The Week in Search
Search campaign relevance and a billion dollars
Four Steps Towards Optimizing Your Campaign for Relevance and Results
I recently discovered Alan Mitchell's search marketing technique blog (aah, the power of Sphinn and Twitter...) and after Saturday's post entitled "Relevancy: The Holy Grail of PPC ," I think I'm hooked. I've been involved in search engine marketing for less than a year, which means that a big frustration of mine is when a SEM strategy is presented as over-simplified and easy. But we all know that search marketing isn't easy--if it was, anyone could do it and most of us would be out of a job. Then again, it's hardly enjoyable to read about this difficulty and complication without any light at the end of the tunnel.
Campaign relevance is one of the most intricate yet important aspects of search, and it's often presented as either overly simple or impossibly complicated. Though Mitchell is honest about the inherent impediments that accompany the subject, he offers great insight into both the significance and strategy, highlighting four ways to optimize your search marketing efforts for relevancy.
First, Mitchell gives some great examples of search queries, both head and long tail keywords , to show us just how often relevance is tossed aside in advertisers' campaigns. Let's say you're visiting Mitchell in Australia and are looking for a fun weekend jaunt to Sydney. You search "weekend breaks in Sydney" to see if any hotels are offering weekend deals. As Mitchell notes, there isn't a single paid ad that includes either "weekend" or "break." He writes, "Okay, only 36 people searched for ‘weekend breaks in Sydney’ in June. But these were 36 people who knew what they were looking for and were delivered poor, generic, one-message-fits-all ads." If one hotel had done its keyword research  and optimized their campaign for a broad range of relevant website keywords , including just the word "weekend" would probably have generated at least a handful of clicks from those 36 searches.
Here are 4 important aspects of obtaining search relevancy and Mitchell's tips on how to achieve them:
- Patience: I’m not going to pretend there is a quick overnight fix (because there isn’t). A highly relevant AdWords campaign takes patience, commitment and dedication.
- Research: Build up a comprehensive keyword list. Not just with generic, high-volume keywords...but also with long-tail keywords. Then research negative keywords , lots of them
- Structure: Group your keywords into small, closely themed ad groups of generally no more than 20-30 keywords each...Think of the keyword as the question and the ad as the answer. Keep asking yourself, “If I searched for this keyword and saw this ad, is it answering my question?” If not, change it so it does.
- Optimize: Run search query reports to highlight searches your keywords  have broad-matched and phrase-matched to. Are they relevant? If so, ad them as new keywords in new ad groups and write tailored ads for them. If not, add them as negative keywords to prevent your ads showing for them again.
I especially like Mitchell's way of comparing keywords to questions and ppc ads to the answer. When's the last time you asked yourself if you would click on your own ad?
Amazon + Zappos = Ampos?
The big story this week was Amazon's purchase of Zappos. Overall, people seem to be excited about this purchase, especially since the Zappos CEO has assured all employees that their jobs are secure. Below are some of this week's post and opinions on the topic:
- Mashable : What could Zappos bring to the table that Amazon hasn’t already figured out?
- Brand Republic : [Zappos] will continue to operate as a separate brand to Amazon, which also runs its own online shoe business, Endless, launched in 2007 and allegedly copied from Zappos' own business model.
- TechCrunch:  This deal appears to be the best of both worlds. The way it’s described to employees, it’s less an acquisition and more a swap in shareholders.
- Search Engine Watch : I'm kind of disappointed that Amazon is acquiring Zappos. It would be like Duke acquiring UNC or the Red Sox acquiring the Yankees.
- ReadWriteWeb : Bringing Zappos into the tent could make Amazon an even more interesting company. That's something that could very well be worth giving up almost a billion dollars in stock for.