KeyRelevance Supports Dallas Keyword Research Event

DFWSEM logoKeyRelevance President Christine Churchill is teaming with Shelly Ellis to provide a presentation on keyword research. The event will be held at the Renaissance Hotel in Richardson, Texas at 6:30 PM on 19 February.

Keyword Research is considered the first step in all online marketing. Keyword research applies to organic search engine optimization, paid advertising, as well as video marketing, blogging and social media marketing.

Christine Churchill currently serves as the Chairman of the Dallas Search Engine Marketing Association (DFWSEM) and frequently speaks on keyword research at major search industry conferences such as Search Marketing Expo, Search Engine Strategies, Webmaster World, and the Unleashed Conferences. She has been in the field of online marketing for over ten years and holds a masters degree in business.

Shelley Ellis is the owner of Shelley Ellis Consulting and is at the forefront of exploring the vast potential of using Google’s content network for tapping into online conversations to increase sales and boost profits for companies of any size. With over nine years of paid search experience across a variety of industries, Shelley is a pioneer and a recognized expert in advanced content targeting strategies. Shelley also serves on the board of the Dallas-Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association (DFWSEM).

If you’re in Dallas on 19 Feb, please join us at the Keyword Research Event. For additional information on the DFWSEM see,

Omniture Seminar in Dallas Oct 14 – Free

Our friends at Omniture are hosting a FREE seminar on Tuesay 14 October in Dallas. In the half-day seminar they will be covering both their SearchCenter and Test & Target tools. The event will be in Dallas on October 14th at the W- Dallas Victory Hotel. Here’s an overview of what they will present:

Automate Paid Search

Set up and manage campaigns across all search engines from a single interface
Create automated bid rules to improve return on ad spend without daily, manual intervention
Adapt keyword bids according to strategic success events beyond simple click-through rates
Correlate paid keywords with your internal on-site search to expand and refine keyword lists and optimize destination URLs
Improve unaided brand awareness through search engine marketing

Improve Relevance

Improve your conversion by using A/B and multivariate testing on your landing pages, banners, forms and any other Web site content
Geo-targeting– how to target content based on the location data you already have in your Web analytics tool
Segment targeting– how to create segments that make sense for your business
Email testing– improve the results of your email campaigns by determining which actually convert best in real-time

Space is limited so register today to reserve your seat. Here is the direct link to register with the schedule:

SMX East 2008 – Great show, great people, great content

SMX East logo Great conferences don’t happen by accident. That said, the recent SMX East show rates as fabulous. Danny Sullivan, Chris Sherman and the rest of the Third Door folks did an incredible job of putting together a first class show.

How they do it is an art form. First, they entice the best keynotes and speakers in the industry to come and openly share their knowledge. (Looking over the list of speakers, I feel privileged and humbled that I’m even allowed to participate.) Then Danny and Chris develop a killer agenda that has broad audience appeal yet is balanced enough to offer something for everyone from the novice marketer to the advanced expert.

Throw in sponsors and exhibitors to help finance the show and provide the attendees cool stuff like wireless connections (thanks Rand), tee shirts, and light-up promotional items that max out the geek meter.

Lastly, you need a hard working dedicated staff to run the lights, music, microphones, registration, and all the other behind-the-scenes things that make the show the A+ event it was. Kudos to Karen, Claire, Michelle, and everyone else involved.

The week leading up to the show was tough. Employee and friend Li Evans unexpectedly lost her father. Another employee had to be rushed to the Emergency Room and spent the week in the hospital undergoing breathing treatments. If that wasn’t enough trauma, during the week, a close family friend succumbed to cancer after a long arduous struggle. While that death wasn’t a total surprise, I found myself emotionally drained. The world felt a little smaller and colder.

Arriving in NYC after such a week meant I really wasn’t in the mood for parties. I was craving quieter smaller exchanges with close friends. One positive thing about conferences is that it brings old friends together. Conference friends have a special place. They may not physically live near us but because we share time and adventures in locales far from our homes where we are without our usual support networks, there is a special bonding and closeness that develops. I have conference friends who are like extended family to me. We take turns looking out for each other and we’ve cried on each other’s shoulders on more than one occasion.

This trip my dear friend Scottie Claiborne popped up to NYC to visit our group of friends and stayed with me. A few years ago Scottie had withdrawn from the conference limelight to focus more on kids and a balanced life. Within a few minutes of seeing Scottie my spirits were brighter. Scottie has that effect on me and most people she comes in contact with. It was great catching up with her.

