Thursday, May 11, 2006

Understanding Adwords - Part VI: Being Positive About Negative Keywords

When I first started learning how to use Google Adwords, I read about negative keywords. What these keywords do is prevent your ad from showing if your negative keyword appears in the search. In google, this is achieved by adding a minus sign (-) in front of the keyword. For example:


In this case, if someone is looking for led zeppelin, your ad will not appear. If you type in zeppelin airships, your keyword would be triggered. At first when I learned about negative keywords, I thought "why would I want to get less clicks and impressions?". After reading Perry Marshall's The Definitive Guide to Google Adwords, and applying some of his negative keyword techniques, I found that my ROI (return on investment) improved substantially. So, for our example above, if I was selling items that revolved around old fashion zeppelin aircrafts, I would not want to pay for clicks that people who are looking for led zeppelin information. This targets my audience much more and provided me with more quality clicks as well as improved my CTR (click-through-rate), which is important for ad position and cost! Perry Marshall has a good free online course focusing on this and his eBook cannot stress it enough. Sign up here!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Understanding Adwords - Part V: The Matching Game

For some stupid reason, I have had a tough time in the past grasping the concept of the different matching options of google keywords. There are three specific matching types:

1) Broad matches:

For example: golf clubs

If you use these two words as your keyword, a google browser will find it if the words golf and clubs appear in the search despite its order and location.

golf balls and clubs (found)
golf clubs (found)
best golf clubs in town (found)

2) Phrase matches (defined by quotations around the keywords):

For example: "golf clubs"

In this instance, the words golf and clubs must appear just like it is typed within the quotes. There may, however, be other keywords around it:

golf balls and clubs (not found)
golf clubs (found)
best golf clubs in town (found)

3) Exact matches (defined by brackets around the keywords):

For example: [golf clubs]

For exact matches, the searcher must only type in the keywords defined, in that order, with no other keywords present:

golf balls and clubs (not found)
golf clubs (found)
best golf clubs in town (not found)

Now the first question you may ask yourself is "Why would I use a phrase or exact match if the broad match gets me the most results?". Yes, that is true, but a few things to point out:

1) Broad matches are much more competive and may cost you more money to bid on
2) Broad matches may produce clicks you don't want. For example: free golf clubs
3) Exact and Phrase matches gets higher priority than broad matches for page position
4) Exact and phrase matches help to reduce keyword cost and produces higher quality clicks.

One more thing to point out! In Adwords, you must specify plurals explicitly! Many PPC's will include a plural form by default, but not Adwords. So if you are using golf clubs as a keyword, you may also want to include golf club as well!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Understanding Adwords - Part IV: Immediate Ads

Adwords has one unique advantage over most of the other pay-per-click websites. With Google, you can create a new ad and it will be active, essentially immediately. PPC sites like Overture and MSN, for example, require an editorial review of both the ad and the keywords associated with it. At some level, I don't blame them! But from our (the advertiser's) stand-point, it makes our jobs of developing effective ad campaigns more difficult. Most ads and/or keywords take 1-3 days for editorial review. GoogleAds will activate your ads and keywords immediately. There are a few things to point out, though.

1) Because the ads and keywords are effective immediately, Google still must regulate what the user is trying to do. Even though they are not reviewed my a person (initially), Google's computer brain tries to review it. This can both work for or against you. If the Google computer software does not like your ad, keyword, or even landing page, it will charge you a high price to active the keyword. On the other hand, you may get away with a fairly irrelevant keyword at a low price. No one other than Google knows the algorithm of determining this.

2) Some ads or keywords will produce "flags" in the Google system. There are some topics that google does not like (for example, gambling). If you put anything in your ad that relates to gambling, it may warn you immediately (and request justification) or it will flag it internally, allow you to bid on it, say it is active, but not tell you that your ad requires review prior to publishing. This really stinks at times! I will wait on an ad for days and not get a single impression just to find out that Google has flagged it and requires manual review. Usually a call to Google can solve this problem, but it usually takes a few days to even figure it out.

3) The benefit! Assuming that your ad does not require manual review, the ability to activate ads and test them immediately gives you lots of flexibility to test your ads and fine tune them for maximum click through rates (CTR). Perry Marshall's eBook focuses on this topic extensively and has really helped me to improve my CTR as well as my ROI (return on investment). Again, I highly recommend this book for anyone using Adwords. You'll earn back the money you spent on it in no time! Click here to learn more!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Understanding Adwords - Part III: Max Bid Headaches

Anyone who has used Adwords knows this scenerio:

I just thought of this great campaign and I have this great list of keywords that people are going to want to click! You set up your website or blog, you do a bunch of research on keywords and its various derivatives, you go to GoogleAds, create your ad, put in your keywords, choose a max bid that you can afford (like $0.10) and ta-da...


This is the point where I usually curse at the computer. So Google (kindly?) gives me two options:

1) Increase my keyword price

2) Increase the quality and relevancy of my ad

At this point, you can browse through your keywords and see the ridiculous prices google thinks your keyword is worth. Some of these keywords are $5, maybe even $10. I doubt you will be paying this.

The only other option you have is to optimize your ad. I have read tons on this topic and even have spoken with Google about it before, but I still am not quite sure how this works. If I change my ad, nothing really happens (at that time). If I add more ads, nothing really happens (at that time either). I think (this is purely speculation...if you have more insight, please let me know!) Google will initially give you its electronic estimate of what it will define its max bid value at based on your keywords and first ad written. From that point on, it will stay that way until the ad is officially reviewed by an editor. This can sometimes work to your advantage. A few things you can do in the meantime:

1) Write multiple ads. It is always a good itea to write multiple ads, but it also gives an editor more options to lower your bids.

2) Put keywords into the ad itself.

3) Be specific and use exact-match [] keywords pr phase-match "" keywords. For example, if you are selling golf clubs, instead of using the keyword:

golf clubs


[websites to find golf clubs]

4) Use negative keywords

5) Add more content to you landing page (Google does check your landing page for relevancy as well!)

6) Be patient! Time fixes these problems at times.

Perry Marshall goes over a lot of these issues in detail (and adds a few more advanced methods as well!). Click here to learn more.