An AdWords Agency – 2007 – July
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An AdWords Agency

Systems & Marketing Solutions


Because Next is Now

Archive for July, 2007

Upcoming SMS Speaking Engagements

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in CodeCamp, google, sem, SEO

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Systems & Marketing Solutions likes to stay active in the local community, and I am often asked to speak on Search Engine marketing topics or be a part of a panel of experts.

September 22nd and 23rd at the Embassy Suites in San Luis Obispo will hold its first ever Code Camp. The Code Camp is organized by Rob Hope CEO of San Luis Tech Consultants and an SMS client. The date and the time haven’t been set yet, but I will be giving a talk on Designing for SEO and Adwords. The Code Camp is free, and you can register for the event online at www.centralcoastcodecamp.com .

I will also be speaking at the Santa Maria Manufacturer’s Association meeting on September 25th. The SMMA holds a meeting on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 and is open to anyone interested in the advancement of manufacturing on the central coast. The meeting I will be speaking at is going to be hosted by Hardy Diagnostics (also an SMS client). My talk is going to be on Internet Marketing and how to get the most from Google Adwords.

If you have the opportunity, I encourage you to check out both groups and come meet some new people!

The Granularization of Keywords

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in adwords, google, granularization, PPC

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

There’s a good chance Granularization isn’t actually a word, yet. However the principle behind it is more important to your Adwords account than the actual existence of the word, kind of like ‘truthiness.’

The more specialized your ad group, the more effective your campaign will be.

That’s my campaign building mantra. A common mistake people make in setting up their accounts is to decide on campaign topics and then throw all the related words in one ad group. I call this the ‘Bucket Approach.’ Once all your words are in the bucket, your ad or ads will be shown for any keyword in the bucket. Because of this you’re going to have to write a pretty generic ad. This is going to hurt your relevance, quality score, click through rate, and ultimately your wallet.

Now I’m not saying you can’t use a ‘bucket’ group every once and a while, it has its uses. They can be good for testing the impression levels of new words for an existing account. After they’ve gained some data you’ll be able to tell if the words deserve their own ad groups, should be dropped completely, or may be fit for an existing ad group.

So how do you set up your account for maximum effectiveness?
Granularization.

Keyword research is a lot of work, and you’re going to amass lots and lots of words. Having the right words is just the first step… fight the urge to toss them in a bucket! Start looking for themes and key root words in your list. Divide it into as many reasonable, logical, relevant groups as you can.

One example of granularizing a campaign is if you carry foreign languages. An ad group that covers all of them at once isn’t going to be very effective, but if you break it into 1 or more ad groups per language you’re going to do much better. Your word groupings will be tighter, your quality score should be higher, and your ad can be more targeted and thus get better click through rates. If a query for “Learn Swedish” triggers ads for “Learn a Language” and “Learn Swedish Today” you can guess which one is going to perform better. “Learn Swedish Today” is more relevant to the search engine and the searcher. You get the click because you’re giving the people what they want.

Kick the bucket, Granularize, and give the people what they want!

Those three things will help you succeed in the PPC game. Put in a little extra work up front in structuring good campaigns and delivering relevant solutions to user queries PPC, and you’ll be able to break out your old bucket to carry money all the way to the bank.

Focused Expansion, Controlling Expanded Search in Adwords

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in adwords, google, negative-keywords, sem

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

Personally I’m a fan of broad match and the ensuing expanded search feature in Google… now that I can track it. I can’t say this enough …I love the Search Query Report… it opens a lot of doors and shows you negatives you would have never thought of. Plus it has potential to save you money!

One of the reasons I like expanded searches is that no matter how hard you try, you will never be as creative/ridiculous as the general public. The way people structure their searches is really fascinating. The general populace’s inability to spell is a little troubling too. But just because someone can’t spell, or uses an awkward path to get to your site doesn’t mean they don’t have a credit card. As a search marketer you need to cater to everybody who could buy your advertised product.

Now the downside of expanded matching is that Google can get even more creative than the public. It’s kind of scary that an algorithm is making leaps in logic to include you in queries that may be related to your objective. To give you a few examples of the mayhem that ensues: I searched ‘buy a luxury bus’ and some of the ads used the word coach, in position 6 was Coach.com the handbag maker. A word I use for a general contractor now has about 400 negative keywords to include ‘Land Cruiser’, ‘foreskin’, and ‘hearing’. I’ve also seen a lot of celebrity name crossover, if you’re not up to date on pop culture at least use derivatives of the word ‘naked’ as negative keywords (half of all celebrity searches seem to involve nudity, traffic I’m guessing you don’t need). All these types of match drop click through rates and waste money.

