Free AdWords Health Check

Is your Pay Per Click running as smoothly as it could be?  You may already have someone managing your PPC but are they really doing their best work for you? Do they regularly trawl search query reports, add new keywords and negatives, break down adgroups into smaller more focused ones, try new adcopy and constantly look to increase volumes whilst reducing the CPA or do you just leave them to it and hope they’re doing their best?

We’ve been in hundreds of accounts to do an AdWords Audit and as a result we’ve seen it all from one man bands with perfectly set up and run accounts to multi national companies and even a charity with accounts so badly set up and run by “professional” agencies that they should be ashamed to charge for such work.

We offer a free, no obligation AdWords health check to all merchants, so why not find out what just how your account is being run, at the best case you’ll get objective confirmation that your current PPC management team are running things as well as they could be, at the worst case we’ll show you how you could save lots of money each month, get more traffic, leads and sales and reduce your cost per sale.

Each AdWords audit will be documented in a PDF with our assessment of the current structure of the account and how it’s been run and suggestions for how to move the account forward to it’s optimum health and therefore optimum results with the highest volume of relevant traffic at the best cost per click and thus cost per lead or sale.

Rest assured there’s no hard sell in play here, we simply take a look and then give you our report with recommendations and you are free to use it to move your account forward yourself or badger your existing PPC agency to make changes or at least give them a kick into life but alternatively we’ll be happy to speak to you about us doing it but there will be no hard sell to take us onboard unlike some other PPC agencies! we don’t have to hard sell our services, we think taking accounts from spending £15k to £75k per month with a 30% drop in CPA, or going from £13 CPA to under £3 CPA whilst increasing sales 400% speak for themselves!

Drop us a line via our dedicated Free AdWords Audit site to get your free AdWords health check.

By Shane October 17th, 2010 No Comments » Posted in Uncategorized

Broad Match Gets Cleverererer - Good News +Finally!

Google’s broad match is useful if utilised correctly however the introduction a few years back of the expanded broad match was about on par with having a teenage daughter with a mobile phone on contract instead of prepay! .. in that if you didn’t regularly keep an eye on it you are in some pain at some point, my favourite example was a sex toy client’s “vibrators” showing for “vibrating tooth brush” and “vibrating alarm clock” search terms when we took it over .. not ideal!

Well times are a changing! +FINALLY - Google has just unleashed a beta test (UK and Canada) for a new match type “modified broad match” this new match will be like a broad match but modified (clue is in the name I think) in that they will allow you to specify the relevance of matches by using the “+” sign in front of the keyword(s) in queries that are important to you, so for example if you were flexible in which keywords your ad were show for but needed the search term to contain the word “printer”  you could use the modified broad match with keywords like “cheap +printer,” “discounted +printer,” or “+cheap printer.”

So in the examples above your ad would show if someone typed in “cheapest printer” but not if a user searched for “discounted laser jet” whereas before on expanded broad match “laser jet” would have probably triggered the ad as it’s a printer type but now with the modified broad match use of +printer it needs that word to be in the search term.

The new feature finally helps make broad match more useful, but then again it’s main use should still be like a trawler net bringing in fish which are then sorted according to size and type, as with adwords you then go add the keywords as phrase, exact or negative.

Negative keywords are the most underutilised feature in Google’s adwords arsenal, we are constantly amazed at how many accounts have none yet run broad match, this new match type will help focus things that little bit more and should, if used correctly, help save a few pounds whilst boosting that all important click through ratio, leading to better quality scores.

Whilst a welcome addition it’s still no excuse for not running regular search query reports, breaking accounts down into targeted adgroups with phrase and exact matched keywords and basically doing the hard work that’s needed to boost the quality score as high as possible to reap the rewards that brings.

By Shane May 18th, 2010 1 Comment » Posted in Adwords

How does quality score actually work?

It’s been a while since my last post, We’ve been busy rolling out new features to BrandWatcher, expanding our Pay Per Click services and Free Adwords Health Check has been very busy too, and in addition to that basically I’ve been spending more time relaxing once work is done for the day so blogging hasn’t been on my mind so much, having said that we have implemented some new systems so I should have a bit of time to blog now and then more in the day.

