Google’s content network is a completely different beast from the search network. To get great results from the content network you need to approach it with an entirely different perspective from search. A fresh, new perspective can found by doing a content network optimization to your account. Best of all: you don’t have to do it alone; your AdWords account representative will be happy to help! If you ask, they will provide you with a content optimization proposal. However, you will have to optimize their content optimization proposal.

First, let’s go over how the content network actually works. The search network is driven by individual keywords, and even specific keyword match types (broad, exact, phrase). Advertisements within the content network are distributed by keyword theme. This means that AdWords reviews every keyword in your ad group and determines their major theme. AdWords then takes your keyword theme and matches it to websites within the network that have similar content (hence the name, content network).

Why optimize for the content network? There are two reasons to do this: first, if you’re already having success on Google’s content network; and second, if you’re not having success on the content work. As I said, you need to approach the content work with a different mindset and optimizing your account can fix a failing performance, or strength an successful campaign.

What does a content optimization entail? When you request a content optimization from your AdWords Rep, it will employ these tactics:

  • Creating a new campaign.
  • Creating new ad groups within this campaign.
  • Regrouping every keyword in your account into these new ad groups. Remember, keyword themes are determined by broad strokes so keywords in disparate ad groups will be lumped together. And, depending on the size of your account, many keywords will be dropped.
  • Setting new content bids for these ad groups.
  • Writing new ads for each ad group.
  • Pausing your current content efforts/bids.
  • Upload & launch your new content-optimized campaign.

How do you optimize your optimization? The optimizations I’ve done in the past have all need some refining. Here are the steps you may have to take to make your optimization better:

  1. Neither Google nor Yahoo have impressed me with the ad texts they’ve written. You know your business/client best, so you’ll have to revise or completely re-write the ad texts.
  2. In regards to ad texts, make sure your destination URLs are correct.
  3. Be sure to adjust your bids accordingly. I’ve found that I usually need to lower mine slightly.
  4. And I saved the best for the last! In the past, my AdWords Rep has suggested that I pause all of my other content initiatives within my account and run solely with this new content-optimized campaign. If your current content efforts are working; Don’t follow this step! Yes, it’s good to separate content from search from a management standpoint, but why pause what’s working? I launched this new campaign and left my other content bids active and everything is working great. Not following this step has added distribution, clicks and conversions to my account.

How does this tactic work? When your keywords were regrouped, their themes shifted (probably broadened) and a new set of websites were matched to your adversitements. Your old ad groups (unoptimized) are still being served to what’s worked before, and these new ad groups should find new sites for your ads.

And this is how you optimize your content optimization. If the content network has a good ROI for you, why not expand upon that? And if the content network isn’t working well, this may be the fix you need. Remember, no one knows your account better than you (not even Google!) so do what you know is best.