If you are doing keyword research, there are a ton of tools out there that can help. One of the more expensive options is Hitwise. It costs about $25k/yr. When I first subscribed to Hitwise, it was one of the only ways to get access to keyword data from ISPs - what users type in as they browse the internet.
A much less expensive choice is Wordze, which is around $500/yr.
I subscribe to both services, and while HitWise has many features for general brand marketing that go far beyond what Wordze can do, for most PPC and SEO keyword research needs, Wordze is more helpful. I'm going to review them by stepping through some common tasks.
We want to find a lot of related long tail keywords so we can create ads on Google and Yahoo related to dishwashers
First let's find the keywords that send traffic to whirlpool.com.
In Hitwise, we use "Search Intelligence -> Website Search Terms". We type in "www.whirlpool.com" and in about 10 seconds, we get a list of 173 search terms. These are the terms that send the most traffic to the whirlpool.com website. We export this to excel. Here's the top 10.
Rank SearchTerm Volume 1 whirlpool 28.16% 2 whirlpool appliances 6.94% 3 whirlpool.com 5.98% 4 whirlpool refrigerators 3.00% 5 www.whirlpool.com 2.23% 6 whirlpool washers 1.24% 7 whirlpool customer service 0.99% 8 whirlpool dishwashers 0.99% 9 whirlpool home 0.99% 10 whirlpool parts 0.99%
Looking at the Hitwise list, we find a few useful things like mis-spells: wirlpool, whirlpol, whirlppol; URL type-ins like: whirlpool.com, www.whirpool.com, etc. But we also have to manually filter some of the odd irrelevant phrases that show up: Is "albuquerque zoo symphony" really deserving of place 37 on this list? It's in there, along with "fiserv irving tx", "free trial of pantene hair products" and others... perhaps about 10 out of 173 terms seem irrelevant.
With Wordze, there is no direct way to find all the keywords sending traffic to whirlpool.com, so we try the "Keyword search" on "whirlpool". It comes back quickly with 2763 keywords. The top 10 are:
freezer fridge whirlpool whirlpool dishwasher whirlpool oven whirlpool fridge whirlpool freezer whirlpool whirlpool parts philips whirlpool whirlpool appliances whirlpool dryer repair
Wordze's list can be exported to Excel as well, and that takes a few minutes to complete. When we look at the whole list, we see that most phrases have the keyword "whirlpool" in them, but we need to filter them somehow for dishwashers.
We can either filter the list with an advanced query option or just try "whirlpool dishwasher". We find 91 keywords with Wordze when we search for "Whirlpool dishwasher".
Stuff like this:
whirlpool dishwasher du1145xtpb whirlpool dishwasher whirlpool dishwasher repair whirlpool dishwasher repair troubleshooting whirlpool dishwasher timer whirlpool dishwasher du915pwpq2 whirlpool dishwasher troubleshooting whirlpool dishwasher manuals whirlpool dishwasher stainless steel
In hitwise, we can do a search term analysis on the term "whirlpool dishwasher" and it will tell us which sites receive traffic for this term, and give us a list of 43 related search terms. Fairly similar to wordze's list, but about half the size.
whorlpool whiropool whirlppol whirlpoll wirlpool whilpool whirpool whirlpoo whrilpool whilrpool whhirlpool whirllpool whirlpooll
Similarly, there are 8 variations for "dishwasher" in the misspell database in Wordze.
The "thesaurus" in Wordze is really a "related keyword" tool. For the word "dishwasher", it returns:
dish washer dishes rack empty rinse run stack domestic technology menu
Perhaps 50% of those would be useful in building a keyword list.
Another Wordze feature this is really useful is: "Dig", which is keyword expansion - i.e. drill down on a single keyword, and expand it by finding instances of it's use in Wordze's database of site content. Digging takes a while, but can produce very large lists of long tail keywords. There are some good videos on the Wordze site that explain how to use the "Dig" tool.
There's also a video on competititve keyword research.
