Tag Archives: AdWords

AdWords Conversion Setting Guide

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In February AdWords will be making some sweeping changes in how it records conversions in your Google AdWords account. The changes will be an improvement and allow you or your account manager to have greater control over that data that Google records for your account.

Here are a few tips to help you get started with the new conversion program.

Conversion one per click. This conversion type is being renamed to Converted Clicks. This type of conversion is best used by those interested in tracking leads like professional consultants or business services firms. Here what is important to track is not the number of times a potential prospect fills out a lead or information request form but rather the number of prospects generated by AdWords.

Conversion many per click. This conversion type is being renamed to Conversions with additional descriptors of All or Unique. This type of conversion is best used by those selling products. Here it is best to record the number of actual sales generated by a click rather than the number of customers and then not recording the value of a click to the amount of sales generated by one customer.

With these new pending changes, Google will allow account managers more control over what is recorded statistically in regards to conversions further showing the real value of AdWords to clients. You can read Google’s full notice in their help section.


What’s Google Got In Store for 2014? Part Two

Screen shot showing new black review bar
Screen shot showing new black review bar

Continuing our post from Monday, here are some of the things Google is testing that appear to be in store for rollout in 2014 both on mobile and desktop. Make sure to read this excellent article by by Dr. Peter Myers for the Moz Blog in an article titled “Future SERP: a Glimpse at Google 2014“. This is a must read for all website owners.

4. Boxed design with expanded information for the top search result in the organic listings. Google is actively testing these results now.  See the image above, this was taken when I did a recent search for Sushi Bar Chicago. Although I did not see the box design as noted in the article, what I did see was a new black bar across the top with reviews from Google+ Local pages and Zagut (Google’s new review property) plus a large map on the right with points detailed in the search results. The black bar is an eye grabber. This is just another of the new layouts Google is testing that is not even mentioned in the article.

5. Google Now Cards. If you use search on your smartphone, you’ve already seen the Google cards. This is a button/boxed shaped section with personalized information that appears when you open Google mobile to do a search. You can customize these cards and Google also delivers location specific information in these spots based on your actual location. If you are using an Android phone, you’ve also seen that even if you turn WiFi off, Google is turning it back on to know your location at all times to deliver location related content.

Check back on Friday to see the last in this series of what to expect on Google in 2014.


Ad Extensions Will Now Affect Ad Rank in AdWords

Your use of ad extensions will now be factored in by Google AdWords in determining your ad rank and if your ad will show with what attributes and where on the page. This is big news from Google and not to be disregarded. If you have not embraced using ad extensions in your AdWords account, now’s the time to take a very careful look to see if you should.

Read the full release from Google on this topic in this blog post from Google done in the last two weeks.

Google says: Our system for ordering ads on search results pages uses a calculation called Ad Rank. Previously, Ad Rank was calculated using your max CPC bid and your Quality Score. With this update, Ad Rank will also take into account a third component: the expected impact from your ad extensions and formats. In addition, we’ve increased the importance of Ad Rank in determining whether your ad is eligible to be displayed with extensions and formats.

This means that if you are not using location extensions as your online store does not have a store front and a competitor does have a store front and a user may be searching with a smartphone for your products, he will most likely see your competitor’s ad with a map and direction link on how to get to his store.

Google is now actively determining which ads will show with what extensions based on location, device, and search query. It is all about relevance for the searcher with Google now racking and stacking ads by price, ad quality, and pertinent extension use.


Using Google AdWords Experiments for Testing

The ability to test using AdWords Experiments has been around for a while, but Google is making it much easier now to do some interesting testing in your account. Here is one of my favorite test scenarios and how to set it up.

Test Different Ad Landing Pages for Conversions

1. First create a new version of your AdWords landing page. Typically we go whole hog and really work to create a completely different look. The control page is the normal page and the test page may be more video heavy, have stronger marketing language, and may even be a different layout than the normal page.

2. Using AdWords Editor, copy the ad group in entirety that you want to test. Then paste the copied ad group back into the same campaign. Go to the ad tab and change all the URLs in your test ad group to your new test landing page.

