Adwords is about Volume

Advertising on Google Adwords is purely about volume. If you want to be successful on Adwords, volume should be on your mind. But hold on, I am not talking about uploading thousands and thousands of keywords.  Those will not get you the results you are looking. Uncontrolled uploads of keywords is like shooting with a shot gun onto a target 300 feet away. What kind of volume am I talking about? My latest tests show that if you spread out keywords into more targeted ad groups (and maybe even campaigns) you can get much better quality score ratings and better conversions. Before uploading keywords sort them into small groups of related keywords. The more targeted the keywords, the more targeted you can write your ads. The more targeted the campaign, the more targeted your landing page can be. And the more targeted your landing page is, the better your chances are converting the visitor into a buyer. I have been working with smaller ad groups and more customization on my landing pages and the results reflect what I mentioned before.

The approach now (for me at least) is that I test first if a campaign has enough foothold to be a success. If ad copy, keywords, landing page, and merchant website convert, then it makes sense to put more work in. That’s where volume comes into play. Sorting keywords into very targeted groups. Writing more custom ads, and adjusting the landing pages accordingly – those are the things you need to look at. 100 ad groups would mean you have a minimum of 100 different ads and 100 different landing pages. If you plan your PPC campaigns to be long-term this additional effort will pay off. Give it a shot and let me know how it works out for you.

PPC Campaign Updates

I know I have been lazy posting more on my blog. Lazy is the wrong term – I have been caught up in so much other stuff that I just could not get a complete post written and published. Anyway – mixed results in my PPC marketing efforts. Got some great campaigns going and beat the Adwords Quality Score slap pretty much. Still missing conversions and that’s where I am working on. Testing different landing pages is very time-consuming – especially if you still have a full-time job like I do.

So, how’s my PPC stuff really going. Really Good and Really Bad. Let’s look at the good stuff first. My campaigns are getting very good CTRs and I have been fine-tuning keywords and stuff. Click prices are slowly coming down. I am getting good conversion results on product related keywords that directly hit the product page of the matching product. Bad is that it does not mean much traffic as it is very narrow and that means not many conversions (some though). I am also running campaigns on broad keywords that are topic related and link to a landing page from where the visitors would drill down to the products herself. Example: a product related campaign links directly to the specific product. Let’s take Rachael Ray cooking books as an example. If I link directly to the book with the matching book title as the keyword I am seeing conversions. If I run a campaign that links to the Rachael Ray Category site with several titles displayed, I am seeing crap. I am still using cooking books related keywords and the ad copy is detailed enough as well. The latter is the section where I can generate much more traffic and need to optimize my landing page(s) more because the traffic does not convert. I will take the weekend to grab the keywords that generated the most traffic and see how I can merge products and more generic keywords into a winning combination.


This is one of my PPC issues I am seeing. I am too targeted and then generate barely page views and the overall conversion volume is just not high enough to justify the efforts and I have not found a reliable way around it.  If you are more experienced in PPC – what would you recommend?

Anyway – I know I am blowing some money out of the window and I hope it is a good investment. It is at least good to know that my Adsense income is on track to be a record month for me. I am already way past the $1,000.00 marker for the month and today is just the 25th of January. January is traditionally a good month for me. A very large commercial website (they operate online and offline) always licenses content from me on a recurring base and I am expecting the check in the mail here shortly. I receive about $10 per content page and it comes out to be a very nice 3-digit check (closer to 4-digits than closer to 2-digits). Every year we add between 5-15 new articles to the list and this is a very nice stream of income. Enough for today. I am on call for my full-time job this week and was called into work at around ~1 AM and have been working since then (can you say 11th hour … lol). But that job is fun so far and this just comes with the package (every 10 weeks I am on call for 1 week).

PS: I am not promoting Rachael Ray Cook Books, just in case you were wondering. I am using a vendor that offers a data feed for their products.

Don’t Forget About the Google Adwords Keyword Tool

Last night I uploaded a PPC campaign mainly based on product names for products from one of the CJ data feeds I was using. I added some expansion words like “buy” or “cheap” and then turned the campaign on. I came back today and decided to use the Google keyword tool in Adwords. I used the exact product name as the search term and to my surprise I received a list of keywords with partially really good search volume and almost no competitors bidding on it. In some cases there were keywords with solid search volume and nobody bidding on it at all. That is pretty cool as it allows me to add keywords that will bring me more impressions and hopefully more clicks to my landing pages. So, never under-estimate the power of other tools.

