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Tommy Landry knows a lot about search marketing, and has just given us some advice on Search Engine Journal with 10 Ways To Breathe New Life Into A Floundering Google AdWords Campaign. This isn’t a formula for a magic fix, it’s just a good look at how a professional team will go about analyzing and improving an AdWords campaign that might just need a tweak to make it work well.

Here are his suggestions:

  1. Re-evaluate the keyword targeting strategy.
  2. Restructure ad groups using tighter themes.
  3. Amp up your negative keywords to avoid bad clicks.
  4. Get more aggressive with budget and/or max bids.
  5. Step up your ad text testing approach.
  6. Consider deploying a bid automation solution.
  7. Build a custom landing page for each ad group.
  8. A/B test landing pages to improve conversion rate.
  9. Try out dynamic search ads.
  10. Automate schedules and budgets to improve ROI.

In addition to looking at a campaign professionally, it’s a good idea to look at that campaign from the customer’s perspective. How well does it translate to a mobile device? Are keywords actually based on what your targeted audience would use? Getting to know your customer personas will greatly aid analysis and strategy.

The way a professional tweaks an AdWords campaign is worth understanding because they will have a good reason for the way they make changes. Adjusting a campaign according to a predetermined formula without understanding why it has become a strategy is like saying magic words and hoping there’s a good result. You can learn more about PPC management at


Matt Umbro at PPC Hero has three reasons Why Website Redesigns Impact PPC More Than You Think. In many ways, redesigning a site is similar to a Rubik’s Cube, because changes made in one part will always affect other parts of the whole. It is common for SEO factors to be carefully considered when redesigning a site, and similar consideration should be given to PPC at the same time.

These three areas directly affect PPC:

  • Ineffective URL structure — one site-wide remarketing code makes PPC efficient
  • Lack of unique URL thank you pages — place the code on one thank you page and avoid having to customize solutions every time
  • Poorly written page titles — Dynamic Search Ads, target inclusions and inclusions rely on consistently written titles for results

Redesigning a web page is a good idea as long as the underlying structure is also included in the assessment and reconstruction being done. A web site is the persona of the business it represents and a valuable asset for that business if it is done right. If the redesign is done haphazardly and without consideration of things like PPC there will be complications.

Just like the famous Rubik’s Cube illustrates the way everything works together, a website design and all the internet marketing factors work together, too. Changes in one area affect all other areas to some extent and it takes attention to detail to solve the puzzle.

There’s a lot to learn about web design and you will find more insights at


In AdWords, your Quality Score is like a warning light, according to a quote in “Google: Stop Losing the  Forest for the…Quality Score” at PPC Hero. It shows how healthy your ads and keywords are, but it isn’t anything more than an indication to look further if it’s low. The warning light is a good illustration, because when it comes on you aren’t supposed to be examining the light itself but the system it is connected to.

This look at Google’s whitepaper on Settling the (Quality) Score (pdf) includes a nice chart on things that matter, and things that don’t. These things make a difference in your Quality Score:

  • user device matters, so think about mobile targeting and landing page experience
  • performance on related keywords matters when launching new keywords, so invest in relevant searches
  • relevance to user intention matters, so make sure ads and landing pages match what they want

However, in terms of that Quality Score, keep this in mind:

  • It doesn’t matter how you structure your account, so do what works best for you
  • It doesn’t matter which networks you target, so feel free to test new networks
  • It doesn’t matter where the ad is on the page, so don’t bid up higher positions to get a higher score–think about user experience instead

The warning light is a valuable tool when it’s used the right way, as a signal that you need to look further into the system it monitors. With the Quality Score, Google is reminding us that it is a tool, not a grade.

You’ll find more insights on PPC Management at

PPC Hero has just come out with Excel PPC Heat Mapping 101, and it offers a way to look at your spreadsheets to see what is going on in one glance. Most of us are visual in the way we process information, so this helpful guide just may be of use to you in more ways than analyzing your PPC campaigns.

