If you're doing pay-per-click advertising, you've probably visited the Google AdWords dashboard. It's pretty overwhelming, isn't it? There are so many categories and functions and tabs. Sitting down and slogging through the whole thing at once can take hours, and you just don't have that time to spend.
To help you optimize your PPC campaigns AND make good use of your time, we've put together these six quick and easy tips. Each of them won't take more than 15 minutes to complete. That means you can do a little now, do a little later, and start seeing results from your paid advertising.
Download this FREE PPC Checklist to assess your campaigns!
6 Quick & Easy PPC Optimization Tips
1. Pick Up Some Useful Ad Extensions
Google offers eight different extensions that can boost your ad performance:
- Sitelinks - Adds additional site links that you choose to an ad when it is served.
- Location - Adds your address, phone number, and/or Google Maps location to the bottom of your ad. The location is clickable so mobile searchers can easily find your business.
- Call - The call extension adds a special phone number to your ad that, when clicked, makes the call trackable by AdWords. It won't record the call, but it will give you the time, date, duration, and other general tracking info provided by your ads. This lets you trace a sale directly back to your ad - which means concrete, reportable ROI.
- App - App extensions only apply to companies with their own apps. They allow you to link your company's ad directly to your app.
- Review - The review extension allows you to add a review directly to your ad. Providing this social proof has proven time and again to increase clicks and converisons.
- Callout - Callout extensions let you add quick blurbs of text to promote your unique offerings. Common callouts include free shipping, free returns, quick delivery, and other features.
- Structured Snippet - Structured snippets let you identify the different types of offerings that are most relevant to your ad. If you're advertising tool and die manufacturing, you might list the different metals you can form. If you're advertising windows, as is the company below, you might list the styles of windows you offer.
- Automated Extensions Report - This report shows how your automated extensions are performing (consumer ratings, seller ratings, etc. that automatically show up in your ads). Previously, you couldn't see the data for these automated extensions.
To add extensions to your campaigns, navigate to Campaigns > Ad Extensions.
From there, click the red + Extension button.
We recommend starting with only one extension at a time so you can track performance and get used to each extension. Adding and optimizing a single extension won't take more than 15 minutes.
2. Utilize WordStream's Free AdWords Performance Grader
WordStream offers a great free service that will analyze your current Google AdWords Performance. All you have to do is enter your contact & website info to receive your grade, and they'll do the rest.
According to WordStream, you'll get information on wasted spend, click through rates, best practices, and lots more. The results come in an easy-to-understand graphic that will identify your biggest areas for improvement.
This tool won featured at the 2012 Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Innovation Awards for its ease of use, convenience, and customer engagement.
If you have five minutes to fill out the form, we highly recommend this tool. (It's also free!)
3. Add Negative Keywords
Negative keywords are fantastic for lead generation, and don't take long to implement. Negative keywords help you cut your PPC costs by removing irrelevant searches and clicks from the campaign.
For instance, if you're promoting your plastics manufacturing business, you might choose "plastics manufacturing" as a broad keyword. However, some people will be searching for "plastics manufacturing careers." If you have no negative keywords, you'll show up for that search since it contains your target keywords. Are those the people you're trying to reach?
Probably not. And, if those people see your ad and click (with intent to submit a résumé, and no intent to buy), you've just wasted ad spend on their low-quality click. So, you choose "career" and "careers" as negative keywords so your ad won't show up in searches for those terms.
To add negative keywords, go to Campaigns > Keywords > Negative Keywords.
From here, you'll select "+ Keywords" to add negative keywords to your ad groups or entire campaigns.
4. Create an Alternative Version of Your Landing Page
If you're using AdWords, we assume you have a landing page associated with each ad group. If you don't, that's a big problem and you should go do that now.
For those of you who are following best practices and not sending searchers to your home page, landing page A/B testing is a quick and easy way to improve your PPC performance. Take the landing page that you're currently using and change ONE THING about it. Start with the image, the form, the copy, the heading, OR the focus keyword.
Now, have one of your ads in the ad group link to your new landing page. Over the next few weeks, watch them carefully to see which one performs better. Use the winner as the main ad landing page, and tweak something else for the next A/B test.
A/B testing is a constant process - your ads can always do better! Continuously optimizing your ads and landing pages ensures you're getting the most out of your PPC campaigns. And, it won't take more than 10 minutes.
5. Pause Low Performing Keywords
Low performance can mean a few things:
- Generating high impressions but little to no clicks
- Generating some clicks, but the cost per click is unsustainable
- Generating high clicks, but little to no conversions
- Keywords that aren't generating impressions or clicks at all
These problems can be fixed by optimizing the ad, copy, and landing page - but not everyone has time to do that for every keyword. If the keyword is important and VERY relevant to your company, always try to optimize it before turning it off.
However, if a keyword isn't performing well after a few months and you're bleeding money because of it, it's time to cull it from the herd. The great thing about "pausing" a keyword instead of removing it? You can always go back and optimize when you have the time, and continue where you left off.
6. Check Your Progress Frequently
Take a minute or two every day to review your campaigns and ads. You don't have to make changes every day (it'll take a while to see results from each change) but you can still make sure everything is working correctly.
Keeping an eye on your progress will help you recognize unusual lifts and dips, track your spending and budget, follow your A/B testing results, and catch errors quickly if they occur.
You can see your campaign overview by choosing "Campaigns" up at the top of the AdWords Homepage.
Once you're in Campaigns, you can see your budget, status, impressions, interactions, and other stats.
A quick review will take you maybe five minutes a day, and can save you a lot of grief in the long run.
Hungry for More PPC Information?
To sum up:
- Utilize helpful ad extensions
- Check out WordStream's free PPC Grader
- Add negative keywords
- A/B test your landing pages
- Pause low performing keywords
- Check your AdWords account frequently!
If you're still confused about some of these processes, there are tons of guides available that can walk you through step by step. If you'd prefer to talk to an expert, our email and phone are always available! You can also download this free PPC Checklist to identify weak points.