Pay Per Click (PPC) Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Best Practices & Resulting Quality Score
I often get asked by prospective clients to review their Google Adwords or Yahoo! Search Marketing (YSM) account(s) and campaigns to evaluate why they aren’t performing as expected.
Inevitably I find that one, two or all three of the most-basic PPC best practices are being violated, resulting in low quality score, poor ad positioning, high minimum and average CPCs, and low click through rate (CTR). To make matters worse, I often learn that the person who created the account was a third-party vendor who positioned themselves as a PPC professional.
Here are the three most-basic best practices that every pay per click (PPC) search engine marketing (SEM) advertiser should know and adhere to:
KEYWORDS & AD GROUPS:
Keywords contained in an ad group should abide by two rules. First, the number of keywords per ad group should be small in number. We recommend that ad groups should not contain more than 20-25 keywords (except in rare instances).
Second, the keywords in each ad group must be literally related to one another by sharing a single word or phrase. If the keywords in your ad groups are not literally related by sharing a single word or phrase, then you need to restructure the keywords and ad groups so that the keywords in each ad group are literally related to each other by sharing a single word or phrase.
Ad copy must be specific to each ad group and use the keywords contained in the ad group, particularly the single word or phrase that is shared among all the keywords in the ad group.
We also suggest the use of display URL (dispURL) tails to increase quality score. Here are two examples of display URLs, one which does not contain a tail, and one which does:
Display URL without a tail: www.example.com
Display URL with a tail: www.example.com/word-or-phrase
The ad copy should point to a landing page that contains the words and phrases that are shared among the keywords. A Campaign should have a strong theme and the ad groups in the campaign should both share that theme, and contain keywords that are broken down into more granular groupings that share a word or phrase.
If you’ve done a good job structuring your account so that campaigns have a strong theme, and the ad groups share that theme (but on a more granular basis), then you should develop landing pages dedicated to each campaign.
The campaign landing pages should contain a page title that reflects the theme of the campaign. The H1, H2 and H3 tags should contain words and phrases that are most prevalent among the ad groups. And finally, the content on the landing page should contain the keywords (and derivatives thereof) that generate the most visits to your website.
Consistency across keywords, ad groups, ad copy and landing pages are the most-basic PPC best practices. If you review your Google Adwords or Yahoo! Search Marketing accounts and find you’re your campaigns are not structured to adhere to these best practices, it’s time to restructure your account.
Finally, if a keyword has attracted poor quality score (i.e., 3 or less), it is best to pause or delete that keyword. Once a keyword attracts poor quality score it will soon contaminate the quality score of the ad group, which in turn will contaminate the quality score of the campaign, which in turn will contaminate the quality score of your entire domain. If that has happened, you need a real professional to help you out of that jam.
Good luck in your search engine marketing (SEM) endeavors. If you have questions about anything in this article please let us know. And please feel free to contact us if you would like a free consultation.