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 crucial for proper PPC management. Remember, paid search operates in a constantly evolving environment. For the most part, it’s auction based, so knowing who else is bidding on your terms, how often, with what messages and how their ad/landing pages combinations work together can be some of the most important intelligence you gather for the successful management of your account. Some keyword landscapes involve literally millions of keywords and dozens of competitors. Without a good piece of software working for you to track all of these variables, you could be missing valuable optimization opportunities.
Some of these tools include (and there are others—please list your favorites in the comments below):
(As a side note, even though we’re talking about paid search, these tools generally track organic terms as well.)
Although these tools differ in terms of interface, feature list, methodology, etc, here’s an example of some of the important research you can get from a keyword monitoring solution:
More accurate average position rankings on your terms. For those of you who are thinking: “Why do I need to shell out good money on a tool when I can just go to Google myself and see where I rank?” I’m sorry to disappoint you, but the search engine results pages (SERPs) you see when you search may be (and most likely are) dramatically different than what someone else in another location at another time sees. Google is smart. They know relevance is the key to great search results and are tailoring each SERP on the fly for every query. A searcher’s geolocation, time of day/day of week, previous search habits, previous click habits, context of your most recent searches, etc. may influence where your paid search listings may show.
Keyword monitoring tools track engines at multiple locations across all times of the day so your average position is calculated in aggregate. This blended metric is much more accurate than your own searches from the same browser in one location.
Here’s a screenshot from Keyword Competitor that shows how what a gift basket advertiser would see when tracking average positions from their keyword list:
Competitor data. Besides metrics on your own keywords, the other main benefit to keyword monitoring tools is that they will start tracking other advertisers that are bidding on the same terms. Here’s a screenshot from AdGooroo’s SEM Insight tool, that paints a very robust story on how two advertisers match up with PPC:
Competitor ad copy. Not only will the tools tell you who your competitors are, but they will also capture the actual ads they use. This will help you develop messaging for your account by seeing what could be working for other companies. You may even find it useful to take a completely opposite direction so that you stick out on the page. For price-sensitive retailers, some of these tools offer alerts so you’ll know when a new ad has entered your landscape in case you need to react quickly with your own competitive offers.
Below is a screenshot from The Search Monitor’s Competitive Monitor tool:
Keyword monitoring tools have many other helpful features such as monitoring your trademark terms in the search engines or uncovering new keywords from your competitors. They may even offer intelligent suggestions and optimization ideas. You should definitely check out all of the options before you subscribe and make sure you know what you’re getting into before signing on the dotted line.
This week’s question: “What are some other keyword monitoring tools on the market?”
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