Getting my head around Paid Search for today’s SageRock System Session

Today starts the Paid Search In-Depth Series in the SageRock System.

This is a multi-session series covering all the fundamentals of setting up paid search campaigns in the primary search platforms.

We will be studying:

  • Google AdWords
  • Google AdWords for video
  • Microsoft adCenter
  • Facebook Ads
  • LinkedIn Ads

There are more ways than ever to effectively advertise your business online. There are also more ways than ever to over spend and get taken advantage of.

We will be looking at items such as:

  • Tracking – How to determine value and success.
  • Campaign setup – How to organize items for maximum effectiveness and profitability.
  • Maintenance – How to maintain and grow your accounts.
  • Growth – How to determine when and if to expand your campaigns and try other venues.

I’ve never been the paid search person at SageRock.

When it was just me and Rocky, Rocky ran paid search (awesomely, may I say).

Then we’ve had some really top-notch people running paid search for us over the years.

Greg is flat out awesome at paid search.

Our lead paid search person is Alison Krejny. She has a lot of experience working in some very advanced paid search environments.

The link to Alison above is a video she did with me. In it, she says she is “a numbers nerd.”

She loves numbers.

As I look at the people who are really good at paid search, the recurring trait I see in the people is that they are detail people.

People that like working with details tend to do very well in paid search.

For what it’s worth, I believe people can become detail people. I don’t believe it’s something you are born with. I’ve been a detail person in other points in my life.

But I am most certainly not a detail person now. You can ask anyone in my life and I’m pretty sure they will agree.

So, I am not the person usually entrusted with paid search here at SageRock.

They usually relegate me to my own pet paid search projects.

That said, I had a time period where I was on the paid search panels at Search Engine Strategies conferences. So, paid search is definitely not foreign to me. I just feel more at home in link building and social.

Because of that I’m anticipating co-teaching this series with Greg. I probably will take the general lead on the sessions. But he will make sure I’m not saying anything crazy. And he’ll make sure I haven’t left anything out.

I’ve expanded the subjects in teaching it this time around. I typically only talk about AdWords and AdCenter (which is now Bing Ads).

But I don’t have an upcoming topic to cover Facebook ads or LinkedIn Ads. So I want to cover those too.

So as I get this all straight in my head, the overarching points I want to make are:

  • Understand quality score and how it effects your cost.
  • Understand match types so you know what phrases you are actually paying for.
  • Understand negative keywords to refine your targeting.
  • Understand the various networks that your ads could appear.
  • Understand how to organize your campaigns so you have the most control while not making things too difficult to manage.
  • Understand how to determine if your campaigns are effective.

Those are the items that initially come to me. I’m sure there will be more.

For what it’s worth, this is one of a long series we’re doing at the SageRock System.

I just finished up Google Analytics.

I’m doing paid search now.

And upcoming series include:

  • Landing page optimization
  • Organic (on the page) SEO
  • Link Building
  • Webmaster Tools (Google & Bing)
  • Email
  • Display (Facebook, AdWords and Ad Networks)
  • Retargeting (site and search retargeting)

The SageRock System includes many things. But not the least of which are these sessions. All of them are recorded and archived so you can follow up on missed sessions.

You can learn more about the SageRock System here.

Please Batman! Save my search results NOW!!

You know when Silent Bob, aka Kevin Smith (Director of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Clerks, Dogma and Red State) says this:

A movie is going to be good.

But It’s 2012, right?

Google has been in business for like ever.

Here’s a quick history lesson for the day:

History of Google – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Google began in March 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Ph.D. students at Stanford[1] working on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP). The SDLP’s goal was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library.” and was funded through the National Science Foundation among other federal agencies.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 2003

So why is it that when you have the most anticipated movie ever that you just ignore Google?

Why Batman? Why?

Maybe you’ve never heard of Google? That’s possible.

If that’s the case, you really should check it out:

Google – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Google has been estimated to run over one million servers in data centers around the world, and process over one billion search requests and about twenty-four petabytes of user-generated data every day.

I don’t know what a petabyte is but I do know they made almost $38 billion in 2011.

And I’ll let you in on a little secret… most of that money came from those little text ads that you swear you never click on.

Roughly about 85% of the money Google makes comes from AdWords.

In case you don’t know, Google only makes it’s money when someone clicks on the AdWords ad.

So, you see, someone is clicking on the ads. We estimate that it’s roughly 30% of the traffic that comes to Google that clicks on AdWords ads.

So why the hell does my search results page for the word “Batman” 7 days before one of the most anticipated super hero movies ever look like this:

The main website is nowhere to be found “above the fold”.

Here’s a screen capture of my entire first page of results for the word Batman:

Ya know… I’ve spent 13 years yelling, writing, trying to get people excited about the most amazing shift in media in the history of humanity. I’ve really tried.

But when I see this kind of thing, Batman, it makes me realize I have so far to go.

Please Batman! Buy the word Batman in AdWords today!

