Dear Readers!

Those of you, who follow my scribble a bit longer, know that I do genealogical research for a living. Business is weak and I realize that I must push my pr/marketing/advertisement departement a bit further – so handy came an offer by Google to have advertisements of my services when someone uses Google with words that fit into my description – the principle of adwords: If someone in Idaho f.e. googles “genealogical research in Franconia” right besides the results a little square with my advertisement should pop up.

I am toying with this idea. I worked already and would like to continue working for descendants of Franconian emigrants, so my potential customers do life in Canada, the USA, parts of Southern America and Russia. I know the archives, can locate source materials, can read, translate and transcribe them, and I’m good in researching: Hey, I do this for nearly twenty years now and I was pretty successful for some customers.

What I would like to know is:
If you google “Genealogical research, Franconia” or maybe “Bavaria” (Familienforschung, Franken) – what results are shown?

Google sometime ago introduced the localization of search results: That means I am shown only results related to my physical location (Standort) – Unterfranken, Lower Franconia in my case, and I can not disable this. I only can try to set the position to “Germany”, but even that is denied. I can not search and show results a person in the UK, in Canada or the US would get.

I try to understand how a potential customer would find me, and what he would see first when using Google – and because Google is the one with the adwords and offering its services to me for advertising, I gently ask for your help.  You would do a great favour to your genealogist in residence!

By the way, besides Bing exist other interesting search engines as alternatives to Google, like blekko, Duck Duck Go, and (my favourite) ixquick.

29 thoughts on “Adverts

  1. Yes, me too. Putting in more words for the search gave me other links, but the top ones were all for large commercial companies or for Wiki entries, then I got on to local history sites and genealogy blogs and so on – I didn’t search all the way down the pages though.

  2. I’ve used Google adwords for year, I believe they helped save my business, because I’m able to highlight my company along with the larger ones with bigger budgets. I pay for clicks and set a small daily budget at first and was very careful in the search words I picked. I spent time prior to setting up my words doing what you’re doing…. putting in the words,etc to see what gets businesses close to what you’re doing. I have many competitors and sell a product that is a commodity so it was easier for me to figure out what words to use. Good luck with this and I’d like to know how it works out for you.

  3. When I did a search, your blog came up third from top.

    I’d follow Ms Boxer’s advice, she’s on the ball!

    I’d also think about using Facebook and twitter as well, because the networks spread across the internet. But then, I’m on FB all the time, I would say that.

  4. 63 mago, use It hides your IP address and allows you to see what people around the world see :)

    Im not a huge fan of Google adwords but then I work in SEO so I prefer to get my traffic for free and I’ve seen several businesses pay a fortune for very little return on investment.

    What you need to establish is what potential searchers are actually typing into Google and then target those keywords in your metadata and posts on your website. Dont just guess what they might be looking for, ask existing ones what they used to find you.

    At a very basic level you can use the Google Adwords tool to get some ideas and then put that search term into the Google search bar inside quotation marks so “Genealogical research, Franconia” and then you can see what the competition is for that precise term. However, the best way is to use a paid tool to identify those keywords – some do exact search (the best) and others do broad search but they can be quite expensive. I believe Wordtracker has a free version and Market Samurai runs a 30 day trial.

    If you’re interested in using social media, there are Facebook ads which are considerably cheaper than Adwords and far more targeted because you can really specify who you want to reach

    All local businesses should also make sure that they have claimed their Google Places page – listen up Boxer! These are FREE websites given away by Google, the top 7 of which appear on the front page of Google for specific local search terms. If you don’t have one, you can either create your own or nudge Google into noticing you’re there and making you one.

    PM me if you need any more help :)

  5. Thank you for searching, Ms. Scarlet. This blog comes up – astounding!

    Thank you for searching, dear Z.

    We realized that our English page is not seo’d, there is room for improvement. In the offer google always speaks about “Kunden” – customers I would pay for. That is a nice play with words, as I understand I pay for clicks on my website that were created via Google. See what Joanna says about that Google Places page, Boxer. Thank you for your input, I’ll let you know what we finally do and about the result.

    You are a well of knowledge, Joanna – thank you for sharing! Identifying keywords and putting them into our pages (in hte metadata and in the text) will be the next step. I will look at the programs you mentioned, thank you for this. I have a strong aversion for Facebook and xing and these kind of “media”, I do not believe that we will go there. Another branch of Mago Inc. is aiming at the local market, so many thanks for mentioning the Google Place thing, we will check it out.
    Ah, it’s Wednesday, isn’t it … *blush* I’ll do my very best at the next occasion, Joanna.

