PPCWhat’s In a Keyword? 5 Essential Strategies to Streamline Your PPC Campaigns

What’s In a Keyword? 5 Essential Strategies to Streamline Your PPC Campaigns

Every search marketer should do some keyword maintenance from time to time. Separating your superstars, and using Google's Keyword Planner and Search Query Report are good places to start.

It’s important to review, analyze, and refresh your keywords. However, this can be tricky when you are managing multiple paid search accounts or very large ones. And over time, with the addition and removal of keywords and ad groups, we need to do some house cleaning. It’s important to create a keyword-review plan and build it into your account optimization schedule.

The following strategies can help you get a level set on what you should do to get your campaigns more strategic, as well as keep them performing efficiently.

1) Review What You Have

The first step is to review your campaigns and ad groups. Would newly-added ad groups be a better fit in a newer campaign? Take a look at the overall structure and ensure the ad groups are closely aligned with their relevant campaigns. Are there new products that don’t really have an ad group? Create new ad groups to accommodate them. For now, create them as placeholders for a future reference point.

2) Kill the Crap

Now that you have your account structure looking better, it’s time to take a hard look at those keywords. Pull your data for the last six months, and look to see what keywords are not performing. I typically create an Excel spreadsheet and color code all of the various metrics, which allows me to determine an action plan for each term.

The first thing you should do is look at keywords that have no impression or click data, and remove them. Not only will this will help make your account more manageable in the long run, but it can improve your overall account-level Quality Score. You may think something is a great keyword, but it doesn’t mean your audience does, especially if they are not searching on it.

Then look at your keywords that have high costs, low CTR and low Quality Scores. Are there things you can do with these terms to improve their performance, such as lowering bids, new ad copy, or a better landing page? Create a plan for these terms, and then monitor for improvement. If your optimizations don’t show any improvement over time, consider pausing these terms as well.

3) Show Love for the Superstars

And what about your star terms, the ones that perform the best for you? Put them in a separate campaign so they can have a dedicated budget, and put the terms in their own ad groups, allowing you to create targeted ad copy just for those terms. You want to ensure your best performing terms are always there when users search for them.

4) Use the Tools to Cultivate

After the cleanup, you may find your account looks a bit sparse and you may have new ad groups that you need to build out. Using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can help you determine if there are new opportunity keywords to add and use for keyword buildouts. The Search Query Report is also a great way to see how users are actually searching for your keywords. The report also identifies high-potential keywords to add.

5) Negatives, Negatives

No matter how strong we think our negative keyword list is and how much research we do, there are ways people search that we don’t always capture. Using the Search Query Report to mine for negatives ensures you are paying only for terms that are relevant to your business. Ensuring your account is performing at its best requires periodic structure reviews and keyword overhauls.


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