Many people are perplexed at how to get ads to list in the top spot of Google AdWords. So the question was asked:
Q: what are the conditions that cause AdWords to appear above the regular search results instead of off to the side?
A:I've just stopped by here for a few minutes between other tasks, but I'll give you some headlines. Ads which go to the (one or two) tops spots must:
* be reviewed and approved, and
* meet an additional performance bar that focuses on relevancy - rather than what you're paying
A few nuances:
Ads on the right are positioned by virtue of two factors, measured equally. These factors are Maximum CPC and CTR. Max CPC x CTR = your rank number. And it is your rank number as compared to your competitors rank numbers that determines position.
Ads going to the top, however, weigh CTR (which is a measure of the relevance of your ads to users) more heavily than CPC. And rather than Maximum CPC, it is the actual CPC that matters.
The underlying relevance-ranking algorithms that determine which results are presented to a user might differ depending on the search goal. For example, queries that express a need for advice might rely more on usage- or connectivity-based relevance factors, while those involving open-ended research might weight traditional information retrieval measures (such as term frequency) more highly.
They broke the searches down into three broad groups (and subgroups of these groups).
Resource - be entertained or interacting. not just finding info on the page - free online video games, pornography
Informational - read or learn something - lists, advice, locate
Navigational - going to a single topical hub - Amazon, Ebay
These findings came from 3 sets of approximately 500 AltaVista searches each.
The study found a few interesting things about web search:
Nearly 40% of searches in each of their search sessions were non informational.
A large percent of informational searches were aiming to locate a product or service vice find information about it.
"Just over 35% of all queries appear to have the kind of general research goals (questions, undirected requests for information, and advice-seeking) for what traditional information retrieval systems were designed."
Navigational searches were much less common than expected (~13% of total search. Incidentally 62% of searches were informational and 25% were for resources.
They stated the lack of distribution of AltaVista and its reputation for having powerful search capabilities might have thrown their research off and they hoped to eventually be testing Yahoo! results.
Overtures ad clickthroughs seem to drop significantly as you move down each position through their rankings, and their open bidding system means the bid prices are more likely to be near one another.
Google's customer delivery seems to drop a big amount from position 1 to 2 and then drops off slowly the rest of the way through. Positions 4 through 6 seem rather close to one another.
The fact that Google hides the bid price and the prices drop down significantly by position means that there is perhaps a wider range of ad positions that can provide a decent ROI on Google than on Overture.
In the future Atlas DMT intends to do conversion rate measurements (which are usually a bit higher as you move to lower ad positions) which will help give a better idea of profit potential by position, but there are many factors outside of bid position that can help determine the click through rate and profitability of your account.
Eventually more search engine marketing measurements will become more sophisticated, ignoring ROI and measuring profit elasticity.
I reformatted my ebook and have recopied the pay per click section of The SEO Book so people can see a representitive sample of my ebook before they purchase it.
Until I released this there really were not any good free PPC guides (at least that I knew of) since people usually make more money trying to get you to sign up for second tier search engines than they do off just giving you honest info...but you didn't hear that from me :)
The SEO Book is currently 128 pages and the pay per click report is 22 pages.
The free PPC report requires Adobe Reader to view.
Recently (maybe about three weeks ago) I began working on a brand new site idea for a client. Within two days his site was built (my designer is really fast and awesome). Within a week it was ranking well in Google for a fairly competitive commercial phrase with a respectible search volume (thousands of searches per day).
What did I do?
I picked a keyword rich site name and registered the site with a ton of directories.
There were some other forces at hand that I am not at liberty to discuss, but the primary driving force behind his rankings is about a few dozen directory links.
John Scott and I have been talking a bunch recently about the power of LINKS FROM UNIQUE IP ADDRESSES and he posted a good example recently in the V7N forums.
Obviously I have a ton more tips inside my SEO Book, but the condensed version is:
buy a keyword rich domain name
list it in a ton of directories using those keywords
write articles and figure out other ways to get links into your site
There are a ton of other things to consider, but for most industries the web is so non competitive that just the above few steps can go a long way.
Are External Links More Important than Internal Links (for SEO)?
I know most people reading this already know the answer, but I just came across a quick example, so hopefully some people asking this question at a search engine will find this.
Recently I posted a post called "The Daniel Brandt Toolbar" and around a half dozen or so sites linked to me.
Almost every page in this site links to the "Buy Now" page so that when people search for SEO Book they see the home page first and then the "Buy Now" page listed second.
(As of writing this) when you search Google for "SEO Book" you now see my home page first and the "Daniel Brandt Toolbar" page second. It will change in a few days, but this does a good job to show how external links are often more powerful SEO tool than internal links are.
Give it about a few more days for the posts linking into the Daniel Brandt Toolbar to fall into the archives of other blogs and my "Buy Now" page will list again at #2.
<Update> In a fit of irony, Daniel Brandt (Mr screen scraper himself) blocked his tool from this site.
Since the tool is broken because Daniel Brandt's childish behaviour I can only offer you a link to more information about Daniel Brandt.
For those who want the good data without letting people know who they are. Get Google PageRank, Yahoo! Backlinks, & Alexa traffic rating while remaining a secret squirrel.
Enter a URL:
no cookies | no search-term records | access log deleted after 7 days
In this post he stated why he thought SEO was not a good idea and why he strugled with the concept of SEO. He stated that he thought PPC was a way better idea than organic SEO. He also stated that top organic results were nothing more than luck.
If you glance at Seth's success you will see that it comes from links (and other word of mouth type marketing) and not PPC ads, which makes it even more confusing to think that he would think ads are way better than SEO (which often consists of finding and creating natural citations).
While Asking Jeeves...
MicroSoft has not publicly stated any great interest, but
Ask Jeeves President Steve Berkowitz suggested he might be open to deal if it was in the interests of the company's shareholders, although he did not comment directly on any offers coming from Microsoft. - source
New MSN Search Features
In addition MSN has added a drop down box to allow people to search for specific things such as movies or news. Elsewhere MSN added its search technology preview to the MSN sandbox.
Paid Inclusion is Garbage
MSN also decided to filter out their paid inclusion search results. (time to edit my ebook again) "We really we want customers to feel the best about the results being served," MSN's Grothaus said.
Google"It's hard to be sure that the end result of the algorithm would be the same and that everyone is being treated fairly," Google's Silverstein said of allowing paid inclusion.
Ask Jeeves"We will continue to get better at crawling," said Jim Lanzone, vice president of product management at Ask Jeeves. "The value proposition of Site Submit has ceased to exist."
More Paid Inclusion is Garbage / Bad Press for Yahoo!
Recently a person I consulted in the past had some of their Yahoo! listings disappear overnight (and from my talking to many other SEOs this is becoming somewhat common). After paying for inclusion into Overture Site Match, my friend's site still does not show up for terms he has shown up for ever since the inception of Yahoo! Search.
He sent them a request question and they gave him a complete crap form letter response that suggested he visit WebmasterWorld to learn more about SEO.
There horrific customer service and near complete disapproval toward the program from SEOs and webmasters has Yahoo! considering dumping or changing the program. (or at least that is what credible sources say)