5 Ways to Optimize Your PPC Campaign

The following is based on a case study completed by Wordstream, a company that develops Search Marketing Software for PPC advertisers.  MGR utilizes WordStream tools synced-up with Google AdWords on a regular basis to optimize our clients PPC campaigns. I strongly recommend that you download and review the entire document since it is really informative and up-to-date with the latest PPC techniques.  You can download the case study here.  But if you prefer to read the key elements of the study, I’ve highlighted them below.

#1: Build a Strong Account Structure

The foundation to achieving stellar PPC performance is a strong account structure. The first things we look at in any new client account that I’m investigating are:

a) how many keywords are in each ad group b) how many ads are in each ad group
b) how relevant the keywords are to each other and the ads within each group

Far too often people dive into building out their account with sea salt in their eyes, and make a huge jumbled mess out of it. Typically it is best to have a few campaigns focused around each product, location, or any other themes that make sense for your business objectives. A great way to break down your campaigns and ad groups is by looking at the structure of your site.

TIP: Having several campaigns does not make sense for all businesses because it is going to stretch your budget across your account, so if you operate a smaller business with just one or two offerings and your budget is limited, you may want to have a “top sellers” campaign with a slightly higher budget, and then an alternative campaign with a smaller budget.

Google suggests having no more than 30 keywords per ad group, and then two to three ads per ad group that are using the keywords within that ad text. You want your keywords, ads, and landing pages to all be extremely relevant to one another, since the searcher will be much more likely to express genuine interest. Relevancy and thinking about the searcher’s intent are both very powerful and important factors in improving results.

#2: Focus on High-Performance PPC Keywords

How do you know if a keyword is high performing? This of course depends on your goals and which KPI’s, or key performance indicators, are important to you. You must identify that click-through rate and conversions are two very important metrics to determine if your campaigns are successful.

TIP: Typically, once you’ve identified an awesome keyword, it’s a good idea to use a tiered bidding strategy on that term. Tiered bidding is when you bid on the same keyword with all four match types. The more restrictive you get with the match type, the more you’ll want to bid because the quality of traffic will increase.

For example, if you’re advertising snow clothes rental, you might bid on “snow clothes rental” like so:
•    Exact: $6 CPC
•    Phrase: $5.75 CPC
•    Modified Broad: $5.50 CPC
•    Broad: $5 CPC

Why bid the highest on exact? The ROI is typically much higher because you are aware exactly what the searcher is looking for, as compared to broad match, which is much more open to interpretation since it includes close variants. However, with broad match the volume will be much higher.

#3: Further Build Out Your Negative Keyword List

This should be a no-brainer, but continuously building out and monitoring your negative keyword lists will help significantly reduce costs and improve results (especially when using broader match types!). It is pretty easy to waste TONS of money on searches that are not related to your business if negatives are not set up properly.

The most effective way to identify negatives is of course by looking at what people are actually typing into Google to make your ads appear.
Keep in mind that it is also important make sure negative keywords are not blocking terms that could be beneficial to your account, so make sure to review the negative keyword lists that are currently set up. Overuse, or misuse, of negatives could lower your volume and prevent you from getting impressions and clicks on searches that are relevant to your business.

#4: Pause Keywords with Poor Performance

How do you know if a keyword has poor performance?First, make sure it’s been running long enough to acquire enough data to make this decision. If a keyword has only been running for a few days, give it some more time to accrue data rather than just pausing it right away.

Also, do your homework before pausing a keyword. Investigate to find out why the keyword is not performing well. Here are a few common scenarios:

•    The keyword’s bid is not high enough. Take a look at the page #1 CPC and the top of page bid estimate to ensure your bids are competitive enough. The keyword has low search volume. If the keyword is not accruing much traffic even though you are bidding enough, the keyword may be too long-tail or simply a phrase that users are not searching for. Pause these keywords to de-clutter your account. It is also important to pause keywords that are getting lots of impressions, but very few or no clicks, as this will hurt your click-through rate and Quality Score.

•    The match type is either too broad or too restrictive. If the volume is high, but the click-through-rate, conversions, etc. are super low on a broad keyword, then pause it and add the keyword with a more restrictive match type.  If the keyword is on exact or phrase, but not getting much traffic, try adding it as modified broad or broad match to open it up to a larger volume.

#5: Optimize Ads & Create New Ad Text.

If you are not continuously optimizing your ad text then you have a problem! Superior ad text is a crucial step in getting searchers to your site. If your ads are not compelling and relevant to your keywords, searchers aren’t going to click on them, resulting in less traffic to your site.

You should regularly be testing and tweaking your ad copy to improve PPC performance. Are you having a Spring sale? Or offering a special discount or event? Then include the offer in your add text.

Use ad variations. In each ad group, we recommend running two ads for desktop and two ads for mobile simultaneously to test which ones are performing better.

Use sitelink extensions. Sitelinks extend the presence of your ad copy, allowing for a lot more clicks and traffic to her site.

Make your ad copy is simple, to the point, and includes a clear call to action. Every ad needs a clear CTA so the searchers know what the expected action to be taken is before even clicking on the ad.

At MGR we always like to remind our clients that both Organic SEO and PPC Campaigns are never a sprint and rather a process closer to a Marathon effort.  There are no shortcuts to a successful campaign.  If you need assistance with your campaigns, our MGR SEO Services Team is here to help.

Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real

Source: WordStream; Going from Good to Great: Top 5 Ways to Optimize Your PPC Performance.