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: News from the search engines, today’s in-depth look, “Google Tools, Part 4,” and this week’s free tips and tools.

News from the search engines

Google AdWords: There was an interesting mention in the Inside Google AdWords Blog about the Content Network microsite. I hadn’t visited it before so I took some time to check it out and see what it has to offer. Google Content can be one of the more complicated products to explain to clients as, yes, it does come from search engine giant Google, but is not a search triggered tool. The microsite is very low key and does have some good diagrams explaining what Content is, how it works, and how it is used.

The blog specifically mentioned the Partners Page, which has been redesigned “to include a more comprehensive set of examples of where your ads can appear. After all, the content network is comprised of hundreds of thousands of web sites, from information and news sites like About.com and the New York Times, to blogs like Ask the Builder. And while it’s not possible to individually name all the sites in the content network, the revamped Partners page is meant to better demonstrate the variety of sites available. Sites are organized by category. This will help you browse sites by categories that represent your target audience, such as Finance, News, Entertainment, Technology, etc. For example, if you sell herbal teas, you might browse through the Health & Fitness or Home & Garden categories to see examples of related sites. Or, if your target demographic is female, you can try the Women’s Interest category.

Yahoo Search Marketing: Writing this column each week has really pushed me to uncover resources that I never paid attention to before. I found a good example of this on the YSM blog’s article Improving Your Ad Copy. The author refers to one of last year’s new features as the “whatchamacallit, for lack of a better term, that shows you live ads that use your selected keyword(s). By offering this real-time information, this feature can help you write more effective ads, helping you improve your Quality Index score.”

Basically, this is a competitive analysis tool that lets you see other advertisers’ ads for the same keywords in your account. To use this tool, go into your account to “Create New Ad” or the “edit” button for an existing ad. You’ll get a pop up from which you can scroll through ads for the keywords in that group. This is a very helpful way to see what your competitors are doing and possibly set your ads apart from the pack so they stand out.

In depth: Google tools (finale), part 4

In today’s column, I finish up the four part series highlighting the features of the Google AdWords Tools section. These are really great tools and SEM pros need to know not only that they exist, but the advanced ins and outs of them in order to maximize their effectiveness. You can find the previous columns here:

Tool #8 – Ads Diagnostic Tool. Are your ads showing for a particular search? Find out here. This tool is very straightforward. If you are not seeing an ad on a Search Engine Result Page in which you think you should be on, you can input your keyword or even the SERP URL and this tool will let you know the reason why your ad isn’t showing. Some of these reasons include ad and keyword approval status, cost-per-click (CPC) and budget price settings, ad and keyword performance, ranking status, geo-targeting settings, etc.

Tool #9 – Ads Preview Tool. See your ad on Google without accruing extra impressions, and preview your ad as it appears to users in other geographic locations. So, not only is this tool great for making sure your ad is appearing correctly online, but, by not accruing unclicked impressions, you don’t ruin your Quality Score. I find this tool most helpful with local campaigns. For example, we’re located in Chicago, so there’s no way for me to see an ad geotargeted to Los Angeles, right? That’s where this tool comes into play, as you can see SERPS from locations outside of your area.

Tip: to see ads outside your location for Yahoo, you can set your location on the Yahoo home page in their weather tool. Then, when you do a search, the system thinks you’re in that area.

Tool #10 – Disapproved Ads. Find out which ads have been disapproved and why. Obviously, no one wants to log in to their account and get hit with a bunch of pink boxes that tell you your account has issues. This tool lets you immediately get to the bottom of disapproved ads so that you can fix them. Ads may be disapproved for various reasons, including “misspellings, inappropriate content, unacceptable phrases like ‘Click here,’ or other details which can make ads confusing, offensive, or ineffective.”

Tool #11 – Conversion Tracking. It’s time to make your campaign more efficient and improve your ROI. Learn which ads are the best at helping you reach your goals. I’ll be detailing this tool in next week’s column along with Yahoo’s and Microsoft’s conversion tracking tools, so no need to go into detail on this right now.

Tool #12 – My Change History. Browse changes you’ve made to your account since January 1, 2006.

Google - My Change History

This is a lifesaver tool and I know some of the SEM pros out there can vouch for that. There are bound to be many hands in your SEM accounts and sometimes mistakes are made. As well, sometimes it’s helpful to go back into an account’s history to see what bids or budgets were set at a particular date range to better comprehend the results you see in a report. Changes you can see in your account are:

  • All: Made any changes to the account, including all the changes mentioned below

  • Ad: Created, edited, paused, unpaused, or deleted an ad
  • Budget: Changed a budget
  • CPC: Increased or decreased a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bid
  • Distribution: Opted a campaign into or out of Google, the search network, or the content network
  • Keyword: Added, paused, unpaused, or deleted a keyword, or changed a keyword-level maximum cost-per-click (CPC)
  • Bid or destination URL
  • Status: Paused, unpaused, deleted, or undeleted a campaign or ad group
  • Targeting: Adjusted a campaign’s location or language targeting

The two remaining tools, the Website Optimizer and the AdWords Editor, require devoted articles as they are fully featured platforms themselves. I will be going into more detail about these two tools in columns later this year.

Free tool of the week: Quintura’s Search Cloud

quintura.jpg

Quintara’s search engine has been available for awhile, but I still find many folks that haven’t heard of them or used the tool. The search engine itself is no better or worse than the thousands of search engines out there, but it does have a very useful feature that allows you to “drill down” into search results. So, from the image above, you’ll see the results are listed like a normal search engine down the right, but it’s the cloud in the left that is the main jumping point. The cloud groups results are split into topical categories which can be clicked so that you can drill down to subtopics. It’s a very useful way to brainstorm keyword and ad group ideas. In the example above, I’ve searched on the term “MBA” and Quintura has given me some very high level categories in which to research.

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 jdreller@fuor.net. 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.

Related Topics: Channel: Search Marketing | Search Marketing Toolbox

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About The Author: has been a search marketer since 2003 with a focus on SEM technology. As a media technologist fluent in the use of leading industry systems, Josh stays abreast of cutting edge digital marketing and measurement tools to maximize the effect of digital media on business goals. He has a deep passion to monitor the constantly evolving intersection between marketing and technology. You can follow him on Twitter at @mediatechguy.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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