Understanding the Value of Your Keyword List
Your keyword list is an extremely valuable asset. In fact, it is the most important and influential factor in the success of your AdWords campaign on the search network in particular. You’ll want to improve the relevance of your keywords to help boost their quality scores, pause, or delete keywords that are not helping you meet your advertising goals, modify their match type, or delete duplicate keywords in your account. Note that your ad is only shown on the search results page when one of the keywords in your ad group or a close variant is searched for.
All of the keywords in a particular ad group need to be related to each other and relevant to each of the ads in the ad group and to the landing pages the ad group is linked to. In addition, you need to constantly analyse your data to make sure you’re finding good terms to add and pausing and deleting outright poor keywords. Tweak your campaign and ad group structure so that they are optimal for your needs.
In order to begin the process of optimizing the performance of the keywords in your account, start by analyzing the following reports:
1. The search terms report: This allows you to find out the terms your ad is showing up for that resulted in a click. Note that this report will only show you searched terms that your ad showed up for that actually resulted in a click. If your ad wasn’t clicked on, the search terms that caused your ad to show will not show up in the search terms report.
2. The Keyword Performance report: You can use this report to get specific information on how each of your keywords are performing.
There are four metrics you need to diagnose and optimize keyword performance:
2. Clickthrough rate (CTR)
3. Conversion rate
4. Return-on-investment (ROI)
If you find your ads are not getting shown, there’s no point in trying to write better ads because the ads are not the problem at this point, and you need to work on diagnosing the actual problem.
It may be that not enough people are searching for the keywords in your ad group, or your ads were showing up on the second page or worse. Another possible cause is that the quality score for those keywords could be so low that Google is not showing your ads.
If you are experiencing keyword problems, the first thing you’ll want to do is to perform a keyword diagnosis for each keyword. To do this, hover over the speech bubble with the status column next to the keyword to find out each keywords’ quality score and to see the status of your keywords and whether it is showing ads.
You’ll also see a breakdown of your quality score, which includes your landing page experience (landing page load time), clickthrough rate and ad relevance to the keyword. You’ll want to check your impression share which you can do by creating an impression share report.
You can also check your auction insights report to compare the amount of impressions you’re getting compared with those of your competitors. The impression share report will give you a high level snapshot of your current impression share, and you’ll be able to find out the percentage of times your ad was shown when it was eligible to be shown and why it was not shown.
Follow the steps below to create the impression share report:
1. From the All Online Campaigns page, click the Columns button and select Customize Columns.
2. Under the Competitive Metrics header, select the Impr. Share, Lost IS (Budget), and Lost IS (Rank) check boxes.
3. Click Apply
The Impression share report contains the following fields:
1. Campaign: The name of the campaign.
2. Ad distribution: What network you’ve opted to show your ads on.
3. Impressions: The number of impressions the campaign has received for the time frame that you’ve selected.
4. Impression Share (IS): The percentage of time your ad was displayed when it was eligible to be shown based on your campaign’s network options, ad scheduling preferences, geography and keyword choices. If your impression share is above 85%, then there’s not much you can do to raise it further than that due to the number of ads Google is trying to show.
5. Lost IS (Rank): This shows the percentage of times that your ads were not shown because of your ad’s position. If your ad was on the second or subsequent pages and a visitor did not go to the second page, then your ad lost its impression due to low rank. In such a scenario, raising your quality score or your bids would be the best way to increase your impressions.
6. Lost IS (Budget): This shows the percentage of times that your ad was not shown because your budget was too low. Once your daily budget is spent, your ads are no longer shown for that day. If you are exhausting your budget on a daily basis, you may want to consider raising it so that you can receive more impressions.
7. Exact Match IS: Exact match impression share is how often your ads will show if all of your keywords were set to exact match.
A low budget is another common reason why your ads may be getting a low impression share. One solution for increasing your impressions is to increase your budget and bids for certain keywords. If you are spending your budget every day, chances are that you are capping the amount of impressions you could be getting by limiting your budget.
