“I was born on this rock
And I've been travelin' through space
Since the moment I first realized
What all you fast talkin' cats would do if you could
You know, I'm ready for the final surprise…”
Steve Miller Band “Space Cowboy”

“You know, PPC is just like anything else.  If you take the time and effort, you can learn and understand it.”

“So, what are the components of PPC?”

“Well, lets start with the choices where somebody can place PPC ads.  Many people exclusively equate PPC with Google AdWords.  Clearly, AdWords is the largest, most important PPC advertising network, but folks sometimes get so fixated on AdWords that they fail to consider using Yahoo & Bing, making those networks relative bargains for advertisers.  In almost every campaign in many different verticals that I´ve worked with, the Cost Per Conversion for Yahoo is less than it is for AdWords.  So, in my opinion, it is well worth dealing with the Panama platform in order to benefit your business.  With the upcoming Yahoo / MSN deal, the Bing platform (though light on traffic) has become relevant to advertisers…I would recommend getting comfortable with it right away because it´s going to be important in the future.”

“People obsess a lot about writing the perfect ad text for conversions.  To me, that totally off base.  The purpose of the ad isn´t to make a sale or generate a lead…the purpose of the ad is to get a click…the landing page, not the ad, is the determining factor for conversions.  So, with this philosophy in mind, the way you approach writing your PPC ad changes radically.”

The Fifth Element

ShoeMoney shared the most valuable, actionable Internet Marketing tip that I´ve ever had the privilege to read.  Essentially, your PPC ad should utilize dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) in such a way that your keywords (automatically bolded by the search engines) appear to the searcher as a right-pointing arrow.  In the case of Google, that means the first and third line of the ad should commence with DKI and the second line of the ad should conclude with DKI.  Yahoo & Bing don´t force you to divide your ad text over two lines which means if you are smart with your DKI, you can use one instance of it and wrap it in such a way so that it begins at the end of the second line and concludes at the beginning of the third line, facilitating the arrow only using one DKI instead of two.  Some people will say that overuse of DKI leads to a certain percentage of nonsensical ads and that is absolutely true.  However, these “nonsense ads” contain a much higher percentage of bolded text than their more logical counterparts and I believe the surfer eye will be much more likely to be drawn to this instead of the “better” messaging.  I´ve yet to see any instances where heavy DKI ads have been outperformed by their more conventional counterparts.  Also, I´ve never seen a quality score issue with DKI ads (assuming the landing page is up to snuff.)”

“Let´s talk about keyword lists for campaigns.  It´s pretty darned easy to develop a fat, relevant keyword list for PPC.  You probably can type out your basic core terms you wish to target.  Drop each of them into the Google´s new Keyword Tool.  You´re going to get a large number of advertisable terms really quick.  Export them into Excel and cull out the irrelevant ones from your list, leaving the remainder for PPC.  If your vertical has a geographical component, combine your primary keywords with each and every relevant geographical term.  I have a spreadsheet consisting of the top 300 US cities and 50 states (spelled out and abbreviated).  It gets a lot of use when I´m setting up new campaigns.  Your natural search analytics are also an excellent source for keywords to use in your paid search campaigns.”

“However, it´s really important to keep a tight nexus between your keyword list, your advertising, and your landing page in order to maximize ROI.  Using super generic keywords in paid search will blow your budget.  I would even be careful using words that are even just “close to” relevant.  If I can´t logically and quickly see the relevance of the keyword to the page…even if it takes me just a second to figure it out, I´m not going to advertise it.  Generally, one will have no problem spending their entire budget only on keywords that have close relevance to their offering”


“Now, people always ask the question…should I try to get my ad in the #1 position?  Sure, if you have an unlimited amount of money to spend.  If you have budget limitations like most of us, try to target positions 3-5.  Frequently, you can get a better ROI here than higher up…and you won´t bust your budget.  Try to make sure your ads are on the first page though because you´re not going to get a lot of action if they are on Page 2 or lower.”

“Landing pages are critically important to Paid Search Success.  For advertisers who send their paid search traffic to their home page…shame on you.  You´re better off donating your ad budget to charity because at least someone would get some use from it.  The paid search landing page experience must be radically different from what people see in natural search.  As mentioned before, there needs to be a very close nexus between the keyword searched, the ad clicked upon, and the landing page itself in order to maximize conversion potential.”

“The landing page should have absolutely no extraneous navigation.  If there is to be a link on a paid search landing page, there better be a relevant conversion opportunity on the page linked to.  The targeted keyword (which is the focus of that particular paid search campaign) should be very visible in big bold print at the top of the page.  The amount of text on the page should be minimized to just enough to allow the web surfer to be “converted” into a sale or lead.  The text must be easy to read and there should be plenty of white space on the page.  I´m a big fan of having only two possible outcomes for a landing page visitor…a conversion or a closed browser.  For an ecommerce site, perhaps an “out” should be given, allowing a visitor access to the main site where they could possibly buy something else…but such a link should not be given prominence so that it interferes with the principal attempt at conversion.”

Solaris (Tarkovsky)

“Remember, all that I´ve told you so far pertains only to setting up the paid search campaign.  Ultimately, your Analytics (you are using Analytics, aren´t you?) will dictate any and all adjustments you´ll need to make to generate optimal ROI.  Some campaigns will perform better than others…which will cause you to raise and or lower bids, and add and or delete keywords.  You´ll likely want to tweak landing pages and test new variations of pages against old ones.  As business conditions dictate, you´ll likely add new campaigns and delete old ones.  But ROI is the ultimate PPC metric and you need to make darned sure you´re not only calculating it but calculating it correctly.  If your website is for lead generation, then Cost Per Lead is your core metric.  If your website is for ecommerce, than mapping your profit margin (Revenue Earned minus Cost of Goods and a certain percentage for overhead) and comparing that to PPC cost is the metric that needs to be tracked.”

“The wonderful thing about paid search is that you are 100% in control of the visitor experience.  If all the components are synched together, you should generate very positive results for your business.”

Space Is The Place