Google Says Users Won’t be able to Tell Paid Ads from Natural

by Jim Gilbert

By Scott Morrison, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES reports a top Google executive (Tim Armstrong, Google’s North American president for advertising and commerce.) of saying:

“Speaking at the Bear Stearns Media Conference in Palm Beach, Fla., Armstrong said Google’s advertising platform will evolve over time so that it won’t distinguish between search and display ads.”

Anyone care to comment on what the heck that means?

Google’s Automatic Match – More Greedy than Expanded Broad Match

by Jim Gilbert

Quote from an Official Google email dated 23May2008:

“The feature will be enabled by default, although it
won’t begin to affect your accounts until June 3, 2008.”

UPDATE! 23May2008 — Automatic Match to be the DEFAULT! see the full update at: Automatic Match to be Default

Google Automatic Match Beta

So far this “Automatic Match” option is only a beta and accessible by invitation only. BUT, If this monster goes live and removes our ability to “opt out” (like in Expanded Broad Match), something very, very ugly may happen:

  •   No matter how large your budgets, they WILL be spent — every penny (and dollar)!

I was going to let you read the Beta help file, but it disappeared… IT’S BACK, but you will have to be logged into an AdWords account to get to it: Automatic Match


Just build your campaigns and they will come. Heck, you no longer even have to offer any keywords — Google will look at your ad and your site and make sure your ads show for any search query that even “smells” relevant.


Did Google’s revenue drop in January scare them that badly?


Pay Per Click

A Chat with Analytics Guru Jim Sterne

By Christine Churchill

SES London 2008 is nearly upon us. Looking over the agenda and speaker list I was happy to see Analytics expert and all around good guy Jim Sterne. I’ve known Jim for a couple of years and I continue to be in awe of the man.

Jim Sterne PictureJim is a prolific author of books and articles, a famed speaker, and the producer of the eMetrics Summit Conferences. Energetic and engaged in life, Jim runs Target Marketing and is the Founding President and current Chairman of the Web Analytics Association, a wonderful organization of which KeyRelevance is a proud Premiere Corporate Member.

Jim and I will both be in London next week speaking at SES London. Jim is legendary on stage and I’ve heard other speakers playfully call him the PowerPoint King. He’s one of those rare people you occassionally meet in life who exude positive energy and great ideas. I caught up with Jim the other day and asked him a few questions.

Christine: Most of us running online businesses are going in many directions and have to prioritize where we spend our time. Here’s a question for all those harried business owners who are trying to make every minute count. If I only had 15 minutes a day to spend on analytics, where should I spend my time?

Jim: That would depend on my goals. If my obsession for the day were in conversions, then I would spend my time looking over the persuasion path to see where I could improve the visitor interaction. If my goal was to sell more advertising, I would be measuring what makes people look at more pages so I can display more ads. If my goal is to bring in more qualified leads, I would watch how well my advertising money is being spent – where are people coming from and are they the sort of people I’m after?

Christine: Now here’s a related question. When evaluating a new site, what’s the first measurement you would look at?

Jim: It completely depends on the goals of the website. The first thing would be to get the basic numbers, just as a benchmark. How many visitors? How many events (what we used to call pageviews) per visit? How often do they come back? That way, we have something we can compare with tomorrow’s numbers.

Christine: Since both of us will be in London next week, let me as a question related to analytics and geography. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are important measurements that companies track. Do you see any regional or national differences in KPIs?

Jim: None at all. KPI’s are particular to industries and website types. Even the ability to track those KPI’s is the same. There are very smart companies in every corner of the globe and some of the most advanced places harbor the least capable companies.

Christine: That is excellent news for businesses with global aspirations and your answer makes perfect sense. Jim, you are well known for your clear thinking and forward looking approach to life. Where do you see Analytics heading?

Jim: Given enough traffic for statistical significance, I think we can use the activity on a website to measure the impact of all our marketing. The web is so much a part of daily life now that an ad in the newspaper, an ad on the radio and a direct mail postcard will all have an effect on the behavior on the website. Capture that activity, sift through it and the impact of your marketing spend will be revealed. We’re not there yet, but it’s right around the corner.

Christine: In the good old days of the web, the “hit” was the unit of visitor interaction, at least until we figured out that it was a lousy metric. Then, the “impression”or “page view” became the standard. Now along comes Web 2.0 sites with their richer, more interactive mode of interfacing with a visitor. Google Maps, for example, may occupy a visitor for several minutes, without the URL on the Address line changing. When a visit can no longer be accurately be measured in “impressions” how do we properly quantify web site traffic?

