SEO News
Campaign Structure

Restructuring Your PPC Campaigns in 5 Key Steps

Diane Pease
by , Comments

Restructure Just add waterWouldn't it be nice if restructuring your PPC account was as simple as adding water? Alas, most often the simple mention of the phrase "campaign restructure" causes moments of panic, brow sweating, and major heart palpitations.

Yet there are times when you come across a PPC account that, after careful analysis, you realize the organizational structure just isn't there. The campaigns, ad groups, and keywords are just not lining up the way they should.

You have ad groups that not only have too many keywords, but the keywords are not theme-related. Ad copy just isn't getting good impressions or clicks. And while it might be performing, you realize that it could be performing better.

Time to Fish or Cut Bait?

So after determining that an account needs to be restructured, there are two theories – start all over, or work with what you have. Starting all over means you lose your account history, but it's easier to rebuild instead of moving ad groups and keywords around. Working with what you already have may mean less overall build-out, but gets tricky when you start moving keywords and ads to new campaigns.

Whether you start from scratch or modify an existing account, it's imperative to follow a strategic, sequential plan. It helps to break the restructure down into manageable parts. You can plan your workload more efficiently, while moving toward getting the restructure accomplished.

Here are the five steps to follow to get you on your way.

1. Kill the Crap

By crap, I mean non-performing keywords. This is by far the most time-consuming and difficult task. If you have a very large account, there are keywords in there that either don't perform well, are part of a carried-over legacy account, or you just love them for various reasons.

It's time to let them go, and show some tough love.

To do this effectively, pull keyword data for the last 90 days, and filter out your keywords by cost, CTR, average position, average CPC, conversion, match type impressions, and clicks. Go through and create certain "pain points" to measure against, and then color code the ones that fall into that category:

90-Day Keyword Data Pain Points chart

By sorting the data, you can get an idea of where to start eliminating keywords that aren't performing. However, there are going to be some caveats along the way – such as keywords that have a low quality score, but are generating conversions. Best strategy – keep those in the account. Once the restructure is further built out, review to see if the new structure helps the keyword's quality score, or determine if further analysis is needed.

2. Create Tighter Themed Ad Groups

Now that the number of keywords has been reduced, it's time to look at the ad groups. Put like-themed keywords into their own ad groups, and ensure that there are less than 10 to 15 keywords per ad group. This is a best practice Google strongly encourages.

3. Keyword Superstars – Let Them Shine

A great strategy is to put your top-performing keywords in their own ad group. Sure, you have to create more ad groups – but, wouldn't you want your best keywords to have very targeted ad copy and less keyword competition within the ad group? If they are performing well, this can help them perform even better. Another strategy is to create a campaign dedicated to your superstar keywords – this allows them to have dedicated budget.

4. Targeted Ad Copy

With the new ad group structure, there are going to be ad groups that don't have targeted ad copy, or new ad groups that don't have any ad copy at all. If you ad groups contain existing ad copy that is performing well, keep that ad copy in place (as long as the keywords in the ad group are still relevant). For new ad copy it should be should be laser-focused on the keywords in the ad group.

Here are some best practices when developing ad copy:

  • Use the keyword in the ad copy whenever possible – I like to put mine in the title. If it doesn't fit, put it in the description.
  • Create a message that will draw the user in – one that answers a question or solves a problem.
  • Ensure your call to action is strong – try to incorporate this in your second line of ad copy.
  • Take advantage of vanity URLs – it's a great way to re-emphasize your keywords in the ad.

5. Landing Page Revisit

With a restructure, it's always a good practice to revisit the landing pages. Ensure the page is relevant to the ad and keywords, and the call to action in the ad matches what is on the landing page (ex: download white paper). It's also a chance to see if there might be a better more targeted page to drive users to.

Watch and Wait…

Expect to see possible decreases in performance. Instead of launching all of the changes at once, complete each section, and then monitor closely for changes. Once things settle, launch the next set of changes. This can help with some of the potential volatility, and can make troubleshooting issues easier.

While restructuring is a time-intensive process, the benefits can be well worth the work. And following a well-planned strategy with frequent checkpoints and monitoring can ensure a smoother restructure journey.


The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!
SES DenverSES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start - to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates extended through Sept 19. Register today!

Recommend this story

comments powered by Disqus