To be honest, I have used the "scam or not" angle before when trying to pull in traffic for something and have called stuff a "scam" when I did not like it, but I have never called something a scam right before trying to sell it.
Is this a common affiliate technique? Would you allow it? Does it bring in skeptics that never would have bought? Or does it taint the brand too much?
Step 2: Download Excel Trial & Ad Intelligence Plug-in
Ad Intelligence is a new cutting edge keyword tool from Microsoft which will probably force Google to make better keyword tools. All of this data is free as long as you have a Microsoft AdCenter account (you can set one up for $5, and get free ad money using the above coupon) and a copy of Microsoft Excel (the Ad Intelligence link below allows you to download a free trial of Excel).
Some samples of the kinds of data you can get from Microsoft Ad Intelligence:
keyword ad data
related keywords to advertise on
spiky keywords (recently hot search volume)
URL related keywords (site related key words)
Background Data Information Reviewed
Here are some of the sweet features of Microsoft Ad Intelligence:
Keyword wizard: Allows you to extract keywords based on a list of keyword in excel, a given vertical, or a given URL. Then it allows you to generate an expanded keyword list based on category similarity, keyword bidding association, or keywords containing the core keyword. Then it allows you to export an output of estimated search volume, clicks, ad position, ad CTR, and click cost for a given date range and match type.
keyword extraction: Extract keywords based on an input URL. Can set maximum keywords from 1 to 100, and can set a minimum confidence level of relevancy.
keyword suggestion: suggest keywords based on aggregate advertiser behavior, keywords containing the core keyword, or keywords that are deemed to be similar based on category similarity
search buzz: Top category keywords based on 22 core categories and about a couple hundred subcategories. The spiky tool uses the same categories but is focused on spiky keywords, and includes spiky index, spike start date, and spike end date. You can also set it to "all verticals" to discover leading overall spiky keywords or leading common search queries.
monthly traffic: Monthly search volumes for keywords, and forecasts for the next 3 months. Also offers a daily search volume option.
keyword categorization: Identifies categories that a keyword belongs to.
geographic: Shows the geographic breakdown of a search query.
demographic: Shows date range and male vs female breakdown stats of keywords.
monetization: Allows you to view ad impressions, ad clicks, CTR, and CPC by category.
advanced algorithms: Allows you to change date ranges and other variables for the above tools.
Try it Today
Step 1: Create Your Microsoft Ad Center Advertiser Account
DaveN, well known for SEO, published stats about how PPC ads aided organic conversions. Andrew Goodman's firm, well known to focus on paid search, now does SEO too. It seems the PPC vs SEO debate has been quiet for a year or more. Hopefully this puts a fork in it.
I got my invite to beta test Clickriver today. Yippie. I already set up my account, so lets see how long it takes Amazon to start showing my ads for things like my name and search engine optimization. Lots of people have asked me why my book is not on Amazon.com, but it is largely because I wrote my book more as a direct revenue stream than as an upsell for consulting services. I have seen nationwide top selling books given away by the thousands at conferences only to open them up and see that they were thinly disguised sales material. But if you hire a publicist, get a bit of buzz, and give enough way you are a great author. :)
As soon as you get an ISBN some of the major book retailers will start discounting its price even if they do not cary it. At least now I can start getting exposure on those sites without having to commoditize my book price, and the lack of printing costs and higher price point means that Amazon will always be able to make more by selling me ads than from selling physical books.
Many of the Clickriver ads are still quite a bit off target, which means there must be quite an arbitrage opportunity there. Where's Shoemoney when you need him? But irrelevant ads are ok on Amazon.com because their ad network is new, Amazon.com is such a trusted brand, and they are the model ecommerce website.
Part of the reason there will always be a need for SEOs (or equivalent) is because language shifts and new ad networks and new ways of advertising keep appearing. Did you know you can buy interstitial ads from AdBrite that are targeted to the keyword, category, AND demopgraphic level? And there are lots of other ways to target specific people cheaply (AdSense content targeting, social media manipulation, linking at their websites, etc. etc. etc. ).
