Monthly Archives: July 2010

July 29, 2010

Video Sitemaps

Video is more and more common on the Web. For over a year now, Google has been selectively including videos in search results – even if you aren’t specifically searching for video, which is one of the options in the left column of Google’s search screen now.
But how does Google know what videos you have and what they are about? It isn’t as easy as with most content where the text can be read by Google’s robots.
Google has a recommended way of dealing with this. Here’s their short introduction to the subject of video sitemaps.

July 25, 2010

Google Click Ads – Quality Score

How can you improve your quality score for key search terms?
Start by understanding how Google determines quality scores.
The higher the click-through-rate (CTR), the higher the quality score is going to be.
There are two ways to improve CTR. Improve the ad, or improve the keywords.
It’s difficult to get a high CTR for a search term that is very general. Most searchers are going to be looking for something else.
Regardless, you can use negative keywords to reduce useless searches (and useless clicks!). You can run your ads in a more targeted geographical area, to a more precise demographic, run only at certain times, or fine-tune the networks it is running to (sometimes we turn off Google’s search partners, for example).
You can also narrow the match type from broad to modified broad, phrase or exact match.
All that is well and good but a badly worded ad can waste a high percentage of your impressions.
ALL the rules of advertising apply to your click ads. They need to be noticed, to interest the prospective customer and to create enough curiosity and trust so they click on YOUR ad.
One of the great things about Click Ads is you can test and measure and improve your ads over time. And not much time at that.
There is no venue where you can fine-tune an ad faster and better than with click ads. That’s so true we use them as a research tool with the results then used in our organic search work and other marketing efforts.
More to come on that.

July 24, 2010

Branding Rant

Home Depot used to have a slogan “You can do it…. We can help.” This was a great tagline which had an emotional appeal and immediately positioned Home Depot. Heck, it made ME want to shop there, and I’m mostly immune to marketing.
Last year, some idiot caused them to abandon that for “More saving. More doing” – complete flub-whup-glop-dup. Meaningless garbage with no emotional connection. What are they trying to do? Make people think they are really Wal-Mart? Slogans are supposed to differentiate a brand, not sound like everyone else.
This is at least the fifth slogan they’ve used in the last 15 years.
Why does someone at Home Depot think periodically changing slogans is a good idea? Do they have some statistical evidence that this improves sales (answer: no they don’t, because it doesn’t).
Admittedly “You Can Do It. We Can Help” was way better than their other, previous slogans, so I guess I can’t fault them for changes to that point.
Please people. Recognize when you have a winner.

July 23, 2010

Quality Score – Click Ads

I recently mentioned but did not explain “Quality Score” as a factor in reducing the effectiveness of click ads.
When you buy a click ad you are bidding on position. If you are willing to pay $3 a click your ad is going to be higher on the page than someone who will only pay up to $2.50 per click.
Maybe.
Because if you think about it, what about if your ad is really bad and no one clicks on it? Then Google will make less money than if they put the other guy’s ad above yours. Even though he is paying less per click, if he is going to get a lot more clicks, Google makes more money that way.
PLUS it means they are delivering a better visitor experience. People want to see what they are looking for appear first, not something disrelated that shouldn’t be there.
Google handles this by factoring in a quality score number (from 1 to 10) in with the bid amount on the keyword, so a lower quality score means a lower position despite how much you are willing to pay per click.
You still pay as much per click, you just appear lower on the page where fewer people will see and click on your ad.
So one way to reduce your cost per click – or in reverse, increase the number of clicks you get for your daily budget dollars, is to improve your quality score for important (high search volume) keywords.
Make sense?
So how do you do that?
Tune in tomorrow to find out.

July 22, 2010

Google AdWords – New Feature

Google has now rolled out a new match choice for keywords.
Where previously the choices were exact, phrase and broad match, they have now added a modified broad match option.

To implement the modifier, just put a plus symbol (+) directly in front of one or more words in a broad match keyword. Each word preceded by a + has to appear in your potential customer’s search exactly or as a close variant. Close variants include misspellings, singular/plural forms, abbreviations and acronyms, and stemmings (like “floor” and “flooring”). Synonyms (like “quick” and “fast”) and related searches (like “flowers” and “tulips”) aren’t considered close variants.

I think this will find wide use in fine tuning the fairly common situation where negative keywords aren’t useful for rejecting unwanted searches, but exact or phrase matches are really narrower than you want to go.

July 21, 2010

Brand Candy

The Book “Mind Your X’s and Y’s” has a chapter about what they call Brand Candy – the stylishness that can be so appealing and is an important part of many brand successes.
Would Apple products sell nearly as well if they didn’t look cool?
That the Motorola Razr was so thin may have been a practical selling point. Far more important, it was a big part of makng it look great.
This didn’t used to be the case. And there are still huge swaths of the economy where what I call HID – Hideous Industrial Design – prevails.
I once tried to convince a manufacturer of medical equipment it would sell better if he manufactured it in cool color schemes instead of White Only. It was too far outside his reality. No one else was doing it. Some day, if it hasn’t already happened, some Steve Jobs of medical equipment manufacturing will startle his competition and send many of them into bankruptcy.
What about if you sell services? It can still apply. The Geico Gecko, their cavemen and witty advertising has obviously made Progressive, 21st Century and State Farm take notice. All of those companies now run advertising that is either based on or responding to Geico’s.
They aren’t doing that because Geico’s marketing is ineffective.
Even if you are a small company, chances are you can use this concept.

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