Tom Demers's blog
If you’re managing pay-per-click campaigns, the Google AdWords Editor is a really handy (but fundamentally limited) free tool provided by Google to help you with certain PPC tasks. It’s a free, desktop-based application, currently in the 10th version of the tool (check out the changelog here and get the application itself here).
To help you get the most out of Google's AdWord Editor, it’s important to understand what the tool is and what it isn’t.AdWords Editor is a free resource provided by Google that can help you with several bulk editing tasks within your AdWords campaigns, such as:Raising or lowering bids on a number of different keywordsCopying large sections of your campaigns and then tweaking certain areas (moving a list of keywords, a set of ad text, etc.)Changing keyword m... > Read more
Google AdWords remarketing (and really remarketing in general) is a hot trend in the world of pay-per-click marketing. Remarketing is basically a way of getting your message in front of people who have visited your site in the recent past – you’ve no doubt seen a site you recently visited “following you around” via advertisements.
And if you’re a paid search manager, you’ve likely set up a slew of remarketing campaigns in the last few months, many times at the specific request of the client, but there are still PPC advertisers who are either just getting their remarketing campaigns started or are still considering how much value there would be in a remarketing campaign.In this post we’ll cover three important things to consider as you get your first remarketing campaigns up an... > Read more
The first question you should ask yourself if you’re looking for a Google Analytics alternative is, of course: why? There are a few key classes of reasons you might be unsatisfied with and want to find an alternative to Google Analytics: Attribution Troubleshooting Real-Time Analytics Paranoia In this post we’ll walk through why you might be interested in any of the previous incentives to find a Google Analytics alternatives, as well as providing at least one possible free to cheap solution.
1. Google Analytics Alternatives for Attribution Typically the problem here is one you’ll want to solve with a system that’s significantly more expensive and more full-featured than Google Analytics, which is free. SEO Moz had a nice run-down of alternati... > Read more
In a few recent posts on how to get more volume on the content network and on getting more leads from PPC, we talked about leveraging the content network to expand AdWords campaigns and attract more prospects via PPC. Most advertisers know how to get started with Google’s search network, and even with creating specific content network campaigns, but an area that often trips up advertisers – particularly new advertisers or those who are looking to expand beyond their initial structures – is building out “display” campaigns using Google AdWords, or creating banner ads for display on the content network.
Many times the stumbling block here is more around designing the creative (banner ads) than around the mechanics of creating a structure for your content network... > Read more
For my money one of the trickier aspects of PPC management is the first few weeks of a new account, campaign, ad group, or product line. Many paid search practitioners (myself included) take a very data-driven approach to managing PPC accounts, so starting from scratch can be a little off-putting, particularly if things don’t get going out of the gate the way you’d hoped and planned.
In this post we’ll outline a few common early issues with new paid search campaigns and how to respond to them so that whatever accounts, campaigns, or ad groups you’re launching can bounce back quickly. Two Common Problems with New PPC Campaigns New campaigns often suffer from similar issues to existing campaigns, but I find two major issues frequently plague new PPC campaigns unexpect... > Read more
One of the most important pieces in mapping out any SEO project is determining which keywords to target and how. There are a lot of great processes for this, but one thing that’s highly valuable as you research keywords is an ability to go beyond the rough estimates keyword tools give you to get at a more precise estimation of how much traffic you can expect from various keywords each month.
This information allows you to:Prioritize one basket of keywords over anotherMake rough projections around how many leads and sales you can expect based on historical conversion dataDetermine, based on a keyword’s competitiveness as well as how much traffic it will drive, if it’s worth your effort.In this post we’ll walk through a couple of quick and easy ways to get at your keywords’ organic... > Read more
Sometimes as a paid search campaign manager, you get to a point with a campaign where you’ve done a really strong job with all of your standard “blocking and tackling.” You’re managing bids efficiently, your campaign structure is solid, you’ve effectively refined your match type strategy, you’ve done a thorough job of researching keywords, and you’ve put in place processes to consistently mine search queries and optimize ad text and landing pages.
Frequently, a logical next step is to look to drive more leads by expanding to new keywords and new campaigns. But the reality is that in a lot of niches, you’ll wind up driving a lot of your account’s volume (and spending a lot of your cost) on your biggest campaign or couple of campaigns, even after you’ve exhausted several e... > Read more
Google has made a series of changes to the way ad text is served and displayed recently, and it’s important to follow how they’re displaying ad copy and what level of control you have. Towards that end, they recently announced that display URLs domains will be included in headlines, stating that: …starting today, we’ll automatically show your display URL domain in the headline for select top placement ads on Google.
