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    Do You Know These 4 PPC Best Practices?

    Written by Christina Simms on August 16, 2016

    Guess how many searches are performed on Google every day? The answer is 1 billion. Along with people searching for the “best Thai food in Atlanta” or “quokka selfies” (if you have not Googled this yet stop everything, click here, and enjoy) there are employees and executives searching online for information related to their work and business needs. In fact, 94% of B2B buyers conduct research online at some point in the buying process. Digital marketing efforts focused on SEO and great content all help to promote your business, drive traffic, and convert visitors but PPC provides an opportunity to further your company’s reach.

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    Google AdWords makes setting up PPC for your business pretty easy but don’t underestimate the strategy and planning it takes to create campaigns that will perform well. To make sure your money is spent wisely, you need to do research to understand things like best practices for writing ad copy, where to send people once they click on your ad, and how to measure success. There are lots of great resources out there from Google’s Help section to Wordstream but I am going to share a few tips and best practices that have proven to be the most helpful in managing PPC for our clients.

    Be Smart about Your Account’s Structure

    Think about building out the structure of your campaigns to mirror the navigation menu on your website. This strategy provides clearly defined ad groups and keywords that are logically grouped and this will help you and your account stay organized as you manage your PPC. When first starting your account you may want to have just a few general campaigns for your business or most prominent product or service. Although we’d start small with just a branded and general digital marketing campaign, Marsden’s account could eventually grow to look something like this:

    Branded: Marsden Marketing
    Services: Branding
    Services: Content Marketing
    Services: Digital marketing
    Services: Inbound Marketing
    Services: Lead Generation
    Services: Marketing Strategy
    Services: Social Media & PR
    Services: Website Design

    Quality Score Matters

    Your bid amount and quality score are the two factors that affect how often your ads are shown and their rank. Here are some things you need to know about quality score:

    • The quality score of your account as a whole impacts individual ads. Consider including a branded campaign that uses company specific keywords. It will be easy to write ad copy and create a landing page that scores highly for these keywords and your click-through-rates and conversion rates will likely be higher leading to a better overall quality score for your account, which can boost the performance of your other campaigns.
    • Keywords are king. The keywords you select to target in a given ad group need to be in your ad copy and on the page the ad links to. Expanded text ads offer you more characters to play with so adding keywords in the ad copy has gotten a little easier. Creating individual landing pages are another best practice for ensuring keywords are used and relevant. You can also use keywords in the URL of the landing page and in the display URL in the ad copy.

    Learn from Your Data

    PPC is not a set it and forget it thing. Especially when you first launch your account, adjustments and tweaks continually need to be made to optimize performance. Here’s what you need to pay attention to:

    • Query streams: what are people typing in that leads them to view, click on, or convert on your ad? If keywords show up that aren’t a good fit, add them as negatives so you don’t waste money on irrelevant searches. If you get a high volume of searches for a certain area of business, consider making a new ad group just for those keywords.
    • Click-through-rate (CTR): If your CTRs are low, that’s a sign that your keywords aren’t relevant or your ad copy isn’t very compelling. Make changes and test new ads to see what works.
    • Conversion rates: If your conversion rates are low, people may not be happy with what they get when they click on an ad. Is the offer what they expected based on the ad copy? Is your landing page clear and easy to take action on?
    • Cost-per-acquisition (CPA): How much are you paying for each conversion? As you work to improve both CTR and conversion rates this number should decrease but keep an eye on it to make sure you aren’t spending tons of money to capture just a few conversions.

    Manage Keyword Match Type

    When you first set up your ads and keywords you may have them set to broad, the default setting. Broad catches misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and relevant variations. Broad or phrase match (which matches searches that are a phrase) may be good when you first start out so you get traffic and visibility for your ads but monitor your search queries closely. Many keywords set to these match types will bring in a lot of traffic that isn’t as targeted as you need it to be for your ads. Being more restrictive with your match types will help better control the searches you show up for and will optimize the spend for your ads. There are some keywords or phrases that you should set to exact match so your ads are only shown when the query matches exactly to your keywords. Negative match type is also an important tool you don’t want to forget. For example, you might want to rule out people looking for “free” or “cheap” versions of what your business offers. Set keywords you don’t want as negatives to prevent irrelevant traffic and spend

    There’s a lot more to implementing successful pay-per-click than what’s listed above but these items are a handful of the important elements you need to have in mind as you run your campaigns. Even if you are eager to get started right away, I recommend taking a slow but steady approach. Start small, make strategic decisions to expand as you learn from the performance information AdWords provides, and do lots of testing and tweaking to optimize your account.

    For some extra help on increasing conversions, check out our guide on How to Create Compelling CTAs: Attract and Convert More Leads

    Topics: Paid Search

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