Search Engine Marketing News – June 2013

Another month, another pay check, more reports and more change in the industry (of course!). Here’s what happened in the world of marketing in June 2013:

Dynamic Retargeting Launched
Probably the biggest news from Adwords this month. Google announced in the last week of June that they are launching dynamic remarketing to any advertisers using the Google merchant centre feed. So you can now remarket to people who’ve looked at certain products on your site with a dynamic message. At this stage, I’m not sure how competitive it will be against the likes of Criteo but we’ll soon find out for sure!

Google Adwords Top Movers Report

Another nice update from Google – they have now launched a ‘Top Mover Report’ within Adwords. This report shows you at a campaign level the top moving clicks and costs each week.

The report shows the following:

  • Topline increases and decreases in clicks and costs for all campaigns
  • Top increases in costs -> Showing changes in average position, clicks, average CPC, impressions and clicks
  • Top decreases in costs -> Showing changes in average position, clicks, average CPC, impressions and clicks

The best thing about the report is that it shows you the reasons driving the changes, be that new ads introduced, keywords removed or CPC’s decreased/increased. Finally, a quick way to find out what is driving any top line changes. Monday morning report = sorted!

Payday Loan Algorithm

The latest attempt by Google to reduce the amount of spamming sites, hit payday loans website hard this month. A new algorithm was launched to combat payday loans and other spammy sites.

This update impacted roughly 0.3% of the U.S. queries, but Matt Cutts said it was as high as 4% for Turkish queries.

Apple Makes Bing the Default Search Engine for Siri

Bing had a huge win this month when Apple named them as the default search engine for searches on the web through Siri. Now when you ask a question to Siri, Siri will either give you a direct answer or will ask you if you want to search the web. That web search will now be done through Bing. Google remains the default search engine on Safari, although mine managed to set the default to Bing, safe to say that has now been switched back to Google!)

Goodbye Google Reader

Google reader has finally hung up its boots, after much deliberation about when it was actually to end. Who knows the reason why and what the plans are to replace it (if they will be) but it’s gone!

So that’s another month for Search Engine Marketing news. July will be a busy month in PPC to make the last few changes to enhanced campaigns for anyone still to switch over. And no doubt that Natural search will have a through curve balls thrown by Google!

A Guide To Search Query Reports (SQR’s) On Adwords

Google Adwords’ Search Query Reports, commonly known as SQR’s, are one of the most important reports to look at as PPC marketer. Here is a little guide on why they are useful, what you can (and should) do with them and how often to look at them.

What is a Search Query Report?

So you have keywords on different match types in your Adwords accounts (Phrase, Exact, Broad, Broad Match Modifier) which make your ads appear on all sorts of keywords, some that you want and some that you don’t. SQR’s show you exactly what search terms people are getting to your site from.

Where Do I Find The Search Query Report?

You can view of download the search query report if you go to a keyword report, then click on the details drop down and select the search terms report (either selected or all keywords).

Adwords Search Query Report (SQR)

Why Is It So Useful? 

  • Prevents spending on keywords you wouldn’t want your add to be shown
  • Gives you an awareness of your potential customers search habits and behaviours
  • Allows you to reassess the keywords you target and the overall structure of your account
  • Identify which search terms are performing on all metrics – CTR, CVR, cost per lead/cost per acquisition

What To Take From a Search Query Report?

  • Keywords to add into your account

What is the benefit of adding keywords into the account that are already triggering clicks to your site? This is something which seems to baffle some people, but the main benefit is that you can then treat this search term as an individual keyword. By doing this you’ll be able to:

– Bid separately (different CPC’s) – This could ultimately reduce your costs and efficiency

– View data on the individual keyword rather than a group of keywords

  • Identify negative keywords to add

Don’t sell a certain product? Out of stock on a certain type of product? Don’t want your ad showing against people searching for scams? Then add them as negatives. Go through your search queries to establish what isn’t bring in quality traffic and refine your negatives.

How Often Should You Look At Yours?

There’s no hard and fast rules about how often you should look at them, but for me the more the better. I schedule time every week to review SQR’s for clients.