My landing page design seems to be Ok for Google because I received about 90% “great” quality scores with prices going down to $0.04. I will still need to split test the design, but for now it is a good start. This is my first data feed website combined with SpeedPPC software to build my campaigns. I am very excited and hope that is something that works out great. The merchant I am using has a tiered payout structure and so if I can drive enough traffic I can actually make quite some profit. The initial payout is low (below 10%), but once I reach the next level it goes into an area where I should easily turn a profit (so the theory at least). It’s too early yet to see how everything is going. I’ll keep you posted.

CJ Data Feeds for websites and PPC Marketing

The last few days I have been working new stuff for myself. I had signed up for CJs (Commission Junction) data feed access. But now I am gaining access to publisher data feeds which opens a whole different bag of opportunities for me. As mentioned in other postings I had bought SpeedPPC and SpeedPPC comes with a software package that handles data feeds for pay per click advertising. The software loads the data feed into a MySQL database and from there I can call the different products easily and on the fly. So, I am in the process of building streamlined landing pages and then promote the new website via PPC advertising. I will have to test a couple different landing page layouts of course to see which ones work well and where I am losing money. I am also in the process of building good lists of keywords related to the products I am promoting.


I will also design the new sites for SEO so that I can promote the website and get natural traffic to it. Key here is make the content look unique. The pages need to have enough unique content to start ranking in Google, Live, and Yahoo. That is a big piece I will still need to look at and to come up with a good implementation. I probably load another database with topic related information and then dynamically add the content to the website. For me as a not-so-great programmer that is a major task and makes it a slow process, but I need to do it only once and can then rinse and repeat on other websites. The good thing with CJ is that you gain access to any data feed they offer once you pay the $200.00 setup fee (not enough money? Take a loan in online). I initially signed up for 6 different feeds and will develop sites around it. The better I can make the first site technology work, the easier it will be for me on the other websites. Come February/March I should have a good fleet of data feed based websites out there. Hopefully that will open the income stream from affiliate marketing for me. I just feel so limited right now due to having a full-time job. I am so eager to work on this new stuff, but have to hold off until evenings. 

PPC Landing Page Optimization Tactics

If you run PPC marketing campaigns, landing pages are critical to your success. If your landing page sucks, you will waste a lot of money on advertising without seeing any significant conversions. Therefore it is extremely critical to get the landing pages designed properly. DO NOT use one template for all your different offers and campaigns. What works on one offer is a dead end on another. Work with a custom landing page for each and every offer.

Keep it simple, stupid. “KISS” is still working and probably always will. Don’t go overboard on your landing pages. Make sure the visitor can understand what you are offering and does not get confused. Be extremely focused on the topic and don’t waste valuable space on items that have nothing to do with your offer. Make clever use of paragraphs and bullet points. Explain why a visitor should take action.

Speaking of taking action. Offer multiple calls to action. Don’t assume the visitor knows where to go. Your landing page has several functions. One is to explain why the visitor needs your product and once convinced you need to take the visitor’s hand and guide her to the “click me to buy” button.  Use a fair mix of text links and buttons. Flash or animated GIF buttons can help to draw the attention to the “take action now” part.

Let the visitor know where she is. Provide the necessary value to gain trust. Trust is needed to get sold on your offer and to take action. If the landing page does not tell the visitor why she is on your site, she will click back to the search results. Your PPC ads needs to be continued on your landing page. This will create a chain the visitor can follow and understand. Don’t get tricky with your landing page. Don’t hijack the visitor. If the back button frightens you because you lose a visitor, your problems are much bigger than you can anticipate. It is also against most PPC search engine’s Terms of Service.  Using shady tactics to keep a visitor on your page is a big no no.

PPC Madness

I am back in PPC marketing lately, but with much less success then before. I stopped in September after the Google Adwords changes bumped up my pricing by about 20% and my profit margin shrank accordingly. As I was operating on a 30% profit margin the risk of making money or losing money was way too risky. I had all my PPC ads on auto-pilot and in such a case 30% for doing no monitoring whatsoever was a good deal. Those days are gone. I am now trying to break into a much more competitive PPC niche and that is difficult. I am using a couple different software packages to figure outpricing and to spy monitor competitors. The numbers for certain keywords are just crazy and I see people bidding on them day after day after day. I am not sure how long these guys are doing it and so I am watching for now. The interesting thing is when you look at the landing pages (please note: I copy the URLs and DO NOT click on the ads). In some cases I wonder how they can maintain a quality score that is not “Poor”?! There is almost no text on those landing pages and mainly images. I tried that in the past and always came home with a ‘bloody nose’ because Google slapped me hard.

So far I spent about $70.00 on PPC ads and I expect that to increase dramatically over the next few weeks. No conversions yet – I am mainly testing the waters. I also have not yet fully decided on landing page layout and will have a lot of work to do in that area. If the other guys continue to spend money I might try a similar design, but hopefully will be able to get better quality scores assigned and therefore reduce my cost to beat them.