How Not To Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion

As you know, I work from home most of the time. I love it – I’m able to minimize interruptions, focus, and get tons done, and still greet my kids when they get home from school. I’m saving the environment and my gasoline bills, too.

There are down sides, though. Our next-door neighbors have 2 young German Shepherds. These dogs BARK AT EVERYTHING. I mean EVERYTHING. They bark at me even though they see me every damn day. They bark at the mailman. They bark at the other neighbor’s dog that’s in its own yard EVERY DAMN DAY. As you can probably tell, it’s beyond annoying. And they bark at my son when he goes out to shoot hoops, which is not only annoying, it kind of scares me.

I heard someplace (radio? newspaper? I honestly can’t remember) that there are devices that generate high-frequency sound that humans can’t hear, but dogs can – and it makes the dogs stop barking. So, I turned to my good friend Google to try to find this miracle product, thinking we could try it at least when the kids are outside attempting to play basketball without listening to barking dogs the whole time.

I found tons of options in both the paid ads and the organic results, as you can see below. But I also found a gross misuse of dynamic keyword insertion (DKI).


See the third ad at the top of the page? “Stop Dogs Barking Neighbors”? Seriously? Folks, remember: DKI does NOT insert the keyphrase that was typed into the search box – it inserts the keyphrase you’re bidding on. While “stop dogs barking neighbors” is a perfectly fine keyword to bid on, it looks kinda silly in the ad title.

The moral of the story? Use DKI with discretion. Be careful which keywords you include in your ad groups that use DKI. Actually read through each possible title, out loud if necessary. Eliminate the ones that don’t sound right, and move them to an ad group where you’re not using DKI.

Oh, and please teach your dogs not to bark at every moving thing. Please.

Oh, and by the way – I didn’t buy a “stop dogs barking neighbors” device yet. Any recommendations?

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Joe The Plumber Does PPC

I know I’m not the only one writing about this, but it’s too much fun to pass up: All the buzz over Joe the Plumber from Wednesday’s presidential debate has spilled over online in a very interesting way. Since lots of writers are covering the Google Trends aspect, I wanted to comment on the PPC side.

Before I get into that, let me say that, as most of you know, this thing is evolving and will continue to evolve. I’m reporting on what I’m seeing in my office in Michigan on Friday, October 17 – not to be confused with what I may see tomorrow, or what any of you might be seeing right now! Isn’t search great that way?!?

Anyway… here is a screen capture of my search on “joe the plumber”:
The ads are all brilliant (even if I don’t agree with all of them, wink wink). At the top is the GOP. Good for them – they’re promoting their online poll and the ad copy really encourages people to join in the conversation. Great social media angle – points for that. Too bad whoever is doing their PPC doesn’t know how to use keyword insertion properly! Sorry, gotta give you a point deduction for an ad title without a single capital letter.

Then there is John McCain’s site. Whoever Senator McCain is using for his SEM has been doing a great job throughout the campaign of getting relevant ads onto a wide variety of searches. Big points to you, McCain’s SEM! Interestingly, despite all the hype about McCain conceding Michigan to Obama and stopping ads here, they’ve obviously got a geo-targeted PPC campaign still running. Not a bad strategy – if indeed it is a strategy, and not just an oversight.

Oh, and McCain’s SEM? You lose points for not using keyword insertion correctly either.

Following the McCain ad is an ad for Network Solutions that appears, at first glance, to be totally irrelevant. That is, until you read in the news that the guy who owns the joetheplumber.com domain has been offered up to $800,000 for his domain. Pretty sneaky, Network Solutions! Bonus points for creativity.

Of course, Barack Obama’s SEM can’t let McCain get all the attention, so next you’ll find a brilliantly worded ad for Obama’s campaign. Well done! Bonus points for correct usage of keyword insertion.

Finally, no liquid-hot search would be complete without the totally irrelevant PPC ad. Today’s contestant is Holiday Autos, with a non-sequiter ad for international getaway cars. Huh?? How did that get there? Points to them for getting visibility on “joe the plumber;” major point deduction to Google for actually allowing this ad to appear.

So there you have it. I’d like to thank today’s contestants for playing. Come back in an hour, when a new cast of PPC ads will undoubtedly be running…

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Yahoo Keyword Insertion Nonsense

We’ve all heard about the eBay ads on Google that use keyword insertion for everything – you know, “buy used fish on eBay,” etc. It’s become a big SEM joke.

I was searching for the name of this blog on Yahoo just now, just to make sure I’m ranking for it (I am). I found this lovely specimen. Look at the second sponsored ad:

(To see for yourself, just go to Yahoo and search for “beyond the paid” without the quotes.)

Huh? As far as I can tell, this is an ad for a service selling “Top 25″ lists, and the ad is supposed to be say “legitimate {keyword} for serious {keyword}.” Which is still terrible ad copy. What if I searched for, say, “stock certificates”?

2007 Top 25 Stock Certificates
Legitimate Stock Certificates for Serious Stock Certificates

It still doesn’t make sense! Even if I searched for something like “investments,” it wouldn’t make sense. “Legitimate investments for serious investments”??

Clearly this advertiser has no idea how keyword insertion works. Either that, or they chose that option by mistake when they created their ad group. Either way, this is one reason why keyword insertion should be used with caution, and only when you fully understand how it works!

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