Managing a PPC (Pay Per Click) account involves a degree of science and creativity which can make optimisation quite involved however many people overlook some of the most basic best practices. The following are some of the most commonly overlooked areas of PPC account structure and optimisation that are important areas to focus on to ensure your account is operating on a solid foundation.
Broad match PPC keywords are great for generating traffic and initially understanding exactly what your customers are searching for; however, due to the nature of the match type it can lead to a large number of irrelevant impressions and clicks. It is therefore vital that the use of broad match keywords is controlled by implementing appropriate negative keywords to prevent your AdWords ad from appearing for irrelevant searchers. This technique strengthens CTR (Click Through Rate) which is a Quality Score factor and also helps to decrease low quality PPC traffic while lowering costs.
In one Google Adwords account you can have up to 25 campaigns, 2000 ad groups & 2000 keywords per ad group so there is plenty of room to create a granular, highly targeted account. Ensuring the PPC keywords are broken down into highly relevant ad groups will enable you to write much more targeted ad copy for your AdWords campaign. The aim of this is to ensure the most relevant ad is displayed for each search and will therefore meet the needs of the searchers, encourage higher quality traffic that is more likely to convert. Relevancy is a key factor in the Google Quality Score which is another great reason to create an account structure to support relevancy factors across the PPC account.
Being able to accurately measure performance of your PPC campaign is important because it allows you to identify which areas of the account are helping you achieve your marketing goal and which areas are hindering it. It is through this method that the most effective optimisation is carried out. The goal of Adwords advertising should be part of your company’s marketing strategy and therefore have targets to meet as a result. This will enable you to measure the success of the Pay Per Click campaign within the overall aims of your business.
In theory, Google recommends waiting 3 weeks before evaluating the impact of changes/testing within the PPC account. This is to ensure the performance data is robust enough to base further PPC strategies on. While you are likely to be eager to improve performance or find out if your new ad copy is effective, patience and monitoring is key to developing an effective long-term strategy in an AdWords campaign.
If you work in a department store and a customer asks you where the irons are kept you wouldn’t say, “They are in the store”, you would say “the irons are in aisle 9, let me show you”. Online customers should be treated in the same way. When they search for a specific product, they should be directed to that particular product within your website. Sending all PPC traffic to the home page and making them navigate around the site to try to find what they’re looking for significantly decreases conversion rate. Deep-link the AdWords ads based on the ad group theme. You can also deep-link at keyword level to further increase relevancy for keywords that relate to specific models.
Utilising web analytics software is vital to understand consumers interaction with your site, pinpoint areas for improvement & track goals (such as completing enquiry forms, purchasing products etc). Your Adwords campaign may be generating a large amount of traffic however in order to determine the quality of that traffic you need to know to what extent they completed what you want them to do on your website. This is where analytics software comes in. Google Analytics, for example, is a free web-based Analytics tool that allows you to track the interaction that visitors have with each aspect of your site. You can then determine which Adwords campaigns, ad groups, keywords and ad copy are the most effective in generating high quality traffic. These learnings then help you develop PPC strategies regarding each aspect of your Adwords account to maximize ROI.
While appearing in position 1 for every keyword may seem ideal it is not always the most efficient PPC strategy. This is due to the dynamic nature of search, changing consumer behaviour trends, the level of competition, budget available, individual keyword CPCs and conversion performance. If you do not have a large budget and your ultimate aim is to generate conversions, not having a positional strategy does not allow the flexibility necessary to achieve maximum success. While visibility is important it should be part of the equation in your Adwords strategy, working together with other metrics to find the perfect balance and increase your ROI (Return on Investment).
Opting into the AdWords Content Network allows your ads to appear on Google Partner Sites and as a result this network performs much differently to the Search Network. It is always best to have a separate PPC campaign focused on the Content Network due to the varying performance and ability to allocate an individual budget. This also allows greater insight into the true performance of the Content Network and allows a much greater amount of control.