Tom Demers's blog
AdWords is getting very complicated. There are new features being churned out constantly, and if you're a new advertiser or simply not a paid search expert, it's difficult to keep up with what's in the interface, let alone make use of all the tools. Obviously we can't review the utility of every single new feature for every single advertiser here on the blog, but I thought it would be useful to walk through a specific feature for a specific type of advertiser.
The aim will be to offer advice for how to evaluate new features and whether there's utility in leveraging them for your own AdWords campaigns. Evaluating a New AdWords Feature: The Ad Interactions Report AdWords announced the introduction of a new report in the dimensions tab (the reports' having moved to the dimensions tab is ... > Read more
One of the most under-utilized aspects of Google Analytics is the tool's filtering and segmentation capabilities. By using custom reports you can get at some very useful and actionable data, but a lot of people don't fully understand how custom reports and advanced segments work and how they can be leveraged to gain insights into your online marketing efforts.
In this post we'll walk through the difference between custom reports and advanced segments, and where and why you might want to use one and not the other.How is a Custom Report Different From an Advanced Segment?The main thing here is to think of custom reports as reports, and advanced segments as filters. (NOTE: Important and hopefully not too confusing distinction: There is a separate function within Google Analytics that is actual... > Read more
If you're a paid search expert focused on managing pay-per-click campaigns, you're likely up to date with Google's constantly expanding feature set. But if you're new to AdWords or are managing paid search campaigns as one of multiple responsibilities, it's likely there are some important things going on in your account that you aren't even aware of.
In this post we'll call out five key things that many PPC advertisers don't realize about their Google AdWords accounts. 1. Keywords Aren't Actually What Searchers Are Typing Mining search queries is a crucial part of the paid search management process, but many advertisers aren't aware of the fact that keywords aren't search queries: the keywords you bid on frequently aren't the things people are actually searching for. Because of the way mat... > Read more
Quick and Dirty Link Building Part 3: How to Get Contact Information and Craft a Great Link Outreach Email
Thus far in our Quick and Dirty Link Building series we've covered two crucial stages in the link prospecting and outreach stages:Getting Lots of Link Prospect URLs FASTPrioritizing Your Link Building EffortsNow we have to actually take the URLs that we've deemed outreach-worthy and make them outreach-ready.
This means appending contact information to the URLs, and coming up with an approach for outreach. If you're a novice at link building, please head forward to our link building how to.How to Get Contact Information for Your Link ProspectsBefore you can reach out to people you need to actually have an email address and contact information to reach them at. The first step in this process is to target a specific type or types of contact information. Here we'll look to get the emails of th... > Read more
Last week we talked about how to get lots of link prospect URLs fast, and in this post we'll walk through how you can then qualify the big list of links you accumulated in step one.As we mentioned in that post,In fact, most of the people you'll identify as possible prospects through traditional means will be some combination of:Irrelevant - Some of the potential targets you pull up in your research won't really be targets at all (often you'll find competitors, sites that are dormant or don't link out, etc.
)Unresponsive - If you are creating content and generating a "traditional" link outreach list, a large number of possible linkers won't respond to your emails.Slow to Respond - Additionally you'll also often run into linkers who just take their time getting around to your request.So ... > Read more
Once you've created some stellar content, as an SEO, the next step is to go and promote it. One of the challenges with link prospecting is that not every link is a home run. In fact, most of the people you'll identify as possible prospects through traditional means will be some combination of: Irrelevant - Some of the potential targets you pull up in your research won't really be targets at all (often you'll find competitors, sites that are dormant or don't link out, etc.