The fact that Wordze has a XML API for getting 100's of related keyword is also very attractive for automating content creation. (If you are into that sort of thing).
Wordze also has data on some of the more lucrative parts of the keyword world that can be hard to find if you stick to the major search engines: I.e. poker, warez, porn, etc. By default, these terms are filtered out, but you can set advanced options in keyword search to enable them.
For most PPC marketers and SEOs, HitWise is not worth the expense, since tools like Wordze have deeper toolsets for building keyword lists. HitWise is especially good for brand managers tracking trends. You can build sophisticated watch lists composed of many sites - i.e. consumer electronics by combining: bestbuy.com, circuitcity.com, sony.com, etc. into a group.
Hitwise is also helpful for understanding where to buy ads on certain sites, since you can see where that site's traffic comes from and goes to.
If you spend more than $500 / month on pay per click, or if you generate more than $500 / month with content sites, subscribing to Wordze will pay for itself in a month. It's especially good for building out long tail keyword lists for affiliate campaigns.
At the end of the month, I like to evaluate my campaign performance a bit more in-depth.
In late April, I set up a PPC campaign with 700 keywords, and 3 ads as identically as possible on Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing (aka Panama), and Microsoft AdCenter.
This campaign was in a high-value consumer electronics area, with a medium amount of traffic (no it wasn't "digital cameras").
So, for the first 30 days of May, here are the stat lines:
|Source||Clicks||CTR||Avg CPC||Total Spend||Conversion Rate|
Just a couple of observations:
Well before Panama launched, I entreated Yahoo to just copy Google's interface. Copying the key commands is how Excel took over the market from Lotus 1-2-3.
They did not. They made up their own UI conventions. So far, after about 8 months of use, I'm disappointed at how few improvements in UI workflow Yahoo has made. During the same time, Google AdWords has only increased its usability lead. Fundamentally, Google is better at rolling out changes quickly. It's also better at usability.
Here's a little list of easy things Yahoo Panama could do if they want advertisers to be able to spend more and create bigger campaigns quickly:
Finally, Panama should just copy the AdWords Editor fat client. For large campaign management, that is a god send. I just changed text on 43 adwords ads in about 3 minutes in AdWords Editor. It'll take me several hours to do that in Panama.
The goal should be for search ad buyers to spend almost no time and bring over large AdWords campaigns into Panama.
Yahoo needs to learn the lesson of Microsoft - "embrace & extend" - there's no shame in simply making the UI work exactly like Google's - Google's done a ton of research on usability that Yahoo could pick up for free. More importantly, they are the market leader, and everyone knows their interface. Standardization means more buyers! Until the Panama team gets that, they won't threaten AdWords.
Google would be Hawkeye.
Yahoo would be B.J. Honeycutt.
MSN Live would be Frank Burns.
OK, yes, things are frothy and bubbly in the online ad business.
But 14X revenue for an ad agency? Agencies aren't exactly known for pristine revenue reporting either...
I'm shocked that no one is pointing out that AQNT has profit margins of about 12%. Microsoft other businesses average around 28%. Microsoft may be saying that Aquantive is an "ad network", but it's really a service business. Ad agencies are tremendously cyclical, hiring when times are good, and firing when times are bad. Times are good right now. So that 12% profit margin IS THE BEST margin they are gonna do.
Microsoft probably hopes that Ave.A/Razorfish clients will now be directing a lot of spend towards MSN and Office Live. Meanwhile, Aquantive's big technology piece, Atlas, doesn't even work with MSN adcenter at this point
If I was an Aquantive client, I'd be shopping for a new agency right now...
In a rather important case testing fair use, and aggregation on the internet, Google has won a decision allowing them to use thumbnails of copyrighted images.
Timothy Lee at arstechica calls it a "partial victory."
Terry Heaton says the decision "strengthens aggregators":
The appeals court overturned a district court ruling, and while there are still other issues to be resolved, this decision adds considerable weight to case law that strengthens the position of web-based aggregators.
