Musings About Online Marketing

Archive for the ‘PPC’ Category

The Google Monster

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This whole rant/post is going to come off kind of strange, considering my income is fairly dependent on effective advertising via Google, but it’s just something I want to toss out there and see what others might think on this topic.

Google scares the crap out of me.

They know far too much about us, and the vast majority of Google users aren’t even aware of how their behavior, data, everything is being used by Google.  “Big Brother” is not a myth.

Google knows a LOT about us.  I think the depth of the information may surprise you.  I’m really not comfortable with Google watching every move I make…  you know, like that Sting guy did when he was with the Police.

Okay, back to the topic – how do you go about educating the general public to be savvy about what not only Google, but any Internet company knows about them? Considering that we live in a world where someone can put out a kiosk that says “Win a FREE Boat!” and many people will give their name and address freely, not thinking of how their info will be used, it’s not likely. It’s likely many people care far less about this than I do.

I’ve experienced extreme privacy freaks in my day – people who will not accept cookies on their browser at any cost, even though some cookies simply enhance a site experience. They’d rather not risk their information being captured at all. I’m sure they are the same with the way their personal info is handled offline. These people feel that all information collected on them will be used in “evil” ways. Even though marketers can all attest that the information is being helped to improve user experience, you still have to wonder about how much a company that can follow so many unaware people as they go from website to website, and stores the information for future use.

Right now, I don’t think Google’s intentions are evil. I really think that they are looking at all the ways they can make life better. They are providing a lot of services and products that are useful to people, often free of cost. However, at what point does Google decide that all of this information they control should be used for the “greater good?” What does that even mean to them? Are we headed towards a future where ads are everywhere, and they are all personalized for you? Think Minority Report.

Somehow, Google has gotten this far with things by keeping a relatively low profile, even though Eric Schmidt has recently made some fairly inflammatory comments about how Google views our privacy on the Web.

Microsoft has been smacked in the nose how many times?  When will Google finally get theirs?

Just some food for thought as we head into the weekend. My advice – be savvy about how you do things on the Internet – don’t put all your eggs in one basket, even if one company makes it extremely easy to do so.


Written by rogersikes

January 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Posted in Misc, Online Marketing, PPC, SEO

Keeping It Simple – Client Communication

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Having been doing search marketing for a while, I’ve come across a plethora of possibilities – what could be wrong, what is wrong, what to do to fix what’s wrong, what’s working, what’s not working, and what to do to make what’s not working work better.

Once again, I think I just confused myself with that last paragraph.

Sometimes it’s easy to inundate a client with too much information in reports and feedback that we give them. It’s always a good practice to keep in mind that most of the time, they are not as well versed in SEM as we are, and they just need to know the numbers that are most relevant to the overall performance of their campaigns, not the deep and dirty details. If you give them too much, they might be left wondering which metrics really matter, and get the wrong impression on what truly defines success or failure of a campaign.

By no means am I implying that you hold back on information. Always make the client aware that you can provide any data they might want (as long as it’s available, of course).

Written by rogersikes

July 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Posted in Online Marketing, PPC, SEO

Testing PPC is Good

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MarketingSherpa has some tips on researching and determining a budget for new PPC clients (or existing, if you are re-evaluating the existing budget). It’s pretty informative and just reconfirms what most experienced PPC marketers already know and practice.

The one part in this article that really jumped out at me was creating a 10-15% portion of the budget for testing. This is key in growing business with any client. In quite a few cases, you can get maxed out on spending, and even to the point where optimizations don’t make a significant difference in CPC or anything else to allow you to get more traffic to a client’s site. Adding a test portion to the budget means that you have a little more elbow room to add keywords, change bids, etc. and not affect the base performance of the campaign. I really like this idea. Testing is good. It’s the only way to get a competitive edge. If you create the campaign and change very little moving forward, you can do fine, even great… but you’ll always just be treading water.

Written by rogersikes

April 9, 2009 at 10:42 am

Happy Holidays!

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It’s been quite a while since I made a post, but I want to assure you that I’m doing well, and have plans to post much more often next year. 😀

Speaking of next year, we’re in the mire of a weakening economy and are face with a lot of uncertainty when it comes to how to spend your marketing dollars, and how to do so on a tight budget. Below are my thoughts and suggestions on how to maximize your advertising efforts.

