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Google AdWords, KeyWords and FWords

Posted by Ed on 9 December 2010 | 0 Comments

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I get asked a lot about helping people with AdWords, keywords and managing their pay-per-click account.

Some people haven't got the time or the knowledge or the manpower to do it themselves, so they happily let other companies get involved.

Some people see pay-per-click as expensive and decide to reduce the overhead and manage it themselves. This is normally ok in principle, but if you've used AdWords, you'll know that it is far from setting a budget, creating an ad and clicking 'enabled'.

So, what is AdWords and PPC advertising  Well we probably already know. It's the process of paying a search engine [although we are talking mainly about the big player here, namely Google] to show your ad in sponsored links when someone searches for a keyword you have chosen. There is a lot more to it than that, but you get the idea.

That seems pretty straightforward. You choose keywords, and Google have a really simple keyword generator inside the AdWords app, you set a budget and you're selling. How cool is that. Except, it is normally followed by Google bursting your proud bubble and telling you your keywords are poor, your bids are too low and there are 100 other better keywords that will increase your chances of success.

Ok, so what does this mean  Does it mean I don't know what I'm doing and should get an expert on the case  Should I give up entirely  Well, no, it doesn't mean that at all. What Google is doing is trying to help you promote your web site better, smarter and more efficiently.

Here's what is going on.

You have a web site. It may or may not be optimised for keywords. You have 2 options.

You grab all the keywords you think match what your site is all about and add them, create an ad and get going.
You ask Google to get keywords for you from a page on your site, create an add and get going.

You wait a day or so, because AdWords stats aren't real time. You see what is happening.

It rarely makes great reading first time round. Even with a pretty well optimised site, you'll still get some criticism about your keywords and where the ad points.

So you have keywords, a budget, an ad. That's it isn't it

No. It's just a toe in the water in reality.

Let's get serious about AdWords. It is all about choosing the keywords that match your business or product, testing them in real time and looking at the reports. You need to really understand what is coming back and how it relates to the keywords, your ads and the landing page you have chosen.

I'm sorry guys. Effective pay-per-click is all about analysis, number crunching and targetted keywords. It is time consuming and takes organisation and, like most marketing, it is trial and error, sometimes learning some harsh lessons. You need to be reflective, self critical and no too sensetive. After all, it's just a machine telling you that you [might] suck. Not a real person.

Understanding, at least superficially, what AdWords are doing is important. It is also useful to understand what is happening when you create an ad and how it is received.

Google is a search engine. It loves and respect meaningful content and information about a subject, based on a keyword. Although it's a commercial entity, it includes this ethos when processing pay-per-click.

The process of keyword -> ad -> web page is very simple to understand but very significant in how the keyword relates to the content.

A well chosen keyword that relates to a relevant page, based on Googles database ranking of course, means less cost per click, a better position in sponsored ads and a more effective pay-per-click performance.

So if there ever was a magic bullet or killer technique for better PPC performancee, this is it. Make sure keywords are relevant to the pages the ad points at. Simple. Actually, it may not be that simple.

A totally un-optimised site will still work in a pay-per-click environment, it will just cost more per click and will struggle to get high up in the searches it does qualify for. In some cases, theclicker will wonder what they are doing on your web site because it isn't close to what they were looking for  That isn't good.

Let's look at a simple example.

You sell widgets, gadgets and oozits.

The three best keywords are widgets, gadgets and oozits.

These are 3 different things but you sell them all, so they are relevant and as such, you have 3 web pages, one dedicated to each product.

We assume each is reasonably optimised for the target keyword.

Ok, what next. Well, you choose keywords related to each, but this now means that it is difficult to be precise and target all three effectively with one ad or page, so we deivide the keywords into 'sets'.

So we now have a set of widget keyowords, gadget and oozit ones too.

This means we need at least 3 ads but actally, it prompts us to consider 3 campaigns.