As a result, your brand will be featured more prominently in your ad, and you can use the text in the headline to highlight other information. Potential customers, on the other hand, will be able to more easily identify the site to which they’ll be taken after they click on your ad… When shown in the headline, the display URL will be separa... > Read more
As a PPC manager, your job is more about achieving objectives than just leveraging features and tactics (features and tactics are a means to an end). Towards this end we put together a three-part series in which we offered specifics tips on how to: Get More Leads from PPC Lower Your Cost Per Acquisition Lower Your PPC Costs But what if you have a more specific objective? One common consideration for account managers is how to get “more leads,” but this is particularly true as it relates to leads from a campaign or channel that is very cost-effective.
Often the content network falls into that category. In this post, we’ll assume your content network campaigns, or a client’s, are launched and off to a great start, and you’re looking to audit a camp... > Read more
This is the last installment in a three-part series on achieving specific goals within your paid search accounts. In the prior installments we’ve covered: Five Ways to Get More Leads from PPC Five Ways to Lower Your Cost Per Action (CPA) And today we’ll cover a third, somewhat less frequent objective: lowering your PPC costs.
It seems like lowering your PPC costs should be a pretty common objective, but in actuality lowering your CPA is usually a much better goal. After all, for most businesses you’ll take as many cost-effective leads and sales as you can get, so the concern is more how much you’re paying for each lead rather than how much you’re paying total. But as most PPC managers know, in the real world there are various factors that some... > Read more
Last week we gave you five tips on how to get more leads from PPC. But what if your main problem isn’t leads? Everyone wants more leads, of course, but what if your most immediate problem is that your PPC campaign just isn’t profitable?In this post we’ll walk through five more tips, this time for lowering your CPA.
Cost Per Action Lowering Tip 1: Lower Your BidsIf your cost per conversion is out of whack, this basically means that the following equation isn’t adding up properly for you:Cost / Conversions = CPAWe’re thinking about ways to get conversions for cheaper, so it’s pretty obvious that we might want to do something about the conversion end of this equation, but all too often I see people ignore the cost side to their own peril.Many times, there’s a range of conversion ... > Read more
Everyone wants more leads, right? This is probably your number 1 request from clients or upper management if you’re running pay-per-click campaigns (followed closely by “without increasing spend”). But the reality is you’re likely managing to a target cost per acquisition, so grabbing more volume isn’t as easy as jacking up bids and lifting your budgets.
The obvious answer to increasing conversions is focusing on conversion rate optimization, but we’ll walk through five slightly less obvious ideas worth testing that can help you grab more volume without ignoring your margins. Idea 1: Keyword Expansion The first idea is to try different keyword verticals and expand your keyword list. How do you do that? In all likelihood you’ve already brainstormed ... > Read more
AdWords Position Preference Bidding Is Retired: What You Need to Know About AdWords Average Position
Google recently announced that they are retiring position preference bidding. Some smart PPC managers had been talking about how position bidding wastes money for some time, and Google's own chief economist had taken great pains to lay out the argument against bidding to position in your attempts to improve your actual sales and costs per sale.
If you're hearing this news now for the first time you might be wondering why people ever used bidding to position as a means of managing bids, what you should know about AdWords average position metric, and of course: whether or not there may be some instances where this data is still useful in your campaign. Why Bid to Position? Obviously with Google sharing some of its own data and Google and top PPC minds decrying the value of the met... > Read more
We've written here about some of the things to be aware of with regard to the AdWords opportunities tab, and we've talked in depth about AdWords Campaign Experiments. AdWords recently announced a new feature that enables advertisers to run campaign experiments against AdWords opportunities. This is a really interesting feature combo -- both from a pure functionality standpoint and in thinking about where AdWords is heading, so let's unpack it.
What Exactly Does Opportunities & Experiments Combining Mean? So how does this play out, exactly? Basically all Google's done (from the end-user perspective anyway) is make the campaign experiments functionality visible and available as you're browsing the opportunities Google is presenting you with: (Funny aside: this is the screenshot from the... > Read more
Reporting on Multiple 1-Per-Click Conversion Types (Conversion Action Names) in AdWords at the Campaign & Ad Group Level
If you're a PPC software company, one of the best opportunities to add value on top of the AdWords interface is by thinking more about advertiser pain points than Google is able to. Google frequently has to balance features that help their advertisers generate more revenue against features that help Google generate more revenue, and frequently since Google isn't an advertiser, even when they build something that seemingly has optimizing for conversions in mind, they don't always get it quite right for the advertiser.
