Game changer? Google Adds Word-of-Mouth to Adwords

Quick…which would you prefer your company could obtain, the best Ad ever created or the best word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted friend?

Most business owners I know would pick the word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend every time. Nothing helps move a sale to closure better than a friend recommending the company or product.

Facebook has definitely been gaining Advertisers mostly due to this belief. They believe that Facebook’s ability to tie together social friends and target demographics with more ‘personal information’ will provide better conversion metrics. In other words, higher sales for same or less Ad expenditures.

One of my clients recently received a letter from the Google Adwords team providing information about Google’s upcoming “Google +1” implementation. Google is adding an ability for users to promote Ads, indirectly promoting the company, brand or product within the Ad. Even more importantly, Google will begin showing these personal promotions in Ads shown alongside of search results. In other words, if I were to search for “remote control toys”, it is possible that I will see a Google Adword Ad on my Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that mentions a real person I know within my known online social networks has previously ‘approved’ or ‘liked’ that Ad, company, or product. Google hasn’t gone so far as to copy the word “like”; instead they are using “+1”, which I think is not as effective as Facebook’s Like button, but the end result could still have similar impact.

I’m including Google’s letter in two parts. Part one is the intro and an example of how an Ad looks today:

And the second part of the letter shows how the Ad could mention a friend has ‘approved’ or ‘likes’ this Hotel:

Why is this a big deal, so much so as to call it a Game Changer?

Google Adwords has had huge impacts across all areas of advertising from print to broadcast to online. With this one change, Google has enabled their Ads to be displayed with personal recommendations, a quick online “word of mouth” approval, which will undoubtably increase clicks and conversions. More sales for same or less money will drive more advertising dollars. Which will increase Ads, which will increase the amount of word-of-mouth exposure, which will convert more Ads. And it goes on and on.

If you already have Ads running on Adwords, be prepared to solicit friends and fans to “push that PlusOne button” and help promote your word-of-mouth. If you aren’t yet running any Ads via Google Adwords, you definitely need to consider doing so.



Google Adwords Big Change Coming?

Upcoming Adword Format Bad for SMBsWhile catching up on the latest SEO articles, a disturbing post showed up today. It appears that Google is testing the effects of showing how many clicks an Ad or Advertiser has previously gotten.

While we promote Google Adwords to many of our small business clients, there are various aspects that are real disadvantages to them. The overall complexity and several default settings are definitely an issue for SMB and independents without some type of Search Engine Marking (SEM) resource.

Well, Google is trying an Adwords experiment that may indeed be another major problem for small businesses. There are apparently two types of displays being tested, one that just says “Clicks”. The other one says “clicks from this advertiser”. In this image, notice the difference between the two almost identical Ads for the same basic product/brand:Google Adwords Click Display Experiment

Showing “Clicks for this Advertiser” in the Ad will create a very unfair advantage for large brands, big Ad budgets and National Ad agencies.

Notice that the top Ad has 156,000 previous clicks and the one below it has 59,000,000. Which would you click?

We’ve been very successful pitching SMB Ads against major brands with deep pockets. We rely on niche targets, whether time spots, longer tail keywords, more refined and selective demographics or sites. If successful, our Ad typically shows higher than the wider casting net of the big check books.

Think of it another way. A big budget allows for less granular keyword bids, less related Ad text to keywords they are bidding on and finally, paying a bit higher due to a lower quality score. If we are able to place our SMB Ad alongside the more generic text from one of their Ads, we stand a better chance of getting the click due to our more relevant copy and keywords.

Unless that other Ad has 59,000,000 clicks displayed and we only have 156,000.

The real shame? All 156,000 of our visitors could have bought a product, while 200,000 of those other clickers could have bounced away from that site’s competing product immediately without buying anything. If that Advertiser’s 58,800,000 of those clicks are for Ads that send them to another page, not that related to our client’s product, then they won’t even be penalized much. And the users that might have clicked and bought, will instead gravitate towards the Ad with more clicks due to the Lemming Effect.

This also means longer running Ads and Advertisers could have better click through rate (CTR) advantage.

3 Best SEO Practices that Could Penalize Your Site

Well, we recently posted about the need to change a common “Best Practice” SEO technique for incoming Links to your site. It’s been considered a good thing to have those links use the most relevant keywords that matter to your site, rather than every link on the web using “Click here for more”.

Now it appears two other SEO Best Practices may hurt your site’s search ranking results, at least Google’s results anyway.

Joining “important keywords should be used on inbound links” are these two common SEO techniques:

1) Don’t Waste Page Titles on your Brand Names, use Keywords instead

2) Keeping page content specific to one subject

It now appears, after Google’s Panda and Mayday updates, that both of these techniques will no longer help you and may indeed hurt you, dropping your rank on Google’s search pages.

Here’s an in-depth article that will detail these two important changes, as well as discuss the common anchor text on inbound links practice. It’s called, “Breaking 3 Old SEO Habits“.