If you’re relatively new to search engine marketing programs such as Google AdWords, these tips can help you get better results for less money. For those experienced in SEM, these tips may still serve as helpful reminders.
1. Bid on your own company name. Even though your website should already show up in a top organic search spot for your firm’s name (unless your company name is really generic), using it in your paid search campaign provides benefits: showing up in both the paid and organic search listings boosts your brand credibility, helps your site additional clicks, and enables you to deliver specific offer messages. It also lets you guide visitors to specific landing pages other than your home page. The cost of paid clicks for your company name is usually low, and the conversion rate—assuming a well-designed landing page—is generally very high.
2. Periodically check and clean your keyword lists. Your keyword lists should be dynamic, with an objective of continually improving the ROI of your campaigns. Periodically go to Reports…Create Report and run a Placement / Keyword Performance report. Under Add or Remove Columns, be sure to include the Conversions, Conversion Rate and Cost/Conversion fields. Under Filter Your Results, select Keyword Status of Active so you’ll only get results for the keywords currently in use in your campaigns.
Once the report is complete, you may want to export it to Excel to make the data easier to work with. Sort the data in a couple of different ways, first using “Sort by Impressions Descending Then by Clicks Descending,” then “Sort by Clicks Descending Then by Conversions Descending.” These two sorts will indicate which keywords to drop and which to expand on.
To determine which terms to drop, set a threshold rule that you are comfortable with for each sort. An example would be 200/100: delete any term that has had 200 impressions with zero clicks, or 100 clicks with zero conversions.
After deleting unproductive terms, look at your most profitable terms to see if you can expand on these. For example, suppose top marketing books was a high-performing phrase for your SEM campaign. Within AdWords, go the ad group where you are using that term and click Keyword Tool. Type in “top marketing books,” then click the Get Keyword Ideas button. The tool will return a large list of related keywords, along with average volume and advertiser competition information, from which you can choose to add to your campaign.
3. Use SEM terms for SEO. Your SEM keyword reports contain a wealth of data about the keywords being used to drive relevant traffic to your site: which terms are searched most often, which produce the highest percentage of clicks, and which convert most effectively. Just as this information helps you optimize your SEM spending, it also indicates what terms you should focus on in your natural search efforts. SEM keyword reports are particularly valuable for identifying long-tail terms that are relatively easy to optimize for yet can produce a respectable amount of traffic.