05/07/2010

By Nicholas Emby, SEO Strategist, Powwownow

Small businesses just don’t have the same high budgets as the big boys, but when it comes to PPC that doesn’t mean you can’t get your piece of the action, however small it may be. Yes, it may be difficult to keep up with limited resources, but by being shrewd and closely monitoring your campaign you too can achieve PPC success.

Here are a few simple points to get you on the right track:

Set your Location

Geographic targeting is very important; for example, if you are providing a local service it’s best for you to target a specific area so you are focusing your budget on the areas you are most likely to convert. You can set your location in the campaign settings, by clicking edit under Locations. You can either browse for your target location or you can use the custom targeting to specify a more precise area.


Ad Scheduling

Make use of Ad Scheduling; no doubt the big players in the industry will be running ads 24/7, but with a smaller budget means you have to be smart about what times your ads are shown. Depending on what industry you’re in, you might find that most your conversions come during day (e.g between 8am and 8pm) and very few over the weekends. Target the times of the day when you make most conversions and turn ads off on low converting times and days. This will help improve your keyword’s CTR (Click-Through Rate) and Quality Score, plus reduce the cost. Ad Scheduling can be implemented in the campaign Settings, under Advanced settings (look for Ad Scheduling and click on Edit).


Turn off Google Content Network

By default your campaign will be eligible for the Display Network (previously known as the Content Network). The Display Network requires a lot of maintenance and is not for everyone, plus it can burn a big hole in your budget in a short period of time. To opt out see your campaign Settings, look for Networks, click edit and deselect Display Network.


Creative Ad Copy & Testing

Your ad needs to be compelling in order for it to be clicked. Analyse the competition’s ads and look for areas where you think you can improve. If you are providing a service, a good tip is to put your telephone number in the ad copy itself.

Likewise, you need to test different ad copy; this is essential to improving CTRs, conversion rates and for the overall optimization of your campaign. But don’t test too many ads at once; I normally test about 3 ad copies at any given time. Finally, if you are testing, remember to set your Ad delivery to Rotate rather than Optimise - this will ensure all your ads are shown evenly over time. This can be done in the campaign Advance settings.


Using Dynamic Insertion

Using dynamic insertion in your ad text can increase your CTR and conversions rates. Keyword insertion helps to make your ad more relevant to the user by inserting the key phrase they have searched into your ad headline. E.g if the searcher types “leather shoes for men” your ad headline will say “leather shoes for men” so the searcher is instantly drawn to your ad as its exactly what they typed. To use keyword insertion in the title field of your ad put {keyword: default text}. But remember to always test, keyword insertion doesn’t always work with some ad groups.


Which Keyword Matching Option to Use

Using broad match for keywords is likely to drain your already tight budget, instead use a mix of phrase and exact matching options; this will help to attract quality clicks and improve your CTR and conversion rates.


Search Query Report

Very important, the Search Query Report will become your friend. This report gives you the exact term which generated your ad, its impressions, CTR, conversions etc. With this information you can find more keywords to target, especially long tail keywords, strengthen your negative keyword list, easily find which keywords need to have their max CPC increased or decreased, delete non converting keywords and get ideas for more compact ad groups. For new campaigns I would recommend running the report weekly to start and then monthly once you feel comfortable with your keyword lists.


Negative Keywords

If you are using broad and phase matching options then it is advised that you regularly enhanced your negative keyword list. You can do this by using the search query report to find keywords you don’t want your ads generated for, this helps filter out unwanted impressions, clicks and also helps to improve your keyword’s CTR while reducing the costs and improving your ROI.


Which Keywords to Target

Running a campaign on a limited budget could mean that by trying to get your top keyword in the top positions may be too expensive. If this is the case try biding for alternative longer key phrases; these keywords are often less competitive, cost less to get them into the top positions and often have a higher CTR. This strategy may prove to be more cost effective.

Follow these simple points and you too can achieve PPC success. Just remember to always monitor your account to find new opportunities and continually test new ad texts and new keywords for the overall optimization of your campaign, and one day your business will be the market leader just like Powwownow!

Read more at www.powwownow.co.uk