Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Babies Mess With To-Do Lists

So, you may have heard, but yours truly was blessed by an adoption going through - we got a 3 week-old baby boy, who came home to us just this Monday night. Those of you who have kids probably can understand the chaos, wonderfulness, sleepiness, and re-prioritization that is going on at Google Central.

This will, though, likely delay some of the site reviews. Just wanted you to know. I'll not make you sit through baby photos, videos, or anecdotes. Though I get it a lot more now.

Now back to several day-old emails.

Best, Peter

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Why Your Adwords Might Not Be Working Like It Used To

I've been setting up Google Adwords campaigns for therapists for over 2 years now. In the last couple of months, I've had some people come back and say "hey, my ads aren't working like they once were." And it's true. Google has made the whole Adwords business a lot more complex - and the main cause is an innocuous phrase - Quality Score.

Back in the old days, where your ad showed up was based on only two things: your bid ($) and how often your ad got clicked (click-thru-rate, or CTR). But during 2008 Google started adding in more and more criteria for whether your ad showed, how high it showed, and what the minimum bid was. For some people, they found that their minimum bid had gone from 25 cents to $5 or $10! (That's what is known in the biz as a "Google Slap").

Google is as mysterious as the Wizard of Oz, so while they do point and describe some of the things that go into Quality Score, they never come out and tell you exactly what it is based on. So, as usual, cottage industries have been born to figure it out and read the tea-leaves. It's really quite similar to SEO.

That said, dear reader, do not panic. This is all based on relevancy (as seen by Google's computer). If your ads are relevant to the search, and the site is relevant to the ads, then it'll all work fine. But there are times when it goes haywire.

The hardest times for me have been telling people who just invested in a gorgeous Flash-based site, or a frames-based site, that Adwords was going to be a nightmare for them, because the spiders couldn't see their content. Then there is the issue of getting out of a hole, because Google includes your history as part of the Quality Score.

This is not meant to dissuade you from pursuing Adwords, I still think it's the best mechanism I know for marketing. It is meant to explain the growing complexity of it, and why what you did in 2006 and 2007 might not work as we enter 2009.

But if you need a consultant, I know this one guy....... :-)

Best, Peter
Your Google Guy - Web Marketing for Therapists

Still Don't Think You Need a Website?

Almost half of Americans now spend more than one hour a day on the Internet, according to this Gallup poll. Also, if you look at the poll data, if your ideal client has a graduate degree, or makes more than $75,000 a year, those numbers rise to over 2/3.

Best, Peter

Friday, January 2, 2009

More Reviews, Happy New Years, and Hopeful YGG News

Hi Everyone,

First of all, Happy New Year! I enjoyed getting away from town, and getting away from the computer and counseling for a week. Of course, the deluge of to-do's is here and I am diligently getting at them.

To all those who have sent in their websites for review (over 15 now) - be patient, but know you are on the list.

Finally, I may have a new web designer on the horizon - someone to do custom therapist websites. I'll leave it at that for now, but from what I've seen, I am excited.

Now back to the emails! All the best for a healthy, happy, abundant 2009! Peter