) Unresponsive - If you are creating content and generating a "traditional" link outreach list, a large number of possible linkers won't respond to your emails. Slow to Respond - Additionally you'll also often run into linkers who just take their time getting around to your request. For these reasons, it's impo... > Read more
Rand Fishkin just had a great post over on the SEO Moz blog that listed off five creative solutions to tough SEO challenges. Number four in this post focused on the idea of competing against a site with a strong lead in the SERPs for a particular keyword. In the WordStream guide to keyword competition, Larry outlined a process for getting around an inability to rank for a particular term: For organic search, it looks like this: Publish something - It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Just something quick to get a read on how difficult it is for your site to rank on a particular term. Who knows? You might get lucky and your content might rank well immediately. Or it may only require minor optimization to rank better. If you got lucky, then mission accomplished. Move on to next keyword targ... > Read more
VLOOKUP is one of a number of handy Excel functions for PPC. For grizzled PPC campaign managers this function is likely very familiar, but as a former philosophy major who fulfilled his math requirement with a class in logic (taught by a philosophy professor) I think it's helpful for non-Excel ninjas who are new to PPC to understand:How the Excel VLOOKUP function worksHow it can be applied to pay-per-click managementAs a result in this article we’ll walk through some specific applications and resources offering more information on using the VLOOKUP function for PPC.
How to Do a VLOOKUPBefore we dig into the applications of the VLOOKUP function for PPC I want to go over how to actually use the VLOOKUP function. Here are a couple of videos that should help you to learn the function:And anot... > Read more
I have failed to effectively communicate "what PPC is" to people on numerous occasions. Some of that may be that I talk unnecessarily fast, but I think most of it was a result of my approach. My more recent efforts to explain to people what PPC is, how it works, and why it's important to their business have been more successful (from what I can tell and from what I've been told) and since this is an issue every PPC consultant is likely to face in some capacity or other, I thought it might be useful to talk about what has been (and hasn't been) effective for me in communicating to non-PPCers on the topic of paid search marketing.
Think About Your Objective I think that your objective should always be education. Whether you're selling PPC services, PPC software, or just tryin... > Read more
I recently wrote up a short, actionable custom report from Google Analytics to help you get at some useful SEO and keyword level analytic data in a few short steps. This time we'll try to keep it equally short and just as sweet, and walk through a custom report that can help you to understand how different types of content perform.
Getting Unique Visitor & Goal Data on Content Segments with Custom Reports SEO Moz had a couple of great posts on benchmarking and analyzing different segments of your site's content. Those posts do a really nice job of explaining exactly why comparing various types of content are important, and what we'll do here is walk through how you can get a bit higher resolution look at exactly what's going on with different types of content. First, we need to set up ... > Read more
We recently did a post on how to use AdWords Campaign Experiments and why they have the potential to be so powerful. In that article and in Joe Kershbaum's post over on Search Engine Watch, one of the biggest complaints was what a hassle it is to export AdWords data and report on it from Excel. It certainly is significantly more work than it needs to be, but because I think this is such an amazing tool (it can be as valuable to a PPC campaign as Website Optimizer, in many ways) I think it's worth walking through how you can actually get at the output of your campaign experiments so that you can act on the insights.
Defining the Problem - Why AdWords Exporting of ACE Needs Help Let's imagine we've set up a nice AdWords campaign experiment. How do we view this data? Well, we can start by cre... > Read more
There are a lot of great Google Analytics hacks and a myriad of ways to get at some terrific data in Google and other analytics packages. This can be a great asset for veteran analysts, but the different ways available to slice and dice data inside of these analytics packages can often overwhelm small businesses and those new to analytics.
In this post and in a follow-up post, we'll walk through two very simple custom reports that you can set up in Google Analytics to get actionable insights surrounding keyword-driven traffic and subsequently traffic to certain types of content on your site. Creating a Google Analytics Custom Report Setting up custom reports is very simple. First, you select Manage Custom Reports: Next, you can create a new report: Google has a nice overview of how to cr... > Read more
Once you've thought through your PPC geo-targeting strategy, how do you go about effectively building out an AdWords keyword list for local PPC? This is a tough question because the same keyword tools you use for generating generic keyword lists are often insufficient for local keyword research (I think this is a particular frustration with UK advertisers).
