4 Pay-Per-Click Rules You Can’t Ignore

PPC_rulesPay-per-click (PPC) advertising has grown in importance over the last few years – it offers businesses a chance to compete against bigger and more established rivals on a more equal footing. Plus, PPC can generate immediate results, unlike SEO or social media marketing. But it’s not all about putting the highest bid behind a particular keyword and getting the highest ranking. There are some key components of PPC marketing that make it a little more nuanced than that. Here are four rules of PPC advertising you cannot afford to ignore.

Rule #1: Use niche keywords

PPC involves bidding for keywords, which generate ads when searched for by internet users. Particular keywords will attract higher rates and more competitive bidding. This will cost you more per click, which can be expensive in the end. The broader the keyword, the more expensive it will be. For example, “shoes” will cost much more than “women’s dress shoes.” This is because “women’s dress shoes” is a niche keyword, and will attract both lower rates and fewer bids.

Additionally, broader keywords are less likely to create conversions than niche keywords. This is because if you are selling women’s dress shoes, most clicks for the keyword “shoes” will attract unrelated searches, such as” baby shoes” or “athletic shoes.” Niche keywords may generate fewer clicks, but have a higher conversion rate. Using niche keywords will therefore make your PPC advertising more successful and less costly.

Rule #2: Get a better quality score

Search engines such as Google and Bing assign a quality score to each ad. The score determines how much you will pay per click, and how effective your ad will be. This score is based on:

  • The click-through rate (CTR))
  • The quality of your landing page to which traffic is directed
  • The relevance of your ad and keywords in the ad group
  • Performance history of your Adwords account

Among these criteria, the CTR is the most important. A better quality score will result in a lower cost-per-click and cost-per-conversion, as well as better rankings. You can improve your quality score by:

  • Optimizing your ads with relevant keywords, including long-tail, niche keywords, to generate more traffic. Avoid putting too many keywords in the same ad, and break them into specific ad groups instead.
  • Testing your ad copy to find one that works best. Make sure you have correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. Use language and design that attracts the eye and communicates your message clearly.
  • Creating great landing pages, which are optimized for the keyword and are relevant to your ad groups.
  • Running longer campaigns without changes so as to build your history.

Rule #3: Track your performance

Tracking the number of conversions-per-click allows you to determine the success of your PPC campaign. The key here, though, is to know what success is. Set a quantifiable goal and make adjustments to your ad as you work toward it. Test ad copy, and adjust landing pages and service offering until you find a formula that works. Furthermore, tracking will prevent someone else from outbidding you, or falling lower in the rankings if search patterns change.

Rule #4: Use negative keywords

Add terms that are non-converting in order to refine searches and reduce your cost-per-click. Negative match prevents your ad from appearing in irrelevant searches from users not interested in your service. If you’re a shoe store trying to sell women’s dress shoes, you may generate searches from users looking for women’s dresses. In that case, you’d add women’s dresses to your negative match list. Use Google’s query search report to see which negative keywords you can include to lessen the cost of your PPC advertising.

Without the right focus and strategy, PPC can become a costly misadventure with little return for your hard earned money. Poorly managed PPC campaigns can generate lots of traffic, with little revenue to justify the expense. Make sure you’re running the most successful campaign possible by following these four rules.

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