In The Trenches, April 11, 2008

In The Trenches is a weekly spotlight of tips, tricks, and news about the tools search engine marketing professionals use to give them a leg up on the competition. Today: News from the search engines, today’s in-depth look, “Two Tools That You May Not Have Added To The Toolbox Yet: Google Demographic Bidding and MSN Content,” and this week’s free tips and tools.

News from the search engines

Google AdWords: As reported in my last column, landing page load time will soon be incorporated into Quality Score. From Google’s March blog post, their response to “Why are we doing this?” was: “Two reasons: first, users have the best experience when they don’t have to wait a long time for landing pages to load. Interstitial pages, multiple redirects, excessively slow servers, and other things that can increase load times only keep users from getting what they want: information about your business. Second, users are more likely to abandon landing pages that load slowly, which can hurt your conversion rate.”

The post goes on to state, “In the next few weeks, we will add load time evaluations to the Keyword Analysis page (we’ll notify you when they are available). You will then have one month to review your site and make necessary adjustments.”

After the one month review period, this load time factor will be incorporated into your keywords’ Quality Scores. Keywords with landing pages that load very slowly may get lower Quality Scores (and thus higher minimum bids). Conversely, keywords with landing pages that load very quickly may get higher Quality Scores and lower minimum bids.”

The landing page parameter has already been added to our accounts here at Fuor Digital. Go to the keyword level in your account and click the magnifying glass to bring up the dialog box. From there, you can click to the Keyword Analysis page via the Details and Recommendations links for more information, including keyword relevance and landing page load time ratings.

Yahoo Panama: Yahoo has posted new additions to its editorial policy regarding categories of unacceptable content. These include:

  • Cigarettes

  • Essay-Writing Services
  • Fake IDs and Fake Diplomas
  • Firearms, Ammunition, and Fireworks

Yahoo also added some new guidelines about acceptable landing pages. These are good changes in my view, as they prohibit pages that change browser preferences, promote bulk marketing, or try to spam the engines. You can read the full post here.

MSN adCenter: Check out the recent Online adCenter Support Community site that was launched this year if you have any questions or concerns with your account. It’s split up by topic for advertisers, API developers, and analytics users. Not only are there posts from Microsoft employees, but there are also forums for users like you to post questions, read answers, and interact with the overall adCenter community. The site is relatively bare at the moment, but I’m sure it will become a very good spot for learning about the products. I’m surprised Google hasn’t launched something similar yet.

In depth: Two essential tools: Google demographic bidding and MSN content

Google demographic bidding

From the Inside AdWords Blog: “What is demographic bidding? It’s a feature that helps you target your ads to users of a particular age group (such as ages 18-24), by gender, or to combinations of those groups. You can use demographic bidding whether you are using contextual or placement targeting and with both CPC and CPM bidding. You can refine your reach based on users’ gender and age on certain sites in the Google content network such as MySpace and Friendster, whose users provide that information about themselves. AdWords receives the data in anonymous and aggregate form from participating partner sites, which means that users can’t be personally identified.

Here’s an example of how demographic bidding works: suppose you sell women’s basketball shoes and want your ad to be seen by 18-24 year-old females. You could raise your bids to increase the frequency with which those users see your ads. You can also restrict your ads from certain users if you think they’re not meeting your ROI goals. In the case of women’s basketball shoes, you might find that the male, 18-24 year-old demographic is receiving a significant number of impressions but not clicking-through or converting well, and decide to restrict that group.”

So, how do you set your demographic bidding options? Go right to your standard Campaign Settings and choose Demographics (currently located in the Target Audience underneath location settings). Note – if this is a keyword targeted campaign and you DO NOT have content turned on, you will see “Only applicable on the content network.” Demographic bidding is only available to keyword campaigns with content turned on or on placement targeting campaigns.

This is what you’ll see:


So, you’ll see demographic info from the content/site providers that are able to deliver this data to Google. Most of these sites are social networks that will inherently collect this info during registration. Once you see some of your opportunities, you can click EDIT, which will allow you to affect your max bids on those keywords/placements within the campaign via an incremental percentage basis. This is similar to MSN’s demo targeting that has been in adCenter for years.

