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paid, ppc, search

8 Not Always Obvious but Common Paid Search Mistakes

 March 16, 2007

By  Dr. PPC

With the ever growing competition it is more important than ever to make sure your accounts are lean mean ROI machines. I’ve seen a lot of accounts that make very common mistakes that you just can’t get away with anymore.

Content Network management – I know I’ve beat the dead horse about my dislike for the Google content network but its the truth. It is one of the first things that I disable because without the proper attention, it is one of the biggest bloats to an accounts ROI. If you insist on using the content network than proper management is required. One of the first things you should do is modify your bids, by default content network bids are the same as your search network bids when in actuality the impressions can be had for a fraction of the cost. Lower the bid to the threshold where you don’t see any loss of clickthroughs and are paying a fraction of your initial bid. Another necessary management move is to selectively choose which sites your ads will show up on. This will help you avoid click fraud from splogs and unethical Adsense sites.

Failure to implement tracking – Google Analytics is free, use it! PS- the conversion tracking is excellent.

Not Utilizing a USP – Every company should have a USP, unique selling proposition, it helps you stand out among your competition. Whether it is Free Shipping, Easy Returns, or something else, conveying this in your paid search ads is ridiculously important.

Untargeted Keywords – When paid search first started it was pretty common thinking that you want to bid on as many words as possible and I saw tons of accounts that were bidding on completely irrelevant words. Well, that doesn’t fly anymore unless you don’t care about ROI. You need to be bidding very relevant words and the less broad you are, the more likely you will have a better ROI. I’m sure in your industry there are some broad terms that are highly relevant, I would bid on these with discretion. They are important but if not managed properly they can eat through your budget quickly.

Not Using Keyword Rich Ad-Text – Whether you want use keyword insertion or highly targeted adgroups/keywords/ad-texts, you will see far better CTRs with keyword rich ad-texts. Your ads will have bold text which will catch the users attention but it will also include relevant keywords which helps to build a trust with the user that your ad will deliver what they are looking for.

Not using proper landing pages – One of the biggest and most common faux paus possible is directing all of your ads to your home page. If you don’t have paid search specific landing pages, use internal pages that are relevant to your ad copy and the words you are bidding on.

One Campaign, One Adgroup – You wouldn’t organize all of your wardrobe by putting your clothes into one drawer, so why put all of your keywords into one campaign and ad group? Campaigns let you control your budget more precisely and multiple ad groups let you target your ads better to your keywords. Group similar keywords into specific groups and create ads that tailor to those keywords.

No Keyword Negatives – there is without a doubt at least one keyword variation of your broadest term that is completely irrelevant to your account and it wastes your money. For example, lets say you sell sport nets (Basketball goal nets, soccer goal nets etc), you probably don’t want to show up for people searching for the NBA team the New Jersey Nets. In this case you should include -New Jersey and maybe -New Jersey Nets into your negative keyword list. This will prevent your ad from showing on these irrelevant searches and save your budget.

The point of this post was to help you eliminate some of the common mistakes so easily overlooked by people new to PPC and Paid Search professionals.

Dr. PPC


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