So without further ado I thought I’d share a pretty straightforward video from Google themselves about how the Google ad auction works and in particular the quality score  as it’s such a mystical subject to most people so I’ll let their chief economy boffin Hal Varian explain the Ad auction and quality score :

Hopefully that clarifies things but in summary :

Quality score is determined by CTR (Click Through Rate),  Relevancy between the keyword and ad copy,
Landing page quality: Relevant and original content , good easy navigation on site with a fast load time, no pop ups or unders and a transparency to the nature of the business.

Getting a good CTR is key to a healthy, profitable adwords account, but so many accounts we see have poor use of keyword matching and virtually no negatives in use which in turn affects the quality score.

If you are pressed for time and could only do one thing in your adwords account this week it should be to run search query reports and use them to find negative keywords to use in your adgroups to cut down the irrelevant traffic and boost that CTR as it really is important to get this as high as possible as it makes life so much easier.

By Shane May 12th, 2010 No Comments » Posted in Adwords

Adwords Bid Simulator Feature

Google’s feature set continues to expand with the roll out of the Bid Simulator, We’ve seen this in testing but it’s now being rolled out across accounts so you may see it in yours already, it’s just a small arrow to the right of the bids at keyword level,  here’s what it looks like when one is clicked  :

Adwords Bid Simulator

The calculations in this example are based on a 3 day time window but we’ve seen up to six days in other accounts.

Whilst nothing earth shattering (and of course google have a disclaimer right there saying no guarantees) it does give you some guidance on how changing the bid could potentially affect your traffic volume and costs, although a rocket science degree isn’t needed to see the more you bid, the more traffic you get, the more it costs overall.

It’s a case of knowing what your max viable cost per acquisition is and working to that but at least with this insight you get more transparency on “what if” scenarios than just blindly upping your bid and hoping for the best.

One more tool in the war I guess although some novice users will no doubt be feeling AdWords is slipping away from them in terms of functionality and how to make the best of it as it increases the  options and features on an ongoing basis.

By Shane July 28th, 2009 2 Comments » Posted in Adwords

PPC Management -

We’ve been busy PPC bees this month, following on from our Free Adwords Health Check site launch last month we have now launched PPC Management on as a our dedicated pay per click site.

PPC Management

We wanted a design that had go faster stripes but settled on some raging flames, one could say it’s dynamic and represents the ever changing nature of PPC management but I personally like the flames as they symbolise the oodles of cash being burned on a daily basis by those people who don’t have anyone experienced doing effective PPC Management for them!

Even though we’ve been involved in PPC management since 2001 we still enjoy it, we live, breathe and think pay per click management and still love to roll our sleeves up on new account and get stuck into it and make those big, small and even very subtle changes that bring on money saving and revenue boosting results.

From what we have seen over the years in clients accounts when they first come to us it’s clear that most accounts are initially set up with poor targeting, adcopy, keyword selection and matching, which when coupled with a lack of negative keywords and poor bid management often leaves adgroups performing well below what they could do, we look at all these factors and many more on an ongoing basis when managing pay per click accounts.

Once again we are offering free ppc account reviews without any obligation, an experienced pay per click specialist will take a look at the account (making no changes whatsoever) and give feedback based on our years of experience in Pay Per Click Management, you can choose to ignore those suggestions, implement them yourself or ask us to give a price for doing this work.

Get your no obligation pay per click review at our new PPC Management site now.

By Shane July 7th, 2009 No Comments » Posted in Pay Per Click

Free Adwords Health Check

We have just launched a new service and site called Free Adwords Health Check which as the name would imply offers a free Google Adwords account health check! (we like to keep things simple!)

