Google Adwords

Comprehensive Course Just for Google Adwords

2 Comments Written on August 12th, 2008 by
Categories: Google Adwords, Local Search

I just finished reviewing Mike Seddon’s/KKSmarts Adwords Course (not an affiliate link) and found it to be quite useful and loaded with lots of clever tips. His material is easier to understand than the default guide on Adwords. I was a bit overwhelmed with Adwords when I first started and a program like this could have easily reduced my learning curve. The program includes one workbook and 4 video series covering important Adwords topics. The videos can be viewed online or downloaded.

What You Will Get:

Online Version

There are 38 total videos in Google Adwords Course and each folder is conveniently sub-divided for easier access and quicker reference.

I think both PPC beginners and intermediates can learn a lot from Adwords Course. Even if you’ve been an Adwords advertiser for over a year, you can still learn by going through over-looked Adwords features. I like Lesson 3 about Landing Pages and Ads the most because it’s a good “refresher” on conversion.

For more information – (Not an affiliate link) Adwords Course by KKSmarts

I appreciated the sales letter for the program because it was straight to the point without any hype.

How to Find the Best Traffic for Your First PPC Campaign – Part 1

11 Comments Written on July 23rd, 2008 by
Categories: Google Adwords, Microsoft Adcenter, Yahoo

The web has a wealth of information (and misinformation) which makes it tough to filter out the noise. PPC is also tricky because most of the time, there are no definitive answers and everything varies. The results of campaigns are hardly the same even if a landing page is stolen and re-used. Note: There are ways to reduce web copy theft which I’ll cover next week.

If you’re new to PPC and want to start out properly, you may get overwhelmed with the amount of research and execution involved. After finding your niche, keywords, keyword organization and landing page, the next objective is to determine the main sources for traffic.

Yahoo Search – Good Overall Starting Point

I see this tip shared quite a bit online. A lot of folks start with Yahoo because of its traffic converting slightly better than Google. In most circumstances, Yahoo’s CPC is lower than Adwords which is an incentive to new advertisers. The downside with Yahoo is their lower quality, spammy search partners. These are mainly domainer pages or junk, spyware infested sites. They finally allowed advertisers to exclude search partners but only upto 250 sites. I have an Adwords campaign where I have over 1000 sites excluded so 250 is a bit stingy.

So if you want to collect data for a test campaign, Yahoo is good if you limit to search and exclude spending money on their search partner program. Here’s $25 of free credit to help you get started.

Microsoft AdCenter – Less Risky, More Free Money

Vista is a vicious program that caused me tremendous grief and pain but other than that, I give Microsoft AdCenter a high approval just like XP. It is excellent for the new, super cautious advertiser on a limited budget. The two downsides are lack of market share which means fewer data and a weak content network. But if it’s your first campaign, the content network will provide little value anyway because you have very little control over it.

Microsoft is working really hard to attract advertisers and have released some of the best free tools available. My favorite is the Ad-Intelligence Office Excel plug-in and it’s compatible for both 2003 and 2007 version. The free keyword tool is the best of its kind because you access real live data, not cached like all the major tools. Aside from the cool tools, they’re also giving you a generous $75 worth of adcenter ads to get you started. Aaron and I tested Ad Intelligence back in January of this year – here’s our review.

Google Adwords – Cutting to the Chase for Immediate Results

Lots of mixed opinions from seasoned advertisers if Adwords is the best traffic source for initial testing. Advertisers in favor of Adwords as the entry point knows that Google delivers some of the highest traffic quality online. Google’s king-size ownership of the market allows advertisers to test campaign performance, keyword efficiency and landing pages with fast, accurate data to influence any changes. You’ll know in a shorter period how your offer will fare.

The other team knows Adwords as the most competitive channel on the market. A lot of new advertisers are easily discouraged if they’re not prepared for the fierce competition ahead.  Expect incuring higher costs, complete lots of quality score requirements and face that risk of getting slapped around.

Again, there isn’t a right or wrong answer and agree with the logic of both sides.

Summary to Help Alleviate Confusion

Everything varies with PPC so choosing which platform to advertise in will depend on your product/service offer, competition, market size and campaign structure. Now that you’re familiar with the ups and downs of the major engines, here’s a quick summary of my baselines:

  1. If you’re in a competitive market such as insurance, mortgage, male reproductive organ enhancements, payday loans and etc, Yahoo or Microsoft could be a smarter choice because you’ll get the data you need at a fraction of Adword’s budget requirement.
  2. If your product is really niched with little traffic and competition,  Adsense can be prioritized. This will help you extract data faster, from a very rich source without exhausting your budget.

Google Affiliate Network to Replace Pay-Per-Action Beta

1 Comment » Written on June 30th, 2008 by
Categories: Google Adwords

Google sent out an email to pay per action advertisers announcing that the program is being phased out at the end of August.

Google is constantly working to offer features that will provide a better experience to our users. As part of Google’s recent acquisition of DoubleClick, the Performics affiliate network is now a part of Google and has been renamed Google Affiliate Network. To consolidate our offerings, we will be phasing out the AdWords pay-per-action beta in the last week of August 2008. As an alternative to pay-per-action advertising, Google offers two products that allow you to manage your advertising on a CPA (cost-per-acquisition) basis: the Conversion Optimizer and the Google Affiliate Network. To learn more about these options, visit

How aggressively will Google market their new affiliate network? It seems the current integration plans are a bit haphazard, requiring AdSense publishers to sign up different affiliate accounts, and forcing users to sign up under If you login to an AdSense account Google warns “Referrals is being retired during the last week of August 2008, so we recommend that you do not implement referral ad code on your site at this time” yet they do not tell you to sign up to promote affiliate offers.

