Are Google Changing The Rules Again?

As we all know Google is a money making machine. All the more surprising when their forth quarter earnings last year didn’t meet their forecasts. Especially when you consider that its core business, SEARCH, was at the core with an 8% cost per click decline!

Now perhaps advertisers are just getting better at their bidding..but bearing in mind that Bing, with less historical data at the disposal of advertisers, saw a 6% increase in cost per clicks, Google must be concerned.

So what are they doing about it?

Google plan to add to the existing broad, phrase and exact mach terms with near match, Near Match is designed to “enable you to safely extend the reach of your Exact and Phrase Match keywords to cover plural, misspelling, close rewrite, abbreviation and acronym variants only.” 

So what this means is that there is going to be a greater volume of keywords available to bid on, but with less data available on how to do it correctly. Unsurprising then that in some testing done  Google has suggested a 6.5% increase in click volume and a 9.8% increase in impression volume but also a 13% increase in click costs.

Could this be the perfect antidote for Google’s Fourth Quarter losses?

There’s nothing more that I can say, because quiet frankly google themselves aren’t saying anything at all except

“We actually haven’t announced anything on this and don’t have any more info to share at this time”

Google keeping quiet about new near match keyword term adwords





Sensible Google Advertising

We had a gentleman Google come in and talk to us recently to give us some advice on search engine marketing. We have covered organic search so this was to focus on paid advertising through Google.

I can’t even attempt to cover the whole area, and this is a very simplified version.  The basis behind Adwords is

Bid price x quality score = position

Google’s aim is to display the most relevant ads to searchers. Quality score applies to both your key words and your account and is affected by a whole range of things including

  • The click through rates of your ad. The more people are clicking on your ad, the more relevant that google deems it, meaning the click cost will reduce. A click through rate (CTR) of 3% is considered good.
  • The load time for your landing page can also effect your quality score.
  • How closely does your ad copy reflect your keywords
  • The use of Keywords in the Ad title will effect quality score
  • Whether the landing page contains the keywords searched.  Every time someone does a search, they are looking for an answer. Does your page help them find that answer?
  • The overall account quality score. This will be affected by the history of the account.

His stand out advice was that tracking is key. The more tracking you do the better success you will have. You need to focus on where you are doing well and realise where you are not, and then remove your efforts from that area. Makes sense really. Particularly with all the tools that made available to you.

Tracking your adwords progress is Key. Use Google tools

Using tests to optimise your landing pages is really important. Amazon do so much testing on their pages that they know that having some one with a blue jumper will effect click through rates over some one wearing a green one say. Now this is just an example, but what is fact is that orange encourages the most click throughs out of any colours. It stands out like red, but its not as aggressive! Ah so thats why amazon is so orange! When your talking about the volumes that they deal with these things can have a huge impact.  But even on everyday websites making little changes like these can help.

You can use split tests where people who click on your ads will be brought to alternate landing pages. This means you can makes changes and decide wheich works better A or  B.

Alternatively there is multivariance testing, which allows you to change a whole range of layout, fonts, colours etc. But this is complicated stuff and perhaps we should leave this to the amazons of the world…for now.

Because of the cost associated with traffic from Pay Per Click (PPC) it is important to discourage the wrong kind of searcher. If you aren’t going to be able to convert them to a set goal whatever you decide that to be, well then they are simply costing you money. It is important there for to use negative keywords.

Negative keywords are words and phrases that you do not want searchers to associate with your products and services. When you add negative keywords to your PPC campaigns your ads will not be served if those words are part of the user’s search query. For example if you are selling a high end luxury cruise, you dont want to attract people looking for cheap/low cost holidays. So by having cheap as a negative keyword, any one who includes that in their search query won’t be served your ad.

Putting a price in your search ad will increase conversion rates too, as people who are out of your targeted price range won’t waste their time clicking through.

Mobile Search worldwide is predicted to be US$3.3 billion in 2011 sky rocketing to $20.6 billion in 2015. Its surprising then that so few companies have adapted their websites for mobile usage.  Mobile search is different with 70% of queries being fulfilled within a few hours.

By including a phone number in your mobile ad and enabling lcick to call, you will increase conversion rates.

Google Display Network, or Adsense is different from Adwords, as you are targeting people who are not actively searching. Therefore the click through rate is going to be lower. There are some techniques that you can use though to help improve this.

Remarketing allows you to target people who drop off in the conversion process. Because Google can track people through cookies, it is aware if people begin a transaction and don’t complete it. for example, if you decide to purchase a book and place it into your shopping cart, but then realise that you don’t have your credit card and don’t make the purchase. You can then be directly targeted on other websites to encourage you to buy the book again. The cost of acquisition for somebody that has already demonstrated a desire to buy the book, is lower than someone who hasn’t.

Google also automatically scans your emails, using their content to target ads. You email your friend about going on holiday in France. Hey presto loads of ads start appearing about things to do it France. I know, I think its a bit freaky too!!

Google indexing your emails. Remarketing. Cookies

Some other techniques you can use for targeting on the google display network

  • Contextual – target people based on clusters of Keywords
  • Placement – put your ads on specific sites
  • ICM – target people who like certain topics. Type in to find out which area you are most interested in!
  • Topics – Target sites of a particular topic.

GDN ads can be pay per click or pay per impression (usually 1000). PPI is used more for branding, which in turn can positively effect your search numbers

In my next post which will hopefully be soon I will talk about  how to get the most out of your Google advertising