An Interview With Pamela Lund

When it came to planning the blog for the New Year we wanted to add more voices to the blog. And we have thanks to Becca and Tim. But we wanted to do more than just make the blog a place for us to speak our minds. We wanted to hear from others involved in the search industry whose opinions and the work they do we respect.
So the last Monday of each month we’ll be interviewing someone to learn a little more about them as well as getting their aspect on search marketing. And to get things started, we’re kicking the series off with Pamela Lund of BlueGlass Interactive.

1. Thanks for taking time to answer some questions Pamela. For those not
too familiar with you, who are you and what do you do?

I develop and manage the paid search strategies for BlueGlass Interactive.

2. How is what you’re doing for BlueGlass different from what you were
doing before? Is there anything you miss about your old job?

Before I joined BlueGlass I was freelancing as a PPC manager so my job isn’t much different. The only thing I miss is working on very small mom and pop businesses that can’t afford an agency. I’m a sucker for a small business.

3. When I first heard of you, you were one of the go to people for
PPC. Has PPC always been something you’ve been well versed in? What other
areas do you feel you’re strong in?

I was forced into PPC when AdWords launched. My degree is actually in Finance and I started out as an accountant. I then took my affinity for numbers and details and started a career in media buying and contract negotiation. My employer owned nearly 100% of the ad impression share on Google, Yahoo and MSN for all of their major keywords before the bid model become popular. I got my feet wet with Overture and other old pure bid models where we were paying $150 per click for some of our very competitive terms. Then Google announced they were launching AdWords, effectively tripling what it would cost us to get the same exposure on Google that we were currently getting for a flat fee. I had to quickly learn how to optimize AdWords campaigns in very competitive markets. I discovered I had that special kind of crazy it takes to be good at PPC. You have to love looking at rows and rows of data and picking out important pieces while also being able to write creative and effective ad copy.

I specialize in PPC so I don’t have other areas of SEM that I would say I am strong in. My only other major skill is harassing people about their diets in an attempt to make people healthier. I’ve launched Practically Primal to house my health and nutrition rants.

4. How would you encourage others in their pursuits?

I think you have to try everything to find out what you’re good at and what you enjoy. Specializing too soon can limit your growth and may prevent you from finding what you really want to do.

5. With Google integrating more social into search, how do you see
this impacting PPC? Do you see more of a focus on retargeting ads as a
result?

I never try to guess what Google is going to do. Right now it feels like they are forcing Google+ on us and it’s awkward. If they really want to make PPC social they need to incorporate other social signals. I’d be much more likely to click on an ad that had a sentiment rating for that company relative to what you’ve searched based on aggregate data than an ad that just tells me 5,000 people have +1′d that domain. That tells me nothing about the specific product or service.

I love retargeting and do think it’s going to become more important over the next few years. When done right it’s a very powerful tool.

6. What are some things you see people doing wrong with retargeting?

With retargeting, I see people just setting it up and forgetting it. You have to test various levels of frequency capping, vet the networks the ads are shown on, and do ad optimization just like a regular campaign.

7. Have you ever suggested that a client lower the budget for their
PPC with search engines other than Google? Why would/wouldn’t this be a
recommendation?

I have done this if the results on the other engines were not as good as Google and we needed more budget to get more out of Google. I think budgets should be flexible and put where they are doing the most good.

8. When planning a campaign for the first time what are some things
that you feel get “over-hyped” and what are some things that get over
looked?

The basics get overlooked which is really frustrating. People get excited about launching a campaign but don’t want to do the work to lay the proper groundwork. Proper keyword research (including negative keywords!) and ad group organization from the get go is the best way to ensure an easy to manage account. If you can’t hand off an account to someone else and have them easily understand the campaign structure, you’ve done something wrong.

I don’t think too much gets over-hyped. But, I guess any time there is a new feature people tend to get excited about that and forget about the basics.

9. What online tools do you use and recommend? Are there any that are
out that you’re curious to try but haven’t yet?

I always recommend Authority Labs and Raven Tools. Both have great features and are great companies run by great people.

10. What mistake have you learned the most from? Either for your career or personal life?

I don’t think there are any major mistakes in life. Everything I’ve done, good or bad, has made me who I am and has gotten me to this point, and I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. If you follow your heart and your gut, you’ll end up in the right place. It may not be where you thought you’d be, but it will be right. When I was 18 I thought I’d be a stock broker living in New York. Boy am I glad that didn’t happen!

11. You’re shipwrecked on a deserted island. In your backpack is a guide
to SEO published in 2000, a pack of bacon, a SMX swag bag with coasters and
bottled water. What would you use these items for in order to survive until
help could arrive?

I would use the bacon to lure prey out that I could kill for a larger supply of food. I’d use the seo guide for kindling to make a fire. I’d drink the water. And the coasters…well I guess it depends on how many. If there were enough I’d use them to make an SOS sign on the sand. If there were only a couple, I’d use them as plates to keep the sand out of the wild boar I cooked on my fire :)

You can follow Pamela on Twitter, catch her blogging on health at Practically Primal or about PPC at the BlueGlass blog.

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