What is PPC Optimization?
Assuming that you are already know what PPC (pay per click) is, we are going to stick to defining PPC optimization only.
Create a Long-term Plan for Optimization and Expansion of the Account
There are two main tactics to employ when inheriting a PPC account: optimization and expansion. These two tactics are equally important to taking a PPC campaign to the next level, but they should be approached separately because they have different intentions.
In this two-step process, optimization should come before expansion. Optimization entails taking the existing components of the account and restructuring the campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. As any good PPC manager knows, organization is crucial to a successful campaign. Excellent organization helps a PPC campaign in four major ways:
PPC optimization is the practice of…
Managing, testing, refining and ultimately, improving campaigns that exist within a pay per click marketing campaign.
Optimization can, and should, take place in all of the following levels and components of a paid ad campaign:
- Ad Groups
- Key Phrases
- Landing Pages
What your account did for you yesterday might not be what you need tomorrow. You should evaluate the account structure to ensure that it is current with your objectives and goals.
This is an area where the need to pay so much attention to the trees can easily make one lose sight of the forest. Frequently de-duping your account and performing a match-type gap analysis will ensure that all the fine-detail work your team is performing also results in a big-picture view that stays profitably symmetrical.
Effective Ad Review
While the need for creative testing means that creative is often reviewed holistically more often than keyword build, it’s still common to find creative elements of an account in need of attention.
Landing Page Analysis
Because much of a landing page’s quality depends on goals that are often managed by multiple teams, this is an area where it can be harder to implement substantial changes. However, any audit that does not pay close attention to landing pages will fail to address potential gains in quality score and conversion rate, metrics that you can’t overlook.
A report on conversion rate and quality score by landing page can quickly identify pages that are performing poorly for every keyword and creative asset pointed at them. Grabbing these same metrics at the ad group level provides an instant problem list.
The Path to an Optimal Account
To be honest – these tactics only scratch the surface on what you can do to really kick your account into high gear. I hope to go into further details on some of these topics in future columns, but in the meantime don’t fall into the complacency of ongoing optimization with your search accounts. Step back and see how you can take something good to something great.
- Reporting/ease of management: If your ad groups are tightly themed with closely related keywords, finding and managing these keywords will be faster and easier. With a highly optimized, well-organized campaign, reporting on your performance is also more thorough, more accurate, and easier to interpret. If you have keywords scattered throughout your account, you will not be able to track their performance very well.
- Quality Score concerns: Each search engine has launched a quality score initiative. One factor of the quality score is your account structure (especially in Google AdWords). The search engines are looking for campaigns and ad groups that are logically structured and tightly themed. By reorganizing the current keywords, you are enhancing your chances for getting a better Quality Score.
- Targeting ads for searchers: More than anything else, a great account structure allows you to create über-targeted ad texts. How you structure your account actually informs your ability to write targeted ads. This is the holy grail of PPC account optimization. The trick is to create ad groups that are as detailed as possible.
- Preparing for expansion: You need to structure your account so that it is ready to be expanded aggressively. If your campaigns and ad groups are a mess, how do you plan to add hundreds, maybe thousands of new keywords?
Optimization is a Process, Not a Project
To really maximize your ad spend, and squeeze the best possible results out of it, you need to continuously optimize your campaigns. PPC optimization, as with search engine optimization, is not something you do once and then sit back and wait for results. When done right, the optimization process should look something like this:
Create > Test > Track > Adjust > Repeat