Free Adwords Health Check

Over the years we have been in hundreds of accounts and seen the same fundamental mistakes on a regular basis, we’ve seen pretty much everything you can imagine, Google adwords accounts spending a couple of thousands of pounds per day on broad match terms without a single negative keyword, accounts set up for big blue chip companies by huge international agencies with dedicated pay per click departments that have every mistake possible and yet at the other end of the spectrum we’ve been in accounts set up by sole traders which are flawless, so even if you have a pay per click management agency running your account already are you really sure they are working hard for you or just treading water? well now you can find out totally free!

We have devised a pay per click “success template” which we work from when optimising accounts and it’s this template that we are now using to give a free adwords account health check. We look at everything from the account structure to keyword selection, use of broad, phrase, exact match and negative terms, adcopy relevancy, ad positioning, landing page selection and many more key points that make up a successful adwords campaign.

The question most people have asked is why are we offering this free adwords review service. The answer is simply that we are confident that you’ll like the depth and detail of the free report and realise just how well we understand adwords and PPC management and as a result some of you will ask us to make those changes for them and perhaps ask us to do pay per click management on an ongoing basis, if you choose not to then there are no hard feelings, you are free to implement the changes yourself and you don’t owe us a penny.

There is nothing to lose and only money to save and extra sales to gain so no matter whether you are working out of your bedroom or the director of a FTSE 100 company we are happy to take a look at your adwords account and give it a free health check without any obligation whatsoever!

Get your Free Adwords Health Check now

By Shane June 21st, 2009 2 Comments » Posted in Adwords, Pay Per Click

Affiliate Doctors

I’m happy to announce my involvement with

Affiliate Doctors was conceived by Steve Kenny who contacted well respected members of the affiliate community with a view to creating a site where people could ask questions of experienced “doctors” with knowledge in specialist areas of online marketing from SEO, to domains, to blogging, PPC etc.

The site basically runs via two channels, The Clinic is for general questions and the Surgery is for in depth assessment of a site with advice given on all relevant factors.

The Clinic :

The concept is simple, anyone can ask any of the doctors questions about their site and/or affiliate/online marketing strategy etc. and get an in depth reply from someone with several years of experience in that particular area.

The Surgery :

If someone would like their site reviewed with honest, targeted and relevant feedback then they can use the Surgery to have the doctors look over their site and give guidance on factors such as design, copy, linking, SEO, layout etc.

I’ve known some of the doctors for years such as Kieron, Chris and John, others I’ve known of by reputation but haven’t met yet but I look forward to working with everyone on this site, it should be an interesting project that benefits everyone involved.

Please take a look at Affiliate Doctors and feel free to submit a question or site for any of the doctors to answer or advise on.

By Shane May 21st, 2009 1 Comment » Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Pay Per Click

Google Analytics - Decoded

I’ve been using AdWords since 2001, just a few weeks after the UK launch and in that time I’ve seen the product expand greatly from it’s humble beginnings into an environment where lack of knowledge costs users greatly, It’s no longer the place to add 2000 keywords to an adgroup with one generic advert and leave it a week to see how it does, users need useful data and they need it quickly to ascertain what is working, what isn’t, and why so with that in mind Google bought existing technology, developed it further and launched Google Analytics in 2005.

Google Analytics has also evolved (and continues to do so!) greatly over the years and despite using it daily we figured it was time to brush up on the latest and greatest/best practices so we (myself and Faaiz, our head of search) booked a place on the Google Analytics Seminar held in Amsterdam on the second and third of March.

The seminar was a two day event, first day being simple and the second day ninja level advanced!, the first day covered the very basics from the interface layout to figuring out where visitors came from, paid or organic, site search then goals and funnels, all pretty basic stuff but around 250 PowerPoint screens to crunch through so it was brisk but well covered.

The first positive for me was Justin from Epik One (, I’ve sat through a lot of training sessions over the years and I have to say most have been pretty bland, some have been bearable, others I even stayed awake during but Justin is a top notch presenter, he actually manages to make analytics interesting and engages the audience fantastically, he even managed to make American jokes funny in Holland so that’s no small feat and a good example of his skills.

