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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Google AdWords

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Andrew Goodman is one of the foremost authorities on search advertising in the world, and his new book is a killer guide to succeeding with Google's sponsored links.

Google is famous for touting the simplicity of its AdWords program. "All that's needed is five minutes and a credit card," Google claims on its corporate information web page. And while it's certainly true that you can establish an AdWords account in five minutes, and possibly get your first ad up and running within an hour or so, whether it's actually effective and leads to a successful outcome is another matter altogether.

Google, of course, benefits regardless of whether your sponsored links are effective—at least until you run out of money or your ineffective ads are disabled. That's not to say Google doesn't want your ads to be successful—the company also provides a lot of information and tools to help you create effective search advertising campaigns. But the reality is that mastering the AdWords system takes a certain degree of effort and commitment, and is really something of a science and art combined.

Andrew Goodman's Winning Results with Google AdWords is an outstanding guide to the company's advertising program. The book distills Andrew's years of experience helping clients create and manage successful search advertising campaigns into a 352 page handbook that you'll refer to often.

But the book goes beyond being merely a hands-on AdWords tutorial. Andrew also weaves in the insights and observations he's well known for writing on Traffick. It's this combination of pragmatism and thoughtful insight that makes the book a compelling read for just about anyone.

The book has four parts. Part one, "The Paid Search Opportunity," offers a fascinating look at the evolution of paid search and chronicles Google's virtually accidental entry into the space, providing a glimpse of the internal controversies that the company wrestled with in the early days of AdWords.

Part two, "How to Play the AdWords Game," offers an excellent nuts-and-bolts tutorial for setting up your own AdWords account and developing your first campaign. This part of the book is invaluable if you're just getting started with AdWords, because it helps demystify some of the more arcane yet powerful tools that can boost the effectiveness of your search marketing campaign.

And although the focus in on the "basics," Andrew doesn't stint when it comes to offering advice on best practices that he's developed through years of experience with lots of different types of campaigns and clients.

Part three, "Intermediate-Level Strategies" shifts gears, focusing less on the tactical aspects of using the AdWords system and more on the strategies you need to employ to beat the competition and make your search marketing campaigns as successful as possible.

For example, keyword selection and bidding, a seemingly simple process, actually is anything but straightforward. In addition to choosing the most effective words for your campaign, there are dozens of other factors that will have an impact on when and how your ad is displayed, and how much it will end up costing you.

Writing effective ads is equally important, and yet it's something often overlooked (even by major advertisers, as evidenced by ads like "Buy [keyword” at eBay!). Andrew talks about the importance of targeting and testing in web advertising, and offers numerous ideas and rules for creating compelling copy, even if writing doesn't come easily to you.

Part four, "The Next Level: Winning the AdWords Game," looks at some advanced strategies for monitoring the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns and using feedback to continually improve your results.

Winning Results with Google AdWords is packed with useful information, and more importantly, the information is generously leavened with Andrew's deep knowledge of search marketing. The book also is written in Andrew's dry, acerbic style, and he pulls no punches when commenting on sensitive or controversial topics that others might shy away from.

Buying the book is a no-brainer for anyone involved with search marketing. But I also highly recommend it to anyone who uses Google on a regular basis, to gain a better understanding of exactly what's going on behind the scenes with sponsored links, and how advertisers can influence what you see in search results.

Winning Results with Google AdWords
by Andrew Goodman
McGraw-Hill/Osborne, $24.99
ISBN: 0-07-225702-4

Disclosure: McGraw-Hill/Osborne is the publisher of my recent book, Google Power.

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