Andrew Goodman is the leading authority on Google AdWords. I have impatiently awaited the arrival of his book, “Winning Results with Google AdWords,” for months. Whether you’re new to search engine advertising or a seasoned expert, his book is filled with top-notch, valuable information about successful AdWords campaigns.
As Chris Sherman stated in his review of Goodman’s book, creating and maintaining a successful search engine advertising campaign isn’t a simple process. Sure, it’s simple to set up a Google account and have ads displayed. However, the entire search engine advertising process requires diligence, attention to detail, and solid strategic skills.
Components of a Search Engine Advertising Campaign
When I deal with clients who begin their SEM (define) with advertising, they often only think about keyword phrase, ad, and bid price. Search engine advertising has more components:
- Keyword selection. The first part of any search engine advertising campaign is keyword selection. Unfortunately, as Goodman warns in chapter 6, many rookie advertisers mistakenly believe the best keyword phrases are those that people most commonly type into search queries. The best keyword phrases may be the less commonly used ones.
- Bid price. All search engine advertising campaigns are limited by budget. Bid price too high? The advertiser can’t afford to bid on a keyword phrase. Is a keyword phrase too uncommon to generate a decent ROI (define)? An advertiser may have to bid on thousands of uncommon keyword phrases to generate a positive ROI. Finding the best bid prices for a fixed budget isn’t easy. If you’re new to the entire bid pricing process, chapter 6 is a must-read.
- Ad position. A number-one position isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. With search engine advertising, a top ad position might generate many clicks but not many sales. A top ad position’s branding impact is difficult to measure, too.
Google runs AdWords purely to benefit Google. The highest bid doesn’t always get the top position; the ad that’s clicked on the most gets the top position. Translation: the ads that generate Google the most income tend to get the top position.
- Ad copy. A copywriter who specializes in search engine ad copywriting is a great asset to any firm. Ads can be branding ads, direct marketing ads, or a combination of the two. A single word change can instantaneously impact an ad’s ROI. In chapter 7, Goodman outlines the different variables in ad copy: placement, context (Google and its partners), copy, and URL structure. Landing page URLs can also have an impact on an ad’s clickability.
- Landing pages. A bid price (and clicks) can get an ad visibility. Good copy can generate clicks. What happens after the click? Does the ad deliver visitors to the actual Web site (the one search engine spiders can discover naturally) or to a different URL (the one an ad agency might create) to test the effectiveness various landing pages?
Too much focus is spent on ad copywriting and not enough on PPC (define) landing pages’ effectiveness. In chapter 11, Goodman does an outstanding job explaining the characteristics of effective landing pages.
- Conversion tracking. Google and many PPC advertising search engines offer tools for measuring ad campaigns’ ROI. Goodman offers a variety of methodologies to help advertisers measure ROI effectiveness.
How the Book Is Organized
The book is organized into four parts. Part one provides a comprehensive history of paid search engine advertising, interesting reading for SEM and SEO (define) experts.
Part two is written primarily for advertisers new to Google AdWords. Goodman explains basic terminology and takes readers through account basics, such as campaigns and groups. Even seasoned search engine advertisers can benefit from this section. All too often, self-proclaimed experts don’t have a full grasp of basic skills.
Part three builds on the strong foundation presented in part two. Goodman presents more refined search engine advertising strategies, such as matching options, rescuing low CTR (define) keyword phrases, and different approaches to bidding and positioning. Newbies will appreciate how Goodman helps them present search engine advertising benefits to the boss, including businesses with affiliate programs.
Part four addresses the entire conversion process. Beginner and expert advertisers alike will constantly refer to this comprehensive guide to creating and maintaining effective landing pages.
Just like Chris Sherman’s Google book, “Winning Results” isn’t only written for people who embark on AdWords advertising. Many strategies and tips are useful for PPC campaigns on other search engine advertising programs.
As I stated in a previous column, I know I own an outstanding book when I can never find it. Heck, I didn’t know for weeks Goodman’s book had arrived. Someone swiped it before I had a chance to read it. I had to purchase multiple copies: one for my library and the rest for the staff.
Goodman’s book is easy to read and to follow. It takes you through the entire search engine advertising process, from setup through refinement. It also offers a plethora of strategies and tips that can help you with your current campaigns.
Add “Winning Results” to your SEM library. You won’t regret it.
Meet Shari at Search Engine Strategies in Chicago, December 5-8, 2005.
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