Google Outdoes Itself Again!

by shanesnow Aug 06, 2008  12:08 PM  - (Read 1 comments)

Google just dropped its newest search product: Google Insights. Adding even more usefulness to Google’s enormous array of valuable tools and gadgets, Google Insights is essentially a hybrid between the Keyword Suggestion Tool and Google Trends. Here’s a screenshot of a search we did:

The tool allows you to compare the search volume patterns of one or more keywords over time and in specific geographies. You can download keyword comparison data in a .CSV file using a link at the upper right, which opens up a lot of useful possibilities for keyword research and data analysis.

There is a world heat map which graphically shows regional interest in your search terms, and there is also a related search comparison at the bottom.

One important thing to understand is the numbers displayed in Google Insights are not absolute figures. They are comparative numbers. Google explains:

“The numbers on the graph reflect how many searches have been done for a particular term, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time. They don’t represent absolute search volume numbers, because the data is normalized and presented on a scale from 0-100; each point on the graph is divided by the highest point, or 100. The numbers next to the search terms above the graph are summaries, or totals.”

A very useful feature of the new Google Insights is the ability to filter by category and compare growth relative to category. Very cool!

As a PPC Manager, how can you take advantage of this tool? Here are a few uses we suggest:

  • General Keyword Research - Just starting to build a campaign? Start with Google Insights to get a good idea about what you can expect with your kw list.
  • Need to expand your kw list or looking for negative keywords? Simply search for your term and review the dropdown at the bottom of your search insight results page for terms related to your original query.
  • Experiencing a surprise decline/increase in conversion volume? click volume? Check Insights to see if you’re in the middle of a declining or rising trend for your keywords that regularly bring in the conversions/clicks.

Google Insights can become a very handy tool for you. Use it to enhance your campaigns, compare your site’s growth to the overall trend growth on Google, or seize opportunities in the search marketplace.

See the Google Insights FAQ for even more details.

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The Little “BigList” of PPC Blogs

by shanesnow Aug 05, 2008  01:08 PM  - (Read 8 comments)

The TopRank Online Marketing blog publishes their “BigList” of Search Engine Marketing Blogs and their goal is “to provide a useful and accurate list” of the best blogs on the subjects. They do a fantastic job of it too - head over and check out all of the good blogs on their list!

We decided to condense TopRank’s list into just blogs that are relevant to Pay Per Click, and to combine it with our own list of useful PPC blogs. We came up with the following recommended reads (some from TopRank and several from our own list) - make sure you subscribe to their feeds for added insight into pay per click advertising:

  • AdCenter Community - This is Microsoft’s official support blog for AdCenter advertisers.

  • AdWords Addict - Google Adwords News Views Comments & Advice
  • AdWords Official Blog - Official blog of Google AdWords
  • Blogation - Search Engine Marketing thoughts
  • ClickEquations Blog - Craig Danuloff writes this insightful paid search product blog from Commerce 360 on PPC, analytics, and internet marketing in general.
  • Clix Marketing Blog - PPC Expert David Szetela posts a variety of tips and experience based insights on paid search advertising.
  • Conversion Marketing - Common sense Internet strategies
  • Expert SEM - A great guide to search engine marketing news.
  • GrokDotCom - Future Now’s Marketing Optimization Blog
  • PPC Advice - Garry Przyklenk blogs on tips and insights into pay per click marketing.
  • PPC Blog .com - Aaron and Giovana Wall’s new, highly useful blog on strictly Pay Per Click.
  • PPC Blog - Another great blog on the evolving world of PPC.
  • PPC Blog - By Gordon Choi
  • PPC Hero - A heroic look at the basic techniques and finer skills of Pay Per Click management.
  • PPC Discussions - Jeremy Mayes writes about paid search with particular emphasis on Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter.
  • Post Click Marketing - A blog on optimizing online marketing by Ion Interactive.
  • Search Engine Marketing - By Redfly
  • SEM Geek - Besides contributing at SMG, Greg Meyers writes an awful lot about paid search marketing including specific PPC platforms, analytics and overall marketing on the internet.
  • Semvironment - Turning clicks into customers with Pay Per Click management tips.
  • The PPC Book - Jeff Hudson, who works as a client side search marketer, blogs about Pay Per Click marketing.
  • Yahoo! Search Marketing blog - Official blog for Yahoo Search Marketing.

While some of these blogs deal with more than strictly PPC, the majority focus of these blogs recently has been Pay Per Click. Happy reading!

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Introducing Holly Anderson

by shanesnow Aug 01, 2008  02:08 PM  - (Read 0 comments)

Holly Anderson is our newest team member at semvironment, and will be working with us in managing PPC client accounts.

Currently a senior level student at Brigham Young University-Idaho, Holly will Graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management/Marketing in April 2009.

Holly has worked in a variety of marketing capacities, including on the market research team at the multinational firm, Melaleuca. Other notable work accomplishments have included her position as CMO of Shady Beans, a BYU-I business organization that donated considerable profits to the university, and a 17 month full-time volunteer service mission to the Philippines (Manila and Cavite), where she performed community service and gave religious instruction.