Secondly there were not one but two Google guys in attendance which added further weight to the esteem that Justin and EpikOne are held in, they added they voice on some of the wider questions and some of the more advanced/unique ones too, that’s not to say Justin’s knowledge wasn’t on a Jedi level, but some questions were very specific and orientated to a unique set of circumstances and just as with anything to do with Google there is some ambiguity between what should be and what actually is so they were able to nod or shake their head and confirm/deny/explain some questions that Justin would have to have followed up on at a later date had they not been there.

Google Analytics

The second day was more advanced, much more advanced! there were around 225 PowerPoint screens to sit through but once again Justin made every single one of them interesting and educational, the content was heavier for sure but still easily absorbed as Justin explained it until everyone understood it even if he had to cover it a few different ways until it sank in.


There are a lot of custom filters you can create in analytics to drill down your data into tailored usable reports and I’m guessing that only a very small percentage of users actually even know this is possible let alone do anything about it so I would suggest you take a closer look at analytics regardless of if you are an affiliate or merchant as you really could save a lot of money by making use of some of the more advanced features in there.

I can’t emphasise enough (especially in the current climate where every pound/dollar really does count) the need to crunch analytics data and use it to identify areas such as excessive cost, low conversion, actual keywords driving traffic (custom filter) rather than those being bid on (analytics default information) so you can target them further, but it all starts with getting analytics set up correctly, especially so if you have a checkout on site as you need to be recording actual basket data etc.

Being aware of how hard it can be for those who simply don’t understand it all (most people on day one of the seminar worked for big companies and had no clue what it was about before attending yet were in charge of as many as 150 websites!) we are offering help with integration of the analytics at very reasonable rates, so if you aren’t sure if it’s installed or recording correctly or would like some custom filtering set up then get in touch via the contact details/form here and we’ll check it and give you price for integration including any custom coding for basket checkout integration and custom reporting views you’d like creating.

If you are fancing a tinker yourself then I can recommend the seminar, you can find out more here although it means hopping on a plane if you aren’t in the states, but it’s well worth it!

By Shane March 11th, 2009 1 Comment » Posted in Adwords, Pay Per Click

AdWords Interface Changes Ahoy!

Google are continually evolving the functionality  and depth of AdWords (one could say in an effort to squeeze every dime as most changes seem to justify charging more) but it’s now nice to see that they’ve been busy working on the bodywork instead of just the engine with the announcement today that they are soon to begin beta testing a new interface in the UK.

Upon first impressions it more like Google analytics crossed with AdWords Editor than it is the traditional Google AdWords interface but that’s no bad thing :

New AdWords Interface

The main points to note are the navigation bar instead of the current tabs and the “tree view” campaign navigation structure, this will be familiar for AdWords Editor users (if you aren’t using editor then why not.. it saves so much time and is super quick to learn!)
When the new interface is released you will have more flexibility when working in your account, sorting keywords, ads, adgroups and campaigns. When viewing a campaign you will be able to see  tabs for ad groups, Keywords, and Networks (Networks  is basically the new name for placements).

When in the campaign view if you click Networks, ads, keywords etc. it will display all the keywords, placements and ads for that campaign in one table to help sort through everything in one place and aid identification of what is performing well and not so well. e.g. the “Keywords” tab lets you sort all of your ads by conversion rate and see which are performing well for you across all ad groups, you can  then possibly modify things based on this data.


Another feature of AdWords Editor has been the ability to search and create filters, basically in AdWords Editor you can search your account very quickly for any keyword/adcopy/number/url etc. and even create searches based on more than one criteria such as word x with less/more than x impressions/clicks etc. Its a great feature and it’s good to see the Google boffins bring some of those excellent features online now :


As if that wasn’t enough!, Reports are now integrated so that you have far easier access to detailed information on where your ads are showing, On the keywords tab you can click “show query report” to view a report of any keywords of your choice and see the search queries (one can only hope they also show “xxx other unique search queries” as is currently the case) that have triggered your ads, or you can check the “automatic placements” on the “Networks” tab to see the URLs in the content network where ads have been displaying.


