Six Essential PPC Campaign Checks

Aug. 30

Pay per click is like Wall Street except the PPC exchanges (Google AdWords and Yahoo!/Microsoft adCenter) never sleep. There are certain campaign checks that I perform several times per day (almost excessively). These checks can truly make or break your PPC program. Today, I’m thrilled to highlight my top six checks. If you operate PPC campaigns, I highly recommend performing these checks around the clock.

My Favorite Pay Per Click Checks

Check one is easy: Just go to Google.com, type in your most important keyword, and then observe the results. Do you show up? Do you show up in the right position? You’d be surprised, this simple tip is quite effective at detecting problems. When your credit cards fail on Google (both primary and backup) this check is often the easiest way to understand a problem exists.

Check two: Perform check one again but this time on Yahoo! and Bing. Yahoo! and Bing are getting huge and it’s critical to ensure your ads are delivering correctly 24/7.

Check three: Perform check one again but leverage the ad preview tool on Google. Check your top keyword in a variety of different geos. Look for anything strange. This check is essential for the simple fact that you can observe geos different than your current location. Want to perform the same check on Yahoo? Here’s a cool hack: Go to Yahoo! weather and set your default location to the geo you’re interested in checking. Then, go and search for your test keyword.

Check four: Go to Yahoo.com and look at the “Trending Now” terms. Are any of them terms I’m buying? If so, I click the trending now term and observe the search results. It really depends on your vertical but if you rank well on a trending now term, you want to be ready for a lot of traffic (and a lot of spend). There are verticals where you will embrace the flood of traffic and others where it makes sense to pause your account until the term is no longer trending.

Check five: Search for your trademark terms on all major search engines and click your ads. Make sure your tracking URL looks correct and has the correct affiliate id. Since trademarks terms are end of funnel, they are ultra profitable and will often get abused by others (including your own affiliates). Sure, you’ll rack up some spend but it’s worth it if you drive a lot of conversions on your trademark terms.

Check six: Perform check one again but on Ask.com and AOL Search. These Google search syndication partners are huge and comprise a good amount of Google’s search volume.

So there you have it, my six favorite checks. I perform these consistently myself without automated tools. Since these can make or break an entire program, its essential to perform the checks yourself. I have caught hundreds of bugs over the years with these checks and sincerely hope they help you!

Two Awesome Sites PPC Ian Recommends Visiting

Aug. 21

From time to time, I enjoy running contests on PPC Ian to reward you – my loyal readers! You may recall back in 2010, I ran a blog commenting contest. (Make sure to check out the top commentators.) Earlier this year, I ran a Keyword Winner 2.0 contest. (You’ll definitely want to check out PPC Ian readers who are now using Keyword Winner just like me.) Most recently, I purchased Zac Johnson’s Flip This Website eBook and couldn’t put it down. It’s one of the best eBooks of 2011, in my opinion. As such, I decided to run a little contest. Since I knew many fans of PPC Ian would be buying this eBook anyways, I decided to feature and review PPC Ian fans who purchased Zac’s eBook via my affiliate link (during the month of July). Today I’m thrilled to feature and review the two winners of my contest.

PPC Ian Reader #1: Nima.co

Nima

This first review is easy. As you may know, I’m a huge fan of domain names (I own hundreds of them) and dot co. Site number one is Nima.co. Nima.co is an amazing blog all about domain names. Nima Jacob Nojoumi, the author of the blog, is my personal friend and a leading authority within the domain name industry.

I recommend starting out by reading the about me page on Nima.co. You will quickly see that Nima Jacob Nojoumi is really legit. I’m most impressed by the fact that he was promoted six times at one of the leading Internet companies around and also that he owns his own business, Venture Media, LLC. Venture Media owns premium domain names and also physical real estate properties as well – sweet.

Nima.co is full of value. While the blog is focused on domain names, there’s also an excellent mix of general Internet marketing posts as well. Some of my favorite posts include: Google Algorithm Change, Overcoming Complacency, and Domain Appraisals. Domain names (especially developed ones that drive cash flow) are one of the best investments around, in my opinion. Check out Nima.co today to learn more!

PPC Ian Reader #2: GlobalOneTechnology.com

Global One

Site number two is Global One Technology. I am really impressed with Global One Technology. They are a leading seller of HP Server Parts, have been in business since 2003, and have over 12,000 customers. As you can see from their about us page, Global One does business in all 50 states, and over 70 countries on six continents – that’s quite the impressive operation.

In terms of specific products, Global One Technology offers HP Server Hard Drives, HP Server Memory, HP Server Processor Kits, and so much more. Literally Global One Technology Offers any HP Server part you could ever want. To make sure your order goes perfectly, Global Technology One offers live chat and also an impressive help center.

I’m a huge fan of social media so I was particularly excited to see Global One Technology on both LinkedIn and YouTube. Check out Global One’s LinkedIn and Global One’s YouTube today. If you’re ever in need of server parts for HP servers, you now know where to go!

So, there you have it. Two new awesome websites to check out. Thanks so much for reading and stay tuned for future contests and promotions. I’m always looking for ways to reward loyal PPC Ian readers. Thanks for your support!

Images in this post © Nima.co and GlobalOneTechnology.com

SES San Francisco 2011 Conference Recap

Aug. 16

I’ve been really fortunate to attend a multitude of amazing online marketing conferences over the last year. I’m talking about SMX West 2011, ad:tech San Francisco 2011, and SMX Advanced Seattle 2011. Today, I’m thrilled to write about SES San Francisco 2011 – I spent all day at this search marketing conference today and had a great time. Also, as always, I’m thrilled to share a bunch of cool pictures from the event!

It’s All About Networking at SES San Francisco

eZanga SES San Francisco

eZanga 2nd Tier Search Engine Rocks

As always, my favorite part of online marketing conferences is the amazing networking. It’s all about the networking. Today was an action-packed day of networking for sure. It all started off in the Expo Hall. I met up with my friends from eZanga (check out the picture to the right). For those that don’t know, eZanga is an awesome 2nd tier search engine. I have experienced considerable success on 2nd tiers and highly recommend them. After all, the 1st tiers get so competitive that it’s often easier to drive higher percentage margins on 2nd tier search engines such as eZanga. I was really impressed with eZanga’s jungle-themed booth.

Next, I met up with my friend Marc Poirier from Acquisio. I was thrilled to meet up with Marc because I learned earlier in the day that Acquisio Secured $12.1 Million In Series B Funding. How cool, I’m super impressed. I didn’t get a chance to get a photo with Marc and the Acquisio team because they were so busy. Honestly, I walked by their booth about 10 times and they were always completely busy (clearly shows that Acquisio has a lot of fans like me).

Kenshoo SES San Francisco

PPC Ian and The Amazing Kenshoo Team

Next, I continued to make my rounds and headed over to the Kenshoo and Marin Software booths. For those that don’t know, Kenshoo and Marin Software are two of the most amazing online marketing platforms around. (You may wish to check out my SEM Automation Whitepaper and post about PPC Automation.) Online marketing campaigns are more complex than ever. I’ve personally experienced outstanding results with platforms like Acquisio, Kenshoo, and Marin. I highly recommend checking them out – your results and productivity will skyrocket.

In addition to the Expo Hall, I attended a really exciting SEMPO Board of Directors Lunch. This invite only lunch gave SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization) members the opportunity to network with SEMPO’s Board of Directors and leadership. I made some amazing connections and was truly impressed with the caliber of marketers at this lunch. If you’re not in SEMPO, I highly recommend signing up! Last, I met up with with some amazing old friends from Nextag and Stanford. It’s such a small world and always so much fun running into old friends.

My Favorite Parts of SES San Francisco

Marin Software SES San Francisco

PPC Ian and The Amazing Marin Software Team

Aside from the amazing networking, what else did I enjoy about SES San Francisco? A whole lot! While the conference was less busy than SES San Francisco 2010, it was still an amazing time. First and foremost, I had an absolute blast in the social media sessions. Everyone’s always talking about social these days, but it’s for good reason. It’s limitless and there’s so much to learn. For those of you attending days 2 and 3 of SES, make sure to go to the social media sessions – they are among the best at the conference in my opinion.

Also, it was really great to see Google promoting their new doubleclick search version 3 platform. Not only did Google promote doubleclick search via their huge booth in the Expo Hall (picture below) but also they gave a live demo of the new platform. (It was great to hear my friend Kit speak, you can see a picture of PPC Ian and Kit in my post about Networking With Google.) As mentioned earlier, it’s all about SEM tools. Now, there’s one more amazing tool to improve your marketing operations and efficiency!

Last, I felt that the free goodies were great this time. Symantec is giving away really cool remote controlled H2 Hummers. I was particularly impressed to see Symantec integrating Verisign into the Yahoo! organic search results. If a site is Verisign certified, the Verisign logo shows up there right in the Yahoo! search results – pretty cool. I’m actually done with the conference for the rest of the week (my team is sharing the pass) but will be most likely attending some of the events at night over the next few days. Are you attending SES San Francisco this year?

More Pictures From SES San Francisco

Google Booth SES San Francisco

Google Went Really Big At SES San Francisco 2011

Google Plus One SES San Francisco

I Definitely +1'd Google's Booth

Doubleclick Search SES San Francisco

doubleclick search Made a Huge Debut at SES San Francisco

All Images In This Post © PPCIan.com

AdWords Display URLs Are More Important Than Ever

Aug. 14

Google is on a roll – 2011 is a year of change when it comes to AdWords. I’m talking about front end changes that directly impact user experience. Just a few recent examples: Six Sitelinks In Paid Search, Light Blue Google Search Results, and AdWords Megatitles. Today, I’m thrilled to blog about a few recent changes to Google AdWords display URLs and how you can benefit from these changes.

AdWords Display URL Changes and Tips

AdWords Display URL

Check out the screenshot to the right. You can see that the display URLs are now right under the title, followed with description lines one and two. In the past, the title would always be directly followed by the description and then the display URL at the bottom.

Most users focus primarily on the title. Now that the display URL is so close to the title, it’s more important than ever. Users are going to focus on your display URL more than ever before. My recommendation: Consider modifying your display URL to include relevant keywords (either as a subdomain or as a folder after the root domain). In the screenshot to the right, I personally like the Allstate ad since “Auto-Insurance” really stands out as a folder after the root domain in the display URL.

Another recent change to display URLs on AdWords (a few months back): Display URLs are now in lower case. You can no longer have title casing in subdomains and also root domains of display URLs. However, there’s one exception: folders. Check out the esurance ad to the right, the folder “California” is in title case. Now, check out the ad for insure.com. The “autoinsurance” is in lower case. A while back, it was possible to leverage title case in subdomains and root domains, such as “AutoInsurance.Insure.com”. My tip: Make sure to test both subdomains and folders. As you test folders, make sure to test both lower case and title case. Personally, I have found great success with title case and feel it will be even more important now that display URLs are right below the title.

So there you have it. A few recent changes to display URLs and a few tips on how to optimize the CTR of your ads. Hope this helps. Any special display URL strategies that have worked well in your AdWords campaigns?

Check Out My Case Study On Yahoo! Advertising

Aug. 06

I’m a huge fan of PR. From my experience, PR is an amazing way to get your name out there. It’s an amazing way to build lifelong connections. It’s an amazing way to help others. Also, PR Can Drive SEO Results. The more I grow as a marketer, the more I truly respect great PR.

Yahoo! Advertising Solutions

Today I’m thrilled to announce, quite possibly, my biggest PR win ever. I’m featured right now on the Yahoo! Advertising Solutions portal in a Case Study About The Yahoo!/Microsoft Search Alliance. That’s right, I made it to the big leagues, we’re talking about Yahoo! here. For the last few months, I’ve been working very closely with Yahoo!’s PR team. They wanted to talk to me about one of my favorite topics, The Yahoo!/Microsoft Search Alliance. Of course, I couldn’t pass this opportunity by and the rest is history. You can read my case study here. If you’d like to download the PDF version (which I think is really sharp), you can find it here.

I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the Yahoo! team. It’s a real honor to have this opportunity. More than anything, I have built lifelong friendships with my Yahoo! account management team and couldn’t be more thankful. The Yahoo!/Microsoft Search Alliance truly is pushing the search marketing industry forward. It’s making life a lot more fun for online marketers like me. Thanks Yahoo! for everything!

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of you. I’m talking about my team, my co-workers, past reports, past co-workers, readers, friends, and family. Your support means everything to me. Want to read more about PPC Ian in the press? I just updated my About Me page to highlight my press mentions at the top. Also, I encourage all of you to push your limits in PR. Have a great experience to share? Get out there and share it – I’d love to read about your online marketing experiences in the next big case study!

Want to learn more about the Yahoo!/Microsoft Search Alliance? Following are a few of my favorite posts here on PPC Ian about the Search Alliance:

Image in this post © Yahoo!