Archive for the ‘SEM’ Category

Updating Destination URL to Final URL in AdWords Scripts

September 4, 2015 Leave a comment

A colleague, Sam James, sent a great reminder earlier this morning that if you’ve been using AdWords scripts to monitor broken URLs that the process in migrating to “Upgraded URLs” most likely broke the script.

In order to fix your scripts so that they’ll pull from the Final URL field instead of the Destination URL field make the following quick substitution in the code:

Find instances of :  getDestinationUrl

and replace with:  urls().getFinalUrl

Here is an example of the fix in place for [Russ Savage’s] Broken Link Tracker Script:

* Find Broken Urls In Your Account
* Version 1.1
* ChangeLog v1.2
* Changed by Christi Olson to update to Final URLs instead of Destination URLs
*  - Updated to only see Text Ads
* Created By: Russ Savage
function main() {
  // You can add more if you want:
  var BAD_CODES = [404,500];
  var TO = [''/*,''*/];
  var SUBJECT = 'Broken Url Report - ' + _getDateString();
  var HTTP_OPTIONS = {
  //Let's look at ads and keywords for urls
  var iters = [
    //For Ad Level Urls
      .withCondition("Status = 'ENABLED'")
      .withCondition("AdGroupStatus = 'ENABLED'")
      .withCondition("CampaignStatus = 'ENABLED'")
      .withCondition("Type = 'TEXT_AD'")
    //For Keyword Level Urls
      .withCondition("Status = 'ENABLED'")
      .withCondition("DestinationUrl != ''")
      .withCondition("AdGroupStatus = 'ENABLED'")
      .withCondition("CampaignStatus = 'ENABLED'")
  var already_checked = {}; 
  var bad_entities = [];
  for(var x in iters) {
    var iter = iters[x];
    while(iter.hasNext()) {
      var entity =;
      if(entity.urls().getFinalUrl == null) { continue; }
      var url = entity.urls().getFinalUrl;
      if(url.indexOf('{') >= 0) {
        //Let's remove the value track parameters
        url = url.replace(/\{[0-9a-zA-Z]+\}/g,'');
      if(already_checked[url]) { continue; }
      var response_code;
      try {
        Logger.log("Testing url: "+url);
        response_code = UrlFetchApp.fetch(url, HTTP_OPTIONS).getResponseCode();
      } catch(e) {
        //Something is wrong here, we should know about it.
        bad_entities.push({e : entity, code : -1});
      if(BAD_CODES.indexOf(response_code) >= 0) {
        //This entity has an issue.  Save it for later. 
        bad_entities.push({e : entity, code : response_code});
      already_checked[url] = true;
  var column_names = ['Type','CampaignName','AdGroupName','Id','Headline/KeywordText','ResponseCode','DestUrl'];
  var attachment = column_names.join(",")+"\n";
  for(var i in bad_entities) {
    attachment += _formatResults(bad_entities[i],",");
  if(bad_entities.length > 0) {
    var options = { attachments: [Utilities.newBlob(attachment, 'text/csv', 'bad_urls_'+_getDateString()+'.csv')] };
    var email_body = "There are " + bad_entities.length + " urls that are broken. See attachment for details.";
    for(var i in TO) {
      MailApp.sendEmail(TO[i], SUBJECT, email_body, options);
//Formats a row of results separated by SEP
function _formatResults(entity,SEP) {
  var e = entity.e;
  if(typeof(e['getHeadline']) != "undefined") {
    //this is an ad entity
    return ["Ad",
  } else {
    // and this is a keyword
    return ["Keyword",
//Helper function to format todays date
function _getDateString() {
  return Utilities.formatDate((new Date()), AdWordsApp.currentAccount().getTimeZone(), "yyyy-MM-dd");

Categories: adwords

Updates to How Bing Matches Keywords

Bing announced two items today. First is that Bing will be removing the opt-out functionality for Close Variant Matching on May 21st, 2015. The second announcement was related to how they match keywords to search queries. On May 21st, 2015, Bing will be adjusting how they normalize queries by adding back in what they called “Stop Words” which means terms like “is, a, an, what, the, and, at, to, of, or, about, for, with, on, from, by, ‘ve” to the search query. Additionally with the normalization it means that Bing will also start to show queries with accent characters like “á, ä, é, ә, í, ö, ó, ú, ü, ñ, ß, ӕ, и.”

Review your keyword list and SQRs to add in normalized queries and special characters by May 21st!

What is the action item? If you are currently bidding on broad match, it might not be much. However if you have a majority of phrase and exact match keywords make sure you’ve evaluated your SQR to add in phrase and exact match keywords with special characters and Stop Words.

Categories: Bing, SEM

Infographic about the Rise of Google PLAs

January 29, 2013 Leave a comment

I’m excited to be speaking at both PubCon New Orleans and SMX West San Jose this spring about the rise of Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and what it means for advertisers. I’ve started to pull together my outline for the presentations and have started to track the more recent activity surrounding the adoption of PLAs and what it means in the digital space.

