There’s been a bit of a discussion over at PPC Coach lately as to why some people’s ppc campaigns are getting slapped with high bids and why they just can’t seem to get any traffic to their offers. No doubt about it, trying to please the algorithms and editors at Google Adwords can be a bit of a pain sometimes, but it always helps to remind yourself that they are in the advertising business to make money.
What Google doesn’t want is to give you a platform to test a million crummy ads, sent to a million crummy landing pages trying to sell a bunch of crummy diet and make money with Google products. It used to be that you could throw heaps of mud at the advertising wall that was Adwords with hundreds or thousands of keywords and then pick out the things that stuck and you’d be making lots of money. Unfortunately I didn’t get in on that gig, but it was much easier back in the good old days according to those that have been doing this ppc thing for some time.
Now though, advertising space is at a premium and there are thousands of people and merchants competing for some of the same spaces where there used to be only a handful of those people. Google used to let ads that got poor click thru rates (CTR) run indefinately as long as they were getting some kind of click activity. Now, if your ads aren’t performing, you are going to get slapped with $1 to $5 first page minimum bids or a Low Quality Score rating and your ads won’t run at all.
Let’s examine some of the reasons that happens and what you can do about it. (This is pretty much my same answer as in the PPC Coach forums.) The discussion mainly focused around direct linking, but it is relevant to all ppc campaigns.
Google is just a huge pain – I run campaigns all the the time that should work, but they don’t because Google is a pain. After awhile you finally figure out it’s not worth fretting about and there’s nothing to do but move on and try something else.
Page rank – If the offer you’re sending traffic to has a 0 or 1 PR landing page, it’s a lot less likely big G will see the relevance to what you’re trying to do. Find something that has a better quality score if you are going to direct link.
Keyword In Ad Headline – On rare occasions you can get away with not using the whole keyword in the headline of your ad, but most of the time it is essential. Auto keyword insertion won’t work, you must type your keywords in manually so Google can see the relevance in them. Google can’t read the keywords in your list, they have to read them from your ad for a good QS.
Larger Picture Relevance – This is a big one here. Your landing page, ad headline, ad text and keywords all have to relate somehow and the whole mix can sometimes be a mystery. One thing out of bounds here and you will get high bids. More relevance overall means more conversions for you as well.
Adwords Account Age – The newer your account, the less you can get away with. If you start out getting great CTR’s then you will get a gold star from Google and they will be a little more lenient towards you.
Not So Swift Account Manager – Some of these Adwords account managers are just lame and don’t understand advertising at all. I got an email once from some noobie accountmeister and he said my ads on one keyword couldn’t run because all I was doing was trying to send traffic to another site. Duh!, no kidding, isn’t that what a huge percent of adwords traffic is all about? I was sending traffic to my own landing page and he nailed me for 1 keyword out of about 50 I was running in the entire campaign. Nothing to do but move on. There’s too many other things to advertise to worry about 1 keyword.
Now that I’ve had some pretty good success at paid search marketing, my experience is that sending traffic to your own landing pages or direct to the merchant makes no difference at all. What matters is everything mentioned above. If you can’t get your ppc campaigns off the ground because of high bids the best thing to do is not to run stuff where your CTR is really low. The best way to improve your standing with Google is to get people to click on your ads so they make money, that’s why they’re in business, remember?
If you’re running crap offers that generate crap traffic and get lots of impressions, but no clicks, you look like a noobie to G and they will treat you accordingly. When I see that an ad group (1 keyword per ad group) is getting lots of impressions and no clicks I will pause it because thet affects the overall quality of your campaign and eventually it will affect the overall quality of your entire account. If you have 500 or 1,000 impressions and no clicks, turn that word off. I speak from experience here because I used to get nearly everything I put up slapped, but I finally figured out how to get good CTR and the ride has been much easier since then.
Promote quality offers in a quality way with relevant keywords and and landing pages and you will get great CTR’s. Google will then reward you with lower bids because they’re finally making some money from you and more importantly, you are making some money too.
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