Make sure you don’t forget by scheduling a report and get it emailed to you through Google!

So, there you have it a very brief guide to Adwords’ Search Query Reports. Comments and feedback welcome as always 🙂

Search Engine Marketing News May 2013

Another month has flown by and it’s been a busy-ish month in the world of SEM. With no major updates around Enhanced Campaigns and Adwords in general, the main news has been about the return of a well known animal…

Penguin Is Back With A Vengeance!

Penguin 2.0 was released late May as Google’s latest update to fight against spam. This 4th update attempts to prevent spammy, low authority websites gaining positions in the SERP’s. Matt Cutts, head of web spam at Google has said that 2.3% of English queries would be affected by this update.

Google Conversational Search Live on Chrome

So voice recognition technology giving responses isn’t a new concept. Apple have been doing it with ‘Siri’ for a while now but after having a play around on both I’d say Google’s works surprisingly well. If you have the new version of Chrome, you can click on the microphone button and ask a question which Google will respond both verbally and in the search results.

There are some flaws with the voice recognition which can only be anticipated but the opportunity for search is huge and on the whole is pretty well constructed.

Google Author Authority Algorithm Launched

Further to the Penguin updates and Google’s bid to penalize spammy sites and reward quality content, more and more emphasis is being placed on industry authority figures. Google stated this month that they are working on an algorithm to determine subject authorities across the web.

Matt Cutts said – “We are doing a doing a better job of detecting when someone is sort of an authority in a specific space. It could be medical, it could be travel, whatever. And trying to makes sure that those rank a little more highly, if you are some sort of authority or a site that according to the algorithms we think might be a little bit more appropriate for users.”

Adwords Editor Update 10.1

Adwords Editor 10.1 was available this month with changes made to make it easier to make changes within Enhanced Campaigns. The main changes were to:

  • Set bid adjustments for placements, topics, and audiences.
  • Set mobile bid adjustments at the ad group level.
  • Upgrade campaigns in bulk using CSV import or the Add/update multiple campaigns tool.
  • Use the new ValueTrack {ifmobile}, {ifnotmobile} parameters.

Google Testing Ads in Google Maps

Google announced that they are testing ads within Google Maps. An pretty unsurprising move from Google which had been expected. Haven’t yet seen this in action but Google are testing search ads with and without location extensions on the map and below the search box. There is huge potential for local businesses around this so I guess watch this space!

  • Search ads with location extensions can appear directly on the map and just below the search box
  • Search ads without location extensions can appear just below the search box

Spring Clean Your PPC Accounts in 5 Simple Steps

It’s apparently spring (we haven’t had snow in a month so guess it must be!), so what better time to give your paid search campaigns a good ol’ spring clean?! But, “where do I start?” I hear you ask… these few pointers might just help:

1 – Pull the Plug on Under Performing Keywords 

As much as we’d like to see all keywords convert well – it just doesn’t work like that. Once you’ve optimised your keywords as much as you can by adding negative keywords, tailoring ad copy to match and testing different landing pages, if you still can’t get the keyword to convert then it’s time to pull the plug. It’s like breaking up a relationship really – you really don’t want to do it but once you do, it will be the best thing you’ve ever done and you can start to move on with your life….. or something like that!

Sort your under performing keywords into two categories – the ‘no hopers’ and the ‘last chance’ keywords. Bin off the no hopers and optimise the last chance ones to do all you can to revive them. They’ll either turn into ‘no hopers’ or the ‘survive for another day’ers’ – a tad dramatic?!

pull the plug
2 – De-Clutter Your Accounts

Is your account full of paused keywords, ads or ad groups? If you have no intention of reactivating them, then you don’t need them cluttering up your account. Identify what you don’t need anymore and don’t be afraid to press that delete button!

3 – Review your Landing Pages

Landing pages can often be overlooked in optimising PPC accounts, but no matter how good your selection of keywords are or how great your ads look if you’re sending traffic to the wrong pages then they mean diddly squat.

Does the traffic your send to the homepage actually do anything? Is there a more relevant page you could send users to? Are you using all the possible pages? If you don’t know the answers to any of these questions, set up some A/B testing between different landing pages. Analyse the results then test another page.

