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Friday, September 28, 2007

AdWords Secret: Buy Domain Names as Keywords

As I've been tweaking AdWords accounts, I've noticed many companies overlook domain names. Reading a recent New York Times article, Microsoft Takes Aim at Google's Ad Supremacy, I found this quote very revealing:
Mr. McAndrews contends that search engines, which long have claimed credit for sending people to companies’ Web sites, do not deserve it all.

“Google gets all the credit, and in fact, you might have just gone to Google to type in the U.R.L.,” Mr. McAndrews said, pointing out that people often search for companies’ names after seeing their ads elsewhere.
It's really domain names and partial URLs that people type into search boxes. Now, why is this relevant to someone buying pay per click ads via Google AdWords? If people are typing domain names or URLs into search boxes, those domain names or keywords from the URLs can be purchased via AdWords. Click on the image below to see an experiment I ran awhile ago regarding this kind of strategy:

google adwords secret

I noticed that legendary domainer, Frank Schilling, also picked up on that quote from the NY Times article. He has a different perspective on what it means.

Perhaps you don't believe me, though, that lots of people type domain names into search boxes. Take a look at the Google Hot Trends data from this past Monday:
  1. g4tv.com/halo
  2. nbc.com/nissan
  3. g4.com
On that day, 3 of the 100 top searches (trends indicate spikes in searches more so than the actual top searches) involved people typing domain names or partial URLs directly into the search box. I've been calling this direct navigation via search. A competitor to Nissan could have bought this exact match via AdWords:

[nbc com nissan]

and had a spike in traffic for a few cents per click. Likewise, a company selling Halo or a competing game could have purchased this exact match:

[g4tv com halo]

You can enter exact matches like that instead of [g4tv.com/halo] because the AdWords system ignores punctuation marks. Speaking of Halo, check out this superb hack by some pranksters from my alma mater:

mit harvard halo 3 hack

Related Posts:
Top Google Searches Tool
Google AdWords Tip: Direct Navigation via Search
Direct Navigation via Search Box is a Trend
Google Hot Trends + Domain Name Reputation Management

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