Conditional Formatting

Basically, this guide opens your eyes to the way that Excel’s conditional formatting can be used to adjust the cell color and reflect the data in that cell. You can springboard from that basic concept to many other ways to use conditional formatting for PPC analysis.

By individually highlighting each column and assigning color scales based on the numbers you are interested in, you will end up with a heat map that shows exactly what is happening with your data. It’s a lot easier than processing the numbers, because you can see immediately what is getting “warmer” or “cooler” in a big picture.

See Your Data The Way You See

People process information in different ways. Some of us need words, some need numbers, others need charts or visuals. Every way is a valid way to obtain data as long as the data is accurate. What matters is being able to use that data effectively.

The need to analyze data is part of a successful PPC campaign, and good managers are looking at that data all the time. It makes sense to set up your information feed in a way that will be easy to process, because the value is in analysis. Once you set it up, this heat mapping idea is a genius way to keep an eye on your PPC campaigns, and more.

You can learn more about PPC management at

PPC is different than SEO because you are in more control of where your ads land. Where Search Engine Optimization is intelligently relying on keywords and algorithms, Pay Per Click advertising relies on intelligently paying for prime placement on a page.

This is an equally valuable tactic in marketing because it allows you to target specific audiences by location, interests, associations, and more. You are not only waiting for results to develop, you are being exposed as soon as your ads are live and able to adjust immediately as it’s called for when the market changes. This instant feedback is an important aspect of pay per click advertising.

Most reputable internet advertising firms will monitor referring links in order to eliminate fraudulent clicks. This is done to keep their clients from having to pay for clicks that are generated by competitors hoping to increase your expenses or site owners hoping to get paid a commission. Fraud may be inevitable, but professionals will work to avoid affecting their client’s investment by eliminating the source of the fraud.

PPC can be a defined budget item because even though you pay per click, you can set parameters in maximum spending per month. This is very attractive to those new to pay per click advertising. It’s also easy to track the various types of ads so you can see which are more effective and should be enhanced. Most businesses utilize both SEO and PPC; they are different tactics for marketing and are considered equally important.

For more information on the potential benefits of PPC, a good resource is

Some of the most important metrics for pay-per-click advertisers are ad positioning metrics. These can include but are not limited to:

  • Click-through rates
  • Visitors
  • Pages per visit
  • Average duration on site
  • Conversion rates

Each of these PPC metrics weighed against your ad position can help you save money on your advertising budget. One important way this happens is by gauging your metrics for each ad position relative to other ad positions.

For instance, if you discover that your CTR for position three is higher than your CTR for position one or two, then that’s a huge benefit. But what if your conversion rate is higher for position two?

You have to determine what metric is more important for you in reaching your goals.

If you are not concerned with conversion rate but are concerned with a higher engagement with your visitors, then you might look at your pages per visit and average duration metrics. Adjust your budget to target your ad to the optimal position so that you can reach the highest engagement possible for your ads.

This is no easy task. It does require keeping an eye on your ads and performing some tests to determine the best position for the goals you want to reach.

You can get started with ad position adjustment by consulting with Reciprocal Consulting at

When it comes to advertising through Google AdWords, nothing is more important than your quality score. Your quality score will determine your ad placement and in turn affect future click-throughs (CTR). If you see your CTR go up and your quality score go down, the first place you should look is your landing page.

Why the landing page?

You should check the landing page because there is a good chance your ad relevance isn’t matching your PPC ad keyword targeting. For that reason, I’ve put together this short list of 3 items that are very important for your PPC quality score.

  1. Landing Page Relevance – Your keyword must match the keyword targeting in your ad. Relevance also includes making sure the product or service you are selling matches what the targeted customer is looking for.
  2. Keyword Grouping – Do you have a tight keyword grouping for your PPC campaign? If your grouping is too broad or doesn’t target narrowly enough, that could affect your Google AdWords quality score.
  3. Landing Page Design – Don’t think design doesn’t count. If you have too many images or videos on your landing page and it loads slowly, that will affect your quality score. If the images and videos don’t look right on the page, that could also affect your quality score.

