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Analytics Matched Search Queries Vs. AdWords Keyword Details Report

A question recently came across my desk regarding the use of the Matched Search Queries Report in Analytics when compared to the Keyword Details Report in AdWords. The inquirer was interested in the benefits or drawbacks to both reports, also asking if they were interchangeable. I figured this was a great question to answer in the Search & Analytics field, so I'll do my best to define and give my opinion regarding the pros, cons and interchangeability of these two complex reports. First, we need to understand what each report provides data-wise. Let's take a look at the basic data av [...]

7 Secrets For Dealing With Quality Score

I’m back to writing my own controversial thoughts this month; although, if you didn’t check out the interview I did last month with Andrew Goodman and Matt van Wagner, you should, those are smart guys. Since I was thinking about PPC and how incredibly mixed up and difficult it has become, it seemed like a good time to write about it. My team and I are trying to figure out ways to look at PPC campaigns differently, finding a way to automate some of the grunt work while still delivering great campaigns. I know everyone and their brother has done this, but we’re convinced we can do it [...]

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 Look For Trouble & Find Opportunity In PPC Campaigns

As I start each day managing our PPC accounts, the same two questions always come to mind: "What problems do we have to address right away?" and "Where can we find more opportunities?" The more quickly I can get a handle on these two questions, the more quickly I can take appropriate actions. That’s why I love all the visual trend line graphs available in Google AdWords, Microsoft AdCenter and other paid search analytics tools. With a quick glance, well-trained eyes, and the same sense of investigative curiosity that we see every night in crime and courtroom TV programs, I can quickly [...]

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 [...]

How To Find Success With Google’s Display Network

Google’s display network is massive, encompassing more than 4 billion daily page views, 700 million monthly users, and reaching more than 80% of the online audience. Yet, with all this inventory, many marketers fail with display marketing. The major reasons are they either are trying to reach the incorrect goals or they don’t understand how all the targeting options work. In this article, I’m going to walk through how to get started with display advertising so you can avoid some of the most common mistakes that cause marketers to fail with the network. Display Keywords Most ma [...]

The Difference In Keyword Research For SEO vs. PPC

keywords-featured Often when I complete a keyword research project for a client, they ask me about keywords I may not have included, or they want to know what the relative competition on the keywords looks like. This happens often enough that I thought I would remind everyone that while research for SEO and PPC can go hand in hand, they’re actually very different. First, think about what your goals are with each medium. What are you trying to do, and what constitutes success in that area? Next, think about how the keywords will be used. Where, when, how often? Finally, consider what your margin for erro [...]

How To Manage & Measure Local PPC Accounts

In my last column, I looked at some of the differences between small and large accounts as the best practices vary for each. In this column, we’re going to specifically focus on one of the most common small accounts: local accounts; and examine some of the best practices for this type of small account. A local account is where there is a limited geographic area being served. When you combine a limited geographic reach with a small budget, you often run into problems trying to balance spending the budget on highly relevant keywords while getting a high enough return for the budget so th [...]

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 [...]

Head vs. Tail – How To Shift Your Priorities For Each Type Of Account

"There aren’t enough hours in a day" is an old – but true – refrain about the nature of an SEM’s job. The list of things we could be doing in any given day to optimize accounts is a daunting one. Agreed? Fantastic. As long as we’re on the same page, and already slinging the clichés, this post will help you "work smarter, not harder" by helping you identify where your accounts lie on the head-tail spectrum – and how to use that knowledge to prioritize tasks like ad testing, keyword optimization, negative keywords, and more. First: Identify If Your Accounts Skew Towards ‘Head [...]

Ideas To Cover Your Entire Inventory In Paid Search

While it might be the simplest way to drive more impressions, any savvy search marketer (and particularly those in the retail sector) in should be aware that leveraging broad match type is far from the only possibility to scale your PPC program. There are plenty of other options out there –I’ll try to cover just a few of them in this post. 1. Leverage All Match Types In a previous article, I analyzed AdWord’s new exact and phrase matching behavior and found that those new "plurals, misspellings and other close variants" were beneficial overall, with a 4% lift in clicks on average with [...]

