This post is dedicated to all the PPC search advertisers out there who think they have done everything to their PPC account and still can’t get the results they need to meet their goals. Just like any job out there, you can never be bored with your PPC account. There is ALWAYS something you can do to improve your performance.
Below is a PPC account checklist to make sure you really have done your job and to see if there is anything you may have missed or could go back and revise.
- Check your settings for old and new campaigns to be sure you’re geo-targeting, you’re testing ads evenly, and to be sure you have your ads running at all times of the day. New campaigns use the default settings which allow you to target Canada, optimize your ads and disperses your budget evenly throughout the day.
- Check your account structure. This is one where you could keep busy for a month straight just breaking down all of your campaigns and ad groups into tightly themed, well organized ad groups for better targeting. By doing this you are likely to increase your quality scores and ultimately drive more qualified traffic to your site.
- Check your keywords. Are you using the free keyword research tools regularly? You should be because they get updated with new keywords frequently. To think that you have ALL of the keywords you could possibly have in your account already is like saying you don’t need any more money. It’s ridiculous! Keep doing keyword research and find new keywords, better keywords, and relevant keywords to add to each and every ad group.
- Check your ads. Have you written new ads or paused any under-performing ads lately? The higher your click-through rates are the more traffic to your site AND the higher your quality scores. So keep writing new ads and pausing old ads that aren’t converting well.
- Run a search query report. By running a search query report you can not only find new potential keywords to add to your account but you can find negatives too. Adding negative keywords to your PPC accounts will help eliminate unqualified traffic from ever clicking or seeing your ads; thus increasing your click-through rates and reducing your spend.
- Look into second and third tier search engines or shopping search engines. If you’re just not getting enough traffic look into opening up and experimenting with other search engines like Ask, AOL, Shopzilla and/or Pricegrabber.com. This will give you added exposure and could even convert at a higher rate and lower cost-per-lead than Google, Yahoo or MSN.
- Check your bids. Re-check all of your keyword bids and make sure you’re not spending money on keywords that haven’t converted in a few months or have never converted at all. Even though you may have low bids set for these kinds of keywords, over time they can really add up and cost you money for nothing in return. Also, if you have bids set at the ad group only, go back in and focus mainly on your top 5 keywords. Don’t increase bids on the entire ad group because a few keywords are converting- adjust bids at the keyword level!
- Check your budget. Run a report for the past seven days, if you’re average daily spend is hitting your daily budget, then you may want to consider re-thinking your daily budget or reducing your keyword bids. Reducing your keyword bids may get you in lower positions in the search engines, but it will also decrease your cost-per-click and get you more or the same traffic at a cheaper cost.
- Are you running ads on the content network? Should you be? Shouldn’t you be? Run a report and filter the results to only show you data from the content network if you are using it. Check to see how much you’re spending and how many leads or how much traffic your getting. There could be some ad groups where you could turn off the content network and save yourself a little money. On the flip side, if you’re not getting enough traffic or leads, perhaps you could try the content network for a few weeks and see how it does for you.
- Placement targeted campaigns. If you’re scared of running ads all over the content network, perhaps you would feel more comfortable setting up a placement performance campaign where you can pick certain websites that are relevant to your product or service to display your ads on. This should give you more peace of mind that you’re not just driving whomever to your site, but people who could be actively looking for your product or service or something like it.
- Have you used Google trends? Google trends allow you to see seasonality of your keywords. Perhaps you’re in the business of selling something that most people do during the summer or winter. This will help you determine when and where to spend more of your budget at to get the best results.
- Have you contacted your Google, Yahoo or MSN rep? Even if you don’t have an account rep these guys are available throughout the day to help you with your campaigns. They want you to be successful and get traffic to your site because that’s how they make their money. Call them, a lot of times they will offer to do an entire account optimization for you for free in order to increase click-through rates or conversions.
- Have you tried using demographic tools like day parting, age and gender targeting or position preference? These tools help you target your ads to a specific gender, age, time of day or even day of the week to help drive the most qualified traffic as possible.
- Check your landing pages!!! One of the most critical aspects to generating leads and sales is the landing page/website. Check to make sure you have benefit driven copy, organized content, minimal clutter, calls-to-action, and benefits to submitting information to you.
- Check your competition for ways to differentiate yourself. This can be an amazing resource if you remember to do it frequently. What are some of the benefits to your services that other companies out there don’t have? What verbiage are most of your competitors using in their ads and what can you use to make yourself stand out?
Well, I could keep writing but it’s been 45 minutes now and I must move on with my day. But feel free to submit any other ideas you have that someone could try in order to generate better results. Remember there are always things you can do to your account so you should never be bored. If you do get bored, keep reading blogs, there’s surely things coming up that you can take advantage of and use on your own.