Recently I changed jobs, and took somewhat of a different direction. I went from an agency doing paid search for many clients to providing search strategies for a large international company.
Having worked for an agency for most of my paid search career, the shift has been a bit of an adjustment. The first few days were a sea of acronyms, new faces, and trying to navigate my way around the large campus.
Going from juggling multiple clients to having just one large one has required me to adjust a lot of what I did on a day-to-day basis. However, the same main principles apply – whether you're an agency managing a paid search account or working with an agency that manages it, ensuring the client's accounts are optimized and performing at their highest level is the bottom line.
Taking paid search agency experience and applying it inside a company has been interesting and challenging.
Here are some best practices for working with a new PPC account I've put into place during my ramp-up period. These strategies can apply whether you get a new account or you've just started working for a new company.
1. Fresh Eyes
When looking at a new AdWords account, you can provide valuable insight because you're looking at it for the first time. When you're working on a PPC account for an extended period of time, you're in the account constantly. And some things that might not always be obvious to you would stand out to someone who had looked at the account for the first time.
Use your fresh view to help provide opportunities for improvement.
2. Account Audit
Once you get access to a PPC account, do an audit to see not just how the account is performing, but are there glaring issues that need to be addressed quickly. Look for any low hanging fruit opportunities. Setting up some quick filters can point out things such as:
- Keywords below the first page bid.
- Keywords that have a low quality score.
- Campaigns that are limited by budget.
- Keyword max CPC bids are greater that top of page bid.
- Keywords that are in a low average position.
While adjusting keyword bids to ensure keywords are above the fold is a quick change, keywords with a low quality score might require some further research. And campaigns limited by budget may be because of overall budget constraints. Regardless, it's important to note these issues and determine what actions need to be taken.
3. Historical Performance
Review the account history to see how the account has been performing at various timeframes. Look at the last month, three months, and six months.
Are there trends or changes in the account, such as a change in impressions, clicks, or conversions? Are these changes a result of seasonality or industry events?
4. Best Practices
As part of your site audit, it's important to review the account from a hierarchical perspective to ensure Google best practices are in place. Here are a few of the key things that should be noted:
- Are the ad groups tightly themed with like keywords?
- Does each ad group have ad copy relevant to the keywords in the ad group?
- Are there sufficient negative keywords in place?
5. What's New?
Be aware of what new changes have been made to the account, such as addition or removal of campaigns, ad groups, ad copy, or keywords. Knowing what has been changed can impact how you manage the account. Review the Change History to see what recent changes have taken place.
6. Driving Change
After gathering your findings, create a priority list of what needs to be changed, the effort involved, and the benefits of the change. Since changes require resources and time, ensure your mission critical items are listed first, and encourage these to be done in a timely manner.
7. Share and Collaborate
In cases where you are bringing up issues with an agency or another group, it's not about who's doing a good or bad job. Again, having fresh eyes oftentimes provides new insights, and these findings will be appreciated.
It's all about the client.
Whether you're part of an agency team, working with a client that has an agency, or are the sole person working on an account, you are ultimately responsible for the success of the campaign.
Whenever we analyze a new paid search account, we need to ensure the client's needs and expectations are top of mind.