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June 11, 2007

Optimize to Capitalize: Improving PPC Conversions

Managing your pay per click advertising for best effect can be difficult. But failing to master at least the basics can be costly in more ways than one. Google provides a very easy to use keyword tool. Make it your first port of call.

Keyword Selection

If your budget can’t compete on the most popular keywords you’ll gain little by including them. Spending a little time working with Google’s keyword tool can help you seek out the keywords others are perhaps failing to target. When setting up your chosen keyword targets you’ll do well to divide them into related groups and ensure ads are displaying associated words. The search terms people use will be highlighted in the ads, plus you’ll get a higher result through quality of match.

Direct to Landing Pages

Many give only a fleeting thought to the advert itself believing it’s all about bids and so forth. But if and when your ads do display you want to grab people with something captivating. Let’s assume for a moment that your ads are indeed winning a few clicks here and there but you’ve got everything geared to your home page. This has to be one of the easiest ways to clean out your budget but see little in return. Remember people in surf mode are notoriously impatient and by not directing them to the page best related to your ads you run the risk that they abandon your website fairly rapidly. After all who wants to search a second time? Likewise, if you have got people landing on the right pages it’s imperative they are engaging and delivering your message without fuss. Basically, surfers need to know they have something relevant to whatever it is their seeking.

Use Appropriate Domains

It can prove effective to use a mix of domains. By displaying a domain name that is perhaps likely to contain keywords, you’ll get some eye-catching highlighting to the advert text. The trick is then to direct people to a domain that has better pages related to the keyword search. This little gem does tend to improve click through rates. General text changes and optimization of ads should be carried out a step at a time. It’s sometimes surprising how much difference small modifications can make. By comparing sets of adds / keywords, simple textual changes can be monitored and results compared.

Negative Keywords

Take a closer look at negative keywords. Many people pass right on by this tool and in turn pass by increased conversion rates. Negative keywords are words you don’t want to be associated with. Lets assume you have ads geared towards promoting your website for vintage MG cars. You’d therefore increase your conversion rate by doing your best to exclude searches for newer models. For instance ‘1965 MGB Roadster’ could be your speciality but you’d pay highly for those seeking out ‘2004 MG TF’ if you don’t filter them out. Many PPC-ers make the mistake of getting too hung up on clicks. The great thing about PPC is the ability to target the people who have real interest in your product or service etc. You need to remember it’s a game of maximising your investment.

It’s a Competitive Environment

Google Adwords is without doubt the number one PPC service at the moment. But as quick a Google PPC arrived there are always threats to its dominance. It’s always worth checking out the competition…..yes there is some competition…..Google doesn’t yet rule the planet. Yahoo has released ‘Panama’ and Microsoft is fighting back with ‘adCenter’. If past experience is anything to go by both should eventually prove to be healthy and credible alternatives.

Author:  Paul Coupe is lead designer / developer with Zoom Online. Zoom Online is a UK based specialist web design company providing total online solutions.