4 Quick Ways to Optimize Your PPC Account

By Heidi Kramer | May 16, 2013
More Articles by Heidi

If you’re new to search engine marketing or don’t have a lot of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising experience under your belt, you may not know where to start once your PPC account is up and running. There are a few key tasks you can routinely add to your To Do List to optimize your account that won’t take up mountains of your time, and can help improve and optimize your PPC advertising. These types of optimization techniques can help improve your account’s overall performance, as well as specific metrics such as click-through-rate, impression share, and even number of conversions.

Search Query Reports (SQR’s)

Search query reports provide insight into what search queries triggered your ads. Analyzing your Search performance data via an SQR allows you to find new keywords with high conversion potential to add to your current campaign, and look for search terms to exclude that aren’t relevant to your business (more on this below). This can help you avoid spending money on irrelevant search queries, leaving more funds to focus on areas that are getting you targeted, relevant traffic.

To run an SQR at the campaign or ad group level within the Google AdWords interface, you simply go under the Keywords tab and click ‘All’ under the “Keyword details” drop-down menu. You can look at the data from within the user interface or you can export it to Excel and analyze it that way.


Negative Keyword Sculpting

As mentioned above, negative keywords are imperative to keep your traffic relevant and targeted.  For the purposes of sculpting, add current keywords as negatives to all of your other campaigns or other ad groups within that campaign. For example, you sell desserts and want to make sure the most relevant ad possible is showing when someone searches [cupcakes].  Add [cupcakes] as an exact or phrase match negative keyword to your other ad groups (such as Muffins, Bars, Cookies) so that the most relevant ad shows for the right search query. This will help with your click-through-rate and quality score, since the ads showing are most relevant to the searcher and giving them exactly what they are looking for.

Placement Reports

Running placement reports help you understand where your ads are showing on the Google Display Network.  A placement report allows you to exclude websites that are irrelevant or inappropriate for your business (called Site Exclusions), as well as add sites as Managed Placements so you can bid more strategically on higher quality sites that are extremely relevant to your business, have converted in the past, and that you want to regularly show ads on. You can learn how to target your placements through Sarah Bonner’s recent blog post.

To run a placement report, choose a campaign or ad group followed by the “Display Network” tab and then the “Placements” tab.  Expand the Automatic Placements drop-down, and like an SQR, click ‘All’ under the “See details” drop-down menu.

placement reports

Bid Management

Bid management is another project that shouldn’t take a lot of time but can help you spend your account budget more effectively and in the right areas.  Take a look at your costs – if you have keywords that are spending a lot but never converting, you can lower the bids to reduce impression share and lower the average cost-per-click. You can increase the bid if a keyword is converting or if you can afford to spend more in that area. If you have already upgraded to enhanced campaigns, you have even greater bidding flexibility, such as adjusting bid percentages based on the location being targeted.

To adjust your bids, choose one of your campaigns and go to the Keywords tab (for Search) or the Display Network tab (for Display). You can quickly adjust your bids right in the interface under the Max. CPC column.

bid management

Quick You Say?

I promised you 4 quick ways to optimize your PPC account, and looking at all the information, you’re probably thinking “Quick? Really?” While it may seem like a lot, especially if you’re just starting to discover the wonder that is PPC, I can assure you each task is a fast and easy way to help optimize your campaigns. Do you have other tools and techniques you use to optimize? Find me on Twitter @heidinkramer or share your ideas below!

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