Here’s the estimated traffic and cost per click that you’ll have to pay according to the Google Keyword Tool:

They say it’s going to cost you about $.60 per click for this traffic. But because you are the site everyone wants to see this week I wouldn’t be surprised if your cost per click is much less than that.

Oh… and here are some other phrases you might want to consider to rank for:

You are losing more traffic than you possibly can imagine by not being at the top of the search results pages.

Oh… and you are going to hate this, but everybody is calling your movie “Batman 3“. I know you hate that because you are nowhere on the first page of search results for that phrase.

Wikipedia and IMDB have figured it out and are in the top results for that phrase.

But think of this as an opportunity. If you would buy these phrases:

batman 3 trailer
batman 3 villains
batman 3 movie
batman movies
batman villains
batman 3 rumors
batman 3 news
batman 3 wiki

You would never have to say the words Batman 3. You could just let people know that you are The Dark Knight Rises official site.

And here’s an idea that ‘s maybe a little advanced but you might like it for the 5 people that haven’t heard that The Batman will be Rising in 7 days, you could buy some general phrases like these:

new movies
new movie releases
new movie
movies new releases
new movie trailers

They actually get a ton of traffic.

So please Batman! Save my Google search results and get your ass to the top of the listings today!

I know it’s a small gift, but I’ve linked the hell out of this article to your site. Search engine optimization is an entire other huge beast that we should talk about some day. But just so you know, Google loves when people link to you. (They also love actual text content, for the record.)

I love you Batman. That’s why I was a little hard on you. You are the greatest superhero the world has ever seen. You are the super hero we deserve. I want to be the SEM guy you deserve.

So buy some frickin’ search results adWords ads today.

HELP! Mission: Small Business

Chase and LivingSocial want to help small businesses by awarding grants of $250,000 to 12 small businesses. SageRock wants to be one of these!

You can help us and other local small businesses grow by voting for us!

Here at SageRock we are dedicated to growing not only our business but other local businesses. It’s very rare that we would ask for your help, so please take the time to help us and those around us grow to our full potential!

Here’s How in 3 Easy Steps (less than 30 seconds!!):

1) Visit –> Login with your Facebook Account.



2) Search for SageRock


3) Vote for SageRock!!!vote-for-sagerock-grantWe realize that we are asking a lot from you.

We want to only grow and provide our level of service to an even greater number of local businesses and help them grow as well. We are under a time crunch to reach 250 votes by Friday afternoon and we thank you in advance.

Please Vote for Us and Share this with your Facebook friends!!

Thank You!




Double the traffic for the same price

What if I told you I (actually not me but Greg) Greg could get you twice the traffic for the exact same price you are paying now for Google AdWords?

On top of that, what if I told you he could get you better traffic than you are getting now?

  • Bounce rate down 91%
  • Visits up 92%
  • Pageviews up 413%
  • Visit duration up 280%

He could double your traffic plus do all those other things all while decreasing your average cost per click 58%.  (Actually, I can’t math. The average cost per click was $1.30. Greg got it to $0.54. I think that’s a 140% decrease. But I don’t know. That’s why I’m the “big thinker”. These are all year over year numbers.)

Would you be interested in that?

That’s the meeting Greg and I just had. That’s what he just did for a very prominent company.

This is a straight up “Benefits” post. This is the benefit of working with Greg here at SageRock on your paid search.

I have seen him do this over and over again through the years.

While I’m on stories about Greg I’ll tell you one more:

We once went to a client’s where we had been working on 3 separate businesses for them.

At the end of the meeting our contact said to us (this is a direct quote and one I’ll never forget), “Do you want to see the building you built?”

He walked around the main building and behind it was this brand new brick building.

He said, “That building and the people that work in it are all running on the work you do.”

That was probably the most memorable business experience I’ve ever had.

All of their marketing and advertising was paid search run by SageRock.

We have solutions starting at $1500/month.

Greg looking all serious.

Nice work, buddy!



A Big Opportunity with U.S. Airport Paid Search

I admit that I have not gone through all 100 top U.S. airports from a paid search perspective.

But what I can say is that most of you are missing a big opportunity for traffic in the search engines. Most airports are doing no paid search.

This is a big opportunity for a couple reasons.

You want to understand that you are fighting for real estate on Google. The more real estate you have the more likely it is that people will click on your listing.

This is a great example of Atlanta owning the majority of the real estate on Google when you search for “Atlanta airport.”


But look how different things are when you do a search for “Atlanta airport parking.”

There are 3 paid listings above plus all the side listings. The likelihood increases significantly that the other sites will get clicked on.

Parking is a big opportunity for paid search.

Look at this search result for “rental cars at JFK.”

The primary JFK website is nowhere to be found.

I’d also encourage you to take a look at the search results at These are a little more wild. Take a look at the results for “Las Vegas airport”

The Enterprise ad is above the McCarran primary site. Plus there are a series of ads on the right trying to get people to book a variety of things on their sites. The risk of losing the visitor is even greater here.

Paid search is a great opportunity for pulling traffic away from where people might have actually intended to go. I strongly encourage you to not let that happen.

