How can you utilize rich media ads to take advantage of the coverage provided by Google’s content network? Which AdWords reports are the most critical, and how you can take full advantage of the information they provide? How is AdWords Quality Score calculated, and how can you improve that score in your campaigns? How can you calculate the potential advertising value of AdWords before making a costly investment?
Find the answers to these questions and others here in more of the best articles and blog posts on maximizing the value of Google AdWords from the past year.
Setting up PPC Campaigns 101, Part 1 by Search Engine Watch
The prolific and always helpful Ron Jones steps through the basics of setting up a search marketing campaign, from sorting keywords into ad groups to identifying negative keywords to use.
Rich Media and Video templates in display ad builder by Inside AdWords
Emel Mutlu steps through the benefits of and process for creating rich media AdWords ads for display across Google’s content network. This includes the capability to use multiple destination URLs, track all activity including mouseovers, and exercise greater creativity in producing ads. Another Inside AdWords post worth checking out is AdWords Editor 7.5.1 for Windows and Mac by Austin Rachlin, which outlines the process for importing CSV files for editing in the AdWords Editor.
Is The Hype Over Google AdWords Quality Score Justified? by Search Engine Land
Craig Danuloff clearly explains why the AdWords quality score is important, how it affects cost per click for SEM campaigns, and the factors that go into Google’s calculation of quality score. Another noteworthy post from Search Engine Land is The 6/90 Rule: 6 Reports Contain 90% Of Actionable AdWords Insights, in which Brad Geddes details how half a dozen reports—including the AdWords keyword, search query and placement performance reports—provide critical, actionable information, how to use them, and how often to run them.
Steve Loszewski explains how to use the AdWords Traffic Estimator tool to calculate the potential value of AdWords for your business, and gives tips for maximizing that value. The only statement I take exception to in this excellent post is that “For small companies unaccustomed to budgeting much at all for advertising, the costs can be impractical.” Actually, by combining the geo-targeted features of AdWords with careful keyword selection and close monitoring, AdWords can be a cost-effective advertising tool even for very modest sized enterprises.
As this post notes, until recently Google AdWords and Analytics were two entirely separate entities. But recent upgrades enable at least partial data sharing between the two systems, and this post provides instructions for importing Analytics goals and transactions into AdWords for unified conversion reporting—a “pretty nice” feature, as the author notes. Another noteworthy post from the PPC Hero blog is 5 Tips on Passing the Google Adwords Qualified Professional Exam, in which Amber provides tips to help “pass the exam with flying colors,” such as reviewing the materials in the AdWords learning center, ad text policies and how to calculate ROI for e-commerce campaigns.
Top 11 Money-Wasting AdWords Mistakes by Alibaba.com
The ubiquitous Jon Rognerud lists 11 common mistakes made by small companies and those new to AdWords, such as duplicating search ads on Google’s content network (the ads need to be different due to the different context in which they are seen), using too many keywords, sending visitors to your home page, and not properly testing ads.
5 Common AdWords Myths Absolutely Destroyed by Search Engine Journal
Brian Carter demolishes five common misconceptions about AdWords, explaining the real story in detail. Among the myths: “AdWords is an auction”—well, sort of, but quality score, which is influenced by the click-through rate, is as big a factor as your bid, and “Google is out to get me”—a common feeling, but as Brian responds to this: “Sure, in some ways. But not so much that you can’t get incredibly good ROI from AdWords for the right offering, if you know what you’re doing” (or are willing to hire professional help from the outside).
Search Ad Quality Score 101, Part 2 by Search Engine Watch
Ron Jones explains how to increase your quality score in AdWords, which gets you a higher ad position at a lower cost. Among his recommendations: small (15-20 term), tightly-focused ad groups; including keywords in landing page copy; and experimenting with different matching options. Another interesting AdWords-related post worth checking out from the team at Search Engine Watch is Get More Attention with Legal PPC Ad Symbols. David Szetela recommends experimenting with using symbols in your ads to increase CTRs, though commenters call him out on the practice.
PPC Web Spy For Competitive Keywords Analysis by WordPress Howto Spotter
Alex Sysoef reviews and recommends PPC Web Spy, a free keyword research tool for AdWords and organic search optimization. The post is a little spammy (as is the PPC Web Spy landing page), but the tool sounds interesting. For any keyword, the tool displays statistics like the average cost per click and number of clicks per day. If you have any experience with this tool, feel free to share it in the comments.
Do more with less — Part 2 of 3 by Inside AdWords
Amanda Kelly explains how the free AdWords Conversion Optimizer tool can improve the productivity of AdWords campaigns: “The Conversion Optimizer helps you get the most conversions for your ad spend by using your conversion tracking data to improve your advertising efficiency. It does this by optimizing the placement of your ads in each auction based on the likelihood of a conversion. This process helps to avoid unprofitable clicks and to get you conversions without requiring you to spend as much time managing your bids.”
Everything You Need To Know About AdWords Display URLs by Search Engine Land
Brad Geddes recommends testing the display URL portion of your AdWords ads as thoroughly as you would any other elements, and offers several examples that fall within Google’s requirements.
This post explains how Google determines a quality score for your keywords as soon as your campaign is launched, by using the experience of other advertisers who have used that keyword as a base. How can you use this information? As the author notes, “If you load a series of new keywords and they all have a low Quality Score, then you may want to re-think these additions. This is because other advertisers have not had success with these keywords. On the other side of the coin, if the Quality Score for a keyword is 9 or 10, this means that previous and current advertisers are having success with this keyword, and competition could be more fierce. You may want to give this keywords special attention and place them into their own ad groups.”