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Category Archives: Keyword Optimization

Avoid Losing Traffic By Discovering Negative Keyword Conflicts in Google AdWords

If you’ve been wondering if any of the negative keywords you’ve been adding to your AdWords campaigns are preventing your actual keywords from showing up, you are in luck. AdWords just released a new tool that points out negative keyword conflicts as you navigate your campaign management page in AdWords. This is a great feature that can help prevent traffic losses if you happened to mistakenly negative out an important keyword.

If you do have negative keywords that are blocking your keywords, you’ll see a message such as this one:

If you click on the View link from within the message, you’ll get a full list of the offending negatives as well as the option to delete them. Of course, it’s possible that you added a negative keyword after finding out that a certain phrase did not work for you, in which case you might just want to delete the actual keyword from your campaign, rather than deleting the negative.

Bing Ads (previously adCenter) has had this feature for some time now, so it’s good to see that AdWords has added it too.

AdWords Releases Advanced Phrase and Exact Match

AdWords recently released improvements to their advanced matching options, slightly expanding phrase and exact match, so that users that are typing in misspellings and very close variations of your chosen keywords will still see your ads. This change will help boost traffic on phrase and exact keywords without bringing in irrelevant queries like broad match tends to generate.

A lot of advertisers have been vary of broad match, because of the sometimes irrelevant expansions by the system and have chosen to use phrase and exact match instead of broad match altogether.

If you’d like to opt out of this new feature, you can do so in your campaign settings page, where you will now see a new section Keywords matching options. There. you’ll be able to select your preferences to include or prevent close variants.

I still recommend checking your search query reports to ensure you are utilizing the match options effectively and excluding those irrelevant queries.

adCenter Launches Advanced Negative Match & Negative Keyword Conflicts

Microsoft adCenter just lauched advanced negative match, a feature AdWords has had for a long time now, to help advertisers better prequalify traffic.  Now you can set Phrase and Exact Match negative keywords in your adCenter campaigns for even greater precision in filtering unwanted search traffic. Previously, adCenter only allowed Negative Broad. For more information about negative keywords as well as how to use them, please see this post on negative keyword best practices.

Another new feature you may want to check out is their insights into keyword conflicts. Use the new Negative Keyword Conflicts report to learn if you have set any negative keywords that are same as your actual keywords. The report can help resolve any conflicts and help improve performance. It can also helo explain why some of your perfectly relevant keywords have not been getting any impressions.

Save Time By Taking Advantage Of Automated Rules in AdWords

Do you keep checking on your keywords and adjusting bids to make sure they’re showing in top position? Do you run time sensitive seasonal promotions that your ads need to reflect? Do you keep checking conversions and ROI and lowering budget on campaigns that are under-performing? Then you’ll love ‘Automated Rules’ in AdWords. With automated rules you can make changes to campaigns, ad groups, bids, statuses, ads, and keywords based on your custom requirements. You’ll save yourself time and optimize your account based on your unique goals.

Setting up automated rules is easy. In your AdWords campaign management tab, click to ‘Automate’ as shown in the screenshot below and select what aspects of your campaigns you would like to create a rule for.

Next, you’ll want to specify your criteria, such as what the rule will apply to, action, requirements for the rule to take effect, and frequency or when the rule should start running. In the example below, I chose to lower budget by 40% on all campaigns where cost/conversion went above $32. You can select how often you want this rule to run and receive an email with details. Happy automating!

Microsoft’s adCenter Expands Negative Keyword Limits

adCenter recently increased their negative keyword limits to ‘thousands.’ This is great news for those who have been optimizing their campaigns in preparation for the Yahoo search marketing and adCenter merger. Previously, advertisers were able to only add less than a 150 negative keywords. To start taking advantage of the new system capability, go to your campaign or ad group settings and add new exclusions.

Unfortunately, unlike with AdWords, in adCenter negative keywords still cannot be assigned a match type. If you’re curious about when you might want to assign different match types to your negatives, and want to read more about negative keywords, see my post on negative keyword best practices.

