Welcome to Josh Baker's Practical Advice for Optimizing Your Internet Marketing blog. Here you will find internet marketing optimization and online strategy articles full of tips, tricks, discussions, and thoughts to help you take your marketing and business to the next level of success.

Archive for Paid Search – PPC

(Taken from my answer to a question on Linkedin)

I have done 100’s of landing page split tests in Google Adwords over the years – so here is how I do it if I don’t have IT resources in order to set up a test with testing software.

First, if your goal is to see which converts better based on your Google conversion numbers within Adwords than its pretty straightforward to read results. If you are going to have to put back end results to it then you will just need to do some additional work with a spreadsheet or calculator (from simple to complex depending on your sales cycle or conversion $ values, LTV etc.)

So here is how you would ideally do it: Read More→


If you are a new business or have yet to start Paid Search (PPC) for your existing business here is a quick way to calculate its’ ROI in order to forecast your Paid Search ROI. Keep in mind that since you have no historical data to use, you are trying to get close to whether or not it makes sense for your new business to test Paid Search. If you decide to go forward with it you will need to make adjustments over time in your forecast as you receive more true data. Read More→

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Tight PPC Ad Groups A Key Factor in Paid Search Success

When building-out or optimizaing your PPC Ad Groups, whether it is at Google, Yahoo, MSN, or any other PPC engine, one of the unanimous tactics amongst the top PPC professionals is to have what is referred to as “tight” Ad Groups to aid in your paid search success.

An over-simplified understanding of the workings of keywords and ad triggers inside PPC ad groups will help you further understand why it’s important to have a “tight” ad group.  First, your ad group contains keywords that trigger and then displays an associated ad from within that ad group when someone searches on a keyword that you’re bidding on. If they click on the ad, they are then taken to your landing page. Your ad is hopefully highly relevant to the keyword or phrase being searched and thus with your excellent PPC ad copy and high relevancy it entices the search engine user to click on your ad and then ideally they convert on your landing page for whatever you page goal is.


Needless to say, the more relevant your display ad copy is, the higher the chance the user will click on it. If you are searching for Hotels in Connecticut, and an ad for a Hotel in California is displayed, the likelihood of you clicking on that ad would be very slim – it’s not what you are looking for and would be even less appealing especially if the other ads on the page are for in fact Hotels in Connecticut. Another scenario is that your ad is somewhat relevant to the search thus enticing people to click on it, but it doesn’t convert well because the landing page associated with the ad (only 1 landing page per ad unless you are testing the landing page via AB or multivariate) isn’t as relevant for certain keywords and therefore costing you for the unproductive click and therefore driving up your costs.

Tight Ad Groups Explained

So what is meant by a “tight” ad group is to have an ad group that contains only keywords that are extremely similar. This enables you to create display ads that are highly targeted for those keywords which will then be shown when someone does a search and the results are displayed. With extremely similar keywords, and highly relevant ads, you are then able to create a highly relevant landing page to both the keywords and the ads ensuring a much higher rate of conversion success due to relevancy all the way through.

If the ad group is not tight, you will either then have generic display ads that appeal to all of the keywords, or ads that are relevant for only some of the keywords and therefore not highly relevant to the others keywords; and the same goes for the landing page your PPC display ad links too. In each of these situations, the performance will be less than desirable.

Managing Tight Ad Groups

Another benefit of tight ad groups is the ability to more easily determine the success or lack of success of individual keywords because you know that the ads and landing pages are more relevant to all of the keywords in that ad group. Or, if the keywords or phrases are not performing well, you can test the ad copy or landing pages and know that the traffic for those terms are similar in the sense that they are searching out similar terms.

In an ad group that isn’t “tight”, it’s harder to determine if it’s the keywords, the ads, or the landing pages underperforming in the sense that testing any of them may reverse performance of others within that ad group – i.e. changing the ad copy in an ad group where the keywords are extremely similar may result in some of the good performing terms to underperform, while the previously underperforming terms start to perform. In reality, many unwanted situations could occur, whereas this is the simplest problematic scenario easily avoided by keeping your ad groups “tight”.

In Conclusion

Don’t be afraid to create lots of ad groups if needed to keep them highly targeted. Sure it’s easier upfront to set-up only a few ad groups and stuff them with lots of keywords so that you  only have to manage a few ads and a few landing pages. But in the long run, it’s not so easy or beneficial, their overall performance will suffer (or underperform) and your costs could go up (and very likely your conversions will go down). Not to mention that it makes testing your ads, landing pages, etc. much harder and less reliable.

Categories : Paid Search - PPC
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Do you advertise with Google AdWords? Do you have your Google Adwords paid search ads show up on their Content Network? Not sure what that exactly means?

Google allows you to not only display your ads in Google’s search results pages when someone performs a search on Google, but also on sites that use their Google AdSense program to automatically display paid search ads that are relevant to their website copy – although many times it’s not always relevant – but which makes this post relevant to you!

You can set up lists of sites or domains that you do not want your Google AdWords ads to show up on via the Excluded Placements section (found in the Networks tab of the new Google Adwords interface). By viewing the detailed stats of your ads on these sites, assuming you have your conversion tagging set up to show AdWords conversions correctly (surprisingly many put it on the wrong page) you can determine if your ads that are appearing on specific sites on the content network are profitable or not for you.

If not set-up properly though, you may be surprised to find out that your ads are still appearing on sites that you thought you had banned through the Excluded Placements section in the AdWords interface.

According to ROI Revolution’s Make Sure Your Excluded Placements Are Actually Being Excluded post, there is a easy fix in the Excluded Placements section to make sure you are correctly banning an entire site from having your ad appear on it.

Unless you specifically want to ban just a certain subdomain such as www.about.com, or marketing.about.com, but want your ads to appear on other subdomains of their website, you need to enter in just about.com. Entering in the root domain (about.com) without the third level (www, marketing, etc.)you will be successfully banning the entire domain not just that specific third level entered.

For more detailed information, you can view Google AdWords help section on setting up Excluded Placements.

Categories : Paid Search - PPC
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At Search Engine Strategies in New York this week, Google demonstrated its new Google AdWords interface to the attendees:


 According to Google, updates to the interface include:

• Easier account navigation through an account tree.

• In-line editing of keywords, bids, ads and placements.

• Integrated reports available on campaign management pages.

• Roll-up views of all keywords, ads and placements in a campaign.

• Quick filtering to focus on the data you care about most

• Performance summary graphs for quick trend-spotting


You can read more detail on the changes in the AdWords Interface Changes Overview PDF or view 6 videos they have posted to further explain the updates – including this video from advertisers and AdWords team members.

Sign up for the beta now to get early access to it.  Go on, you have nothing to lose – after speaking with a Google AdWords team member at the Search Engine Strategies New York conference, they confirmed you would be able to toggle between the beta and the current version and would not be stuck in the beta.

Categories : Paid Search - PPC
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