Category Archives: ppc

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Keyword Changes on Google Adwords

Exact match and phrase match keywords are disappearing from Google AdWords.

Google announced that these will be replaced with ‘variation’ or ‘near match’ varients starting in September. What does this mean and how will it affect your Google AdWords campaigns?

What is Google changing?

In a blog post on 14th August Google announced that it will no longer be possible to bid on exact match and phrase match keywords without including ‘close varients’ – keywords that are similar to the entered keyword.

According to Google nearly 10% of Google searches contain a misspelling, and there are other varients that need to be included.

They give the example that if you advertise for the exact match keyword [kid scooters], Google will now show your advert for the search terms “kid scooters”, “kid’s scooter” and “kids scooters”. Until now, ‘exact match’ meant that the ad was only shown for “kid scooters” and not for the variations.

A similar approach will effect phrase match keywords.

Good or Bad?

The official Google statement is that this change is great and that you will get a lot more clicks. But as an advertiser you will have less control over your target keywords as it’s unclear whether the variation keywords will have the same conversion rate as the target keyword.

The cynic in me says this change will be beneficial to Google but might not be beneficial to Google AdWords users. Unfortunately, there’s nothing users can do to prevent this change.

What to do

You could change your phrase match keywords to exact match keywords so that Google can’t add too many unwanted additional keywords to your account. You can also use negative keywords to remove unwanted phrases, but this canbe a very long-winded process.

As is often the case with Google updates we will have to wait and see what happens, assess the impact and make any necessary changes to keep our Adwords campaigns working efficiently.


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Add a Review to your Adwords Advert

Customers like to see other people’s reviews for a product or service when searching online and Google have been adding reviews from third party sources for some time.

Google Adwords

However, now on Google Adwords it’s now possible to add a review extension to your advert and share positive write-ups, awards or third-party rankings with potential customers. This is in an additional line of text beneath your ads on Google Search and you can choose and enter your own quoted review.

You can use a paraphrased or exact quote, as long as it’s attributed and linked to the published source.

According to Google:

“Reviews should focus on your business as a whole, as opposed to a review about a specific product or service. This makes the reviews relevant to just about all of your ads.”

So your extra line might look something like this:

“Really impressed with the excellent service” – websiteblog.com

However Google also point out that it is your responsibility to make sure you’re allowed to use a third-party review for your ads, so you would need the publisher’s permission.


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Managing PPC Keywords

I had an email from a client this week. He was concerned that his Google advertising spend for the first quarter this year had almost halved compared to 2009. Was everything OK?

Yes, everything was OK . . . and still is. The number of clicks from the adverts was about the same as 2009, the Click Through Rate was better and the average Cost Per Click had dropped significantly.

The difference was all to do with ‘honing the keywords’. Making sure that every keyword was working in broad, phrase and exact terms, that negative keywords were kept up to date and bounce rates monitored.

He was no longer paying for irrellevent clicks, overpriced search terms or keywords with high bounce rates.

It’s the sort of work that requires marrying the PPC performance to the Analytics stats and making value judgements. It’s not rocket science but it does take some organisation, wading through hundreds (and hundreds) of keywords and checking performance levels against costs.

If there is an exciting side to Search Engine Marketing this isn’t it.
But get it right and you can cut Cost Per Click by up to 50%. In this case the Google spend for the quater was £1459 against £2684 the previous year. My client saved £1225 in one quarter on one AdWords Campaign, which is good for his business . . . and also good for mine.


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PPC – The Cost Per Click is Rising

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is on the increase. I know this even without the latest stats because Cost Per Click prices are soaring as advertisers increase their bids to gain the top keyword spots. I do this for clients if necessary.

But it isn’t always necessary. Sometimes business owners want the top spot for a given keyword without assessing what happens after the advert has been clicked and the visitor arrives on the landing page.

As a PPC advertiser at this point you should be asking a few pertinent questions:

What happens next? Is the visitor staying to view the site? If not, why not? What is the Landing Page Bounce Rate? What pages are viewed next? And the most important question: What do you want the visitor to do? View a certain page, buy something, download a file/brochure/newsletter?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions you could end up paying for keywords with a high CPC pointing to a page with an 80%+ Bounce Rate. Yes, you are winning the bidding battle but you’re loosing the war, and wasting money in the process.

So if you are running a PPC campaign try asking yourself:

  • Am I targeting the best keyword(s) for my business?
  • Are there less competitive keywords with a better Click Through Rate (CTR)?
  • Is the advert giving out the right message?
  • Is the Landing Page designed to serve the advert?
  • Is the Landing Page performing?
  • Am I getting value for money from my PPC advertising?

You need to be able to answer these questions in a positive way, and not just once, but on a regular bass.