3 Easy PPC Wins to Start 2015 Off on the Right Foot

A new year is a time to start fresh. While you are likely wading your way through year end wrap-up reports this week, it’s always worth the time to take a look back at the basics and make sure all of your SEM efforts are in order. So here are three easy wins you can achieve and start the New Year off on the right foot.

Understand Where Your Traffic Is Coming From

It’s no doubt you know what the top keywords in your account are. But taking a deeper look at your entire account from both a macro and micro level can help provide additional perspective.

Traffic by Match Type: A great way to check the pulse of a PPC account is to get an understanding of where the traffic is coming from. By aggregating keyword data to match types, it can give you a quick pulse of what efforts you need to get working on right away. We all know Google is not afraid to broad match your keyword to some pretty non-relevant search queries, and this can give you a pulse if your selection of match types needs some work. While broad match and phrase match keywords can be helpful, as showcased in my previous SEW post, they should work as buckets to catch new search queries not already in your account on exact match. This specific exercise can also help you understand if the way you have leveraged negatives within your account is working properly. There could be an opportunity for you to move to ad group level negatives if multiple queries are being matched to certain broad match terms.

Search Query Reports: “Blue widgets” may be your best performing keyword, but if you happen to have that specific keyword within your account in multiple match types, chances are there is a lot of overlap occurring. You should be monitoring SQR’s weekly, but if you have not done it in awhile, the new year is a great excuse to dive into the data and see what new queries can be added as keywords. This can also help you understand if you need to leverage separate ad groups per match types and ad group level negatives for maximum control and granularity.

Show Relevant Ad Text That Match Search Queries

When a SEM account is structured properly and exact match keywords are utilized, a user should see an ad that is relevant and answers their question. This not only provides a positive user experience and increases the likelihood a user will click on the ad, but could boost Quality Score as well. Thus leading to lower CPCs, more impressions, and a higher average position.

Ad Text Testing Strategy

What was your strategy for testing last year? What worked? What did not work? Did you even have a testing strategy?

These are some simple questions to ask yourself as you head into a new year. A simple approach to ad text testing is to have three ads per ad group. Keep the ads very similar except for one small nuance such as your call to action. Rotate them and when you have statistically significant data, remove the lowest performing ad text with a new variation. Once you are happy with the results of the text, select a new variable to test such as your headline or the use of deals/discounts within the ad description.

Too often, new ad text is added to ad groups and you end up with nine versions of ad text in a five keyword ad group. I’ve seen it occur in audits of campaigns managed by some of the biggest search agencies in the U.S. By putting together a testing strategy and planning ahead, you can make big improvements in your efforts for in 2015.

What Will This Get You?

This is by no means a full comprehensive list of the things you should be checking as you start the new year, but they are three easy things you can look into and fix. The extra time will be well worth the dividends it pays in account performance.

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