Kevin Gibbons is currently the Director of Search at SEOptimize, who provides search engine optimization and pay-per-click management services to a wide range of clients mainly based within the UK. Kevin has become a very well known and expert blogger in the SEO and PPC industry. To learn more about Kevin click here.

Kevin was kind enough to answer a few of our questions regarding PPC management. Here’s what he had to say:

1) Which search engines do you think are making the most progress when it comes to SEM?

During 2007 I think Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter have improved massively in terms in terms of usability, but Google AdWords always seems to be one-step ahead with the latest features such as pay-per-action and displaying contextual ad URL’s etc.

2) Since the new Yahoo! Panama upgrade, what do you think is their biggest strength/weakness?

In my opinion Panama has become far easier to use/setup accounts, the feature to import campaigns from AdWords (once exported to CSV) is excellent. The biggest weakness I’ve found is that you can only advertise within the accounts specified location, so for example a UK account can only geo-target the UK and Ireland, to target the US in addition to this you would also need to open a US dollars Yahoo Search Marketing account.

3) Do you think MSN will ever catch up to Google & Yahoo! standards? If so, how?

As a PPC platform I think Microsoft adCenter is very good, I like how you can target different demographics such as users of a certain age and gender as this can be very useful to define a target audience. But without being anywhere near to Google’s traffic levels it’s difficult to see how adCenter can become an advertisers first choice PPC program, I think in general adCenter will probably be used in by people who already have AdWords accounts and are looking to capitialise on some extra traffic through Windows Live Search.

4) What is the biggest challenge you face in regards to PPC advertising?

There was a recent report which stated that 25% of all searches have never been seen before! This means that keeping up with search trends can be difficult to ensure you are bidding on all of the best keywords rather than just trying to catch all the remaining searches with a broad match option.

5) Can you give us your three biggest tips on improving PPC strategies that we haven’t heard yet?

Nothing new really but:

– Give the content network a go, I find a lot of people disregard this from the start but in many cases it can turn a positive ROI and is well worth testing. – Use multiple keyword research tools, don’t just rely on Wordtracker also try Overture and Keyword Discovery for different ideas. Also for UK campaigns make sure you research the UK specific search terms too. – Don’t just use AdWords. For large businesses it’s important not to rely too heavily on one PPC platform, if the latest AdWords quality score has a devasting effect on your CPC at least you’ll have a backup with Yahoo or adCenter. It’s also likely you’ll see different results and conversion rates across the PPC platforms so it makes sense to test them out.