How To Improve Shopping Ad Performance & Quality Score In AdWords

Google Shopping Ads By late August, Product Listing campaigns in AdWords will be retired in favor of Shopping campaigns, so if you haven’t started migrating, don’t delay much longer. You can run both campaign types start tweaking Shopping campaigns now so that they’ll be performing great by the time PLAs go away later this summer. [caption id="attachment_195905" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Screenshot from Google.com showing Shopping ads generated from Merchant Center feed data.[/caption] In my last two columns, I covered targeting Shopping ads (which is extremely different from keyword targeting) [...]


A Marketer’s Guide To Using Regular Expressions In SEO

HTTP_shutterstock Regular expressions (regex) are one of the most powerful tools we have in our SEO arsenal,  but they're incredibly intimidating! Here are some tips and tricks from one SEO to another that I hope will help you dip your toes into the powerful world of regex. I must begin with a disclaimer: I'm not a coder, a developer or a network admin. My use of regex is very entry-level, but what I'm about to share has worked well for me across a variety of platforms. I want to share three of these with you: Google Analytics, Screaming Frog and htaccess. Fundamentals Of Regular Expressions (Regex) Let's [...]


Manual Spam Action Revoked! A Case Study

road-to-recovery-featured Checklists of how to get out of a Google penalty abound. Five things you should do, five things you shouldn't do, etc. But the number one thing you shouldn't do is ignore it. I want to tell you the story of a two-year long penalty, the steps we took and how something we never thought would work… finally did. No Impact On Organic Traffic The client was a purveyor of a highly competitive retail product -- one of the top in the world, with over 10 million visits per month. Back in July 2012, the client received the first notice that there were "unnatural links pointing to the site." But the c [...]


Advanced SEO Analysis – Part 1: SEO Research & Wisdom Of The Crowd

Wisdom_of_the_Crowd A couple of years ago, I was invited to speak at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle on the topic of SEO and competitive intelligence. It is an area of SEO I'm passionate about, not only because it is one of the most difficult things in SEO to scale and do right,  but also because it is one of the foundations of a good SEO program. Before I dive into outlining one of the advanced approaches to SEO analysis that I shared at the conference, it's important to understand the genesis of the approach. Before I was building the machine-learning algorithms behind our Enterprise SEO platform, [...]


5 Not-So-Common Reconsideration Request Errors

SEO I've been struggling with a particularly difficult link cleanup project lately. On the occasion of my 100th reconsideration request (4th for this particular client), I thought it might be helpful to share five not-so-common problems that you might run into during your own link cleanup project. [Editor's note: Since this post was originally published, it's received praise from two Googlers: webmaster trends analyst John Mueller and webspam head Matt Cutts! Which just goes to show how important it is that you continue reading!] 1. Don't Block Your Pages With Robots.txt One good solution to [...]


Top 10 Search Modifiers: Why They Matter, What They Are & How To Use Them

Search Modifiers Google is working hard to improve search, and it's doing such a great job that the general public doesn't seem to be noticing. With the inclusion of personalization, localization, customization, and with the depth of data Google knows and understands about the average user, it’s easy to overlook how much goes into making a useful (intuitive) search. Especially when you factor in how little the average person understands Google, or how Google search actually works. Yet despite Google’s improvement, or perhaps because of it, people seem to be losing their ability to perform advanced s [...]


Demystifying Link Disavowals, Penalties & More

disavow-links-featured [caption id="attachment_169618" align="alignright" width="269"] Google Webmaster Hangout[/caption] Findings from a recent Google Webmaster Hangout on Air (video) demystify link disavowals, penalties and more. Read on for the official word from John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst from Google and friend to webmasters everywhere. First, Some Background Last month, I introduced Five Steps To Clean Up Your Links like A Techie. The commenters on the post had a lot of good questions, and I wanted to begin this month with a few clarifications. First, the development of that list was meant [...]


Five Steps To Clean Up Your Links Like A Techie

An Unnatural Link Warning from Google Webmaster Tools You've been in business for many years. You may have done it all on your own, or you may have enlisted the aid of unscrupulous SEO "services" to built links for you. Either way, you may be wondering whether you need to conduct a link clean up. This column contains a five-step process outlining how to determine if you have a problem, how to analyze it, and then how to clean it up. But first: Unnatural Links Warning = Problem If you get this message, you have a problem. Skip to step two. [caption id="attachment_166889" align="aligncenter" width="505"] An Unnatural Link Warning from Googl [...]


The Informational Content Advantage

You may have heard that content is king, but the truth is that informational content is king. It's estimated that approximately 50-80% of search queries are informational in nature (pdf). Most websites have very little informational content on them, preferring instead to focus on driving a conversion. These websites are missing an excellent opportunity to capture search market share. Ratios of Informational Content In previous articles, I've written about the importance of theming content -- developing a strategy that truly plays to your customers' search intent. But usually, very little [...]


How To Determine Your Mobile & Geo Bid Multipliers For Enhanced Campaigns

As every search marketer should be aware by now, AdWords enhanced campaigns now allow you to set campaign-level bid multipliers for your mobile impressions, and also by geo. While mobile bid multipliers seem to be more of a step backward compared to mobile targeted campaigns, geo bid multipliers are actually a nice feature and definitely a step forward in terms of control and transparency. Anyway, this post is about helping search marketers determine those mobile and geo bid multipliers based on historical data. 1. Pulling The Data From AdWords In AdWords, first go to the ‘Dimensions [...]


