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    3 Replies Latest reply on Oct 7, 2008 4:16 PM by sethstacey

    Interesting Google PPC alternative

    amspcs Ranger
      Does anyone have any experience/opinions/whatever regarding Looksmart?
      Looksmart is an alternative to Google pay-per-click that specializes in the
      2nd tier search engines. Of course, it doesn't command anywhere near the
      audience that Google PPC commands, but as a result the bids aren't nearly
      as high either, making this an attractive option for the 'small guy'. But the
      question is: Are they legit?

        • Re: Interesting Google PPC alternative
          sethstacey Wayfarer
          They look fairly legit, but not particularly useful.

          Between Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Live!, and Ask you can have ads going out to like 95%+ of all search engine traffic.

          Furthermore, most (especially the nicer ones) "2nd tier" search engines actually use Google's results (some use Mircosoft's or Yahoo's).

          So, really, I would say that they are not worth the effort. If you go for it, I would be very curious to hear how it goes, but I would not get your hopes up.

          With the little guy comment, I will say that Yahoo and Microsoft tend to be a lot cheaper than Google Adwords, so if cost is an issue, you may look at those options.

            • Re: Interesting Google PPC alternative
              amspcs Ranger
              Thanks for the comments--you sound very informed and knowledgable.

              I tried Google, found just couldn't compete with the big boys. I'm in a VERY competeitive niche, and
              $2-3 bucks or more per click really adds up. Plus, I had very serious doubts about the legitimacy of Google as well, frankly. It seems every time I upped my bid, I'd IMMEDIATELY get clicks. Then they'd stop completely for days on end until I 'goosed' it again a little, then the same thing happened again...a very brief spurt, than nothing. It almost seems as if they were playing the 'carrot on the stock' game to coax a few bucks more out of me, which appeared very obviously contrived to me. If there is a logical explanation for the phenomena I have just described, I'd certainly like to hear it. Otherwise, my opinion will remain that this looks mighty fishy to me.

              Looksmart, on the other hand, does produce clicks in volume consistently. For very very VERY low bid prices with highi placement, to be honest, almost too good to be true. At least that seems to be the case from the reports they generate---they name the cities, keyword, ad,. whatever you want. And to be honest, I have seen new business lately I have no idea where it came from, so for lack of a better answer, I can only assume it must be from Looksmart. But my doubts persist. As I said, it looks too good to be true. How do I know the report results are legitimate, or just someone making up stuff? It seems awfully funny that when I look for my ads on Ask, MSN and others, I can NEVER find them, yet Looksmart reports indicate someone is finding them fairly consistentely.

              Just don' t know what to trust. I guess it's a sign of the times that one can't trust anybody these days.

                • Re: Interesting Google PPC alternative
                  sethstacey Wayfarer
                  What you are describing is typically traced back to a concept known as "quality" score. Quality score is a concept Google uses to try to keep ads relevant to the keyword search at hand. They don't want Viagra ads appearing on a search for orange juice, for instance.

                  With quality score, it is very possible for me to pay much less per click to get a higher positioned ad. Basically, it can have you paying out the wazoo trying to keep up with competitors who are not nearly paying as much per click.

                  Here is what's happening:

                  You set a bid for key word. Google makes a quick check on quality score (i.e. how relevant they think you ad is to the landing page of your site).

                  If you look, it will probably say something like "5/10" or "6/10", unless you ad is really not relevant to the landing page.

                  Then, you set the bid, and go. You get some clicks. Then they stop. If you go check in the ad group, you will see your quality score is a lot lower, something like "2/10" (in fact, you will see that it even says "Not displaying ads frequently because of low quality score."

                  This is mainly because once Google ran your ad a bit, they started adding your CTR into the formula, saying that your ad did not get a good CTR, thus they are discounting it (there are other factors at play here too, but this is the gist of what's going on).

                  But, when you up the bid price, you are basically saying "I know you think my ad is irrelevant, I want to pay anyway! " You get another burst of traffic, and then it stops again as the quality score thing puts you out again.

                  This happens a lot with people.

                  The best way to fix this is to make specific landing pages to an ad group, and make is SUPER focused on the keywords. I will venture to guess that you have an ad group with a bunch of keywords in it?

                  Try this instead. Pick a keyword ( I don't know what you are doing, I will guess you are selling shoes. ). You decide you want to advertise on the keyword "nike shocks." Then, you take that idea, and make a new page (or redo a current page) to focus like CRAZY on nike shocks. You talk about the colors they come in, and you have pictures, and you can buy nike shocks if you click here. The whole idea of this page (and ussually they will be different than other pages in your site) is that they are sales pages on steroids. They exist to get someone to buy something based on looking at the page.

                  Ok, so now, you put one ad group together with keywords about nike shocks, make your ad specifically for nike shocks, and you will notice two things:

                  The overall number of impressions goes down. This is good.

                  Your CTR (click through rate) goes up.

                  With this, your quality score will go up, your bid prices come down.

                  Obviously, this is a very big "sum up." Managing quality score, setting up ad groups effectively, and creating landing pages are some of the things we do for clients when we do search engine marketing work, and there is a huge amount of knowledge to be had.

                  Also keep in mind that Google's system is the most picky. Microsoft Live and Yahoo, though they work with similar concepts, have a lower learning curve.

                  Now, what usually happens with lower end providers is that they show your ad every which way from Sunday, but you will get few clicks, and the clicks you do get will not convert particularly well (high bounce rate, etc). Not to say that kind of traffic does not have it's place (honestly, if you told me for .01 a click I could get people landing on my page, I think I would just pay it and hope for the best--if nothing else, I could feel a lot better about traffic numbers :P ).

                  Some good places to check out on this :


                  If you feel very adventurous and willing to drop some time, check this out:

                  And I have to throw my blog in there =)