Pay Per Click and AdWords in particular can be a fantastic source of traffic, targeted visitors and of course enquiries and sales, but getting it spot on in terms of performance is not an easy job, as there are so many things you need to get right, and of course, so many things that you need to avoid getting wrong.

The first time you use AdWords it can look frightening, with lots of things you need to do to get the pay per click campaign running, which if you fail to get right, can lead to the campaign not working and your budget being run down with little to no return on investment.

AdWords, like any online marketing platform requires some degree of knowledge and experience to really deliver the best results.

One of the biggest areas that often fails a campaign can be the keywords and the keyword match types you use for the account. If you target incorrect keywords, your visitors are going to be the wrong people and if you use a very open match type, once again, you are going to end up with a wealth of traffic costing you money, but nothing to show for it, unless you get lucky and get a few conversions coming in.

So, let’s take a look at these two areas.

The Keywords You Use

One of the biggest reasons your budget will drown along with any potential results is by simply picking the wrong keywords. And to be honest, it is so easy to do.

If you are just starting you AdWords campaign it is a smart idea to start with the most specific keywords and then roll out others if you find that the search volumes are just not there, as it is much better to expand your account based on low volume rather than waste a load of money that you will never see again when you have to narrow down your search terms.

Let’s say you sell softball cleats as an example. When you set the account up, Google AdWords will suggest a load of keywords that might be applicable to you, and it can be tempting to just accept them all and run with it. This is the worst possible thing you can do, as in there will be a wealth of keywords that are just not applicable. For example, softball bats, free, eBay and a ton more will start to creep in, and if you just sell softball cleats, then you do not want to be paying for search terms that include anything else.

google keyword planner dashboard

Start specific with what you do, and then roll out further keywords based on in-depth keyword research as time goes on. This way you can control your expansion of the keywords and keep on top of what works and exclude what does not via negative keywords, which is equally important to make sure you exclude any search terms that you see over time that are just not the ones for you and your business.

The Keyword Match Type

There are four types of keyword match options for AdWords and these are:

  • Broad Match
  • Broad Match Modifier
  • Phrase Match
  • Exact Match

You might also have seen little characters next to keywords, and these are how you use the keyword match types, so as examples:

  • Broad Match – no characters, enter the keyword normally = pitcher cleats
  • Broad Match Modifier – add + before the keyword = +pitcher +cleats
  • Phrase Match – add “ around the keywords = “pitcher cleats”
  • Exact Match – add [ around the keywords = [pitcher cleats]

When you set the account up and go for your first campaign, you will automatically default to broad match, and whilst the cynical people amongst us may say this is so that you end up spending more money, there is truth in the fact that this is just the worst possible keyword to start with, as it will literally show your advert for keywords that are just not applicable, relevant or even close to potentially converting in sale.

You should probably avoid broad match, as it most likely just won’t work for you, and although the broad match modifier is a step forward and delivers better results, always start with a process of going for Exact Match keywords and then if the impressions and clicks are not good enough in terms of volume, then consider rolling out a phrase match campaign, but adding negative keywords to the account.

Test, test and test again

There is no a 100% sure way to check your keywords other than actually seeing how they perform in a campaign. Once you have come up with a list of keywords based on research and insight from keyword tools, it all comes down to numbers. Monitor the clicks, impressions and especially the click-through rate (CTR) to make sure your ads and keywords are attractive to the customers.

Google provides all kinds of useful data for measuring the success of your ad campaign in your AdWords account. You just need to know how to interpret them. Here is a quick guide:

According to all the insights you will be able to optimize your campaign, eliminate under performing keywords and increase budget for keywords that convert. Have in mind that AdWords optimization is not a one-time event, and you will need to continually test your keywords, ad copy targeting and landing pages if you want to maximize your ROI.

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