Marin Software release a press release about what their technology saw in terms of Google PLAs and their impact on the holiday shopping season and a slew of blog posts from reputable media outlets ensued. I found the attached infographic via an article on by Marcus Wohlsen. It’s a great infographic that show the rise of PLAs since the transition earlier this year.
I know that as a Paid Search Marketing Manager I saw that we increased our spend with Google to play in the PLA space this holiday season and we saw great results and return on our investment. I’m excited to bring together these insights over the next few weeks along with providing you with some of the articles I’m using to pull together my SMX West and PubCon Nola materials!

Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs)

Digital ad management provider Marin Software found that advertisers managing $4 billion annually in online ad campaigns through its platform spent 600 percent more on Google product listing ads after the change in October than before. That result alone doesn’t necessarily surprise: If Google says pay to play, advertisers have little choice.

Infographic from Marin Software about Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) showing the rise of PLAs in prominence on Google.

Other articles you can read about the PLAs and their impact on the paid search space:

Marin Software Analysis: Advertisers Increase PLA budgets by 600+%
Adobe Q4 Report: Tablet targeting and product listing ads represent great opportunities for marketers
RKG Study PLAs drove 28% of Google Non-Brand Ad Clicks in Q4
Once Controversial Now PLAs Are a Big Hit

PubCon New Orleans 2013

January 12, 2013 2 comments

PubCon New Orleans April 23 - 25th 2013l Earlier this week my coworkers probably thought I was going a bit kooky. In the middle of the day I let out a mild “Wohoo!”  and started jumping up and down, giddy with glee. Why you might ask? Because my speaker proposal for PubCon New Orleans was accepted. It’s one of the first larger conference series I’ve submitted my application for and I I got the notice saying “Congratulations you’re session was approved and you’ll be speaking on 1-2 panels.”

In years past I always wanted to go and speak at different conferences, but I’ve missed the speaker sessions proposal deadlines or didn’t have budget approval to go and speak. This year I made the decision to apply to a handful of conferences and if my employee won’t cover the cost I will. I love network and sharing what I know with others and this is one of the best ways to do so!

Are you looking for a Digital Marketing conference this spring to help you hone in your skills?

The consider attending PubCon. It covers Paid and Organic Search, Social Media, and Affiliate Marketing. Hopefully I’ll see you there. I’ll be speaking about the 2012 Holiday Season and what strategies Harry & David took to have a successful holiday season despite a drop in online shopping between Cyber Monday and Free Shipping Day. I’ll also be speaking about Google Product Listing Ads and the best practices for implementation to help you in the transition from Google Shopping to the Google PLAs.



Paid Search Campaign Structure: An Introduction

January 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Managing paid search campaigns is part art and part science. In this blog post I’m going to delve a little deeper into the art and science of SEM account Hierarchy and Account Structure. There is no absolute right way or wrong way to structure an account, but there are a few key things you can do to make your accounts more efficient and easier to manage.

So what do I mean by PPC or SEM campaign hierarchy? I mean how you structure your keywords within your Google Adwords or Bing Ads account.

The over simplistic way to explain campaign hierarchy is as follows:
Keywords are grouped together by like terms/phrases into Ad Groups. All keywords within an ad group share ads that have been created for that set of keywords. Ad Groups are grouped together into Campaigns. Campaigns are just a aggregation of Ad Groups, but within a campaign you can set your specific targeting settings.

The benefits of having a solid strategy for keyword categorization and campaign heirarchy are:

  1. More relevant ad copy & landing pages
  2. Increased Click Through Rates
  3. Increased Conversion Rates
  4. Ability to improve and maintain quality score
  5. Silo keywords based on User Intent and Purchase Funnel
  6. Increased Targeting via Negative keyword implementation
  7. Keyword research & Discovery via match-type segmentation
  8. Ability to set-up Campaign Targeting by Network, Device Type, Geography, Day Parting, etc

Sit down, and think through your paid search strategy. Determining what your end goals are will help you determine how to set-up your campaign hierarchy.
I have different goals and bid optimization strategies based on types of keywords and device types. I treat branded and trademark keywords differently than keywords at other stages across the purchase funnel.

Some of my best practices for campaign structure:

