Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Search Engine Strategies - Full House

I think the Google Dance 2007 really says it all. The place was packed with happy marketers that found SES valuable and overwhelming. [Boy, do you ever get the 'look' when you walk by with a Google Dance shirt from 2002. All the young Googlelites are amazed you have been around that long :)].

More pictures.
Thanks Google.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 8:46 AM     Permanent Link

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Search Keywords = Sales. Why not use them in other advertising?

Search Keyword Theory is quite simple. VRC: Volume, Relevancy and Converting. The words you choose to optimize your site with need to be a balance of all three. But words from the marcom department's press releases and the CEO's blog are not going to get you the volume of traffic you need in order to get to the most important part of the equation - C.

This is not a 'big idea' or a hot topic or tip. It is new to many 'other' marketers who wonder why nobody clicks on a banner (yes, people actually do click on banners sometimes) that says architecturally designed with ergonomic arch for maximum endurance when their customers are really looking for some new running shoes. New Running Shoes is what they are going to enter into a search box. The landing page needs to say New Running Shoes and maybe, in a little font, the new words dreamed up by product managers who have run out of adjectives.

A little harsh you say? Maybe, but search isn't at the top of the effectiveness heap because of marketing spin. The lessons learned from search should be applied to other forms of advertising. Imagine a billboard that said: Get New Running Shoes from Us! It works for search.

posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 5:05 PM     Permanent Link

Monday, August 27, 2007

Video on Search Marketing Tools from Searchnomics Conference

A video of my session on Search Engine Marketing Tools from the Searchnomics Conference. I hope they invite me back next year as this was an excellent forum. [But do I ever wish I did my hair differently.]

Barbara Coll, Inc. Video of Session
Session Description: A panel discussion on using tools for search engine marketing. More and more you see the offer of search engine marketing solutions for managing PPC buys. Those solutions are primarily a set of tools for keyword analysis, keyword expansion and bid management. This panel will cover three aspects of 'tools': automated systems, a hands-on service model and outsourcing. Come hear the panelists debate the relative merits of their chosen method of managing search engine marketing campaigns.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 2:11 PM     Permanent Link

Search Marketing Agency Mistakes on Google Adwords - Shocking!
Once again my team and I were totally shocked by a bad, bad implementation of an advertiser's search marketing strategy by their search marketing agency. Search is about keywords and creatives, yes, but ultimately it is about landing page conversions and optimization of the spend based on the ROI goals. To bid a high ($10) CPC on a keyword that has no relevancy and, not surprisingly, no conversions - but lots and lots of traffic - is really unconscionable. I don't hold the agency 100% responsible. The client should be watching the bottom line, and the media vendor should be paying more attention to their big spending clients.

The following items should be reviewed/considered when taking on a new client with an existing Adwords campaign. Note: All of these subjects can be discussed without knowing much about the client strategy or target audience; they are just common sense in the search marketing business.

1. Tracking - are they tracking? What tools are they using? Can you 'see' all the way through to sales? If B2B, can you at least see through to completion of a lead form? If not tracking, how do they measure ROI? Asking these questions will help the client either realize the campaigns are half-baked because no one was looking at ROI or give you the chance to review the value of the campaigns based on ROI.

2. Keyword Buckets/Groups - are all keywords in each bucket closely related to each, or are they too general? Keywords should be grouped so that the creatives and landing pages are directly related and relevant. This leads to better testing, thus better knowledge about how to optimize the campaigns.

3. Creative Testing - how many creatives are they testing per bucket? If there is only one text-based creative per bucket, you know that there is a ton of room for optimization and it wasn't being done in the past.

4. Broad Match - are there words that are being broad match that have nothing to do with the product/service represented by the advertiser. Classic example: your company name is Flower and Associates so you bid on the word Flower. Ok, really stupid example but I have seen it happen.

5. Budgets - what is the distribution of media money? If it is a B2B company a significant amount of money should be being spent on Google Adwords. Have the other engines been tested (the should be)? Is 'owning' the category important (ie: IBM may want to own the keyword computers whether it converts or not), then they should be buying on at least the top three vendors and not just Google. Is the daily spend being hit before the end of the day? What keywords are eating up the budget?

6. [And my favorite] Negative Keywords - are they using negates in their campaigns for words/phrases that may result in inappropriate search results to be associated with the advertiser? If you have a keyword like video or conferencing, the advertiser should be smart/mature/whatever enough to negate out words like xxx (fill in your favorite x).

So many more. Feel free to comment and add your own thoughts.

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posted by Barbara 'webmama' Coll @ 1:16 PM     Permanent Link