An experiment with Google AdWords

5 09 2008

In purchasing my hosting package from 1&1 I received a $25 voucher for Google AdWords.  With the recent release of ClimbPoint 0.7, I figured this was a good opportunity to see what all the fuss was about


After deducting the $5 setup fee for Adwords, I had $20 left in my AdWords account to spend on clicks.  I didn’t have a clue how much a click would cost, but I was guessing $20 would buy me a couple hundred clicks.

It seems I underestimated the value of a click, as Google charges anywhere between $1.07 and $2.05 depending on the going rate for an ad click.  At first I thought Google was randomly choosing a price, but this page of the FAQ cleared that up for me.

So in the span of about two weeks I bought 21 clicks at a cost of $18.31.  After that, I paused my campaign and then set the cost per click that I was willing to pay down to $0.25.  We’ll see what difference that makes in the number of views my ad gets.

Many of the clicks that I purchased were one-and-done’ers (they didn’t really check out the site) — so I didn’t notice a dramatic jump in site traffic over at  In contrast, most of the clicks that come from generic Google searches result in at least a few page views.

This was opposite of what I would have expected, but as I think about it I know that most of my AdWords clicks are “impulse” clicks — I’m not explicitly searching for a product or service but notice an AdWord that seems compelling, so I click just to see what it is.

So I think AdWords helped increase my visibility, but I don’t know that I targeted my ads appropriately before starting my campaign.

Anyone have any good tips on getting the most out of AdWords?  I did a quick search but was overwhelmed by the number and sleaziness of results 🙂

SEO for beginners

3 07 2008

Let me begin this post by stating that I don’t, by any stretch of the imagination, consider myself an authority on search engine optimization (SEO). I do, however, feel somewhat qualified to write this post because 1. I am a beginner and 2. my site ClimbPoint is second on Google for a couple key searches.

Those who are well versed in SEO probably do not measure success only by their ranking on Google, but I do 🙂 Anyway, here are a few things that I think have helped me get on Google’s front page:

Write a blog
I know, I know, blogging consistently can sometimes seem like work — but it can also be fun and can serve a couple purposes. First, it can get your site associated with keywords in your industry (assuming that you’re blogging about industry-related topics, which I recommend). Second, Google seems to love websites that are updated frequently, thus it loves blogs (especially WordPress, it seems). Finally blogging can connect you with others who share your interests, and you never know where those connections could lead.

Be smart with your wording
This goes along with the first point, but also applies to your commercial website (assuming that your blog and website are separate). There are a number of articles on seo and keywords, but here is an inadequate summary: titles are important, use headings and links, and format as appropriate. If you’re blogging you can also tag and categorize your posts. This helps your ratings because WordPress tends to create index pages for popular tags, and your posts can show up on these pages, driving traffic to your site.

Show some link love
There are blogs out there that obviously only exist to post links on some topic like insurance or drugs to cure impotence. This is not the kind of link love I’m talking about here. By linking to relevant sites and articles you’ll both increase your site’s authority in Google’s eyes, increase the chances of someone linking to you, and possibly get a few visitors if the sites you link to show pingbacks.

Give it some time
Lastly, even though Google will soon be ruling the world it can still take a few weeks or even a couple months for them to update their indexes of the entire interweb. This means that those blog entries with carefully chosen keywords and well titled pages will take some time to make it into Google’s index. In the meantime, just keep writing — and take note of the sites that are listed on the front page for the search terms you’re interested in.

Again, I’m by no means an authority, but I felt I could offer some advice because of my success to date. It’s probably the case that the keywords that I was interested in weren’t that popular (only 237,000 pages on climbing wall software as of this writing). Hopefully though this post has given you a few ideas. Feel free to post other links and resources in the comments!