Customized Google Search Results by Location

August 14, 2008

It was almost two years ago when Google launched personalized and custom search. The premise was to help users obtain more relevant and personalized results upon typing in a search query. I haven’t seen this in all searches, but it looks like Google is displaying customized searches by location.

Customized by Location

Customized by Location

When looking at the natural results, there were a few Minneapolis-area results, although plenty of results still appear that aren’t local to Minneapolis.

When you click on the “more details” link, you get some more insight to this. It tracks the location by IP address.

More Details

More Details

Clint Danks from ThinkSEM originally found this and it correctly showed his location of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. He sent me the images above on it early this morning when I was in Rochester. When I performed the search, it recognized my location as Mankato which is about 90 miles west. However, it does look like you can click to correct your location.

This customization message seems to be appearing only in select searches. It’s probably too soon to see if this really does customize results by location and if they show the customization message more often.

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Google PPC Keywords Tool Now Shows Search Volume Data

July 10, 2008

Thanks to co-workers and fellow twitterers @jackpotjewell and @jeremynelson, I was able to see that Google has now added search volumes to their PPC keyword tool.

This probably isn’t an SEO keyword research substitute for something like Keyword Discovery, but I can see this as a great helping tool for building PPC campaigns. Tomorrow, I’m starting a new PPC campaign for a client who provides billing solutions for law firms and other professional services and can see this playing a decent roll.

I want to break potential possibilities into a few categories; search volume, match type, and specifically, negative keywords. Measuring this with analytics is key as well.

Legal Billing

Legal Billing

First, the search volume. Before this, the search volume didn’t have a number and just had a green bar level like you see with the “advertiser competition” tab. It’s too early to tell how accurate these numbers are, and there has already been online discussions regarding this, but my gut feeling says that it’s pretty accurate. In more detail, I can see this as a good tool to determine how much I want to bid for longer-tail terms.

Next, the match type options you see in the upper right corner of the above image. You can view the search volumes by broad, phrase, exact, and negative match categories. I always like to use as many “exact match” phrases as possible, and can see the search volume totals playing a decent role in this. A longer-tail example of this may be “legal billing services”. Not many are searching for this, but there doesn’t seem to be any “exact match” competition for this either.

I’ve always been big on “negative keywords”. You don’t want people viewing your PPC ad if someone types in the word “free” or any other word that wouldn’t convert to your campaign. Whenever I do PPC campaigns, I try to regularly add negative keywords monthly. Now you can view the search volume data by negative keywords as well. Looking at the image below, I can already see some initial negative match opportunities.

Negative Keywords

Negative Keywords

Finally, analytics. Whether you use Google Analytics or a more rubust paid solution, you can see how users are coming to your site from your PPC campaigns. Measuring this is key, but if you’re a search marketer you already know this.

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Big Google AdWords Change

March 26, 2008

It looks like your AdWords destination URLs must match your display URLs sometime in April (image is barely readible do to resizing, but it makes the point). The key words in the image are “without exception”.

AdWords Display URL Must Match Destination URL

Some may see this as a proactive opportunity and some might think this:

You are screwed

AdWords professionals and advertisers will definitely be busy starting… now, including myself. I’m guessing there is a grandfather clause in this.

I can see large e-commerce advertisers scrambling at this as well as larger corporations with set processes. At the same time, I can see consultants viewing this as more reasons to recommend unique landing pages and not just pointing ads to whichever page on the site seems most relevant.

I kind of like it, but definitely empathize with those who will be in living hell the next few weeks.

Any thoughts or input?

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