Posts about paid search, display and other online ads.

Search Companion Marketing – the New Tool in your Belt

Search marketing has been tweaked, tested, and examined through a lens over the years. It can be argued that every new idea for reaching users has been found. Nope. Search Companion Marketing is the newest AdWords tool rolling out of the Google Labs.

Search Companion Marketing targets users who search for your designated keywords by showing them ads on the sites they reach through the search results page. This works on paid search ads and organic search results on any major search engine including Bing and Yahoo. As long as the user is on a page that’s part of the Google Content Network, marketers can show their ads.

Setting up Search Companion Marketing

Setup is quick and pretty similar to most display campaigns. Start by creating a new campaign set to Display Network Broad Reach and set your budget, bids and targets as you normally would. Next, create ad groups that are appropriate for your business and fill them with no more than 50 keywords. It’s important to use your top converting keywords to get the best performance out of SCM. All keywords are viewed as broad match so variations of your top converting keywords are unnecessary.

SCM Campaign Optimization

Optimization of a SCM campaign is not too different from the average display campaign. Be sure to check campaign placements to exclude irrelevant sites and add negative keywords and increase the relevancy of your traffic. Additionally, you can pause low performing keywords and add new high performing keywords. Again, it’s important to make sure that no single ad group has more than 50 keywords. If the traffic volume you were expecting is not there, check to see if bids are set too low and make sure that you have both text and display ads. This will maximize the impression volume for your SCM campaign.

Google’s tests demonstrated an 8% increase in conversion volumes with Search Companion Marketing. In Leverage’s own limited tests, we’ve seen results that are on par with remarketing campaigns and lower CPAs. With refinement, SCM can be the next killer tool in every paid search marketer’s tool belt. If you’re interested in SCM for your business, get in touch with your Leverage Marketing representative.

5 Adwords Features That You Need to Use

“If you aren’t using these features, you should be.…. We explain the how, the why, and provide some food for thought“

Remarketing:

This feature is designed to recapture and convert prospects who have previously visited a website and allows you to recapture them with targeted advertisements. You benefit from being able to market to a highly targeted list where conversions are more likely to occur.

*Leverage Tip: Write new ads and a new landing page made specifically for retargeting customers. Why didn’t they buy the first time around? Address the subconscious buying concerns that may have prevented them from converting the first time around. Test different variables like being more clear about shipping costs or provide some testimonials to get them to buy now.

Broad Match Modifier:

Broad match keywords will trigger any searches that contain your keywords in any given order, singular or plural variations, synonyms, any misspellings or relevant variation. But what, specifically, does Google consider to be a relevant variation? This vague interpretation and dependency on Google’s algorithm to determine a relevant variation of your keyword is a powerful feature for increasing traffic, but only when you’re ready for it. Hence, the Broad Match Modified feature. By adding a (+) sign in front of your broad match keywords, you will still have the flexibility of showing up for misspellings, singular and plurals, and phrases in any given order as long as your keywords are included in the search. The big difference here, though, is that you omit showing up for what Google classifies as synonyms.

*Leverage Tip: Start your campaigns off using Broad Match Modified keyword instead of Broad Match keywords. Once your campaign is optimized and only when you feel it necessary to look for new keywords and increase traffic, then you can play with Broad Match and see what kind of stuff Google will show you for.

Adwords Call Tracking:

Adwords call tracking can be setup at the campaign level by adding a call extension and selecting to add a dynamically generated forwarding number provided by Google. Businesses conducting lead generation, B2B, professional services, or E-commerce transactions of high value can really benefit from call tracking where conversions are less likely to occur directly online.

*Leverage Tip: Use adwords call tracking to track the response rates from your display and retargeting campaigns by assigning them a unique Google forwarding number.

