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Overture and Google

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#1 rtroxel


    Apprentice Designer

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 12:38 AM

I've been experimenting the past few weeks with several PPC services - Google and Overture in particular. There are definitely some differences between the two.

Overture is clearly the more expensive, but I'm not sure it's the most effective. Overture aims mainly for general consumers, while Google probably works best for B2B transactions. One reason for this is because more techies tend to use the Google search engine, in order to be more specific in what they want.

What this means for the Webmaster is that your keyword strategies are different for each of the two engines. Google lets you do a lot more experimenting at no cost to you. After you pay the initial $5 fee, you're free to add as many keywords to your campaigns as you like. You only have to pay when you get an actual click. There is no "approval" process. Overture, on the other hand, requires a 2 to 3-day approval process for any keyword you add to your campaign.

Another thing I've learned is that they must be constantly monitored - at least at first. This is the only way to learn which keywords and phrases work and which don't.

The least effective keywords are usually the most general ones, like "wireless security". Yes, they will bring hundreds of visitors to your site, but the visitors won't buy anything, because you haven't been specific enough about their needs. In this case, are they looking for books about wireless security or wireless security devices? Maybe they need security software for their PDAs or maybe they want to set up a VPN.

Also, I've noticed that the more general the word or phrase, the more expensive it is. The trick is to understand your visitors' needs before you even begin to run a PPC campaign. When they run their search what keywords are they likely to use? And that's the crucial difference between the two services: Google gives you a more accurate method for experimenting with keywords than Overture does.

For example, suppose your keywords bring a thousand visitors to your site in one day. Suppose those visitors don't buy anything. Then you've lost money, because you still have to pay for those clicks. Using Google however, you have more of a chance to monitor keyword performance throughout the day, because clicks to your site are tallied every few hours. You can quickly determine which ones work and which don't. Overture, on the other hand, currently has a 2-3 day waiting period for keyword approval.

Overture, however, has at least one feature that Google doesn't: You don't have to create numerous varieties of the same keyword, to account for misspellings or odd phrases. Overture does that for you with their three "match types". Standard Match displays the keyword in the exact form (singular and plural) along with many misspellings. The Phrase Match includes all standard match terms when they appear in a phrase and when the exact order of words is important. The Broad Match includes both Phrase and Standard Matches, and displays your listings if your keyword appears in the user's search request in any order.

Since both companies are now competing with each other, however, you can expect new features to be added to both systems.

It's a little like playing the stock market. You buy certain keywords and if they don't perform well, you drop them for others. Unlike stock-trading, however, you have more control over the results. You can test which keywords bring visitors to your site and which result in sales. With that knowledge you can, over time, develop a precise set of keywords that bring your niche market visitors to directly to your site.

(However, there are other factors in addition to keywords to consider, like writing good sales copy.)

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