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I was going to write a post today about ad extensions and their importance, especially now that right hand side ads are gone from Google. But I just wasn’t feeling it. Ad extensions are important, now more than ever. Here’s Google’s take on the issue. Read that. Activate ad extensions if you haven’t already.


Instead, I’d like to talk about teachers. Later today, I’m having dinner with one of my former clarinet teachers. I took lessons from him briefly while he was a grad student at the University of Michigan. Now he’s an internationally renowned performer. I’m super excited to catch up with him.

As I thought about all the great teachers I’ve had over the years, I got to thinking about PPC teachers. Who has taught me PPC skills over the years?

As with many of us who started in the early days of PPC (I started in 2002), I was mostly self-taught in the beginning. SES was a fledgling conference, and SMX wouldn’t exist for another 5 years. Blogs were a new thing, and there weren’t many out there. Twitter didn’t exist either. I got most of my info from either trial and error, or from reading forums: I Help You, Jill Whelan’s High Rankings forum, and later, the forums at Search Engine Watch. Of the three, only High Rankings remains – and Jill’s been out of the search business for a few years now.

There are several individuals to whom I’m indebted for imparting their search knowledge to me in the early days. Andrew Goodman was infinitely patient with the zillions of questions I asked him during a brief consulting engagement in 2002 or 2003, and his e-book on Adwords was dog-eared on my desk as a reference.

Brad Geddes was a regular on the forums back in the day. He answered lots of questions, and I made sure to attend his sessions at SES when I started going in 2003. I also learned a ton from Frank Watson aka AussieWebmaster on the forums.

Matt Van Wagner is one of the nicest guys in search, and he has always encouraged me. I still remember when he came up to me at an early conference in probably 2005 or 2006 and complimented me for asking a good question in a session.

I’m still learning about PPC, even as an old-timer. I learn from the great folks in PPCChat every day. I learn from clients, bosses, and coworkers. If you’re not learning, you’re stagnating and, dare I say, dying.

Who has helped you learn PPC? Give them kudos in the comments!

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  1. I’ll never forget it. In 2006 I walked into a job interview for a financial analyst for a mortgage refi company. Turns out they were generating most of their leads through this thing called “Google Adwords”. I got the job dove in, went to my first SMX, wrote all over whiteboards, etc. Never regretted it, never looked back. I’m thankful they gave me a chance (although the company is long gone).

    And I have to thank blogs like PPC Hero, this blog, #ppcchat on twitter (and lot more) and the people I work with for continuing to teach me. And hopefully I have the same impact on people I teach/help.

    • Melissa Mackey says

      Isn’t it great how so many of us came to this industry by accident? I did too, and likewise have never looked back. Thanks for your kind words!

  2. I remember the first time the PPC light bulb went off for me. It was about 2 hours into a 2 day AdWords Seminar for Success that Brad Geddes was putting on. I had “run” PPC campaigns prior to that, but they were mostly keyword placement campaigns targeting keywords we were already going after for SEO. That was a real eye opened to the power that paid search had.

    PPCchat became my second teacher. The 1st PPCchat dinner we had at SMX Advanced was the first time I got to meet IRL anyone from the group. It’s been a great group of people to learn from.

    • Melissa Mackey says

      Couldn’t agree more! I remember that dinner – that’s where we met IRL! And then the party at The Garage – oh my. Fun times!

  3. Lisa Sanner says

    I came to paid search in 2006 with an advertising, marketing, and market research background. I found it to be my nirvana where it brought many of my interests and skills together. You’ve named some of my top “public” teachers, as well as yourself and many of the #ppcchat gang.

    I’ve also had some great managers and co-workers at Point It that were patient with me and all my questions, explained things both theoretically and with reality-based answers, and gave me tasks on accounts that were learning experiences, both technical paid search skills as well as client management/relationship skills. They gave me just enough rope to grow but not enough to hang myself. 🙂 I’m still learning from many of the super smart folks that currently work or have worked for our agency. I’ve also learned a lot from some clients who pushed me to drive performance and trusted me with their campaigns. Just some of their names include: Christina, Jeff, Joe, Maria, Jon, Frank, Sarah, Katy, Maddie, Christi, Lindsay, Bill. There have been many others, and I’m truly grateful that they’ve impacted my growth.

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