4 – Add Negative Keywords

If you don’t already regularly look through your search query reports, then take the time to do so now! Search query reports show the exact queries used which trigger your ads. They are the most useful tool showing where you’re wasting your spend on keywords that are not relevant to you. Conversely, they are also useful to add the keywords triggering your ads on phrase, broad match and near exact terms as keywords in your accounts.

Plus, let’s face it, it’s always amusing to look at what people use search engines for!

5 – Look for Missed Opportunities

The opportunites tab in Google Adwords shows you where you are missing out on extra clicks and conversions either through budget constraints or by not having enough keywords in your account. This is a great tool to identify areas you can expand in, but that only tells you so much. When you work on the same accounts every day you can sometimes become blind to what is right in front of you and not spot opportunities that others may do. Ask a colleague to take a look at the account and provide any feedback on how it could be improved. You never know, you might just get some useful pointers that you hadn’t thought about – whether that’s tidying up an ad group, adding new keywords or restructuring a whole campaign.

Got any tips on spring cleaning your PPC accounts? Feel free to share them below!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Search Engine Marketing News – February 2013

Well, what can we say about search engine marketing news this month…. you may have heard a thing or two about this little thing called ‘Enhanced Campaigns’. Enhanced campaigns has been the main talking point in the industry and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I’ll recap on the main changes of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns and other changes that have happened in SEM this month (yes, there has been other news).

Google are giving us more control in our ‘multi-device world’? Brilliant…. oh no, wait!

I’ll admit when I first got the call from Google I was almost convinced (almost!) that the Enhanced Campaign change was a good thing. For some companies/agencies it may be, but not for the majority. Yes, there are some benefits but Google have gone about it the wrong way by ultimately giving us a lot less control.

  • Separate device bidding no longer possible (boo)
  • Tablet and desktop devices are now treated as one with no way of having separate bids for tablet (boo)
  • Mobile bid adjustments are available as multipliers from -100% to +300% at a campaign level (double boo)
  • Ad scheduling possible (woo)
  • Better call tracking (woo)
  • Data on individual site link extensions are available (finally!)

Enhanced Campaign changes have now been rolled out to Adwords Editor, making it easier for us to start making dreaded changes in our accounts.

Other News

Search Funnel Data

Finally some good news! Search funnel data is now available in the Adwords interface. We can now see data on assisting keywords directly in Adwords. It’s a good move by Google as we can see the number of assisting clicks, impressions and conversions without having to go to Analytics. It looks like this is one of the first steps in providing more attribution data, that most of us go somewhere else to find.

Google Penalising Inteflora

Google sent out a big message to advertisers this month by giving Interflora big SEO penalties. Although Google haven’t officially confirmed the penalty, there natural search results took a drastic turn for the worst… This great post by David Naylor shows how dramatic the shift was.

Interflora Rankings Dip

Free Shopping Comes to An End

Google shopping is no longer free to advertisers in the UK (and many other countries). It was good while it lasted here in the UK, but free shopping listings is no more, instead we have to set up product listing ads.

Google’s Unique Searches Drops

Google’s share of unique searches has dipped under 20%. Okay, so it’s still got the majority of searches but it’s slowly losing ground has Baidu, Bing, Yandex and Yahoo are seeing slightly increased global searches. Check out this post from Search Engine Land

Google Removes Not Provided From Webmaster Tools

The next place to not be able to get data on not provided terms was in Google Webmaster Tools. Just another update making it even harder for SEO agencies to explain to clients where there traffic is actually coming from.

So, it’s been a busy month for SEM in February…. roll on March!

