Paid Search

Digital State discusses paid search.

After the dust has settled somewhat on the decision by Google to drop author pics from its SERPS (as we discussed last week), it seems the conspiracy theories have now been polished and are rolling out.

Most compelling of all is the conclusion that Google are protecting their Ad revenue, as articulated (in tweet form) by Rand Fishkin amongst others and then expanded upon by Larry King on Wordstream.

Larry signs off cryptically and is clearly of the opinion that Google’s explanation (that the removal of the pics will have no impact on CTR) is, to be generous, not the whole story.

Of course, no-one is so naïve as to overlook the fact that Google are a profit-driven organisation and, moreover, that the overwhelming majority of their profits come from Adwords (and associated services).

As such, it’s not a big stretch to see the protection of the revenue as underpinning their strategic thinking.

With this in mind, the temptation may be to explore conceptual articles about the nature of access to information on the internet and what we (both as consumers and as businesses) can expect from the future of the internet when we are, essentially, in the hands of commercial agents.

However, I’m not going to succumb to that temptation in this digest – that, after all, is what the DSC Papers section is for!

Instead, I’m going to look at what I feel is the most obvious implication of this intriguing narrative – the need for all online marketers to be fluent in Paid Search.  So this week’s links are exclusively related to Paid Search developments, articles and commentary.

Assuming that the importance of Google to businesses is as a marketing conduit, one must always seek to optimise one’s usage of its tools.  These are simple business realities and, as such, it is common sense to understand and, if appropriate, make the most of… paid search.


AdWords is the destination that Google will ALWAYS seek to funnel you towards (whether you are a buyer or a seller) and knowing your way around it will definitely inform your understanding of Google’s mindset (scratch that – the mindset of all commercial search engines) and, by extension, how to optimise your (and your site’s) interaction with them (be it organic or paid).

This week we’ve seen an excellent review by Ginny Marvin of the big Paid Search developments in 2014 thus far and it’s interesting how many new opportunities are being opened up (particularly in the arena of Google Shopping).

With new opportunities comes areas that are under-optimised and, as such, people who are willing to adopt early (and well) can take advantage of the lower competition.

Another positive interpretation of Paid Search is that, despite its ubiquity in digital marketing, the reality is that a lot of people continue to do PPC badly.  As such, if you can do it well, you can take advantage in a market and generate successful ROI.

Melissa Mackey

Whilst we have looked at this area from a high level before, Melissa Mackey offers a recap of what the big errors are in PPC, why they’re so disastrous and what you need to do to rectify them.

Once the obvious bad habits are expunged, you should check out this Wordstream article which looks at the importance of honing in on keywords with commercial intent to maximise profitable searches.

And finally, when you feel like you may be at the helm of a seaworthy ship, here’s a reminder that nothing stands still – a good campaign can go wrong and a successful bidding philosophy can become unsuccessful even when you know what you’re doing. As always, the mantra of iterative reviewing comes through loud and clear.

As I said, you may feel that PPC has nothing to offer you or your business.  However, you’re almost certainly wrong – even if don’t use it, you can learn from it.

Oh, and Happy Independence Day to all our American brethren (what do you mean, that’s the wrong Independence Day?!)

Any thoughts of the Google “Flight to Safety” conspiracy?  Or just want to berate us for blowing up the White House?

Let us know in the comments or via social media – we’d love to hear from you…