What Do Your Search Query Reports Say About You?!

Search Query Reports (SQR) in Google Adwords can (and should) completely shape your PPC activity. Ever wondered why one of your keywords on a phrase or broad match isn’t giving you a good clickthrough or conversion rate? Search Query Reports tell you everything you need to know. Your SQR’s can say a few different things:

1 – You Need to Review Your SQR’s More Regularly

By having keywords on phrase and broad (I personally think broad terms should be only used on Branded terms) matches, there are all types of keywords that your ads will trigger for. Some of them will be the right type of keywords, but others really won’t. If you’ve got lots of keywords that you think s*it we shouldn’t be appearing for that, then you need to look at SQR’s on a more regular basis. Place negative keywords against:

  • Products you don’t sell
  • Anything that would make your brand look bad appearing against, such as ‘scams’, ‘worst place to buy xx’
  • Things showing in the wrong ad groups – i.e a competitor term might come up on a phrase match in one ad groups, but you have an ad group just for competitor terms – so place it as a negative in this ad group so it shows in the ad group which will have the best ad copy/landing page (see point 3)

2 – You Should Add More Keywords & Restructure Your Ad Groups

A Search Query Report isn’t the best way to find new keywords, mainly because it only shows keywords that have triggered impressions and clicks. But one of the things you should do with your Search Query Reports is to add any search terms you don’t have as keywords. There are many benefits of doing this – separate bids for keywords, ability to review the keyword individually and limit the amount of keywords you have on phrase match.

The more keywords you do add though, the more of a need there is to tightly group your keywords. Restructuring your ad groups with just a few related keywords allows you to tailor ad copy, link to relevant landing pages which in turn improves clickthrough rate (quality score) and conversion rates. Continue reading

Search Engine Marketing News May 2013

Another month has flown by and it’s been a busy-ish month in the world of SEM. With no major updates around Enhanced Campaigns and Adwords in general, the main news has been about the return of a well known animal…

Penguin Is Back With A Vengeance!

Penguin 2.0 was released late May as Google’s latest update to fight against spam. This 4th update attempts to prevent spammy, low authority websites gaining positions in the SERP’s. Matt Cutts, head of web spam at Google has said that 2.3% of English queries would be affected by this update.

Google Conversational Search Live on Chrome

So voice recognition technology giving responses isn’t a new concept. Apple have been doing it with ‘Siri’ for a while now but after having a play around on both I’d say Google’s works surprisingly well. If you have the new version of Chrome, you can click on the microphone button and ask a question which Google will respond both verbally and in the search results.

There are some flaws with the voice recognition which can only be anticipated but the opportunity for search is huge and on the whole is pretty well constructed.

Google Author Authority Algorithm Launched

Further to the Penguin updates and Google’s bid to penalize spammy sites and reward quality content, more and more emphasis is being placed on industry authority figures. Google stated this month that they are working on an algorithm to determine subject authorities across the web.

Matt Cutts said – “We are doing a doing a better job of detecting when someone is sort of an authority in a specific space. It could be medical, it could be travel, whatever. And trying to makes sure that those rank a little more highly, if you are some sort of authority or a site that according to the algorithms we think might be a little bit more appropriate for users.”

Adwords Editor Update 10.1

Adwords Editor 10.1 was available this month with changes made to make it easier to make changes within Enhanced Campaigns. The main changes were to:

  • Set bid adjustments for placements, topics, and audiences.
  • Set mobile bid adjustments at the ad group level.
  • Upgrade campaigns in bulk using CSV import or the Add/update multiple campaigns tool.
  • Use the new ValueTrack {ifmobile}, {ifnotmobile} parameters.

Google Testing Ads in Google Maps

Google announced that they are testing ads within Google Maps. An pretty unsurprising move from Google which had been expected. Haven’t yet seen this in action but Google are testing search ads with and without location extensions on the map and below the search box. There is huge potential for local businesses around this so I guess watch this space!

