Learning the fundamentals of Paid Search at SMX West 2009

Brief Summary of Paid Search Fundamental session at SMX West in Santa Clara. Speakers covered process-from choosing keywords to writing compelling and relevant ad copies to tips on geo-targeting and day parting

Matt Van Wagner, Find Me Faster
Mona Elesseily, Page Zero

PPC Basics – Tips & Tricks for a Successful Paid Search Campaign

This SMX session was focused on the fundamentals of PPC. Matt Van Wagner from Find Me Faster walked us through the main points in creating a campaign, and answered some common paid search questions. Here are some of the top questions he said most people run into when they are starting out in PPC:

  1. What’s the best position for my ads? Most people are under the impression that you have to be in the top spot to succeed, however Matt explained why this should not be your ultimate focus. The higher your ads show up, the more clicks you will receive, but you will be paying higher prices. He recommended acknowledging Ad Rank, but not focusing too heavily on it. Instead, put your effort into creating great PPC campaigns.
  2. Does the highest bid always get the top spot? Ad Rank = Quality Score X Max Bid. Focus on obtaining a high quality score by relevant keywords, ads and landing pages. High bids won’t necessarily guarantee high ranking.
  3. What goes into Quality Score? Relevancy is the most important factor. (keywords to ads to landing pages). Search engines measure the relevancy of your keywords and ads to a user’s search query.

Writing Great Ads
Ad copy can seem overwhelming and daunting to a PPC newcomer, but Mona Elesseily stressed the importance of taking your time and letting the creative messaging come to you naturally. Here are a few her best practices to write killer ads:

  • Always include the keywords within the ad copy-this will make your ad much more relevant to the user and search engine alike
  • Make sure you gear the tone of your ad to your audience
  • Try different styles of writing and messaging (include prices; reassurance to the searcher-“official site”; deals or specials)
  • Include a call to action statement
  • Test different ads – multivariate testing (start out with larger differences, and with time get more specific)

She also warned of a few common mistakes people make with ad copy:

  • Include only one ad within an adgroup
  • Include too many ads within an adgroup
  • Ads are not specific enough-they should target a specific audience

This session at SMX gave a good overview of what to expect when starting out in the paid search world. From the beginning steps of defining your overall goals to thorough keyword research to building tightly themed adgroups, this session stressed the importance of building a strong foundation for your campaigns to succeed on.

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