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Friday, April 30, 2010

Last Post

Apogee Web Consulting LLC logoGoogle is dropping FTP publishing for blogs. So, this is my last post using Blogger. At some point, I'll figure out a new platform to use for Apogee Weblog. In the meantime, I'll be writing in these places:
Thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

As a Top Contributor in the AdWords Help forum, I'm concerned about recent questions concerning traffic. For instance, in the "how do I block 'adsense for mobile apps' in my adwords account?" thread, an advertisers writes:
what is this "adsense for mobile apps" anyway. It strikes me as a scam of some sort.
I answered:
Unfortunately, I can understand this sentiment. It's not a scam, but Google has not implemented this in a transparent manner for advertisers. It should be opt-in, not opt-out and most advertisers aren't even aware of AdSense for Mobile Apps until they see a spike in traffic.
The problem, here, is that any advertiser who hasn't altered the default campaign settings will be opted into this kind of traffic. Contextual advertising on mobile applications should not be turned on, by default. This is a tangent to the core concept of AdWords - search engine advertising. These default settings need to be changed:

Google AdWords default network distribution settings

For a more detailed explanation, here's an answer I posted in the "I see a sudden increase in clicks on Is this actual clicks or is there a problem?" thread:
I think what's important is to educate advertisers that this new kind of contextual advertising is in place. I've seen quite a few posts on blogs like Inside AdWords talking about mobile, but not specifically about the intersection of mobile and content ads. For example, this post:

has some very good advice:

Now is the perfect time to optimize how you target consumers on-the-go. Here are a few best practices we think you'll find helpful:
  • Create separate campaigns and ad groups for your ads that appear on mobile devices. This makes it easier to customize ads, keywords and bids to optimize performance.
  • Put your call to action in a spot on your landing page that's easy to find. Keep in mind that it's a bit more difficult to navigate websites on a mobile device, so consider shortening your checkout process.
  • Most mobile phones don't support flash, so make sure your landing page is written in HTML and contains little or no Flash.
I think the advice to create "separate campaigns and ad groups for your ads that appear on mobile devices" is very important. Since the default settings for advertisers are content network on + mobile devices on, there could be quite a few advertisers experiencing unusual spikes in traffic.
If you use AdWords, make sure you understand traffic.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Google AdWords Ignorance Tax Hike

The Google AdWords new interface appears to have resulted in an ignorance tax hike. This is the culprit:

Google AdWords default network distribution settings

I've written a post over at AdWords Help Experts to explain. Read it and then avoid the tax hike.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Google's Future

Friday, November 20, 2009 Yahoo! Scam

Notice to all Yahoo! Search Marketing customers: Don't fund the PPC arbitrage scam. Add to your blocked domains list. Check your ad delivery reports for peculiar click data: yahoo search marketing click data

Shame on you, Yahoo!, for putting ahead of your customers. It's time to end Yahoo! syndication fraud once and for all.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Is Yahoo! Tier II?

Is Yahoo! Search Marketing a second tier PPC search engine, packaged as first tier? With the new ad delivery report, you can judge for yourself:
You probably know that your ads can appear not only on Yahoo, but on partners throughout our distribution network, and that you can block them if they’re not performing for you. But until now, if you didn’t have a pretty good head for web measurement stuff, you probably didn’t know which traffic sources were working for you. Now our Ad Delivery Report will let you see how your ads are performing on various partners, and use that information to block the partners who don’t give you what you need.
Here's an example ad delivery report, sorted by impressions:

ad delivery report

I've outlined in red a couple of striking statistics. First, note the ad distribution to 4635 domains. The blocked domains feature has a limit of 500! Second, note that did not generate the most impressions. In fact, less than 7% of ad impressions originated from Yahoo! Search. That's what's making me wonder if Yahoo! is packaging second tier searches and selling them at first tier prices.

What do you see in your Yahoo! ad delivery reports?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

My Own Page!

Having answered many questions in the old AdWords Help forum and now the new one, it's nice to have a reward, my very own page:

Thanks Google - especially Sarah!

AdWords Help Top Contributors

See all the AdWords Help Top Contributors.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Meta Keywords Tag - 4 Years Later

In September 2005, I wrote a guest piece for Pandia about the meta keywords tag, arguing:
Do not use the meta keywords tag. Many people still think of this as a quick fix for SEO. It's not. Google no longer uses it.
In September 2009, Google finally posted an official statement, saying:
Google has ignored the keywords meta tag for years and currently we see no need to change that policy.
Thank you, Google. It's about time. ;-)

I continue to advise my clients to avoid using the meta keywords tag. Why provide your competitors with a nicely formatted list of your important keywords? Why not just email them a list of your best keyword ideas? On the flip side, since so many sites do still use the meta keywords tag, why not take a look and get some ideas for your own PPC or SEO projects? Plug a domain or URL into this free keyword research tool. Example output:

meta keyword research tool

Some search marketing professionals still suggest using the meta keywords tag. In most cases, this will be a sign to avoid working with them. In some cases, though, theirs will be an opinion worth considering. So, examine a few different strategies and determine your own strategy for meta keywords tags.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

AdsBot-Google: Tracking AdWords Landing Page Quality Score Bot

Many questions come up in the AdWords help forum about landing page quality score. Not many people seem to realize this is a largely automated scoring process. The Google AdWords landing page quality score bot, AdsBot-Google, crawls destination URLs. A quality score change isn't likely to occur until after the bot visits landing pages, so it's worth tracking AdsBot-Google:

AdsBot-Google tracking script

On the organic search side, Google provides Googlebot crawl stats to webmasters. On the paid search side, the AdWords interface doesn't provide AdsBot-Google crawl stats, so it's up to advertisers to keep track on their own. Seeing so many questions about landing page quality score, I've put together a free, open source script to do so. For each hit from AdsBot-Google, it displays:
  • Time (timestamp of the bot visit)
  • IP Address (remote ip address of the bot)
  • Status (http error code)
  • Page Crawled (url of the page visited)
If your site is not experiencing any landing page quality score issues, you won't need to track AdsBot-Google. If you are having problems, it's worth checking for the most recent visit from the bot, so you'll get a better idea as to when you might see a quality score change. If you don't see any visits from AdsBot-Google, then you'll know you need to simply wait. The frequency of visits is not predictable. If the bot does visit and you see HTTP status codes that indicate errors, then you'll know you have issues on your site to correct.

For a site that has low landing page quality scores, make sure the landing pages are improved following these guidelines. Once the improved pages are up on your server, then check for AdsBot-Google visits. Don't expect to see quality score changes until some time after the bot visits the improved pages. The time lag can be hours or even days.

If you do use the AdsBot-Google tracking script and have any problems with it or have any questions about it, post a comment below.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Google Certified Partner

Google is migrating Google Advertising Professionals (GAPs) to a new site ( On the new site, I'm noticing a new term: Google Certified Partner. Screenshot:

Google Certified Partner

I suspect this is a typo. I doubt Google wants GAPs to go around claiming they are certified partners. Perhaps this is an indication of a more robust certification process which will supersede the existing program? Anyone else aware of the term Google Certified Partner?