Holly enjoys learning about new cultures, designing her own clothes, cooking oriental food, and snowboarding with her husband, Adam. She is also fluent in Tagalog.

Holly was born in Chicago and has lived in 5 different States, but claims to be raised in California. She recently married Adam Anderson on April 12, 2008.

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Google Recommends I Pay Them 3x as Much

by shanesnow Jul 24, 2008  02:07 PM  - (Read 5 comments)

So I logged in the other day to one of our clients’ AdWords accounts, and saw the following somewhat familiar sight:

This is one of our most productive accounts as far as volume of conversions goes, and our cost per conversion is staggeringly low. Out of curiosity, I took a look at what Google’s recommended budget for us was:

If you squint, you can see that our current budget is $250/day, and the recommended budget is $889.28/day - an increase of 355%! You may also notice that clicks increase by 100%, from 5,480 to 11,944.

Wait a second! So I can increase my budget by 3.5 times and get 2 times as many clicks? Awesome! Not. I’m glad I thought that one through rather than just taking the recommendation no questions asked.

I’d like to try this tactic with some of our clients: “Hi, I was just analyzing your account and I recommend that you pay us 3 times as much as you are now. . .” :)

All Google-mocking aside: Could there be times when increasing your budget by x amount in order to get 1/2x amount more conversions would be a smart thing to do? The answer is yes, but it depends on your profit margins. If you make $10 per lead, then paying an extra $1 per lead in order to get 100 more leads could turn out to be a great move for you. However, if you make $3 per lead, paying that extra dollar might really hurt your bottom line. They key is to find the optimal solution to the following equation:

Total Profit = Net Profit * Volume

If Volume * Net Profit is greater at a higher volume and lower net profit, then you’re good! If Volume * Net Profit is lower at a higher volume and lower net profit, then you’re not.

All I’ve got to say is Google is smart. . . I just hope I’m not as dumb as they think I am!

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Keyword Research Wordpress Plugin!

by jameszol Jul 22, 2008  11:07 AM  - (Read 13 comments)

Download another semvironment wordpress creation today and start improving your organic traffic!

Rand just published a “Headsmacking Tip” this morning about the importance of researching and optimizing your blog post titles and content before hitting ‘publish’…and roughly 24 hours before he published the post, I wrote to our lead wordpress programmer about developing a plugin that let’s us do exactly that!

We planned on using the KeywordDiscovery API - and still will - but we wanted to capitalize on Rand’s suggestion and simply make the free keyword research tools easily accessible from Wordpress while you are writing a post!!!

Download the Keyword Research Wordpress Plugin here!

How to install:

1. Upload the file `post_keyword_research.php` to the `/wp-content/plugins/` directory
2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
3. Simply write a post and note the research links below your submenu and to the right below the ’save’/'publish’ button.

Here are a few screen shots of where the research links show up (2 locations) - these links open in new windows so you can simply click on them while you are writing and begin your research! Hooray!

Under your submenu:

Under the “Save”/”Publish”/”Related” section:

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Link Builder for Wordpress - Download it Now!!!

by jameszol Jul 21, 2008  11:07 AM  - (Read 7 comments)

Introducing the Link Builder for Wordpress

The Link Builder simply tracks the websites and pages you link to and sends an email message to that website owner/administrator notifying them of your link.

Download the Link Builder for Wordpress here

Then watch this video (update: haha - if you turn up your volume, you can hear a ‘darth vader’ breathing effect from my mic…sorry!) to learn how to configure and use the plugin:

YouTube Preview Image

You can read the readme.txt file for installation instructions here.

UPDATE: Reminder - you MUST remember to edit your config file! And this is not a 100% automated tool - it is designed to be personal while simplifying your link building efforts.

Other Plugins that are built for SEO/Link Building from Wordpress

Internal Link Building by SEOROI - This looks like it’s an awesome tool although it didn’t work with our admin/theme/template for some reason…haven’t had a chance to look at it but it’s received rave reviews so we recommend giving it a shot yourself!

All In One SEO Pack - One of our favorites. You control title tags, descriptions and keywords for every post and page or you can let the pack update them automatically!

Two Excellent Guides To Optimizing Blogs

Wordpress SEO - The Definitive Guide To High Rankings for Your Blog

The Blogger’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization - Aaron and Giovanna Wall of fame wrote this awesome guide…a must read!

About the Programmer: The programmer that was our lead dev on this plugin is Simon. We own the copyrights, programming and design - but Simon is a fantastic resource and he is freakishly fast with Wordpress dev stuff if you need him.

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An Inside Look at Myspace’s New PPC Program

by shanesnow Jul 18, 2008  09:07 AM  - (Read 1 comments)

Last week we wrote about the new PPC platform that Myspace came out with, called “Find Your Fans.” This program allows music artists to place banner ads (either their own or from Myspace-provided templates) on the profiles and pages where their defined target audience are likely to be browsing. Advertising musicians pay $0.25 per click.

“Find Your Fans” requires a review and approval from Myspace, so we had one of our team apply for the program with his band’s profile. After Myspace finally approved the band, we went in and took some screen shots:

Log in at and click “get started.” You’ll be brought to this page.

