Natural Search Blog

7 Habits of Highly Effective PPC Advertisers

I just saw this great article on “Seven Habits Of Highly Effective Pay-Per-Click Advertisers” by John Ellis, who does search marketing for Gaylord Entertainment, and I thought it was worth highlighting.

Some of the tips include:

…and more. I think there’s some great stuff here – both for paid search newbies as well as veterans.

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Superpages to Factor CTR into Ad Rankings

I noticed that Greg Sterling just reported over at Search Engine Land that Idearc Media’s Superpages is going to begin factoring in ad click-through-rates into the measures used for ranking ads on the vast networks of sites where Superpages content appears. I was aware of this plan prior to my departure from Superpages, and I think it’s one of the cooler things my old teammates are developing.

Naturally, this follows other major ad networks who do similar things. Google, for instance, has begun using quality scores to decide ad rankings and the pricing of the ads.


Get some free clicks

Not playing in PPC yet? Then here is some free cash (well, credits) to get you started…

Now go forth and craft some great search ads!

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“Search Master” teaches SEO101 but needs SEM101 himself

Was surfing an SEO blog and this Google ad caught my eye:

Google ad for an SEO seminar in Auckland

I’m pretty up to speed with the SEO experts in New Zealand, being based here and all, and I hadn’t heard of any SEO training being given by any master optimizer in Auckland. I was intrigued to learn more about this self-proclaimed “Search Master”. So I clicked. Guess what I got! Yep, a nasty error instead of a landing page!

The page you requested could not be found. Please click here to return to the homepage

Methinks this “Search Master” with his SEO101 and SEO201 courses needs to go back to school himself for SEM101. 😉

Lesson #1 in SEM101: If you’re going to pay for clicks, make sure your landing page works!

We all make mistakes, but this seminar is in 3 days and you’d think he’d be watching the online registrations pretty closely right about now…

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Click Fraud Costs Estimated at over $800M

In Report: Advertisers Cut Spending, Blame Google and Yahoo for Click Fraud, a new report states that advertisers wasted over $800 million last year on phony clicks.

Some points of interest:

I predict that this fraud perception will fuel advertisers increasing reliance on natural search, where click fraud is not incentivized.

Will click fraud be the catalyst that finally causes retailers to more equally allocate their spending between PPC (pay per click) and NSO (natural search optimization)? So, for example, shift from $1MM/yr PPC and $150k on NSO, to more like $1MM/yr PPC and $1MM/yr NSO?

As PPC gets more expensive, the act of click fraud gets more costly, and that bad apple must begin to spoil the bucket at some point – not completely I’m sure, but probably enough to cause advertisers to rethink allocation and importance of NSO.

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The Keyword Index Is Out: $1.39, On Avg.

Interesting’s quarterly index is out, and prices “eased� a bit (3%). Average keyword price is $1.39. From the release:

Afraid of Click Fraud? Try Pay-For-Call

Back when the internet’s structure was created, it was set up with protocols focused upon linking distributed info together and making info easily accessible. Growth happened since then (understatement of the year), and people invented a lot of new systems on top of that existing structure which were never anticipated in the original internet design. Since the original system was built without these new paradigms in mind, all sorts of problems and weaknesses have arisen which were not addressed in those original architecture standards. Security, identity of users and site owners, traceability, authenticity — all these aspects have been cited as we have tried to control and limit things like spam, hacking, fraud, denial-of-service attacks, etc.

As online advertising evolved on the internet, and moved from a pay-for-impressions model to something closer to pay-for-performance models, the backbone internet architecture didn’t evolve in sync with it. So, all the attendant weaknesses or limitations are also impacting the online advertising industry.

So, where does that leave us with our PPC ads? Is there a solution for Click Fraud? Read on, and I’ll explain…

Drop your bids if your keyword is on this list

Anybody who’s bidding in Google AdWords on any of the words in this list of top-paying AdSense keywords better drop their bids or stop syndicating your ads on the AdSense network, or be prepared to pay for a bunch of worthless non-converting traffic. That’s because it’s about to become a feeding frenzy of bloggers and site owners on the AdSense network optimizing their content to get ads for these top-paying keywords to show up on their sites.

Continue reading »

eMarketer report on why people click on paid search ads

eMarketer has just released a new research report, Search Engine Marketing: Search Users and Usage. The report gets inside the heads of searchers to better understand why people click on paid ads.

David Hallerman, eMarketer Senior Analyst and author of the report, states:

“The good news is that the growth of paid search ad spending is flattening out. Yes, you heard me right. That’s good news. In an industry once-burned by bubble-and-burst expansion, Internet advertising is best served when its most effective vehicles show steady, and less hyped growth.”

“As the paid search market matures, involved companies will look for additional ways to build their bottom line through search. This will include greater spending on tools such as search engine optimization, which boosts organic search rankings, and broadening the paid search base with superior implementation of local search, contextual advertising, and vertical search.”

Do Google AdSense ads cheapen your site?

Does displaying Google AdSense ads on your web pages cheapen your site? Not in my opinion. Some of the most reputable sites prominently display Google adverts on their pages. For example, see example pages on (the “Advertiser Links” section near the bottom of the page is AdSense) and The only danger with AdSense ads on your pages is that you are driving traffic out of your site. So, if you are trying to sell a high ticket item you might want to leave the ads out until you have an order — or at least an email address.

For those who don’t have etail transaction concerns, then Adsense makes a lot of sense (pun intended) for any kind of site that wants to monetize their rich content without having to charge a subscription for access. It is entirely possible to support a content site on AdSense revenue alone, a welcome change after years of popups and intrusive banner ads. For example, we own several content sites (e.g. WritersNet and InnSite) that collectively earn 5-figures from Google (actually from its AdWords advertisers, but the check comes from Google) each month. It’s “money for jam,” as Kiwis would say!
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