So, for example, if you want to reach more men and are willing to double your max bid when serving ads to men, you can EDIT and add 100%. One of the interesting features is the “Resulting Combos” when both an age group and a gender are combined. In the example below, females were give a plus 100% bid as well as anyone over 55. Thus, when a 55 or older female is served the add, the resulting max bid will be combined to 200% of the default.

Hint: Any current content or placement campaigns are already collecting demographic info and have since last year. You can go to your Reports tab, create a Demographic report, and see some very powerful data with regards to age and gender. You can get great, actionable insights into your business (or client’s business) with this report.

MSN content

This actually launched in Beta last year, but I thought it might be good to review for those of you who haven’t tried it out yet. There’s good news and bad news… the good news is that MSN Content only runs on MSN properties such as, CNBC, Wall Street Journal, Fox Sports, etc. These are quality (I may go as far as saying “premium”) sites, so the value here is high compared to the “anyone with a website can join” mentality with Google and Yahoo. Obviously, the bad news would be a lack of total inventory volume, so the bids may start to get pretty high if the ROI is shown to be positive.


How does it work? Well, for all of you who understand how Google’s content targeting works, let me explain the difference with the MSN model. Google’s content targeting scans the page that the ad is being served on and figures out the contextual topic via the keywords. It matches the topic to a predetermined list of categories which are then matched to ad groups in the same way. MSN’s model is much simpler. Basically, it figures out the primary keywords on the page and then looks for ad groups that have those keywords in it. Make sure you understand this difference before you launch content on either engine.

How to sign up? One good feature of MSN content is that it’s set at the ad group level vs. the campaign level with Google. This can take more time to setup if you want all of your ad groups within a campaign to be set to content, but generally I prefer more granular controls that provide finer optimizations in the future…so setting it at the ad group level works for me.

For more info, including Tips for Success and Case Studies, check out the content advertising overview at the Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions site.

Free tool of the week: Gain insight into your competitors’ keywords

SEO Digger is one of my favorite “under the radar” sites to gain significant insight into a website’s natural rankings. It reminds me of AdGooroo, which is one of our must own tools here at Four Digital. AdGooroo allows you to load up a list of keywords with which the tool then scrapes the engines each hour and reports back what sites are coming up in the listings. SEO Digger is similar; it scrapes the engines, but instead of you defining the keyword list, SEO Digger has a list of 60 million keywords in its database that it is constantly searching for. So, if you type in a URL, you will see any of these 60 million keywords if they come up in the top 100 results in Google. Here’s an eBay search example:


It is a different tool than AdGooroo, which scrapes the engines every hour for paid and natural results using a user-inputted list of keywords. But SEO Digger can be a great way to serendipitously find keywords that you may have not even thought of. It doesn’t scrape every hour, but it is fairly up-to-date. One added benefit is that it includes Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery data as well. There is a Premium Version with more features, but I haven’t gotten into that yet. Please post a comment if you have used the Premium Version and have any feedback.

There’s some food for thought for you this week. Try out Google demo bidding and MSN content to beef up your accounts. Next week, I’ll highlight Yahoo’s Campaign Optimizer and Google’s newly updated Site and Category Exclusion tool. I’ll also show some search engines off the beaten path that can be helpful for keyword/ad group creation.

Josh Dreller is the Director of Media Technology for Fuor Digital, an agency concentrated in the research, planning, buying and stewardship of digital media marketing campaigns. Josh can be reached at The In The Trenches column appears Fridays at Search Engine Land.

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

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Microsoft: Bing Ads | Microsoft: Content Ads | Search Marketing Toolbox | Yahoo: Search Ads


About The Author: has been a search marketer since 2003 with a focus on SEM technology. As a media technologist fluent in the use of leading industry systems, Josh stays abreast of cutting edge digital marketing and measurement tools to maximize the effect of digital media on business goals. He has a deep passion to monitor the constantly evolving intersection between marketing and technology. You can follow him on Twitter at @mediatechguy.

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.

Comments are closed.


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