Search Funnels:

Search funnels are a hidden gym in Google Adwords. You may not have noticed it when optimizing your account and that’s because it’s cleverly hidden under: Tools and Analysis > Conversions > Search Funnels. Aha! Often times, a user will search more than one time and click on various ads when searching for a product or service. Often times a user will conduct multiple search queries and click on multiple ads from you, the advertiser.  What this report will do for you is enable you to see the search path that your users took before they converted on your site. Another benefit of the search funnels feature is the ability to see the time lag between the first time they clicked on your ad and the time when they ultimately converted. You will be surprised how many people don’t actually convert on day one.

*Leverage Tip:  Just because a high traffic keyword may not appear to have any conversions, doesn’t mean that it didn’t play a part in bringing awareness to your existence before the user converted later on a second search. Clicks that help or assist in helping to convert a user are known as assist clicks or the process of analyzing this data can also be referred to as attribution modeling. For this reason, you may want to double check your search funnels before pausing a keyword which may not appear to have conversions when in actuality it is playing a critical role in assisting the ultimate conversion.

Keyword Auction Insights:

Keyword auction insights is a feature found at the keyword level under Keyword Details > Auction Insights.  Auction insights is a neat tool you can use to check your ego and how you fare against the competition. So how do you stack up against your competitors for a single keyword in a search bidding auction? This tool lets you see impression share, average position, and other stats and how you compare in relation to other advertisers bidding on the same keyword.

 *Leverage Tip:  If your impression share is higher than your competitors but their average position is still higher than you, then they are simply outbidding you. Knowing this, you may want to raise your bids or strategically lower them depending on your goals.

Congressional District Targeting

Election season is in full swing in preparation for November, and politicians are pulling out all of the stops. No matter what party line you may follow, we can all agree Americans are bombarded with campaign ads and political information. It may be hard for voters to distinguish which local candidates fall within their congressional districts and, as a result, deter voters from placing their ballots in the fall. Google is introducing a new geographical feature to help voters make their big decisions in the voting booths.

This geographical feature will do more than identify the red and blue states. Starting this month, Google is rolling out Congressional District Targeting for Google AdWords, enabling users to target their ads to specific Congressional districts as opposed to zip codes. Politicians will be able to spend their campaign dollars more wisely while serving ads to their voters in their respective districts. Long gone are the old methods of targeting entire zip codes.

Every ten years with new census information, the redistricting process takes place and creates new boundaries allowing for new voters. Many will take new shape as seen in the map below.congressional mapping in google

As shown by this map, districts can span across multiple zip codes therefore forcing the old zip code method to be obsolete. With Congressional District Targeting, candidates can easily enter their district number, create ads, precisely target their voters, and effectively spend ad dollars to gain their support. Google hopes to help all political campaigns take advantage of the web, and the Google tools they provide to run successful campaigns.

Google is also providing users with another tool for the elections. Their Four Screens to Victory politics and elections ads toolkit site also aims to help users effectively reach voters. On their web site Google says:

Voters use an average of 14.7 sources of information to help make their candidate selection and are connected to multiple devices throughout the day (Google/Shopper Sciences, 2011). Whether your goal is a seat on the town council, building up support for your chosen issue, or the White House, integrated marketing efforts must engage voters across four screens: television, computers, tablets and mobile phones.

Google believes that integration and precise targeting will be most effective for campaigners as well as voters. Voters will no longer have to deal with political ads that do not pertain to them, and will only be served ads that are relevant to them. Voters will receive less clutter, and will be able to access information on all devices they use.

Congressional District Targeting is another way Google hopes to build better relationships between users and advertisers.

It’s Back To School Season, Is Your Account Ready?

In a few short weeks, the back-to-school frenzy will begin. Parents and students will be on the prowl for the newest “must have” items such as trendy folders, writing accessories, apparel, electronics and more. With the years’ second largest shopping season on the horizon and an approximate $70 billion to be spent during the next few months, how do make sure your site is ready?

Follow the tips below to keep guests onsite longer and sell, sell, sell during the busy back-to-school weeks:

Add New Keywords:  Research new keywords for your pay-per-click campaign. Try using specific products and model numbers in order to capture those already searching for your products. Then, keep costs down and relevancy high by utilizing different match types and adding expanding negative keyword lists.