So we now have a widget a gadget and an oozit campaign. We can be more specific an target our keywords dorectly, more effectively and  manage them better. We can also look at different ads for each campaign.

Let's think about widgets. We know from experience that people want different things and as such, search for different widget related keywords. Knowing our industry and looking at the keyword stats, we know the 3 best options are: 'cheap widgets', 'long lasting widgets' and just plain old 'widgets'.

We can now create three ads, select the keywords most appropriate to each ad and ensure we have better targetted and more effective keywords.  We can word our ads accordingly, so when people enter the keyword, they see it in the ad title.

In reality, we could have tens of ads with tens of words each, but the principle is the same. Thought, understanding, analysis and objectivity make AdWords more efficient and therefore mor cost effective. Once you have analysed, optimised and structured your AdWords campains in collaboration with a better set of landing pages, managing them will become far easier and small adjustments will return bigger benefits.  

That's all pretty clear now, but there are also obvious advantages elsewhere if we read between the lines.

First off, the keywords you have chosen for pay-per-click are also the keywords that you would like appear in natural searches for. Yep, you've got it. Google AdWords are giving you a rankings leg-up and also telling you which keywords you need to improve on in your web site. Time for some optimisation methinks. Now you can see why a good CMS is such a hot app for businesses.

Secondly, with pay-per-click, you only pay for a click. You'll notice in your stats that you get anywhere from .001% to 10% click throughs. At 1%, this is 100 impressions per click. This means your name and brand has been exposed 100 times for your  1 or whatever your CPC is. Ask your marketing guys about brand exposure.  It takes someone seeing your brand about 30 times before they notice it in a conscious way. Pay-per-click is helping and, with good keywords, it's the right people seeing your name. Again, this makes the ad all important. They need to see certain things there, at least subconsciously.

So you are going to rip it all up and start again. What do you need to do

Well, I'd say give us a call on 0161 298 3816 and relax, but there isn't any reason why you can't get meaningful advantages, both directly by click throughs and indirectl by improved page content, by doing it yourself. Here are a few tips:

1. Choose the keywords you want and let Google expand on the related ones. They know what is relevant and important. They respond to billions of searches every day. (I dread to think how big their databases are!).

2. Start small and organised. Blanket keywords will get impressions, but will soon burn up your budget on meaningless and ineffective exposure.

3. Organise keywords into 'sets' that relate well and target keyword relevant pages. Avoid 'carpet bombing'. Remember, AdWords will tell us when we need to work on a few things.

4.  Use campaigns to help organise 'sets' more efficiently and effectively. Remember, different keywords need to point at keyword relevant pages. If you don't have them, create them. (See, a good CMS is again invaluable).

5. Read the results, the mesages and the status. This is easier in a well organised account.

6. Be self critical and prepare to adjust page content regularly, sometimes daily. (You already know, a good CMS...).

7. Build up keywords slowly and consider competition and monthly search volumes when choosing.

8. Hack out the dead wood regularly. This could be ads or keywords. Lots of impressions, no click throughs means the ad isn't working. Sort it out.

9. Use your keywords to constantly improve your web site and expand your content regularly. Yes, a CMS is perfect for this. Go on, you know you want one!

10. Add Google Analytics and monitor click throughs, bounce rates, new visitors and trends. That's another blog for another time, but the basics will show you how effective your campaigns are.

So there you have it. Far from exhaustive, but hopefully it'll give you some food for thought and help you get more from pay-per-click and even accidentally optimise your web site in the process.

Getting better keywords and pay per click management helps bring people to your web site but you still have much to do once they get there. I feel another blog coming on...

I know Google AdWords can be a little like the cockpit of the space shuttle to most people (I don't think many astronaughts read my blogs) but it can be quite easy, if time consming, to manage once you have an objective.

It will take time and will involve lots of work and analysis [PPC Management and SEO isn't expensive for nothing] but the 'feel good' at the end will be woth it.

Thanks for reading.

Ed/


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