Archive for July, 2008

RMB5,600 now needed to start a new Baidu PPC account

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

From the new marketing materials we have received, Baidu has raised the initial advertising budget for new accounts from RMB3,000 to RMB5,000. The “consulting” fee remains the same, RMB600. New advertisers therefore are required to pay RMB5,600 (about USD824) upfront to set up a new pay-per-click account.

As a comparison Google account opening fee stands at RMB50, with prepay advertisers required to pay a minimum of RMB100 everytime they recharge their accounts.

Make sure your site is accessible in China before paying Google for traffic

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

One of the tings mostly overlooked by advertisers, especially those not based in China and trying to promote their websites in China through pay per click (Google Adwords) is the fact that the Chinese visitors actually might just not be able to visit their websites!

One example should help. Everyone knows about Homestead.com , the popular all-in-one DIY sitebuilder + hosting platform that was quite hot in the early 2000, maybe not that much now as people become more knowledgeable in web design or for selecting a web hosting solution that better suits their needs. Homestead advertise heavily through Adwords and China is one of the markets where their ads are shown. They appear mostly for their own name and many search terms related to web hosting, wed design etc. However, Homestead.com has been blocked in China for the last two or three years at least! This means that they have been spending tens of dollars (or even more, considering that their industry has rather high CPC values) every day for years now, while those who click on the ad could not access their sites and would shut down the browser in a second. Talking about wasting resources.

Now for Homestead these might be pennies and probably they don’t care of this loss for China in their global advertising budget. However for small businesses targeting China, without the proper analytics software in place to track country of origin for their web visitors, bounce rates etc. that could have made them aware of the problem, this could be a serious hit to their bottom lines. We had a Canadian client coming to us who, after six months of “heavy” advertising in China through Adwords for their Chinese website, didn’t seem to get anything going in terms of sales or leads, and where surprised to find out that their sites couldn’t be accessed here without a proxy! And don’t count on Google to inform you of the situation, you might even be paying more than other advertisers since the high bounce rate will definitely lower your site quality score.

So, if you were to advertise through Google Adwords (or any other PPC network, for what it matters) in China, first make sure that you site can be seen here. There are online tools to check access from Chinese locations, if you know someone in China the best bet would be to ask them to test if they can visit your site. Ultimately, if your site main audience in China, you might consider hosting in China altogether, as you will get faster load times for your visitors which can be a boost for your site friendliness for users and quality score as well…But this will be for another article :)

Search volume data now included in Adwords keyword tool

Friday, July 11th, 2008

If you have been using the Adwords keyword tool for doing your keyword research, then you you will definitely like this. Now the tool provides data about number of searches conducted for each keyword. So for a certain number of suggested keywords, for instance, you will find as well the number of searches that was conducted for this keyword in the previous month, as well as the average monthly search volume.

You can read more about it on the Inside Adwords blog here:

http://adwords.blogspot.com/2008/07/keyword-tool-updated-with-search-volume.html

It is not just about links

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Recently we had a prospect who wanted us to help them start a link building campaign for their website. This was a moderately competitive industry but considering the facts that they had their main keywords in their domain (a huge advantage over competitors), the age of their domains and the amount of links they already had, it was surprising that they didn’t get more organic traffic but rather had to rely on Google Adwords to drive most of their traffic to their site.

A quick look at their site revealed a set up that just didn’t help in terms of SEO. The site was hosted on domain A, while the domain they were building links for, domain B, was redirecting to the domain A. Therefore domain B had no real pages of its own, despite the thousands of links already built for it. Domain A was also relevant to the industry, however had a mere 14 links while most of its indexed pages were in the supplemental index.

The client didn’t seem to be really opened to suggestions from us, arguing that they were “already working with another vendor for SEO”, therefore they just needed us to provide a quotation for link building…

Management decisions in terms of branding, marketing etc. conflict sometimes with some of the basic rules of search engine optimization and SEM. Without the right setup, an aggressive link building campaign will not yield the expected results and help improve the rankings of your site. Organic optimization of each page of a site, relevant and unique content are factors that just can’t be ignored if you want your site to reach the top. In the above case, deep link building was not even an option since all links were to be built to the home page of page B.

Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool now history

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

It seems that Yahoo has shut down the Overture Keyword Suggestion tool, as the page now redirects permanently to http://sem.smallbusiness.yahoo.com/searchenginemarketing. This was to be expected considering the long time without updates. This seems to be the end of an era, and the tool will be missed especially by diy internet marketers who, despite its inaccuracies, used it anyway because basically it was free.