Google Tests New Keyword Tool

  |  May 10, 2004   |  Comments

Google is testing a new tool aimed at maximizing keyword revenue.

Google is testing a new tool that will allow advertisers to feed pages to the search giant so it can determine the best keywords for those pages and automatically create ads that link to them, a marketer working with the tool said.

The tool lets Google provide some of the benefits of paid inclusion, which is offered by competitor Yahoo, without compromising its organic search results.

"This is a way to get more of your deep content into the advertising area and to have that content displayed when someone queries a keyword relevant to it," said Fredrick Marckini, CEO of search marketing firm iProspect. Marckini's company is working with a client he identified only as "a large AdWords customer" to evaluate the tool. Google wouldn't comment on the new offering.

The new tool's working name is AdWords Automator, Marckini said. As the name indicates, it is an addition to Google's AdWords. With this new tool, the advertiser indicates what per-click price it is willing to pay to have a specified group of its pages included in sponsored listings, Marckini said. The advertiser then feeds a collection of pages to Google. The feed is scanned by Google technology, which assigns keywords to the content. Google uses similar technology to extract keywords from publisher's pages in its AdSense program.

Google technology also derives ad text from the feed submitted, according to Marckini. This differs from the usual AdWords procedure, in which the advertiser chooses the keywords and writes ads for each keyword or group of keywords. With AdWords Automator, the advertiser composes the contents of the feed, which constitute the ad.

Then whenever a user launches a query and Google determines the advertiser's page is relevant, Google will serve an ad as a sponsored link. As is the rule with AdWords, position will depend on bid price and click-through rate. Once marketers see where they end up, they can raise or lower their bids for the whole group of pages, but not for each page or each keyword.

"This is what Yahoo's CAPS paid inclusion program has always offered. This has always been the promise of paid inclusion," Marckini said. "The benefit of having the search engine choose and then associate keywords with a particular Web page has always been the promise of paid inclusion and natural search engine optimization."

Yahoo has offered paid inclusion, in which advertisers can pay for guaranteed inclusion in search results, for some time. The new Google program is similar in that inclusion is guaranteed -- in the paid placement area in this case rather than in the natural search results. Another similarity is that it takes advantage of technology, rather than human ingenuity, to determine what queries should result in a link to a certain page.

"You are giving up some control. You might be served to a keyword query you don't think is relevant. So it's still important to have a manual process. You would unequivocally do both," Marckini said.

Another industry figure opined that advertiser demand probably drove the new Google tool.

"In general, one could hypothesize that larger advertisers are driving the request to have Google make their jobs easier," said Kevin Lee, CEO of search engine marketing firm Did-it.com.

"It's clear that Google and Overture would explore that direction. It's clear that this is the appropriate way for them to go based on the needs of the larger advertiser," Lee said.

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