Photo of Debra Mastaler and Christine ChurchillOne night during the conference a group of friends assembled in the hotel bar to celebrate Debra Mastaler’s birthday. It was comforting to be in the midst of friends and I was genuinely happy to see them. Debra is a popular lady in search and a dear long-time friend. Some of the many friends who stopped by to wish her well were Jill Whalen, Scottie Claiborne, Mike Grehan, Brad Neelan, Mona Eiesseily, Andrew Goodman, Stacy Williams, Li Evans, Kim Krause Berg and her charming husband Eric, Kevin Newcomb, Simon Heseltine, and many others.

I sat in on a number of sessions at the conference and was delighted with the content. It would be hard to choose which was my favorite this conference, so many were excellent. If I was forced to pick just one, I would have to say I enjoyed Gregory Markel’s presentation on video search engine optimization the best. I’ve known Gregory a long time and consider him a friend. I have also learned over the years that embedded in his enthusiastic presentations are really great marketing jewels. You can tell he loves what he does and Gregory is very willing to share his knowledge. If you missed his session at SMX, watch for him at another show. I’ve been in the search business for ten plus years, and I walked out of the session with a few new tricks. Thanks Greg.

That leads me to another topic. The search industry moves too fast to sit on your laurels. You have to actively grow and learn new skills….constantly. If you stand still the industry will pass you by. One of the easiest ways to stay up to date of new changes in the industry is to attend conferences. Books in our industry are outdated before they are printed. Attending conferences gives you more current information and is one of the best professional development practices you can do. Sure, it costs money to attend, but if you get a couple nuggets of new information and network with folks who can help you do your job better, it’s worth every cent.

My next conference, SMX London, is 4-5 November 2008. I’m already looking forward to it. Each conference has its own flavor and the London show is a great place to learn about all things search, but especially learn about international marketing techniques.

I’ll be speaking on two panels in London. Dear friend Tor Crockatt (who is not only drop dead beautiful, but is a first class marketer) and I will be paired up in a Keyword Research Bootcamp. I’ve spoken on panels with Tor many times and it’s always thrilling to share the podium with someone as knowledgeable and fun as Tor. There is good chemistry between us. Keeping us in line (or trying to) will be moderator and conference co-chair Chris Sherman. Good luck Chris, we outnumber you.

My other speaking session at SMX London is the Paid Search Checkup panel. Paid Search wizard Mel Carson and I will interactively review paid search campaigns and provide constructive advice to improve them. Live clinics are my favorite type sessions because you never know what will be thrown at you. They are also where you, as an advertiser, can get free advice from experienced marketers. If you are already an expert marketer, it’s nice to get a second opinion if you’re looking for new ideas on marketing. The cross fertilization of tips and experience in the clinic makes for a rich exchange where everyone benefits.

Well, I’ve managed to ramble on a number of topics and even cross the globe in a very short time. You have things to do, so I’ll close by saying I hope to see you at a conference soon. And please, do come up and say hello if you attend. I’m very approachable, human, and always open to make a new search friend.


Key Relevance Review of Google Automatic Match – Measuring the Cost of Skipping Keyword Research

by Jim Gilbert and Mike Churchill of Key Relevance

Automatic Match is Google’s new feature that allows AdWords managers to receive clicks in their PPC campaigns without the need to select specific keywords. According to Google:


Automatic matching

Automatic matching is an optional feature that helps your ads reach targeted traffic missed by your keyword lists. It works by analyzing the content of the landing pages, ads, and keywords in your ad group and shows your ads on search queries relevant to this information.

The automatic matching system continually monitors your ad performance and aims to show your ads only on queries that yield a comparable or better cost-per-click (CPC) than that of your current traffic. Automatic matching will only use your unspent budget and will never deliver more traffic than your budget allows for.


In two previous posts, Jim took a somewhat negative shot at Google’s “Automatic Match” feature, with little to go on but past experience with “new features”.


Well, we’re back and have the results of our real-life testing of this new feature.

After a fairly lengthy process of testing “Automatic Match”, we can now report these facts — Facts at the time of this writing, but Google can always change at any moment without warning or notice.


  1. The following statement is still true, so be on the lookout for when Google rolls “Automatic Match” out to your account!
    Quote from an Official Google email dated 23May2008: “The feature will be enabled by default..” – see Automatic Match to be Default
  2. Automatic Match does not start spending immediately… once activated, it takes up to a couple weeks for it to learn what it thinks it should do. So, don’t get complacent if it does don’t start spending on Day One — KEEP TABS — it could take off like a rocket at any time.
  3. Google’s “Automatic Match” IS greedier than expanded broad match! See our original post at: More Greedy than Expanded Broad Match
  4. Still true (if you notice when it shows up): But there is GOOD news — you can OPT out!