3. Then log back onto the online version of AdWords. Go to the campaign where your test resides and click settings. At the bottom of the page is a link called “experiments”. Click it to open and set up your settings. I will typically do a 50/50 test between the control and test. Set your start and end dates. I will typically do more than 30 days and I will typically set up for 60 but do a full statistical review at 30 days. Save your experiment. Now if Google will not allow it so save – as it will do sometimes, you need to check to see if in your budget setting on the same page you are using eCPC or Enhanced Cost Per Click settings. If you are, you need to move to manual bidding and remove all automation. Then try again to save your experiment.

4. You’re not done yet! Go back to the campaign tab, click to get to the campaign details page where you have all your ad groups showing. You’ll see a new icon at the left in front of the ad group name. Click the drop down and label your original ad group as the control only and your test ad group as experiment only.

If you may changes to ad text or keywords as you are running your test, make sure to use AdWords Editor to copy the changes into both programs.

Some of the interesting results we’ve seen are increases in conversions and increases in phone conversions. To learn more about using AdWords Experiments, here’s a great article written by Tom Demers at Wordstream.

If you are looking for a savvy AdWords account manager, I invite you to call me to chat about your needs.


The AdWords Quality Score – What Helps, What Hurts

Quality Score in AdWords determines how much you will pay for each click as well as where Google AdWords will show your ads on the page. It behooves every account manager and website owner to strive for the best Quality Score possible to control costs and improve exposure.

So what can you do to improve your own Quality Score?

1. First you need to find it and know what the number is. You can mouse over each keyword to bring up a speech bubble to see your quality score or you can add the Quality Score to your columns when on the keyword tab. You’ll find the Quality Score in the Attributes Section 3 choices down.

2. If your quality score is below 4, typically your cost per click will be impacted as well as your first page bid. Lower than that and Google may start to minimally serve your program. Get to 2 and 3 or lower and your keyword may get the “shown rarely due to Quality Score” notice – which means you may want to pause or delete that keyword.

3. I’ve seen situations where a on-target keyword gets a bad quality score and Google stops serving ads on that keyword. The steps to remediating this type of problem I’ll cover on Thursday so please check back. There are things you can do to try to get Google to show ads again, but it takes more time to solve those types of issues.

4. Here are a few of the relatively unknown facts about Quality Score.

  • Keyword stuffing on your landing page will not help you improve your quality score. Google determines Quality Score based on scoring of your entire website at one domain, not just based on one site page. So transparency and a privacy policy help your landing page/domain Quality Score.
  • Only the exact match variation of your keyword impacts the actual Quality Score. Broad Match and Phrase Match performance do not factor in to the ranking.
  • Keywords with zero impressions will not affect your quality score. Now, keywords with impressions and no clicks and therefore a low CTR will definitely impact your Quality Score.
  • Quality Score is not updated every day. Although your ability to participate in the AdWords auction is calculated with every search that matches phrases and words in your keyword list, be aware that landing page Quality Score and the first page bid are not recalculated. In fact landing page may only be update every month or so.

In conclusion, AdWords Quality Score is a very important factor of success on AdWords. I recommend keeping your keyword list small, don’t include any single words, and select the very best landing page for each keyword in your ad group.

Check back Thursday to find out how to fix a thorny Quality Score problem on a keyword you really like!


The Value of a SEM Manager

Google has been adding new automation tools into AdWords with the supposition of making the program easier to use, but is it really? Although you can now automate many routine actions such as pausing keywords, enabling keywords, bidding up or bidding down by set criteria automation will never replace the efforts of a seasoned AdWords account manager who makes budget and strategy decisions.

Although automation tools can help to manage large accounts by its very nature there is no reality review done by automation tools that can respond to market changes, auction changes, and a varied marketplace. Although my firm does routinely use automation tools for AdWords account management, we routinely also check the results these tools provide to make sure that the settings are still working for an account. In fact, we will even sort data back 60 to 90 days to make sure that the automation has not run crazy damaging account performance.

Interestingly enough, we are doing a review right now using the Search Funnel reports for clients and are finding out that some keywords paused by automation actually were conversion assist or conversion impression assist keywords and should be re-enabled.

I have found automation is only as good as the account manager you have that sets the automation in place and then verifies and checks that the automation is working for your account.

I’d be glad to chat with you next week about your own AdWords account management needs if you feel that our services would be a match for you.