Conduct Your Own Free Gmail AdWords Test

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The key to successful search engine marketing is using keywords and phrases that the most commonly used search engines will place high on their list of results. However, the advent of Google's Gmail has added another aspect to the power of the search tool.

Gmail's AdWords system finds words and phrases in e-mails and lists links to relevant sites for paid advertisers. For example, a personal e-mail to a friend about where to have dinner tonight could have several links to restaurants listed next to it.

This system was feared initially as a violation of privacy. But since the messages are scanned electronically and not by a person, Gmail users have been willing to use the system-often lured by the massive storage of the free e-mail tool (more than 2 gigabytes of memory per user).

Before one chooses to buy advertising in the AdWords system, it can be very useful to conduct a test to determine what kind of results others are getting when they buy similar ads. To test the system, all you have to do is subscribe to a Gmail account, which you can set up free through the site at Then, using another e-mail address, send yourself a series of single-word and then sentence-based e-mails that contain the keywords and phrases that you want to use for your site.

For instance, if you wanted to drive people to your site that promoted tourism in North Carolina, phrases that you could send to the Gmail account might include "tourism," "travel," "North Carolina," "vacation," "Southern travel," "Southern vacation," "Outer Banks" and "Smoky Mountains."

By using these phrases in a series of test e-mails to your Gmail account, you can determine which other sites Gmail users will see when those words appear in their e-mail messages. If you find that no AdWords links appear, it may mean that no one else has those words in their Gmail campaign, making it something to consider as a strong candidate.

A key component of successful branding is keeping your company's name in front of the consumer's eye, and this system adds another component to it. Far less intrusive than popup ads, the AdWords system presents links to sites whose subject is already being thought about. And, of course, the try-it-before-you-buy-it approach described above gives you a chance to see if it could be something of value to you.

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