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, The Ultimate Guide to Search Marketing Optimization Part 3 – Self-Service SEM Optimization Class, The Top Marketing Words of All Time, and this week’s free tips and tools.
News from the search engines
Google AdWords: See account changes mapped to performance statistics. I noticed this listed as a feature change from April so I thought I would share this nice tip when using the My Change History tool.
In addition to listing the changes made in your account, the My Change History tool shows these events mapped to a chart of your account’s impressions, clicks, conversions, click through rate (CTR), or cost. Having all this information in one place can help you spot any impact account adjustments have on performance.
You can learn more at the Google AdWords help page on this subject, but one of the more helpful features is that the system will flag “significant changes” in the account based on the metric that you’re viewing. Here’s more on this:
View flagged days: If there’s a significant change to the metric displayed in your chart, and if an event happened that day or the day before, the day will be flagged on the chart. Flagged days, therefore, may change depending on your selected metric. Here’s an example: Say your chart shows a spike in impressions on June 6. The My Change History tool will see if any changes were made in your account on June 6 or June 5, and will flag one or both of those days accordingly.
If you click a flag, the My Change History results below the chart will reload, showing only the events that happened that day. Click Show all changes to see all events again. Note that the flags are numbered, and correspond to the list of dates to the side of the chart. This list shows the number of events that occurred on each date. Click Scroll up and Scroll down if you can’t see all the dates at once.
Yahoo Search Marketing: New Ad Performance Report features. According to theYSM! blog, three new columns have been added to this important report.
- Ad ID column – This column displays your ad’s ID number
- Ad: – This column provides a visual representation of your ad, including its title, short description, and display URL
- Destination URL
The YSM blog states:
These enhancements can give you more insight, control and better transparency into how well your ads are doing. The new columns let you view ad content and ad performance together, plus you can see how each live ad is performing in relation to other ads in your portfolio. Or you might want to gauge the impact of changing your ad copy or destination URL.
Tiny, but valuable addition. Good job, Yahoo! Glad to see the tech/product teams are continuing to push while the businessmen continue to talk. Good lesson for everyone – no matter what’s going on with your company from a business perspective, keep putting out good work. Besides the new columns, there’s also addition to the status column which I’ll detail next week.
Microsoft: Ad Position Best Practices for PPC Well, my new favorite Microsoftie, Shefali Singla, has another great post at the adCenter Community Site. This time it’s a guide on ad position, and she starts off with a great explanation on how Microsoft determines ad position and the value of getting high positions. She also has a great section on improving relevancy, including some of the following tips:
- Use power terms that are not superlatives (because superlatives will not meet editorial guidelines) such as hot, excellent, leading, wholesale, huge, etc
- Use parameters to dynamically insert keywords. (Wish all engines had this really great feature.)
- Make sure that your ad copy is aligned to the stage of the purchase cycle.
I urge you to read the entire entry and then post back some comments as well.
In depth: The Ultimate Guide to Search Marketing Optimization Part 3 – Self-Service SEM Optimization Class
So, Part 1 and Part 2 of this series has had some straightforward advice. Optimization is so key to what we do. In fact, as my agency’s parent company is a traditional marketing firm, I am constantly relaying the differences to my offline partners and one of the biggest differentiators I list is optimization. In offline, the main work is done BEFORE a campaign starts…planning, buying, trafficking, etc. In online (and especially in SEM), the “easy” part is the upload. The majority of the work is tracking, reporting, managing, and optimizing. If you don’t optimize, you won’t get good results. In fact, you could end up completely wasting your budget.
Obviously, paid search optimization is a huge subject that could take weeks and weeks to fully cover. However, I’ve put together a list of links that make up a pretty good range of knowledge on this subject. If you go through all of these valuable resources, you’ll be a first class SEM optimizer by the time you’re through.
Semester 1: Google AdWords Help Center
Choosing successful keywords
- How do I build a more effective keyword list?
- What are the steps to creating a keyword list?
- Where can I find keyword ideas?
- Tool: Traffic Estimator
- Will Google search rules affect my keyword choices?
- Lesson: Selecting Keywords
Creating targeted ads
- How do I make my ad text bold?
- How do I optimize my ad text?
- How can I optimize my ads to take advantage of contextual advertising?
- Lesson: Writing Targeted Ad Text
- How do I optimize my account for search?
- Lesson: Choosing Landing Pages
- How can I experiment with different ad texts without affecting my ad ranking?
Optimizing your account
- How can I improve my campaign performance?
- Is regional or customized targeting appropriate for me?
- Tips for Success on the Content Network
- How do I bid strategically to maximize my ROI?
- How can I improve my ROI?
- Optimization Tips
- What does it mean to optimize my account?
- I need help improving my account performance. What can I do?
- With my current campaign settings, where can my ads appear?
Semester 2: Yahoo Search Marketing Help Center
Improving your results
- Overview: Improving Your Results – Business Objective-Based
- Generating Sales
- Generating Leads
- Generating Traffic
- Generating Local Business
Improving your results – Industry-Based
Improving your results – Site-Based
Semester 3: Microsoft adExcellence Training Center (flash files)
- Campaign Optimization
- Ad Optimization Best Practices
- Ad Copy Best Practices
- Dynamic Text Best Practices
- Quality Advertising Experiences
That should be enough to get you started…next week, in Part 4, I’ll examine ten tools on and off the engines that will help you with optimization.
Free resource of the week: The Top Marketing Words of All Time
This is a page I’ve had bookmarked for quite a while and maintained by Nicholas Longo. It’s really a great resource (thanks, Nicholas!) and has “300+ marketing words and counting” that he’s collected in his twenty years of marketing. There are some good ideas here and I’m always referring to it when developing SEM creative. He states, “It’s nice to reference to if you need some help coming up with a witty one liner, slogan, or product description.” I agree.
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.