So what's a local business to do? Step One: Generate Keywords (Make an Educated Best Guess) Since a lot of keyword tools struggle to unearth local keyword suggestions, I find that you want to rely less heavily on them. That said there are a few tools that can be useful here: Aimclear had a great post on ScrapeBox, which is a really nifty tool that can give you some suggest data from various IPs. Google's insights for s... > Read more
One of my AdWords accounts got an interesting AdWords class action lawsuit notice today (bolding is mine): Subject: Google AdWords Class Action Settlement Notice Google is sending you this notice of a proposed class action settlement that may affect your legal rights as a creator of an AdWords campaign between October 2007 and July 2009.
This notice is being sent to you by Court Order so that you may understand your rights and remedies before the Court considers final approval of the proposed settlement on March 11, 2011. This is not an advertisement or attorney solicitation. A settlement agreement has been reached by the parties and is pending approval by the Court. Under the proposed settlement, Google will pay a total of $3,500,000 to the settlement class, including attorne... > Read more
Within the Google AdWords interface there are some awesome tools, like: AdWords Campaign Experiments The Search Query Report Modified Broad Match Analyze the Competition These controls are fantastic power tools for power users that allow for a lot of great campaign optimization tactics. Some other tools inside the AdWords interface either aren't so useful, are hidden from view, or can have a dubious overall impact on your campaigns -- like the hard to find IP exclusion tool and conversion-focused bidding options like Enhanced CPC and AdWords Conversion Optimizer, which can generate terrific improvements in many cases but force advertisers to cede control of their bids to Google.
A great example of a tool that falls into this second category is the AdWords opportuniti... > Read more
Perhaps the most powerful thing about paid search is that PPC campaigns offer instant feedback. This is what makes A/B testing so powerful: you’re able to funnel the firehose of data that pay-per-click campaigns fire at you into either of two theses and get instant feedback. This is why a new AdWords feature called AdWords Campaign Experiments (or ACE) is so powerful.
Basically this feature allows you to isolate certain aspects of your Google AdWords campaigns and test certain elements, splitting off traffic in whatever way you like. In this post I’ll walk you through: The things you can test using AdWords Campaign Experiments The things you can’t test How to set up an experiment How to measure your results As background for anyone not familiar with the feature, Google has a... > Read more
If I start talking about achieving scale and identifying points of leverage in your marketing efforts you'll likely think about automating processes, software, and maybe about "viral marketing." You probably don't think about relationship building, but in reality it's one of the most leveraged marketing tactics available to you.
This is counter-intuitive because typically we think about relationships as being primarily 1 to 1. But marketing at scale really starts with strong relationships now more than ever because: Everyone's a Publisher - Everyone has a syndication channel. Even borderline introverts have a handful of Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Blogging has become remarkably easy and can be completely free. Spreading Ideas Gets Easier Everyday - If you scan 10 TechCru... > Read more
It looks Google has rolled out a new tab/feature called auto targets. It looks like the feature leverages the Google Merchant Feed and allows you to create product sets and link them to ad groups, but as Matt Umbro points out the help page appears to be a blank document: Anyone have any more info here? If anyone has a write up drop it in the comments and we'll update the post with any links.
UPDATE: The feature doesn't appear to be that new after all :). Thanks to Chad Summerhill of PPC Prospector for the link to Elizabeth Marsten's awesome in-depth walk through on Portent's blog and for dropping in the help rollover info (for some reason that help menu never loaded for me): Auto targets Auto targets allow you to target your ads to search terms by specifying attributes th... > Read more
As with many aspects of AdWords and the other paid search marketing platforms, I find that geotargeting for PPC is easy to do quickly and difficult to do well. In this article we'll walk through a few simple steps for setting up "default" geotargeting options, and then I'll talk through a couple of additional levers that advertisers can pull to both expand and refine their geo targeting reach.
If you're an advanced user already painfully familiar with how to get a new geotargeted campaign up and running via the AdWords interface, I created a handy anchor link so that you can skip ahead to the meatier stuff. Setting Up Geo-Targeting As you create a PPC campaign, you're offered with some initial options for geotargeting: If you already have a campaign set up, you can go to the Campaig... > Read more
When my wife turned to Google to look for the best possible Tinkerbell costume for our daughter last month, she contributed to a sharp uptick in Halloween costume search volume: Businesses and product lines like Halloween costumes have really obvious seasonal demand fluctuations. Even things like heating oil are intensely seasonal.
