Archive for January, 2009

4 Basic PPC Mistakes You Can Correct Today

January 10, 2009 6 comments

On a regular basis I have seen marketers make the same tactical mistakes in running their PPC (pay-per-click) programs. Why?
This seems to occur…

  • in the beginning due to inexperience or indifference
  • after the account has grown substantially and becomes quickly out of control
  • with too many cooks in kitchen adding junk and pushing buttons
  • when people panic and start adding junk and pushing buttons, hoping this will improve performance

By identifying and correcting the problems, you should see immediate and positive changes.

Account creep: Recently observed:  campaigns added upon campaigns, random keywords added, or text ads added in until there are half a dozen creative versions for one Adgroup.

Solution: with each addition to the account, you need to do an audit to find same or similar or complementary campaigns. Compare and contrast. Maybe the additions you need are simply an edit or enhancement to an existing campaign? For new ad texts, you really only need one or two versions unless you intend to test them. Delete the old ones when adding new.

Duplicate keywords: Have you heard: “Why is the wrong ad showing up when I type in ‘blah blah blah’?” Take a detailed look. Do you see keywords duplicated and all over the place? This can result in the incorrect ad showing up.

Solution: Understand each set of keywords should be associated with the exact ad you want to appear. Make sure the same keyword is not in multiple campaigns. Run a keyword report and sort to find any duplicates. Decide which ones are in the wrong place and delete ’em!

Google says: “Avoid duplicate keywords across adgroups. Google shows only one ad per advertiser on a particular keyword, so there’s no need to include duplicate keywords in different adgroups or campaigns. Identical keywords compete against each other, and the better-performing keyword triggers your ad.”

This help file is excellent in demonstrating a simple account set up and how the keywords should look.

Keyword matching: The way keywords are matched up with search terms is extremely critical to performance. Recently, I witnessed an account capture 30% less traffic because the keyword match was changed from broad to phrase match in Google. Because phrase match is more targeted than broad match, the keywords were actually tightened up, thus limiting traffic. Google uses broad match and Yahoo uses standard match as the default.

Solution: Learn the details of how to make sense of keyword match types. Experiment in small amounts until you understand how your keywords will behave. Then expand.

Content and keyword campaigns combined: Even though this is the default setting for Google, you shouldn’t mix the two. The content campaigns will behave more like display ads with a lower click-through-rate than keyword triggered campaigns. This will skew the results and make it difficult to optimize.

Solution: In keyword campaigns, only select “Google search” and “search partners”. In content campaigns, do the opposite. See awesome illustration:


Have you made the same mistakes? Don’t panic. Kick the other cooks out of the kitchen and simply set a plan to make corrections and then it will be smooth sailing. For now…