Category Archives: Paid Search

What is paid search?
Paid search has the umbrella term PPC. PPC stands for ‘Pay Per Click’ but often is used to cover a wide range of paid online marketing.

PPC – Take a step back once in a while

In the day to day management of paid search campaigns, you can get so engrossed in the fine tuning, that you forget to take a step back and look at the overall picture.

Earlier today I was looking at a geo-targeted account of a clients in the Adwords interface and I thought to myself “cost per acquisition is a little higher than average”.

What I had forgot to do, was check how many phone calls the campaigns resulted in. I was too busy in a single reporting interface. I needed to take a step back, look at things on the whole to see if there really was a problem.

Turns out that the call through rate for this account was significantly higher than other accounts. People liked to pick up the phone more, the sites are virtually identical in call to actions, but the residents of the are just seemed more inclined to pick up the phone and speak to a real person.

It was only after taking a top level view, that I managed to better evaluate how the campaigns were performing. Turns out that they are performing better than expected!

So, lesson is to step back once in a while. Think “what data am I not looking at which may influence a decision”.

Daily PPC management – An easy way of keeping up

Managing multiple PPC accounts can be a real pain sometimes. You make a change, and another, and another. And before you know it, it’s a week later and you can’t remember what to check up on! Sure, you can check the change history (if the platform has it), figure out your rationale and then check up on what happened since. But that’s not perfect, your rationale could be different from last week, or it may be more than just one week…

Post it notes - Nope!

What you need to do is after you’ve made a change, schedule in a task to check up on what effect it has had. But the question is where to do all of this!

  • Outlook – Nope! The clutter will obstruct any meetings you may have
  • Post it notes – Nope! Haven’t you seen Bruce Almighty?
  • Notepad – Nope! Too hard to manage and you’ll fill it up quick
  • Project Management Software – Nope! Too much for a simple need of scheduling.

The solution that works for me
Remember the Milk LogoWhat I’ve found works is the simple reminder web tool called Remember the Milk (RTM for short).

The interface is clean and simple and once you get into the groove of using it, you’ll wonder how you managed before.

To summarise, these are the features I’ve found great.

  • Lists – To organise your tasks. I do these by or areas of work (Web, admin, ppc, seo, etc). But you can do it by client
  • Priorities – You can mark each task as different priority, to push it up the list.
  • Repeating tasks – Useful for marking when to create regular client reports
  • Shared Tasks/Lists – So you can collaborate with others, or give viewing permissions to higher up people
  • Sending tasks to others – If you are away, you can send tasks to your colleagues to complete
  • Many ways to access your lists – There’s an iphone, android and ipad app and integration for calendar software.
  • Notifications – The day a task is due, you receive a summary email detailing what you need to do.
  • Quick and Easy to use – When creating a task, you can just enter “Next week” or “every 7 days” instead of choosing from a dropdown, date picker or another restrictive method.

Generally my work flow is as follows:

  1. Make PPC change
  2. Go into RTM, create and schedule a task
  3. Add in any notes, set recurrence, or priority on task
  4. Move onto something else
  5. Get notification from RTM (by email) and follow up.
  6. Rinse and repeat

If you have found other methods of keeping up with your daily management of ppc, please mention them in the comments! Always good to learn other ways of keeping on top of things.

Google AdWords: Stop the short tail from ranking over your long tail

Bidding on both Broad and exact match keywords of the same product can be a bit of a problem with the broad keywords overlapping the long tail keywords.

The situation
You have widgets broad match at £5 max CPC. You run a search query report and notice that [blue widgets] has less competition and performs well. You decide that it should be split out into a new adgroup.

You then split it out into its own adgroup, with a few variants. And because there’s less competition, the actual CPC was £2, so you’ve set the new adgroup bid to £3, thinking you’ll increase your position and hopefuly get you more conversions.

You wait a few days, and the new adgroup hasn’t performed! You run an ad diagnosis on [blue widgets] and notice that widgets is showing for the search. Historical performance and a high bid means that it has won nearly every ad auction!

The solution – Add in negatives
Add blue as a negative keyword in your initial adgroup. This’ll stop widgets from appearing in your new blue adgroup.

Feel like your missing out?
If you think that a pure exact match only adgroup isn’t giving you the keyword reach you desire, it’s time to start using Google’s Broad match modifier.

All you have to do, is add +blue +widgets into your adgroup. It’s in between phrase and broad match, but the terms can be in any order, and the actual queries have to be very close to what you’ve stated.

Google AdWord Match Types. Source:

If you find this post useful, or you have related comments, please leave a comment 🙂

AdWords: Relative CTR for the GDN

Google have released a new metric to your Google Display Network (GDN) campaigns that’ll help you evaluate the effectiveness of your display ads.

They call it Relative CTR and here’s the summary straight from AdWords.

"Relative CTR is a measure of how your ads are performing on the Display Network compared to other advertisers' ads that are appearing on the same websites. The value in this column is obtained by dividing your CTR by the average CTR of all advertisers on the placements where your ads are shown.

Relative CTR can help you understand campaign and ad group performance if you have little or no conversion information."

Setting it to show:
You’ll find it in the columns section under ‘competitive metrics’.
Google AdWords Relative CTR

And it’ll look something like this:
Relative CTR in the interface

What do I do now?
Go take a look at the official Google documentation on relative CTR, making sure you expand the tabs near the bottom of the article. Then have a look at your campaigns and see what needs attention. If its got a relative CTR of less than 1, then it may be time to experiment with AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE).

Thank you for reading

Adwords: Forget Position Preference, Automated Rules are the way to go!

Google announced earlier this month that they’re retiring the position preference feature in AdWords.

That leaves users who rely on position preference to seek other means of lingering around a position. But Google have made a solution ready to use called Automated Rules which can be found alongside the actionbar in the AdWords web interface.

AdWords Action Bar

Just click on automate then navigate to the action you require. Each tab has something slightly different, the campaign tab mentions changing daily budget where as the keyword tab mentions changing bids.

How to maintain ad position using rules
To maintain your ad position you’ll need to create two rules. One rule to raise the bids if a position lowers below your liking and another rule to lower bids if a position increases above your liking. You can either place the rules on an adgroup level, if all your keywords are using the default bid, or on a keyword level.

So, go into the adgroup or keyword tab, click the automate dropdown and go to ‘Change max CPC bids when…’. You’ll be then presented with:

Your given parameters to set for a rule to run at a regular interval that you set.

  • Automatic Action – This what you want to happen if parameters are met. You can have it decrease/increase the bid by a percentage or a specific value of currency. You can set an optional minimum/maximum bid, dictating that the rule should not to set a bid outside this.
  • Requirements – This is what needs to happen for your automatic action to kick in. You can add multiple requirements to tailor your rule.
  • Frequency – This is how often your rule will run and what date range to pick the data from.

Rule 1: To increase the bid to try get ads at position 3 or higher

Rule 2: To decrease the bid to try get ads at position 1.5 or lower

Questions? Leave ’em in the comments box below!

Google Adwords text advert character limits

Here’s a quick javascript length validation for your Google AdWord’s adverts. The headline must be 25 characters in length, descriptions 1,2 & the display url are 35. Characters include spaces and punctuation!

But remember, even though your advert may be the right length, you still need to conform to advertising policies! Having excess punctuation, capitalisation, promotion of illegal or shady activities & repeated words can dissaprove your advert.

Enjoy 🙂

Google PPC Adverts
Headline (25)
Description 1 (35)
Description 2 (35)
Display URL (35)