April 17, 2014

PPC Farming – Weeding

Pulling Weeds

Pulling WeedsYour garden is planted, the seeds have sprouted and the water and fertilizer have really sped up the growth of your garden. However, you quickly notice that your seeds aren’t the only ones that have sprouted. You now have a weed problem.

How Did Weeds Get In My Garden?

Just like your garden at home has weeds without any effort, your PPC efforts will have “weeds” in the form on poor-performing keywords and poor-performing domains.

Despite your best efforts to pick only relevant keywords that relate to your products, the sheer size of the internet and diversity of the people using it can create problems. Here are a few reasons those weeds always come up:

  • Multiple meanings for the same words – Toto is a brand of high-quality toilets manufactured in Japan. However, Toto is also the name of Dorothy’s dog from The Wizard of Oz as well as the band Toto (famous for the songs “Rosanna” and “Africa”) from the 80′s.
  • Spammers/Bots – Unfortunately there are people/programs out there that will run searches and click ads for “other” reasons. Whether it is SEO rank-checking programs, PPC competitive intelligence programs or AdSense scammers, these will hurt your performance by raising impression counts, depressing CTR & QS, or even causing fraudulent clicks.
  • Google’s automatic matching – The idea of showing your ads for related terms is good (ie you bid on “red basketball shoes” and Google shows you ad for “red Nike shoes”). However, that only works if you actually carry Nike (which you may not). Say Google gets a little more liberal and shows you ad for a search of “red slippers”? See how your ad can suddenly be showing for unrelated searches?

How To Weed You PPC Account

There are two main tools you should be using to weed your PPC account; Negative keywords and domain exclusion.

Negative Keywords – If you know common keywords that are unrelated, you can add them in your initial account set up. With our Toto toilets we could add words like “band”, “Dorothy”, “Oz”, etc. right from the beginning. However, as you campaigns run you’ll likely see some new terms you hadn’t thought of. Run a search query report (the new interface makes them easy – here are instructions for running a search query report) to see what terms are triggering your ads. I guarantee you’ll be surprised.

Domain Exclusion – If you’re using the content network you’ll want to see exactly which domains are showing your ads. Inevitably you’ll find sites that A) have tons of impressions buy no clicks or B) have a great CTR but high cost/conversion. Simply exclude those sites to improve your account improvement.

Weeds rob your garden of water and nutrients. In PPC they rob you of your budget, raise your CPC and thwart your efforts to deliver a positive ROI. Do your weeding earlier rather than later because nobody wants this to be their garden:
Weedy Garden

13 Deadly Sins of AdWords – #3 Carelessness

During account creation for AdWords you are shown a very simple box where you are instructed to type in your keywords one to a line. Google isn’t stupid, so they don’t tell you about match types here. They just want you to throw a few keywords in the box and by default these keywords will be set to broad match. The 3rd Deadly Sin is Carelessness through only using broad match keywords.

Why Is Broad Match Bad?

Broad match in and of itself is not bad. Using it exclusively is a deadly sin. The reason is two-fold. First, broad match is naturally designed to cast a very broad net. Anyone who includes the term, or its variations as determined by Google, may trigger your ad. This can be great in some circumstances, but also can show your ad for something absolutely unrelated. For example, you bid on shoes (since you sell athletic and dress shoes) but Google thinks that slippers are related to shoes and shows you ad (which is absolutely irrelevant).

Secondly, and more importantly given the economy today, is Google’s motivation. You see, Google makes billions of dollars from AdWords and people are starting to cut back on their ad spend. To keep their revenues meeting Wall Street expectations Google is loosening up the algorithm on broad match to show more ads and make more money. And no, they don’t care if your ads get worthless clicks as long as they get paid. I manage numerous AdWords accounts and I’m seeing it firsthand. If you don’t believe me check out the PPCProz blog and Perry Marshall’s take.

What Are Match Types?

Match type is how Google determines if your ad should be shown for a particular search query. The following is taken from AdWords help:

  1. Broad Match: keyword
    Allows your ad to show on similar phrases and relevant variations
  2. Phrase Match: “keyword”
    Allows your ad to show for searches that match the exact phrase
  3. Exact Match: [keyword]
    Allows your ad to show for searches that match the exact phrase exclusively
  4. Negative Match: -keyword
    Ensures your ad doesn’t show for any search that includes that term

And in case you were wondering, broad match is the default.

Obtaining Forgiveness

This one is easy. All you have to do is edit your keywords to add quotations or brackets and change the match type. I’ve seen greatly improved results as I’ve implemented this and if you see the same, drop a comment.

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