Even if budget wasn’t an issue, no SEM agency can guarantee that your ads will always be ranked first or even appear on the first page of Google for certain search queries. Too many factors come to place beyond the scope of this article -including Google’s ever-changing algorithms- for any person or agency to be able to guarantee that.
With that said, the following 12 steps, if performed on a regular basis, will help you get the most out of your PPC campaign and budget.
Add Negative Keywords [weekly]
Review your search query reports to identify terms that are triggering your ads to appear, but are not truly relevant to your business. You can set these terms on an ad group, campaign or account-level basis. Be mindful of your negative match type settings, to maximize the effectiveness of your newly added negative keywords.
Add Long-Tail Keywords [weekly]
Longer, more specific keyword terms are typically less competitive (and therefore cheaper) than more generic terms. Your search query reports, the Keyword Planner and other keyword research tools can help generate new, long-tail ideas.
Review Keyword Match Types [weekly]
Broad match keywords can be costly, as they yield a great amount of traffic that is not hyper- qualified. Use more restrictive match types like modified broad, phrase and exact. While your volume may decrease, you’ll be showing your ads to more relevant users resulting in more clicks, conversions and high Quality Scores. In other words, focus on quality rather than quantity.
Adjust Keyword Bids [weekly]
Regularly assess your performance to identify times when it’s appropriate to reduce your keyword bids. If a keyword has a super-high CPA, consider reducing your bids. If the term is in a high position, it may drop slightly, but your CPAs will also decrease considerably. If the term is in a low position with a super-high CPA, you’re likely overpaying for its poor performance. Bump your bids down and focus on improving Quality Score for that particular term.
Pause Poorly-Performing Keywords [weekly]
There’s no sense in continuing to pay for keywords that yield poor results. Identify terms with sky-high CPAs that produce few (or no) conversions. If you can’t fix them, nix them.
Declare A/B Test Winners [monthly]
Running split tests is an important PPC practice—it’s the best way to ensure you’re optimizing your account. However, far too many people let these tests run on far too long, meaning they’re giving the losing ad/landing page more screen time. Revisit your A/B tests regularly to see whether you have sufficient data to declare statistical significance. When you do, cut the cord with the crappy version and give your winner more visibility.
Break Out New Ad Groups [monthly]
As you add more and more keywords to your existing ad groups, the topics included become more varied and you’re forced to run more generic ads. As a general rule of thumb, an ad group should never have more than 15-20 terms. Break them out into more specific, granular groupings and create highly-customized ad copy for each.
Revise Landing Pages [monthly]
If you’re seeing low conversion rates, chances are that your landing pages need a refresh. Regularly QA landing pages to ensure they’re highly relevant to the keywords and ads that they’re associated with. If users can’t find what they need easily, they won’t convert. Also run user tests regularly to ensure that the user experience is optimized.
Review Device/Location/Time of Day Performance [monthly]
Review your campaign settings to segment your performance by device, location and time of day (if you’re running day-parting). These reports will help you to understand how performance varies by segment. You can then take action accordingly—by adjusting bids and budgets, copy and extensions.
Update Your Campaign Flowchart [weekly or monthly]
If you manage a fairly large account with several campaigns, ad groups and ads, we highly recommend that you set up a campaign flowchart to clearly see your overall strategy. As you make changes to campaigns’ focus, ad groups, ads, GDN, Retargeting, etc. it is a good idea to reflect the same changes to your master campaign flowchart.
Create a Branded Campaign [one-time setup – weekly review]
Branded terms often yield great performance; they’re also inexpensive because competition is low and the associated traffic is highly-qualified because they know your brand already. Be sure to include a branded campaign in your account to reap the benefits these terms have to offer.
Run a Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) Campaign [one-time setup – weekly review ]
With RLSA, you can create campaigns with ads that will only be triggered if a user is on your remarketing list and is searching with keywords that you are bidding on. Because these users are highly qualified, these campaigns often produce high click-through and conversion rates, resulting in excellent Quality Scores and low CPAs.
Of course if you want all of the above steps to be done for you on a regular basis, simply contact our Search Engine Marketing Team and you can rest assured that your campaign will be a success.
Thank you for reading. Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real (MGR).
Sources: WordStream, Google AdWords