I was reading an article the other day about the expected increase in local search advertising over the next four to five years. According to a report by the Kelsey Group, local search advertising revenue will increase to $1.3 billion by 2013, up from a conservative $20 million this year. The increase sounds staggering, considering the figures go against conventional theories that this down economy will be around longer than expected.
But as I thought about it more, I believe the increase in local search advertising will be significant regardless of the economy and the main reason why: the Smartphone! With more and more people using Smartphone technologies like the iPhone, the Blackberry, and Palm, I expect to see a big increase in local search marketing over the next few years. I cannot put a dollar figure on it (The Kelsey Group already has), but just look around and the signs are all over the place. The technology with the web based, super fast 3G network phones makes it much more palpable to use your phone to search the web. The screens are larger than ever, they are in full color and have full keyboards! We are moving toward a time where it is actually less convenient to walk up stairs and turn on your pc, than to simply jump online from your Smartphone. When you are truly “on the go”, these phones can completely replace your home computer for online functionality. Instead of calling for information (say goodbye to 411), you can just as easily go online from your phone to find whatever you need — you are doing a local search!
If you are a business owner, you ought to get onboard with local search marketing as soon as possible. Make sure you have your local listings in Google Maps and Yahoo’s local business listing formats. You might find your business is already there, and if so, make sure all the information is up to date and accurate. If you are not listed, be sure to add your business listing and provide as much information as they allow you to put in your profile. If they allow a photo, use a nice picture of your building, or use your company logo. While you’re at it, check some of the other local business finders (think Yellow Pages online and similar sites) and make sure your company information is accurate and up to date on those sites as well. Remember, more and more people are using these Smartphones every day and they will be one of the biggest drivers in local search activity over the next few years.
Exact match allows your ads to appear when a user searches for the specific phrase without any other terms in the query. With phrase match, your ads will appear when a user searches on that phrase. Searches can contain other terms before or after the query as long as the query includes the exact phrase of your keyword. Broad match allows your ads to appear when a user’s search query contains the keyword, in any order, and possibly along with other terms. Ads could also show for singular/plural forms, synonyms, and other relevant variations.
These are the match types that we are all most familiar with. However, Yahoo’s match types, advanced and standard do not fall in line with the other major engines. Advanced (the default) selects and displays ads for a broad range of searches based on your keywords, ad titles, ad descriptions, and/or web content. Standard shows ads based on exact matches to your keywords. It also takes into account singular or plural variations and common misspellings of your keywords.
Why does match type even matter, you may ask yourself? Match types allow you the control to filter out irrelevant traffic, thus driving more specific queries to you. Each match type will have its advantages and disadvantages. For example, if you used advanced match in Yahoo, you will have an opportunity to generate high levels of traffic. One disadvantage is that your ads will be served on what Yahoo deems as related content. Even though you aren’t bidding on the specific word, your ad could still be displayed. For example, if your website had content related to shoe accessories, your ad might show when someone searches for “shoe repair”. Standard is the other option in Yahoo. It is more similar to exact, except your ads will display for misspellings and plurals of the keyword. One benefit to using this match type is you have more control of when your ads will be shown. Standard will limit the amount of irrelevant clicks. However, using standard will also limit your traffic.
When creating accounts in Yahoo, the default match type is advanced. If you are thinking about using standard, change the match type at the account level, campaign level and ad group level. Determining your advertising goals prior to setting match types will help you capture the amount and type of traffic you are seeking.
If you’re running your own Google AdWords campaign, I can guarantee that you’re paying for clicks that you would not want to pay for. It’s just a part of search engine marketing. Whether it’s because of click fraud, incorrect geo targeting settings, match type or a multitude of other potential factors, you can’t stop it: you can only hope to contain it. Here are a few ways you can refine your campaigns and weed out those wasteful clicks that could be lowering your ROI.
1. Search Query Report — This report allows you to see what exact queries triggered your ad to show up for that particular search. If you are using broad or phrase match, your ad can appear on the results page for queries related to (or variations of your keyword). By running this report, you can uncover words or phrases you don’t want to show up for and add those to your negative keyword list. Your negative keyword list tells Google not to display your ads if a search query contains a particular word or phrase.
2. IP Exclusion — The IP Exclusion tools is another method to avoid wasteful clicks. The IP Exclusion tool allows you to block certain IP addresses from seeing your ads on their search results page. This is good for two reasons. The first is internal searches. If you or members of your company have to do frequent searches on your advertised terms (without clicking on your ads), your click through rate can go down, ultimately lowering your quality score, which is what Google uses to determine your ad position. To combat this, simply add your internal IP addresses to the exclusion tool. Another remedy is to utilize Google’s Ad Preview tool. The ad preview tool allows you to conduct searches without affecting your quality score.
The IP Exclusion tool is also useful to combat fraudulent clicks. Although, the major search engines have taken large strides in protecting advertisers, click fraud still exists. If you are able to monitor IP addresses of your inbound traffic, you could potentially find fraudulent click patterns and exclude those IP addresses from seeing your ads.
3. Site and Category Exclusion — This pertains to Google advertisers utilizing the Content network. If you’re not running a specific site targeted campaign, and are just running a general content campaign, your ads may be showing on non relevant sites or sites with content that you do not deem appropriate or would not want to be associated with. This could potentially do harm to your brand. The Site and Category Exclusion tool allows Google Advertisers to exclude certain sites from displaying their ads. To find out what sites you are running ads on, you’ll need to run an ad placement report, located in the report section of your Google AdWords account. This is very similar to the search query report but displays websites, not keywords.