AdWords Tag

10 Jul Google AdWords – Spreadsheets Now Built In!

For all you PPC wizards out there who do bulk edits via Excel spreadsheets, Google has just made your life A LOT easier by building spreadsheet editing right into the new AdWords interface (AdWords blog post here). In the Keywords tab just click the More actions like so:

Then you’ll see a spreadsheet (sort of an Excel/Google Docs hybrid) which includes the basic functionality (like formulas) that makes working in spreadsheets so cool. Or you can just do a copy/paste of your spreadsheet right into their spread sheet.

Go check it out my fellow PPC wizards and let me know what you think

PS I know this is yesterday’s news (literally), but I didn’t see it until this morning. Forgive me.

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09 Jul Small Business PPC – Search Query Reports

If you are looking for insight into what customers are searching and when your ad is being seen, this report has the answers. And with the new AdWords interface these reports are easier than ever.

How To Run A Search Query Report

To run a search query report, login to AdWords and drill down to the ad group level. Then select the “See search terms…” button like so:
Search Query Report

After the report runs you’ll be presented with your search terms like this:
Search Query Report

Notice here that the 2nd keyword, online marketing consultant, got clicks on 3 of 4 impressions. This is a keyword that I could add to my keyword list. Just check the box and click the “Add as keyword” button at the top of the list. Google has made this super easy. You’ll also see that my ad was triggered by the broad term “market”. Yes, it got a couple clicks on 60 impressions, but market is too broad for my product. I can add this as a negative keyword by checking the box and clicking the “Add as negative keyword” button at the top of the list.

How Often Should I Run A Search Query Report

I recently saw a good PPC checklist that recommended weekly and I agree. My only caveat would be that if you have a small budget and are accumulating clicks slowly, you may not be getting a lot of data every week. In these situations every couple weeks would be sufficient.

Moral of the Story – Search query reports will help you find new keyword opportunities and weed out irrelevant searches which will boost CTR and QS, lowering your CPC. Give it a try and let me know how it went.

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07 Jul Small Business PPC – Negative Keywords

One of the most underutilized features in PPC is the negative keywords function. Hours are spent looking for the most relevant keywords and every imaginable permutation and misspelling. Those keywords are then organized into ad groups and campaigns using multiple match types, all in an effort to make sure our ad shows when a search is performed. All this effort to show up, but aren’t there searches where we DON’T want our ad?

Negative Keywords – Your Own Personal Jiminy Cricket

I love the movie Pinocchio and especially the character of Jiminy Cricket. This little guy has the job of keeping Pinocchio out of trouble. Effectively, Jiminy tells Pinocchio what NOT to do. Negative keywords are the Jiminy Cricket that you give to Google with instructions of when NOT to show your ads.

First, an example. Say you are selling small business backup software like Mozy Pro. Of course you want your ad to show for searches like “small business data backup” or “business backup”. So you put these guys in your ad group. However, do you really want someone searching “free business backup”? Say you sell Toto toilets. Do you want your ad showing for searches on Dorothy’s dog Toto from the Wizard of Oz?

How To Add Negative Keywords

Google AdWords has rolled out a new interface in the last few months and negative keywords got moved. You will now see them below your keyword lists like this:
Negative Keywords in AdWords

Simply click the “Add” button and type in keywords that aren’t related to your offering. “Free” is a good one if you don’t offer a free option. Our Toto toilets site above would add words like “Oz”, “Wizard”, “Dorothy” or “Dog”. This has two main benefits:

  1. Your ads don’t get stupid clicks (missed clicks, curiosity clicks, etc.) from people not looking for your product/services.
  2. Your CTR goes up, your QS goes up and your CPC goes down for the same position.

PS – Can’t think of any more negative keywords? Run a Search Query Report and you’ll find more, guaranteed! But that is Thursday’s post.

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30 Jun Small Business PPC – Campaign Settings

Tucked away in the Google AdWords interface you will find a very important area that many people never even think to look at, let alone actually optimize: the Campaign Settings.

Campaign Settings

Below you will see a screenshot of the campaign settings area in the new Google AdWords interface.
AdWords Campaign Settings


Locations in AdWords can be set at the national, state, and/or city level. If you’re a plumber in Omaha, you can show your ads only within a 50 mile radius of your offices.

