Note from Rae: The following is a guest post from George Kepnick, aka werty, a person I believe to be one of the most knowledgeable minds in PPC on the planet. I’ve seen first hand how his strategies have been used to make companies hundreds of millions of dollars. When George talks PPC, I listen. And so should you. And now I will turn it over to George.
Whether you know it or not, I do more than just complain about things on the web. I actually own a company where I do search marketing for a living. We specialize in Pay Per Click & Affiliate Marketing and I have been doing it for over 8 years now, which is basically 1/4 of my life.
Anyhow, a friend of mine gave me the heads up that he was starting a forum dedicated to just PPC, and high level PPC at that. It is an interesting approach because there really isn’t that much great information out there about what actually works and how to set things up. Like SEO, it is a mixed bag of tricks and not everything will work well for everyone – so it can be a crap shoot to figure out how to setup a profitable campaign.
I actually moderate the Yahoo PPC and MSN AdCenter forums (and RSS) over at WebmasterWorld, so I know a little bit about a community, and the basics that people are asking and wondering about. It will be interesting to test things out and see what info is actually available there beyond just the basics.
I am going to be comparing PPCBlog.com to SEOBook.com which I think is an amazing forum. The people there are totally helpful, the amount of info is insane, and Aaron’s effort to answer every question is simply unreal. It reminds me of how forums used to be long before all the “old schoolers” started to put up blogs and keep their most useful posts on those blogs so they could get the credit and links from it. When this started it seemed like people we more focused on themselves than being a part of the whole. SEO Book is a central location or “community” of amazing search and marketing knowledge and people seem to share great info all the time.
Here is my summary and review of PPC Blog.com…
Day 1 at PPC Blog
I introduce myself and start browsing around the forums. The site is pretty new so I will let the lower number of posts slide. So far I come across a section of the forum about "Landing Page Reviews" and it is actually the best feature I have seen so far. My one gripe about this is that people post, and then later remove their landers so you can not see the before and after. There was one that had screenshots, and there was an awesome transformation from the start. The thread then went south due to some bickering and “lost the plot” as they say, but there was excellent info in the thread.
Just stumbled into another landing page thread which points out some great landing pages. There is talk of them creating a directory of landing pages, this would be an incredible resource.
So far I am about an hour or so in and picked up a few tips and tricks that I want to try out. If any of them work they will be pretty much go to strategies from now on. One tip I found is supposed to increase CTR quite a bit. Will try it out next week. (It actually was a split, sometimes it worked great, others not that much, but when it did work it was quite effective. I will split test this on all ads moving forward.)
Oh wow, just got an awesome pointer on something I have yet to see elsewhere. A way to get old Google broadmatching back!
I asked a question about another tactic.
I took a break from this and got some work done and then came back and my 2 posts were answered. Geordie is pretty fast, but Aaron would have answered by the time I stopped typing. :P
I looked through some of the tools, and they have a really nice integration with SEM Rush. THIS ALONE IS WORTH $50 A MONTH.
Day 2 at PPC Blog
I poked around a bit more and read up on some of the Facebook forums. There is some good info about it and I will need to give it a try, so I will put it on my to do list.
Weekend days – so I took them off.
There was not much action over the weekend, and not much more today. A few more replies to my welcome thread, but things seem slower over here compared to SEO Book. It is a field with a lot less variables though since you basically play by the rules of 3 or 4 companies.
The main thing for me is to actually try some of these techniques on some affiliate sites or some client work. I plan to implement an ad copy thing I read about on a client site this week, so I will report back with the findings. I hear it jacks up your CTR by up to 5%, so now I have some real data collected, and will make the switch and see what happens.
Used a tool to expand an adgroup I ran for my dad’s local business. You basically put in the zip code and a radius and it spits out a list of cities and zip codes. Pretty helpful, but there are some other free ones out there. This one has a bit of a nicer interface though and hopefully more up to date data.
Asked a question on the boards. This was a really high end question, so being able to bounce it off people is really a good thing. Not really sure who I could talk to since I am probably at the high end of my “inner circle”. It will be cool to get feedback from people who have actually tested the method out. I got feedback within 24 hours, which seems to be the going rate there. Your questions will be answered within 24 hours!
Took these days off.
I asked a question I could not find the answer to anywhere else and Geordie was able to answer it within 5 hours. It was the answer I needed to figure out how to see which search partners are running ads, while using only Google tracking. It is hard to do and the data is not perfect, but it was a start, and I would not have found the answer I needed on my own.
Day 11 and Beyond
Lost track of how long it has been now and I’ve started to join in some of the discussions. Someone there asked for a critique of some landing pages for an exterminator site and I gave my feedback. Some others gave theirs and then this guy replies with just an insane amount of know how. It was really impressive, and that kind of feedback would easily be worth a $200+ per hour consulting fee.
It has been probably a month now and I try and check the site a few times a week, poke around, see what new questions have been asked, see what the answers are. The blog itself is in my feed reader and I check that whenever I check my feeds (not very often). One thing I would love to see is some sort of “Big Change Alert Emails / Text Messages” that they would offer if there is a huge new policy change that has been implemented. An example would be when Geordie blogged about the automatic bids change. If I do not check PPCBlog for a week it would be nice to know about the change via other methods.
To me the real gold on this site is the forums. If I am seeing any issues on a campaign or account, I can search the forums to see if there is a solution, and if not, post a question and have it answered pretty quickly.
IT IS LIKE HAVING AN ON CALL CONSULTANT.
The tutorials will be helpful as I try and learn the Facebook ad platform, having not used it since it came out. I would think following those threads that I should be able to avoid any guesses on my part and if I get stumped I can ask questions in the forum.
Lastly there are some pretty nice tools that are available, and the integration with SEMRush again, is worth at least $50 a month on its own. If you are new to PPC this would probably save you a fair amount of time and testing as well as countless dollars you would be throwing away while you learn. I think if you actually stuck to the tutorials, and asked any questions you had in the forums you would be pretty set as far as learning the ropes and getting a profitable PPC campaign set up.
So while the cost might be rather high ($179/month), the amount of expertise you have access is easily worth that much, if you plan to use it. That said, you will find me as “werty” over on the PPCBlog forums.