  • Search ads with location extensions can appear directly on the map and just below the search box
  • Search ads without location extensions can appear just below the search box

Spring Clean Your PPC Accounts in 5 Simple Steps

It’s apparently spring (we haven’t had snow in a month so guess it must be!), so what better time to give your paid search campaigns a good ol’ spring clean?! But, “where do I start?” I hear you ask… these few pointers might just help:

1 – Pull the Plug on Under Performing Keywords 

As much as we’d like to see all keywords convert well – it just doesn’t work like that. Once you’ve optimised your keywords as much as you can by adding negative keywords, tailoring ad copy to match and testing different landing pages, if you still can’t get the keyword to convert then it’s time to pull the plug. It’s like breaking up a relationship really – you really don’t want to do it but once you do, it will be the best thing you’ve ever done and you can start to move on with your life….. or something like that!

Sort your under performing keywords into two categories – the ‘no hopers’ and the ‘last chance’ keywords. Bin off the no hopers and optimise the last chance ones to do all you can to revive them. They’ll either turn into ‘no hopers’ or the ‘survive for another day’ers’ – a tad dramatic?!

pull the plug
2 – De-Clutter Your Accounts

Is your account full of paused keywords, ads or ad groups? If you have no intention of reactivating them, then you don’t need them cluttering up your account. Identify what you don’t need anymore and don’t be afraid to press that delete button!

3 – Review your Landing Pages

Landing pages can often be overlooked in optimising PPC accounts, but no matter how good your selection of keywords are or how great your ads look if you’re sending traffic to the wrong pages then they mean diddly squat.

Does the traffic your send to the homepage actually do anything? Is there a more relevant page you could send users to? Are you using all the possible pages? If you don’t know the answers to any of these questions, set up some A/B testing between different landing pages. Analyse the results then test another page.

4 – Add Negative Keywords

If you don’t already regularly look through your search query reports, then take the time to do so now! Search query reports show the exact queries used which trigger your ads. They are the most useful tool showing where you’re wasting your spend on keywords that are not relevant to you. Conversely, they are also useful to add the keywords triggering your ads on phrase, broad match and near exact terms as keywords in your accounts.

Plus, let’s face it, it’s always amusing to look at what people use search engines for!

5 – Look for Missed Opportunities

The opportunites tab in Google Adwords shows you where you are missing out on extra clicks and conversions either through budget constraints or by not having enough keywords in your account. This is a great tool to identify areas you can expand in, but that only tells you so much. When you work on the same accounts every day you can sometimes become blind to what is right in front of you and not spot opportunities that others may do. Ask a colleague to take a look at the account and provide any feedback on how it could be improved. You never know, you might just get some useful pointers that you hadn’t thought about – whether that’s tidying up an ad group, adding new keywords or restructuring a whole campaign.

Got any tips on spring cleaning your PPC accounts? Feel free to share them below!

Thanks for reading 🙂

PPC Time Management Tips

Time Management is one of the skills that everyone likes to boast about on their CV’s/resumes, but once you start working in PPC that’s when your time management skills really come into their own! Different clients, different demands and never ending optimization you could do on your PPC accounts means every minute you have is precious! Here are a few tips to help you manage the time you spend on your paid search activity more effectively:

1 – Establish Your Priorities

We’ve all had days where we have an overflowing to-do list and feel like no matter how much time there is in the day, you wouldn’t be able to get all your tasks done. Sometimes, it’s simply not possible, in which case you need to establish what needs to be done first rather than doing half jobs of everything. No-one wants to let anyone down by not completing things that you should but by clarifying exactly what the priorities are by either someone senior to you or directly to a client, you’ll be less likely to ‘let anyone down’.

2 – Don’t Drown in Data

It’s no secret that us PPC Marketers love data, give us 10,000 rows of data, a pivot table & a V-lookup to do and we’ll be amused for hours. But as tempting as it is to get as much data as you can to analyse, you need to step back and question if you really need it. Data is only useful if you can turn it into something which you can actually do something in response. Do you really need information on what browser, operating system or screen resolution users are on? Probably not if you’re going to be able to do in response to the results.

