The Beginner’s Checklist of What To Do in the First Month of Your AdWords Optimization: Part 2
February 10, 2013
This month Andrew Lolk of White Shark Media joins PPC Hero as a guest blogger to discuss his personal tips for optimizing a PPC account within the first month. This is part 2, for part 1 see here.
This is a three-part series that helps you identify the areas of optimization during the first month of your Google AdWords campaign.
In this 2nd part I’m looking closer at the optimization that happens after a week of activity.
If you missed the first post, I recommend reading it for the baseline thoughts and experiences.
Day 8: Quick Campaign Optimizations
This is the first day that you can really start optimizing. Unless something is completely wrong, then 7 days is the accepted date range most PPC managers work with when optimizing AdWords campaigns.
If you didn’t receive many clicks the first 3 days due to low bidding, then just wait 7 days from the date your campaign started getting the desired amount of clicks.
Check Ad Position
Start out by checking your ad positions. Are they high, are they low, or are they where you want them to be?
Your ad position should go very much hand in hand with both your budget and desired campaign outcome. If you’re starting out slow and want to gradually expand your campaign, then position 1 is not the best place to be.
If you have a big budget, plenty of time and want to experience the biggest bang for your buck, then the top 3 ad positions are the best places to be.
If you’re not yet reaching your budget, then keywords below an ad position of 6 should routinely receive a higher bid. This will increase clicks for a keyword that otherwise might be getting very few clicks.
Check If Your Budget is Exceeded on a Daily Basis
You’ve probably kept an eye on your new campaign (we’re all guilty of what equals to stalking at the beginning), but it’s healthy to take a ‘big picture’ stance with your new campaign.
Set the date range to the Last 7 Days and observe the graph for cost.
If your budget is consistently met every day it’s time to reduce either your bidding or active keywords.
An exceeded budget is one of the biggest SMB AdWords account killers.
Check your Click Volumes for Desired Amounts
Now it’s time to find out if you’re receiving the clicks that you had been hoping for.
If you were initially counting on 20 clicks a day, but are seeing only 5 clicks a day while still reaching your daily budget, then appropriate action needs to be taken:
- Reduce the CPC bid for high-costing keywords
- Pause high CPC keywords to let cheaper keywords get more clicks (this can be dangerous though as cheaper sometimes means less value for your money)
- Research new keywords to add that are cheaper than those you currently have/use
- Reduce your CPCs and work to increase your CTR account-wide
Initial Conversion Estimates
If you’re experienced with PPC or online marketing, then you might already be seeing a decent amount of conversions.
You can already start focusing on pausing keywords or lowering the bids on keywords that aren’t generating conversions.
This can help you streamline your account’s performance and will allow you to better focus on your initially-profitable keywords.
Hint: I suggest that you label the keywords you pause in the early stages of your campaign. These ideally, should be the first ones you review once it’s time to expand your campaign.
Review Ads for Clear Losers
Unless you get 100 clicks a day for your ad groups, then 7 days will most likely be too early to make any major adjustments to your ads.
But you can however, already see trends. If one ad has a CTR of 10% and the other 1%, then you can obviously pause the 1% CTR ad.
Sometimes you will miss completely with certain ads that you create in the development phase of your campaign. Don’t be discouraged by this. It still happens to me after 4 years of experience. It’s less frequent now than in the beginning, but it does still happen.
Delete Low Search Volume Keywords
Low Search Volume Keywords are keywords that have the status Low Search Volume.
If your keywords have it, I advise you to just delete them now (unless they of course have clicks).
They’re just a waste of space in your campaign and getting rid of them will make your campaigns look and feel a lot cleaner.
Just make sure that the keyword isn’t labeled Low Search Volume simply due to misspellings or wrong word order, if you’re using phrase/exact match.
Pause Keywords with Very Low CTR
Certain types of keywords look great on paper, but for some reason, they just accrue a huge amount of impressions with very little clicks.
In this case, my recommendation will always be to focus on Quality Score at the beginning. Having a high Clickthrough-rate is very important for your Quality Score. I therefore routinely pause and label these keywords as a best practice.
I don’t want to experiment with these keywords at the beginning stages when my campaign is very sensitive. I’d rather focus on the keywords that have shown high CTR already.
This doesn’t mean that low CTR keywords should be discarded forever though. Return to them when your campaign has been running for 2 months and it’ll then be time to expand with even more keywords.
Add Obvious Negative Keywords
This is partly in relation to the subject discussed above. After 7 days running, you should be able to generate a decent Search Query Report.
You can then use this data from the report to exclude search terms with negative keywords.
Know that you can almost never find too many negative keywords and you starting extra early can be key to your ultimate AdWords success.
Be Ready for Next Week When I Explain How to Best Optimize After 14-28 Days of Activating Your AdWords Campaign
I will also explain what to do after the initial month and what to expect going forward with your campaign.
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