When most companies try to generate more traffic from a pay-per-click campaign, their first move — and often only one — is usually to bump up their bids and budgets. Not so fast! Before you go there, try these three strategies to get more mileage out of your existing budget:
Test Ads. Always test two ads against each other for Ad Groups with significant volume. Not only will you optimize performance, but you’ll learn which appeals work best — information that can be useful in other marketing.
What’s more, regular testing prevents ads from fatiguing and depressing results.
Change your settings to “rotate ads evenly,” or you’ll only get a short, possibly inconclusive test before the “better” ad is the only one running.
Make sure you have at least 50 clicks, and preferably 100, for each ad before making any changes. That way, you’ll be sure your decision is based on statistically valid results.
You’ll often find a difference of 10% or more in click-through rates between one ad and another. Through a series of incremental changes, ad testing alone can often double your click-through rates over time.
Refine Keywords. When you use Broad Match (the default option) or Phrase Match, your ads can be shown when people search on a phrase that includesthe keywords you bid on.
Many people don’t realize that it’s possible to see the exact phrases that triggered all your ads. This knowledge can provide a great deal of guidance in refining your keyword list.
To see all searches that triggered your ads in Google adWords, click on theKeywords tab in the center of the Campaigns screen. Then go to the Detailsbutton that appears above the list of keywords you’ve bid on. Click on the down arrow next to it. On the dropdown menu, click the first All option, which is in the Search Terms section. That will display a table showing every search term that triggered your ad for the specified time period, with statistics on each.
From there, I find it easiest to download the report into an Excel spreadsheet; you’ll find the download button just above the Match Type column.
How do you use this information? First, look through the list for any search terms that are generating unqualified traffic. For instance, if you’re bidding ondahlia, your ad may be displayed to people searching for black dahlia murder mystery.
Adding a negative match for black, murder or mystery will eliminate those unqualified searches. Even if the mystery readers don’t click on your ad, eliminating impressions from unqualified prospects will raise your click-through rate, which will boost your ranking without any change in budget.
Next, focus on the remaining search terms that get a lot of impressions. Add the ones that aren’t listed as Exact Match to your keyword list.
For instance, if you bid on peony plants as Phrase Match, your ad will be shown to people who search on peony plants for sale. By adding peony plants for sale to your keyword list, you’ll get more exact matches, which will boost your ranking without bidding higher.
Review Landing Pages. Always try to get PPC visitors to their desired destination with the minimum number of clicks. Don’t automatically send everyone to your home page, leaving them to search for what they want. If you’re advertising a particular variety, send them to the page for that variety.
Not only will this help increase sales, but it will improve your landing page relevance, a key ingredient in determining your ranking. Creating better landing page relevance is yet another technique to boost your ranking without bidding more.
The Circular Path to Better Results. Both Google adWords and Bing Ads rely on what’s called a Quality Score to help determine your ranking.
A number from 1 to 10 (10 being the best), your Quality Score is determined by landing page relevance, your historic click-through rate, and the speed with which your landing page loads. Improve any one of those variables, and you can rank higher without increasing costs.
The higher your Quality Score, the better your ranking. The better your ranking, the higher your click-through rate. The higher your click-through rate, the better your Quality Score.
Since so few advertisers pay attention to the details of their pay-per-click campaigns, it’s often easier than you think to raise your rank without increasing your bids or budget by a single cent. Give it a try!