Languages are pretty self explanatory.

Demographics are more of an advanced feature that I wouldn’t recommend for most small businesses. These settings apply only to the content network (a beast in its own right) and the system Google uses to determine demographics isn’t perfect. Leave a comment if you have questions about this area and I’ll help you one-on-one.

Networks, Devices and Extensions

You have the options of serving ads on any combination of Google search, search partners (other sites that have their search powered by Google), the content network and mobile phones. Unless you have experience and are confident in your knowledge of AdWords, I recommend you start with just Google search and search partners.

Bidding and Budget

There are a lot of options here, but I’ll keep it simple: set the daily budget you’re willing to spend and then leave these settings alone.

Advanced Settings

First, you can schedule your ads to run during a period of time (say you run your ads from June 25th to July 3rd for your fireworks site) or “dayparting”, which is showing ads only during certain parts of the day (if your product is a pure B2B play it might be wise to only show your ads during business hours on weekdays). Dayparting is most effective when used to weed out less productive times and should be based on web analytics or sales data that shows which times of day aren’t profitable.

Second, you can change the ad rotation. The default is for Google to optimize. Optimize = Google serving the ad with better click-through-rate (CTR) to maximize their revenue. Therefore I recommend you change from the default to “Rotate”. This will serve the ads more evenly and let’s you effectively conduct simple A/B tests on ad copy and landing pages.

“With great power comes great responsibility.” Be smart!

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23 Jun Small Business PPC – Budget Limitations Got You Down?

The most apparent difference between a small business PPC campaign and the PPC campaign of a large company is the budget. Large companies tell their PPC manager to capture all the available clicks, many times with no real cap on spending. The small business usually can set aside a certain amount each month, say $1000, and then has to squeeze every last drop from that budget. Here is where the rules change for small business PPC campaigns.

Focus, Like a Laser Beam!

I once had a friend who had difficulty studying. He would get distracted by the cool car on the street or more interesting reading material. We developed a saying for whenever he would get distracted to help him get back on topic: “Focus! Like a laser beam!”

Lasers on a fundamental level are just really powerful lights. However, a laser is able to cut through metal because that light is being focused into a single, small beam (think of a magnifying glass and ants). When focused appropriately, even a small laser can be extremely powerful. This is how you need to run your small business.

How Do I Focus?

Remember from our last post that budgets are set on the campaign level. Therefore, if you have $1000 to spend this month and 2 campaigns, each will have a budget of $16.67/day. Seems easy enough right? Actually, this is where you need to look at your own industry to determine the best course of action. Basically you need to see where your PPC fits in these 3 categories:

  • Not Competitive – Lucky you, your niche isn’t a feeding frenzy of competition. You are able to get clicks for under $0.25 on very targeted keywords that will produce excellent leads. There probably isn’t a ton of search volume, but this fits your budget perfectly. You can set a campaign with a $5.00/day budget and capture all the clicks available. Welcome to PPC nirvana.
  • Mildly Competitive – Your main “head” terms are pretty competitive and cost your around $1.00/click. However, you find there are quite a few “tail” terms (pocatello idaho wedding photographer instead of wedding photographer) that have much more reasonable prices and will produce highly qualified traffic. Try to separate your tail terms from your head terms. Make sure your budgets capture all the tail term traffic possible, then use the rest for the more competitive head terms.
  • Very Competitive – All the terms you want to target are highly competitive. Over $1.00/click and sometimes over $5.00/click. You face an uphill battle my friend. If you can’t identify tail terms to target first, you will likely have to consolidate your budget into a single campaign with a limited keyword list. This will allow you to run effective tests in reasonable time frames. When fighting in a melee, keep your forces concentrated. Remember the movie Gladiator? Think of the first fight in the Coliseum where Maximus is taking on the chariots with just shields and spears. Stick together.

Okay, so you’ve ascertained how competitive your industry is, now the next step will be setting your keyword-level bids to match. And that is the topic of our next post, so tune back in on Thursday or subscribe to the RSS in the upper right. As usual, I would love to hear from you in the comments.

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