For example, if you have a max cpc of $1 and you have a budget of $10/day, your campaign may generate around 10 – 15 clicks per day. As soon as click #10 comes in, Google shuts down the campaign for the day. If you have chosen an accelerated option, your ads may stop showing as early as 3a.m., and your ads won’t be eligible to begin showing again until the following midnight.
The solution there is to do one of the following:
Increase the daily budget so that your ads are shown more often.
If your budget is limited and your average position is three or higher, then stretch your daily budget by bidding less aggressively, or bid on less expensive, more specific long tail keywords. You’ll be able to lower your max cpc for certain individual keyword bids since there are always between 8 and 12 ads on any search results page. Trying this may get you more clicks for the same budget. However, before you do this you’ll need to check that the max cpc required for a particular keyword is high enough to get you on the first page.
Set bids at the keyword level
Bear in mind that when you set your default bid at the ad group level, this bid is applied to all the keywords within the same ad group. Do not fall into the trap of increasing the default bid of all of your keywords at the ad group or campaign level. You need to examine the keyword performance report to analyse individual keyword performance so that you are not blindly increasing keyword bids for all of your keywords. Each keyword performance is different. You can adjust your bids for individual keywords, so you’ll want to look at individual keyword performance and then adjust your bids from there.
If your budget is limited, use the broad match modifier rather than broad match so that you are not damaging your quality score by attracting people that will never click on your ads or have any interest in you or your business. Target additional locations to cast a wider net.
Clicks And Clickthrough Rate
If you have keywords that are generating hundreds of impressions but getting no clicks, those keywords will be dragging down the performance of your account. Your quality scores will suffer, and you’ll pay much higher for clicks. When you are experiencing poor click through rates, the problem is likely to be a very poor connection between the keyword that is triggering your ad to appear, and the ad.
In this situation, your keyword may be too broad or just not targeted enough to attract the right clicks from searchers who are looking for what you are selling. You may need to adjust your ad or even pull that keyword out of its current ad group and put it in a new one with more highly targeted ad text. You must show ad copy that’s relevant to the intent of the search. You need to understand what the searcher is trying to accomplish when they type a particular keyword. What is it they looking for, and how is that relevant to your ad?
You need to also consider whether multiple meanings exist for the keyword. For example, “apple” can refer to a fruit, a technology company, or a music studio. If your keyword is phrase or broad, adding negatives can improve CTR (and more importantly, ROI) by eliminating irrelevant searches. Also, if your ad position is at the bottom of the search results page, increasing your bid can make your ad more visible.
Run a keyword report and include the following columns:
• Ad group
• Quality score
Then fire up an Excel spreadsheet and input the data into a pivot table to look for ad groups with low quality scores and high ad spends. Doing this will help you identify your worst performing keywords to that you can eliminate those keywords that are dragging down your account and damaging your quality score. This report can also be used to identify what keywords are not on page 1.
Run the report with the keyword, match type, first page bid, and max CPC columns to find out what keywords are not on page 1 and then highlight keywords where the max CPC is below the first page bid. You may want to increase these max CPCs so that those keywords receive enough impressions for you to make determinations about their effectiveness.
Conversions & Conversion Rate
Generally, you’ll want to use a balance of both traffic and conversion optimization in order to improve the profitability of your AdWords campaign. A high click through rate and quality score is great for your account, but that does nothing for your bottom line if you are not getting any conversions. Your focus should be on driving potential customers who are able and willing to perform the goals you have set for visitors to your website. This could be to make a purchase, download a white paper or enter their details into a lead gen form.
The Ad Copy
When designing your ad copy, the keywords you use in your ad are very important because they will ultimately determine whether or not your ad gets clicked. You should focus on only using keywords that will appeal to people who are likely to convert on the goals you have set on your site whilst serving as a filter to those who do not fit your criteria, and are not likely to covert on the site’s goals.
If your ad is generating a high clickthrough rate but little or no conversions, it means there is a wide gap or disconnect between the promise you are making in your ad and what you are actually providing on your landing page. You need to connect the two, so that your landing page and website ultimately fulfils the promise you are making in your ad.
