Good stuff. I don't want to get another finger wagging from Mr. Google, but there are some very handy features baked in now.
I wish I could scoop out Kevin Lee's brain and pop it into my head. His latest article: Scale or ROI? The PPC Search Conundrum really nails the bind that we in PPC face. The cycle I typically experience is a 'more traffic' phase followed by a 'improve ROI' phase. When your employer/client sees the conversions coming in at a good cost/conversion they ask you to 'do more of that'. Bids increase, ROI goes down, then its time to tighten things up. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Adding routine quality control tasks can you and your organization save time, money and embarrassment. This mainly centers around destination URLs. A number of things can go wrong:
Bulk changes are especially prone to errors. When dealing with large spreadsheets errors do not easily stand out. They can take a while to assemble and fatigue and rushing to meet deadlines play a role. The more tracking codes appended to a url the more points of failure there are. You can have an in-house code, an analytics code and a bidding tool code. Each can be botched in their own own way. The results of errors:
You are wasting money by sending users to either error pages or less relevant landing pages. If you are not tracking results properly you could really be missing opportunities. Pause or reduce the bid of a keyword that is actually performing.
If these errors have lingered, face the music and put some quality control in place:
These quality control tasks are good to offload to interns or people you want to groom or train to transition into online marketing.
Have a minimum of three close friends taking steps to become web instapreneurs. In addition to search marketing and ppc stuff, I'll be adding some posts on monetizing traffic and social media marketing so I don't need to repeat myself and we can start our conversations with a shared understanding.
So an item on my fanatical search marketing rant and rave list came true. Not sure if I can post it yet though. Gotta check with my source first.
I've already my reps at GOOG finger wag me every other month or so after I posted a change I noticed with their keyword tool about a year ago. I honestly thought it was a feature release they were slow to announce. I had a feeling the feature had not been reported so I sent it to Danny Sullivan and Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land and it made their daily round up. You see these articles all the time, Google tests this or that on a results page. But that I guess that is the results page which by its nature is public, whereas being logged into AdWords you are bound by terms and conditions.
Anyway, this squeaky wheel got some grease, out of dumb luck mostly like, but greased non the less. I'll update with more news as it comes in.
My short wish list:
I hate to be a Google wonk, but man, the interface is pretty darn intuitive! MAKE IT EASIER TO SPEND MONEY IN A SMART FASHION WITH YOU PLEASE. I've stated my wish list countless times, and will continue to do so until those changes are made.
Google has already eaten their lunch and Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo to keep them from eating their dinner too! It is a sad state of affairs when Microsoft has to buy Yahoo and the Panama platform would be an upgrade.
The adCenter UI confusing and lacks some really big pieces of functionality. Functions, by the way, third party tools can provide via API but adCenter itself cannot provide to users in an intuitive way. Wow. The big one, in my mind, is the ability to export your account for manipulation in spreadsheet form. Then when the changes are made, you import the spreadsheet and the system makes your changes. You can't do that. adCenter has been around for what 3 years or more? THIS IS MICROSOFT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. Don't they employ software developers?
Does Google have a patent on search advertising interfaces that do not suck? Why can't Microsoft just copy what Google does and wait for the lawsuit if there is one?
Every single chance I get I gripe about the lack of the import functionality and am even more passionate about a lack of an offline editor a la AdWords Editor. It boggles my mind they cannot integrate real tools for power users.
I am only one of many that feel this way.
One of the most important take-aways I had from Search Engines Strategies - Chicago 2007 came from the Managing Multiple Accounts session. In spent a number of years focusing on the PPC efforts for one website. Now I handle the PPC for a number of websites. The head-smacking moment during the session for me was the phrase: Don't Silo Your Efforts. I had been looking at, for example, Google AdWords data for each of the sites/accounts individually then optimizing based off of that. Now I take advantage of the My Client Center reporting to combine all the accounts on to one report, then go to each of the accounts and make the changes. This helps when the sites have similar KPIs. Meaning they all similar Cost Per Conversions etc.
When you need to answer: "What keywords are my competitors bidding on", visit SpyFu. Its a great way to gauge the keyword set your competitors are bidding on and how much their daily spend is. You can also do analysis by keyword as well. This tool has come in handy for me on a number of occasions. Was great when it was a free beta but well worth the cost if you need a better picture of the competitive landscape you are in.
So far the one 'story' I broke was related to the Google AdWords tool. This one is publicized by them first so no finger wagging in my direction.
Now you can:
Log in to your account and research away!!!
AdWords Editor 5 is now available for download. You can now manage local business ads offline, which is groovy. Check the release notes for a complete list of features. As a note it took me a couple installs to get it to work. Initially it crashed upon launch until I completely removed it from my PC. There is a good Search Engine Watch discussion on this topic. So remember to archive your accounts and re-import them if you want to keep unposted changes or comments. After importing the archived account the comments will show up as the 'green' unposted changes.
My tip to fellow search marketers, step your Excel game up. It is not enough to know your vendors administrative interfaces (Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, MSN AdCenter), or keyword research tools. You need to fast, efficient and effective in working with the data those tools spit out at you. Maybe I'm late to the party and should have paid more attention in college but there are some super handy Excel tools that have been allowing to get down to business much faster:
I just came across The Excel Magician: 70+ Excel Tips and Shortcuts to help you make Excel Magic which is a usefull set of links to brush up on or learn some time savers.
I did a search on Google for 'Milwaukee handyman' and found the Handyman Connection in the first position in the Local Business listings. Not only that, they have added coupons at the Google Local Business Center. This is nation wide company that franchises at the local level so it is hard to tell if the corporate office or the locals made this savvy move. The point is these are great tools to take advantage of and lets get more people on the bandwagon.
Great article generating some discussion. Funny graphics, especially the 'link juice' one. Search Engine Land has a very interesting series called Search Illustrated with graphics depicting search engine marketing concepts.
Search Engine Land's Locals Only is a great resource from experts on how to take advantage of local search and data you may already have to get more foot traffic. One of the articles that I wish I had written is Local Search Is About Products Too, Not Just Restaurants And Plumbers by Greg Sterling. Good, good stuff.
Another source of articles is a search on del.icio.us with the tag 'localsearch'.
In my best emergency room doctor voice: "I want to see custom pins and pictures in the bubbles people!"
After an inspiring article by Todd Mintz discussing Danny Sullivan's influence on forming a local SEM Organization in Portland, I propose a South Eastern Wisconsin Search Engine Marketing Association. I am aware of, and been a to a few of the Milwaukee Interactive Marketing Association events, I crave the common experiences of attendees of events like Search Engine Strategies and Search Marketing Expo.
So, first I hope some people do stumble across this site and also have an interest in participating in this organization. The benefits could be many and the drawbacks very few. By raising the profile of what search engines can do for businesses small and large, locals with proper experience or interested in getting into the field will really benefit.
If you tell people you are a:
...and you get a blank look, this is a way to get together with like minded folks and talk shop in a casual way. Another 'benefit' discussing this line of work with lay people is being accused of placing pop up ads on their computersl
If interested please leave a comment, or feel free to use the Contact page.