It can be tricky to get your head around PPC (Pay Per Click) ads when you first start out. There are many subtleties to a successful campaign that you often only pick up through trial and error. You can save yourself a lot of time and trouble by thoroughly researching PPC advertising and paying close attention to Google’s guidelines.
One of the most important factors to consider in any PPC campaign is Quality Score. I’ve looked around and Josh Dreller provides one of the simplest definitions of quality score:
Quality Score is a numeric grade from one to ten (ten being best) assigned to each of your keyword/ad/landing page combinations.
Each of your keywords receives a quality score, which is frequently updated to ensure it properly reflects keyword performance. You want to get as high a score as possible as this will improve your ads’ position and lower your Cost-Per-Click (CPC).
Google takes a number of different factors into account when calculating your quality score. Among the most important are:
- Keyword relevance, especially with regard to the ad group, search query and landing page.
- The quality of your landing page, especially with regard to keyword relevance, original, quality content, transparency and navigability.
Google suggests that the best way to improve your quality score is to optimise your account.
Optimisation tips include:
- Refine ad copy: Experiment with different calls to action. The call to action is one of the most important elements of your ad. You’re working with (very) limited space so you need to use the most powerful words at your disposable.
- Keep your ad groups small and targeted: Don’t stuff your groups with keywords. Use only the most relevant keywords and group them according to themes (which you can base on your landing pages).
- Don’t use the same keywords over multiple ad groups: This will weaken your campaign as the groups will end up competing with each other.
- Ensure that your keywords relate to your landing page and that the landing page is also optimised.
- Experiment with keyword matching options: Google allows you to select from one of four matching options so that you can decide how narrow or how wide you want results to be.
o Broad match means that your ad will come up for queries that are broadly relevant to your keywords and that include similar but not exact phrases.
o Phrase match means that your ad will appear for any query that includes your keyword phrase. The search query has to contain the exact phrase, but it can be preceded or followed by other words.
o Exact match means that your ad will only appear when someone uses the exact phrase or keyword in a search. If any additional words are used or the words are typed in the wrong order your ad won’t appear.
o Negative match allows you to exclude specific terms. For example, if you only sell golden delicious apples you can exclude results for starking apples by making ‘-starking’ a negative keyword.
- Monitor ad effectiveness: Make full use of your AdWords account to keep track of click-through-rates, CPC, quality score and ROI. Become familiar with analytics to help you determine which areas of your campaign work and which don’t. Most importantly, make changes when they are obviously necessary.
What have you found works best for you?