Everyone needs a good tool. So are you ready to hear about the latest and greatest? Me too. I actually changed sessions to be here today after Alex sold me on his toolbox at Schmoozefest yesterday.
Anyway, we have Simon Heseltine (AOL Inc.) moderating an All-Star line up: Dave Snyder (Blueglass), David Szetela (Clix Marketing), Mark Jackson (VIZION Interactive), Alex Cohen (ClickEquations), and Ariel Bardin (Google).
Alex is up first because he's the biggest search marketing tool on the panel [his words, not mine!].
There are three major areas to improve profit:
1. Keyword research
2. Campaign management
3. Analysis and site experience
First off, start by identifying what types of problems are holding you back
- People (senior staff support, training junior staff)
- Process (reducing inefficiency, improving effectiveness)
- Analytics (more complete and accurate data)
- Technology (simplifying/automating workflow)
The Paid Search Technology landscape is HUGE, so it's not a question of what tools you should use, rather which tools you should use and when. When you are early on in the process, identify where you are on the paid search maturity curve.
The Stages of Maturity
3. Core competency
When you start out, free tools will do the job; at this stage it's more about people and education. As you move up the maturity curve, you will start to need more specialized and niche tools.
- Prioritize your problems
- Focus on education first
- Improve your methodology
David is up next - he has a bunch of books that everyone should check out. David is going to talk about a couple of free Google Tools:
1. Conversion Optimizer (CO) provides automated bid management
- Remember to be patient
- Monitor your results
- Tweak target CPA bids if necessary
- Caution: CO doesn't handle peaks and valleys well and AdWords Editor can't handle CO campaigns
2. AdWords Editor helps you to segment your AdGroups
- Fast campaign construction and editing
- Huge time-saver
- Lots of technical expertise
Ariel is at the podium next. His tip of the day is to go to the Google Ad Innovations page which lists all of the tools that Google have, so go check this out. He's going to help answer two key questions:
How do I know if I am doing well?
Go to the Google Opportunity Center and use the Analyze Competition report to see how you are doing against your competitors. Analyze Competition shows you CTR comparisons, and you can see what quartile you are in for your category.
How can I do better?
Campaign Experiments is now in Beta and allows you to run experiments to see in a statistically significant way, results from your campaign experiments. You can easily experiment with keywords, bids, adgroups...and Google will do all the math for you.
Mark is up next and is going to look at the tools of the trade.
Tools that Mark really likes
- Google Keyword Tool (Free)
- SEM Rush ($50 a month) which looks at the value of traffic
- Google Webmaster Tools (Free) - you can spend days just looking at all the data in here!
- Bing Webmaster Tools (Free) - this has really stepped up recently
- Firebug.com (Free Firefox plugin) looks at page load times
- Optispider (Free) looks at whether the reputation topic matches what the page is really about
- Xenu Link Sleuth (Free) finds broken links on your site
- SEO Site Tool (Free Chrome Extension) overlays search data and recommendations about your page
- Open Site Explorer looks at power of anchor text, links and other important SEO elements
- Competitive Link Finder (Pro version) finds where you have links vs. where your competitors have links
- Google Analytics (Free) measures site performance
Last, but not least, Dave is up and he's going to talk about creating your own tools and customizing them for your needs. He recommends following four steps when creating your own tools.
Step 1: Define Needs
Step 2: Identify the APIs for those needs
- Management (website management, content creation and delivery, labor management, internal management software)
- Reporting (keyword ranking, analytics, trend and buzz monitoring)
Step 3: Interact with the Data
- Hire a smart developer that knows XML, JSON, SOAP
Step 4: Build Out a Really Simple Interface
- Hire a UI designer that knows HTNL/CSS
- Get an API developer to plug in the data
Step 5: Test and Refine
Wow. Another great session, with a bunch of cool stuff to go check out... right after lunch that is!
This live blog post was written by guest blogger Imelda Khoo. Imelda is the E-Marketing Manager at Tektronix, responsible for global SEO, PPC and social media. Imelda blogs at SEM Booty and is also on Twitter @imeldak
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