These are not the only factors that affect Google AdWords quality scores, but they are important.

PPC Hero shares 15 ad networks you can use besides Google AdWords. I’d say you should definitely use the first two on the list:

  • Bing
  • Facebook

But you probably shouldn’t give up on Google AdWords either.

The thing about AdWords is it sends the most traffic to your website, if you do it well. Of course, you’ll pay more for clicks too. If you have a small budget, then you might start with Bing and Facebook. Once you increase your revenues enough to increase your advertising budget, then you can move on to Google AdWords.

Another benefit to starting with Bing and smaller ad networks is you can practice your ad writing and landing page skills. Failure will cost you a lot less than it will at Bing. Once you’ve perfected your craft, then you can spend the big dollars.

PPC advertising is only getting better. With Facebook, you can target your ads to specific demographics, which you can’t do with Google or Bing because they are more keyword-based. I highly recommend both approaches. PPC on the search engines is about finding your audience through their search habits. On Facebook, it’s about looking for them by customer persona type.

Smaller businesses don’t have to be left out of the PPC advertising game. Start small and work your way up.

Search Engine Journal explains really well why you might be losing traffic to Google if you fall into a certain website classification. But it’s been our experience that even new websites aren’t getting as much direct traffic from Google as they used to. And that includes websites where Google is not providing direct information.

Nevermind why this is happening. The truth is, you can’t do anything about it. Except one thing: Seek alternative sources of traffic.

Now, more than ever, it is very important to seek website traffic from other sources. But what sources should you consider? Here are three specific sources I’d recommend for getting more website traffic besides Google search:

  1. Guest blogging – Much has been said about guest blogging. I won’t harp on the benefits. One thing is for sure, however. If you guest blog correctly, you’ll get more traffic to your website. Start with blogging on sites within your niche or that target the same audience you do.
  2. Social media – Google can’t control Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. If you’re more active on these sites, you’ll drive more traffic to your website. You may also appear in Google search more for your brand name, which is a huge benefit. By the way, Google+ is included in this category, and you should know that Google+ is counted as a separate referrer channel in most analytics packages than Google search.
  3. Paid advertising – Google wants your money. They want you to advertise with PPC. That’s why they’ve made certain changes like (keyword not provided). Don’t get upset about it. PPC is a good traffic generator. Use it wisely.

I know what you’re thinking. PPC costs money, and that’s true. If you want a less expensive alternative, spend some time on social media. It’s growing in its payoff benefits.

When it comes to paid advertising, most people know about Google AdWords, but that’s not your only option. In most cases, Google AdWords is the most expensive option and therefore maybe not your most cost efficient option. Here are several options you can choose from when it comes to pay per click advertising.

  • Bing Ads – Bing Ads is the Microsoft equivalent to Google AdWords. The advantage is you have less competition because most advertisers are using Google AdWords. The downside is you won’t reach the same size market. Bing’s search engine is quite a bit smaller than Google’s. Still, it’s a viable option.
  • Facebook Advertising – Facebook has its own advertising model. Ever see those ads on the right side of your wall? You can target your ads demograpically, which is something you can’t do with Google AdWords. The downside is, the keyword targeting isn’t as impressive as with Google.
  • Promoted Tweets – Twitter has something called Promoted Tweets. You pay to have a tweet appear in the Twitter stream of people who fit your target profile.
  • LinkedIn Advertising – The B2B network LinkedIn also have an advertising model. If you are a business-to-business business, then LinkedIn could be a good alternative to Google AdWords.

If you’re ready to expand your PPC advertising strategy, start with these good Google AdWords alternatives.