How to Make The Most of Negative Keywords

In PPC advertising negative keywords are arguably as important as your regular keywords. Negative keywords ensure:

  • You only pay for what works
  • You’re not getting irrelevant traffic to your website
  • Users are more likely to convert

Search query reports in Google Adwords show you the exact search terms they have triggered your ad to be shown, which is great for identifying negative keywords to add. But the only problem with doing this is the terms have already given you traffic so it’s best to try prevent terms you don’t want your ad showing for before. Here are some tips to help you make the most of the negative keywords in Google Adwords:

Identify Products You Don’t Sell

The first place to start identifying the negative keywords to place in your account is by looking at your product list. Are there any particular products you don’t sell or have run out of stock for? For example, if you sell sports jackets but you don’t sell Nike ones, then you should set ‘Nike’ as a negative keyword so your ads are not shown for these searches. Look at your competitors websites and identify if they sell any products that you don’t, which are likely to trigger a keyword similar to the ones you’re using (on a phrase or broad match). Also, identify any types of products, brands, colours that you don’t sell which people are likely to be searching for and set these as negatives too.

Google Keyword Tool

The Google Keyword Tool is a really handy tool to see search volumes for keywords and show you opportunities for keywords to target, but it can be equally as useful to show related keywords which aren’t as useful. A good exercise is to take your keywords from an ad group and put them in the keyword ideas tool. This will show you any related terms and may highlight any which are not relevant to what you’re selling.

Cross Campaign/Ad Group Negatives

You want the ad copy a user sees to be the most relevant ad you have in your account, right? Setting ‘Cross Campaign Negatives’ ensure that your campaigns and ad groups are tight enough so that different phrase (or broad) matches don’t appear for the wrong campaign. For example, you may have two ad groups within one campaign – sports jackets and jackets. A search for ‘sports jacket’ could trigger an ad in either ad group if you have jacket on a phrase ad group. In this case you should set ‘sports’ as a negative keyword. Probably not the best example I could ever give, but it’s Monday and it’s been a long day!

Why is this important? By keeping your keyword grouping tight from ad group to ad group/campaign to campaign, you can ensure you’re using the most appropriate ad copy, URL’s and the right bid (you may want to bid less on certain ad groups).

Find Out What People Are Saying About Your Brand

No brand is free from a bit of bad publicity, it happens and even though it’s now easier with social media it’s easier to voice your ‘Brand Voice’ to help maintain your reputation and manage this bad press, there’s still something you can use negative keywords to help. If your brand or industry has had some bad press, you can use search engines to find related stories or see what people are saying on social media to give you some ideas of negative keywords to include in your campaigns. Terms like, ‘scam’, ‘rip off’, ‘con’are generally ones you’d want to include so your ad doesn’t show.

Obviously every case is different and things like this can be a delicate situation, but generally you wouldn’t want your brands ad to be shown for a keyword that wouldn’t show you in a good light.

Test Different Negative Keyword Match Types

Just like regular keywords, you are able to select broad, phrase or exact matches for your keywords. Usually exact or phrase matches are most appropriate, but you don’t want to restrict yourself too much and miss out on impressions and clicks so be careful when choosing the match type for your keywords.

Feel free to share your tips for making the most of your negative keywords below! Thanks for reading 🙂

The Winners and Losers Of Enhanced Campaigns

Okay, so it’s still a little too early to be declaring the winners and losers from the recent Enhanced Campaigns announcement by Google but it’s still clear to see who will benefit from this change, who will lose out and who will have to work extremely hard in the next months to find a campaign structure(s) which works best with the changes.

Winners

  • Businesses who have never bothered to target mobile devices and create mobile friendly landing page – They’ll now be able to automatically opt in to targeting mobile without ever spending the time to build an account which is optimised for mobile performance
  • Marketing agencies and PPC specialists – One thing that this change has highlighted is that you need the best PPC experts handling accounts to be able to adapt to these changes best.
  • Businesses with lots of physical locations – Arguably one of the best parts of this update is that you can now adjust bids based on geographic location. So if you own a retail store in the city centre you can raise bids to people on mobile devices within a few miles of your store. Free call tracking is also a bonus. Call extensions and phone numbers can be automatically replaced by sitelink extensions out of office hours.
  • And the biggest winners?….. Google! There might be a nice video and explanation on all the Google blogs to make it seem that Enhanced Campaigns are the best things since slice bread, but it’s pretty transparent to see their intentions. CPC’s on mobile devices were around 50% lower than desktop ones and with an ever increasing volume of mobile searches, how do Google increase revenue from mobile? Make everyone opt into mobile and make it more difficult to adjust mobile bids, easy!

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