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March 19, 2009

Oodles O’ Google Tools

Google’s position as search engine leaders is undisputed, and they wield enormous power over all who have designs on having a successful “paid search” campaign, otherwise known as Adwords. They basically call the shots on what are the ingredients of a successful campaign and they are first and foremost customer focussed. And that is understandable – they have every intention of continuing at the forefront of both paid and organic search. Organic search is what you see in the main body of the search returns when you do a search query on Google; paid search results are the more compact ads denoted “sponsored links” which appear along the right-hand side of the page (and sometimes at the top of the main page also).

And they have every right to “call the shots”. They are sometimes touted as being one of the Internet marketer’s enemies, as always playing “hardball” with the frequent “slaps” that they deliver. But at the end of the day, they must strive to deliver a positive search experience to their customers. Advertisers are going to be compelled to have ever more focussed, specialised campaigns as Google seeks to eliminate redundancy. For affiliate marketers, there is an ever-increasing need for their campaigns to include useful content for their prospective customer, and to deliver just what their ad says will be delivered.

And you could never accuse Google of leaving the web marketing community to fend for themselves. What a plethora of tools they have made available – and 90% of them are free.

Within Adwords itself there are many valuable tools for refining an advertising campaign:

Keyword Tool – A keyword tracker/keyword suggest tool that provides up-to-date keyword search volumes.

Campaign Optimiser – Performs analysis on a live campaign and suggests additional keywords and ad variations.

Website Optimiser – A more comprehensive feedback tool that monitors several important metrics to do with website layout and content. It takes a while to get up and running with this, but any time taken to implement it will be repaid with interest.

Budget Optimiser – Where you can tell Google your monthly budget, and ask it to go and get the maximum number of clicks for you. (I have found with Budget Optimiser that I never overspend, as I do when I have control over the campaign myself)

Keyword Diagnosis – The latest addition to the armoury of the pay-per-click advertiser. This will actually analyse which keywords are performing and which ones you are better off without. And it tells you why they are not performing, and what you can do to remedy it.

All of these tools are freely available within the Adwords interface and I am convinced that the majority of PPC advertisers don’t even realise that they are available. They are probably as good, if not better than many of the commercial keyword tools that are available.

I have not even mentioned the other great Google resources, like Suggest Labs, Google Analytics and iGoogle, which is your own branded page that you can load with various SEO statistics and data on popular searches. A discussion of these and other resources like Google Webmaster Tools, may be better to leave for another occasion.

About the Author: Tom McCarrick