Key Steps to Structuring your Google Adwords Campaigns

Google Adwords can be a trickly concept, with trickly quickly becoming scary when it’s your business’ money at stake. Here at Search Factory we’ve developed a brief guide to help ensure your account is structured in the most appropriate manner.

A solid layout is vital for any SEM initiative to be effective. A logical methodology to the organisation of ads and keywords provides compounding benefits; from the ability to manage, alter and target ads, through to boosting your quality score and reducing CPCs. For the purposes of this explanation, we’ll begin at the upper levels and work our way down.

Campaigns

At the top you have campaigns, and unless you are working on a very small account you’d be remiss to have only one. There are a number of factors to consider when structuring your campaigns, including:

Location – If your business provides products/services nationally or internationally, then it’s sensical to create campaigns targeting different cities, states, regions and countries. This will result in similar keywords throughout different campaigns, but will give you the ability to write copy and incorporate geo-specific terms geared at the various locations your targeting.

Branded and Non Branded – Always ensure you have separate campaigns for your branded keywords. These terms should be visible 100% of the time, and receiving impressions 24/7. If brand terms are consistently competing with more expensive tactical keywords, they will often be limited by budget.

Website/Business Structure – By creating campaigns around specific products/services you provide, you’ll have keyword lists directly relating to ad copy, with ads correlating the relevant product/service pages on your site. This will facilitate control of budgets, bids etc., allowing tighter control across the various facets of your business.

Ad Groups

After you’ve created and structured your campaigns, Ad Groups are the next step. These can be looked at as containers for the keywords, ad copy and landing pages; and are instrumental in establishing a meaningful hierarchy to the account. Again, there are a number of points to consider when structuring your Ad Groups, including:

Too Many Keywords – Don’t let Ad Groups contain too many keywords! Many Search Engine Marketers allow this to happen, creating groups with hundreds or even thousands of terms. This not only detracts from your ability to collect granular data, but adversely impacts the relevancy of ads being delivered to consumers. Once an Ad Group incorporates too many keywords it loses its coherence and theme, which will only end up hurting your ROI.

Too Few Keywords – The reciprocal of the above is only having one or two keywords in each Ad Group when it’s prudent to have more. Generally this issue is an attempt to avoid the first problem, and whilst it does allow for groups to be tightly themed, it’s effectively shifting the burden from creating relevancy to assigning huge amounts of ad copies and landing pages for each term you’re targeting.

Integration & Consistency – Ultimately, any successful search engine marketer ensures they are striving to create a system grounded on integration and consistency. You need to continuously develop keyword groups, ad copy and landing pages tightly integrated with one another. Successfully doing so will create consistency, allowing you to directly cater for the searches used to reach your site. Often this requires a few months of research and testing, but the outlay is nearly always justified by the return.

The Benefits

By following the points above you’ll have an appropriately structured SEM account in no time. The best part is that a well-structured account provides lower costs (thanks to the quality score system) and more conversions (relevant ads convert better than generalised ones). So get optimising!

  

AOL’s content strategy – mass production

AOL has been very impressive with its new emphasis on content. New sites like Asylum and Lemondrop have produced cool content in their respective niches. It also doesn’t hurt to have them linked up from AOL’s high-traffic flagship site.

The Wall Street Journal, however, is reporting that AOL will also get into mass-produced content (sometimes referred to as garbage content).

AOL is putting the finishing touches on a high-tech system for mass-producing news articles, entertainment and other online content, the linchpin of Chief Executive Tim Armstrong’s strategy for reviving the struggling 25-year-old Internet company after Time Warner spins it off next month.

Mr. Armstrong’s goal is to make AOL, which has been losing visitors and revenue, a magnet for both advertisers and consumers by turning it into the top creator of digital content. He hopes to do so in part by turning some media and marketing conventions on their ear, and potentially blurring the lines between journalism and advertising.

“Content is the one area on the Web that hasn’t seen the full potential. Hopefully, we will spark a revolution of people doing content at a different scale,” says Mr. Armstrong, a former advertising executive at Google.

AOL is betting it can reinvent itself with a numbers-driven approach to developing content, based on what Web-search and other data tell it is most likely to attract audiences and sponsors.

As pointed out this the article, this strategy mimics the approach taken by companies like Demand Media and Associated Content. Wired has a long profile covering Demand Media’s strategy, which uses an algorithm to pick narrow content subjects that could generate significant revenue from sources like Google Adwords.

Thousands of other filmmakers and writers around the country are operating with the same loose standards, racing to produce the 4,000 videos and articles that Demand Media publishes every day. The company’s ambitions are so enormous as to be almost surreal: to predict any question anyone might ask and generate an answer that will show up at the top of Google’s search results. To get there, Demand is using an army of Muñoz-Donosos to feverishly crank out articles and videos. They shoot slapdash instructional videos with titles like “How To Draw a Greek Helmet” and “Dog Whistle Training Techniques.” They write guides about lunch meat safety and nonprofit administration. They pump out an endless stream of bulleted lists and tutorials about the most esoteric of subjects.

In one sense the strategy is brilliant. There’s obviously some demand for content in each of these areas, and companies like Demand are meeting the demand (what’s in a name?) and profiting nicely from it.

On the other hand, much of the content is crap, and the crap from these big companies who get massive love from Google will often rank higher than similar content produced by others. This raises another question – will quality ever matter in search results? The criteria used by the search engines, which heavily rate factors like incoming links, are easily manipulated by content factories like Demand Media.

Manipulating Google results is obviously a big business these days, and companies like Demand Media and AOL are just doing it on a much larger scale. But we’re getting to the point where content is turning into a commodity, and Google is feeding the beast. In the long run, it will be interesting to see if Google adjusts its secret sauce, or whether the content factories will litter the web and the search engine with second-rate content.

  

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