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Kelvin Newman, founder of the BrightonSEO Conference, looks at some of the key tactics available to those looking to improve their pay-per-click campaign.
The one thing you can associate pay-per-click advertising with (PPC) with is constant change.
Sometimes it feels like with AdWords Google must feel like it has discovered the goose that lays golden eggs. Its pay-per-click advertising networks are where it really makes its money, not from the self-driving cars or the Wi-Fi balloons in space.
AdWords, in many ways, is the perfect money making machine. Someone, somewhere in the world, is typing into Google what they want to buy or at least they want to learn about a product or item. Google matches up that person with a suitable advertiser and takes their own small cut.The ability to match intent to buy with advertising is why paid search has become such an essential part of most companies’ marketing and advertising strategies. But Google isn’t willing to just rest on its laurels and let the money roll in; it is making constant tweaks and we have seen two pretty big examples of those changes recently, yet there will always remain ways in which a company can improve their PPC campaigns.
The most obvious one is a change in the layout and volume of adverts displayed on the page. For what seems like forever, there were two places for paid search text adverts to appear, a few above the natural results and the rest down the right-hand side.
The problem was with such narrow screens this never really worked on mobile, so Google decided to lose those displayed on the side bar. They included more above the natural results and some at the bottom of the page.
It obviously worked because that’s the design being rolled out worldwide to desktop; four text adverts above the natural results, no text ads on the right-hand side and three at the bottom. This is quite the change, in the past you could have had 11 text adverts on a search results page, now seven is the maximum. But the right-hand side won’t be left blank; it’ll be used for more creative ad-formats like product listings, the knowledge graph results and other things it will no doubt be testing.
There are many ways a business can improve their PPC. It doesn’t have to wait until tomorrow; simple steps can be implemented right away. In fact, a business should be reviewing its PPC every day for the area is, and here comes that word again, constantly evolving.
The most obvious and probably the easiest way to improve a PPC campaign is to add new keywords. There are special keyword planning tools out there which help you discover relevant keywords. If you have the budget, then it will do little harm in casting the net out further.
Businesses that operate on a national scale may also be relying on a UK-wide PPC campaign. If that is the case then location reports should be reviewed and altered regularly for different counties may be performing in contrasting ways throughout your campaign. A business should easily be able to download its location report and apply a filter to segment the data to show you the counties that have driven the lowest number of conversions, the highest cost per conversion or the lowest conversion rate.
I would commit to looking at this data over at least a three-month period. Once you have determined the counties which aren’t performing to your expectations, you simply exclude them from your campaign.
Businesses also fall into the trap of combining a number of different keywords into one ad group. What this does is make it nigh-on impossible for the resulting ads to be relevant to the search term in question.
Relevance is one of the most important factors to consider to improving a PPC campaign and, given the nature of the beast and how it’s constantly evolving, this is an area which needs to be reviewed on an ongoing basis - if your ads aren’t actually relevant to the landing pages they link to or the search term the user has typed in to find it then what’s the point?
Keeping your ads contextual and relevant will not only naturally improve your click through rate, but will also help to boost your Quality Score, meaning your ads will get placed higher up and your ROI will also improve. However, don’t stop there – make sure your ads, which are now relevant, provide the user with a clear call to action to help ensure the user journey is not only enhanced but influenced into looking through your online shop window.
Businesses must also keep on top of yet another change which has been introduced by Google and that is the fact it discontinued its Google Compare product in March.
This was a price comparison tool that worked without ever actually leaving Google. What advertisers did was pay for a completed lead. This was a scary product for price comparison engines and any business that acted as a search engine. But it’s gone.
This is good news for those companies who thought Google was primed to eat up their business. Why did Google make the change? Was it to avoid any competition cases? Or did they just make more money from old-fashioned pay-per-click adverts?
One thing is for sure, businesses need to keep on top of the constant change that is Google AdWords to ensure their PPC campaign stands the test of time.
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