How To Use The Long-Tail For E-Commerce PPC

By Kaitlyn Smeland Dhanaliwala | Jan 21, 2008
More Articles by Kaitlyn


Recently, Carlos del Rio wrote a post on how the long-tail can kill a PPC campaign. In my own experience, though, I have found the long-tail to be very effective, especially for e-commerce sites. But Carlos’ article raises some points which I think highlight some valid limitations of the principle. Here is how I would recommend using long-tail keywords in your PPC campaign:

*Make sure the keyword is present on your landing page. One of the reasons I have found the long-tail to work so well for e-commerce clients in particular is that most retail sites have an individual page for each product. When you make the exact, specific name of the product a keyword in your campaign and land people on the product’s page (with the keyword phrase right at the top), you should be able to avoid major problems with relevancy and Quality Score.

*Use exact match! It is generally a good idea to always use broad, phrase, and exact match in your campaigns. But when advertising on long-tail keywords, be 100% sure to advertise on exact match. And it also wouldn’t hurt to monitor your search query report for any irrelevant search terms which come up through broad match as well.

*Incorporate long-tail keywords into the account’s structure and ads. Yes, it’s time-consuming, especially if a client has hundreds of products, each with its own long-tail keywords. But by creating an adgroup for each product and editing the ad copy to include the long-tail keyword, you can accomplish two goals. (1) You will improve your ad’s relevancy to the landing page, and (2) you will be able to monitor each product’s performance individually. Having separate adgroups for each product will also allow for the next step…

*Combine a long-tail approach with inventory management. If possible, this step will greatly increase the effectiveness of your campaign and will stretch your budget. Each week (or however possible you can update the information), look for products which are out of stock (or very near to it). Pausing the adgroups for these unavailable items will cut down on clicks which cannot result in conversion. Once again, if you are a retailer with many products, it can be difficult to produce feeds frequently. And it can also just be plain tedious to manage regularly in your campaign. But with one of our clients, working from an inventory feed has made a noticeable difference.

One great point Carlos makes is that one or two clicks per week for long-tail terms can add up to a lot for small budget accounts. But by following these guidelines, we have been able to make the long-tail work really well for our clients.

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