1. Pause Underperforming Keywords
Go through your keywords ad group by ad group and pause any keywords that aren’t meeting goal. I like to take the following approach:
• First sort keywords by cost (high to low) and pause keywords that you’re actually losing money on (i.e. keywords with a negative ROI).
• Then sort by Click-Through-Rate (better known as CTR) (low to high) pause keywords that are bogging down your account (i.e. keywords with low CTRs, because they can affect your quality scores).
• Lastly, sort by impressions (low to high) pause keywords that are insignificant (i.e. keywords with no impressions).
Once you’ve done that you’ll have a strong list of top performing keywords in each ad group.
2. Mine Search Queries
After working on your existing keywords it’s time to branch out. Go into your search queries for each ad group (which can be found by going into an ad group, clicking on the keywords tab, and then clicking on the drop down that says “details” and selecting “all”). I always do the following things:
• First sort by conversions (high to low) and add any search terms that have resulted in conversions. Absolutely always add those queries even if you don’t like them because they can shed light on a difference between the way searchers see your products/services and how you see them.
• Then sort by CTR (high to low) and scroll down past the 100% CTR search terms, because those are usually just queries that have 1 impression and 1 click so the amazing CTR number is skewed by lack of data. Once you get to search terms that have statistically relevant metrics go through any of the ones with very high CTRs (basically anything over 10%) and add any as keywords that are appropriate for your products/services and make negative keywords out of any that are unrelated.
• Lastly, sort by cost (high to low) and make sure that the search terms that you’re spending the most money on, are closely related to your products and services. Again, add any as keywords that are appropriate for your products/services and make negative keywords out of any that are unrelated.
Do you know why you want to go through your existing keyword lists before diving into the search queries? I’ll tell you! Because if you start adding keywords from your search query data and then try to look at your keyword lists to optimize them, you won’t know which keywords you just added and which have been there for months and haven’t done anything.
3. Test Ads
Let me just start by saying that you should never have just one ad running per ad group. So, operating under the assumption that at any given time you have 2-6 ads running per ad group like you should… Look at your ads for each of your ad groups and identify the top performing ads. Then do the following:
• First of all, pause the rest of the ads (the underperforming ads) and leave the top performers active. You never want to just change all of the ads out all at once (unless all of your ads were focused on a very short-term special promotion or something). Always leave some continuity from the previous round of ads.
• Then look for any common elements between your top performing ads. You may be able to isolate a certain piece of messaging that really works for your target audience. If you’re able to find some commonality, use that in future steps.
• Create new ads mirroring each of your top performing ads, but with one element changed (headline, call to action, punctuation, capitalization, order of messaging, etc.) so that you can test small differences in a scientific way.
By continually testing ads you can achieve optimal performance.
4. Look for Additional Opportunities
It’s definitely possible that Google has released some new features since the last time you did some really serious work on your PPC account, so make sure that you have some trustworthy sites bookmarked to check for AdWords changes and updates. These would be my picks:
• PPC Hero
• Search Engine Watch
• Inside AdWords
• Search Engine Land
Tired of doing it yourself? Not getting the results you want? As a Michigan digital marketing company that specializes in PPC, we’ve got you covered. Contact us and find out how we can help!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!
Photo from Flickr (Backdoor Survival)