Your 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: