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PPC Academy Final Exam: Test Your Paid Search Knowledge

Here we are. I hope your time here at PPC Academy was productive and you learned a lot because it’s now time for your final exam. Were you paying attention? Have you bloomed into a search marketing pro with the knowledge and skills to kick major PPC butt, or do you still have things to learn?

Below are 35 questions that test the most important concepts you should have learned from this one-year PPC course. If you missed any posts, here’s the course guide. Answers follow the questions. How good are you?

  • 0-5 correct answers: Novice. Go back and read all of these posts again.
  • 6-11 correct answers: Beginner. Glad to see you retained the basics, but you still have more to learn before you should even touch a PPC account other than your own.
  • 12-20 correct answers: Advanced. You know what you’re doing and probably have already run a PPC account.
  • 21-30 correct answers: PPC Expert. Congrats! You really know this stuff.
  • 31-34 correct answers: certified SEM Pro. Right on! I bet you could teach me a thing or two.
  • If you answered all 35 correct, then you, my friend, are a true search god.

PPC Academy Final Exam

Intro to Search and Research Phase

1. What is a SERP?
2. Name two reasons why paid search has historically performed so well.
3. Roughly, what were Google’s revenues from worldwide paid search in 2009? $5 billion, $10 billion, or $22 billion?
4. Which five search engines currently handle over 97% of all searches in the U.S.?
5. Around what percentage of all U.S. online advertising revenue does paid search represent? 10%, 25%, 50%, or 75%?
6. What three letter abbreviation best describes this definition: An advertiser-defined group of top-level metrics that are core signs of the health of the account.
7. How do you calculate ROAS (return on ad spend)?
8. According to this column, on Day 1, what is the most important question to ask when starting on a new PPC account?
9. What does a keyword monitoring tool do?
10. Your advertiser calls you and is very upset that they’re not seeing their ads when they type in their keywords into the search engines. Why might this be happening?
11. What tool/platform helps you track user activity on your website?
12. What are a group of users called who allow their online actions to be tracked by competitive intelligence platforms?

Build Phase

13. How many keywords should you have in your account?
14. Although these limits can be extended, what are the default number of keywords in an ad group, ad groups in a campaign, and campaigns in an account for AdWords?
15. Can you bid on competitor trademark terms in Google? Can you use them in your ads?
16. What is it called when you get charged for clicks that you shouldn’t have had to pay for?
17. What are the four phases of the buying cycle/funnel? (some people use different names but the concepts are the same)
18. What term did Chris Anderson of Wired popularize to describe the niche strategy of certain business such as Amazon.com or Netflix? It is now used by search engine marketers to help visualize their high-volume, general terms versus their low-volume, niche terms.
19. What are the words called that you can combine with your core terms to generate thousands (or more) of keywords variations?
20. Which Google keyword tool provides keyword ideas based on actual Google search queries and matched to specific pages of your website with your ad and search share?
21. What are the three most common paid search match types?
22. Which other match type allows you to remove keywords to ensure your ads will not be triggered by users?
23. What feature in AdWords will incent advertisers to have the most relevant keywords and ads and penalizes those who do not?
24. What feature in PPC copywriting allows you to automatically include the user’s query into the ad text?
25. In both AdWords or AdCenter, what is the character limit for the headline of a search text ad?
26. What campaign type targets ads across the web on pages that are topically relevant to your keywords?

Launch/Reporting & Analysis Phases

27. What is Google’s desktop software that allows you to upload and manipulate AdWords accounts?
28. Name five settings that can be chosen at the campaign level in AdWords.
29. Name four levels of geotargeting you can specify in AdWords.
30. What are tracked user actions such as leads, sales, downloads, etc. called when they are important to the advertiser?
31. What are five common metrics used to monitor PPC effectiveness? (various answers)
32. Which report allows you to view performance data for search queries that triggered your ad and received clicks in AdWords?
33. According to this column, what are three of the ground rules for properly performing tests in PPC?
34. What are three ways you can lower the overall cost per click on your entire account?
35. What “newish” AdWords tool allows you to test different campaign configurations to find the best mix of keywords, bids, ads, etc.

How did you do? Was this hard or super easy? If you found parts of this hard, I urge you to go back through the course guide and read up the topics you could brush up on.

Thanks again for a great year! You can still catch me in the SearchEngineLand column, In the Trenches, each month along with some other great search marketing professionals as we dive deeper into the inner workings of PPC.

PPC Academy Final Exam Answers

1. Search engine results page.
2. Many different reasons so really no right answer here. Some answers could be: relevancy to users’ query, only pay when someone clicks, bottom of the funnel advertising, highly measurable, etc.
3. $22 Billion.
4. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Aol, Ask.
5. 50%.
6. KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
7. ROAS is the ratio of sales/spend, so a $1000 PPC budget that generated $2000 in sales has a 2:1 ROAS.
8. What are the goals of the account? The answers to this question will drive most of your direction moving forward.
9. Keeps a historical track of your competitors’ keywords and ads on various search engines. Also called keyword scrapers.
10. Many different reasons, but some include: the account has been paused, the budget has run out, the daily budget cap has been reached, the advertiser is out of the geotargeted area for the campaigns, the budget is small so the ads won’t be shown 100% of the time, etc.
11. Web analytics.
12. Panelists.
13. Trick question! There is no set number. Whatever works best at furthering the goals of your advertisers is the best answer.
14. 2,000/2,000/25.
15. Yes, as of now, you can bid on them, but no, you cannot use them in your ads.
16. Click fraud.
17. Awareness, interest, research, buying. Once again, various terms are used by different people but the concepts are the same. Some funnels/cycles are three, four, five or more steps, so if you were even close, give yourself credit on this one. Just understanding that your potential customers are at different levels of engagement with you is the important thing to keep in mind.
18. The long tail.
19. Keyword modifiers.
20. Google’s search-based keyword tool, also called the Sktool (soon to be discontinued and folded into the general Google keyword tool)
21. Broad, phrase, exact.
22. Negative match.
23. Quality score.
24. Dynamic keyword insertion
25. Twenty-five. (did you get the hint?)
26. Content (a.k.a. contextual) targeting. These are called automatic placements in AdWords.
27. Google AdWords Editor.
28. There are many, but the major ones are: budget, geotargeting, dayparting, networks, flight dates, language targeting, bidding options, etc.
29. Some include city, state, metro/DMA, country, zip code, custom shape, lat/long coordinates.
30. Conversions.
31. Some of these metrics include clicks, impressions, cost, average position, cost-per-click, clickthrough rate, conversions, conversion rate, cost per conversion and others.
32. Search query report (now rolled into the general user interface).
33. There are six: don’t disrupt normal account practices, don’t test too many variables at once, give your tests enough time to get real results, use the scientific method, understand the context, and leverage the technology.
34. This is very subjective so consider yourself correct if you came up with at least three ways that you truly think could work. However, some to consider would be: lower bids, improve quality scores, pause high cost words, or split terms by geotargeted areas to avoid paying too much in some areas.
35. AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE).

PPC Academy is a comprehensive, one-year search advertising course from beginning to end. Starting with the basics, PPC Academy progressively explores all of the varied facets of paid search, and the tactics needed to succeed and become an advanced paid search marketer.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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