Co-Founder & CEO at HawkSEM, helping brands “crush it” through ROI-focused, results-driven digital marketing programs for over 12 years.
A new year means a fresh start, a clean slate and new goals to crush. And for digital marketing professionals, pay-per-click will likely remain a big piece of the marketing strategy pie.
But because the tactics and campaigns that worked last year aren’t guaranteed to resonate this year, it’s wise to take time to audit your current PPC plan to see where you can adjust, improve and optimize your efforts. Not sure where to begin? The list of tips below can help.
1. Expand Your Current Keyword List
There’s almost always room to expand your current keyword list. For example, you can add adjectives and adverbs to long-tail keywords, while short-tail keywords may perform better if such descriptive words are taken out.
Use keyword suggestion tools (there are a variety of free and paid options online) to look for ideal keywords. You can also check out which keywords your competitors’ content is ranking for, and then target them yourself.
2. Identify Keywords With Poor Performance
Keywords can make or break your PPC campaign. That’s why, when reviewing your keywords, it’s important to check for those that aren’t performing well. Poor performance could be stemming from low bid value or search volume, but not always. It could also mean a high cost per lead.
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Another reason could be that the keyword is too broad or restrictive to attract enough clicks. To figure out why your keywords aren’t performing well, I recommend playing around with your bidding strategy to reduce the cost per conversion. If that doesn’t help, you may want to consider pausing.
3. Expand Your Negative Keyword List
To work on reducing costs and improving campaign performance, focus on regularly expanding and monitoring your negative keyword list. Also called “negative matches,” negative keywords are those that you don’t want to trigger your ad. One of the biggest advantages to having a negative keyword list is that it helps weed out “window shoppers” or leads that probably won’t end up converting.
Maybe your paid search campaign’s conversion rate isn’t where you want it to be, or maybe you feel like you have a strong list of focused keywords. In either case, having a negative keyword list is beneficial because it prevents you from wasting ad spend on unqualified clicks and helps ensure that your PPC campaigns are as targeted as possible.
4. Leverage Customer Reviews
Do you have great online reviews for your product, service or brand? Put them to good use in your PPC campaigns.
You can use a seller ratings ad extension to display ratings as part of an ad for any products or services. This is a great opportunity for you to establish trust and increase your clickthrough rate as well.
5. Geotarget Your Ads
When managing your ad targeting, make sure you’re focused on the specific geographic locations where your products or services are relevant and available.
The best way to determine which regions you may want to target is by using the various geographic reporting features in your chosen paid search platform. If you use Google Ads, dig into your Locations and Distance reports to see performance data by location. From there, you can leverage the Location targeting setting to select specific areas where you want your ad to be shown, which can help reduce campaign costs and improve ROI.
6. Revisit Your Personas
If you haven’t made it a point to analyze your personas in a while, now is a good time to review current client and prospect demographics. (If you use a customer relationship management tool, this data is likely stored there.)
Ask yourself: Does this data match up with my understanding of my ideal client personas? If not, it may be time to adjust your campaigns to reach underserved segments of your target audience. Consumers’ preferences evolve, and you don’t want to risk missing out on potential leads by thinking they’re not part of your customer base.
7. Refresh Your Landing Pages
When was the last time you took a hard look at your landing page data? An optimized, well-designed landing page can be the difference between a click turning into a lead or bouncing from your site.
Dig into how your landing pages are currently performing and how they stack up against one another. From there, see what A/B testing can be done, and look for ways to optimize your landing pages to increase completed actions, whether it’s a design refresh, new call-to-action copy or something else.
The most successful PPC strategies are the ones that aren’t simply set up and forgotten. By regularly testing, analyzing and optimizing your PPC campaigns, you’ll in a better position to reach your target audience and beat your competition.
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Author: Sam Yadegar, Forbes Councils Member