Lots of good stuff in the PPC blogosphere this week, but we’ll get right down to what’s probably the most interesting exchange: you don’t need to worry about bids anymore!


Well not really.


But there was some interesting back and forth between two of the smartest PPC blogs in the space. Craig Danuloff from the Click Equations team called bid management dead, which prompted a rebuttal from the RKG blog. The dispute really isn’t as juicy or vitriolic as the dueling headlines might lead you to believe. It reads to me (as Craig points out in the comments) that the original Click Equations headline was a tongue-in-cheek shot at headlines in general, and then both sides proceeded to make a series of valid points, show a fair amount of agreement, and maintain a very civil and even tone. Not exactly the stuff flame wars are made of. I do think the back and forth highlights an important point (which I read to be Craig’s main one): the concept of bid management is frequently misunderstood and many advertisers place a disproportionate amount of focus on it at the wrong stage in their campaigns’ life. I think there are two key and relatively uncontroversial points to be made here:


  1. Different tactics have vastly different levels of impact depending on the state of an account.
  2. Many of the best read and most respected PPC blogs spend a lot of time talking about bids.


This means that a lot of advertisers looking to blog content to help them wrap their heads around paid search will have bidding on the mind. This often before they have a fundamental understanding of how their customers and prospects search and how they should be structuring campaigns and messaging to those prospects. Craig uses a skiing analogy, and I think another relevant one that I see occur frequently happens with people learning SEO. Imagine encountering an article on e-commerce information architecture best practices before you understand how Google ranks pages and why links are important. Even if the article were completely accurate and highly instructive you’d probably be worse off than if you hadn’t read it, because you’ll be off to the races with a series of half or misunderstandings about SEO best practices. I think a lot of the long and even mid tail of PPC advertisers are thinking about tweaking bids against fundamentally flawed campaigns and subsequently mis-appropriating their efforts. Certainly not the fault of the blogs who write useful content about large-scale bid management, but no less a reality either.


Click Equations also had a post this week on SEO vs. PPC in which Alex has some interesting points on the evolving nature of the SERPs (he’ll be elaborating on them in his Search Engine Watch column so stay tuned for that).


And if there’s one thing this week’s PPC news and notes tell us, it’s that the SERPs and the way ads are displayed are most certainly evolving. RKG had an interesting and clever post comparing ads from 2008 to today and running down the blurred lines between organic and paid listings. Search Engine Roundtable noted that exclamation points are sneaking their way into ad headlines with the new format. Right here on the Boost blog Ryan had some thoughts on punctuation and structure in ad copy in the wake of the ad text update.  And to round out the SERP display updates, AdWords switched back the color of ads above the fold to yellow.


Elsewhere Matt Van Wagner followed up his article on cross platform negative keyword management with part two in the series. Chad Summerhill had a great piece on the subject of negative keywords this week as well with his take on why your first negative keyword list should be a branded one.


In Boost news we had a nice BoostCTR review by the folks at Hunch (who have seen some great results from the Boost platform). We also published our latest Win of the Week in which Ryan dissected why one ad was responsible for a 94% improvement in CTR over the previous champion. We also updated the Best PPC Blogs list and the accompanying tools to include some great PPC focused blogs that people brought to our attention. Head over and drop a comment if you know of any more we missed!


And finally there were a series of posts I couldn’t find a way to skillfully relate to each other:



That’s all for this week – what did I miss?