Just as it's important to realize which new AdWords features aren't necessarily worth implementing, it's equally important to identify gaps in AdWords' feature set and reporting so you can find ways to fill it. Today we'll talk about one of these gaps: reporting on multiple 1-... > Read more
All day yesterday I watched the news of the Google +1 beta launch reverberate around the SEO space (see WordStream's own coverage for Google Plus One screenshots and impact on AdWords). There is a lot of great coverage and some interesting insights, including (but I can guarantee you not limited to): Danny Sullivan's take SEO Moz's response Coverage on Tech pubs And the list goes on.
Obviously if you're here at the WordStream blog, you're likely concerned with what this all means for SEO and AdWords. Let's try to unpack that step-by-step, thinking through the following questions: What's the actual, honest-to-goodness impact on SERPs tomorrow and in the next few months? How is Google likely to implement this data? What impact (if any) should this have on your marketing efforts -- today, ... > Read more
People are writing books about the increasing importance of the way you interact with your customers and the power of social media. There's a different, more democratized sort of voting going on. Social blogging platforms that aren't Twitter are exploding. Google is pushing more and more personalization and socialization into their SERPs.
The first real introduction of social signals outside of click-through rate in AdWords SERPs are contained within rich snippets, and specifically product reviews. What's the Status of Rich Snippets in AdWords? Google updated their data requirements for Google Product Feeds. Product feeds are a great way to get some additional real estate for your ads in many cases: Note the confidence-inspiring five stars: good stuff for the advertiser! If we click... > Read more
If you're not familiar with it, Quora is a relatively new question and answer site. It's much-hyped and has a huge following within the tech/startup community, and features participation from well-known entreprenuers, angel investors, and venture capitalists. There's some debate about how scalable the site is, how useful and interesting it is to people outside this initial niche, etc.
We won't focus on any of that or on the basic mechanics of asking a question on Quora here -- what I want to talk about is two interesting ways an SEO can use Quora. 1. Find Content Topic Ideas for Tech-Oriented Content This is really true of any Q and A site, but if you can find a niche with some activity, Quora is a great way to find content topic ideas. Let's say I'm looking to build out an editorial calen... > Read more
Anatomy of a Personalized Search Result: Interesting Localized SERPs & Google Bidding on the Term "SEO"!
The evolution of Google's search engine results page is pretty well documented in the search engine marketing space. The reality is getting a clean, pure, consistent ranking in organic search is nearly impossible because of: More aggressively localized search results The attack of paid search on organic search listings Blended results for video and news Personalized search never sleeps Recently when I Googled the term "SEO" I saw a number of things I found interesting (DISCLAIMER: these are my personalized SERPs, your mileage may vary and the same query may be doing something different for you): (Click the image to enlarge.
) Specifically I think the things of interest here are: PPC is taking up a lot of this SERP, and we see a service that really can't (or at least shouldn't)... > Read more
If you're a PPC agency there are some fundamentals within the campaign that you want to understand before you do anything else: Margins & Profit - Before you do anything else with PPC, you want to understand what "profitable" means. If you're working on a VC-backed company willing to take a loss on each lead this might just be a target cost per acquisition (CPA), but in most cases it means a hard cost that leads a company into the black.
This is the most critical single metric in your PPC campaign (and it has nothing to do with click-through rate, Quality Score, etc.!). Costs & Costs Per Click - Obviously you want to be cognizant of what you're spending -- not just in the context of your cost per conversion and your margins, but also in the context of the volume you can drive... > Read more
There's a lot of talk in the blogosphere about the value of blogging frequently and interacting with your community. And there's a lot of great articles available on doing outreach for cornerstone content like in-depth guides, infographics, and free tools. But what there seems to be less of is specific how-to information on promoting more mundane day-to-day blog content that thought leaders are telling you to crank out.
It's not practical to do an in-depth link campaign for every quick how-to blog post you create, so what can you do to promote your content on a daily basis? Step 1: Create Syndication Channels This is a bit more "social" than the headline implies: The first step here is to build social media followings and start to participate on social news sites. You can create ... > Read more
If you're a regular reader of link building content then you're likely no stranger to great link building companies like Buzzstream and Ontolo, and you probably know about a lot of the best link building blogs, but the reality is there is a lot of great link building content "hidden" within more general SEO and online marketing blogs.
