Here’s what’s up on my browser tabs right now, just to give you an idea of what I’m reading.
Google’s new Search Query Report is, quite possibly, one of the most helpful improvements Google has made to the program in recent memory, IMHO. Now I can see what keywords my ads are actually showing up for, and it’s been quite the revelation for me.
For starters, I didn’t realize how broad the broad keyword match option actually was. They’re not kidding when they say that your ads can show up for a broad number of keywords. I was finding all sorts of random phrases that had very little to do with the original ad group. Remarkably, I still had a decent CTR, but the conversion rate was horrible, which is more a tribute to the ambiguity and persuasiveness of my ad-writing skills, rather than any virtue of my keyword targeting. Guess I should look at rewriting my ads with more specific ad copy. So I can already see optimization tips coming from this data.
Ideally, once you have everything cooking, this report is going to be an invaluable source of new keywords and negative keywords for your accounts. I’m thinking you could create a tester campaign where you throw in a bunch of generic or less-targeted keywords and let it run. Then, once you have a decent amount of data, pull this report for the campaign and dig in. You should be able to find some phrases that perform well and need to be added to your regular accounts and bidded up for better performance, and you’ll probably find some abysmally-performing irrelevant keyword phrases that you didn’t think about when you first built the account that you’ll now be able to ad as negative keywords, thus boosting your CTR.
Not surprisingly, Google does.
In their evil bid to take over the world using illicit funds scammed from innocent web denizens, Google has arrived at new levels of villainy by jacking the minimum bids on high-volume keywords for many of their advertisers. They’re blaming it on a “temporary issue,” but I, for one, think that this “temporary issue” is an attempt to bilk less-knowledgeable advertisers out of their hard-earned cash by getting them to pay $10 for their best keywords. Sure, they may fix it in a day or two, but not before they make a tidy sum, which, of course, will go into their world domination fund.
Yahoo! Search Marketing seems to.
One of my favorite features on Yahoo’s new Panama platform is the import function. They make it possible for their users (most of who, I assume, have ads running on Adwords as well as Yahoo) to import their ads from Adwords so that they can get advertising with you as soon as possible. Sounds like a great plan up to this point, right? Unfortunately, this is where Yahoo’s aversion to making money comes in.
I’ve already migrated a large account over to Panama, and I used the import function to use some Google ads to fill in gaps in the Yahoo campaigns. It was easy and it allowed me to increase my advertising with Yahoo. I just upgraded a smaller account this past week, and when I went to import my (much more extensive) Google ads to the newly upgraded account, lo and behold, the import function wasn’t there.
I contacted YSM tech support, and in the email I was informed that:
After reviewing your account our records indicate your account does not currently qualify for the import tools…
Please note the Import feature is a benefit that is ordinarily extended only to those accounts at the Gold level or higher. Gold advertisers spend at least $6,000 annually with Yahoo! Search Marketing…
Doesn’t it make sense that you would let your smaller advertisers upload their ads so that they could get to $6000 annual ad spend easily? I think that in their desire to incent advertisers to spend more by offering added functionality and service, YSM has shot themselves in the foot on this one.
To their (small) credit, when I pointed this out, I was told that my comments had been forwarded to appropriate department. Hopefully this is not the same as the special filing cabinet for faxes from corporate.
If Yahoo! (stupidly) pulls the plug on the Overture tool, which is looking more and more likely, then this new tool could easily help to fill the hole that the Overture tool will leave. It’s a pretty smart move for WordTracker, who could stand to inherit a huge amount of traffic, judging by the widespread use the Overture tool has received over the years.
Update: Search Engine Roundtable has a statement from Yahoo! that the Keyword Selector Tool is indeed on its deathbed, but they are building a new one to take its place.
Now I know that link spam has been an issue on Wikipedia, and yes, some of those links reduce the value of the information on the page. But there has to be a way to give back to the community that made Wikipedia what it is today without making such a sweeping change that devalues the links of valuable contributors who are genuinely trying to make Wikipedia a better resource.
This issue stems from the fact that, while the internet is becoming more and more competitive as a marketplace, it’s still very much influenced by its cooperative roots. As participants in the internet, we’re expected to link out to people and companies that we feel add value to our service or information, and we expect to receive the same in return.
I remember the furor that occurred when rel=nofollow first gained widespread support by the search engines. During the course of this, Jeremy Zawodny wrote a post called Nofollow No Good? in which he talked about how people had stopped commenting and linking without the incentive of receiving a little love from the links such activities invite.
In that light, I think that there’s a very real possibility that Wikipedia could see a fairly significant drop not just in spam, but in relevant edits and links by people who are genuinely trying to help build the resource (in exchange for a little link love). Wikipedia removed a major incentive to participate, and that will have its consequences.
Do I think that that will kill Wikipedia? No. But it does create a (small) opportunity for a competitor who is a little more willing to address the spam issue in a less-sweeping fashion. And as far as my participation in the Campaign to Reduce Wikipediaâ€™s PageRank to Zero is concerned, I’ll join in, just so if anything cool happens, I can say that I was a part of it.
Maybe I’m just crazy here, but I swear I’ve never seen this content in these boxes on the login page for Google Analytics before, particularly the case studies box. It looks like Google’s just trying to drive more signups with its case studies, but there are some good lessons about the usefulness of web analytics (along with some ideas about how to structure your metrics processes). Is this new, or have I just been oblivious?
Think, for a minute, about the sheer volume of knowledge about search that gets churned out on a daily basis by search marketers. There is no shortage of bloggers willing to share their expertise. Unfortunately, it’s tough to find a lot of these blogs.
Fortunately, Lee Odden, the friend of search students everywhere, has compiled a gargantuan collection of SEO blogs, from A- to Z-list. There are over 250 of them, so he’s even included an OPML file for easy addition to your feed reader. Check it out!
(And if Lee decided to add JazzcatSEO to the list, that would be OK too…)
Statistics are a fact of life for most SEOs. We have metrics for virtually every aspect of web marketing, with some extra statistics thrown in for good measure. That said, it’s amazing how often many marketers allow themselves to get distracted by these statistics. Ultimately, however, there’s only one metric that really matters – ROI.
Whether you’re using PPC, organic SEO, or a combination of both, you need to be sure that you are getting more for your efforts than you’re spending. Costs need to be figured in both dollars spent (of you’re using PPC and CPM advertising) and time taken to create and manage the channel.
From a PPC perspective, what good are cheap clicks if your cost per conversion is greater than your profit?
By the same token, are the terms you are targeting with your SEO campaigns relevant enough, and is there enough volume on those keywords to justify the amount of time you are taking to gain those rankings?