  6. I agree w/ Joanna about the value of good meta data. It is a pet peeve of mine that people do not respect the meta data!!! t think of it as the “card catalog” for the internet and hard drives if you want it to help you search and organize your own document archives. It’s under the “File” tab usually as “Properties” if your running windows.

    I wonder if there is some way you can get business through Ancestry,com as a subcontractor or something. they must have a lot of money because the have quite the marketing machine in the U.S. including a tv show: “Who do you think you are?”

    Take care my friend!

  7. Sigh. Have you noticed that Google search has changed? You can now search for things specifically that have been uploaded to the internet in the last week/month/year… and you can search specifically from a place in your own country. Does this make it more difficult to check how people search? And does this make it more reason to have a business blog?
    Questions for Boxer and Ms Cakes, btw!

  8. We’ll pet our metadata, I promise, Melanie! I looked at and wondered what they are actually doing. I think it’s a fair echo of the old dream “You press the button, we do the rest”, this time only with a database: “You peck in the name, we search for you”.
    That is plaine nonsense when it comes to South Germany. Spare your money and let me do the work: A very large part of the ecclestical sources, especially church books and registers, are not even in centralized archives.
    This means: If you want to know, you have to go there. You have to read. I think 99 of 100 Germans can not read a handwriting older than 30 years – so forget about the drunken scribble of the 18th century good sheperd … anything before circa 1920 is absolutely not standadized.
    And I strongly doubt that they really have a software that recognizes old handwritings – the mistakes are endless. That means one has to proof read and correct – hell, I’d have it copied faster and more accurate. I wonder who is behind this company, the European branch sits in Luxembourg and has the form of a Societe Anonym. I’d prefer to work directly with and for customers, without a middleman.

    Maybe I should write a “How to” do genealogical research in South Germany.

    Thank you for the hint, dear Scarlet (with one “t”!) – I have to dig into the google search a bit more, Astoundingly I saw my own blog as search result – what a feeling …

  9. No one ever comes to my blog looking for genealogical research.

    Mostly they’re looking for “how to make a gloryhole” and other useful DIY instructions.

  10. So Google changed things so that you get lots of suggestions for what you really meant, which can be a pain the butt when your customer was trying to type in the very keyword that you’ve optimised your site for. But, in other ways, it’s an opportunity because it just gives us even more variations of the keyword to work with so you’re not stuffing with the same one – latent semantics, I believe is the technical term.

    Also, with regard to searching from different locations, you still have to be careful that the search engines are not taking into account your previous actions and preferences when they display your SERPs (search engine results page). That’s why I like to use or as with both you are pretty sure that you are getting an unbiased view.

    Business blogs are important. They give a business website the chance to show Activity and Changing Content as well as upping the number of pages that it is possible to link to. The algorithm is based on that A, B, C. If you have a blog, you can target your keywords in posts there, as well as on your main pages. Alexa ranking definitely goes up as a result of consistent posting, although that will only take you so far. Does it have a bearing on your ranking on the search engines? Hard to say. Google have said several times that Page Rank and keyword metadata are not part of their algorithm but you only have to look at the snippets shown on the results pages to know that they definitely use the description metadata for a page. If you have the right combination of comments/likes, regular unique content and a good number of backlinks from quality sites, your blog posts can show up on the search results pages alongside your website pages, giving you several positions on the front page – who doesn’t want to push out the competition?

    Having said that Google (and Bing) has also factored in social search so, if you’re logged into your social media platforms, your search results page will start to contain links to recommendations or mentions of that keyword by your social media connections These references will be ranked higher than more relevant pages information-wise because the search engines believe that we want to see recommendations from our friends. Be careful who you connect with on social media as their likes and dislikes will be influencing the results that you see in the future, whether you agree with their point of view in real life or not.

  11. Thank you very much for this information, Ms Cakes. I noticed that Google were taking all my preferences into account yesterday. I also noticed that it was taking into consideration my network connections… as the results page changed dramatically after I’d logged out of Gmail and Blogger…. I thought I was going mad! I think hidemyass will prove to be very useful.
    I’m keeping an eye on my calligraphy website – I don’t have a hope of it getting onto the top five UK pages for the search word ‘calligraphy’, but I don’t want to sink without a trace!
    Thanks again,

  12. So, don’t go straight to the top search term, which is bound to have the most competition, work on longer tail keywords. If you can rank for those, it automatically improves your authority to help you rank on the big ones. Long tail keywords are phrases that go around your main keyword.

    For example, you can go geographic – calligraphy in milton keynes – or work out what people might be typing into google in search of info or facts about your product/service – how to do calligraphy.