Review of Google Ad Planner: Site Targeting Cheat Sheet

15 Comments Written on June 29th, 2008 by
Categories: Google Adwords, PPC Tools

I recently spent hours playing with Ad Planner Beta, Google’s newest Adwords tool. If you thought Adwords Editor made your life easier, consider being spoon fed with Ad Planner. The program is amazing, especially if you site target on Google’s content network. It’s a lot like Quantcast, only much more accurate.

Google Does the Work for You

Demographic Filters

Just type in any URL and the tool will group it with other relevant sites. To get even more laser targeted, there is a demographics option where you choose:

  • location
  • language
  • age
  • education,
  • income and
  • gender


Site & Category Filters

After getting the results, you can sort through the data according to

  • impressions
  • page views
  • unique visitors
  • index
  • category

You can find sites with audiences related to any particular site. Here are sites related to

And for any particular site you can find audience details, similar to those provided in Google Website Trends, but with the addition of demographics information.

Filter by AdSense Formats

Here’s the fun part – You can easily handpick relevant sites that are involved in the Google content network. It even allows you to choose the types of media available.

Tons of Great Opportunities

While site targeted advertising tends to be less profitable than keyword targeted ads, if you’re using the content network for brand exposure or e-commerce, the Ad Planner can help you research and reach your target market.

And there are a variety of great non-AdWords related uses for this tool

  • compare your traffic levels to competing sites
  • find sites worth doing direct ad deals with
  • find affiliate sites worth emulating
  • find sites worth pitching stories to or writing guest columns for
  • find sites worth buying links from or buying outright

Why Google AdWords Site Targeting Usually Does Not Work

5 Comments Written on June 25th, 2008 by
Categories: Contextual Advertising, Google Adwords

When you buy ads direct from a publisher they usually charge a premium rate above what that ad inventory would sell for if it was sold through an automated ad auction. When Google launched site targeted AdSense ads years ago it was a cheap way for advertisers to buy specific audiences. Perfect for brand advertisers, but not as good for direct marketers. Why?

Advertising in Deep Dark Corners

It turns out that when you buy site targeted ads you typically first get exposure on the least valuable pages and least valuable ad units within a site. It makes sense that if all you want to do is advertise on a particular site then of course Google is going to sell you the inventory they struggled to monetize with their traditional keyword targeted PPC ads. So if the site has an offbeat category, or an AdSense ad block that is below the fold in the right column, those are the ad positions you are buying first.

Overpaying for Premium Exposure

You can buy your way into the more premium positions on the best pages too, but in order to do so you must bid high, which means you end up bidding at premium rates on the best pages, and you end up bidding too high for the backfill / remnant ad inventory on the least valuable pages. Not only are you losing money buying that off targeted backfill inventory, but you are competing against the most targeted ads on the most valuable pages, so it is hard to make money from buying site targeted ads unless they have a small niche site or are in a category where the ad market is exceptionally inefficient.

How to Buy Site Targeted Ads

There are some hacks around the issue of wasting money on site targeting though. The easiest of which is to look for footprints (URL, footer text, author name, etc.) on a site or the section of the site you want to advertise on and bid on those related keywords. If there is a section of the site that is irrelevant you can look for related footprints that are specific to those pages and use them as negative keywords.

Who Chopped Off PPC’s Long Tail?

1 Comment » Written on June 24th, 2008 by
Categories: Google Adwords, Yahoo

Mona Eisley highlighted that the Yahoo! / Google ad deal intends to focus on the monetization of longtail keywords. There are a few major flaws with this deal from the onset though

  • Google is more selective with distributing ads than other search engines are, and tends to not show advertisements on many hard to monetize longtail queries.
  • When Google does show ads on longtail queries they generally are showing ads for head keywords via their broad match and automatic matching options. Many of the lower end aribtrage plays have been killed off through search ad quality scores.

Google AdWords Ad Selectivity

This SearchEngineLand chart compiled from comScore research shows that Google shows fewer ads than most of its competitors do. So part of Google’s solution for the long tail is to ignore monetizing it to offer a better user experience and win marketshare.

Google Ad Recycling

Andrew Goodman left a great comment on the above linked post

Google is definitely heavily testing this recycling of ads concept and the new automatic matching. When you think about it, though, filling up the ad space to a user for a tail term with an ad they saw previously is a pretty brilliant tactic on Google’s part, as long as users don’t revolt. Instead of lowball affil & arb ads or white space, a high quality advertiser from a previous search gets re-shown, and another chance to make an impression.

With the way Google AdWords is heading it seems the key to dominating the tail of PPC is to dominate the head – improve your conversion rates and value per visitor so you can bid more aggressivley and use broader matching options to get the additional longtail exposure.

On organic search publishers still have many options on the longtail front (publishing niche content, guest articles on authority sites, exact match domain names, etc.), but some of those are disappearing through the promotion of mega-authority broad sites like Wikipedia,, and even newcomers like Mahalo.

How Yahoo! Could Fix Their Search Monetization Problems

If Yahoo! would just allow searchers to opt out of arbitrage traffic and syndication fraud their click prices would come up and they could serve their own head keywords across the long tail. But if they let Google serve too much of their inventory before they fix the syndication problems they will never have a chance to fix it in house.