Here are five great examples: 1. Ross Hudgens Link Building Posts Ross has a lot of interesting link building tips (like building links with Google alerts) and some of the best (best here meaning "hardest hitting" and most effective at eliciting actionable advice) interviews on the subject of link building. He also writes in-depth on important and somewhat underdiscussed link building topics like evaluating directories and how to value a ... > Read more
Three Underused & Hard-to-Find AdWords Features - Impression Share Metrics, Display Ad Builder, Ad Extentions
Another day, another new AdWords feature: today Google introduced Automated Rules. We’ve talked about how to evaluate new AdWords features and whether they’re good for you and your campaign, and the fact that AdWords is cranking out new features at a rapid pace is no secret. Amidst all the noise of new AdWords features it’s important not to get too caught up in trying every single new feature, particularly as there are older features that many advertisers aren’t getting the most out of.
In this post we’ll walk through three such features and how to leverage them in your campaigns. Impression Share Metrics Impression share metrics aren’t a secret to may veteran PPC managers, but they’re an underutilized asset to paid search advertisers. One rea... > Read more
In many cases, expanding your paid search marketing reach can have as great of an impact on results as refining your existing campaigns. As you look to expand your paid search campaigns, you want to focus on two core means of discovery: "Wider" - Going "wider" means identifying new keyword verticals that didn't previously exist within your campaigns.
This often comes in the form of new ad groups targeting wholly new keyword ideas that you hadn't previously introduced into your campaigns. "Deeper" - Going "deeper" in this context means mining your existing campaigns for new targeting opportunities. The best way to do this is by looking at the search query data generated by your existing campaigns. WordStream's latest product release offers some tool... > Read more
Earlier this week in digging into some Google insights for search data we learned that an increasing number of you are looking for information about Google's AdWords Certification program: The impetus for all this new-found search interest is likely a rebranding of Google's partner program and a series of changes on Google's end to how the AdWords certification process works, including several eligibility standards.
As with the need for free AdWords videos mentioned here recently, not all of Google's help materials are immediately helpful, and the same is true for the documentation around the AdWords certification program (possibly another reason for a jump in search traffic here). In this post we'll try to represent some of the nuts and bolts information around getting google adwords cer... > Read more
If you write blog content with any consistency, you've stared at a blank page anxiously as time winds down on a deadline. But one of the great things about being a blogger is the wealth of keyword tools available online. Rather than being left to your own brainstorming devices, you can use any of a number of tools to come up with great blog ideas.
One such tool with a lot of great features for blog ideation is Google Insights for Search. Getting Started: Using Google Insights for Search Terms & Filters We'll start at the beginning and look at some different ways to seed our search for great blog ideas. We have some great options at our disposal for filtering the types of insights we get from the tool right out of the gate. If we're running a local blog we can use time range in the... > Read more
I won't try to fill any roundup shoes this Friday as the blog's real writing talent (no offense to Chad or myself) takes a day off, but I did want to talk about the Search Saga (I use saga instead of "wars" deliberately, as it's really more of a he-said-she-said spat than a technological arms race) and the latest news surrounding Google and Blekko and content farms (oh my?).
We'll start with the Google/Bing spat. I won't give you the standard roundup as Search Engine Land has done their usual impeccable job of that (check out their latest post for, well: the latest), Larry covered it yesterday and you can no doubt find it several other places on the Web. I also won't talk about who's "right" or "wrong" because I'm already a bit weary of the subject, and i... > Read more
If you're new to AdWords, the platform can seem overwhelming, and like anything you'll likely look for help in the form of forums, tutorials and books. There are a lot of great training programs (like PPC Blog and Certified Knowledge), a number of excellent books (like Brad Geddes' Advanced Google AdWords and David Szetela's Pay Per Click Marketing an Hour a Day), and of course AdWords' own help resources.
One challenge people new to AdWords sometimes face is that the help materials can be a bit dry, and the complexity of the AdWords platform can be a bit intimidating. As a result a lot of times videos can be a good way to get going and can help you understand how your ads are served. Once you understand the basic idea behind pay-per-click marketing these videos will help you to get a more ... > Read more
When it comes to link building, anchor text is really important. So is domain authority. Often the types of links you'll be able to build will force you to sacrifice one or the other. You can create an infographic that gets a lot of unique, authoritative domains to link at your site with suboptimal anchor text, or you might be able to use some article directory submission sites to get great anchor text from low-value link sources.
Ideally you would do both at the same time, and get great links from authoritative sources with exactly the anchor text you want. We'll walk through a few relatively simple ways that you can do just that. 1. Guest Posts Guest posts are probably the most powerful example of how you can get a link on an authoritative domain (and even on an authoritative page) with ... > Read more