Friday, June 8, 2007

June 2007 Google AdWords Search Strategy

Based on a number of recent experiments, conversations with our clients and analyzing report data and conversion data... this is our current strategy for Google Search in AdWords:

1) Remove broad terms in high traffic and/or high spend AdGroups. Right now Google has gone to the extreme with expanded match. Even with tons of negative terms, it is impossible to filter out the majority of unwanted traffic coming from broad terms.

2) Remove exact match for high traffic and/or high spend AdGroups. I think all the other AdWords advertisers are facing similar problems with broad match and are either removing broad in favor of just phrase and exact matching or they are doing broad, phrase and exact. The problem...some exact match keywords have gotten over-the-top expensive. The solution is to expand those expensive exact keywords into longer keywords and use phrase match.

3) Turn off Partner Search. After looking at traffic logs, we saw that a number of sites that Google has allowed into the partner network are actually glorified domain parking pages with tons of advertising and yes...a search box that goes to more pages of advertising links. My clients would really like to show up on the legitimate partner websites like AOL, Dogpile, etc. but after seeing huge increases in clicks and costs and a decline in conversions, we discovered the new partner websites in the Google network. I have sent Google emails, posted on forums and replied to blog posts where other advertisers have voiced their concerns about the poor quality of the search partner websites and we hope that Google will listen and make changes soon so we can turn partner search back on.

4) For your priority keywords (and or your most profitable and/or high traffic or spending keywords), make sure your AdGroups are very focused with only a small grouping of words. Even though "florist" and "flower shop" are basically the same, we would set up an AdGroup for "florist" and an AdGroup for "flower shop" and then match the ads to the keywords.

5) Expand your keywords. Either Google's distribution system has changed or there are just a lot more people using Adwords. Those general keywords generate a ton of traffic but for most industries...they don't convert like the very specific keywords do.

6) If you have a bad quality score for a specific keyword or an inactive keyword that is critical to your keyword strategy, consider deleting it and letting a shorter phrase keyword (or broad keyword if you are using them) cover the low QS or inactive word.

7) Bid on your company name and product names and variations and misspellings of both. Historically the BEST converting keywords are company names and product names.

8) For regional targeting, set up one regional and one national campaign. One campaign has general keywords (examples: florist, flower shop) and the campaign settings are region specific (example: show ads in Dallas, TX). The other campaign uses a combination of general keywords mixed with regional keywords (examples: Dallas florist, Dallas county flower shop) and the campaign is set to show nationally.

This strategy is only for Google Search. Content Strategy will be another blog.