Tag Archives: PPC

Google Instant Changes Little – and Some SEO Considerations using the Italian ABCs

So now that most of the uninformed hype surrounding Google Instant has been written, let’s take a hard look at what Google Instant really means for most companies and organizations.

Google Instant is an interface change

First of all, it is important to understand what Google Instant is and what it is not. Google Instant is a user interface change, it changes the way Google presents search results to Google users.

How Google Instant works

As the user types a query, Google refreshes the displayed search results which, according to Google, best respond to the query typed so far or what Google predicts the query will be based on past queries.

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And then there were two: Microsoft – Yahoo! Search Deal at SMX West 2010

With the approval of the Microsoft-Yahoo search deal by EU regulators, search engine marketers will soon be working in a new landscape. In western Europe where Google dominates with about 90% of the market, it’s tempting to react to the deal with a big yawn.

Yet Yahoo! often has a bigger impact on our search marking than we might like to acknowledge. For many, Yahoo, through its Site Explorer and the Yahoo Search Boss / Site Explorer APIs , is a primary source of competitive backlink data. And who among us doesn’t perform a few searches in Yahoo to benchmark the quality of Google’s results?

Microsoft - Yahoo Search Alliance For paid search practitioners, the consolidation of three PPC / Keyword Advertising platforms down to two (Google & Bing) will certainly reduce operational and training costs. In some countries it will make the choice to expand beyond just Google much easier to justify. Yet Bing’s adCenter PPC service is currently limited to the US, Canada, the UK& France. What will happen to the other 30 countries served by Yahoo today?

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The human dimension of Search Marketing

I love the web. Despite being somewhere in Italy, I’m able to follow many professional conferences like SMX West through session write-ups posted online. After all, it isn’t always possible to attend conferences in person. Yet even when the post quality is high, there’s something missing, something that can’t be replicated virtually. Above all, its the human dimension, the networking experience. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend professional conferences (or you’re a bit shy!), you might think, “what’s he on about?“.

As I reflect on the various breakfast, lunch and cocktail chats I had at SMX West, I think about the breadth of interesting people I met.

There’s excitement in being around so many bright and curious people– digital novices to seasoned veterans, those who practice search marketing to those who know that understanding search is a key to their company’s (and their own) future.

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Search engine marketing acronyms: what are they talking about?

That Americans like acronyms is not really a surprise to those who have worked for an American company. Acronyms are extremely useful as a conversational shorthand especially when working with unwieldy terms like search engine optimization. SEO is just so much easier to roll off the tongue. The problem with acronyms is that it is very easy to lose the original meaning – a significant communication problem. In the world of search marketing, SEM is a good case in point.

The following search-marketing glossary highlights common acronyms often used by the search marketing community.

SEO
Search Engine Optimization. Indicates the activities undertaken to generate traffic, usually qualified, to a website through the “natural” results in a search engine. In Google, ~80% of user clicks are on the natural (also called organic) results.
PPC
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Did you mean: porn or why not all keywords are suitable for SEO.

In the not too distant past when we spoke of search engine marketing, we focused mainly on search engine rankings (SERPS) or, in other words, of being top in Google. A nice phrase, concise and effective. Visibility in search engines is very important, no doubt.

But in the top spots in Google for what? Here lies the big trap. It is not uncommon that the keywords identified for SEO or PPC campaigns are part of the jargon used by business professionals inside a company to describe their products and services. Yet a typical person generally uses much simpler language to describe what they are searching for in Google or another search engine. Consequently a business can find itself in the top Google search results, but for keywords which are only used by competitors when they fall into the same trap. Ouch.

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Who’s using Google for their organic and paid search results?

An important consideration for Google AdWords advertisers is to understand just where their contextual ads might appear. Google notes that AdWords ads can appear on the:

  1. Google search engine
  2. Partner search engines (e.g. Aol, Ask.com, Libero / Arianna, Virgilio / Alice)
  3. Google owned web content sites (e.g. Gmail, Google Groups)
  4. Third party web content sites (practically any site wishing to display Google ads)

The following slide, extracted from my PPC with AdWords Course, provides a visual overview of where AdWords can appear1.

Visual Overview of Where Google AdWords Ads may appear
Figure 1: Where Google AdWords Ads may Appear – Italian market focus (click to enlarge)

While Google has recently improved information about participants in the Google content network2, it isn’t so easy to find an updated listing of which major generalist portals and pure search engines rely on Google for their organic and paid search results. The following table aims to rectify this, at least for the Italian market.

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Funny business searching for Milan-Rome flights in Google – AdSense Arbitrage at work.

The traditional August break in Italy is a wonderful time to work on projects which linger on the back burner during the rest of the year. Last August led to the release of a free keyword selection guide (in Italian); this year’s focus is a Course on using the AdWords PPC paid search marketing program.

While capturing some updated screen shots for the PPC Course, I came across an interesting example of a search marketing phenomena known as PPC or AdSense arbitrage.

Search for Milan – Rome Flights

Consider this search for Milan – Rome Flights: Search in Google for Flights between Milan and Rome
Figure 1: Search in Google for Flights between Milan and Rome

Travel is one of the most highly competitive business sectors on the web. It shouldn’t then be a great surprise that we have 3 sponsored results (with the beige background) above the organic results in addition to the standard sponsored results on the right. The results at the top appear when there is a high chance of the ad being very profitable for Google – the maximum bid is high, as is the historic click-through rate.

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Psst: Your Competition is ignoring Internet Search Marketing, are you?

The inside scoop on how you can get a competitive advantage by including organic search engine visibility in your marketing mix.

One of the primary goals of traditional advertising is to create demand for a product or service. An advertisement awakens latent demand by bringing attention to the product or service, or strives to create demand by informing us of a need or problem we weren’t yet aware of having.

By advertising in a mix of traditional media (television, radio, cinema, billboards, magazines and newspapers), companies aim to increase their sales. The process is rather hit or miss: a return on investment (ROI) only occurs when a person, sufficiently motivated, passes through a shop’s checkout or orders a service. This ROI is notoriously hard to measure. John Wanamaker summed it up best when he wryly noted,

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half1.

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Search marketing is different: how to gain a competitive advantage by insuring a successful SEO project

In a related article, I consider how Internet search marketing remains a niche focus for a few early adopters despite laser-like targeting and measurement abilities. As a relatively new media, search engine mechanics and user interaction with search engines remains a bit of a black box for many marketing professionals. In the following discussion, I aim to outline the process of a typical search marketing project.

The first consideration for a company is to identify an internal resource who will be responsible for search marketing initiatives. This person has a solid understanding of the company’s business goals and marketing strategies. They also tend embrace technology as a business enabler and ideally are already involved with the company’s web presence.

Selection of an external search marketing partner usually follows, unless the organization decides to recruit resources to manage search marketing in-house. The usual vendor selection criteria come in to play: reputation, experience, value for money, etc.

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