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: Search engine accreditation programs, today’s in-depth look, “Google Tools, Part 2,” and this week’s free tips and tools.
Search engine accreditation programs
Normally, this section of In The Trenches relays news and announcements from the major search engines. However, I’m going to take a departure from that this week. There’s not much news right now so I thought it would be interesting to take a brief look at the accreditation programs of the big 3. If you’re an SEM pro, you should have at least one, if not all of these accreditations under your belt.
Each of the programs require a fee and a passing grade of their online tests. At the very least, you’ll get a link that you can attach to a “seal” image which, when clicked, brings users to a page that confirms your accreditation. However, each program is different and has different benefits. I’ve outlined some of those perks below.
Google Advertising Professionals Program
Some of the benefits in being a Google AdWords Qualified Professional are:
- My Client Center: This account helps you manage multiple AdWords accounts more efficiently.
- Training: Access the Learning Center which provides text and interactive lessons chock-full of up-to-date information.
- Promotional credits: Receive up to 60 credits, each worth a specified amount of free AdWords advertising, to help bring in new business.
- Program features: Get tools that will help you become more marketable, such as a customizable presentation and industry-specific documents.
- Google’s name recognition: Become Qualified, and receive the Google Advertising Professional Logo, a Professional Status page, and more to show off your expertise. Here’s my link in case you wanted to see what it looks like.
Check out the official Google help section for more info.
Yahoo Search Marketing Ambassador
Yahoo’s benefit’s list:
- Build on your expertise with comprehensive web-based training and resources enabling you to better serve your clients.
- Receive credibility and competitive advantage that comes with professional recognition from Yahoo! Search Marketing.
- Promote your expertise by using the official Yahoo! Search Marketing Ambassador logo on your site and in your marketing materials.
- Attract new clients with promotional credits and customizable marketing materials.
- Receive access to API tools to help you to sign up and manage client accounts more efficiently.
- Get financial rewards for each new account signed up.
Microsoft adExcellence Membership
Benefits explained: “Microsoft adExcellence will give you the training and resources you need to become an expert and get the most out of adCenter. Upon earning Microsoft adExcellence Member status, you will receive an official Member logo and will be listed in our Membership Directory. The adExcellence logo makes it easy for others to recognize you as an adCenter expert. As the program evolves, we plan on providing our Members with added resources and incentives.”
In depth: “Google Tools, Part 2″
I started this topic in last week’s column, and it will take a me a few more weeks to go through each of the valuable tools found in the Google TOOLS MENU. However, as I stated last week, this is an important grouping of tools that are vital to every SEM pro, as AdWords is guaranteed to be in almost 100% of every Search Marketing pro’s portfolio. Google updates these tools on occasion, so even if you’ve used these tools in the past, I would go through them again to make sure that you’re up-to-date.
Google tool #2: keyword tool
Use this tool to build a master list of new keywords for your ad groups and review detailed keyword performance statistics like advertiser competition and search volume.
I would think this would be the highest trafficked tool within AdWords. Unless you pay for professional services such as Wordtracker or Keyword Discovery, the Google Keyword tool is certainly one of the best spots to beef up your keyword lists quickly. It’s easy. Paste in a keyword (or keywords) and click “Get Keyword Ideas.” Not only does the tool provide a variety of relevant words and phrases, it also provides a ton of value by giving you insights into what kind of CPCs/ad positions, amount of volume, advertising competition, etc.
Below is a screen shot when I input the term “used cars” (with a $5 max bid):
Here are tips Google offers to really get the most out of the tool:
Find keywords based on your site content. Instead of entering your own keywords, try using the Website Content option. It lets you enter the URL of your business website, or of any site related to your business. The AdWords system will then scan your page and then suggest relevant keywords. (This feature is available only in some languages.) Don’t hesitate to enter the URLs of related sites, or even of your competitors’ sites, to learn what keywords they might be advertising on themselves.
Create new, separate ad groups with similar keywords. We recommend creating several ad groups in each campaign, each with a small, narrowly-focused set of similar keywords. Use the Keyword Tool to discover relevant keywords, then divide them into lists of 5 to 20 similar terms. See examples of ad groups promoting a single product or service and multiple products or services.
Identify negative keywords. The Keyword Tool can show you off-topic keywords that users may be thinking about. Suppose you sell cut flowers and you give the Keyword Tool the keyword “flowers.” It may suggest the related term “gardens,” and you may want to add that term to your ad group as a negative keyword. That will keep your ad from showing on searches for “flower gardens” or similar terms. This helps make sure only interested customers see your ads.
Find synonyms – or not. The Use synonyms box in the Descriptive words or phrases option is always checked by default. (This means it might suggest “bed and breakfast” as a synonym for the keyword “hotel.”) If you uncheck the box, the tool will suggest only keywords that contain at least one of the terms that you entered.
Specify a language and location. If you’re using the Keyword Tool while signed in to your account, you may see an option to tailor results to a particular location and language. If you happen to be targeting Spanish speakers who live in France, make sure you set the Keyword Tool to that language and location.
Start broad and then get specific. Try broad terms like “flowers” in the Keyword Tool first. Then try specific terms like “red roses” or “miniature cactus.”
Google tool #3: edit campaign negative keywords
Now you can manage your negative keywords–which help you reduce wasted clicks–at the campaign level.
Negative keywords are a core component of a successful keyword list. A well-targeted keyword list can help lower advertising costs and ensure targeted visits to your website. This tool lets you go quickly through your ad groups/campaigns to either add or take out negative words. The CLEAN SWEEP function lets you take ad group level negative terms and add them to the campaign level.
Free tool of the week: Visual map of website links
When researching a new client in order to start the keyword generation process, it’s important to know where their website fits into the “online discussion.” Looking at the sites their site links to provides a window into this understanding. Walk2Web.com is a free tool that provides a visual “map” into the links on a page and you can follow them through the web and actually “walk” from site to site. Keyword rich pages and meta-tags are great sources of keyword ideas and Walk2Web helps you quickly identify important sites to check out.
Free download of the week: Inside the mind of the searcher
Go to the bottom of Enquiro’s download page (which is chock-full of really amazing reports) and download this insightful profile into the mind of a search user. It requires you to input your name and email address, but it’s worth it. “Prepared by” Gord Hotchkiss (a true thought leader in search marketing), this is not a brief fluff piece, but rather an in-depth, numbers driven report that is well worth your time. Enjoy!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.