    Look for this in your Campaign Settings:

  5. Automatic Match is especially invasive in adgroups that have relatively few keywords.
  6. You can “negate” bad impressions and clicks with negative keywords — if you keep very, very close tabs on them. We use the PPCProbe keyword tool to allow us real-time tracking of the search phrases.

NOW, some actual results:

The Scenario:
One adgroup with 1 PHRASE match keyword, residing in a campaign enabled for automatic match.

The Results:

  • Adgroup spend increased 600%! That’s right… 600%!

While the increase in spend in and of itself is not a bad thing (assuming that’s why we were using Automatic Match in the first place), there is a problem with ther results of our test: spending more money is a good thing only if it is bringing targeted traffic to the site. One of the shortcomings of using Automatic Match is that you don’t get to see the search terms that the searchers are using in the Campaign/AdGroups management screen. We used PPCProbe to allow us to gain the insight into the actual search terms that Automatic Match was matching to in real time.

  • 88% of all clicks were from “Automatic Match”. Only 12% were from the actual phrase match keyword. The CPC of the Automatic Match keywords was a little cheaper than the CPC of the actual phrase in the account, but…
  • The majority (4 out of 5) of “Automatic Match” clicks came from keywords I consider to be not relevant. As we shall see, this makes the Effective CPC much worse in our case.

We ran our test with a single phrase match term in the AdGroup: “wedding table decorations”. Of the clicks collected during our test, clicks for the phrases in the AdGroup broke down as follows:


Category Example Percentage of Clicks
Actual Phrase from AdGroup
(non-Auto Match – Very Relevant Hits)
“wedding table decorations” 11.9%
Automatic Match (Relevant Hits) “weddiing table decor”
“decorations for wedding tables”
“wedding cake table decorations”
“wedding table ideas”
Automatic Match (Non-Relevant/Close Hits) “table settings”
“party table numbers”
“table numbers for weddings”
Automatic Match (Non-Relevant Hits) Chocolate “Hersheys”
“chocolate wedding favors”
“chocolate lollipops”
Automatic Match (Non-Relevant Hits) Flowers “wedding flowers”
“wedding florists”
“wedding lily flowers”
Automatic Match (Non-Relevant Hits) Wedding Gowns “discount wedding gowns”
“discount wedding dresses”
Other (Non-Relevant Hits)   10.4%


As result, if we consider the Actual Phrases, the Automatch Hits, and the Near Misses (to give the benefit of the doubt – it is just a computer making these KW decisions and we are being lazy by using Automatic Match in the first place), you can see that only 28.4% of the ad spend generated relevant traffic to the site. This effectively made the CPC of the KW buys in this AdGroup 3.5 times more expensive with Automatic Match turned on compared to manually selecting keywords because of the ad spend wasted on the mis-targeted Keyword clicks.

So, where are these mismatched keywords coming from? Are chocolates, flowers and wedding gowns featured on the landing page for the AdGroup? The short answer is “No”. The word “flower” is mentioned once in the plain text of the page, the words “hershey” and “chocolate” appear in the sidebar navigation that points to other pages of the site, and the words “gown” and “dress” are not on the page at all. None of these off-target keywords appeared in the AdWords Ad Copy or anywhere else in the AdGroup. A new AdGroup was created for this test, so no deleted words were previously in the AdGroup. From this we conclude that Automatic Match seems to be using a variation of the Expanded Broad Match algorithm.


  • Turn Automatic Matching off until you understand the ramifications of what it will do to your ad spend, traffic, and conversions.
  • If you should decide to use it, watch it closely, and track the actual phrases that are being used to drive traffic to the site.
  • Be prepared for nothing to happen on the Automatic Match lines of your AdGroups immediately – Automatic Match takes some time to “kick in”.
  • Compute an “effective CPC” [total $$ / (total clicks – off-target Automatch clicks)] for the AdGroup. Once you discount the off-target traffic you will be better able to determine the real cost of using Automatic Matching in your ad campaign.

Pay Per Click

Yahoo Conversion Problem?

by Jim Gilbert

If you have advertised on Yahoo’s Panama for any length of time or managed multiple accounts there, you may have seen (in many account cases) a deterioration in conversion performance in search.

We are talking search here — not the content network.

I just finished investigating this issue on several accounts today and found a very interesting fact:

Of all the clicks coming from these accounts on Yahoo Panama, only 33.7% were actually from Yahoo — the rest (66.3%) were from Yahoo’s Search Network!

So Yahoo’s search network delivers more traffic than Yahoo search? Yep, in many cases this appears to be an absolute fact.

“So who cares”, you say?

You should! Yahoo’s search network (and Google’s for that matter) is not chunked full of brand name properties to put it politely — to be a bit rude many are “scummy”. So, conversion performance from Yahoo is 66.3% search network which just DOES NOT convert as well as search.