Running a truly successful paid search account requires organization, strategy, and flexibility.  Flexibility is an especially important trait, because all successful paid search accounts ultimately must correct, and learn from, their mistakes.  This is true for new managers as they learn the basics of paid search, as well as seasoned agencies as they familiarize themselves with new clients or industries.

The most common mistakes we see in paid search campaigns relate to poor keyword planning and keyword structure. Issues with keywords typically fall into four categories:

  • Too many irrelevant keywords or keyword variations
  • Not adopting the use of match type strategies
  • No negative keywords
  • Not using the search engine “search terms” report

Don’t worry! We have an intent-based strategy to solve these four common problems with search accounts.

Mistake #1 – Too many irrelevant keywords or keyword variations in the account

There are two reasons that having too many keywords in a pay-per-click search account is a mistake. First, too many keywords make a PPC account cumbersome to manage, often resulting in too many campaigns, ad groups, and ads.  Second, a large amount of keywords spreads thin your limited advertising budget, and prevents you from funding the most valuable keywords for your business. Start with a small set of keywords that are most relevant to your business to reach the most valuable users.

Mistake #2 – Not adopting the use of match type strategies

Not using multiple match types can limit conversions and future business growth. A solid keyword strategy will use broad, exact and phrase match types to reach users based on their intent – awareness, interest or conversion respectively. We are big fans of segmenting search campaigns by match type to help control how much budget we spend acquiring conversions, educating users, and finding new audiences for our clients’ products and services.

Mistake #3 – No negative keywords

Even the largest advertising budgets must be spent efficiently. Implementing common keyword negatives in a single list will prevent your ads from showing in results not related to your business. Updating and adding to that list will prevent spending money on terms that do not convert. And now that your campaigns are segmented by match type, you can take your intent based strategy to the next level! Create a negative keyword list of your exact and phrase match keywords to apply to your broad match campaigns. Doing this will help you control cost by ensuring you don’t outbid yourself while allowing the search engine to better funnel traffic based on the users intent.

Mistake #4 – Not using the search engine “search terms” report

Now that you have the most valuable keywords segmented by match type with the correct negative keywords in place, your intent-based keyword strategy is built for efficient business growth. Review the engines’ search term reports for new keywords based on how users actually search. Add terms that are matched to broad match keywords as exact or phrase match keywords to directly bid on them when they add value to your business. Don’t forget to update your shared negatives list of exact and phrase match keywords to apply to broad match campaigns! We also use the engine search term report to update our ad copy and landing pages to improve our account’s quality score and to lower our costs-per-click.

Ensuring that your account addresses these four common keyword mistakes will lay a foundation for efficient growth and optimization.