PPC Academy is a comprehensive, one-year search advertising course from beginning to end. Starting with the basics, PPC Academy progressively explores all of the varied facets of paid search, and the tactics needed to succeed and become an advanced paid search marketer.

PPC Academy Toolbox: Keyword Monitoring

Because we are still in the research phase of PPC development, it’s important to get a very clear understanding of the advertiser’s business online and how that will affect the way we build and manage the account. Last week, I introduced the concept of the keyword landscape, the set of keywords, ads and competitors that are relevant to your advertiser. This week, I’ll dive even deeper into the keyword landscape using advanced tools that can tell us a lot more than what last week’s quick glance revealed. Having a solid keyword monitoring tool in your SEM toolbox is absolutely cruci [...]


How Competitive Intelligence Shapes Your Keyword Landscape

Following the process laid out in this column, you will have already worked with the advertiser to set up clear goals for your PPC account. And using last week’s advertiser interview, you now know some of the key specifics such as the key dates and milestones of the program, an initial list of top terms, competitor intel and other important logistical information. It’s now time to actually start the work. Soon, you will be building your advertiser’s keyword list and writing great creative for their text ads. You will load their assets into the engine platforms and bid for positio [...]


The Advertiser Interview: How To Surface Key Goals

Last week’s lesson drove home that the most important defining factor of a new PPC account is to understand the goals of the advertiser. Whether it’s sales, leads, downloads, page views, quality traffic to the website or a combination of objectives, a clear understanding of all important goals will help drive key decisions throughout the life of the account. Now we’re at the next part of the immersion phase, which is to gather the rest of the information you will need to move on to the research and the build phases. You will probably have to talk with the advertiser, their web produ [...]


Day One Of Paid Search: Know Your Goals

Sometimes the start of a project is the hardest part. You don’t know what you don’t know. There will be questions to ask for which you may not know the answer. If you’re a beginning at search engine marketing, you may even be staring at a blank Excel sheet right now. The first question should always be: What are the goals of this account? Is it to drive product sales? Or to drive lead form completions which will be handled by local reps later? Is it highly engaged traffic that will generate multiple page views so you can sell more advertising impressions? Do you have a se [...]


The 8 Pillars Of Paid Search Success

This is the last introductory post for the PPC Academy course. We’ve covered some frequently asked questions about paid search, a brief history of the medium and some common terms to know for PPC advertising. Starting next week, we'll dive into the immersion phase of paid search and then onto the finer details of campaign management. In this post, I want to share a few of the important pillars of success before going into detail about what it takes to run a paid search account. These points are vital to the winning at PPC and will put you in the right frame of mind to excel at this impor [...]


Introducing Your Paid Search Dashboard

Today, we’re going to go under the hood and take a quick look at a search engine platform where advertisers can upload keywords and ads to start buying paid search. For the sake of practicality, we’ll be specifically looking at just the Google interface, AdWords, as it is the most widely adopted paid search platform in the industry. It wasn't the first, but it has become the standard for paid search buying and offers the most robust options for reporting, optimizing and managing accounts. And, because upwards of 70% of all paid search is bought through Google, it is almost imperative t [...]


A Paid Search Glossary

Before we really start diving into the specifics of managing a paid search account, it is important to cover some standard industry jargon. You may want to bookmark this post as a resource for any terms you may need to go back and reference. Account Terms Query: The actual input by a user into a search engine. Also called the query string (for example, when someone says "I searched for Hawaiian vacation," Hawaiian vacation is the query). The query is the most important element determining how a search engine returns a results page’s organic and paid listings. Keyword: A term o [...]


A Brief History Of Paid Search Advertising

If you’re just getting started with paid search, it’s helpful to know a bit of history of how pay-per-click advertising got started and why it has become such a major factor in the success of online marketers.


The Five Most Frequently Asked Questions About Paid Search

There are many frequently asked questions lists floating around the web for paid search. Here are the five most common questions that will help you understand this powerful advertising medium better. What's the difference between organic and paid results? On a search engine results page (SERP), the organic (also called natural) results are determined by the search engine’s algorithmic (i.e. mathematical & statistical) formulas for ranking pages. The organic results have become somewhat "sacred;" if it was ever revealed that a search engine was manually ranking pages, the perceived va [...]


Welcome To PPC Academy, A One-Year Paid Search Course

Welcome to PPC Academy. For the next year, each week this column feature a post as part of an ongoing series on the best practices of paid search; a fifty-two chapter guide from start to finish covering all of the points needed to build, steward and optimize a paid search account. Even though this is meant to be a complete manual for beginners, there will be plenty of advanced tips and tricks for search veterans. As well, even if you’ve been doing paid search for some time, you may find this weekly column to be a good refresher course. The first few posts will just focus on the basic [...]


PPC Academy: New Column From Search Engine Land

Our newest Search Engine Land column, PPC Academy, launches today. PPC Academy is a comprehensive, one-year search advertising course from beginning to end. Starting with the basics, PPC Academy progressively explores all of the varied facets of paid search, and the tactics needed to succeed and become an advanced paid search marketer. PPC Academy appears weekly at Search Engine Land. PPC Adademy is written by Josh Dreller, Vice President of Media Technology for Fuor Digital, an agency concentrated in the research, planning, buying and stewardship of digital media marketing campaigns. Jos [...]


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