Try Including Promos In Ad Text:  Attract the attention of penny-savers by promoting sales and specials in the ad text. Remember, parents aren’t the only back-to-school shoppers in the family so get creative to catch the attention of teens, tweens and college students alike.

Target Smartphones: In 2011, 27% of shoppers compared prices directly on their smartphone during the back-to-school season. Give yourself a competitive edge by creating a mobile targeted campaign. Be sure to offer special incentives and bid wisely to keep ads “above the fold.” Doing so could entice in-store comparison shoppers to abandon their real life shopping carts and purchase directly from their mobile device.

Have Fun With Your Landing PageCreate a unique landing page showcasing products, prices and popular items. Then, segment sections of the page into different audiences such as parents, elementary, high school and college students in order to develop customized shopping paths for each.

Experiment With Remarketing: Capture the attention of previous buyers or those who abandoned their shopping carts through a remarketing campaign. Placing a simple code on your site can track those shoppers and enable you to target them with unique ads encouraging them to complete a purchase or even buy more.

Utilize Your Fan Base: Encourage your existing fan base to purchase items from your website by engaging them on popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Google+. Try offering exclusive incentives, fun contests and more to get the conversation flowing and eventually feet in the “door” and onto your website.

Not sure how to implement these suggestions on your own? That’s why we’re here! Be sure to speak with an Account Manager today to prepare your online marketing efforts in time for the back-to-school rush.

Base 2011: Back to School Survey 5/12/11-5/19/11

PriceGrabber.com Back to School Survey

Are You Ready for the Google Shopping Experience?

Google, the leading search engine, is always on the brink of new inventions and changes. And now is no exception. Starting this fall, Google Product Search (once upon a time called Froogle) will be discontinued and will become Google Shopping. The name change, however, is not what has many current users worried. Google’s decision to shift their free product listings model entirely to an all-paid model comes as a surprise to many.

Why is Google shifting to a commercial model?

Google aims to simplify the shopping process by building relationships with merchants and creating a better shopping experience for users. This means encouraging merchants to take advantage of the product listing features through Google AdWords and as a result generating “higher quality data” to drive more traffic. Transparent, quality data will allow customers to eliminate additional steps in their purchasing cycle. Users will be able to research products, compare prices and connect directly to merchants through Google’s Shopping Listing Ads.  Google believes that by implementing a cost-per-click (CPC) model for product listings, they will be better able to monitor the quality of information and provide more trustworthy data.

What does this mean for current users of Google Merchant Center/Product Search?

Those who have used Google’s free listings will now have to shift to Google AdWords, in addition to their Merchant Center account, if they want to continue listing with Google. If merchants want to remain part of Google’s Shopping search engine they will need to pay.

How is Google getting merchants on board?

Hoping to entice merchants and smooth the transition, Google is offering the following incentives:

  • All merchants that create Product Listings Ads by August 15 will receive 10% credit for their total PLA spend through the end of the year
  • Existing Google Product Search merchants will get a $100 AdWords credit if they fill out a form (found here: https://services.google.com/fb/forms/shoppingcoupon/) before August 15

Google Trusted Stores program

To improve the quality of customer service, Google is implementing the Trusted Stores Program. Merchants qualify for this program by meeting certain shipping and customer services performance metrics and are rewarded with the Google Trusted Store badge to display on their Web site. These badges will reassure customers that only the best merchants are part of Google Shopping network.

Furthermore, Google will also offer customers a chance to opt in their Free Purchase Protection Program. This program will allow customers to resolve issues with retailers with Google’s help. Learn more about this program here: http://support.google.com/trustedstores/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1669901

What Google Shopping Listings will look like:

Google shopping listings example

How individual product listing details might look like on the sidebar:

“Today’s changes are a first step toward providing technology, tools and traffic to help power the retail ecosystem, “said Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management for Google Shopping.

