Adwords landing page pre launch steps

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Jason sent me the following question: “I put a lot of work into building a new Adwords campaign and I want to make sure I get good quality scores. Is there anything I need to do to my landing pages before launching the campaign?

Like I have said before, no one has the exact magic formula for Adwords success, but here are my recommendations.

  • First of all, expect these steps to take several weeks before launching your Adwords campaigns. Its a slow process. If you want a quick speed test – try YSM or Adcenter. You can’t rush Google.
  • Build your landing site/landing pages with lots of crawlable content, including the keywords you are targeting. Having one large hyperlinked graphic is not going to cut it. You need text with good basic SEO structure including H1 tags, alt image tags with keywords, etc. The keyword you are bidding on should appear on the landing page it is going to, so build it in there somehow.
  • Include all these elements in your landing site: contact page, privacy page, about page, submit a sitemap, robots.txt, even a favicon. Make your site look like a real website – at least to the search engines. Validate code.
  • Keep the pages light and fast loading. Another reason not to use huge images, now that Adwords factors load time into quality score. Sit back and wait for the next step.
  • Make sure your pages are indexed before you launch the campaign. This may take a while, but be sure it is done. You can set up an account in the Webmaster console to check or use the command site:www.mydomain.com in Google to check indexed pages. Based on all the data I have seen, Adwords gives better quality scores when sending traffic to pages in its own index.
Posted in Adwords, Landing Pages by cdfnetworks on 16|12|08
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The big Adwords update

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By now I’m sure everyone has read about the coming updates to Adwords. By the way, if you don’t already subscribe to the Adwords blog I highly recommend doing so. You can read the full details of the update there.

Apparently these changes will be rolled out more slowly than originally thought. I talked to my rep this morning and he said they scaled back the number of accounts to get the new system right away. I guess there were “issues” on Saturday. So chances are most of us still won’t see them for a couple weeks. My account is unchanged.

I know some people are a little freaked out about the news, but all these improvments sound positive to me.

  • I like keeping all keywords active, which I think will help with long tail traffic and allow you to get a few hits on short tail terms that you are low bidding.
  • The first page bidding sounds useful – kind of like a throwback to the old Overature days.
  • On the fly QS calculation for each query is what might really slap some accounts down. But overall this is also a good thing. Anything that weeds out more bad affiliates with junk campaigns and landing pages is a beneficial for serious affiliates.

So did you get the new changes yet?

Posted in Adwords, General by cdfnetworks on 25|08|08
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Local Adwords Seminars

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You probably received the emails from Google about their Adwords seminars. If you are starting out in PPC, I would recommend going to one of these event. Here are the benefits I can see:

  • Its relatively cheap – $250 for a 1 day class
  • You get Adwords credits and goodies.
  • You can write off the class as a business expense
  • Good chance to network with people in your area.
  • Unlike a conference, you might actually learn something because you won’t be drunk the whole time.

I have not personally been to one of these, but I am considering the Advanced class when it comes to my city later this month. I would like to learn more about the API, which is one of the topics for that session.

Has anyone ever gone to one of these events?

Posted in Adwords, General by cdfnetworks on 16|07|08
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Testing new Google Template ads

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You may have seen these new ad formats show up in your account recently. They are not in full release yet, but many advertisers are now able to run them after the latest Adwords maintenance last Sunday. These template ads, or rich media ads are for the Google content network only. The are much more content heavy ads than a standard text or image ad that you could previously run on the content network. These type of rich media ads can also be run on third party networks, but now Adwords is fully in the game.

One of the main benefits of these ads is the interaction tracking. This lets you see statistics of things like user mouseovers of images, and clicks on various ad components like next, previous, poll results etc… Which really helps you optimize your ads based on the interaction data. The interactions that you can track vary based on the ad type.

There are 7 different types of template ads that you can build:

  • Showcase Template Ad
  • Slideshow Template Ad
  • Quiz Template Ad
  • Business Locator Template Ad
  • Photo Gallery Template Ad
  • Site Search Template Ad
  • Coupon Template Ad

These ads are easy to create, just plug your info and images into the template.

I have testing some of these ads for 3 weeks with mixed results. The formats I have tried are the Showcase, Quiz, and Coupons templates. I am having trouble getting decent volume with the ads, which is not surprising due to the early stage of the rollout. Once the formats become more widely accepted and the publisher base expands a bit more with Adsense publishers, I see this being a very good opportunity for marketers. Conversion rates have been strong with the low volume.

I am curious to hear if other people are testing these with good results.  Anyone want to share there experiences?

Posted in Adwords, General, Pay Per Click by cdfnetworks on 23|06|08
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Quality score – what you can not control

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It’s pretty well known that the 4 main categories of quality score elements that you can control are:

  • Keywords
  • Ad copy
  • Account Structure
  • Landing pages

Volumes of information have been written about each one of these topics. But many people are not aware that there are other factors to your quality score that you have little to no control over at all.

1. First of all, the niche you are in affects your quality score. By just entering the niches, certain factors are applied to your score at the account level.

2. Your business model affects your quality score. Adwords looks at the way you are driving leads to a landing page and assigns a business model rating to your account. If they think your business model is based on affiliate sales they probably have a rating that dings your whole account.

3. Lastly, your competitors afffect YOUR quality score. This is probably the most frustrating thing to learn, but yes the competitors around you affect the score in your account in a negative way. Is this fair? I don’t think so, but that’s how Adwords rolls.

source: Adwords employees

Posted in Adwords, General, Pay Per Click by cdfnetworks on 06|06|08
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The secret to Adwords success

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Everyone is always looking for a secret to doing well with Adwords. The endless campaign options and quality score considerations can be a mystery to newbies and veterans alike. But Adwords success can be summed up in one sentence.

Here’s the big secret: give Google what they want.

That is a radical concept to some people who are always trying to find some trick or glitch to keep their ads running. But do you want your business depending on tricks? Sure its a pain to follow all of their rules and guidelines. Sure they have driven me crazy over the years with Google slaps. But if you want the traffic, what choice do you really have? You can either play ball on their field, or go home.

Here are just a few common sense examples of giving Google what they want.

  • You know Google doesn’t like “thin affiliates” anymore, so don’t waste time building these campaigns.
  • You know Google likes heavier content sites on Adwords, so give them content.
  • You know Google doesn’t like inaccurate display URLs, so use simple clear links to a direct page.
  • You know Google likes tight relevant adgroups, so don’t put a million keywords into one adgroup.
  • You know Google likes good CTR rates, so split test multiple ads to find good CTR.
  • You know Google isn’t going to give out .03 clicks anymore, so bids high enough to get impressions.
  • You know Google likes quick loading landing pages, so optimize your images.
  • You know Google likes the keyword to appear in the ad and your landing pages, so put them there.

Google even tells you upfront what they want!

So is Google evil? Perhaps. Do they withhold some information about quailty score? Absolutely. But all that is irrelevant. If you want to continue to run ads successfully over the long term, and ultimately make money, surrender your pride and give them what they want. It’s in your own best interest.

Posted in Adwords, Pay Per Click by cdfnetworks on 08|04|08
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Parked domain traffic from Google

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You often hear that direct type in traffic and parked domain traffic converts better than search. But if you don’t own a thousand domains, how can you get exposure to this traffic? Well, many people are surprised to find out this source: the Google content network. Google quietly slipped this one through a while ago. If you are running on the content network, check your placement performance reports, you probably are already getting traffic from parked domains.

If you run a placement report by URL, it shows up as “parked domains”.

There is an excellent explanation of how to run these reports if you haven’t run one.

You can also turn off parked domain traffic using Google’s “site and category excludion tool”, under the “page types” tab. But, why would you want to turn it off? I have found this traffic does convert like crazy!

Posted in Adwords, Pay Per Click by cdfnetworks on 28|03|08
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Reverse Google Slapped

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I have to say Google never ceases to amaze me. Today I was reverse Google slapped!! What does this mean? I had several campaigns that were slapped down to 0 impressions, poor quality score and generally dead campaigns. I had long since moved on to different domains/accounts with the campaigns, but just left the dead campaigns as “active”. Well, much to my surprise today when checking stats on some affiliate campaigns I had huge numbers. Checking the sub IDs I found the traffic was coming from very strange old subs ids. It turns out after 6 months Google now likes those old campaigns and changed the quality score to great. This automatically switched everything back on and charged up huge amounts of clicks. Keep in mind I did nothing whatsoever to these campaigns to bring them back.

Perhaps this is a new technique, just let your slapped campaigns sit there and age, like a fine wine, then eventually Google will decide they like you again!

The only problem is, since I wasn’t using those landing pages or domains nothing was optimized and conversion rates were terrible. But nothing that can’t be fixed quickly so I can capitalize on my new surge of traffic.

Posted in Adwords, Pay Per Click by cdfnetworks on 13|03|08
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