Three Free Keyword Research Tools

One of the hardest things to do in keyword research is to uncover related keywords. With that in mind, the tools I’m reviewing today all help identify related keywords that you may want to search in more detail. These tools are not a substitute for detailed keyword research like I talked about in my first series of articles. Rather, they may help to either identify those keywords that are most important to your competitors, or help find obscure opportunities where there may be little search volume, but there is also little competition. All of the tools I reviewed for this article are [...]

Why You’re Paying More For Your Brand Terms On Yahoo

Yahoo has suffered through its fair share of turmoil over the last few years: a revolving door of CEOs, significant layoffs, investor revolts, and a declining share of the search space, both paid and organic. One recent bright spot for Yahoo was their first year over year growth in search revenues after traffic acquisition costs (ex-TAC)  since their alliance with Microsoft in the fourth quarter of 2010. In fact, before last quarter, Yahoo hadn't shown Y/Y growth in search revenue ex-TAC since they began reporting it in 2009. Not too shabby then, and Yahoo's results were generally well [...]

10 Great Adwords Options For Boosting Conversions

We all know that Adwords is the most used system in the world to drive paid traffic to websites. The Adwords system is an extensive system with a lot of complex options to optimize campaigns and increase conversions. Advanced PPC managers should already know all of these features, but beginners and intermediate level Adwords users can definitely get some new inspiration and ideas from this list to boost up performance. In this article, I will highlight 10 features that I love and frequently use. 1.  Adwords Keyword Tool The Keyword Tool is a great starting point when starting a new Adwo [...]

The Complete Guide To Bidding On Competitor Brand Names & Trademarked Terms


It’s been long known in the industry that brand term keywords garner a much higher click-through-rate. As a result, marketers often start by bidding on their own brand terms.

How To Develop A Keyword Plan

Since last time, you've been busy growing your keyword seeds into little seedlings, using those handy Excel tricks I wrote about. You've likely got thousands of keywords now, and may have no idea what to do next. If you’ll forgive me, I’ll continue the planting analogy for categorizing and mapping keywords. It seems appropriate, with spring upon us. You’ve found your seeds, planted them in little cups, and gotten seedlings from them. Now it’s time to plant them in the garden and watch them grow. But just as you shouldn’t drop a bunch of seedlings into the ground in no particula [...]

Getting Started With Microsoft Advertising Intelligence

Microsoft Advertising Intelligence (MAI) is one of the SEM tools most Advertisers don't even know they wish they had. MAI provides API access to keyword extraction and generation, and historical and forecast metrics, all wrapped in a softward add-in that integrates with Excel. It is in some ways better than AdWords' equivalent tools, and the Excel integration and wizard workflow are unlike anything AdWords makes available. The adCenter team invited me to help them announce their recent innovations at Search Engine Strategies New York last week. I was somewhat surprised to learn that [...]

Tips For Growing Keyword Seeds With Excel Formulas

Have your seeds germinated yet? Last time, we talked about keywords as "seeds" of ideas; a single keyword to represent an entire keyword cluster. Now it’s time to make our seeds grow. [caption id="attachment_114848" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Germinating your Keyword Seeds"][/caption] Using the example of Artisan Construction Services again (thanks!), we’ll walk through the process that I use to grow a single seed. In this case, let’s use "deck". To begin with, I want to think of the types of decks my client might build: Composite Wood PVC Hardwood Ceda [...]

How To Run Your PPC Accounts Like A Project

Managing PPC accounts can be overwhelming. There is so much to-do, and no one ever has enough time. This leads most people to just make huge todo lists of items they either should be doing, or want to eventually do inside their account. The problem with to-do lists is that they are easy to ignore. There are still items on my to-do list from last decade. Of course, I don’t delete them as someday, I might get to them. We all know that’s not true – but we keep telling ourselves it could happen. When your PPC accounts are run like to-do lists what happens is that every few weeks, you sc [...]

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