What Is All the Yelp About?

Yelp button - redOn June 14, 2012, Yelp announced that it would be powering the Bing local search engine results. As you can see in the image below, Yelp reviews, pictures and sometimes additional information provided by Yelp will appear on the right hand side of the search results page when a user makes relevant searches using Bing.

According to a Yelp news release, “Yelp will surface content including, review snippets, photos, business attributes, and more, to Bing users in the U.S. This content will be featured prominently on relevant Bing Local pages, presenting information to help consumers do more with businesses near them.”

Vespaio Bing Search Results - Local powered by Yelp

During the same week, Yelp also announced it had joined forces with Apple. Yelp will now provide information for Apple’s new maps application as well as providing more content to Siri. The announcement was a giant step forward for both Yelp and the businesses that have already taken advantage of the Yelp platform.

If your business is not currently listed on Yelp, considering the following:

  • Yelp had an average of approximately 71 million monthly unique visitors in Q1 2012
  • 6.3 million unique visitors used a Yelp mobile app
  • Every second a consumer looks up or calls a business from a Yelp mobile app (Q42011)
  • A photo was uploaded every 30 seconds from a Yelp mobile app
  • Yelpers have written over 27 million local reviews.
  • Over 40% of all Yelp searches come from their mobile apps. (Q4, 2011)

It only takes a few, simple steps to have your business up and running on Yelp so you can take advantage of all the new exposure Yelp is receiving.

  1. Claim Your Listing – Business owners can list their businesses on Yelp for free! Setting up an account allows you to respond to customer reviews, message your customers, view business trends and create special Yelp deals. Click Here to get started.
  2. Add Information – Add a detailed business description, up-to-date information, business history and specialties. All this information will show when I user visits your Yelp page and some of the information will be used in the new Bing local searches.
  3. Add Photos – Upload some photos of your business as well as photos of the product or services your offer. A recent Yelp study found “People searching Yelp for great local businesses spend 2 and a half times as much time on a business page with photos as opposed to one without”. You can’t take advantage of having photos show in the Bing local searches for free if you don’t upload them!
  4. Accumulate Reviews – Encourage your customers to provide feedback on Yelp about their experiences with your business. As you accumulate positive reviews it will raise your Yelp “Score” and will help to push any negative reviews lower. Yelp provides some helpful advice on responding to reviews.
  5. Advertise on Yelp – Yelp Ads offers targeted advertising to increase your exposure on relevant searches and nearby business pages. Yelp Ads, similar to other search engines, are placed at the top of search results pages, so that users searching in your area will see your business above Yelp’s natural search results. Advertising on Yelp will also remove competitor ads from your Yelp business page, allowing you to keep the purchasing focus on your business!

People love us on Yelp

Yelp has become a trusted resource for information and reviews amongst consumers. It is one of the dominant alternates to the old “Yellow Pages” directories that are quickly become antiques.  As the use of mobile devices and local searches grow, so will Yelp. Take steps now to ensure your business is taking full advantage. Share your Yelp stories below; I’m eager to hear how it has affected your business!

Google Backpedals On Ad Rotation Change? Well, Sort Of

Near the end of April, Google shocked advertisers with another not so welcome change to the AdWords platform. It announced the end of the “Rotate evenly “ Ad Rotation option.  This option does just what you think it should. It allows for you, the advertiser, to rotate your ads at an evenly weighted distribution. It’s used by advertisers in the know who wish to properly test ad copy. Inside Adwords by Google logoThe default rotation setting on Google is “Optimize for clicks” this setting causes Google to show the ad it thinks will be clicked most often there by giving the best user experience to the searcher. We’re sure money has nothing to do with it but then again Google sent us a gallon of its Kool-Aid to drink while reading the announcement.