    It is best to check out if people are searching for these long tail keywords tho so dont just pluck them out of your head and use them without checking the search value first.

  13. Just out of interest, do any of you actually click the sponsored ads at the top or down the side of each search results page? Pre Google Places statistics showed that they get less than 5% of the available clicks to a page with the lion’s share (40%) going to the listing at position number one in the organic (free) section.

  14. Thank you for the info, Ms Cakes. Do you use Google Insights? I find that really interesting.
    Erm… personally I make a point of never clicking on the sponsered ads. If I’m looking for something that’s important to me, then I might go through twenty odd pages to search. For general information I’ll grab what’s at the top of this list… but I might still cross reference it with something a few pages in just to make sure I’m not missing anything!

  15. A well of Information, I saied it before, I say it again. Thank you, dear Joanna, I will work through all this over the weekend.
    And btw I do not even see these ads here on my private machine, because of “adblocker plus” … like Scarlet I don’t mind to work myself through 20 pages of results. And I normally avoid the top three or four, no specific or rational reason, sooner or later I will klick them anyway, but not first.

    I think keyword metadata are very surely a part of the google’s algorhythm – the German page of Mago Inc. obviously is ranked pretty high because of exactly this. (Last time I remember we checked, we were on page two for some words.) It’s in German aimed at German customers and works well with the searchwords – of course it may need a re-working, but the numbers are good. Genealogical services are not the main feature. The English part needs improvement.

  16. Thank you Joanna for the info. I have a specific product and website so Google search ads do help… but I’d love to cut my monthly advertising bill so I’m going to look into all of J’s suggestions. Luckily, I have a brother who is smart when comes to navigating the Internet. I just typed into Google the key word for my product and we’re at the top. And to answer J’s question, I do click the sponsored ads. Sometimes, I click my competitors. Bad, I know.

  17. I also look at my colleagues, I do not think it’s bad. I once had a kind of marketing instruction, and what I still remember is:
    “Wer nicht wirbt, stirbt.” – No ads equals bancerott.
    And: “Wer macht, was alle machen, bekommt, was alle bekommen.” “Wo does what everybody does, gets what everybody gets.”

  18. I think what Boxer means [I might be wrong] is that if you click on a competitors sponsered advert then the competitor has to pay a small fee to Google for the click!
    A couple of accidental clicks here and there nver hurt anyone….

  19. So sponsored ads (and Facebook ads) are where you agree a fee with Google that you will pay every time someone clicks on your link. The more competitive the keyword, the higher the pay per click fee. You then agree a daily budget of how much you want to spend before your ad stops appearing.

    They say that they have parameters in place to stop competitors using up your credit. I have always had my doubts!

    So far, my business has always come from personal recommendation or people seeing my website listed on the front page of the free organic listings. Against my advice, one of my customers insisted on taking out a PPC campaign because it came ‘free’ with another ad they had paid for. £750/month later – yup, it doesn’t sound very free does it – the providers of the free campaign said they were sending 1000 visitors per month to the site – a figure which was not borne out by Analytics. Enquiries have increased but it is impossible to say whether that is because of the ads or the work that I have done getting them two or three entries on the front page of each SERP for their keywords because they didn’t factor in a code to their ad campaign so they could measure their ROI – return on investment. Now they want me to try to work out what’s going on and whether it’s worth continuing. It’s a complete mess :(

    That’s crucial. If you’re going to run an ad campaign, make sure you get people to quote a code when they call or run a tracking phone number so that you know how effective your campaign has been and whether it’s worth continuing to invest.

  20. Oh, I did not think in this direction, sorry Scarlet.

    So I understand: It is important to keep apart from what source the clicks come: The people may come because of the ad campaign (and there should be something messurable built in) or they may come from the organic serp. (That sounds a bit nasty)
    As it is the case with you Joanna, my customers came by recommendation. The other, German, branch of Mago Inc. works different, there it is the classical advertisement with flyers, print, phonebook, entry in databases etc. – but again: This is aimed at a German market, locally and regionally.
    The potential genealogical/historical customers sit in other parts of the world.
    What started all this is an offer by google for a free advertisement – or better: They offer to do advertises until a limit is reached. Our numbers of visitors are more or lesss on the same level for some time now, so we should simply see whether there is an increase, especially for the English part.

  21. Mago, just see my example above for how expensive a FREE adword campaign turned out to be. Keep a tight rein on your purse and don’t let them persuade you to spend more unless you can track how effective the campaign is and know that it is worthwhile spending.

Comments are closed.