If you haven’t used pay per click advertising to drive traffic to your web site, now might be a good time to get started. Google has recently announced several changes that (I believe) will make it easier for a novice to learn the AdWords ropes.
First Page Bid Is More Meaningful
In the past, Google showed the minimum bid for each keyword selection. Many novices inaccurately assumed this was the amount they needed to pay for each keyword, and they would set their bids accordingly. Unfortunately, bidding on keywords wasn’t quite that easy.
Google has replaced the minimum bid with their new, more meaningful, front page bid. This is an estimate of what it will take for your ad to reach the first page of the search results based on exact match, your ad’s quality score and the competition for those keywords.
Bidding slightly higher than the first page bid amount is a good way to get your ad on page one of the serps.
But if the front page bid is out of your budget, here’s a little trick. Try bidding lower than the front page bid, and then be patient. Google will never charge an advertiser more than his budget allows. Once an ad has reached its budget limit, Google will stop showing it. So, as the front page ads start reaching their limits and falling off the serps, your own ad might see first page results with less-than first page bids – especially at the end of the day or the end of the month.
You’ll have to play around with this technique and keep an eye on your results until you land on a few bid amounts that work perfectly for you.
No More Inactive Keywords
In the past, keywords that did not meet the minimum bid based on their quality score were marked “inactive for search”. But Google will now be evaluating quality score in a more dynamic nature, which means every keyword will be available for search – theoretically.
I’ve seen novices who log into their AdWords accounts and see several “inactive for search” notices. Then they panic and put a halt to their entire campaign. So from that stand point, this change will be good for newcomers.
On the down side, though, the “inactive” designation was a good indicator that something was wrong. It allowed novices to either figure out what needed to be fixed, or to consult with an expert. Now that inactive keywords will be going away, AdWords newcomers could get lulled into a false sense that everything with their campaigns is hunky-dory.
The thing to keep in mind is that if a keyword would have been labeled inactive under the old system, the chances are pretty unlikely that it will receive any placement under the new system.
Quality Score Transparency
In the past, the quality score calculation was somewhat of a mystery. You would need to run reports and sort by keywords and try to figure it out yourself.
But now Google will allow you to run reports based on Quality Score. This will make it much easier for novices to see exactly what is going on with their campaigns.
Bigger Role For Landing Pages
Under the current system, your landing page factors into your minimum bid. Under the new system, landing pages will help determine your quality score and ad rank.
This is good news for novices since the landing page is often the easiest element for them to control. New internet marketers can easily open a WYSIWYG editor and change their page title, headlines, keyword density and relevancy. This might be less intimidating than making changes in the AdWords center itself.
These changes are currently being rolled out on a small scale basis. Be watching for them to take effect across the board over the next few months.