Perry Marshall is one of the best known AdWords experts around, so I was excited to get my hands on a copy of his book, The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords (co-authored by Bryan Todd). My first impression was good: the book has a nice feel in your hands, it's well laid out and it's very well written. I felt far more confident about what I'd find inside this book than I did about Joel Comm's The AdSense Code.
The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords begins with a couple of introductory chapters that can be skipped if you have some basic knowledge about PPC and AdWords. I should note that I reject the concept of "auto-pilot" PPC that's introduced on page 1 and peppered throughout the book. Because of seasonal changes, changing buying or searching habits, new competitors and other factors, a PPC campaign isn't something that can be set up and left to fend for itself. The smart PPC marketer always keeps an eye on market trends and performance statistics, and constantly expands reach by growing and/or refining keyword lists.
Chapter 3 runs through the setup of an AdWords campaign, adding tips and warning of pitfalls along the way. This is a great chapter for any AdWords advertiser to check out (even if it's just to make sure that you crossed your t's.) Next, Marshall writes about lowering CPC, and introduces the "Peel & Stick" strategy, where you remove your high traffic keywords from an Ad Group, then create a new Ad Group for the keyword along with its own ad. This allows you to get your keywords into your ad copy, which always results in higher CTR.
The next chapter is a good primer on how to squeeze more clicks from your PPC investment by properly organizing your AdWords account, using negative keywords, split testing and keyword scrubbing. This is another good read for beginner to intermediate AdWords advertisers, as is the next chapter on keyword selection and crafting killer headlines for your ad copy.
Chapter 7 goes into detail about split-testing, the AdWords advertiser's best friend. Google makes split-testing a snap and Marshall provides a solid crash course in how to put this technique to use. Marshall continues by touching on subjects such as AdSense, image ads and local ads, and follows that up with a chapter on lowering your CPC through relevance, which includes an explanation of AdWords' Quality Score. These last few sections of the book seemed slightly out of order to me. They were also very short chapters. This is when it dawned on me that there was a chance that this book had started out as an e-book or email course–it just has that jumbled, slightly less cohesive feel to it.
Marshall goes on to stress the importance of having a defined USP (unique selling point) for your campaign, but after that the book starts to stray away from the world of AdWords into the more general waters of marketing. It's all good, related info but I missed the tighter focus on AdWords. Email marketing, more on testing, converting visitors (including how to setup AdWords conversion tracking), and visitor value are all on the list before the book settles back down to more AdWords power juice: pursuasive ad copy, untapped ad copy ideas, and finally some basic how-to's for using Google tools like Analytics and AdWords Reports.
The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords also includes a solid chapter on search engine optimization, penned by Planet Ocean's Stephen Mahaney. Again, this is not directly related to AdWords, but it's good information to have on your side nonetheless. A helpful FAQ section rounds out the book.
Overall, The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords is a good quality book about AdWords AND marketing. Because the book strays from the tight focus of AdWords I question the title, but this doesn't detract from the quality of the information presented. In the end, The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords is a good buy, but in my view the definitive guide to Google AdWords is MindValleyLab's AdWords Winning System. I'll review this excellent AdWords guide soon.