Google's stock price is so high because they have virtually no physical products and thus have fat profit margins. Other traditional publishers and ecommerce sites like Amazon.com will eventually syndicate more ads and sell more ads directly in fairly automated formats. Major newspapers are doing partnerships with Google, Yahoo!, and are even talking about making their own nationwide ad network. Each changing publishing format or new ad network is an opportunity. If it is overpriced sell it. If it is underpriced buy it. And if you have a big stake in a few of the ad networks you can even use your market knowledge to trade stocks and options. It would be cool to have a big enough ad buy and content distribution network by the end of the year to get a pretty good picture of the direction of the market as a whole and specific stocks from my own advertiser and publisher accounts.
SEO Question: I was thinking about buying Google AdWords and AdSense ads or placing AdSense on my site. Will doing any of these increase my link count, Google rankings, or rankings in other search engines?
Answer: PPC ads go through redirects, so they do not count toward your link popularity, but there are other ways to tie together PPC ads and organic search placement. Search engines claim there is no direct linkage between buying ads and ranking, but they only talk in ideals because it helps reinforce their worldview and help them make more money.
Buying AdWords Ads
What They Won't Tell You:
Highly commercial keywords may have the associated editorial results go through more relevancy filters and/or be editorially reviewed for relevancy more frequently. Also, because they want people to click on the AdWords ads there is a heavy informational bias on the oranic search results.
I know some people who have large ad spends that get notifications of new ad system changes ahead of time, and others who get to give direct feedback to allow them to participate in cleaning up search results and minimizing unfair competing actions in the ad systems. So that is one type of cross-over / feedback that exists, but I think that tends to be more rare, and the more important cross over / feedback that exists is an indirect one.
Just by Being Real
You can't really explain why and how everyone does what they do. Some people who find your product and enjoy it enough to leave glowing testimonials will even tell you that they don't know how they found it.
In the same way that targeted ads can lead to purchases, they can also lead to an increase in mindshare, brand, reach, usage data, and linkage data. Just by being real and being seen you are going to pick up quality signals. If you try to factor all of those into your ad buys most markets are still under-priced.
Cross Over Due to Buying AdWords:
A well thought out pay per click campaign can feed into your SEO campaign more ways than I can count. Here are a few examples.
Integrating Offline & Online:
In a TV commercial Pontiac told people to search Google, and got a ton of press.
Many companies also have strong ties between the legal and marketing departments. If buying or selling an ad gets you sued and gets you in the news the value of the news coverage can far exceed the cost of the ads and legal fees.
Small Controversial Ads:
When I was newer to the field one friend called me the original link spammer. He meant it as a compliment, and I still take it as one. In much the same way I was an aggressive link builder, I was also quite aggressive at ad buying.
I caused controversy by buying names of other people in the industry as AdWords ads. I was prettymuch a total unknown when I did that, but some of the top names in the industry elevated my status by placing my name in heated discussion about what was fair and reasonable or not.
You can always consider placing controversial / risky ideas or ads against your brand or competing brands as a way to generate discussion (but of course consider legal ahead of time).
Drafting Off New Words & Industry News:
When the nigritude ultramarine SEO contest started I bid on AdWords. Some people discussing the contest mentioned that I bid on that word. If an event bubbles up to gain mainstream coverage and you make it easy to identify your name as being associated with it then you might pick up some press coverage.
Industry buzz words that are discussed often have significant mindshare, get searched for frequently, and larger / bureaucratic competitors are going to struggle to be as plugged into the market as you are or react as quickly to the changing language.
Snagging a Market Position Early:
When a friend recommended I read the TrustRank research paper in February of last year I knew it was going to become an important idea (especially because that same friend is brilliant, helped me more ways and times than I can count, and was the guy who came up with the idea of naming the Google Dances).
