Up Close @ SMX Advanced: Amazing Paid Search Tactics

Paid search continues to get exceedingly complicated, but the expert panel, the last session of this year’s SMX Advanced, blew the audience away with understandable and valuable tips.  Amazing Paid Search Tactics & Tools featured four expert speakers, and it was the first time I’ve ever heard cheers and whistles after a PPC session.

 “I’m A Freakin’ Google Analytics Leprechaun”

shutterstock_135907382-heather-leprecaunHeather Cooan of Clix Marketing kept the crowd rolling with her hilarious quote. She also blew everyone away with her incredible Google Analytics tips.

After walking through the benefits of importing Cost Data, she showed how to use Google Analytics to help analyze the status of your AdWords campaigns.

She moved on to Search Partner Tracking Analysis, explaining how it can easily show the performance of each individual search partner.

After tracking outside influences, she explained that there’s a wealth of data on your own site that can help you improve. She suggested using the Page Value report, which shows your most valuable pages.

After identifying the pages that are working well, you can make them even better – and since they’re the most valuable pages, even incremental improvements will make a huge difference.

She championed multi-channel attribution funnels “when your PPC Spidey sense tells you that certain keywords are working” but last-click attribution doesn’t show anything.

She showed how you can pull assisted conversion values into Excel and easily find assisted revenue. Many times, keywords might have zero last-click conversions, but, if you look closely, you’ll discover a ton of assists.

Automation – One Of The Most Powerful AdWords Tools

Steve Hammer, of RankHammer, took the stage to talk about AdWords scripts, which he said is the most under-used tool in AdWords. “Scripts can’t fix bad,” he warned, before he started his rapid-fire walkthrough. He pointed out that scripts have three capabilities:

  • Math (comparisons and calculations)
  • External data (export for reporting, input for management)
  • Parameters (change ad text without resubmitting)

He then showed attendees how to take basic published example scripts and modify them to work for your real-world situations. Even with no programming knowledge, he showed how easy it is to edit scripts to create incredible dynamic ads.

“I want to thank Google, Wikipedia, and whoever the heck invented copy and paste,” he said, to rolling laughter.

Steve then showed how his simple methodology could be used to create ads where the ad copy would dynamically count down remaining inventory, or where you could automatically increase your bid based on the current weather.

(Editor’s note: For great AdWords script info, and some free scripts, check out columns contributed by Fred Vallaeys and Russell Savage.)

 Don’t Forget Grammar 101

Jennifer Slegg was up next with tips to help your ad copy stand out. Her most important tip: don’t forget basic grammar. Simple grammar or spelling errors can quickly kill the effectiveness of a great ad.

She stressed the importance of using the sitelinks extension, but not overdoing it. According to her research, shorter sitelinks perform much better – so stay closer to 12 characters instead of trying to use the full 25.


She also suggested watching hyper-competitive keywords outside your niche. If you watch competitive markets like payday loans, car insurance or credit cards, you can see what interesting tactics are being used that you might be able to modify for your own campaigns.

Her next tip even got a few gasps from the other speakers… She suggested taking your negative keyword list and using it as a campaign. Many times, you’ll end up with keywords in your negative list that shouldn’t be there, and if you throw the list into a cheap campaign, you’ll find the hidden gems you might have missed.

 We Need To Abandon Old Strategies

Larry Kim of WordStream took the stage to finish out the panel and explained that pursuing a low CTR strategy is a losing bet.

Targeting broader keywords and fewer clicks used to generate high profits, but with the recent changes in AdWords, it’s a losing strategy. He went on to explain that the average Quality Score used to be 7/10, but it’s now only 5/10. If you’ve got a low Quality Score, the penalty on your cost-per-click is brutal. You  could even end up paying 300-400% more per click.

With Google raising the bar on what’s required to have your ad shown, quality score is even more important. For every point increase or decrease in Quality Score, your impressions will go up or down 9 percent.

The myth of position three converting better is just that – a myth. For the best performing ads, the success of conversion has everything to do with keyword selection and landing page… not with ad position.

He finished with the idea that low Quality Score keywords will kill your account. In fact, he said that the best strategy is to kill the bottom third of your account (in terms of QS) and redeploy that spend to the top of your account.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Features | Google: AdWords | Search Ads | Search Ads: General | Search Marketing | Search Marketing: Search Term Research | SEM Industry: Search Marketing Expo - SMX


About The Author: is the Director of Search and Social at AutoRevo, a software company that provides websites and online marketing to used car dealers all over the country. Check out their awesome blog for Greg’s local search posts and videos.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide