AdWords Keyword Tool Under Revision

Years ago, the keyword tool in Google AdWords actually was okay. Then Google decided to sanitize it maybe afraid of legal implications and they introduced these silly green bars showing search amounts. This effectively made the tool ineffective. We’ve limped along with this “new” tool for months now.

Just today in one of the forums I saw a link, click my post title and you can see the image too. This resource is seeing figures – as in the old days – next to their keyword research.

I don’t see it in my accounts yet or using the online keyword tool, but maybe this means that I will soon. I am hopeful as the way the keyword tool is now, it is good for identifying other possible words, but to try to isolate top performing or hot words, it is woefully pathetic.

While I’m on my rant, I will mention how bogus the estimate click cost is using this same keyword tool. Here is a specific example, reverse mortgage California. The tool three days ago said that a click cost of $7.22 would get the advertiser in the top three positions. Well guess what, the auction bid for my client is now at $14 and the last measly click came in at $11.89 and it was in position 10. The keyword tool needs some serious adjustment. I tell clients not to trust the cost per click figures there, they are way low and do not reflect the current marketing mix that they will be competing with to get their ads to show and for current click cost expectations.

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Yacking About Click Fraud

Are you sick of it yet in the professionals forums; all the yacking about click fraud. I for one have simply accepted that some degree of click fraud is just part of the online business landscape. Do I believe that click fraud is rampant – no. Is it .02% like Google claims that it is? No, I think that the .02% number is bogus and Google should really be more forthcoming over the figures that they really believe.

Personally, from the accounts that I manage, and sites that I webmaster, I have not seen in the log files huge volumes of traffic that I would have ever considered fraudulent. That being said, what I have seen, I believe the truth on click fraud is somewhere between 5 to 10% of all clicks are fakes. I consider this simply a cost of doing business. I am not worried by the numbers and feel that the benefits that my own business and the businesses of my clients receives far out weighs the minor problems in regard to click fraud.

I still believe however that Google, Yahoo, and MSN should still invest heavily in proprietary tools to weed out bad clicks, but does all this mean that I am moving my budget dollars out of the pay for performance arena. No, not me, I am really able to get a bang for my buck there and even with a 5 to 10% possible fraud figure the returns for my business and for my clients have been tremendous.

I guess the bottom line is that click fraud exists, accept it, pressure the engines to address it, and then shut up about it and move on. I for one am sick of the incessant yacking and redux about it.

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February Trends

I thought that I would write today about February’s business. I have found that for most businesses that we work with, February was very flat. Not only were results depressed in Google AdWords, but sales and traffic for many customers were lacking for February.

I have had a number of clients express concern about February and if we had not seen the broader trend, I may have been concerned, but February just seems to have been a poor month for nearly everyone.

Here’s to hoping that March will be better!

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March’s Newsletter is Out

I’ve just posted our March newsletter. In this issue I review Adobe’s Acrobat Connect and Microsoft’s SyncToy. Additionally I’ve made a handy updated keyboard shortcut that you can print out and slide under your keyboard.

I think that you’ll find the reviews interesting and helpful.

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Search Engine Optimization

I have just finished search engine optimizing a website that had not received good search engine placement. You can click our blog post title and visit the site. It is called the Center For Permanent Cosmetics.

Not only did we totally optimize the site, but reworked the content, added images, upgraded services, and in general gave it the polish that it needed. I wish that I could show you the before and after to really illustrate that great focused content can really upgrade a website to a new level.

One thing that all webmasters, newbies, and just educated site owners can take away from this post is that it is very difficult to get search engine placement if your only form of navigation is encapsulated in JavaScript. If you love having a drop down menu, just make sure to include text based navigation that the search engines can read and follow to spider your full website. Search engines will not read the links that you have embedded in JavaScript and so you may end up with just your home page being indexed as this site did. When you have more to offer than one page of content, make sure that you are helping the search engines by using spider friendly code, links, and techniques for improved search placement.

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Google AdWords Quality Score

If you don’t check your Google AdWords account frequently, here is a good reason to take a look. Google turned on a new feature in the AdWords control panel. Now you can see your quality score, well somewhat. At least you know from Google’s viewpoint whether it is GREAT, OK, or POOR. If it is poor, rest assured that it will most likely end up being disabled for search in the next several weeks.

Now is a good time to go in and to review your list, take action to drop keywords, create new break out ad groups that are more targeted, and revise your landing page. Google is aggressively disabling the keywords that it considers poor or assigning them a high CPC to show in search.

If you looked on Friday, you should take a look today as on Friday Google has announced that they had a big glitch and that many words that were not to have been disabled showed as disabled. They have announced that it had nothing to do with the Quality Score that was rolled out Friday, but sure seems like a very funny coincidence. I just about had a cow on Friday when I looked at my accounts, but the picture is much rosier today.

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