Our resident PPC stud, Bryan Rahn, helped contribute to this post. Bryan has been running PPC campaigns in some of the most competitive industries online since 2004.
As seems to happen every new moon or so, a friend came to me today looking for help with his pay per click campaign.
He is selling a book that helps to increase memory, focus and brain activity. After giving the account the old “once over,” I noticed some common problems I see with most people’s campaigns. These are fairly standard suggestions that could apply to any account, so I hope it will help with your campaigns as well.
THE GOOD SECTION
Tight Keyword Ad Groups
The most common mistake people make in Adwords is in structuring their campaigns. The best campaigns, those with the highest click-thrus and quality scores, are broken down into numerous Ad groups. Each Ad group consists of tightly-related keywords. Each Ad group points to a specific landing page containing those keywords.
That’s how you setup a great Adwords campaign.
Truth be told, my buddy’s was set up pretty well. Each Ad group matched the Ad group name to a set of tightly related keywords. That is, each Ad group contained 8-12 keywords that were closely related to each other, and matched well with the ad copy.
THE “HELP WANTED” SECTION
A Common Mistake
The exception was his “AdGroup #1”. It was way too broad, and similar to what I see in a lot of people’s starter campaigns.
It included keywords about Life Coaching, the 4 Hour Work Week, Make Money Easy and what just felt like random keywords. Plus, it had way too many keywords for one Ad group, nearly 100. These should be split out into smaller groups with matching ads.
A lot of the keywords also had a ‘poor’ quality score. As an example, the keyword ‘increasing creativity’ had a poor score.
Better, Specific Landing Pages
Part of the problem is ‘creativity’ is nowhere in the ad or the landing page. It also stems from having so many random keywords in “AdGroup #1”. Remember kids – keep ‘em tight.
Nearly every PPC campaign I audit could benefit from creating more landing pages, specific to a subset of keywords in a new Ad group.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, really it’s quite simple. You just need to dig in and do it. In my friend’s campaign, if he would split out his ‘Life Coaching’ keywords into their own Ad group, then that Ad group needs a landing page that talks about ‘Life Coaching.’
The content on that landing page doesn’t have to be real in-depth. Just get those keywords on the page somewhere.
Think about Your Title Tags
The <title> tag on all my friend’s landing pages was “Pre Order.” Not good. Even though this was a no-index page, and SEO/organic CTR didn’t matter, I still believe each landing page should have a relevant page title and meta description.
Think like an SEO here – it looks better in the browser and may affect conversions.
Remember what You’re Selling
Some PPC ads seemed to leave out the most important part. My friend was selling a book, but the ads did not mention it was a book.
People looking for a seminar or some online help guide may have clicked on the ad when they had no intentions of buying and reading a book. Just letting the user know in the ad that we’re selling a book here will help prevent wasteful clicks,
Nix the Mobile When You’re Just Testing
Since he was just testing and had a small budget, I removed ads from showing on iPhones and mobile devices. For well-established campaigns, it may be ok to have ads showing on iPhones. If you are just starting and testing out what you will get, you should probably leave them out (in my opinion).
Be Wary the Content Network
Right now, my friend’s campaign is opted “in” to both Search and Content. If you do want to show on the content network, then I suggest making a duplicate campaign, one for content and one for search. Then you can bid, write ads and track separately.
The reason I recommend this is the type of traffic you see from the content network is different than straight searches. Run them separately, analyze them separately. You’ll be better off.
Negative Keywords are Important
My friend’s campaign initially had no negative keywords. (Quick tip: Here is a great resource for a list of standard negative keywords that apply in almost every campaign. Before adding these to your campaign straight up, make sure there is nothing on the list that you do want to bid on. Once you confirm, add the whole thing at the Campaign Level.)
To find out what negative keywords to add, I ran a search query report. I saw he was getting a ton of impressions, but very few clicks from these exact matches –
I immediately added those keywords as negative exact matches at the campaign level, Without attention, they could kill his quality score.
Why? Because they are too broad for what he is trying to drive traffic for, and all the impressions with no clicks will just drag down the overall quality score of the campaign.
I was also able to pick out a few specific keywords for negatives -
“focus vitamins for kids”
“get rich online”
“does moss always grow on the north side of trees”
Adding specific negative keywords at the Ad group level can also help increase quality score, and ensure both you and my friend get the exact traffic you want coming in.
Most PPC campaigns I see have a good start, but remember- keep your Ad groups tightly bound to specific keyword sets. You cannot have too many Ad groups. Make specific landing pages for each one. Mind your negative keywords.