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Improving Google AdWords PPC ROI

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By Sarah Harniman

When someone searches using one of your keywords, Google takes two things into account when deciding how often and where on the search page your ads will be shown – the Quality Score for that keyword and your bid. The position your ad is shown on the results page is key to how often people will see your ad. Therefore, it is very important to have keywords with a good Quality Score. To see what kind of scores you are getting you can add this as a column when looking at your list of keywords.

If you have a low quality score you may be shown a message saying…

Rarely Shown Image

If this is the case then this blog post is for you, but this also applies if you don’t have this message but still have a low Quality Score. The better your quality score – the better your keyword’s positions will be on the ‘search engine results page’ (SERP) and the cheaper it will be.

You can, of course, simply pay more so that your ads will appear higher on the SERP but this doesn’t necessarily make for a better return on investment (ROI) and other people who have a better quality score may be paying less than you and appearing higher in the SERP.

Because of this, I will be talking about ways to improve your quality score without increasing your bid.

You should focus your attention on improving your keywords which will get you the best ROI – as the sign of a successful AdWords campaign is a good ROI.

Do any of your keywords, giving you the best ROI, have a low quality score?

Sort your keywords based on what you are trying to gain from your campaign. For example, if you are trying to focus on getting conversions then sort the columns by conversions by clicking on the top of the column until the down arrow appears. You may want to copy a list of your top keywords which are showing here (including as many as you think are showing the most conversions).

Do the same for ‘clicks’ if you are just trying to get more visitors to your site, or ‘Impressions’ if your main focus is brand awareness.

If some of the top keywords here have a status of ‘Rarely shown due to low quality score’ – or have a lower than average quality score for your campaign – then these are the keywords which you want to work on first: then once you have followed the next steps for your top performing keywords, you can start to do the same for ones which have a low quality score and are as less successful to improve their results.

Cutting out waste

If you have sorted by conversions or impressions you will also now want to sort your columns by clicks – as this is what you are paying for. Take a look at the keywords which are getting the most clicks and check that these keywords are still relevant to your business and are specific enough to your product or service as to not be misleading and getting attention from the wrong audience. There could be crossover between what is searched for your product or service with another commonly searched term for a very different product or service. For example:

Say you were a freelance printed textile designer trying to promote your print design services in London, if one of your keyword phrases was ‘print design service London’ you may also get clicks from people searching for say, a ‘graphic design agency’ specialising in printing graphics for retail.

These are very different businesses but may have some cross over in the types of keywords they use. These keywords may be getting a lot of clicks but never turning into conversions. This would be wasting some of your budget which may be better spent on more relevant keywords. If you think that this may be the case for any of these keywords then you may consider pausing them and thinking of alternative keywords or possibly looking into changing their match types. This will help cut down on spend which is not leading to ROI. See this link for what Google say about match types: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2497836?hl=en-GB&ref_topic=3122868

If they are relevant though, add these to your list of your most successful keywords as they are getting the most clicks and you should consider working on these to try and get these people who are clicking on your ad to convert on your landing page.

What to do:

Now look through this list. Note down for each of your top performing keywords, which say ‘Rarely Shown Due to Low Quality Score’, why they are rarely shown. By clicking on the red writing, it will tell you how this keyword is scoring in terms of; Expected Click-through Rate, Ad relevance and Landing page experience. It will say that you are either below average, average or above average. I like to put this together in a spreadsheet so I can easily see if there are any patterns appearing which shows that, for example, Ad relevance is the issue for most of these keywords. You should then work on which ever section is showing as below average.

Quality Score Image

Ad relevance

Pic one of the keywords for which Ad relevance is below average and take a look at your landing page for the ad which is connected to this keyword. Have a read of the content on this page. Is it relevant to this keyword?

Are your keywords in your titles and META tags? Including these keywords here in a natural way which fulfils the purpose for having that tag (e.g. the title clearly tells you what the page is about), will hopefully allow google to see easily that your page relates to the desired keyword.

You can also Press ‘Ctrl + F’ for Windows or ‘Command + F’ for mac. Type your keyword into the find box and see how many times the keyword appears on your landing page. Google now recommends that you don’t try and stuff your webpage with your keywords, as this can be seen as ‘spammy’ and this can work against you. Natural writing is much better. However, it may be worth using the keywords or related words when it makes sense to do so.

If you see that in actual fact this landing page is not relevant to your keyword then you may consider creating a new ad group for this keyword and others which are similar and then creating a landing page with relevant content for this ad group.

Another way to improve the Ad relevance is by moving away from ‘broad match’ keywords and towards narrower match types – See the link mentioned earlier for help on this.

Landing page experience

This can be low because of a variety of reasons, including factors such as how easy your page is to navigate across different devices and loading speed.

Is this a page which people will want to stay on? Will they be encouraged to take action or explore other parts of your site – and can they do this easily? Or will they see this page and click to go back straight away? This is where it is important to have good content. Have interesting content about your product or service which people will want to read. If you can have a short but relevant video, even as short as 10 seconds (it helps if the videos are watched the whole way through) or images (with ‘Alt tags’) which relate to your keywords – this can all add to what search engines see as a more useful landing page and people interacting more with your website.

Expected Click-through rate

Less about your landing page, this is concerned with whether or not people will click through to your website after seeing your ad and if the person making the enquiry will decide that your ad is the answer they are looking for.

Are you making the most of your ad extensions? Ad extensions give you the opportunity to make a bigger impression on people searching using your keywords; they take up more space and allow you more opportunities to engage the searcher and encourage them to click on your ad. You can see that the example below makes good use of ad extensions.

Ad Extensions

Be Creative with your ad. Take a look at your competitor’s ads by searching for your keywords. Does your ad look generic or does it speak more to the searcher? You want to show that you are answering the searchers question in the clearest way possible whilst trying to avoid looking like everyone else in the SERP. When you are searching, think about what makes you click on one ad over another – and try and use this in a relevant way in your own ad.

Better Quality Score and less waste

Strictly 10 Out Of 10

By implementing some of these changes to your already top performing keywords you should start to see the quality score for these keywords improve and their positions in the SERP improve; resulting in your ads getting more impressions, leading to more clicks, and, if you are tracking conversions – more conversions, and a better ROI.

These tips will also help you cut out waste – by cutting out those irrelevant or vague keywords which are getting a lot of misguided and fruitless clicks – leaving more of your daily budget to be spent on your relevant and newly improved keywords.

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