You are prompted to either upload a banner ad or build an ad using one of Myspace’s templates. Banner ads must be 728 x 90 pixels in size.

When you click on either option, a legal agreement box pops up:

Next, you get to choose from a variety of fairly hideous banner templates:

And then you input your band name, picture, etc. (or upload your own banner). At this point you’re taken to the target audience definition page. You can specify the gender, age range, country/state/region, interest categories, and genres that define your target:

Next you put in your budget. As mentioned, all clicks cost $0.25 regardless of anything.

Next, you review your banner and campaign details. Here’s the banner we made (shrunk down a little):

Then Myspace asks you for your credit card number, which we will not give you a screen shot of… :)

Here is what the dashboard looks like:

There is an alerts section, a report graphing account performance, and then campaign summary details at the bottom.

The campaign page is pretty simple, and you basically edit your settings in the same way as you edit your myspace profile details. Click the “edit” button next to what you want to edit, some input boxes come up, etc. You have to actually pause your campaign in order to edit anything in it.

So that’s an inside look at Myspace’s new PPC program, “Find Your Fans!”

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AdWords Adds New Placement Features

by shanesnow Jul 17, 2008  12:07 PM  - (Read 0 comments)

If you log into your Google AdWords account you should be getting the following message as of a few minutes ago:

If you log into your AdWords account, click on a campaign, and then click on an adgroup, you’ll see the following new feature:

Until recently, this “Placements” tab did not exist. Placement targeting, formerly known as site targeting, now allows CPC bidding. Google’s Inside Adwords blog explains this new feature:

“We’ve combined keyword-targeted and placement-targeted campaigns into a single online campaign type. Starting today, you can target keywords and placements together in the same ad group. By doing so, you combine the benefits of contextual targeting with placement targeting: use keywords to show your ads only on contextually relevant pages, then use placements to set specific bids for, or restrict your targeting to, sites you value differently from the rest of the content network.”

So now advertisers no longer have to separate placement and keyword targeted ad groups.

Just click on the “Placements” tab on your ad group screen, and you can learn specifically how placements work and if you’re running them currently in your account:

To activate the content network in your campaign (this enables placement targeting), click on “campaign settings” under “campaign summary” and then scroll down to this part (which is also new):

Check “The content network” and you’re ready to go! While placement targeted campaigns can now be switched between CPC and CPM, be aware that keyword targeted campaigns are still CPC only.

We do have one question (and our Google Rep is currently looking into this for us): Is the new placement targeting compatible with the conversion optimizer? This is not yet confirmed, so if you are using the conversion optimizer, we recommend waiting to make the switch until it is.

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AdWords Broad Match Quality Score Woes

by shanesnow Jul 17, 2008  10:07 AM  - (Read 0 comments)

As Search Engine Roundtable reported earlier today, Google AdWords only uses exact match data in order to compute your quality score. So your quality score for broad matches is based on your quality score for the exact match that is searched.

Quoting Search Engine Roundtable:

“So, if you are bidding on [blue shoes] and you get a click from a search on [red shoes], due to broad match - then Google won’t use that click for quality score purposes. Google will only use the exact match of a click, i.e. [blue shoes] search to [blue shoes] keyword ad. It doesn’t mean Google won’t rank your broad or phrase match ads based on your overall quality score. It does mean that your overall quality score is made up of only exact matches.”

While this is true (there is a quality score associated with the exact match of the keyword that broadly matches yours), using the example in the article, ‘blue shoes’ has its quality score, and ‘red shoes’ has its own quality score as far as minimum bids go. If you’re only advertising on the broad match ‘blue shoes’ and the ad displays for ‘red shoes’, you are probably going to pay more for the ‘red shoe’ click because the relevancy is technically lower. Because quality score calculations are dynamic, you will end up paying more for that word because you aren’t advertising on the broad or exact match of that word.

This is why we recommend filtering for those words and redistributing them in their own ad group with their own advertisements if you find that they are converting or transactional keywords.

If ‘red shoes’ isn’t a transactional term for you, add ‘red’ and ‘red shoes’ as negatively matched terms and your quality score problem associated with it will fade away!

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This is our first mini screen recording production. :)

We hope you enjoy it!

YouTube Preview Image

AdWords describes their quality score formula in a couple different places…my favorite sentences in these documents are:

“your account’s historical performance, and other relevance factors.”

There are a ton of ‘other’ factors…lol. :)

“Quality Score is a dynamic variable assigned to each of your keywords.”

Dynamic means it changes for every query…which is ok - and it’s usually why you want to make sure you target phrase and exact match terms as well as super long tail 1 or 2 per year queries.

The formula behind Quality Score varies depending on whether it’s calculating minimum bids or assigning ad position.”

So there are two different formulas that are connected based on ‘other’ factors…sounds complicated.

Google gives us some indication of what each of the formulas are here. Check it out - it really is quite useful despite the ‘black box’ parts of the document. :)

Dave Davis at redfly marketing wrote an excellent piece listing 10 ways you can increase your quality score.

Another excellent post called AdWords Quality Score FAQ can be found at PPC Discussions.

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