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Learning Google's Advertising Tools

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If you're new to search marketing and wanting a guide to help you get started with Google AdWords and AdSense, consider picking up a copy Google Advertising Tools.

This O'Reilly book by Harold Davis is the most basic introduction to the topic I've seen yet, so it will mostly appeal to newcomers to search marketing.

In fact, the first section, "Making Money with your Web Site," has little to do with Google or even search marketing, but rather takes a mostly higher-level view of the necessary ingredients required for online success, explaining the basics of creating a profitable web site and the various options for driving traffic to the site.

This section has chapters covering basic search optimization techniques, affiliate programs, banner advertising—even a chapter on how to profit from adult content. While all of this material is solid, the core of the book comes later, with in-depth looks at Google's advertising programs.

Part two features how-tos about Google's AdSense program—a curious choice, as most people start with Google's AdWords program that display ads on search results, rather than AdSense, which is Google's contextual advertising program that distributes ads to other content web sites.

The first chapter in this section is a very basic overview of how Google works, and the difference between AdSense and AdWords. The next chapters take you through the process of setting up an AdSense account and how to set up your initial campaign, how to monitor results and get appropriate reports.

The focus is very tactical, barely touching on the creative aspect of writing effective ads and landing pages. In that sense, it makes a good complement to Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg's Call to Action, a book I reviewed and raved about just over a year ago.

And key areas such as web analytics are given barely any attention—again, you'll want to turn to other books such as Eric Peterson's excellent Web Site Measurement Hacks, which I also reviewed for SearchDay.

Part three focused on AdWords. Again, the book focuses on taking you through the steps of setting up an account and launching a campaign. These chapters dig a bit deeper into topics like understanding ad performance, using diagnostics effectively and other important parts of creating a successful campaign.

Part four is classic O'Reilly, focusing on programming the AdWords API. The chapters in this part are technical, and require an understanding of programming. But if you're looking to take full advantage of the tools Google offers for maximum control of your AdWords campaigns, this part of the book serves as an excellent introduction to using the AdWords API.

A more thorough look at the entire process of search advertising, from conceptualizing an effective campaign through running and analyzing its results, is Andrew Goodman's Winning Results with Google AdWords. But for newcomers to search marketing, Google Advertising Tools is a good place to start.

Google Advertising Tools
by Harold Davis
O'Reilly, $29.99
ISBN: 0-596-10108-2

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