In a way, online marketing has come full circle. In the early days, you wrote articles and published them. That was it. Yeah, you might have purchased a banner ad on a related niche website, but were those really effective?

No matter how effective those early banner ads were (not very), you could always count on well-written and well-placed articles.

Over time, the definition of content has changed. In those early days of the Internet, pretty much all content was articles. You might have had graphics on your website, but they couldn’t be search engine optimized. So articles were the real content.

What happened?

The Internet grew, photos and videos became popular as the technology to implement them online improved, and millions of websites sprung up in every niche imaginable. The leading online advertising model became PPC advertising. It was very effective if you did it right. It still is.

But, there are many Internet users who developed ad blindness. It’s a very real phenomenon that causes people to ignore ads – even if they’re effective in every way.

It’s hard to ignore native advertising.

Native advertising is content that doesn’t look like content. If it does look like content, then it’s so effective that users will still click to view it even knowing that it’s an ad. It’s content even if it’s advertising. The reason this works is because users really care about great content, even if it’s advertising.

If your idea of keyword research is that it is a one-time activity, then you should probably take a primer on keyword research. It may not be something you need to spend time on every day, but you should definitely revisit the issues periodically. How often is your call, but don’t wait a whole year.

Brainstorming for keywords is not necessarily as simple as using Google’s Keyword Planner either. A lot of the free tools are dead, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative.

Here are 5 ways you can brainstorm for new keywords to use in your online marketing:

  1. Suggested Search – Both Google and Bing will suggest search terms as you enter a keyword into the search box. Take advantage of this. Use your keywords and look at what the search engines suggest. You might be surprised at the gems you’ll find.
  2. Make a list – The old brainstorming method of writing it down still works. Write down every variation of your keyword phrases that you can. Use it as a jumping off point, not a definitive list.
  3. PPC campaigns – You’ll have to break down and use Google AdWords or Bing Ads for this, but look at your keyword groups and suggested opportunities in your PPC admin panel.
  4. Social media – What are people saying on your social networks? Are they talking about you or your competition? What words are they using?
  5. Customer reviews – I hope you’re reading them. You can often find out precisely what people think about your brand by reading their reviews. What keywords are they using to talk about your company and its products?

Keyword research is an ongoing activity. You should spend at least a few minutes each month doing keyword research.

Pay per click advertising is one of the most powerful modes of online advertising if for any reason because you can target and re-target in real time and on an ongoing basis. Don’t like the way your advertising is leaning right now? Just tweak your ads, keyword groups, and your targeting efforts and you’ll begin to see instant changes.

One of the best ways to reach your target demographic with PPC is by close and careful monitoring of your keyword groups.

In other words, if you create a tight keyword group that targets a specific demographic and point your ads for that keyword to a common landing page that is targeted specifically for the demographic, then you’ll have a powerful advertising platform. But you need to keep an eye on your keyword group and landing page. This is where you want to do extensive testing and monitoring.

If your landing page, or your ads, are off in any way, you could spend hundreds of dollars on ineffective advertising. The worst thing in the world is to target a specific demographic with a keyword group that sees no conversions.

If you do it right, however, you could see big results from your advertising. PPC is cost effective only if you see results from the money you spend. Keep your ad groups tight and your keywords tighter.

According to Business Insider, Twitter and Facebook are now earning 50% of their advertising revenue from mobile phones. Facebook took 11% of its ad revenue from mobile last year and 23% in the fourth quarter.

Naturally, BI is expecting these numbers to increase. So am I.

What is driving this increase? Native advertising. Not traditional PPC.

Native advertising is advertising that appears in the news feed of Facebook and Twitter users. It’s not something they are looking for, but it appears there based on what they normally tweet or post about on Facebook. It’s a combination of targeted demographic marketing and affinity marketing. And it seems to be working.

With this kind of powerful marketing available to them, online paid advertisers are sure to invest more into the advertising that is effective for them.

Social media advertising provides one advantage over traditional PPC. With Google AdWords, you only reach people who are searching for information related to your offering based on keywords you enter. With social media advertising, you choose the demographic you want to target. It’s more like traditional advertising, putting control back into the hands of advertisers.

Naturally, there’s no perfect advertising medium, but social media advertising represents the best of two optimal worlds. You can target your ads to a demographic you know and you can take advantage of the social media opportunity. Combine them for one great opportunity.

Search Engine Journal published an article today that discusses how the Bing ad tool can be used to make your PPC advertising on Bing and Yahoo! more effective and cost efficient. What I want to discuss regarding the article, however, has to do with the most frequently changed ad campaign changes, according to the Bing ad Editor Tool.

The top 5 most frequently Bing ad campaign items are:

  1. Keyword
  2. Ad content
  3. Negative keyword
  4. Location targeting
  5. Negative site

In that order.

This is an interesting list because it appears that keywords are changed a lot. When you consider that negative keywords are keywords you definitely do not want your ads to target, it makes you wonder why advertisers would change them. Are advertisers changing the keywords that are a part of their negative keyword lists, adding new negative keywords, or moving words from the keywords list to the negative keywords list?

Another interesting tidbit here is the location targeting change. Are advertisers changing the locations they want to target, adding new locations, or deleting locations? Probably, all of the above.

It’s hard to tell from this list and the lack of specific data whether advertisers are on the right track or wasting their time and money. One thing is for sure, if advertisers want to be successful on Bing or any other PPC ad network, changes to their ad campaigns are inevitable. PPC requires constant monitoring, and regular changes can be positive or negative.

From PPC advertising to video marketing, and everything in between, you’ll need to monitor your analytics to see how effective your campaigns are working for you. Without measuring your efforts you don’t know what to change.

So, what if you do watch your metrics and you notice that you are getting a lot of traffic from a particular geographic region. Does that matter?

Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn’t.

If you aren’t targeting that demographic area in your content or consciously striving to get business from that area, then you might ask why you are getting a lot of traffic from that area. There could be a number of reasons why you’d get traffic from a specific geographic area without consciously targeting that area.

For instance, maybe someone in that region has taken a liking to your content and shares it on a regular basis.

There could be other reasons why you are getting traffic from that region. Maybe you mention a certain area in your blog posts a lot and don’t realize it.

Your first step is to research the issue and see if you can determine why you are getting that geographic traffic. Secondly, ask if it is hurting. If not, find a way to capitalize on it. If it is hurting in some way (for instance, traffic from that region doesn’t convert or leads to a lower conversion rate), then your challenge is to find a way to turn that into a positive.

You can do the same thing with other demographic elements (age, gender, etc.). If it doesn’t hurt, find a way to capitalize on it.

Earlier this week, Google reported that they are making a change to how they report AdWords quality scores. It’s important to note that this will not change how your quality scores are calculated and therefore won’t affect how your ads are displayed.

This is the kind of change you’d expect Google to make from time to time. It means they are committed to providing a quality advertising product.

Your Google AdWords quality score is represented as a 1-10 number tied to three key aspects of your AdWords campaign – expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience. Let’s analyze these three factors briefly.

Expected Click-Through Rate

Note that your quality score is not tied to your actual click-through rate (CTR) but your expected CTR. This is determined by past click throughs on your specific exact match keyword relative to your ad’s position. You are graded according to “average,” “above average,” and “below average.”

You can affect this measurement through keyword selection. Make sure you use the best keywords for your ad campaign.

Ad Relevance

This measure is about how your specific keyword relates to the content in your ad. Again, it is measured by “average,” “above average,” and “below average.” If your keyword isn’t specific enough to your ad, then you could be hurting your quality score. Make sure you create tight ad groups.

Landing Page Experience

Your landing page must be relevant to the keyword people use to search for your product or service. It must also match the content in your ad. And it should provide a positive user experience once searchers find your landing page. Is it easy to navigate? Is it organized well and well designed?

All of these factors are important in determining your ad’s quality score. If your Google AdWords quality score dips too low, you could lose your ad placement and end up out-of-sight out-of-mind.

Back to metrics again, it’s vitally important that you measure what you want to control. To that end, perhaps the most important business metric you should be concerned with, and one which you have a fair amount of control over, is the cost of acquisition for each customer.

Whether you market your products and service through PPC, social media, search marketing, other, or a combination of above, you should keep tabs on what it costs to get a new customer. If you don’t know that, you don’t know whether you are earning a profit or not.

By running a few tests you can determine the base cost of a new customer. This is easy to do with pay per click advertising.

After you have determined the base cost of a new customer, you can then adjust that as needed by tweaking your online marketing initiatives. You can downgrade your PPC campaigns to control costs, increase the amount of time you spend on social media, or increase your SEO efforts.

Keep in mind that customer acquisition cost is a one-time event. After you have gained a new customer you then have to expend your resources to keep him. That’s a different cost altogether, and it’s cheaper and easier to keep a customer than acquire a new one.

So keep an eye on the cost of obtaining a new customer. It’s your most important business metric.

Many small business owners new to search engine optimization and online marketing wonder why it takes so long to see results. There are a number of reasons why SEO takes time, but it’s not just SEO. PPC often requires several weeks, or months, as well. But why?

In a word, it’s all about the competition. No matter what niche you are in, if you are just getting started, then you have an uphill climb.

There are likely other businesses who have established an online presence in your niche. For every keyword you are targeting in the search results, you should expect a handful of competitors to already have a head start. Add that to the expectations of the search engines regarding quality content and you have a recipe for success or disaster depending on your implementation.

Google favors sites with age. That means that your new website is at a distinct disadvantage where search engine rankings come into play. That’s not to say you can’t achieve respectable rankings. You just have to work harder.

Recent updates in search engine ranking factors also come into play. Now more than ever, the search engines are looking for high quality content. Businesses new to online marketing generally have a learning curve. Your first attempts at creating high quality content will likely not work in your favor – until you learn what “high quality” actually means for online content.

In a word, you have to pay your dues. It can often be a lot easier to achieve high rankings out of the gate by hiring a professional content service that has a track record in working with businesses like yours.

SEOmoz has an interesting article about SEO insights garnered from a study on pay per click advertising.

I won’t necessarily endorse everything in the article, but I think you can gain some insight into SEO by studying PPC advertising habits, and click-throughs to some extent. For starters, let’s take a look at the top 10 industries by average PPC cost-per-click:

  1. Finance
  2. Jobs & Education
  3. Business/Industrial
  4. Computers & Electronics
  5. Internet/Telecom
  6. Beauty & Fitness
  7. Automobiles
  8. Home & Garden
  9. Travel
  10. Shopping

Interestingly, in each of these industries, retargeting is proving to be very effective. Retargeting is the act of using PPC to reach the same market prospects across the Google Display Network as you reach in the Google SERPs. In other words, if you advertise using PPC and run your ads on network websites signed on to Google AdSense, you’ll be more effective with your SEO and your PPC efforts.

Mobile PPC Not As Effective As Mobile SEO

Another thing you should know is that mobile users don’t click on PPC ads as often. That’s because they are on the go and don’t take the time to click on ads. If they’re searching for something, however, they will use the organic search option. Mobile search is primarily about organic SEO. This is a golden opportunity for search marketers, especially where local search and mobile search meet.

Use PPC For Keyword Research

Finally, and we’ve known this for years, you can use pay per click advertising to test your keywords for organic search. If you are getting good click-throughs that convert in your PPC campaigns, that can also translate into excellent search positioning in the organic search space.

Savvy online marketers look at SEO and PPC as complimentary marketing channels, not competing ones.