Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on August 4th, 2010

How To Give Your Paid Search Campaign a Complete Makeover

The Internet has revolutionized the way we do business – speeding up the creation and transfer of ideas, trends, and spending habits. As Internet users mature their use of Google and its search functionality, the popularity of keywords and phrases change over time. Sometimes over the course of a few months, sometimes overnight.

Paid search campaigns can get ‘prettay’ stale if you let it continue to run its course longer than a few months without an evaluation. You need to carve out some time on a regular basis to re-evaluate anything and everything about your campaign.

Has your traffic recently taken a nose dive, like BP’s stock? Are your ads just not feeling sexy anymore? It may be time to give your paid search campaign a complete makeover.

Step #1: Refresh Your Keyword Research

No matter what market your website competes in, current event, trends and “train wrecks” (see BP) shift how people search for information, research, and products. Take a close look at the current keywords you are spending your budget on. Revisit their current traffic and trends with tools like:

Google AdWords Keyword Tool



Helpful Tip: Look toward long-tail keywords, which focus on very specific search queries, rather than broad, short-tail keywords. Longer keyword phrases appeal to users who are searching for niche or specific products. They have already done their preliminary research and are most likely ready with credit card in hand.

Here is an example: Instead of focusing on identity theft, try focusing on identity theft insurance or identity theft prevention.

Not only will these longer-tailed keywords generate hungrier, higher quality traffic, the Cost-Per-Click (CPC) will be much lower than a more competitive, short-tail keyword. This should help keep your billfold nice and fat. Just how you like it, eh?

Step #2: Rewrite Old or Create New Ad Copy

A rule of thumb that most active website owners are realizing is that ad copy and website content can get stale in a very short time. This rule of thumb should be applied to most of your high-profile content, and not excluding your paid search ad copy.

If your ad copy is stale or, even worse, now irrelevant, you could suffer from a plummeting click-through rate. Best case scenario has you slipping out of your posh positioning, making way for your competitors to become “King of the Keyword”.

Rewrite your existing ad copy to ‘freshen up’ its savviness. If you are creating new ads for new keywords, create all new copy for that fresh, new-car smell. Unless your past ads are bordering on absolute greatness - a la the pot at the end of the double rainbow - this will be worth your time.

It is our nature to be scared of change. It can be very easy not risk a new effort or ad copy change because it may not work out in your favor. No worries. You can always have rotating ads. If your new ad isn’t up to snuff, Google will revert back to the past ad that at least had a pulse.

Update or Launch New Landing Pages

If you updated or revised your ad copy, or even wrote new ads for new keywords, this next step is required. Landing pages that are left the same when ad copy changes, or new ads pointing to landing pages that don’t provide a seamless transition for the searcher are utter disasters.

When a human user clicks through a paid ad, they are expecting to see something on the subsequent landing page to verify they landed in the right place. They are looking for the same image that accompanied the paid ad, or the same copy. Repeat the call-to-action or headline from the ad on the landing page.

If you create new ads, new landing pages need to be created to match the ad. If you rewrite old ads and give them a breath of fresh air, so does its landing page.

The brutal truth is landing pages can always be improved. You need to test them continuously if you expect to maximize your paid search efforts. Try out some resources, like CrazyEgg, to view what people are really doing on your landing pages. Once you can get the data, you can start making more informed decisions.

Invest in Your KPIs

KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, are behavior patterns that are common among your conversion traffic, such as visit duration time, site penetration level, or certain content on the site they consumed.

Once you use resources to view how people are behaving on your site once they get there, you can invest in the areas that are doing some extra work for you. That’s right, you need to ‘scratch the back’ of your KPIs. Investing in these KPIs is the closest to a guarantee you can get from paid search budgetary spends.

While you may be able to make decisions and managing moves in a matter of moments, improving your KPIs can have positive, long term effects that will not go away any time soon.

Track, Measure, and Improve

It is always important to track your campaign with Google Analytics so you are getting up-to-date, accurate data. The right data will help you at every step in the decision-making process. Is your traffic staying very long on your landing page? Are they clicking straight over to your blog roll or other services page? Are they downloading the free white paper? This type of proactivity can make a big difference in both the short- and long-term.

One of the more popular paid search strategies right now day parting. This is the process of only turning on your account during the time of day where traffic productivity is the highest for your landing pages. By tracking and measuring traffic, you will be able to determine when your bounce rate is highest and your conversion rate is lowest. By day parting your campaign, accompanied by landing page/ad copy revisions, you should see a drop in bounce rate and rise in conversion rates. Now that’s good chowder!

Paid search is one of the most competitive and managed digital marketplaces in existence. If you are letting your paid campaign go without proper supervision and analysis, you could be losing money and customers by the click-loads. Stale campaigns can reflect badly on a business and brand, so much that if your paid ad is obviously outdated, you could lose some potential customers for life.

Thank You For Reading!

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