There are a few more features but the main one was the work-flow feature, in the past when not using AdWords Editor (noticing a theme yet !? .. AdWords Editor Rocks!) you have had to create new adgroups how Google wants you to but with the release of the new interface you will be able to do what you want and when as you can create ads, add keywords and set bids in any order you like and there’s the flexibility to create adgroups via a one page set up process :


Testing on the new interface starts in the UK next week so it shouldn’t be too long before the successfully adopted features are rolled out into the mainstream.

It’s a positive thing to see some hard work go into something other than pure revenue generation and justification for click cost escalation as has been the case with most of the work over the last couple of years with Google.

By Shane February 3rd, 2009 1 Comment » Posted in Adwords

AdWords Individual Keyword URL Changes

In adwords it’s been the case for some time that there can be only one instance of a display URL in use on the listings at any one time and that traffic clicking your advert should (regardless of tracking link hops) end up on the same domain as the display URL of your advert.

Google URL Changes

Some people have been legitimately (and not so legitimately) using alternate destination URLs for individual keywords, these have often been totally different domains to the display URL of the advert and it seems Google has had enough, So coming sometime in mid February Google will be making changes to ensure this is no longer allowed so it’d be wise to start reviewing your accounts to ensure that all individual keyword URLs are pointing to the same domain as your ads.

Excerpts from Google’s Notification :

“As you are aware, we require that your ad’s display URL match its destination URL (the URL of your landing page). Keyword URLs are also considered your Destination URL. We do not allow ads with display URLs that redirect to different destination URLs.”

The above is fine and established practice now.

“Keywords will be disapproved if they bring users to pages that are different to your Display URL.”

But above where it says “pages” it could be taken that traffic cannot even be sent to different pages on the same site depending on your display URL folder names !? and how you interpret the wording, for example your display could be “” yet a keyword such as “blue blah offers” may have a URL that goes to “” .. which would be a different page to the display URL ..

I’m thinking that Google will say this is fine and that I’m just being pedantic but I’ve emailed for clarification to be sure. *Update* In response to my questions our very nice Google rep replied with As long as the domain is the same for your keyword destination URLs there will be no issue. So, the examples you give would be totally acceptable”

“Going forward, all display URLs within an ad group must be for the same top-level domain.”

This is going to affect some people, Two different sites could be 100% relevant to the keywords in an adgroup I guess so I don’t see the reasoning behind this for a change to be made unless it’s a quality score issue and Google doesn’t want to or can’t score two or more sites being sent traffic from the same adgroup and apply a median costing if the scores are different !?

“Additionally, in an effort to provide more relevant results and a higher quality experience for our users, we have made the decision to no longer allow multiple domains within a single ad group.”

Most people’s adgroups will already focus on one domain but for those who send traffic to different domains via two or more ads or by using the keyword URL feature you will now need a separate adgroup for each destination domain. I don’t see how this affects relevancy, an advert is shown in isolation to the user they don’t know whether it’s just a single advert in an adgroup or one of ten, they do the search and that search triggers the ad, the user sees the advert and clicks it and goes to site..

I really don’t see what difference to the user does it make if they go to site A or site B !?.. as long as they go where they expect to and the destination matches the display URL it makes no difference to the user.

Google are now saying you can still run the ads but not in the same adgroup, so you’ll now have to have two (or more!)adgroups with the same keywords but different ads, display and destination URLs… this seems a step backwards to me, it will be more work for advertisers and more server space for Google, however no doubt some new pricing differential will kick in and we’ll be paying handsomely for the privilege of two or more lots of the same keywords in an account.

“Please note that this amendment to our policy applies to all advertisers, regardless of previous exceptions or acceptability of any campaigns. While we understand there are legitimate use-cases for multiple domains within one ad group, we ask that separate ad groups are created for any given domain.”

Basically this is no exceptions regardless of past history or present needs however legitimate so we are all going to in the same boat! It’s early days so no doubt further clarification will come but for now there are a few weeks to trawl accounts and identify occurrences and get ready to make the changes.

By Shane January 21st, 2009 7 Comments » Posted in Adwords
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