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Don't Waste Your PPC Budget: 4 Tips to Cut Unprofitable Keywords

Posted by Pete Stafford on September 29, 2016 at 1:48 PM

PPC budgetIf your PPC budget is generating lots of traffic, but you're not seeing a return in sales, you're probably wasting money with the wrong keywords. If you want clicks that convert, you need to help the right customers find your ad. Think of it as prequalifying your leads. Here are four quick ways to zero in on profitable keywords and eliminate the excess.

You've Got This

When it comes to maximizing your PPC budget, the best tools you have are stored in your AdWords account already. Search Engine Land recommends that you concentrate on the past three to four months of data, noting that anything older introduces too many variables to be useful. Within each campaign, you can delve into the specific performance of keywords. From the keywords menu, click the "search terms" tab to see exactly what people are searching for when they click on your ad. Once you see what people are looking for, there will be obvious keywords to eliminate.

Go Negative

Negative keywords are the best way to filter out those unwanted clicks that drain your PPC budget. With negative keywords, instead of telling Google to show your ads when someone searches for your key phrase, you're specifying that Google not show your ads when certain words are part of a query. So if you're selling a yoga teacher training course, and you're seeing a lot of clicks under "free yoga teacher training," you'll want to eliminate the keyword "free." You can even do this within the keywords menu by clicking the check box next to a particular search, and then adding it as a negative keyword.

A Match Made in Heaven

When creating your keyword list, be aware that there are match types. Unless you specify otherwise, your keywords will be broad match types, which is a fantastic way to blow your PPC budget. Using the example above, you could have specified a better match for "yoga teacher training" by adding modifiers to your search terms. Placing brackets around keywords will only return an exact match type. So if you're teaching a specific type of yoga, such as hatha, this would be an ideal way to ensure that you're reaching a consumer looking for the type of yoga you're teaching. That said, if there is a slight variation in the users' search query, you could miss that lead. By adding plus signs to your keyword, broad match modified (BMM), you'll be able to capture any variation on +teacher +training +hatha +yoga. Note though, that this could go wrong. In the BMM scenario, you could appear in front of a trained hatha yoga teacher looking for a job who may have just searched "yoga teacher, hatha training". Finally, there is phrase match, which is indicated by placing quotation marks around your search. Phrase match allows your ad to show only when someone's search includes the exact phrase of your keyword, with additional words before or after. For example, "hatha yoga teacher training" could appear for the typed query "find hatha yoga teacher training". As you can see, search customization is a burden and a blessing you must balance carefully.

Getting Better All the Time

With Google's upgrade to "enhanced campaigns," you now have the ability to tailor your ad for mobile searches. This includes mobile-specific calls to action, such as placing a call, and you can send users to mobile-ready landing pages.

PPC campaigns are infinitely adjustable, and this necessitates constant monitoring. Always be on the lookout for new opportunities, and make sure to avoid wasting precious resources. And if all of this sounds a little confusing and like a lot of work, a trusted digital marketing partner can help navigate the PPC world for you.

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Topics: Paid Search Engine Marketing

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