Lee Odden

SES Chicago SEO Videos – Stacy Williams

Stacy Williams is a long time search marketer in Atlanta and I’ve known her and partner/husband Matt for about 3 years. Stacy is a long time Search Engine Strategies speaker and is equally adept in the SEO and SEM fields. At Search Engine Strategies Chicago, Stacy had a few very interesting things to say about search engines making modifications to campaign creative, match type and ad status without notifying the advertiser.

In this video interview, I asked Stacy to elaborate and she provided three specific examples. I hope someone from the search engines reads this and offers insight into why these things happen.


I would like to link to Stacy’s blog but, sigh, she doesn’t have one. 🙂

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Lee – Nice interviews. Good to hear Stacy mention expanded matching. I’ve been advising setting different bids for exact, phrase and broad, particularly as broad is now actually expanded broad matching. For instance, in the video she gives the example of buying ads for /used sun/ broad match. That could look like this in an ad group keyword list:

    [used sun] ** 1.44
    “used sun” ** 0.99
    used sun ** 0.25

    Point is to pay more for what you know you’re buying and less for what you don’t know. Also, if you are buying broad matches, it’s worth using Google’s keyword tool with the “Use synonyms” box checked to get an idea ahead of time as to how the system might expand the broad match. In the case of /used sun/ I’m currently seeing expanded keywords like:

    used cars for sale
    used sunfire

    Clearly, Google’s keyword system is expanding “sun” to “sunfire” and then equating that with “cars” so if I had keywords /used sun/ broad match, I’d definitely add these negatives right from the start:


    It is useful to use (expanded) broad match, but it’s worth minimizing risk by setting those bids much lower than exact or phrase, so you’re not paying for clicks for poorly matched keywords. As Stacy mentions in the video, it’s important to scour the server logs periodically to see what actual keywords the broad matches are bringing. Then, new negatives and even new exact and phrase matches can be added to the ad group. This way, the keyword list can evolve over time but you’re not paying high CPCs for extraneous keywords along the way.

    Anyway, haven’t seen too many people dig into expanded matching so figured it’d be worth mentioning how important it is to recognize that it is the default way Google handles keywords and advertisers need to deal with it appropriately.

  2. Great explanation and examples Richard and thanks for stopping by!

  3. That was totally class of her not to use this for self promotion, and it was totally class of him to give her a little free promo at the end — she totally deserved it. Thanks for the sharing the info.

  4. Good interview with Stacy. I’m not sure about her specific examples but so far I’ve never had Google or Yahoo! make changes to accounts I’ve worked on without letting us know what’s happening and/or asking for review/approval first. It might be an issue with making sure those expectations are set with your rep.

    Stacy made a good suggestion with looking at your traffic logs to figure out what the search term was which drove users to your site in order to find a list of good negatives. Another way would be to tailor your copy to make sure users wouldn’t be confused. I would imagine in the case of the “used sun” the ad should have mentioned Sun servers to avoid people thinking it was used Sunfires.

  5. Thanks Stacy. I use this in my Search 101 training. It is insightful!



  1. […] Gord Hotchkiss Stephan Spencer Joshua Stylman & Peter Hershberg Neil Patel & Cameron Olthius Bruce Clay Laura Thieme Stacy Williams […]

  2. » » Yahoo & Google passen (ongevraagd) advertentie campagnes aan ? | Percept says:

    […] via Toprankingblog […]

  3. Google and Yahoo Meddle with Search Ad Campaigns » The Online Industrialist says:

    […] While doing my usual daily perusal of digg, I found a useful video of Stacy Williams describing some liberties that Google and Yahoo may take with your search engine ad campaigns. This short video (just under 4 minutes) was filmed at the Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference in Chicago, and in it Stacy touches on the following three points: […]