The new setting replacing this option was supposed to rotate evenly for 30 days, and then switches it to Optimize for Clicks. This was very upsetting to many agencies and advertisers because they would no longer be able to properly test their ads. Because ads often don’t get enough traffic to make a determination within that 30 day window, the move seemed a deliberant attempt by Google to increase their profits and further strip control away from the advertiser.  If anything, it was a step back in functionality all in the name of user (Searcher) experience.

Needless to say, torches were lit and pitchforks were raised as a petition was circulated around the search marketing industry for weeks asking Google to give us the option to opt out. We all banded together to battle this epic paradigm shift in advertiser control. And guess what? Our cries were heard and a compromise has been made!  A few days ago, Google announced it would be extending the 30 day rotation period to 90 days plus it has given advertisers the option to permanently opt out, you can do so by clicking here. Google has stated that “…If we see a large amount of demand for the opt-out over the next few weeks, we’ll also offer the opt-out in the AdWords interface directly.” So by all means, opt out!

If you’d like to get the scoop direct from the horse’s mouth you can read about it on the AdWords Blog. Happy testing everyone!

13 Ways to Break Through the Clutter with July 4th Advertising

Long before the end of June, stores and businesses nationwide will be decked out in red, white and blue stripes and stars. Across the nation, people get ready for cookouts and fireworks; traditions that, throughout the years, have remained largely unchanged. Fireworks on July 4th in Austin, TXThe 4th of July is a huge holiday, not only for the nation to celebrate its independence, but for retailers as well; the entire month of July is known for mid-year sales and clearances. With preparation and planning, advertisers can make the most of this holiday that presents ample opportunity to announce seasonal clearances, as well as make room for the new season’s merchandise. But remember not to lose sight of your customers; think about what they want to accomplish over the holiday and help them find everything they need for the perfect 4th of July.

Online Advertising

  • Include a patriotic color theme in your advertisements, including red, white and blue, as well as stars, fireworks (and even Uncle Sam!) If you want your sales/promotions to be the main focus of the messaging, add your messaging in large red font.
  • Reference 4thof July and Independence day in your ad copy and email marketing. Some examples from 2010 include:
    • Fingerhut: Answer this 4th of July Trivia + Get a FREE Gift!‏
    • Banana Republic: Happy July! Take a fourth off sale items + free shipping.
    • Old Navy: Patriotic Styles As Low as $5! Go Fourth & Save!
  • Try targeting July 4th keywords through your pay-per-click campaigns. For some verticals it’s a chance to get ads in front of audiences searching for occasion-specific products/services. If you’re in the travel/tourism industry, this can be promoted over a month in advance to capture searches for 4th of July vacation ideas, hotel specials etc.
  • Utilize remarketing campaigns to promote your discounts and coupon codes to previous site visitors. This works especially well when offered to existing customers.
  • Consider partnering with Groupon or Living Social or any of these daily deal companies to offer discounts during this time and promote awareness of your products/services.

On Your Website/In-store

  • Get in the spirit – decorate your store and website with red, white and blue and create patriotic retail signs.
  • Add a banner to your homepage or design store signage to emphasize your sales, making sure to include the specific dates of your sale if applicable.
  • Highlight patriotic-themed products through banners and in-store displays
  • Highlight items your customers would need for theirJuly 4th events such as cookouts and party hosting, themed home decorating  etc. to help them find everything they need for the holiday. This also presents an opportunity to bundle/up-sell products.
  • Design a banner with your top clearance items. This is a great way to grab customers’ attention and promote your best deals.

Through Email/Social Media

  • Promote your discounts or coupons. This is particularly effective when marketing to existing customers.
  • Promote contests and giveaways with such things as 4th of July trivia quizzes – everyone loves free stuff and this is a great way to increase customer interaction.
  • Email your customers or post to your social accounts, 4th of July ideas such as where to watch the fireworks, upcoming parades and events in your area and even your favorite 4th of July recipes and barbecue tips – little things your customers might appreciate. This is also an opportunity to include suggestions for relevant products/services you offer.

