on the Prowell

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Anne Prowell

web producer
Alameda, CA USA

PCA in the Past:

A Journey through Google AdWords


PortalsA client who wanted to diversify income streams decided to launch a website dedicated to product sales in a niche market. Knowing more about web development than about web marketing, he showed up for a consultation after the site was in place and ads were running through Google Search and Content Networks. Products were selling, but the cost of each sale was an average $100.

I'll walk you through the project here in installments, as we define the steps and execute the plan. Come with us on the journey through the shadowy halls of search advertising and sales.


The goal was a higher return on investment, of course, but the client was willing to spend to build a position in the market first. His initial thought was that buying advertising, a lot of it, was crucial for attracting online customers, so he had about a dozen campaigns running in Google AdWords. In the first week, activity and sales were exhilarating. But just as quickly, sales plummeted and upon a little research in Google Trends, he discovered that the early success was a bit of beginner's luck in the timing. A study had just been released that heralded the promise of the very product he was selling, and his ad had been running alongside the webpage unbeknownst to him. A week later, it was old news.

The site was built with dynamic pages, so right off, the search engines weren't fond of it. It was well-written and contained numerous original content pages of general interest to potential customers but the primary message of Buy Here was essentially buried. By look and architecture, it was stylish and informational, easy to navigate. Everything functioned well. But none of this would contribute to a high Quality Score by Google's criteria. The whole site needed to be optimized top to bottom.

Secondly, what that spike in early results told me was that this was a leading edge market he'd entered. Buyers were those in front of the news -- 'early adopters,' we call them. Well-informed, experimental enthusiasts of the future. But his ad campaigns were shooting a million impressions at MySpace, Facebook, Google Mail and universes beyond. We needed to control the ad placements.

Thirdly, the keywords ran into the hundreds. We needed to consolidate and develop a strong relationship between select keywords and the pages the ads linked to.

And fourth, we believed the best potential customers would respond to relationship marketing. We needed to build trust for the brand and product. The most effective route would be to reach out to the forums and blogs and points of conversation online where customers were engaged.