Improving ClickThrough Rate
Clickthrough rate is the primary factor that Google uses to determine your quality score. A high clickthrough rate helps Google determine which ads are the most relevant for the search term. If your keywords get lots of impressions but very few clicks, your clickthrough rate ends up being very low. This will ultimately affect your quality score, and will also increase the amount you pay for clicks. The main reason you get a low clickthrough rate is that searchers find your ad not relevant to their search query.
You can improve your clickthrough rate by making the keywords you are bidding on more specific and more relevant to your ads. Examine all the keywords in a particular ad group. Can you write an ad that is relevant to all of the keywords in the ad group? If you cannot, then any keywords that you’re unable to write an ad for needs to be moved into its own ad group.
In addition, if you find that you are unable to include the main keyword in the ad group’s ad, it means you have keywords in your ad group that are not tightly focused enough, and probably not relevant to the ad. In this situation, you’ll want to move those less relevant keywords to their own ad group.
If you have a keyword that is performing poorly but is highly relevant to your business, move it to its own ad group. Write a new ad with a message that is targeted specifically for that keyword. Link the ad to a new landing page designed specifically with a searcher that is searching on that keyword in mind.
Once you have ensured that all of the keywords in the ad group are related to each other and you can write ads that are relevant to all of those keywords, make sure the core keywords that appear in the ad group also appear in the headline, description and display URL of the ad.
If the core keywords are not relevant to a particular ad, the ad may receive poor relevancy scores and ultimately poor quality scores, and this will lower your impression share. If your impression share is low, it means you are not showing up for specific keywords that your competitors are showing up for.
High clickthrough rate, poor conversions
If your ad is attracting a high clickthrough rate, then people are clearly interested in whatever it is that you are offering. The problem is, there appears to be a disconnect between what is on your ad and what you are offering on your landing page and ultimately, your website.
Your goal should be to increase the conversion rate on your website by creating landing pages that are more relevant to the searcher’s intent. Google even suggests that advertisers consider re-writing their ads with negative qualifiers such as price and other disincentives to click so that people who are not likely to convert aren’t being sent to the website.
Note that your CTR will most likely decrease when you make your ad unattractive to people who are not likely to convert on your site goals. If you are concerned that this may affect your quality score, it is important to understand that quality score is not just about clickthrough rate. Google looks at other metrics such as time on site and bounce rate.
If users are clicking your ad but bouncing back to Google when they get to your landing page, this will be lowering your quality score. By qualifying your ad, the people clicking through to your site are more likely to engage with your site, and this will ultimately increase your quality score.
Using Negative Keywords to Protect Your Ad
It is extremely important to use negative keywords to protect your ad by restricting them from showing on less relevant searches. Negative keywords are one of the most important and effective ways to protect your ads from showing up for irrelevant searches. For example, if you have an ad group promoting black suede shoes, you might think that including the broad match keyword “mens shoes online” or “suede shoes” might be a good idea since they are relevant to what you are selling.
However, if you don’t protect your ad with negative keywords, you ad will show up for a lot of irrelevant searches. Your ad will show up for synonyms which may or may not be relevant to what you are selling, including products like suede boots, suede jackets, suede wallets, white, green and other different colors of shoes, tennis shoes, sandals, etc.
People searching for these items are never going to click on your ad, because they are looking for black suede shoes. Adding negative keywords filters out irrelevant traffic, but you can also improve the keywords themselves. Rather than bid on generic keywords like “suede shoes”, you might want to update your keyword list to include more specific terms and tighter match types, especially if you are in a narrow niche.
You can also use negative keywords with other match types such as broad, phrase, and exact match keywords. This means you can set your negative keywords as exact or phrase match keywords instead of just broad match, so that your ads do not show up when they are searched for.
For example, by including the negative exact match keyword: -[suede jacket], your ad will not be displayed when this someone searches for this term or plural and misspellings of the word, unless you expressly set AdWords to ignore misspellings and plural forms of exact match keywords, which would be a bad idea.