.


Today, social strongly influences search. I believe these two types of advertising go hand-in-hand and should definitely be a part of your marketing strategy.


What Are Negative Keywords and How Do You Use Them?


Successful online marketing campaigns should strive to create clear and specific lists of keywords, both for SEM and SEO functions.

SEM interfaces, such as Google’s AdWords, allow you to determine the most relevant and non-relevant keywords.  Non-relevant keywords are known as “negative keywords,” or the search terms on which you don’t want your ads to show up. For example, when promoting a fine dining restaurant, a major keyword would be “food.” If the user is in the market for a quick meal and decides to search for “fast food” you would not want your ad to appear.  The negative keyword in this case would be “fast food.”



The main benefits of negative keywords are the following:

  1. Efficient – a negative keyword friendly SEM campaign leads to a more specific target market, and, hence a more efficient use of ad placement and spend.
  2. Less expensive – When ad placements become more specific and, although possibly appearing less, they are more efficient in providing qualified customers.
  3. Higher ROI – With more specific ad copy, click-through-rate and conversion rates should increase, ultimately relating to a more efficient and profitable SEM endeavor.

There are several tools and methods to hone negative keywords. Below are some ways to get started:

  • When dealing with Google accounts, the best place to start is by downloading a Search Query Report.  It will show the terms to which your ad showed up. If relevant, perfect. If not, research further into the term and think about adding it as a negative keyword.
  • Default negative keyword lists are also available online and, although general, they provide additional ideas to consider, as well as a general sense of terms that might be influencing your ad placements.
  • Keyword research tools such as Google AdWords or even Google Suggest can be helpful. Negative keyword research tools such as WordStream are also available.

A negative keyword might apply to only one keyword, another to a whole campaign or ad group. It is essential to manage and revise these lists regularly to make sure you’re showing up for what makes the most sense for your account and avoiding those search terms that aren’t relevant.


Written by Rafael Grados, 451 Marketing SEO / SEM intern, undergraduate business management student at Boston University graduating spring 2014.

penguin updates

Success in The Post-Penguin World


Rich Nashawaty recently joined the 451 Marketing team as a senior search marketing specialist. Nashawaty brings more than five years of experience in organic search strategy, paid advertising, and digital marketing to his new role. At 451 Marketing, Nashawaty will be primarily focused on search engine marketing and campaign execution for clients including Gentle Giant Moving Company, The Annie Selke Companies, and Kettle Cuisine.

Back in April (the 24th to be precise) Google put in place a system aimed at punishing websites, it deemed were violating Google’s Webmaster guidelines. The code name for this algorithm update is Penguin. Millions  of websites have been affected. Website owners have been through many updates since over the past year, but this was something that really caused websites to lose rankings like never before.


For those that have been playing by the rules (I put myself in that category), I welcome these updates with open arms. However, there are many out there who lost a lot of traction due to bad practices by no-so-white-hat SEO “experts” who they hired to perform their on-site SEO. Furthermore, there are others who feel that they were not in the wrong and really can’t understand why they were hit at all. Take a look at any online SEO forum you will see some heated discussions.


For those who feel that they have been unfairly affected by the switch-over, a form has been set up where webmasters can submit a query and notify Google. Of course, this war is not over yet – Google has said that they will continue to inspect websites, especially for links that are unnatural so if you are on the first page of Google and think you have made it past this update, you may not be out of the red zone yet.


At 451 Marketing, have been monitoring these updates and recommend reassessing your link-building techniques. If you have been using any black hat techniques in the past, you will probably find that Google penalizes you at some point.


Here are some tips to help you improve your SERP rankings during this time:

1. Build content that is worth sharing.

I always ask the following questions prior to posting content:

  • Is it informative?
  • Does it present value to the reader?
  • Can the reader leave the page knowing more about the topic than prior to reading it?
  • Most importantly, is it worth SHARING?

You spent a lot of time writing the content; it should be made easy to share. Therefore, the importance of social links cannot be overstated whether you are writing a full blown article, a blog post, or even posting a video.

2. Make sure that you link to your inner pages.

It’s not good enough just to link to your homepage. Sooner or later, Google is going to see this pattern and will be on to you. This is not the natural way to go about things. Have a look at internal links as well, but make sure that you have targeted the correct keywords.

3. Make sure you diversify your anchor texts.

If you have been over-optimizing your anchor texts, your site may have been affected. Google “knows” that you are trying to write for the search engine and not for the reader. This often makes content feel unnatural as well.

A more natural way would be to diversify your anchor texts in the same way that users search for different terms. Google is no longer just a set of robots – it is made up of an increasingly sophisticated set of algorithms and rules that can tell what keyword is the best for the content on your site. Think of editorial or generic keywords as well.

Some people are so focused on producing a certain amount of words and this is where they forget about the quality. If you don’t have a good quality website, with content that is useful to the reader and your main aim is to focus on backlinks then you are asking for a penalty.


The main thing toremember here is that quality should supersede everything whether it is writing content onsite or offsite. Finding cheap links is not going to do you any good, but if you find a couple of good, high-ranking PR links, you will be on your way to developing a site with a lot of authority. There is no doubt that these links these sites are harder to find and attain, but if you make the initial effort you will save yourself a lot of frustration at the end of the day. Using white hat techniques will give you peace of mind because you know that your link bulding strategies are completely clean and there is little chance of losing rankings in the future.