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June 24, 2011

Are You Wasting Your PPC Budget On Bad Keywords?

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PPC will be your greatest online marketing nemesis if you’re new to it and don’t prepare. It’s challenging to peruse spreadsheets of words, ads, and numbers and remember exactly what you’re looking at. Stop. Get an energy drink. Now take a step back – and think. Think about exactly what you’re looking at. Go row by row if you have to. Whatever helps you think about the keyword itself.

The keyword is the bread and butter of your PPC campaign.

Keywords are simply characters that users type into a search box when they’re looking for something. Keywords can be one word like “hotels”. Keywords can also be “longtail” multiple word phrases like “keeping austin weird, hotels”. Long tail keywords are longer three or four word phrases which are highly specific to your goods or services. These convert the most clicks to customers because they target a consumer who specifically knows what they want and is ready to buy. You gain access to keywords in the search engines by ‘bidding’ on specific keywords.

Keywords: The Most Important Part of PPC

The keyword is, perhaps, the most important component of your PPC account. It would be foolish then to waste your budget bidding on generic single keyword or double keyword phrases since these do not target the customer who is “late” in the buying cycle.

For example if you are a boutique hotel in Austin, TX it doesn’t make sense to just bid on “hotel” because you are going to be going up against the big guys like Expedia or Priceline. Instead hone in on a specific niche like your location and a special amenity that you offer that people will be searching for like “boutique hotel, Austin, Texas.” The competition will be less and the cost per click a lot less.

Getting Rid of Bad Keywords

This problem of non-relevant keywords is rampant in many PPC accounts. Sometimes it’s obvious like the “hotel texas”- sometimes it’s not. Here’s how it happens and how to fix it:

1) Remove Non-Relevant Keywords from Keyword Tools

Keyword tools like Google AdWords Keyword Tool are great starters for PPC accounts. Like thesauruses, you can look at lists of words that are similar to your products or services – a very useful tool.

However, keyword tools should never be trusted implicitly. Keyword tools use computer-generated lists of words and sometimes they make mistakes. Unthinking PPC managers dump every keyword they can think of into their campaign and waste a ton of cash, receive non-relevant traffic or no traffic at all.. The worst of it is the non-relevant (no: worthless) traffic will never convert or turn into new business.

Fix this issue by reviewing your keyword list. Lists can get crazy- out- of- control- big quick. Focus on one or two groups at a time and communicate with everyone who is working on the account, adding or pausing keywords. Here’s the science: Review your phrases and decide: would someone needing my products or services type these words into a search box?? No? Get rid of them, or pause them in you AdWords Editor. You can always ask someone else who is a fresh set of eyes give you a second opinion later. Your advertising dollars are too precious not to be reviewing those ad groups well.

2) Test Your Keywords

Another, equally important way to sort out keywords in your account is to determine whether they turn into the desired action. Going back to the hotel example, when you bid on “hotel, Austin, TX” does that longtail phrase yield the desired result on your website? Does it turn into online leads or phone calls? Review your web analytics to see which words people are converting on-clicking through to your website on. Though the keyword may seem relevant to you, searchers may disagree.

You can determine the effectiveness of keywords by using good tracking. AdWords Conversion Tracking or call tracking can demonstrate the effectiveness of each keyword in your account.

Proper keyword management is the single most important thing you can do to effectively manage your PPC account. To do it effectively, you need to get educated on proper online tracking, or make sure your PPC manager is doing their job i.e. TRACKING. Just make sure you are aware of the keywords costing you money and why. Wasting PPC budget is no way to run a PPC account – and pursuing keywords that are bad is the way it goes wrong.


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5 Responses to “Are You Wasting Your PPC Budget On Bad Keywords?

    avatar Kent says:

    I have noticed that a lot of people do not even research there keywords. 90% of the time they pick a keyword with high competition and then wonder why they arnt making any money. Lol

    avatar klima says:

    thanks for the post nice ideas and tips for me

    avatar devin says:

    yeah.exactly .bad keywords means nothing .before placing your expensive PPC advertisement ,choose the proper keywords .the right one will double the work .

    avatar Andy Morley says:

    It is a great idea to ad Negative keywords to your campaigns, this will help reduce the non-relevant or non-buying traffic.

    I have a post here which will help support yours by discussing negative keywords for your PPC campaigns, and give some tips on how to effectively find these negative terms.

    http://www.andy-morley.co.uk/ppc/negative-keywords/

    Thanks

    Andy

    Great! Every AdWords PPC Audit I do uncovers tons of bad keywords. A real tough one was “las vegas hotel” upon further research it’s actually a brand name of a hotel in vegas aka LVH ehh! Really?

    I didn’t see mention of it but we use search query reports(SQR’s)extensively to mine new keywords and build negative keyword lists. Learn all about AdWords keyword research.

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