Google’s keyword tool out of beta

Google’s updated keyword tool is now officially out of beta, and advertisers no longer have the option to go back to the previous version of the tool. This is unfortunate, as the previous version provided more results and keyword variations. However, a couple of advantages on the updated tool include updated statistics and the ability to use the tool without signing in.

In you’re looking for additional or alternative keyword tools, I recommend you check out keywordspy and wordtracker. Both require subscriptions but do offer free trials.

Should you let AdWords do the bidding for you with Enhanced CPC?

AdWords recently released a new bidding option under campaign settings called Enhanced CPC that uses your conversion data to optimize bids for ROI.  Advertisers will reportedly benefit from spending less time on managing bids while receiving more conversions at an equal or lower ROI.

The way Enhanced CPC* works is that your keyword bids are automatically adjusted up or down depending on how an individual keyword converts for you. As a result you may pay up to 30% of your set bid. It’s a feature you can enable at the campaign settings page, and it applies to all the ad groups within the chosen campaign. If you’re uncomfortable paying more than your set Max CPC, you should probably not use Enhanced CPC.

Unlike with Conversion Optimizer, the other AdWords advanced ROI bidding option, you do not need 15 conversions in the past 30 days to use this. However, Conversion Optimizers allows you to set specific CPA goals, which Enhanced CPC does not offer. If you are looking to lower CPA significantly, then you might be better off using Conversion Optimizer, which has greater potential to help you improve CPA.

*Do note that if you enable Enhanced CPC you will not be able to make changes to your campaigns through AdWords Editor.

Use the broad match modifier in AdWords and get more clicks, while maintaining control

AdWords just released a new keyword match type called broad match modifier that gives more control over how your ads will show. The broad match modifier is more specific than broad match but provides greater reach than phrase or exact match. Unlike phrase match, it will trigger singular and plural variations, as well as misspelling and closely related words. And, unlike broad match, it will not expand to wildly irrelevant variations that hike up costs.

The broad match modifier is meant for advertisers that have been using phrase and exact mainly. This type of advertiser has been avoiding broad match because it’s shown their ads on variations that are too far outside the target audience. Even if you’re running on mainly broad match today I recommend testing the braod match modifier, as the more precise matching might improve your conversions. It’s recommended to add the new keyword in addition to your existing match keywords, rather than replacing them. Then, analyze your data and adjust bids and strategies accordingly.

To implement broad match modifier, simply out a + before each word in the search term. Make sure there are no spaces before or after the + sign, but there should be a space between the search terms in the query.

Correct: +sell +widgets
Incorrect: +sell+widgets
Incorrect: + sell + widgets

Implementation is still a little slow and manual. Within the interface, you have to click to edit a keyword and add the + sign manually. Hopefully, AdWords adds a feature that will allow us to change the keyword match type to the modifier within the interface and AdWords Editor soon.

I can’t blame advertisers for avoiding broad match, however phrase and exact can severely limit traffic. The issue of keyword being expanded too broadly with broad match has caused me hours of work reviewing search queries and adding negative keywords to maintain click and conversion volumes. The broad match modifier will be a valuable tool in my campaigns.

Stop wasting advertising dollars on bad keywords

Before you can analyze and make decisions on individual keywords, make sure you have conversion tracking set-up first in your Google AdWords account. Conversions are specific actions you care about on your website, such as lead submissions, white paper downloads, or most commonly, sales. If you’re not tracking conversions already, enable conversion tracking within your Google Adwords account first. You’ll get a code snippet to be placed on a page that’s usually a confirmation page for a desired action.

Once you’re tracking conversions, review your data regularly and make decisions based on patterns you’re seeing. If a keyword is getting a lot of clicks but few of those clicks are resulting in a conversion, you may want to lower your CPCs or pause that keyword entirely. This will save you $ and allow your PPC budget to be spent on other, more profitable terms. In the example below, I paused a keyword that generated clicks and had a good CTR but resulted in only 1 conversion and a relatively high cost/conversion.