When you’re first starting out in pay-per-click advertising, there is a tremendous learning curve. You have to discover the inner workings of 3 (sometimes more) different PPC advertising platforms. There is the trial and error of figuring out which tools and methods work for your particular account. And then there is learning how to react to the myriad of issues that can arise when managing a PPC account. This week I’d like to point out some of the most common problems advertisers run into and offer quick fixes to get you back up and running! Today I’ll be discussing what to do with a low or decreasing conversion rate; how to respond to poor Quality Score; and how to avoid low quality click traffic.

Low Conversion Rates

One of the most difficult problems facing advertisers is low conversion rates. No matter what you’re going for, be it sales, leads or sign-ups, conversions are typically the most important goal of your PPC labors. Here are some quick fixes to increase your conversion rates:

  1. Break down your keywords into tightly themed ad groups so that your ad texts are extremely relevant and highly targeted.
  2. Do some keyword research and be as specific as possible. If you’re selling “blue suede hiking boots” (and I’m sorry if you are!), don’t rely on the keyword “hiking boots” to increase your conversion rate. Beyond simply being specific, you should really dig into the “long tail” of keywords. For example, retailers should test using model numbers as keywords (i.e. Yamaha Tenor Saxophone YTS82ZM).
  3. Write ads that are directly relevant to your product or service (why item #1 is so important). But I urge you to take the next step beyond simple relevancy. Use calls to action, infuse your company’s benefits into the mix, and insert prices, special offers and phone numbers if applicable. The key here is to test (you won’t get all of that into a single ad).
  4. Send the traffic to the “right” landing page. Since your specific keywords and awesome ad text have already brought the customer to your doorstep, the landing page is where you truly must convert the customer. Search marketers harp on this point all the time, and for good reason. Test after test has shown that sending traffic to a product/service specific landing page versus the generic homepage will dramatically increase your conversion rates.

Poor Quality Score

Google AdWords’ Quality Score is definitely a major issue for many advertisers. While you may not be able to immediately see the affects changes make to your Quality Score, quick fixes will definitely go a long way to getting your efforts started:

  1. Break down your keywords into tightly themed ad groups so that your ad texts are extremely relevant and highly targeted. Sound familiar?
  2. Write ads that are directly relevant to your product or service. What’s that you say? A theme?
  3. Send the traffic to the “right” landing page. Hmmm…
  4. Ok. All joking aside, improving Quality Score isn’t really that difficult. If you follow some of the general best practices for account structure and keep the customer/end user in mind, you’ll improve your Quality Score (and conversion rates!) in a hurry.

Low Quality Traffic

Many new advertisers will build a PPC campaign, flip the “ON” switch and then wonder in amazement at how such a large number of unqualified visitors came to their website. Managing PPC in this manner will waste your time, resources and most importantly your money! Here are some basic settings and tactics to consider for bringing higher quality traffic to your site:

  1. “Quality Traffic” will mean something different to every advertiser. Is it location? Is it demographics? First and foremost you must determine what defines a quality visitor to your site.
  2. All of the major PPC platforms have Geo-Targeting functionality. This will allow you to define locations by country, region, state, city and even customized settings to pinpoint your ads to those customers in that defined area.
  3. Use negative keywords and negative sites. Try running a Search Query report in AdWords and you will quickly discover that visitors are finding your ads with keywords you never dreamed were possible. When you’ve finished with that, move on to a Placement Performance report and find all of the sites that are sending visitors from the Content Network. Both of these reports and the information that they provide are some of the most valuable PPC tools at your disposal.
  4. Bid on the most relevant keywords for your product or service and approach general keywords with caution. Much like gearing up for conversions, this approach will ensure that your ads are targeted. Another approach you can take is to utilize exact match (or standard match in YSM) which will limit clicks to those searching specifically for your product or service.

To be perfectly honest, I could write for days on end about each of these three PPC problems (and have already done so in some cases!). These tips are intended to be quick fix references for your day to day PPC management. I hope they help you out as much as they help me! Check back in on Friday when Joe will be discussing the quick fixes to other common PPC problems such as low click-through-rate, low traffic and low ad position!