Archive for May, 2009

Google Content Network

I watched a webinar today that promised to “demystify” the Google Content Network, produced by PointIt. These sorts of events are almost always pretty boring, but I go thru the pain so you don’t have to!  And also to get the occasional Golden Nugget.

What is the Content Network? The content network is made up of all the websites who signed up for Google Adsense, where the Google ads appear on your website and you are promised marketing revenue in exchange. Anyways, they had some pointers for managing the Content network in Google that made some good sense, so thought I’d pass it on:

  • Set up a campaign specifically just for your Content PPC – keep your regular Search PPC in a seperate campaign.
  • Only use a maximum of about 25 keywords in each, keep them all ‘broad’, and make sure they are all in the same theme for where you want your ad to appear.
  • Enter a bid price for each to ensure they get an ad placement into the top 4 ads
  • Initially let Google decide which websites your ads should appear on. Later use the Placement Performance Report to see how each site is doing. You can then exclude those websites that are not working for you using the Google Exclusion tool.
  • There is also a Keyword Grouper tool that will help you build good keyword “themes” in each campaign – which is important that they are tightly grouped, as the theme is how Google determines what site to place your ads on.

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Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of those things that few people pursue, even though it will pay big dividends later. How come?  Because the point is to find out what people are searching for on the internet.  Why is that important? Because you want some of that search traffic to come to your website. If everyone on the internet is searching for “widgets”, but you are optimizing your website for “doohickeys” then maybe no one ever visits your website.

Basic Steps:

  • Make an initial list of keywords for your website.
  • Go to Keyword Map and get some more ideas. The Keyword Map is a good place to ‘spitball’ ideas, since it shows relationships between keywords that you might not think of.
  • Then go to Google and find out which ones are being actively searched, which ones are not. Google is responsible for up to 75% of all search traffic on the web – and they are the “go to” source. 
    • Google Keyword Tool (made for PPC campaigns) – will give you a large list of keywords and how much competition there is for it.
    • Google Insights for Search – shows you what words are being searched most, as well as other ones that are ‘up and coming’.
    • Google Search-based Keyword Tool – this is a tool that will recommend search keywords after evaluating your website.
    • Google Trends – this tool will show you the history of any particular keyword – its trend over time. It will show you yearly cycles, which is helpful, or you can search a keyword like ‘twitter’ and watch how that keyword took off and when – or others that have petered out.
  • Now take these keywords and sprinkle them liberally all over your website. If possible, include the biggest one in your URL.

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Basic Website Design

So you need a website and your wondering about how best to design it.  Or maybe you are looking at your own website and thinking “Boy! My website sure looks like crap!” and so your wanting a redesign done. (I do that everytime I look at my own website, btw)  So what to do – should you go for a real pretty website?  Should it include lots of the latest flashy dohickys?  Or do you take the functional route?

Here is the point I make with my customers that I think is important enough to share with you – your website design should be determined by who your customers are, what it is they want, and what they are expecting to see.

  • Why are many of the most popular websites on the internet so plain looking? (Craig’s List and the Drudge Report)
  • Why does a bank, that just invested millions in a new website having all the fancy stuff on it, revert back to its former “more simple” version?
  • Why do car companies invest so heavily in their websites? (Mini-Cooper, Ford, etc)

If your website’s function is to give people online access to their bank account – it is a fact that they don’t want a bunch of BS to go with it.  Give them a big green button that says “click here to access your account” and they will be very happy. Same goes with the popular sites like Craig’s List. On the other hand if you are selling a 50 thousand dollar car, maybe it is a good idea to put lots of eye candy on the site.

So take that logic and apply it to your own situation; is your normal website visitor wanting some information quick and easy?  Are they looking to be sold to?  Find out more about your company, just to get directions?  Being able to address these type questions will tend to make the difference between a “good” website – and a “successful” one.

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