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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter - March 2007

Welcome to the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, covering web search and marketing issues that can have an impact on business websites.

This month we report on the role of 'supplementary results' within Google's search engine index, plus the new Quality Score measure being displayed within the Google AdWords PPC campaigns. We also report on the latest Internet usage figures for Australia which are showing a further growth in broadband usage.

Read more about these stories below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter, either by month or by subjects covered.

On to this month's edition...

Google's supplemental results

There are plenty of searches you can make on the main search engines to discover more about your own or your competitor's websites. We've discussed some of these previously on our UK site, such as how many pages of your site are indexed and checking your inbound links.

There are also some more advanced searches you can now make, including one that checks the pages within a website that are included within Google's supplemental results. To view a list of the pages within these results you can use the search format site:www.yourdomain.com *** -view within Google's search box.

The results from this search highlight those pages within your site that are not fully indexed by Google, which could be due to a number of factors, such as:

If you find that there are excessive numbers of pages on your website that are included within the supplemental results, we would be pleased to provide you with an assessment and proposals on how to deal with this - please contact us for details.


Use of broadband in Australia continues to grow

The latest Internet Activity Survey published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics last month shows further growth in the use of the Internet across the country and, most notably, with the uptake of high-speed and wireless access.

This survey forms an occasional census of Internet access services provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Australia. The latest results contain data for all ISPs operating in Australia as at 30 September 2006 and can be compared to the previous survey in March 2005. The new figures show that 6.6 million homes and businesses in Australia had Internet access - an increase of 11.3% over 2005.

Also of note are the figures for non dial-up subscribers which are now reported at over 3.91 million - up by 1.8 million since March 2005. Dial-up subscribers now account for 2.75 million users, so that non dial-up subscribers now represent a 59% share of total Internet subscribers in Australia compared with 30% at the end of March 2005. Of these, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) continues to be the dominant access technology used for non dial-up subscribers, with 2.99 million or almost 77% of total non dial-up subscribers being connected using this method. Wireless technology (mobile and fixed) is showing growth, with 186,000 or 4.8% of the non dial-up access.

These growth figures would be expected as Internet usage grows and non dial-up access prices fall, although more could be done here to speed up this process. The implications of this trend are also that usage of the Internet is growing in Australia as a commercial and leisure tool and that non dial-up growth will increase the opportunities for advertisers to use creativity to attract attention. Online advertising spend will continue to grow as a result, in both search marketing and other forms of Internet advertising as companies begin to take advantage of this growing market sector.

If you'd like to know more about these figures and the implications for your online business, please contact us now.


Google AdWords now displaying Quality Scores

We reported last August about the introduction of a Quality Score measure by Google AdWords, which was designed to make advertisers gain from the relevancy of their adverts. Google has now taken another step forward by displaying the Quality Score within the AdWords control panel.

The Quality Score function within Google AdWords was partly developed to help improve the experience of the searcher and the cost-effectiveness of the advertiser, as well as to add additional functionality in the face of new services being launched by Microsoft adCenter and more recently by the new look Yahoo! Search Marketing management tools. The ranking position of an advert was now being determined by a number of ‘relevancy’ criteria of the landing page, as well as by the bid price and clickthrough rates for each keyword (or search term).

The problem with this was that advertisers couldn’t really see what was going on ‘under the hood’ of Google AdWords, other than how the minimum bid price was being set. However, Google has now gone some way to resolve this by providing a Quality Score column within the campaign control panel, so that advertisers can get some idea of how each search term is viewed in terms of the relevancy of their advert and landing page on their website.

This column is hidden by default, but can be displayed at the Ad Group level by selecting the ‘Customise Columns’ option. This will then show the minimum bid required for each search term and then one of 3 Quality Score levels, which are:

Great: This indicates that the keyword is very relevant and may have a high click-through rate (CTR), relevant ad text and a unique, relevant landing page. As a result, the minimum cost-per-click (CPC) bid for this keyword may be low, but may be reduced further by optimising this keyword’s Ad Group by using more targeted ad text or improving the landing page content.

OK: This keyword may not be as relevant as it could be and therefore may display a mid-range minimum CPC bid. Further optimisation of the Ad Group may be recommended to reduce the minimum bid further since this can lower the overall costs, draw more clicks to the ads and result in a better return on investment (ROI). Optimising could be achieved through more targeted ad text and keywords or improving the landing page content on the site.

Poor: This indicates that the keyword is not very relevant to users and as a result may have a very high minimum CPC bid. This can tend to happen with very general terms or those attracting low CTRs, so that the keyword may need to be deleted or replaced with a more specific or relevant term. Optimisation of the campaign may work, by lowering the minimum CPC bid, writing a more targeted, relevant ad or improving the landing page content.

These measures can therefore help advertisers to refine their campaigns and enable a quick view of the better performing terms. It may not affect your overall bid strategy if you don’t want to hold the minimum bid cost, but it can help to reduce average costs per visit over time. We’d probably like to see at least 2 more levels to create even more differentiation within the keyword performance, but this is a good start and another tool to help refine a PPC campaigns results.

To find out more about the Quality Score measure and how it can help your Google AdWords campaign, please contact us for more details.


We hope you've found this month's newsletter useful. Please contact us if you need any more information on the items covered, or our advice on any aspect of your website's performance. Also, if there are any issues you would like to see in future editions of this newsletter, please submit your suggestions to us.