I read it and posted a TrustRank synopsis. In addition to trying to build a bit of linkage for that idea I also ensured that I bought that keyword on AdWords. Today I rank #1 in Google for TrustRank, and I still think I am the only person buying that keyword, which I find fascinating given how many people use that word and how saturated this market is.
Buying AdSense Ads
Buying Ads Creates Content:
If your ads are seen on forums people may ask about your product or brands. I know I have seen a number of threads on SEO forums that were started with something like I saw this SEO Book ad and I was wondering what everyone thought of it. Some people who start talking about you might not even click your ads.
Each month my brand gets millions and millions of ad impressions at an exceptionally reasonable price, especially when you factor in the indirect values.
Appealing to an Important Individual:
I have seen many people advertise on AdSense targeting one site at a time, placing the webmaster's name in the ad copy. It may seem a bit curt for some, but it is probably more likely to get the attention of and a response from a person than if you request a link from them.
Ads are another type / means of communication.
Appealing to a Group of People:
I get a ton of email relating to blogs and blogging. And in Gmail I keep seeing Pew Internet ads over and over and over again. Their ads range from Portrait of a Blogger to Who are Bloggers?
Going forward they will have added mindshare, link equity, and a report branded with that group of people. When people report on blogging or do research about blogging in the future the Pew report is likely to be referenced many times.
Selling AdSense Ads
Don't Sell Yourself Short:
Given the self reinforcing nature of links (see Filthy Linking Rich) anything that undermines your authority will cause you to get less free exposure going forward. So you really have to be careful with monetization. If you do it for maximal clickthough rate that will end up costing you a lot of trust and link equity.
Don't Monetize Too Early:
Given the lack of monetization ability of a new site with few visitors and the importance of repeat visits in building trust and mindshare you don't want to monetize a new site too aggressively unless it is an ecommerce type site. It is hard to build authority if people view your site as just enough content to wrap around the AdSense.
Spam, Footprints, & Smart Pricing:
In the past search engines may have discounted pages that had poison words on them. Search is all about math / communication / patterns.
Graywolf recently noted that landing page slippage may be an input into landing page and site quality scores for AdWords ad buyers. Google could also use AdSense account earnings or AdSense CTR data to flag sites for editorial reviews, organic search demotion, ad payout reduction, or smart pricing.
Why are companies that do not currently carry the Nintendo Wii or Sony Playstation 3 bidding on those terms to send customers to pages that do not have the product? Why is it that their landing pages do not offer the option to sign up for priority notification when they become available? How many 10's or 100's of thousands of dollars are these people wasting?
People are getting shot waiting for Playstation 3 systems, and then you have these huge retailers bidding on the associated keywords to throw the traffic away and remind potential customers that they are sold out of the product. Sorta bizzare at both ends, eh?
I just found this great offer for search advertisers. Well worth a look if you are trying to get traffic to your website. Here is a free $200 Microsoft Ad Center promotional code.
Update: It looks like Microsoft no longer offer the $100 or $200 coupons. I did find another great offer that still works though, offering a free $25 credit. Bing and Yahoo! Search expand the reach of your business to millions of monthly users in the USA. Advertise now and get a free $25 credit.
They also have free coupons for Canada, France & the United Kingdom:
Considering that Microsoft's ads are cheaper (because the ad network is newer than AdWords) and their traffic is so clean (they cut out on the dirty syndication partner stuff that Yahoo! once allowed) a free $25 coupon is just like setting up a printing machine for money. I hope they keep building marketshare because they have such high conversion rates and are offering some awesome tools for advertisers.
Update: Barry says the AdWords coupons are $50 each, but unfortunately they are expired now. All is not lost though!
Microsoft is now offering $75 coupons on Microsoft adCenter! Sign up to acCenter today and get $75 in free clicks at Microsoft AdCenter. Try Microsoft adCenter for free* with a $75 credit for paid search clicks.