How To Use Regression Analysis To Estimate Incremental Revenue Opportunities

My previous article was about estimating the potential for growth for those paid search campaigns capped due to insufficient budget. This was definitely the easy part since the logic behind the assumptions involved in the calculation was fairly simple. Now, we can address those paid search campaigns capped due to insufficient rank – and there are going to be more assumptions involved since all metrics are going to be impacted: the rank obviously, then the CTR, CPC, and pretty much everything else as a result. This article goes beyond impression share (IS) analysis and is actually mostl [...]


6 Advanced Strategies For Optimizing PLA Campaigns

In January, Marin Software released a study on Google’s 2012 transition from Google Product Search to the commercial, “pay-to-play” model built on Product Listing Ads. When this enhanced shopping experience was first announced in May of 2012, online retailers reacted with both praise and criticism. However, since the transition, PLA campaigns have performed with a great deal of success. In fact, by the end of December 2012, the share of spend on PLA campaigns had increased 600% compared to January. More importantly, during the fourth quarter of 2012, as holiday shoppers searched and p [...]


How Leveraging Data Quality In Google Shopping Can Increase Product Sales

I'm sure many of you are aware that Ad Rank in Google AdWords is derived from the price you are willing to pay (bid price) multiplied by relevance (Quality Score), along with other factors. This is an extremely profitable model for Google as the majority of its income is derived from advertising revenue. Since Google has a history of applying successful strategies to solve different problems, the use of Paid Inclusion was not unexpected when it introduced Google Shopping and Product Listing Ads (PLA). Retailers advertising in Google Shopping should know the definition of Google Product R [...]


How To Estimate Incremental Revenue Opportunities With Impression Share Data

When looking for opportunities for growth, most search marketers try to find ways to estimate how much they can scale up their paid search effort, and what would be the impact on ad spend, revenue volume, and efficiency. There are lots of different ways to go about this – one way I’d like to cover in this post is to leverage impression share data. We’ll see how to aggregate and dig into impression share data, and how to estimate incremental revenue opportunities based on those impressions missed due to insufficient budget. Due to the length of this post, I thought I’d cover those im [...]


How To Easily Manage & Test Millions Of Ads

You must test ads to make your paid search account grow and thrive. That fact is no longer debatable – it is just a best practice fact. Ad testing in small accounts is very easy as there are not thousands of ad group or hundreds of thousands of ads to track. However, in large accounts, ad testing is often not done well. In today’s column, we’ll examine the most common testing techniques and why they are rarely successful, and then address how to test ads across large accounts. Common Testing Techniques For Large Accounts One of the most common is to create lots of ads. Turn on ‘op [...]


How To Turn (Not Provided) Into Useful, Actionable Data

We've all seen it, lurking in our Analytics reports, nearly always at the top, sucking a huge chunk of data into a black hole of uncertainty and uselessness. Not provided was predicted as having a single-digit impact on sites. In my research, I've found it to have upwards of a 40% impact, especially on smaller traffic sites. In conversations with clients, and looking at my own sites, I knew the numbers had to be better – but what do you tell a client when chunks of data, in some cases over 30%, are attributed to (not provided) instead of the keywords you've given time, attention and te [...]


Advanced Excel For PPC: How To Work With Match Types Using VBA Code

When working with AdWords Keyword reports downloaded from the Web interface, you may come across Keywords with their Match Types signified by special punctuation, rather than a separate column indicating Match Type. In this post, we will use some Excel VBA code that will help us work back and forth between this format and the regular, two column format recognized by AdWords Editor. As an example, we can add all of our existing broad match keywords as exact match so we can refine our bidding control on them. Let's get started. This posting format originated as a means of uploading keyword [...]


Are You Using Gap Analysis For Multinational Linkbuilding?

local-links-panda-penguin-featured Linkbuilding still lies at the core of any successful SEO campaign. Indeed, campaigns at the very top end in the most competitive verticals are all about the effectiveness of their linkbuilding strategy. When you look at delivering significant returns across a range of countries, this truism is even more pronounced: despite all the advances in SEO strategy over the years, without a killer linkbuilding strategy you won't compete at the very top level.   Achieve Lasting Link Value The guts of a solid strategy, for me, revolve around achieving excellence in two areas of your linkbuil [...]


3 Tips To Manage Complex Paid Search Programs

When you are managing hundreds of ad groups, it’s easy to neglect certain details; however, the diamonds in the rough can often only be found through account deep-dives. Thus, I’m always looking for the next tip or tool that could speed up and make more efficient my management of large, complex AdWords accounts. Below I provide 3 proven tricks that make managing large, complex programs much easier: Bulk changes to local business listings AdWords labels Automated rules Examples and step-by-step implementation steps are given as well. Bulk Changes To Local Business Listings D [...]


A Beyond Average Look At Search Ad Position

Among the scores of data points search marketers have at their disposal, perhaps no other metric is as shrouded by mythology and misconception as ad position. Despite careful studies showing, including one by RKG in 2006, and confirmation by Google in 2009 that conversion performance doesn't vary much by position, you will still hear pronouncements, even among enterprise level practitioners, that some specific position on the page generates exceptional performance. This piece is not meant to rehash that argument, per se. Instead, we'll examine how attributes of the current ad auction in [...]


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