Unusual Things Never to Do in Adwords (#1)

I know it’s been a rough year for a lot of you financially.

One of the easiest places to find money is still, believe it or not, in your AdWords account.

So I thought I’d end the year with a list of 8 unusual things never to do in AdWords, one per day.

Watch the blog, work the system, and let me know how much money you’ve saved in the comments OK?

The first unusual thing NEVER to do in adwords (if you’re following the Glenn Livingston method) is:

  • NEVER let a keyword run in the RED ZONE for Quality Score for more than 2,500 impressions (Red Zone = Quality Score of 4 or less)

Some experts will certainly argue with this, suggesting there’s no other way to pick up the impressions and profits on certain keywords, or that their sites are so wildly profitable they don’t care how inefficient their advertising is.

But here’s the thing…

When your Quality Score runs in the red zone, you not only start paying more per click, you lose impression share… fast.   On top of this, you develop an account history as an advertiser who runs poor quality keywords.  Although this is admittedly not the most important factor in determining your overall performance, it definitely does play a role, particularly on new campaigns and keywords as you roll them out.

What Google’s Red Zone is telling you is you’re pushing beyond the boundaries of what their algorithms think is relevant for your ad-site combination.

GLENN SAYS:  Your entire Google account, other than those few adgroups and keywords you’re testing and aggressively monitoring to improve, should always run at a Quality Score of 5 or above. I’m NOT talking about an AVERAGE Quality Score, I’m saying  the MINIMUM Quality Score across your entire account should be no less than 5.

What to do with those poor performing keywords?

Well, you can gripe about it, bang your head against the wall, get on the forums and talk about how unfair and tyrannical Google’s being, how ridiculous it all is, how they’re being stupid and why won’t they just take your money, etc.   You could also call my Mom and ask for her sympathy (she’s really a very sweet woman).

But the bottom line is… you can’t fight City Hall.  Their algorithms are the ONLY ones that count, period.  And if you’ll rise to the challenge, you’ll come to think of Quality Score as your best friend (really).

Here’s how I personally handle it if the keyword is important to me.  (If it’s not that important, I’ll just delete it)

  • First, I check the quality score indicator for that keyword by hovering my mouse over the little icon in the user interface next to the keyword itself in the keywords tab.   If I’ve got landing page, load time, or keyword relevance problems, I’ll build another landing page system (including a few linked pages with an article or two specifically about the keyword).  Note: If your quality score is below 3, you’ll probably need to call Google and have a human editor review the changes before anything will change… it won’t get picked up algorithmically
  • Usually the above is not the case however, in which case I can conclude my primary problem is CLICK THROUGH RATE (CTR is 65% of Quality Score)
  • So the first prong of attack (assuming I’ve been running broad and/or phrase match) is to look in the Search Query Report for longer tail QUERY phrases which have been getting high click through… and then construct an ad using those phrases and split test it against the existing one.   (Note: This almost always increases CTR… and I generally will NOT let the split test run to full statistical significance because I want to eliminate the poorer performing ad as quickly as possible to get my Quality Score up.  I do NOT want to accrue any more poor quality score impressions in that adgroup than I absolutely must.  Thus, the risk of inadvertently choosing the losing ad due to ending the test too early is much less, in my estimation, than the risk of a further downgrade in Quality Score.  It certainly IS a risk however, so decide for yourself!)
  • Of course, anything and everything else you can do to split test yourself into a higher CTR for that adgroup is of paramount importance.  (See Perry’s and Howie’s standard books).   As a very rough rule of thumb, I find that if I can DOUBLE my click through rate, I can move a QS of 4 fairly quickly to a 6… and then once it’s run stably at that CTR level for a few thousand impressions, it starts to inch up to the 7 and 8 range.  But I’m pretty sure this isn’t a linear formula… I think it’s normative, which means it depends very much on the other advertisers in that particular keyword auction, and it may have certain key threshold values.
  • If you can NOT get your click through rate high enough to get out of the red zone, but you still want the associated traffic, what you want to do next is delete the keyword itself, but install it’s “component parts” as individual adgroups.    You can find the component parts in two places (1) the search query report; (2) the keyword expansion tool within the adgroup itself.   Essentially, look for the high volume, longer tail related phrases (especially those getting high CTR in the search query report) , and the most related longer tail “buckets” google wants you to consider expanding to from that group (those  on the top of the list in the keyword expansion tool)
  • Remember, whenever you delete a keyword from an adgroup, install it in the same adgroup as a negative

Now, here’s the REAL secret sauce no one’s talking about because it’s not at all sexy.

As keyword auctions become more and more competitive, we think what Google REALLY wants to see is entire sites devoted to those keywords.   So, for example, it’s going to get harder and harder to compete for “migraine” traffic on a site about “headaches”.  Eventually, you’re gonna need a site all about migraines.  On the other hand, if your site IS all about migraines, the odds are pretty good Google will push you into the headache traffic on a “migraine” broad match (I hope that makes sense).

Of course, for most advertisers, developing entire sites just to hit one keyword doesn’t make ANY sense until they’ve exhausted the other means available (like the ones above, which really DO work very well and probably will continue to for a few years).  But for high volume, ultra lucrative keywords which don’t respond to the above, that’s the strategy to consider.

Anyway, I’ll bet  you’ve all got good money sitting in your account which you can pick up by the end of the year if you spend some time examining what you see above.

For the purpose of simplicity, here’s the short-short story:

  • The minimum QS across your entire account should always be 5 or greater.  Don’t let keywords run in the red zone for more than 2500 impressions
  • When you’ve got an important keyword in the red zone, first check to see if you’ve got landing page, load time, or keyword relevance problems and fix them before trying other things
  • Then work on your CTR using longer tail phrases ultra-related to your problem keyword (from the search query report and/or the google keyword expansion tool in the adgroup itself),  as well as all the normal means
  • Get the low performing ad out of the mix as soon as you’re reasonably certain you’ve got a better one
  • If the above doesn’t work, delete the original keyword and install new adgroups consisting of it’s “component parts” (longer tail ultra-related phrases, for example “how to stop a migraine” and “natural migraine supplements” instead of “migraine”)
  • Remember to install the deleted keyword as a negative in the original group

OK, that’s it, I hope I just bought your family a few Holiday presents 🙂

Dr. G 🙂

PS – As the hyper-responsive club has developed, it’s evolved to include more and more about my adwords methods since these are most frequently requested by my best customers.    Why not come watch me build a business step by step, and apply the cheat sheets and over my shoulder videos to your own dream?  (The price is going up again on January 1st or when I reach 1,000 active members, which ever comes first)  hyper-responsive club

PPS – I’ll be SPEAKING in Hawaii at Perry Marshall’s Advanced Adwords Seminar.  Grab your early bird spot and come meet me there, won’t you? (Rob Sieracki, the Director of PPC at Rocket Clicks will be attending and also speaking in his own slot … truth be told, he knows way more than I do at this juncture!)