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SEM Glossary

Google AdWords

AdWords is Google’s online cost-per-click advertising service. Businesses buy ads that appear above, alongside, or below the search results for a given keyword phrase and only pay when consumers click their ads. These ads typically look like search results, with a title and a brief description.

Ad Campaign

An AdWords ad campaign is a set of ad groups that have a budget, location targeting, and other settings in common. Businesses can create different campaigns for specific groups of products or campaigns that target different audiences.

Ad Group

Ad groups are a component of Google AdWords that specify the text of an ad, which keywords will cause the ad to be displayed, and what page consumers will see when they click it. Businesses that create ad groups with relevant keywords and compelling ad text for specific product pages are more likely to get conversions.

Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are extra pieces of information that can be added to an AdWords ad, such as a business address, a phone number, or links to other pages on the site.

Ad Formats

Ad formats are ad enhancements that cause a business’s information to be displayed more prominently. These include ad extensions, like the inclusion of a business address or phone number, as well as social extensions, like an annotation advertising how many followers the business has on Google+.

Ad Position

Ad position refers to where an ad appears on a SERP (search engine results page) in relation to the other ads that appear. The highest ad position, an ad position of 1, goes not to the highest bidder but to the ad with the highest Ad Rank.

Ad Rank

Ad Rank is a value that determines the position of an ad on a search engine results page. It is calculated based on bid amount, Quality Score, ad format and other factors.

Ad Status

A business can check on the status of its ads in the Ads tab of its AdWords account. Whenever an ad is created, it undergoes a review process before it can be approved by Google and shown on search engine results pages. During this process, Google will make sure that the ad complies with its policies and will either approve or deny it. The status of an ad will also be affected by the starting and stopping of its ad campaign.

AdWords API

The AdWords API (application programming interface) is an advanced feature that allows businesses to create applications that interact with their AdWords accounts. This can be useful for advertisers with large AdWords accounts and campaigns. A developer could create an application to manage ads in relation to inventory, for instance, or make adjustments to ad campaigns en masse.

AdWords Editor

AdWords Editor is an application that businesses can download for free and use to manage ad campaigns and make changes in bulk. This tool is particularly useful for businesses with multiple ad campaigns and large amounts of keywords.

AdWords Scripts

AdWords scripts are an advanced feature that allows advertisers to create programs that can help automate the process of analyzing AdWords data. Advertisers sufficiently familiar with Javascript can write scripts that will analyze their ad data and send them regular, easy-to-read reports.

Automated Rules

Automated rules are an AdWords feature that can save businesses time by automatically altering ad statuses, bids, and budgets based on parameters they establish. With automated rules, a business owner can control when time-sensitive ads go live without having to constantly monitor their account.
  • If an advertiser is running many ads linking to the same page on their website, they can use the auto-tagging feature to find out which ads are being clicked more than others. Each time an ad is clicked, auto-tagging will automatically add an identifier to the URL of the page the consumer visits on the site. Programs like Google Analytics will be able to discern from these modified URLs information like which ads and keywords are performing well and which are not.
  • Broad match is the default setting for keywords in AdWords. When an advertiser adds a broad-match keyword, their ad will run when someone searches that keyword or some variation of it, including similar phrases, common misspellings, singular or plural forms, and synonyms.
  • When someone clicks an AdWords ad, it is counted as a click, except if the click is deemed invalid for any reason. Clicks are a good indication of how well an ad is performing; compelling ads generally receive more clicks.
  • An ad’s conversion rate is the average percentage of users who make a purchase, fill out a form or complete another desired action after clicking an ad. This number is determined by dividing the number of conversions in a given time period by the number of clicks in that same time period. Conversion rate is a useful metric to help advertisers measure the success of their ads.
  • For each AdWords ad campaign advertisers create, they set an average daily budget based on how much they are willing to spend on the campaign each day. AdWords will try to display the ads as much as possible until the daily budget has been spent, after which the ads will no longer show until the following day. Occasionally, on days when it is attracting a lot of clicks, a given ad can run even after the budget is met, meaning the advertiser would be charged slightly more than the average daily budget. To counteract this, AdWords will pull the ad before the average daily budget is spent on days when the ad is not performing as well.
  • The destination URL is the Web address of the page that consumers see after clicking an AdWords ad. It may be different from the display URL, but both URLs must belong to the same domain.
  • The Display Network includes more than a million websites, videos, and apps that can show AdWords ads. An advertiser’s ads might appear on a website or an app that has content related to the ad.
  • The display URL is the Web address that appears in conjunction with an AdWords ad. This may differ from the destination URL, but both URLs must share a domain. A display URL might be the domain alone, for instance, while the destination URL might be a specific page within that domain.
  • An exact match keyword causes an ad to run only when a consumer searches using the exact keyword phrase or a close variation of the keyword phrase, without any extra words before or after it. A close variation of the keyword phrase might be a common misspelling, an acronym, an abbreviation, or a phrase with a singular or plural form of a word.
  • The word impression refers to an instance of a particular AdWords ad showing on a SERP (search engine results page) or another site in the Google Network.
  • Each time someone clicks on an AdWords ad, the click is examined by complex systems to determine if it is a legitimate click or what Google deems an invalid click. An invalid click might be a click intended to increase profits for the owners of websites that host the ad, any click performed by automated software, or an extra or accidental click. Google filters out these invalid clicks so that the advertiser does not get charged for them.
  • Keyword insertion is an advanced feature that can alter the text of an advertiser’s ad to include targeted keywords. To use keyword insertion, the advertiser places some special code in an ad’s text. When the ad runs, this code (which might look like {KeyWord:flowers}) is replaced by either the default keyword (flowers) or, if someone has used it in a search, another keyword from that ad group.
  • The maximum CPC bid is the most an advertiser is willing to pay for each click an AdWords ad garners. Higher bids can help ads appear in higher positions on SERPs (search engine results pages).
  • The maximum CPM bid refers to the highest amount an advertiser wants to spend per 1,000 impressions. This pay plan is ideal for businesses that want to focus more on increasing brand awareness than increasing website traffic or conversions.
  • My Change History is a tool that tracks all of the changes that are made to an advertiser’s account over a span of two years and, if multiple people have access to the account, who made each change. Advertisers can compare their change history to their performance data to draw conclusions about which changes were beneficial and which changes were detrimental.
  • Quality Score is the estimated quality of an AdWords ad, measured on a scale from 1 to 10. The score is based on a variety of factors, including expected click-through rate, relevance, and quality of the landing page.
  • Phrase match is a keyword setting that makes it so an advertiser’s ad will only run if someone’s search includes the exact keyword phrase or a close variation of it, like a common misspelling of the phrase, whether or not extra words appear before or after it.
  • The Search Network is a group of search-related sites that partner with Google to show search ads. These search partners include Google sites like Google Video and Google Maps as well as non-Google sites like AOL.