Please also keep in mind your ad agencies when planning your promotions. This is a busy time of year for marketers and agencies so the more notice you give, the better they can plan for your 4th of July campaigns.

Dads & Grads: How to Capitalize on Two of the Biggest Holidays of the Summer!

Happy Father's Day - I heard DadThe months of May and June are prime time for PPC campaigns as we celebrate a flurry of holidays and big events. Last month our team discussed making the most of Mother’s Day ads and this month we focus on the double whammy of Father’s Day and Graduation season! This year, Father’s Day falls on June 17th and will be celebrated on this day in the U.S, Canada, the U.K and France, opening up a vast opportunity for advertisers who wish to reach a wider audience and can ship internationally.

With over 70% of adults shopping online, and men’s online shopping surpassing women’s, it’s time that advertisers begin capitalizing on the potential for huge sales during holidays like Father’s Day. In 2011, the average spend for Father’s Day gifts was $106.49, up from $94.32 in 2010, and this number is expected to rise once more this year. Last year, about $1.4 billion was spent on gift cards, $653 million on sporting goods, $593 million on car accessories, $1.3 billion on electronics, and $1.4 billion on clothing – this year’s numbers are expected to increase. Now consider that 20% of all father’s day purchases are completed online – that’s a huge chunk of the pie that advertisers could miss out on without developing targeted Father’s Day ads and sales.

Happy Graduation - smile, you've made itAs for Graduation season, late May through early June is typically the peak of high school and college graduations with parents and family members trying to find the perfect gift for their grad. If you’re planning on developing a sale with lowered prices, why not get two for the price of 1 and target both dads and grads? With slight tweaks and targeting, you can focus on two popular seasonal markets.

Here are some tips to consider when optimizing your ad campaign for the Dads & Grads season:

  1. Perform keyword research to accurately target your market with the most effective keywords.
  2. Consider which of your products and services are most relevant to the holiday (i.e. home goods may be best targeted to high school grads going off to college or new college grads moving out on their own while sporting goods may be best for dads!).
  3. Look at match types for your keywords. For the most popular electronic terms, the highest volume of impressions and clicks are coming from exact match.
  4. Broad match can help you catch searches on variations of your keywords, thereby casting a wider net of possible visitors.
  5. If offering a promotion, include the promo code directly in the ad copy or in a clearly marked space on the landing page.
  6. Create seasonal ads with targeted, enticing copy for your Father’s Day/Grad sales.
  7. Establish a time period: Ideally, having ads up by the last week in May would be best but there are plenty of shoppers looking for last minute deals. Be sure to have your end date established which can also help entice shoppers to act immediately rather than continuing to shop around.
  8. Develop a great landing page: clear calls to action, identifiable sales and deals, easy to maneuver. Make sure visitors don’t fall off at this point by having an enticing landing page!

Sources:

http://community.microsoftadvertising.com/en/small-business/adcenter/b/advertiser/archive/2012/05/30/father-s-day-2012-tips-and-trends-for-adcenter-advertisers.aspx

http://switchedonmedia.com.au/blog/ppc-holiday-campaigns-set-up-tips/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/men-online-shopping_n_1475576.html

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/infographic-world-online-shopping/

3 Simple Techniques to Fix Your Low Quality Score

When it comes to PPC advertising and Google Adwords, the one metric that will make or break your campaign is Quality Score (QS). Every single one of your keywords has its own Quality Score, so when you’re stuck with a low Quality Score problem and you’ve done everything you can to ensure relevancy between the landing page, ad copy, and keywords, then it’s usually easier to just increase your bids and move on to bigger and better keywords. In some cases, however, it is worth taking the time to troubleshoot a few of your keywords, especially when there’s potential for high conversion value.