  1. Break apart Trademark & Company Branded Terms into separate campaigns.
  2. Break apart the remaining campaigns into Silo’s based on user intent
    • Product
    • Brand
    • Category
    • Examples of Campaign Classification for gourmet gift basket company Harry & David:
      • Branded & Trademark Terms
      • Sales and Promotions
      • Gift Baskets
      • Gift Towers and Boxes
      • Fruit Baskets
      • Fruit
      • Fruit of the Month Clubs
      • Bakery Gifts
      • Chocolates
      • Confectionery Gifts
      • Flowers & Plants
      • Home Decor & Kitchen Gifts
      • Special Occasions
      • Gourmet Foods
      • Examples of Campaign Classifications for a online Motorcycle retailer:
        • Helmuts
        • Riding Gear
        • Parts
        • Accessories
        • Tires
        • Motorcycles (Manufacturer / Make / Model / Year)
  3. Segment keywords into like ad groups based on theme.
    • Example from Harry & David Gift Baskets:
      • Gift Baskets – Organic
      • Gift Baskets – Kosher
      • Gift Baskets – Same Day Delivery
      • Gift Baskets – Under $50
      • Gift Baskets – Cheap
      • Gift Baskets – On Sale
      • Gift Baskets – Wine
      • Gift Baskets – Champagne
      • Gift Baskets – H&D Product Names
        • Roxy Anne Gift Basket
        • Applegate Gift Basket
        • Tablerock Gift Basket
        • etc
      • etc
  4. Don’t over segment… If you find yourself having a single keyword to an ad group on a regular basis, then you’re most likely going to deep. Each ad group can and should have ad copy written to it that is relevant to the keywords within the ad group. If you complete a super in-depth keyword segmentation will you have the resources to write relevant ad copy for each ad group, or will you just create a generic copy and use it for all ad groups and keywords.
  5. Segment keyword match-types and search distribution at the Campaign level:
    • Duplicate campaigns and assign keywords within a campaign a single match type.
      • This will allow you to have specific ad groups for query research.
      • As you start to see queries from your broad, broad modified or phrase match campaigns that are performing well then you add those keywords in either or both phrase and exact match. If you see queries that aren’t related to your products then add them as negatives to the appropriate campaigns.
    • Duplicate campaigns for content network — Most companies do not need every single long tail keyword in their content keyword mix.


Search Queries and User Intent

January 2, 2013 Leave a comment

Search engines have evolved and are getting smarter at providing search results based on user intent. Understanding your brand and how the different keywords and queries that searches use to find your site and products can help you with everything from developing keyword silo’s for organic search, creating paid search bid optimization strategies, creating a paid search campaign hierarchy, developing site content strategy.

There have been a lot of studies dissecting search query information to gain further insight into user intent. The fundamentals from each research study identified between three to five main ways to categorize user intent.

Types of search queries based on User Intent

  • Informational
  • Navigational
  • Transactional
  • Multimedia

Below are links to a handful of the core studies. Feel free to read up and learn more about the research done to come up with the various classifications of search queries and how they can be tied to each category.

Breakdown of Query Intent

  • Informational queries: The user wants to obtain information, such as the weather forecast, phone number for a company, to an actors filmography.

This type of query can be satisfied through articles, images, videos, infographics and other media that offers a good balance between information, entertainment, education, and inspiration.

  • Navigational queries: The user wants to find a specific website. These are typically brand focused queries.
  • Transactional queries: The user wants to perform an action, like sign up for a newsletter, compare products during purchase research, or purchase an item.

Transactional queries can also be segmented into two types of intent: intent to research (pre-transaction) and intent to purchase.

Segmenting by intent to research can be valuable if you can gain interest and engagement. Any opportunity to add multiple touch points to the relationship can provide future conversion opportunities. A good way to do this is by offering free information through email subscription, polls, surveys, feed subscriptions, product comparisons, or a series of specialized articles.

For most companies the queries for purchase intent are the most valuable, competitive, and the easiest to lose if you don’t provide a simple and easy way to convert. On-site engagement, uncomplicated conversion funnels, and obvious next steps all contribute to intent satisfaction.

Look at the keywords and the search queries that drive traffic to your site. All websites have a mix of each type of search queries. In my SEO campaigns I consider it a success when my site optimizations move the needle of search query mix from Brand related search queries (Navigational) driving the majority of traffic to my site to have a blend of traffic and search volume from Informational and Transactional queries. Increasing the mix of informational and transactional queries means that I am building up my sales funnel and reaching users across each stage of purchase intent.

Evaluating your Search Query Mix to build your Sales Funnel

When I came to Harry & David in the summer I used our web analytics data to look at the mix of search queries, both paid and organic, to determine our strengths and weaknesses of our search query mix. I found that a significant portion of our organic traffic came from branded queries whereas paid search focused across informational and transactional queries. Our largest opportunity for growth could be gained by diversifying  our search portfolio by expanding into more informational and transactional queries to build up our sales funnel.  Once you know the differences between your paid search and organic search campaigns, you can start optimizing your campaigns accordingly.

The four stage buying funnel (Awareness, Research, Decision, and Purc hase) with explanations of each stage of the funnel. Taken from the research paper: 'BIDDING ON THE BUYING FUNNEL FOR SPONSORED SEARCH AND KEYWORD ADVERTISING' by Jansen & Schuster

As you start to evaluate your website and your SEO / SEM strategies here are a few questions for you to think about:

What is the mix between informational, navigational, and transactional queries for your website?

Does more than 50% of your search traffic come from branded search queries?

Do consumers find you online for queries and keywords related to your lines of business? Are there specific elements of your business that are under represented in the search query mix?

Are you building up your sales funnel by targeting users across multiple stages of purchase intent?

Which segments of search queries does your business need to develop and expand?

What queries are you ranking for within on the top page of the search engine results?

How does your search query mix across each of the categories of user intent compare to your core competitors?

What are the differences between the mix of search queries from organic and paid search traffic?

Is your paid search campaign cannibalizing your organic search traffic for branded queries?

Categories: Best Practices, Keywords, SEM, SEO