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Dealing With Life With Enhanced Campaigns

Now we’ve all had time to take in the changes from the Enhanced Campaigns, the reaction has shifted from disappointment/anger to acceptance and trying to work out the best plan of action to make the most out of the change. I’ve even stopped writing Enhanced Campaigns as “Enhanced Campaigns” – that’s acceptance for you, right there! For most of us the change is huge and will require hours of work on a lot of accounts and a change in strategy, leaving us with some very important questions to answer:

Should We Roll Out Now or Wait Until June?

The advantage of not waiting until June is that you can get a really good idea of how to make the change work. Rolling out a small number of campaigns to enhanced can teach us some valuable learnings before rolling out to all campaigns. Campaigns which target just mobile will be in no rush to upgrade, while those who could benefit from geographical bidding and site link extension scheduling will be more inclined to upgrade now.

Do We/How Do We Change Our Structure?

For accounts that split out mobile, tablet and desktop are naturally the ones who are left with a lot of questions on how to adapt the structure. Split high performing mobile keywords into their own campaigns and increase the bid modifiers by 300%? Take poor performing mobile keywords and bundle together to turn bids down/off? What to do with the keywords that convert on mobile but not desktop? Keep the curent structure and adjust mobile bids by a campaign average? The list of questions goes on!

What Bidding Strategy Shall We Use?

While we are no longer able to have separate bids for tablet and are really restricted to mobile bidding at just a campaign level, there are some benefits to enhanced campaigns in geographical bidding. How do you change your bidding strategy to best target people in your location? Turn down bids in locations where you don’t have a physical presence, or increase bids when people are near a store/dealership or try target areas where you see better conversion rates?

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The Winners and Losers Of Enhanced Campaigns

Okay, so it’s still a little too early to be declaring the winners and losers from the recent Enhanced Campaigns announcement by Google but it’s still clear to see who will benefit from this change, who will lose out and who will have to work extremely hard in the next months to find a campaign structure(s) which works best with the changes.

Winners

  • Businesses who have never bothered to target mobile devices and create mobile friendly landing page – They’ll now be able to automatically opt in to targeting mobile without ever spending the time to build an account which is optimised for mobile performance
  • Marketing agencies and PPC specialists – One thing that this change has highlighted is that you need the best PPC experts handling accounts to be able to adapt to these changes best.
  • Businesses with lots of physical locations – Arguably one of the best parts of this update is that you can now adjust bids based on geographic location. So if you own a retail store in the city centre you can raise bids to people on mobile devices within a few miles of your store. Free call tracking is also a bonus. Call extensions and phone numbers can be automatically replaced by sitelink extensions out of office hours.
  • And the biggest winners?….. Google! There might be a nice video and explanation on all the Google blogs to make it seem that Enhanced Campaigns are the best things since slice bread, but it’s pretty transparent to see their intentions. CPC’s on mobile devices were around 50% lower than desktop ones and with an ever increasing volume of mobile searches, how do Google increase revenue from mobile? Make everyone opt into mobile and make it more difficult to adjust mobile bids, easy!

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5 Common Misconceptions About PPC

PPC / Paid Search Marketing / Pay-Per-Click can be a funny old world and one that can be a bit of a mystery to some people. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about PPC and why they’re complete rubbish!

Your Work Is Done Once Someone Clicks On Your Ad

Wouldn’t that be nice?! But no, sadly it doesn’t quite work like that.  The ad copy you write plays only a small part in determining the success of your paid search campaign. The landing page needs to be relevant to both the keyword and ad. You might have a fantastic clickthrough rate on your ads, but if you’re not getting a good conversion rate then you’re work is far from done! Arguably on site optimisation is just as important as the set up and delivery of your PPC campaign.

You Have to Be Number 1 To Succeed

Unlike in natural search rankings, it is not always best to be number 1 for PPC. Number 1 rankings mean you pay a higher CPC (cost per click) and more people will see your ad but not necessarily click on it just because it’s top. Not all your keywords will be keywords that convert well or that are completely relevant to what you’re offering/selling, so you don’t want to be spending higher costs just to be at the top of the page. Your ads will still get clicked on when they’re not in poll position and you’ll still be able to achieve a ROI.

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