I also encourage you to bid on phrases for things like “flights to…”

You can use geo-targeted paid search to get these searchers to your site.

Think of paid search for what it is: an advertisement space for your targeted audience.

You wouldn’t think twice to buy an ad in the local newspaper or TV station. But I think often people are reluctant to do the same in a search engine. These are some of the most qualified people you will ever be able to show an ad. You definitely don’t want to lose them at the very moment they are about to click on your site.

If someone is bidding on traffic you would like to have come to your site I would strongly encourage you to engage with these advertisers. Get in there. Make sure you get the traffic that is yours.

If you would like to test paid search in Google AdWords I have $100 coupons. Just click here to contact me and let me know you are interested in giving paid search a try. I’ll gladly hook you up.



AdWords Ad Rotation Changes Update From Greg

Please take a minute to read Greg’s article over at Search Engine Watch on the Google AdWords Ad Rotation changes.

These are surprisingly significant changes that will likely make your life more difficult.

Google would rather you not know about these changes at all. It will just mean more money for them. But don’t fall for that trap. You aren’t doing Google AdWords to help Google. You’re doing Google AdWords to help you.

Go here to read Greg’s article on AdWords Ad Rotation changes.

It’s the best article on the topic out there.

Oh! And don’t forget the SageRock Google Analytics Event Tracking URL Builder. I used it to track how many people click on that link. You could do the same thing easily using that tool.

Greg is SageRock’s Chief Operating Officer and is awesome.

Make your Online Advertising Easy with Acquisio

Here is an interview I did with Marc Poirier, Co-Founder and VP Marketing at Acquisio. We talked at Search Engine Strategies New York 2012.

Check out how what Acquisio is does and how they could significantly help you manage your online advertising strategy.


I often talk to companies of all sizes that tell me they have no money and no time.

That’s a bold face lie.

What they have is very little interest in what they asked me to come talk about.

The one that I especially disbelieve is the lack of time.

We all have time. We all have the exact same amount of it. It’s the great equalizer.

I don’t care if you are Warren Buffett, Bill Gates or the guy begging for money on the street corner. We all have 24 hours a day. How we spend it is what makes the difference.

I’m as guilty as anyone of misspending my time. As a business owner the only thing I need to be focusing on is achieving the goals of the company. And, as with the vast majority of businesses, there is only one goal: make more money.

You know that’s the case with every publicly traded company. They are in business to bring higher returns for their stock holders.

Private companies (especially small ones) often like to think they are more complicated than that. But they aren’t.

If you are trying to save the world you are in the wrong business. You would do better saving the world by doing any myriad of things that don’t include trying to stay profitable as a business.

Of course you can create a product or service that makes a difference in the world. In fact, if you want to succeed you have to bring true value in some way. Drug companies do that by creating life saving medication. Monsanto does that by selling us cheap corn. But if they didn’t make money at it I promise you they would be doing something else.

This amuses me because I talk to many people personally who feel this is dirty. They think that somehow these things should get done without the gears of commerce working. Everything stops working without money.

If you believe the primary goal of a business is not making more money please tell me in the comments. But if not, if you agree making more money is the primary goal of a business then as the leader of the company you need to be spending as much of your time and money as possible making that happen.

You make money one of two ways: Sales or marketing. I actually believe doing both gives the best results.

Every spare moment and dime needs to go into these areas. Sales and marketing are the oxygen and blood of your company. Constant growth and refinement is absolutely critical.

A company only is going up or going down. You and your employees want to be on a ship that is going exciting, interesting places. No one wants to be on a ship that’s sinking.

Sales and marketing is how you stay afloat and thrive.

If we (SageRock) were in competition with other sales initiatives or marketing strategies that would be one thing. But often I’m in competition with doing nothing.

“Should we invest in Internet marketing or should we do nothing?”

I hate losing to “do nothing.” I’d much rather lose to a quality competitor.

Other things I hate to lose to:

  • Yellow Pages
  • Direct mail
  • Newspaper ads
  • Cold calling
  • Door to door sales people

Those are all losers. They are in decline. Online marketing is cheaper and incredibly more effective.

It’s important to note that I’m not absolutely against any of those offline methods. But they should always be tied to an online approach.

Online can tell such a richer story about you and your company. Plus you can instantly determine success by driving people online.

How effective is your Yellow Pages ad? I’m willing to bet you have no idea.

Invest in online first. Then figure out how those other items fit into that.

And above all else: DON’T DO NOTHING.

If you don’t want to hire me, fine, call one of these competitors, I feel reasonably sure they will try to give you good work:

TheSearchGuru 440.306.2418  (866)517-1900 617.449.4300
OneupWeb 231.922.9977

Why Search Engine Marketing Matters

This is a question that I sometimes forget to address. But there are still many people (maybe you are one of them) that is suspect of the value of the various forms of search marketing.

This video aims to inspire you into trying search marketing. It also could be good to give to an executive that is on the fence about trying search marketing.

Here are the links to the resources I referred to in the video: