Imagine you want to check your placement on the search engines so you walk up to your computer, go to www.google.com and type in your password. You’re not there or you are but in a much lower position than normal. Yipes! What’s wrong with my PPC advertising?
Google tracks IP addresses. Google does this for lots of reasons, one being to help prevent click fraud. If you repeatedly do searches on the same or similar terms on google.com, Google will stop showing you the results that the average person who searches on something the first time sees. I can’t tell you how many times I get a client in a panic (or mad) thinking their account has stopped working.
It used to be that you could clear your cache and history and things would go back to “normal” for awhile, but then Google got smart and created a tool called Google AdPreview (luckily they made it easy to remember: www.google.com/adpreview). Using Google AdPreview, you can do a search and accurately see what a normal searcher sees. What’s even better is that you can specify countries, states, metro areas, even cities, so you can see local results too. It really helps me as an account manager, because I can see accurate results for my geotargeted clients, whether they are targeting the Houston metro area, or the state of California, or Monmouth County NJ, when I’m right here in the Chicagoland area.
An added benefit of the Google AdPreview tool is a very important one: every time you do a search on one of your keywords and you see your ad, you are negatively impacting your Click Through Rate (CTR). How? Because you searched, your keyword registered an impression, and you didn’t click on your ad (which you wouldn’t want to do, because it costs you money) which in turn lowers your CTR. It’s not a big deal if it’s one or two times on a keyword that get loads of impressions, but what if you are in a very niche market with keywords that get very few searches. Your one impression with no click can affect your CTR way more than you intended.
So Google AdPreview (www.google.com/adpreview) – memorize it (or bookmark it), use it, love it!