Many of you may have been like I was …Ignoring Google AdWords‘ Content Network because of low click through rates and low conversions. The problem with the content network, I eventually discovered, has nothing to do with the quality of the network and everything to do with the way these campaigns need to be setup. A properly set up Content Network Campaign can add a lot to your search engine marketing ROI.
Today was a sad day for me. An old friend has died. Tomorrow, February 27th is the last edition of the Rocky Mountain News. Denver, as well as the rest of the nation, will not be the better for it.
Working for E W Scripps, the Rocky Mountain News has been a big part of my life for the last year. Although a late adopter of SEO, they were quick to see the benefits of its common-sense principles and adopted it more fully than most any other paper within the company. Some of the things we have been able to accomplish over the last year have been profound, and the plans for the future held even bigger SEO success for the paper …a future we will never see.
One example of their success was our SEO initiative around the Democratic National Convention. During a period of heavy news coverage and other web resources covering the Democratic National Convention, the Rocky Mountain News was able to hold first page Google coverage, sometimes out-performing the official DNC sites and Wikipedia …and always outperforming CNN, MSNBC, and the rest of the news giants. Even today you will find them as a first page result for Democratic National Convention.
I just got my letter regarding the SMX Biggest Search Geek Contest.
Thank you for participating in the SMX Biggest Search Geek Contest, sponsored by Marin Software. We are pleased to inform you that out of nearly 1700 entries, you scored in the top 10% – a truly great achievement! You can view where you scored in relation to others at http://www.marinsoftware.com/searchgeek.
To recognize the contest?s top achievers, we have created the attached badge, with code that you can place on your website.
To read more about our Biggest Search Geek Winner, Keri Morgret from San Mateo, CA, please visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2009/02/prweb2007494.htm.
Thanks again for participating and we hope you join us again next year!
Natalie Clifford Cann
Director of Marketing Communications
While I’ve written about decoding Google AdWords Quality Score and CTR in the past, I wanted to point out that Google released their official position in their post the other day about quality scores and the ad auction. Within the post they talk about CTR being a primary indicator of relevance in determining quality score which is them multiplied by Max CPC to determine position.
Foundational to good search engine optimization is the understanding that every search is someone asking a question. Someone who searches for “George Washington’s birthday” is asking, “When was George Washington’s birthday?” Someone who searches for “chicken soup recipes” is asking, “Where can I find chicken soup recipes?” Every search is a question, and every searcher has a unique job to be done.
When we understand that every search is a specific question and every searcher has a unique job to be done, it should change the way we think about creating, organizing and optimizing our web pages. Our pages can’t simply be a collection of facts on a page. Our pages have to become answers to specific questions and solutions to unique jobs to be done.
Last week AdAge reported that Google CEO Eric Schmidt, while speaking with a group of magazine executives, referred to the internet as a “cesspool”. What is even more noteworthy, to us a search engine optimizers, is his statement that “We don’t actually want you [as SEOers] to be successful [at gaming the system]”.
The vast majority of us, as SEOers, are still stuck in 2006 when it comes to our SEO practices. We’ve generally ignored that the search engines have built countermeasures to our SEO tactics. As producers of real content have slowly moved up in the results, system gamers have moved down. So what is the solution? Better title tags? More links? In my opinion, it’s none of these.
The more time I spend in the forums, the more confusion I see about Google AdWords’ Ad Rank (CPC bid × Quality Score). I’m going to try to break this down, not by what Google says it is, but what it actually is.
According to Google:
A keyword-targeted ad is ranked on a search result page based on the matched keyword’s cost-per-click (CPC) bid* and Quality Score.
Ad Rank = CPC bid × Quality Score
The Quality Score for Ad Rank on the search network is determined by:
- The historical clickthrough rate (CTR) of the ad and of the matched keyword on Google; CTR on the Google Network is not considered
- The relevance of the keyword and ad to the search query
- Your account history, which is measured by the CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account
- Other relevance factors
The more you think about this, the more your head hurts. In reality, the formula is quite simple: Ad Rank = How much revenue your ad generates for Google. The more revenue your ad generates, the higher your Ad Rank.
If you’ve ever setup a Google AdWords account and noticed that the Minimum CPC (cost-per-click) for most of your keywords started around $1, $5, or $10 from the get-go, you may be experiencing a quality score issue around your “Visible URL” …at least that’s what was explained to me by a Google AdWords insider last week. It’s apparently possible, through no fault of your own, to inherit a doomed domain …and possibly ruin your SEM reputation in the process.