Now that it is available, I can’t stress enough the importance of running at least a monthly Search Query Report. This matched with the Adsense Placement Report are probably the two most useful features that Adwords has given us this year. Run the SQR report and sift through it by hand to extract all the most irrelevant searches. Then make a second pass looking for good words and phrases you don’t have in your account that you should. Your first SQR report should be a PPC revelation, there’s going to be some crazy stuff in there. Make sure you make the most of this new tool!

It Starts with the Query not the Page

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in Organic, SEO, User-Query

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

I am constantly amazed by the search engine optimization (SEO) dialog that centers on page content. Statements like, “I want my page to come up first on the search engine” or “My page is first on Google” are signs that the person just does not understand the challenge. Search engine results start not with the page but with the user query, and that is what we have to understand and manage in order to develop a customer-centric Web strategy.

This is not to say that page design is not important, but to design the page well, you must understand what the user query will be. Without this knowledge, you are designing in the dark and guessing at the answer without even knowing the question. Coming up first on a term that customers do not use has zero business value. It might feed your ego but it will not feed your business. What does have value is to come up when there is an indicator that the person is interested in your product or service. Over the years I have heard many claim that they came up #1 on Google only to find out that according to the best research available, nobody ever searches for the term they are so proud of. The objective of all search engines is to provide quality links based on the user’s query, and this objective serves your marketing. You do not need to beat the search engines-you need to become one with them. Professional advertisers have known for generations that message and timing are essential in effective advertising, and the Web has not changed this rule. The objective is not to come up first; it is to come up first at the right time.

One of the first things you realize as you look at the SEO challenge from this perspective is that SEO is not a cross-industry skill, but rather an industry-focused skill. One size does not fit all and the SEO expert must understand the customers, product benefits, and the industry culture. These are the driving force behind the formation of the query in the mind of the customer, which is the single most important place in marketing. Businesses struggle in expressing benefits rather than features, because they are all wound up on developing or producing the product. For example, the benefit of training is learning. Customers want to “learn” Spanish, not “train” Spanish. “Train” and “learn” are the same concept from different perspectives. “Learn” is what customers want and seek to do, but “train” is what the business does and how it thinks. Therein is the conflict that SEO experts have to deal with every day.

Everyone wants a simple solution, and we can have it just as soon as people start to be simple. The truth is that people are complex, and if you take 100 customers looking for the same thing, you will likely get at least 10 different queries. If you do not believe me, just watch “Family Feud,” a game show is based on people thinking differently. This game is similar in many ways to the problems that SEO experts face. As an SEO designer, you have to assemble these queries, research their business value, then develop and optimize a web strategy based on that knowledge. The business value of a specific search depends how many people form queries like that, how many click through, and how well they convert to customers. Each phase of this sales pipeline must be considered and managed to get business value from SEO.

So how do people form queries? The answer is, of course, “differently,” with the “80/20 Rule” in full force, with 20% of the queries representing 80% of the volume. But volume is not the only business-value metric in play. For example, in the training business, the term “tutorial” has huge volume but it is of marginal value due to the poor response when searching with this term. When a person is looking for a tutorial, they are expecting to find a free tutorial posted on the Web relative to the “subject” that they appended to the term “tutorial.” That is their mindset, and customer minds are nearly impossible to change. So, while “tutorial” is a high-volume word, the traffic it attracts does not match the product; hence its value is marginalized by poor conversion. Another aspect of this is that broad keywords such as “tutorial” are of limited value for the same reason: poor conversion. In this age, your objectives need to be specific terms that clearly indicate a relationship to your product or service. The volume of traffic is much lower, but it is quality traffic.

Once we have boiled the queries down to our target list, we will need to test our assumptions. This is where Google AdWords can become your best friend. Google gives you more than just traffic. They give you real-world business intelligence. In 15 minutes you can be running a structured marketing test of your theories with real people in the real market. This is market research that 10 years ago would have cost thousands of dollars to conduct and would have taken months to test and compile. Using multiple ads groups, you can test the various search terms for volume and response in just a few weeks. The ad Google presents is not much different than the free listing in the rankings, with both having a hyperlink and a small amount of supporting text. My guess is that AdWords and ranked pages will perform in the same relative response ranges. While this statement cannot yet be proven, it does make common sense that people will respond in similar fashion when the environment is nearly identical, with the exception of the reading zone. You will get different populations in different reading zones, but the response should be consistent on a percentage basis. If you cannot get a reasonable response from Google AdWords, then even if your page does come up, your response rate will be poor. Coming up in the search and earning a Web site visitor are two very different things. There is a conversion factor in play here that you must understand and manage toward.

With properly tested concepts and a base strategy, we can turn our attention to page design and all the complexity that is so common in the SEO discourse. The difference is that with professional research, we know what the objectives are and how to measure them. Page design still has to balance the search engine requirements with the conversion of visitors into customers, but that is an art form discussion for a future article. To finish the loop, the SEO expert must either master those skills or find an expert partner in advertising or public relations to join their team.