Pay per click (PPC) can be the most highly targeted advertising available, but many companies do not properly leverage these ads for the best results. Make sure your firm is not making these biggest mistakes with PPC campaigns.
1. Not properly managing negative keywords.
At the core of your PPC campaign lie the keywords you choose to target in your campaign. Many times advertisers will use a broad match that connects keywords to synonyms and misspelled versions of keywords. Many of these broad match terms will contain words that demonstrate the searcher is not a potential customer.
For example, you may sell flowers but not flower pots. You choose a broad match so you hit phrases like “buy flower bouquet.” Your broad match might also draw in searches for “flower pots” on the keyword “flower.” If you mark “pots” as a negative keyword, this will increase your click through rate (CTR) and your conversions because your ad will appear before fewer non-interested searchers.
Negative keywords help you hone your ad placement, and you can find good suggestions of words to eliminate in many places. Start by reviewing the keywords on which your ads have placed. Look for obvious mismatches between the searcher’s goals and your ad’s offering. Check your Google Analytics reports as well to see keywords that do not reflect your goals.
2. Not running ads on your brand name.
Some companies promote their brand elsewhere and reserve PPC for non-branded advertising. This dilutes the value of non-search brand advertising by not letting prospects choose your branded ads. Along with your generic keywords, you should run ads for your brand that make the most of any recognition out there.
3. Not creating highly targeted landing pages for your ad groups.
It’s hard to believe, but some companies are still running PPC programs that send traffic to the home page. Once you have paid for a visitor to enter your site, you should do everything you can to walk the visitor through the goal you have set for your campaign.
Dumping potential customers on your home page and relying on them to find their way through is a waste of your ad spend and may adversely affect your quality score, leading to greater costs and lower ad placement.
Each of your ad groups should target a specific group of keywords clustered around a tightly focused goal. By creating different landing pages for different ad groups when appropriate, you can optimize each landing page for highly specific searchers.
4. Not separating your search and content PPC campaigns.
Searchers are often in buying mode. The ads you run on keywords will target goal oriented buyers. On the other hand, content consumers are often in research mode. They are less likely to respond to “buy now” offers.
You will want to run a different series of ads to appear in content campaigns, and you will want to measure your metrics separate from your search campaigns to keep the data pure. That way you will be able to optimize each ad type for its audience.
5. Not testing for continuous improvement.
It is tempting to believe that you have fully optimized a site and its ad campaigns, and now you can just sit back and push buttons to make money. Unfortunately, nothing remains the same. Prevailing attitudes change as new memes rise and economic fortunes fall. Only with continuous split testing can you ensure your keywords and text ads stay relevant for searchers over time.
PPC ads deliver measurable returns with detailed metrics. Companies that take the time to understand and perfect their PPC campaigns enjoy a much higher return on their ad investments.
Jeff Gross has been blogging and writing about SEO and internet marketing for several years now. He likes to share his knowledge and experience with others, and help them with their online presence. Jeff is also the owner of nPromote, a well established SEO company in NY.