Category Archives: PPC

Microsoft adExcellence Membership

Reuben Yau - Pittsburgh Internet Consulting - Microsoft AdExcellence Member
David Naylor recently reported that the new Microsoft AdCenter accreditation program will be named Microsoft adExcellence. Searchengineland reported that it’s going to be available later this year, however, I was able to join the pilot program running from June 29th to July 20th. The testing is done online by, just like the Google AdWords Professional qualification. You’re tested on your knowledge of pay per click marketing and specifically Microsoft AdCenter features, functionality and policies. The test contains 50 questions and is scheduled to last an hour, although I completed mine in about 30 minutes.

I believe I am one of the first people to have completed and passed the test, so I’m able to proudly display this new badge.

Black People On Ebay Again

Ebay recently pulled ads from Google when the Google Checkout people decided to arrange the Let Freedom Ring event on the same date as Ebay Live. Ten days later the Ebay ads are back online and I’m so excited because once again I can find black people for less on Ebay! Yay! (sarcasm)

Black People For Less On Ebay

This is a great example of when broad match, dynamic keyword insertion and lack of negative keywords can harm your professional reputation and cost you a lot of money.

Ok, Ebay has a very large list of keywords and a few like this are going to slip through the cracks, but it just goes to show that you need to keep on top of your pay per click accounts and look at the keyword reports carefully.

Website Optimizer Is Search Engine Friendly

Website Optimizer by Google AdWords is a multivariate testing tool, that is to say, it takes A/B testing one step further. Instead of testing 2 versions of a page, you can test multiple page elements and the various combinations.

When you create an experiment you can specify page elements that you want to test, for example, a page heading, intro copy or a lead image. It uses javascript on the landing page to swap out the test element with the other variations that you specify within Website Optimizer.

I participated in the beta test of this and my initial concern was that it may not be search engine friendly due to the changing page elements, however, after a short call with the Website Optimizer Product Manager, he confirmed that it would not have any impact on organic rankings.

If you are still concerned about it, then you can always set up a specific landing page that is not linked to from your main navigation and use either the robots.txt or meta noindex tags to prevent search engines from crawling those pages.

Once your AdWords account is fairly well optimized, I would highly recommend trying out this tool. You will learn new things about your website, its traffic and motivators. Just make sure you carefully plan the test elements and don’t test too many elements at once to ensure that you can run through enough iterations with conversions to gain meaningful data.

Yahoo Sponsored Search Is Going To 69 You

One of my colleagues today found out that if you edit a short description in Yahoo Sponsored Search, you have to include a period at the end. Usually you’re allowed 70 characters for the short description, but with the ending period, we’re all being cheated out of one character. If your ads are already 70 characters then don’t worry, they will continue to be active, but next time you edit them, they will be required to have an ending period.

One character doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re trying to get creative as well put across the right message and appeal to the right audience, every character counts. I have no idea why they decided to implement this, there’s a ton of other stuff that I would prefer them to do, like make the campaign import feature available for advertisers who are not at the Gold or Platinum spending levels.

Google PPA For Ecommerce Sites

One of my clients was recently accepted into the Google Pay Per Action beta program, so I started to set up the actions, conversion tracking and ad campaigns.

One of the biggest problems with PPA is that it’s really not really geared towards a typical ecommerce site. Most ecommerce sites have one template for the receipt page, which is where you usually place conversion tracking codes.

Now consider a store that sells a number of products from $30 to $50,000 per item. I may be willing to pay $1000/action for the $50,000 item, what if someone then buys the $30 item? Continue reading Google PPA For Ecommerce Sites

Google AdWords Ad Creation Tool – Write and Preview Ads

I like the way Yahoo Sponsored Search displays the character count as you create ads, but unfortunately we don’t get that little luxury with Google AdWords, so I created this little tool to count the characters as well as preview the ad and have the ability to copy it into a local document. It also gives you the ability to add in some Google Analytics tracking variables to the destination URL.

I use this tool at work almost every day and it’s saved me a lot of time, I hope you find it as useful.

Google Acquires Doubleclick – What’s Next TP?

Google TP Advertising

Google’s plans to dominate the online advertising world just took another leap forwards today when they announced the acquisition of Doubleclick.

At Google, we are constantly looking for new, innovative ways to make the information you want more accessible and more relevant—and to deliver it as fast as possible.

Once Google gets firmly established in the other major media outlets, TV, Radio, Newspaper, you have to wonder what’s next.

In 2034 will I wake up each morning and listen to my Google clock radio? Will I have ads beamed onto the inside of my shower curtain? When I take a number two, will I have TP with Sponsored Sheets? Will advertisers be billed on a PPR (Pay Per Roll) model?

Pay Per Click Reporting Gripe

Working for an online marketing agency, we, and I’m assuming most other agencies and corporations, develop internal databases to track and report on pay per click traffic and costs. The various pay per click platforms provide us with the ability to download reports in various formats, which we can import into our own databases easily. We write scripts, macros and various tools to automate the process of generating monthly reports for our clients as much as possible.

So it pains me to no end when I find out that yet again, one of the platforms changes their CSV formatting.


Do you not realize that changing just one character in a field name means that pretty much the entire SEM agency industry, as well as medium to large corporations now need to edit their internal reporting mechanisms?

Buying PPC Ads When You Have Good Organic Rankings

Here’s a very common theory I come across all the time: “If I have great organic rankings, I can save money by turning off pay per click listings for the same terms”.

This reasoning is only valid if you’re bidding on keywords with poor ROI, or your campaigns are not properly optimized. The one thing that people often overlook is that if you’re paying $100 to get $5000 in business and you’re making say $500 profit, why would you cut that? By cutting advertising with a positive ROI, you’re actually hurting your revenue and profit!

Math aside, here are a few more reasons why it’s good to buy sponsored listings, even if you rank number 1 for a specific term.

1) You are showing the audience that you are serious about acquiring traffic – it shows that you have a strong selling intent.

2) It implies market dominance

3) You provide 2 places (sometimes 3 on Yahoo) where a user can find a link to your website

4) You eliminate one of the sites you’re competing with

5) It caters to both sets of audiences, those who prefer organic, and those who prefer sponsored listings

6) It enables you to use the PPC ad copy to compliment your organic listing, by promoting special offers, trust, or unique selling points

7) Even if your PPC ROI breaks even, you’ve just acquired another customer and increased your marketshare

Edit (3/28/07):
A recent post by Rob Garner of Search Insider: Yes, Co-managed PPC And SEO Campaigns Work also backs up my experiences and proves that this strategy can work very well.

When appearing in both natural and paid search for the same keyword impression, clicks lifted 92 percent, actions lifted 45percent, orders lifted 45 percent, page views lifted 44 percent, visitors increased by 41 percent, and time on site increased by 40 percent.

The results of an iCrossing study found that organic listings actually boost the performance of PPC campaigns significantly, which really emphasizes the point that when you have both an organic and PPC listing on one page, the PPC better have positive ROI.

More Thoughts: