AdWords optimisation basics – 8 foolproof techniques

Even though tweaking and testing the minor details of PPC can make a big difference, it is surprising just how often the basics are completely forgotten about. Nearly every paid search campaign can be optimised and improved by looking at the fundamental foundations of AdWords.

While Google continually adjusts its Quality Score equation and likes to stay on top of the latest browsing trends, some things never change, especially when it comes to rudimental AdWords principles.

Therefore, if you want to get more out of your own account, then it is a good idea to look at these 8 foolproof optimisation techniques.

Align your message to what customers are searching for

In other words, make sure keywords are assigned to their own ad groups. PPC is incredibly flexible and ensures that when customers change their search query, you can adjust your message.

Other forms of publicity or promotion do not have this luxury, so exploit it as much as possible and use the benefits of SEM to your advantage. Customers have come looking for a specific product, so make sure your ad and message is there for them to see.

Be ruthless with keywords and ad groups

After exploring and examining keyword data that relates to things like CTR, costs, clicks and conversions, you’ll soon find out that your original campaign is far from perfect. But this is not a bad thing, as your starting point is always bound to be very different from the end result.

You’ve probably got a bunch of closely connected keywords in the same ad groups, which all focus on a specific audience and query. However, after looking at the campaign statistics, it will soon become clear that certain keywords are working better than others. So dump the ones that aren’t causing much of a reaction, concentrate on the keywords that are performing well and separate these into their own ad groups.

By doing this you’ll improve CTR, enhance ad relevance, lower cost-per-click, increase your Quality Score and above all else, secure more conversions.

Always review your “See Search Terms” report

As you’re no doubt already aware, negative keywords can have a dramatic impact on the success of a SEM campaign. In fact, it is fairly uncommon that your ads show up for the specific keywords you have chosen to target alone. If this were the case, then the power and potential of Google AdWords would be fairly restricted.

Even so, it is necessary to delve deep into your “See Search Terms” report to discover what queries your keywords are triggering. As a result you can add new negative keywords to limit the exposure of terms that won’t convert and also remove those with low CTRs.

Think carefully about short and long tail keywords

Even if you’re afraid of losing audience numbers with long tail keywords, you have the power to target ads more effectively. On top of that, you’ll be much more specific in your bid management and subsequently, increase ROI. Long tail keywords are all about quality not quantity, so add adjectives and modifiers that prospective customers or clients will be searching for.

However, it can also be beneficial to take these modifiers away in order to expand your keyword’s reach. This is perhaps most effective when an existing AdWords campaign is losing steam and you simply need a bigger audience. Just remember to maintain best practices for keywords at all times, as relevancy can easily be lost.

Test regularly and write new ads accordingly

What is the point of creating new ads if you don’t know how successful they’re going to be? Test existing ads, see whether they’ve been working well or not and use this information for the future.

Think about the Pareto Principle that says 80 per cent of the consequences of any action come from 20 per cent of the causes. Regularly spend time writing new ads for your most successful groups and every now and again, copy the structure for them too.

Carry out keyword bid management

Keyword bid management is quite the juggling act and as such, needs to be monitored fairly regularly. In addition to keeping a close eye on ROI to keep your bid at the optimal level, the activity of competitors also requires plenty of attention too.

Would you prefer to lose a bit on each sale and reach more people or make a profit on a handful of customers? This will depend on your business’ goals and outlook, as keyword bid management is different for everyone. But regardless of the approach you decide to take, simply standing by while the competition refine and improve their own bids is a big mistake.

For that reason, always try to stay in top three, as this is where you’ll notice superior CTR and click volume performance. Remember to bid low when you’re seeing a low ROI and vice versa for high ROI potential. Finally, bear in mind that not all keywords are sure to return a profit, but they will contribute to the campaign’s success or failure.

Do not neglect your ad schedule

If you want to increase your ROI, then some sort of ad scheduling is usually required. From minor bid adjustments to running your campaign on certain days, having some sort of plan or timetable can be incredibly valuable.

But just like your keywords and ad groups, it will require tweaks and alterations. Examine your current ad schedule, review the data and make appropriate changes.

Take your time and be patient

AdWords is very much a tortoise and hare scenario. Those that look for instant success and quick fixes won’t see favourable results, as any SEM or PPC campaign is all about taking is slow and steady over time.

Therefore, allocate some time every day, week and month to analyse a different aspect of your account. That way you can optimise every minute detail as well as some of the basics listed above.

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