Top 5 PPC Mistakes - #1: Using Keywords that are Too Broad

Having had the opportunity to inherit PPC campaigns from other online marketing companies as well as business that were managing their campaign internally, I have seen some common mistakes that I'd like to address in a series of blog posts. To some of you, my advice will be old news, but for many, these posts will hopefully help change your strategy so that your campaign runs much more efficiently and produces results that far exceed the level of invested time and click spend. Without further delay, here's the first in a series of 5 posts describing the common mistake, along with my prescription: For most businesses, the objective of a PPC campaign is to reach your customer at the moment of relevance. This means that you should be presenting ads that address a customer's desired action. For instance, using an example campaign for selling notebooks, if the customer searches "notebook for sale," you'd want to display an ad that screams "Buy Now!" Don't waste their time by displaying an ad that refers to a notebook battery or a pc. It's imperative that your list of keywords is highly targeted towards the actions that will produce the highest return on investment. Let's say after some high level keyword analysis we start off with the following terms related to notebooks:

  • Buy cheap notebooks online now
  • Computer
  • Buy notebook
  • Tablet
  • Notebook computer
  • Notebook battery
  • Notebook pc
  • pc

If our goal is to have customers purchase a notebook from our site, we might want to remove some of the less relevant keywords so that our budget is only used for terms that are likely to achieve our goal:

  • Buy cheap notebooks online now
  • Computer
  • Buy notebook
  • Tablet
  • Notebook computer
  • Notebook battery
  • Notebook pc
  • pc

If we have multiple goals for the campaign, we want our keywords to reflect the differences among those goals. For this, it's a good idea to think of the purchasing process as a funnel. The largest stage of the funnel, research/engagement, contains the most generic terms, such as "notebook" or "notebook computers." The next stage of the funnel, consideration/comparison, will contain keywords reflective of an intent to price compare or review a product, such as "notebook reviews" or "compare notebooks." The third stage of the funnel, the purchase stage, should contain keywords that tell the user they can buy directly from your site, like "buy acme notebook," "order acme monster 2000" or "discount acme notebook." If you're displaying ads that speak to the first stage but the user's already in the second stage, it's very likely that they'll ignore your ad and click on your competitor's. A lower click through rate will indirectly raise your cost per click by driving down your quality scores. So you and your customer are both happy with a more targeted keyword list that is tailored to the action you want the customer to take on your site. The example product and goals I have above are just examples but the general principle - that your keywords should be highly targeted and reflect the goals of your site - remains true throughout any PPC campaign. UP NEXT: Common PPC Mistake #2: Sending all traffic to your home page

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