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Ongoing Management and Optimization

Create a Long-term Plan for Optimization and Expansion of the Account

There are two main tactics to employ when inheriting a PPC account: optimization and expansion. These two tactics are equally important to taking a PPC campaign to the next level, but they should be approached separately because they have different intentions.

In this two-step process, optimization should come before expansion. Optimization entails taking the existing components of the account and restructuring the campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. As any good PPC manager knows, organization is crucial to a successful campaign. Excellent organization helps a PPC campaign in four major ways:

  • Reporting/ease of management: If your ad groups are tightly themed with closely related keywords, finding and managing these keywords will be faster and easier. With a highly optimized, well-organized campaign, reporting on your performance is also more thorough, more accurate, and easier to interpret. If you have keywords scattered throughout your account, you will not be able to track their performance very well.
  • Quality Score concerns: Each search engine has launched a quality score initiative. One factor of the quality score is your account structure (especially in Google AdWords). The search engines are looking for campaigns and ad groups that are logically structured and tightly themed. By reorganizing the current keywords, you are enhancing your chances for getting a better Quality Score.
  • Targeting ads for searchers: More than anything else, a great account structure allows you to create über-targeted ad texts. How you structure your account actually informs your ability to write targeted ads. This is the holy grail of PPC account optimization. The trick is to create ad groups that are as detailed as possible.
  • Preparing for expansion: You need to structure your account so that it is ready to be expanded aggressively. If your campaigns and ad groups are a mess, how do you plan to add hundreds, maybe thousands of new keywords?

How do you know if an account needs aggressive optimization? Ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to most of them, you need to optimize the account:

  • Are there only a few campaigns (1 or 2) with many ad groups in each?
  • Do these ad groups contain many keywords that aren’t related to each other?
  • Is writing an ad text that targets all of the keywords within a given ad group impossible?
  • Are bids set at the group level?
  • Are the existing campaigns and ad groups missing negative keywords?

Before you make one change to the account, you need to make sure that you have a clear picture of what you want the account look like when you’re done. We often draft a keyword silo map in order to visualize the optimized account. You should do this too.

Once you have the existing elements of the campaigns optimized and properly organized, then you are ready to expand the account. Later in this document, we will discuss expanding your keyword list.

However, before you initiate your plan to optimize and expand your campaign, which requires big changes to the account, we will discuss a series of steps that will allow you to make big progress with quick changes. Then you’ll be ready to start the heavy lifting of intense optimization and expansion.

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