Tune-Up Your Adwords Account in 7 Steps!

Every day I get emails from marketers using Adwords to promote their business, and it’s not working out nearly the way that they had hoped… Dismal click through rates (CTR), barely workable click costs, and no matter what they do, they can’t “figure out” the Adwords system.

While Adwords is a phenomenal way to get laser-targeted traffic to your site, it does have a steep learning curve…And that’s pretty daunting when it’s your own time and money on the line!

I’ve boiled Adwords down to the following seven step checklist. Although it’s not intended to be a cure-all for every Adwords problem, these seven steps are the first to take to make serious headway on your account!

1) Are you split-testing both your Adwords ads and your sales letter or landing page? This is the biggest error of them all! When I say “split-testing” does your blood curl, or do horrific memories of high school algebra class flash into your head? It doesn’t have to be that way!

Testing is, in essence, simple. By “simple” I mean that all you want to do is figure out whether ad “A” is better than ad “B”. The definition of “better” being more clicks or sales. That’s it!

Begin split-testing by making sure that every adgroup in every campaign has two ads in it. Depending on the size of your account, this could take a while, but trust me, it’s well worth it.

After a while, each ad will have a different number of clicks and a different CTR.

Now use the free tool at Plug in your CTR and number of clicks, and it will run a statistical test telling you how confident you can be in the results. (In advertising, we usually use the 95% confidence level.)
After you’ve determined which ad is better, you’ve got your “control” ad. Now, write a new ad, and attempt to beat your control.

For split-testing your sales page or landing page, there are tons of available scripts, both free and paid. In some cases, your shopping cart system or ad tracker will have this feature built in.

Continue to repeat this process on both your Adwords ads and your sales pages or landing pages and you’ll quickly notice an enormous cumulative effect.

2) Are you using all the potential keywords in your market, not just the obvious ones?

If you don’t have at least 500 to 1,000 keywords, you’re leaving highly targeted traffic on the table! Don’t be content to only use the 10 to 20 major keywords and phrases.

Keyword phrases that are two to five words long are called “long tail” keywords. Individually, each one may only account for a few clicks a month, but together represent a massive amount of traffic.

3) Do you use the three match types and negative keywords? Do you know what brackets and quotation marks have to do with Adwords? Many advertisers lose targeted clicks by only using what is called “broad match”.

If you’re not tripling your keyword list by using phrase match (putting the keyword in quotes) and exact match (putting the keyword in brackets) you’re losing out on traffic that is much more targeted and relevant than just using broad match!

In fact, some savvy advertisers delete their broad match keywords and solely use phrase and exact match to increase their ROI.

Negative keywords are words and phrases used to prevent your ad from showing on unrelated or untargeted searches.
Say, for example, you’re selling Condos in Costa Rica and one of your keyword phrases is “Costa Rica”. You’ll save yourself tons on your Adwords bill by using negative keywords like, -surfing, -travel, and -tourism.

This will prevent your ad from showing if someone searches for “Costa Rica Surfing” or “Costa Rica Travel”, and that’s good because those searchers probably aren’t interested in what you have to offer.

4) Do you have your keywords and adgroups organized correctly?

Do you have only a couple of adgroups per campaign, stuffed with hundreds (or thousands) of keywords? If so, this is hampering your results!

Relevance is key on Adwords. And since it’s impossible to write ads that are targeted and specific for hundreds of different keywords, you need to “break out” keywords into their own adgroups. For high traffic keywords, this could mean one keyword, with the three different match types, per adgroup. For lower traffic keywords, have no more than 15 to 21 keywords per adgroup.

After you “break out” the keywords into new adgroups, write more focused ads, using the keywords as much as possible in the ads. Your CTRs will rise across the board.

5) Are you using the content network effectively? A common fallacy that you hear is that you should only have the “search network” turned on and the “content network” turned off. It’s true that the traffic from the content network in some markets doesn’t convert into sales as well, but that’s not always so. I have several clients where the content network converts better than search. How will you know? You won’t, until you test! Adjust your bids for the content network up or down until it reaches your desired cost to make a sale or get a lead, but to get those numbers you’ll need to read the next step…

6) Do you have conversion tracking turned on? Not all keywords are created equal! Some keywords convert into sales at 3 to 9 times as often as others. Setting up “conversion tracking” inside your account will tell you exactly which keyword is responsible for a sale. If you don’t have either conversion tracking, Google Analytics or some third-party tool in place, you’ll never know. Pareto’s principle, or the 80/20 rule, applies to Adwords as well. A small portion of your keywords are bringing in most of your sales. Wouldn’t you like to know which keywords to nurture and grow, and which ones to delete?

7) Do you adjust your bids by keyword? Again, not all keywords are created equal! Every keyword will convert into a sale or lead at a different rate. Adjust your keyword bids up or down until you hit an average cost per sale that works for your business. You’ll find that some keywords won’t work, even if you get the click for only 1 cent! Delete ‘em, and move on. Continue to monitor and adjust the keywords that are left.

I hope this article has turned you on to some quick and dirty ways to get the most out of your Adwords efforts! Day by day, work on your account and apply these steps, and you’ll soon see real progress.