1. For starters, don’t give up advertising on “traditional” channels (tv, radio, newspaper, yellow pages, direct mail). All of these things provide a stimulus that either drives a direct response, or prompts further research online.

2. Use PPC to ensure you appear on words that tie into your traditional ad campaigns. While it might not be in your budget to do a huge campaign with thousands of keywords, make sure you are present on any and all keywords that tie into your product, business name, and possibly your commercials.

3. Don’t forget about SEO. The key to long term success in the search game is making sure that your site is well optimized and is visible across all search channels. If you have rich media resources, such as video, etc., make sure it’s available on Youtube and other video sites.

4. Create a community for your customers. Use your email newsletter to inform them of ways to save money and do things more efficiently. Establish your brand as a resource and show that you recognize how things are in this day and age when it comes to managing a tight budget.

5. As with any type of ad campaign, create well-defined goals. What are you looking to accomplish with any of these activities? Put a number to it. Measure it. Make sure you know how effectively your dollars are being spent.

There’s a lot of uncertainty as we move ahead in this recession, but the key thing to remember is that marketing is key during times like these. If you set goals, you will be able to see just how effectively your budget is being spent, and maximize your ad spend.

Happy Holidays to all, and here’s to a great 2009!

Written by rogersikes

December 23, 2008 at 8:46 pm

Google Search-based Keyword Tool

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This is a neat feature for when you are doing keyword research on Google.  It really works well for both PPC and SEO.

First impressions of the starting point may be that you’ve seen all of this before.  Mostly likely, you have seen all the kinds of data in different places before, but now Google is putting it all in one convenient spot for you to research keywords down to a very detailed level.  I used one of my favorite record labels (Sub Pop) as well as one of my favorite topics (music) as an example.


 At this point, you may be telling yourself, "big deal."

After you enter in the URL you are researching along with selected keywords, you reach a screen that shows suggested keywords, monthly searches, advertiser competition, and the suggested bid.  Again, nothing real groundbreaking or different from the other External tool that Google offers.  Note that you can see how keywords perform in specific categories as well.  Now, click on the magnifying glass next to one of the keyword suggestions.


Google Search-Based Keyword Tool Step 2


Here’s where it gets really exciting.  When you drill down into the keyword detail, you get a page that shows you the geographic locations searches are coming from, current trending, and much more.  You can drill down into a region to see exactly what cities are generating searches.  You can also look at various date ranges and add other terms for comparison.  There are some more numbers and features available if you log in to your Google account.  I suggest logging in and checking it out for yourself.  😀

Google Search-Based Keyword Tool Step 3

Most free tools are just about what you would expect.  You have to go to several different spots to compile sufficient data to make a client proposal or devise a strategy for your ad campaign.  Google has managed to provide so much of that for free.  Having been in the search engine marketing business since 2000, it’s exciting to see the level of detail now available in this area.  In the early days, you’d just pick a bunch of keywords and bid on them using some archaic tracking methods that involved a lot of spreadsheet, blood, sweat, and tears to pull everything together to make informed decisions.  Now, all this information is easily available, even free in so many cases. 

Google, I’m tipping my hat to you.  This time.  Don’t get cocky.

Written by rogersikes

November 20, 2008 at 8:12 pm

New Geotargeting Feature for Yahoo Search Marketing

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Since this feature was revealed on October 20, it’s old news to some, but I wanted to point out how useful the zip code targeting will be to many marketers, especially those who do lead generation.

One of the big challenges that lead gen providers face is generating or capturing leads within a finite region.  Often the leads they accept from aggregators must meet rigid requirements, often with age requirements, education requirements, as well as being from a specific zip code or set of zip codes.

With this new feature, Yahoo! is giving advertisers the opportunity to target to these very specific requirements to ensure that high qualified leads are being generated from PPC.  This will definitely help marketers with focusing budgets effectively and delivering higher quality results.

On the flipside, with higher quality results, the cost per click on competitive terms can become inflated quickly.  That will put the responsibility on marketers to create high quality landing pages that have the best chance to convert visitors at a high rate (this could be foreshadowing of a future post… you never know).

It’ll be very interesting to see if Google implements this feature as well.  While the Adwords geotargeting is much more flexible, there still isn’t a function that allows you to define the area by zip.

Written by rogersikes

October 23, 2008 at 6:17 pm

Posted in PPC

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