If I'm an e-tailer on Black Friday understanding my query volume by time of year is really intuitive and seems like a no-brainer. But what if I sell software?Why You Would Care About Keyword Trend Data?The reality is, even for a SaaS company or someone selling a B2B product there will be some seasonality in your business. Things may slow down in July and August with vacations and may become sluggish again in December. If you can identify these trends at the... > Read more
One of the biggest mistakes that I see people make surrounding keyword organization is that they waste good to great structures. It's becoming better understood that intelligent paid search campaign organization is fundamental to paid search success, but just having a strong keyword structure isn't enough.
You have to then work to get the most out of that organizational advantage. How to Waste Great Keyword Structure in One Easy Step One of the really important things to understand about keyword grouping is that as you create new groups of keywords and get more and more granular with your segmentation, you're actually just speaking to an additional layer of intent. A keyword, after all, is an advertising control, and you're hand-picking a certain type of prospect with the keyword and signa... > Read more
Today at SMX East (come visit us at booth 318 if you're at the show, by the way!) we announced a partnership with Acquisio, a paid search marketing and performance media platform designed for agencies. We recently announced a similar partnership with gShift Labs - both software companies will be leveraging the WordStream Keyword Tool API to offer additional functionality to their customers.
Acqusio has a nice write-up on the API integration and what it means to their customers. Not unlike the gShift announcement, the really exciting part of the partnership for us is the chance to work with really smart people and to have a cutting-edge software company leveraging our API and delivering our technology to their customers to help them succeed with paid search marketing. Intereste... > Read more
Just a quick notice that our friends at Ontolo have a new version of their link building software coming out - we've reviewed the Ontolo link building software before, and we're excited to get our hands on the latest version. Garrett and Ben from Ontolo are only accepting 250 beta users so that they can integrate feedback and work closely with users to get the software right before releasing it to the world.
You can sign up to be notified of beta availability here, and if you do be sure to stop back and let us know what you think! ... > Read more
After meeting with gShift Labs CTO Chris Adams at an SES conference, we realized there was a great partnership fit, and today we're announcing that gShift Labs has integrated the WordStream Keyword Tool API into their Web Presence Optimizer. The team at gShift has built out an entire page dedicated to detailing how the WordStream Keyword Tool API is leveraged within the gShift product.
Here's a screenshot of the implementation: We're really excited about the implementation because it's extremely validating for the WordStream API to have companies like gShift programming against and leveraging our data and our algorithms within their software. We've been able to get a closer look at the gShift software and have gotten to know their team, and they're a very smart bunch solving some interest... > Read more
We've reviewed PPC Blog here before but since that post they've added a members-only training and community portion of their site that I've had a chance to spend some time with, so we thought it was worth reviewing the training and community aspects of the site. Why Bother with a Training/Community Site? One of the common objections you'll hear to paying for content (whether it's a how-to eBook or the Wall Street Journal) is that you can get seemingly similar content for free.
I touched on this in my review of SEO Book's training and community site, but I think that as content and data become more and more omnipresent and commoditized, a lot of the opportunity to create great products that make people better at what they do lies in how you slice, dice, and represent portions of that c... > Read more
Google has an interesting tightrope to walk with their AdWords platform in that they have two central competing interests:They want to make the system intuitive to use and easy for the "tail" of AdWords advertisers to spend money with.They need to continue to make AdWords a profitable channel for the top advertisers, who represent the bulk of the money spent on their platform, and they need to present power users with access to power tools.
To date the way they've handled this is to offer defaults on the front end that encourage spending, with advanced features that help optimize larger spends available but less accessible (which possibly accounts for their alarmingly high churn amongst small businesses).A great example of this push-spend-in-the-front-intelligent-features-in-the-back is the... > Read more