In April 2012, Google updated the Quality Score dialog box with new Quality Score indicators: Expected clickthrough rate, Ad relevance, and Landing page experience. This dialog box is accessible by hovering your cursor over the dialog box icon in the status column, which pops up a tooltip that includes these indicators. While Google uses these factors and several more to determine your Quality Score, clickthrough rate is considered to be the most important factor—after all, if your ad is relevant to the targeted keyword, then a large percentage of those searchers should be clicking on your advertisement. But what do you do when both your CTR and your landing page are non-problematic, yet you’re still getting a low Quality Score?

With these aforementioned changes to Google’s Quality Score indicators, you can now discern whether or not your ad copy is what is causing your low Quality Score. For example, when you open up the dialog box of a low QS keyword, the ad relevance indicator might say, “Below average,” and now you know the low QS is most likely due to a perceived mismatch between the ad copy and the keyword.

Sometimes this perceived mismatch is not apparent to us and is only apparent to Google’s algorithms. Sometimes, even when you use keyword insertion, making your ad copy include the exact same keyword the searcher typed in, you are still presented with a low Quality Score. This is because there are other words besides the actual keyword itself that can affect the QS. Discovering and adding these semantically related keywords can boost your Quality Score in many situations. Today I’m going to show you 3 simple techniques to find semantically related keywords to include in your ad copy in order to fix your low Quality Scores issues.

1. The Tilde Operator

tilde operator as advanced google search operator

The tilde command is an advanced Google search operator that searches for synonyms of your keyword along with the actual keyword itself. You can tell what these synonyms are by looking at the bolded keywords on the search engine results page.

E.g. Your search query is: ~yacht

Some of the bolded keywords on the first couple of pages are: yacht, yachts, yachting, boats, boat, and sailing.

Now let’s take this one step further and add the same keyword, but as a negative search term.

E.g. Your search query is now: ~yacht -yacht

Now you can see ONLY the synonyms of the keyword “yacht.” Not only do you get to see terms that you may not have seen in your first search, but you also get an idea of which keywords Google considers to be the same as the keyword “yacht,” such as “yachts” and “yachting,” due to the fact that they haven’t shown up.

Now that you know the search terms that Google considers related to your keyword that are not the keyword itself, you can start making a list of keywords to consider including in your ad copy. Furthermore, you can string out your search query multiple times, each level giving you more and more related keywords.

E.g. ~yacht -yacht -boat –sail

Not only can this technique help you fix your low Quality Score, but it’s also great for SEO purposes and gives you insight into Google’s Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) for specific search terms.

2. Google Sets Feature in Google Docs

google sets as a feature of google docs for generating related words

Google Sets was a Google Labs tool that was shut down in September 2011, but it is still available as a feature in Google Docs spreadsheets. In order to use the feature, simply type in 3-5 related keywords down one column, highlight them, and then Ctrl + drag the corner down to generate a list of related words. This is a great method to build a wide set of keywords for keyword research purposes, as well as for generating a list of related keywords for your ad copy troubleshooting.

3. Contextual Targeting Tool

generate related keywords by entering seed keywords in contextual targeting tool

With Google’s Contextual Targeting Tool in Adwords, you are able to generate related keywords by entering one or more seed keywords. Not only that, but the tool also generates these keywords and organizes them into themed ad groups.

While the tool is intended to be used to help you build display campaigns, it also provides another level of insight for finding what Google considers to be semantically related keywords—something that is especially important with new search terms that pop up which have not existed before, due to the fact that Google has less data to go off of. In cases like these, it may be beneficial to go ahead and check for what Google “knows” about a particular keyword because it’s still going to affect Quality Score if there’s a perceived lack of relevancy by the engine, even if we as humans can see that our ad is relevant to the keyword.

While it would be too time consuming to use these techniques for every single low Quality Score case, these are great options for making the most out of the current keywords in your Adwords campaigns and improving your QS by including semantically related keywords in the ad copy. Use all three methods in conjunction with each other rather than relying on any single one. By using all three methods, you’ll be able to find reoccurring keywords and patterns that will allow you to make better decisions about how you should change your ad and the direction you should take when creating fresh ad copy.

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