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Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

PPC Campaign Assistance

I recently had a conversation with a client who was having some difficulties with his Google AdWords account. This client had then made some changes to financial settings and had resulted in significant charges beyond what was anticipated. In this example, the date range being displayed on the reports was set to a range which made it difficult to see the charges being accrued.

I spent some time working things through with the client which ultimately resulted in the effect on the account being originally sought after.

While managing PPC campaigns is an additional service offered by StepForth, for existing clients I am happy to answer any questions to try and help. For extensive issues we may require a PPC contract, but in many cases I will likely be able to simply answer your questions to help get things on track.

If you have any PPC related questions, please feel free to drop me a note at and I will see what I can do to assist!

This is a heads up for my readers and clientele that MSN search applied an update that has significantly affected rankings. The client results we have reviewed so far have all done well by this update but we are continuing to review. So far it appears that MSN is still following the basic principles of good SEO but I have noticed the following elements appear important: Read more…

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Google Releases Adwords Optimizer

The Google Adwords team released a new beta tool that will allow Adwords users to test and track the success of their PPC landing pages. Called Adwords Website Optimizer this new tool is not widely open to the public quite yet but you can apply to become a beta tester.

As with most Google applications I find this program to be very straight forward and clever. The concept allows for users to create a single landing page, implement Adwords Optimizer code, then configure different variations of the page from within the Optimizer (changing the title, picture, content… anything). Each variation will be served up to Google viewers who click on the advertiser’s PPC listing and then the actions that the viewer takes will be tracked to calculate the effectiveness of the landing page in comparison to the other versions. Reports are provided along with some very straight forward statistics to make it simple for the average Adwords user to use the system successfully. Read more…

Well this week has been a crazy one at StepForth so I apologize for the sparse postings. I promise I will be back in my normal groove next week.

Fortunately it appears that the stories that broke this week were not exactly ‘blow your mind’ quality. Here are some links for you to check out if anything here is of interest:

  1. Google Book Search now offers full edition copies of out-of-copyright books for you to download free.
  2. Google is reportedly testing Adwords for mobile phones throughout the USA. This has been available in Japan for a few months now.
  3. Yahoo has announced it is now offering Live Search within the new version of its Toolbar for Firefox. Now when you search the web using the Toolbar you will be shown the most popular searches related to the search term you are using. Hmm, I smell an interesting SEO tool here.

That is it for now I am afraid. I have some great stories for next week but now I have to get back to the grind. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend full of steady top10 rankings.

Cheers, Ross

Friday, September 1st, 2006

Adwords API Will Now Cost Money

Google has announced that it will be charging a pay per usage fee of $0.25 per thousand queries of its Adwords API.

To those business owners that didn’t have a clue what I just said here is the scoop. First of all, this really does not ‘directly’ have anything to do with you, but it may affect you indirectly. You see Google’s Adwords API allows advertising agencies with inhouse PPC management software to directly interface with Google’s Adwords system to conduct searches so that they can keep up to date on the status of their client’s campaigns. Up untill October 1st, 2006 it was completely free to use this interface but that has now changed since Google is now charging $0.25 per thousand uses. I know that doesn’t seem like much, but for agencies that have hundreds of clients this will add up to a great deal of money over time. And as we all know, the more money it costs a vendor, the more it will ultimately cost you, the consumer.

In short, I expect that ad agencies who specialize in Adwords promotions will be passing on some significant new costs to their clientele. Fortunately, StepForth is not in the position to be disturbed by this shakeup because we do not use such software. As a result, our clients will not experience any negative effects in their StepForth-managed ppc campaigns.

If you would like more information here is Google’s ratesheet.

A few short months ago Microsoft quietly introduced adCenter, their Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising platform. My first impressions of adCenter are relatively positive. Based mostly on the setup process here are my thoughts on the newest player in the PPC industry.
Signing up for a new account is quite simple. There is a $5 sign up charge though, so take note, you won’t get a look at the inner workings unless you are willing to spend a couple bucks. Years ago when I first looked at Google AdWords, I loved the fact that you could create an account, and go in and play with everything and look around. You didn’t pay a dime until you were ready to have your ads go live, that is when the setup fee of $5US or $10CDN (not sure where this exchange rate came from?) was charged.

If this discovery is indeed what it appears to be Google is getting closer to releasing an online storage/backup solution; not a surprise for many. Here is a post that talks a little about the discovery.

Here is the screenshot from this story; just in case it becomes unavailable elsewhere.

My take? Well I believe this is a perfect fit for Google’s inexorable path towards making the world’s information searchable. The privacy and security concerns of such an undertaking will be intense and I am sure they are aware of that. That said, I believe this will take off and will be a free service (to a certain space limit) financially upheld by what else but Google Adwords. The additional venues for Google Adwords clientele cannot hurt either.

In closing, I find Google’s endless line of cool utilities extremely fun to review and play with. Some, like Google Desktop and Google Mail (GMail), I have fully embraced in my corporate and personal life. Until more info surfaces I bid you adieu!

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

Yahoo Search Marketing Handbook

Mona Elesseily has nearly five years experience crafting Yahoo Search Marketing (YSM) campaigns for her clients but over the last 16-months, she has been absolutely immersed. As the Yahoo! (Overture) PPC expert working at Canadian paid search advertising firm Page Zero Media, Mona has enjoyed a unique opportunity to learn, explore and understand the inner workings of Yahoo’s premier PPC program. In the autumn of 2004, she was “challenged” by her employer, Andrew Goodman, to write a book explaining the intricacies of establishing and managing a successful YSM PPC campaign.

The result of her work is the Yahoo Search Marketing Handbook, a 102-page manual that starts with the basics, outlines potential pitfalls and gradually guides the reader towards establishing and maintaining winning YSM PPC campaigns. Read more…

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Florida's Effect on SEO Spam

A few years ago, in the days before the introduction of Google’s Florida Update, SEO was a quasi-Masonic vocation practiced by an expanding order of techno-monks who acted openly but held secret the minute details of their trade. As search engines and SEO techniques evolved, that old order was already dying, long before the discovery of Florida in November 2003.

I was reminded of the olden days yesterday when fielding a question over at one of the SEO Forums I spend time in. One of the new members wrote in asking about the correct range of Keyword Densities for the various search engines. That got me thinking about many of the lesser known tricks of the trade that have been used by search engine optimizers over the years and how some of these “tricks” have incorporated themselves into our SEO practice while others have been roundly rejected by SEO practitioners. Read more…

It is that time of year again. Between the extra helpings of turkey soup and sandwiches, writers of every stripe are making lists of predictions for the coming twelve months. Last year, we got just over half our predictions correct. This year we hope to do as well or better but in an industry as dynamic and rapidly changing as the world of search, we couldn’t expect to hit a home run on every prediction. The only thing that is certain is the idea 2006 will be as or more interesting than 2005. Read more…