Seven free optimisation tips to get more from your Google advertising in 2010: If the person/agency managing your AdWords account isn’t doing these things then you need to ask them when they will be!
Note: The tips below are from our pros – of course there are plenty of books covering Adwords (check Mighty Ape, for example).
Tip #1: Negatives are Positive…
Always ensure your account has a sufficient number of relevant negative keywords. You don’t want your ‘sun GLASSES’ site getting charged for clicks from people searching for ‘wine GLASSES’…
Tip #2: Embrace Experimentation
Einstein said that he’d found “10,000 ways that didn’t work”. We don’t suggest you try quite as many as that! But creating multiple copies of different AdGroups and running them at different stages can often help you experiment with a new account. A/B testing, landing page testing and website optimiser will always help. Trying different page layouts, even different colour/size/position for “Buy Now” (or even calling it something else altogether) can all improve conversion rates. Even single figure percentage increases mean a lot over the year. The key is to fail quickly.
Tip #3: Stay Niche!
Bidding on specific keywords within specific sub categories will often be a lot more cost efficient than bidding on broad matching words. Make sure you’ve thoroughly researched all your PPC keywords and phrases; make sure you have comprehensive picture of what people are searching for. It’s not about what you want them to search for or what you think they’re searching for, it’s about what they are actually searching for. Yes, keyword research is still important.
Tip #4: Reporting, Reporting, Reporting!
Always check what you are paying for. Why do you have an AdWords account if you aren’t concerned about an effective ROI? Have you set KPIs that include $ values and real world outcomes? Click through rates are interesting but what you really need is to sell your product or service, get enquiries/downloads/bookings etc. As with all online advertising, make sure you’re getting reporting against KPIs with actual value to you. Use search query reports to see which keywords are costing you money and which aren’t relevant to your site. Use the impression share reports to see where your competitors are grabbing the views because they are willing to pay more!
Tip #5: Landing Pages are Essential
A relevant Landing Page is crucial for giving you a good relevance score. As with SEO, relevancy within the landing page can make or break your marketing approach. The more relevant your landing page coupled with the keywords, CTR and ad text will improve your overall keyword quality score. This will save you money in the long run making it cheaper to achieve the top positions! Always ensure that each Ad Group or Keyword lands on a specific landing page on your site. E.g. if your AdWords ad is for an LCD TV and runs against associated phrases, make sure that the landing page has LCD TVs on it!
Tip #6: Seasonality is Key
I hear Christmas bells a ringing! You can always capitalise on different seasonal trends by ensuring your website and AdWords campaigns cover them. Create Christmas, Holiday, Winter and Summer Ad Groups and make sure they are running at the right time! You can also make creative use of current affairs – try using ad copy targeting specific events. Looking at data from Google Trends or Google Insights can be very helpful to help you understand what keywords are causing buzz in your industry. And make sure you do it in time: Remember, people research before they purchase, so if you sell sports goods don’t wait till the season is underway to start your advertising of skis & snowboards, chances are people have long since made their purchase.
Tip #7: Tracking, Tracking, Tracking!
Spending money obtaining visitors is no use if you don’t know how many visitors you got, where they came from, how much they cost, or what they did on the site. Having 100K visitors a day is not always better than having 20K visitors a day, it depends on what they do once they hit your site. Tracking conversion rates for each campaign / ad group / keyword is absolutely essential. Use Google Analytics to compare your AdWords traffic with your organic traffic. Are all your AdWords conversions coming from branded or generic terms? Are you spending all your money on traffic for your own brand name which you could get for free? Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool – make sure it’s properly deployed – talk to us if you need help to get in configured correctly.
BONUS TIP: Effective Creatives – Write effective ads! No matter what product you have for sale; a lack of creative or marketing acumen will ensure that it doesn’t sell. Target your audience effectively, use appropriate keywords and call to action phrases and always test multiple ad texts simultaneously!
Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2010.