In the decision, the court wrote that there’s no doubt the display of such images is a direct infringement but concluded that the use of the images meets the standards required for fair use. Thus, they overturned an injunction against Google issued by the district court.
I'm not the biggest follower of the legal issues around copyright, but I think it's clear that if Google lost this one, it'd have a big impact on both legitimate search usage, and on spammers / sploggers (even though they clearly don't have the same amount of public benefit as Google relied on in this ruling).
So keep 'on aggregatin'
PS. In other internet/porn-related news, the domain "porn.com" sold for over $9.5M. Man, I wish I had that time masheen perfected.
Here's a fun error message from Yahoo's Panama system. It's showing me an ad that I've previously edited, and telling me that... oh, never mind...
Changes to this ad are pending editorial review. You are editing the current approved version, not the edited one. Any changes you make will supersede the edited version in editorial review.
Why even let the user get into a state like this? Doesn't happen in AdWords...
Enquiro has a nice free download of a new report on B2B buying behaviour - and how business buyers use search engines (e.g. Google is the preferred choice of 82% of B2B buyers).
It's a good whitepaper, but the remarkable thing is that their new website site design features river rocks in strange positions with new-agey slogans about touch points.
Here's one of their images, which I call: "Two Rocks Humping".
Call me sophomoric, but I prefer to think of myself as effortlessly grokking the avant-garde.
There's 2 bad guys to fight, and an evil black spider man suit that Spider-Man literally cannot take off. It's like the director ran out of good ideas, and started copying Fantastic Four crap.
We also mused about what sort of accident during a scientific experiment would be cool for creating the bad guy in Spider Man 4.
Maybe there's some kind of nuclear lego factory and a crazy guy falls into a vat of lego plastic. And then when he comes out he's made of Legos and can shoot legos - and build stuff he needs by shooting them out of his hand.
Imagine the merchandising possibilities! Lego and Spider-Man already have a deal in place, so it'd be easy!
I will completely guarantee 100% that this tip will work for every person without fail. If you follow this tip, you will instantly increase your ROI 1% across the board on every cent your spend on your PPC campaign. Now that I have got your attention with the cheesy, E-book style hype, here’s the tip.
Instead of optimizing your actual campaign, it’s about optimizing how you pay. Instead of paying with a normal credit card, as most people do, sign up for a 1% cash back rewards card. There are many cards that do this, personally I have an American Express Business Rebates card. So for every dollar I spend in my campaigns, I get 1 penny back. This may not sound like a big deal but sometimes PPC margins can be tight and 1% does in fact make a difference.
This is so very true. Get a cash back card to pay each of the big 3. I.e. a separate card for Google, Yahoo and MSN. If you spend $30k - $50k / month, you'll get around $500 back.
Since cashback cards often have limits on how much you can get back, here are 3 good cards that can return a lot of cash back:
By using separate cards - and not charging anything but PPC costs on them, it's also a bit easier to handle reconcilliation since these business cards will all send you end of year statements.
Suppose you have a big Google AdWords Campaign, and you want to get it into Yahoo Panama. Here's what you need to do to convert an AdWords Campaign into Yahoo:
Let it run. Check it tomorrow. Watch your logs in the meantime. See if it gets worse quality traffic due to all the garbage partners that Yahoo lets have Overture feeds (Hint: It will...)
Anyways, that's the easy and safe way. If you don't have access to the "Gold Tier" upload from Yahoo, you can call Yahoo and ask them to do it for you. If you do that, MAKE SURE you pre-edit the CSV file you give them, or else they'll just put in the stuff from Google, and you probably won't like that.
Super Mario Galaxy is fantastic, visually exciting and fresh. Super Mario Galaxy is probably best for ages 7 - 10.
Wii Play has 9 different games including Billiards, Tanks, and Skeet shooting. They are simple but fun, and you can win medals for each level.
Big Brain Academy is a fun brain challenging game. It's probably the most educational of all the Wii games. Adults can play against kids, like most Wii games.
Super Paper Mario is a deep combination of scroller / role playing game. There's a good bit of reading necessary to solve all the puzzles. If your kids liked Animal Crossing, I think they'll like Super Paper Mario. If they don't, it's even more fun for adults...
Madden on the Wii is soo much easier to play than on the PS2. The controller makes it a great game even for kids. My 7 yr-old is into Madden now. He's learned to tell the difference between a Nickel and Dime defense. So that'll come in handy during football season, I think.
Rayman's Ravin' Rabbids has a lot of crazy mini-games, ranging from shooting to Dance-Dance Revolution type dancing. It's definitely a game targeted more at kids. Pretty fun.
Zelda is a great adventure game that can take a while to learn. It's full of challenging puzzles and make excellent use of the Wii-mote controller. I'd recommend for kids 9 and above.
Sonic and Mario at the Olympics is going to be popular after the summer Olympics. It's probably best for kids over 7.
Lego Star Wars is the easiest game that boys ages 5 and up will like. It's very forgiving and fun.
Labels: best wii games
Still, Microsoft has technical expertise that might benefit Yahoo. Under one possible scenario, Microsoft could manage the technical platform and infrastructure of the companies' combined Internet activities, while Yahoo's current staff could oversee the consumer parts of the businesses..
That's absurdly funny. Microsoft has no technical skills "that might benefit Yahoo." They've spent billions of their cash on their own infrastructure - and are way behind Google AND Yahoo - is that the skill?
While Yahoo is facing increased competition to sell advertisers the graphical-display ads, such as banners, that have been its bread and butter, the company recently has shown signs of momentum
Really? Apparently the last two consecutive quarters of serious under-performance counts as momentum to the WSJ?
Panama is now running, and Yahoo said recently that it expects the system to contribute to its revenue, starting this quarter.
Even this basic statement is grossly incorrect. Panama is of course, already contributing to revenue. It's revenue growth that's the problem.
Just remember that everything you read in the press is generally wrong in some important way. And it's doubly true for coverage of technical issues.
Kedrosky has a post up that says 1 in 18 households in the US are now "millionaires".
It recalls British publishing billionaire Felix Dennis' new classification of wealth:
|£1m-£2m||The comfortable poor|
|£5m-£15m||The comfortably wealthy|
|£40m-£75m||The comfortably rich|
Beyond that come the super rich and the filthy rich...
Note that figures are in british pounds, so it's roughly $2-4M in USD to be comfortably poor.
Microsoft's adCenter has really gone downhill in performance lately. Along with declines in traffic, my accounts have seen big decreases in conversion and ROI.
We're writing to notify you that your Microsoft adCenter Terms and Conditions are updated. The changes take effect on April 30, 2007.
Some of the key adjustments to your Terms and Conditions include:
- Microsoft may use matching criteria other than keyword searches to display your advertisements.
- Microsoft may display your advertisements on its network of advertising channels operated by the Microsoft network of participating websites and other distribution outlets.
Basically, they are saying that your ads can now show up for any reason on any of their partners sites. So much for targeting search keywords!
Microsoft has already announced that they are testing an AdSense competitor, so this change certainly enables them to show your ads on content sites with some type of contextual matching.
However, Melissa M. from the SEM2 discussion group also points out that she's seen Microsoft buying IntelliTXT ads, and routing the clicks to a landing page of adCenter advertiser ads.
MSN is actually running Intellitext ads on content sites, sending visitors to a Live search page with adCenter ads on it. We saw a spike in clicks on a handful of keywords on 4/30, with no resultant increase in conversions, and I attribute it to this garbitrage by MSN.
She calls that Garbitrage. Which captures it perfectly. Check this thread for more details.
So I see a few big credibility problems for Microsoft stemming from this:
It's hard to believe how bad Microsoft is at this whole thing... but they are, and I expect them to lose even more accounts as people see this junk get reflected in their stats.