Jim: While those better and brighter than me are working on measuring “engagement”, I am happy to break down a visit to a website into “actions”. Searching for an address is an action. Scrolling the map is an action. Zooming in on a location is an action. Commenting on a blog is an action. These actions add up and spell out the flow of individual activity and quite readily replace the pageview as a means of understanding behavior.

Christine: The search engines are offering analytics tools as a part of their offerings. I’m frequently asked this question by students and clients who invest heavily into online paid advertising. From a web advertiser’s perspective, is there any danger in letting the search engines have such a detailed view of a company’s conversions, revenue, and other business metrics?

Jim: One first has to assume that your website is interesting enough and the data about your website is valuable enough to put a $166.2 billion enterprise at risk.

Christine: Jet lag or bad food? What’s the worst part about travel?

Jim: The worst part about travel is yet to come: when they allow mobile phone on airplanes.

Christine (laughing): Thanks much Jim. I’ll see you in London!

Jim: Looking forward to it!

Ninja Power Training – Key Relevance Style

By Christine Churchill

Last Spring, my friend Jim Boykin of WeBuildPages contacted me about participating in a new training program he was developing. Jim’s goal was to create a training package with help from some of the best minds in the industry. It sounded like an intriguing endeavor. Shortly after, Jim interviewed and videotaped top experts in the industry – three of whom are now with KeyRelevance – myself (Christine Churchill), Jim Gilbert, and our in-house search engine patent guru Bill Slawski.

In our videos, Jim Gilbert and I present a combination of formal Pay Per Click training and Q&A, where we provide practical advice to people or companies who want to do paid search more successfully. My goal in the putting the training material together was to have actionable information that you can go out and use today. It’s the kind of information that I wish someone had told me when I was starting out in PPC. The advice presented in the videos should help both beginners and experienced marketers get better returns on their paid search dollars.

If your interest in on organic search, you’ll love Bill Slawski’s videos. If you’re a regular at Bill’s blog, SEOByTheSea, then you know that Bill is probably one of the smartest guys in search and I can tell you from working with him on a daily basis, he is also one of the nicest. Bill has a knack for taking complicated subjects like search engine patents and explaining them in layman’s English so the rest of the world can understand. It’s a true gift. I guarantee you’ll learn a lot about the inner workings of search engines by listening to Bill speak. His advice and clear explanations will expand your understanding about search engine optimization. There are actually four videos with Bill, making up nearly two hours of solid SEO advice from one of the most knowledgeable guys in the industry. If you want to expand your education about search engines and organic rankings, Bill’s videos are perfect. Check out the SEO Traiining Videos today.

Jim Boykin sweetened the Ninja training deal by throwing in his incredible array of SEO tools. These tools provide you an amazing amount of SEO and link information on your site and your competitors. The tools save you a lot of time from pulling the data manually and free you up to make better marketing decisions.

In addition to the video interviews with Jim Gilbert, Bill Slawski, and myself, Jim Boykin gathered an A-list of search marketers including such notables as Aaron Wall (SEOBook), Andy Beal (Marketing Pilgrim), Cameron Olthuis, Neil Patel (ACS), Jeremy Schoemaker (ShoeMoney), Jill Whalen (HighRankings), Jim Boykin (We Build Pages), Lee Odden (TopRank), Todd Malicoat (Stuntdubl), and others!

The price for the training package is $2995. That is a chunk of change, but when you consider what you get, the price is reasonable, especially since many of the experts on the tape charge $300-$600 an hour for consulting. When you join Internet Marketing Ninjas, you get access to the private SEO tools, plus over 15 hours of “tell-all” videos by some of the sharpest people in the industry. Get the details on Internet Ninja SEO Training here.

Congratulations to Bill Slawski for Best Search Engine Research Blog of 2007!

By Christine Churchill

Search Engine Blog AwardI am honored to announce that SEO By The Sea was named Best Search Engine Research Blog of 2007 by Search Engine Journal. KeyRelevance’s own Director of Internet Marketing, Bill Slawski, is the man behind the blog.

Search Engine Journal announced the results of the contest today and described the blog in this way:

“Bill Slawski’s endless research on search engine patent filings has unearthed some intriguing plans by all of the search companies and brought reason to projects like Google Universal, Personalized Search or Yahoo Paid Inclusion.

Instead of being reactive to the changes in search, Bill’s patent filing coverage helps us become more proactive, analyzing the trends which may happen, and preparing for them. Thank you Bill for all of your hard work, and to all of the nominees in this category.”

Congratulations Bill. We know you’ve earned it.